Ireland: obsessing over the wrong problem

The Church in Ireland is in trouble!   Disaster looms!   The meteor is coming straight at them!

The NEW TRANSLATION of the Missal must be STOPPED!

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are at the top of the cliff.  Sundance is afraid to jump into the boulder filled rapids because he can’t swim.  Butch responds: “Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.”

This is a classic example of fixing your attention on the wrong problem.

I submit that the Church in Ireland has bigger problems than the translation to worry about.  In fact, the new translation might help.

But let’s set that optimistic possibility aside and wring our hands in solidarity with the Irish Association of Catholic Priests over the changes Rome made to the ICEL translation.

From the Irish Times with my emphases and comments:

Priests call for publication of new missal translation to be suspended

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent

IRELAND’S CATHOLIC bishops are to publish a statement “shortly” on the new translation of the Roman missal, they said yesterday.

The translation is to be used in Ireland from Advent next December.

At Maynooth this week members of the bishops’ Commission for Worship, Pastoral Renewal and Faith Development met the Association of Catholic Priests.

Forthright criticisms [Not just criticisms, but “forthright” criticisms.  Well… that convinces me!] of the new translation were expressed by priests. Their discussions coincided with the spring meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference. [A sort of “robber council”!]

In attendance at the meeting with the association were five bishops, all members of the commission, including its chairman Bishop Seamus Freeman.

Killala priest Fr Brendan Hoban called for implementation of the translation to be suspended so priests and people could be properly consulted. [How is that supposed to happen, exactly?  Was that done when the Novus Ordo was implemented?] What was on offer was very deficient, [Not just deficient… very deficient!] especially in the use of exclusive language, and had been imposed from Rome, he said, according to minutes on the association website.  [Ah, Rome!  The great enemy.  Worse than the Sasanach.  I love this head fake.  The Irish Church has a few problems they have created all by themselves without any help from Rome at all.  But let’s fret over the thing being imposed by Rome.]

It was priests who would face the hostility of many Catholics, especially women, towards the new translation, he said. [But wait!  There’s more!] He said it would be unfair to use it in nursing homes where people were very familiar with the old translations.

Kilmore priest Fr Gerard Alwill criticised the secrecy surrounding the translation process.

He said there was major dissatisfaction [Not just dissatisfaction.. major dissatisfaction!] with the archaic terms, long, convoluted sentences and sexist language it used.

Kildare and Leighlin priest Fr PJ Madden spoke of a recent meeting in Carlow attended by 60 priests where many said the new texts were not wanted. [Let me get this straight… “many” out of … how many priests?  Many of 60? So… let’s say 20?] He felt that at the meeting there was no real effort to take on board the deeply felt concerns of the priests.

Fr Pádraig McCarthy of the Dublin archdiocese suggested the bishops suspend publication of the new translation immediately. [‘Cause they have nothing more important to worry about in Ireland.] A leaflet highlighting its pros and cons should be circulated, after which priests and parish liturgical groups should make their views known to the local bishop and the National Centre for Liturgy at Maynooth, he said. [Let me picture this for a moment: The local bishop is opening his mail.  He hefts the envelope from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the little dust-up over Fr. Just-Call-Me-Seamus.  Then he spots the missive from the angry parish liturgical group at St. Brigit’s in Inisfree.  He drops the CDF’s latest and opts for St. Brigit’s because he is dying to read their insights into inclusive language.]

Dublin priest Fr Dermot Lane said the word “consubstantial”, for instance, as used in the new translation, was transliteration and not used in mainstream English. [And “one is being” is? That’s what they say in Ireland now, isn’t it?]

He suggested a process of consultation with the people should take place on the new translation such as that used to prepare the new National Directory for Catechesis . He noted that as early as 2003 the Catholic Biblical Association of America was critical of the new translation of the missal.

