A “pastor’s page” against Pope Benedict and against the new translation

Sometimes people send me "pastor’s pages" from their parish bulletins.  Most of the time this is an opportunity to exercise patience.

I was alerted something written in a pastor’s page from "The Catholic Faith Communities of Saint Theresa and Saint Christopher" in
Tiverton, Rhode Island where Fr. Peter J. Andrews is pastor.

This benighted little blurb popped up,

But it is not just the sexual abuse crisis that muddies the waters of Church life and overall integrity. Liturgically we are at a cross roads, where some continue the work of reform set forth by the Second Vatican Council, while at the same time, others see reform as a return to a time and practice present for centuries before this last ecumenical opening of windows and doors. [The writer has set himself squarely in opposition to Pope Benedict.  But wait… there’s more…] Newer translations of prayers and texts, warranted in so many cases, seem to go too far in [Get this howler…] an effort to rein in our theological and spiritual understanding of faith and are becoming stilted and difficult to understand. [Lemme get this straight… more accurate translations which, by the way, haven’t yet been used, will rein in understanding of the faith?] Instead of gathering [bzzzzz] folks with a common and comprehensible language in liturgy and prayer, [What he means here is lowest common denominator of language.  Sorry, but I feel excluded by the banal evacuated version now in use.] I fear [Based on what?  Evidence of some sort?  This is fearmongering and rabble-rousing.  He is trying to spoil the effort before it begins.] there will be separation and confusion. Instead of being one with the people who make up her members, one might see the Church disconnecting from the very folk she is meant to lead.


The new translation is not yet in use.

Therefore the writer is just talking out of his hat.

With no evidence at all, he is purposely trying to turn people against the new translation before it is implemented.

So… what does this mean for that parish when the new translation goes into force?  How much whining will his people have to endure then?

Furthermore, while the translation seems to be the main object of his attack, do not forget that he placed himself firmly in opposition to Pope Benedict. 
Finally… if the pastor doesn’t like the new translation, he can always use Latin.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Magpie says:

    This priest will be of a certain age. All the opponents of the new translation are. The biological solution will take effect shortly.

  2. chironomo says:

    Oh good Lord…if a critic of the new translation even has to mention the sexual abuse crisis you can be sure they have nothing to say. Has it occured to these loons that the ‘reforms that began with Vatican II” are still under way and that what is happening now is a part of them? Of course the answer is NO….otherwise they wouldn’t be spewing such nonsense. Perhaps this Pastor will eventually have to deal with the seeds he sows…

  3. PghCath says:

    I answered no to the post below on whether priests should implement the new translation before it is officially approved. That said, I wish the bishops would accelerate their approval – by the time it is released, many errant priests will have poisoned their flocks with dribble like this. Better that the words could speak for themselves. . .

  4. revs96 says:

    Sadly there are very many priests like him in this area (Providence & Fall River Dioceses). It’s frightening to see something like this from a parish so close to where I live but it’s a reminder that such people are the majority over here, at least among the clergy. The laity on the other hand are (by and large) just uninformed since they don’t pay attention since the “reforms that began with Vatican II” leave people bored to tears and churches are empty as a result.

  5. RichR says:

    I do find it interesting that critics of the Church feel they can play the “sex scandal trump card” in any debate regarding the Church…..even if the conversation has absolutely nothing to do with those unfortunate events.

    Eg. “I saw the other day that the Pope upset the Jews by praying for their conversion.”

    “Well, he covered up all those child molesters as a Vatican man, so what do you expect?”


  6. Kevin B. says:

    It’s never a good sign when a parish refers to itself in the bulletin as a “Catholic Community.”

  7. TJerome says:

    Well in my parish 3 years ago, the pastor tried to use the clergy sex scandals back then as a reason not to kneel after the Sanctus. His little ploy didn’t work. But I bet he trots that rationale out again for attempting not to implement the new translations. He’s a lefty and a big-time Obama supporter.