Columban priest Fr Seán McDonagh said the word “man”, as used in it, was no longer a common noun in contemporary English, and the excuse for using sexist language in the new translation smacked of Humpty Dumpty in Alice through the Looking Glass , where he said “when I use a word . . . it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”

You can hear this on street corners all through Ireland.  “If it weren’t for the new translation I’d still be going to church on Sundays!”  In every pub you can hear them clucking, “I spent all those years saying ‘And also with you” and now Rome is imposing this!”  Moms at the grocers white-knuckle their shopping bags and say, “I am pulling my kids out of their school because Rome changed the ICEL translation!”  Advent will come and there will begin the great emptying of seminaries.  Priests in dark rectories everywhere will murmur, “This is the greatest crisis we have ever faced.”

They’ll need listening sessions to help them with the trauma.   The Pope may have to write a letter.  The Irish bishops should prostrate themselves in their cathedrals over the hurt this new translation will cause.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. digdigby says:

    We can’t stop now! The edge of the cliff is just ahead! Everything we’ve worked for!

  2. Fr. Basil says:

    An Orthodox monk once said that theology (which includes liturgy), like other learned professions, has its own special language and vocabulary that simply cannot be jettisoned in favor of ordinary speech without doing violence to the meaning.

    “Consubstantial”, a borrowing from Latin, is one such word. (FWIW, the Melkite translation renders “homoousios” as “one in essence”.)

    OTOH, I have no problem with inclusive language IF the sense of the original is truly inclusive. But sometimes, as with Psalm 1, it is not. Here the word is “vir” in Latin, “anir” in Greek, and “muzh” in Slavonic–all of which mean gender specific male. Why? It’s seen as a Messianic prophecy by the Fathers.

  3. Tradcarlos says:

    The Irish wanting to stop The NEW TRANSLATION of the Missal is precisely because of the problem. Unfortunately when most in the Church are wrong that becomes the norm and anything to change that is seen as bad and as a threat and therefore must be stopped!

  4. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Once again, just like politics, a classic situation of the burecrats at the top of the food chain thinking they know what joe Catholic (and “c”atholic for that matter) want when they majority desire the opposite, or don’t care at all. Fr. Z. humourously says it right in his after article commentary.

  5. William says:

    Before we can start to climb, we have to hit bottom! Those in Ireland who precipitated the fall now insist on making bottom the new normal.

  6. You’re right that the Irish bishops have more important things on their plates. Still this shower could be a nuisance that gets attention in order to keep them quiet. I know some of these guys and they’re generally not bureaucrats but they’re not without clout. I heard of complaints against Lane’s theology 20 years ago and he’s still around, unfettered. Some of these priests have been spouting dodgy theology nad actively engaged in dodgy practices for many years and their bishops and superiors have done nothing about it. But, as I read somewhere else about the German revolt, this is largely a protest from the nursing home. The two members of this association (they represent about one tenth of all the Irish clergy) that I know well are both pensioners. They’re not alone though. There are younger followers and together they could sway the opinions of other Irish priests. I have to laugh at their concern for inclusive language when the present translation has “for all men” – as if they force themselves to use these words at every Mass.

  7. Capt. Morgan says:

    For over forty years the “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd would point to the Documents from the Council and yell ” you must accept this, It is Rome’ decree”. Forty years plus of horrendous liturgies excused by the “spirit of V-II”. Now we finally are starting to see the pendulum swing back toward sanity and sanctity and we get these whiners crying that “Rome did not consult us”???? Really???

    SHUT UP! Say the Black and Do the Red!

    Or if you must dissent, try the Anglicans. I here they have a few openings.

  8. “He noted that as early as 2003 the Catholic Biblical Association of America was critical of the new translation of the missal.”

    Funny thing is, he’s probably right, but it’s interesting, is it not, given the fact ICEL didn’t produce its first English translation (a draft of the Order of Mass) until 2004.

  9. MissOH says:

    “It was priests who would face the hostility of many Catholics, especially women, towards the new translation, he said. ”
    This woman, who disliked every enclusive language translation I have seen, was more (ok no hostile but puzzled) when she obtained a Latin-English novus ordo missal and with limited Latin skill realized much had been left out and changed..

    “[But wait! There’s more!] He said it would be unfair to use it in nursing homes where people were very familiar with the old translations.”
    Roflol, right, the people in nursing homes who grew up attached to the TLM, who, if they are like some of the wonderful elders I have met, heartily dislike the N.O. and would attend a TLM in a heartbeat if allowed the chance.

    Yes, let’s worry about the mote and ignore the plank.

  10. Supertradmum says:

    If this is merely a tempest in a teacup, the press has no business publishing such nonsense. If it is a true revolt of some of the clergy, let them leave.

  11. Andrew says:

    “… a process of consultation with the people should take place on the new translation …”

    Is it very common among the people of Ireland to be familiar with Latin?

  12. Henry Edwards says:

    Andrew: Is it very common among the people of Ireland to be familiar with Latin?

    Or priests ordained in the last forty years, since the new order Missale Romanum was first issued in Latin? (I take your point to be . . . . About just what regarding the English translation, might their advice have been worthwhile, if they cannot understand the original Latin.)

  13. Sorbonnetoga says:

    Just by way of a footnote: Patsy McGarry is a gay Unitarian journalist with a preference for gentlemen, as it were. He is precisely the person to promote the “Association of Catholic Priests” as if it were genuinely representative; it’s not and if you look carefully enough on their website, you can see their admission that it is a fringe group. (They might call that prophetic or something.) The other point to note is that this article was published in the Irish Times – a genteel publication that has anti-Catholicism in its very marrow. The luminaries of this group are all notable has-beens; Fr Hoban managed to kill off his pet project Céide: A Review from the Margins in a matter of a few years. (It included such marginal writers as Mary Robinson!) Fr Lane has run the Mater Dei Institute in Dublin for years. It trains religion teachers in the catechetical wasteland that is Irish secondary education. Fr McDonagh is described (on the diocesan website) as “a leading Catholic campaigner on climate change and bio-diversity”, though I’m not sure what insight that gives him into liturgy. Essentially this is a group of ageing middle-managers and campaigners who are taken seriously by some (most?) of the Irish Bishops and the usual media suspects but have no traction outside those circles.

  14. awlms says:

    Hey man!…Whose side are you Irish priest dudes on?? Is it still happening for us hippies to use the word ‘man’?? Man…and you dudes said “…the word “consubstantial”, for instance, as used in the new translation, was transliteration and not used in mainstream English.” ….I don’t understand you duuuudes…. are you sure ‘transliteration’ is an English word?? You know man, it really ain’t cool usin that kind of sophisticated slang outside of mainstream English! And if you wan’t to make things more groovy and understndable to me, maaan, then why don’t you just be hip in YOUR inclusive translations by including MY cool vocabulary. Dig?? It would make the Liturgy totally boss!…..And come to think of it… the music should be baaad also. Janis Joplin tunes maybe. So why aren’t beatnics and hippies consulted anymore…if EVERYONE is mean’t to be ‘included’ why not us? And to think…. WE started it all!!!
    And maaan! What’s with all the scandal going on over there?? Someone should call the Pigs on you guys!!

  15. Supertradmum says:

    Father McDonagh’s comments here below are actually worse than the newspaper report. I suggest reading some of the comments, which are brighter and more Catholic.

  16. TNCath says:

    Reading this only confirms my belief that the Church in Ireland still “doesn’t get it.” As one who has traveled to Ireland on a fairly regular basis for a number of years now and loves the people and country very much, I’m afraid this “obsessing over the wrong problem” is not an uncommon Irish response.

    As to the priests who are whining over all this, it seems to me that given the depth of the scandals perpetrated and by their confreres and bishops, I hardly think they are in any credible position right now to complain about anything the Church is asking of them. Will the implementation of the new translations be difficult? Yes, probably so, especially when we have priests publicly opposing them. Perhaps it’s time for the priests and bishops of Ireland to use this time as a source of renewal of the liturgy and spiritual life in Ireland as well as a repentance for the liturgical and moral failures that have been taking place in Ireland for so many years.

  17. ipadre says:

    Ha! Whiners! They don’t like the new translation, there’s always Latin!