  8. Tom in NY says:

    Spritus in mundo quorum anglicam loquntur circumgreditur – “Spiritus Consilii Vaticani II.” Omnes potestates “novae ecclesiae” ad certamen in missam Tridentinam sese conjunxerunt “novam ecclesiam” aedificandam et tradtionem relinquendam…
    –secundum quosdam auctores anni MDCCCXLVIII
    Hic furor etiam transibit; nova traductio valebit.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  9. Frank_Bearer says:

    Well the good pastor should just be patient. I’m sure we’ll have another translation in a few years. Seems like we can’t get enough of them.

  10. Adam W. says:

    I will simply repeat a comment I made over at NLM:

    — — —
    I initially disagreed with the need of a new translation (Fr. Z has changed my mind on this point). Then I had issues on pastoral grounds- too hard, too complicated, so on and so forth.

    I still have those issues, but chiefly now my criticism will be leveled against my fellow liberals who would complain and do things their own way, rather than implement the new translations in full in a spirit of obedience, charity, and unity.

    (re: fellow liberals… okay, I really consider myself a moderate, and liturgical liberals really grate on me… but compared to the average R2 junkie I’m a flaming pinko kumbaya-singing Hi God! liturgical dancer)

    Inasmuch as anyone cares what little ol’ layperson me has to say on the matter:

    Dear Priests: Whether you like it or not, please get with the program. I would rather go from parish to parish and find one unified translation I don’t care for than 500 patchworked translations I still don’t care for. Besides- isn’t obedience in your job description?

  11. Traductora says:

    Well, a little spite and hysteria never hurt a good liberal. Our bishop, who was one of the leading lights in the anti-new-translation campaign, got his little dig in by allotting exactly nothing in the diocesan budget for the introduction of the new texts. Nothing for the training of clergy and laity, nothing for the purchase of new materials. This is the man who was so concerned that nobody would understand the word “ineffable.”

    He retires this fall, thank goodness.

  12. Henry Edwards says:

    Finally… if the pastor doesn’t like the new translation, he can always use Latin.

    Obviously, this must be it! Since the new translation will mandatory, the only plausible reason for a pastoral diatribe against it in advance is …. To lay the groundwork for an announcement that, because the vernacular is so bad, he has no alternative but to begin celebrating Mass henceforth in the official sacred language of the Church. Who could object to such a conscientious pastoral decision?

    Now, if he can just think of an equally compelling reason to go ad orientem . . .

  13. The good Father notes that the Church is supposed to lead the people. How can the Church lead if linguistically it merely follows?

    Priests (and Bishops) opposed to the new translation, please stop telling your flock that we’re too stupid to understand what the prayers mean. If you think we might be confused, lead us to a better understanding.

  14. TJerome says:

    Traductora, your bishop (bishop you know who) sounds petty and spiteful, rather than magnanimous and generous. Typical liberal from the 60s.

  15. Henry Edwards says:

    Traductora, your report makes no sense. If your bishop is really convinced that the translation will be hard for the folks to understand, wouldn’t he think its introduction would require more (rather than less) effort, resources, and training? Sometimes, these liberals just don’t seem logical.

  16. I have heard next to nothing as far as the new translation is concerned in my diocese. Apart from one or two short pieces in the diocesan newspaper taken from other sources, it seems to me that most people are just going to ignore it and close their eyes until they can’t ignore it anymore. We’ll see what happens with God’s will.

    Alas, I don’t think the Bulgarians in their two dioceses have ever had problems with their translations. But then again, Bulgarian is a language where one word is attached to one meaning.

  17. Dave N. says:

    More evidence that the new Missal will probably not solve the problem of priestly ad lib innovations.

  18. TC says:

    Kevin B. —
    I certainly agree that it’s not a good sign to see a parish declare itself a “faith community” but they seem to have something on the ball. DAILY Masses (try to find that around here) with Rosary of life beforehand, Fatima Novena, prayers for priests (including Fr Peter one assumes). The “community” seems more Catholic than its leader, perhaps they will take up the slack adopting the new translation.

  19. JosephMary says:

    Yes, the such and such ‘Catholic Community’ does make me a bit wary but sometimes it is a holdover from the 80s. It goes along with mission statements like ‘We the community, reach out in our brokeness to establish peace and justice in the world’.

    Yes, it is a shame this priest feels called upon to publicly prejudice his flock this way. But liberal progressives do not seem to mind taking very open and public stances even in total disregard sometimes of Church teaching and more.

    There is this idea that Mass is a ‘gathering of the assembly to share a meal and give thanks’ and with that you have the crummy songs so many of us are subjected to and so forth. I spoke with our music director yesterday, in fact, about that song that is “we come to tell our story” which is one od the ones I dislike most. Well he says we DO come to Mass to tell OUR story! God does not need our worship, he said, and Mass is about us. The priest is one of us and represents the community, he said. I pointed out that the priest stands ‘in persona Christi’ but he did not buy that much either. In fact our former pastor disbanded an excellent choir in favor of the pop stuff we get now. I pointed out that much of the music even though by a ‘catholic’ publisher is not such that deepens our faith, (just like the bad translations of the Mass). He replied that as long as they are not anti-Catholic, they are fine by him and the song book has an imprimatur. I asked why no Marian hymns and he said because she has nothing to do with the Mass.

    There I got that vented. But the music guy said I can take this to the liturgy committee and he is a good sport and does not take the challenge personally. We are getting a new pastor and after he is settled, I will see if something can happen at liturgy committee.

  20. revs96 says:

    “Finally… if the pastor doesn’t like the new translation, he can always use Latin.”


  21. aladextra says:

    What a relief to be free of these wars now that our family has committed to the TLM exclusively. I admire those who continue to fight in the parishes, but now I have peace and can we can just focus on saving our souls. I wish everyone had the option to do the same!

  22. Adam W. says:

    “We come to tell our story…”

    I’ve always liked that song.

    But I always assumed that “our story” was referring to:
    -sacred scripture
    -the (official) text of the Mass

    That’s the story I consider most essentially my own, most especially “ours,” and the only story truly worth telling.

  23. RichR says:

    Something many have failed to realize is that, along with a change in “The Big Red Book On The Altar”, there will need to be a change in hymnals in the pews. Right now, these hymnals have Mass parts that are soon-to-be outdated and obsolete. It will necessitate buying new hymnals so the proper translations are used when the Mass parts are sung.

    Publishers know this, and they will be jockeying to get the business. This is probably what happened in the 70’s and 80’s when the vernacular was given such a wide berth. However, the difference between now and then is that then, there were very few publishers. NOW, especially with the internet, the little monopolies formerly held by GIA, OCP, etc…. are endangered. Small groups that use classic hymns are a real threat to the proprietary groups out there because they can produce at a lower overhead (hymns are public domain vs. Marty Haugen and his copyrighted drivel) AND many younger people are tired of the elevator mood music that has been foisted on the people for the last few decades.

    So, when your parish council or liturgy committee starts talking about hymnals, make sure you’re there and prepared to give suggestions. Otherwise, people will just go with what they know, and you’ll keep hearing “The King Of Glory” and “Sing of the Lord’s Goodness” for decades to come.

    I for one don’t want my kids to think that “Gift Of Finest Wheat” is a “traditional Catholic hymn”.

  24. Food, folks and fun!

  25. robtbrown says:

    This priest will be of a certain age. All the opponents of the new translation are. The biological solution will take effect shortly.
    Comment by Magpie

    You’re probably onto something.

    I have dealt with priests like him. Pretty good MOR men (the parish has Holy Hour and Fatima novena) who are comfortable in the present state of things. But when I ask what per cent of their “Faith Communities” are practicing contraception and voting pro-abortion, they don’t want to talk about it.

  26. Amy MEV says:

    “Catholic Faith Community” I did not have to read any further.

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    Buying hymnals with the text of the mass in them is a little like buying a tv with the VCR built in. (And you all know what happened to VCRs, no?)

    A hymnal is a hymnal and a mass text is a mass text. The mass text should be printed out and plentiful in the pews so that people learn it. There are never enough hymnals to go around (but it turns out okay because most people don’t sing anyway).

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