  18. Supertradmum says:

    And, the only people I know who obsess over inclusive/exclusive language are the four modernists orders of Benedictines (2 groups), Carmelites and another, in our area who use a spurious Office. No one else I know in the Church except the members of these local orders, and another Benedictine order I know, use the inclusive language. So, what “women” is the good Father noting as being upset? Modernist nuns?

  19. Leonius says:

    They should be using the Irish translation anyway.

  20. catholicmidwest says:


    Agreed. And modernist nuns are always in a snit about something anyway, so what difference will it make if they don’t like this either? They can just add it to their list of things to bitch about.

  21. Mike says:

    Spot on, Fr. Z.

    We just came back from our parish in MD, USA…children’s choir, “All are Welcome”, infantilizing the whole congregation. Thankfully, the priest’s homily was excellent; but the glory of the Lord has fled the temple. This is the problem of our time.

  22. shane says:

    If they don’t like the new translation then they can just use this:

    (it’s never been abrogated and presumably still valid)

  23. Mitchell NY says:

    This is ridiculous from the Bishops. Used in the context of Mass people know that “man” means mankind. It is the context that defines its’ connotation. Anyone who rebels against this is really just a troublemaker. And young people especially are use to these kinds of terms and use. How often we here them say ” C’mon guys, let’s go to the mall and for a burger.” This is said in mixed company , (boys and girls) and I have never heard a girl jump up and say “please refer to me as young lady, I am not a guy”! They understand the context of how it is being used, in a slang fashion. The same thing applies in Mass. A simple clarification would go a long way. Such as “Remember folks, when we hear the word “man” in Mass, we should all assume this refers to “mankind” as the context of liturgy would dictate. Enough said, move on, people can figure it out. It is only those that are bent on twisting its’ meaning that are the objectors. I put my money on young people. They seem far above the pettiness of the 40 and 50 year old groups from the 60’s and 70’s. They know what is going on.

  24. amenamen says:

    Dishonest and too late

    Fr. Hoban, Fr Alwill and all of those Irish priests (the multitudes, the throngs, the uncounted … dozen?) are complaining about not having been “consulted”? Really?
    Were they really unaware of the translation which has been in process for… oh, about twenty years now? Have they really never made their thoughts known to their bishops about the multiple segments of the Missal that have been debated, revised, approved, debated, rejected, debated, revised, re-submitted, approved, and are now ready for publication?
    Did they not follow or participate in the intense debates that lead up to the publication of Liturgicam Autenicam, ten years ago?
    Do they have anything new to add to the debate? Or are they simply trying to revive the same old arguments that were so thoroughly rejected in Liturgicam Autenticam?
    It is much more likely that they have been consulted already. They have been “heard” repeatedly. Their ideas have been examined in depth and considered from every angle, again and again.
    Do they really have anything at all to say that has not been said before?

  25. catholicmidwest says:

    In answer to your question, nope. They’re just whining. The introduction of this new missal is going to occasion a lot of whining. It’s background noise.

  26. benedetta says:

    Mitchell NY, right, switch in “us guys” and that should do it…

    Great to know we can rely on, what did Fr. Z say the numbers would be, maybe 20, priests in Ireland to dictate to us when to feel some outrage and then logically direct the anger they foment towards that likely culprit, Rome!

    And yet the reality is that “parish liturgical groups” do not want for power or opportunity to exercise it for quite a long time now. So a little input from “Rome” where Rome has not had much of an opportunity to collaborate would be welcome refreshment in many cases. Thus sayeth one of “the people”.

  27. moconnor says:

    The Irish Church has a long tradition of independence, but this is embarrassing. St Patrick, St Brigid, and St Columba, pray for them. This was the land of my father’s ancestors and it seems to be losing the faith…

  28. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Shane, that’s almost exactly the same that will be said by us laity in the pews this coming Advent. 40 years ago and finally they are getting it right … and it’s existed all along. Oh MY! You are the Lux Occulta guy!!!!

  29. Maltese says:

    “Forthright criticisms [Not just criticisms, but “forthright” criticisms. Well… that convinces me!] ” ROFL! I think this writer needs to unfurl the Hanes from his hiney! Geesh, you almost want to tell Patsy, “breath, just breath,” and offer him a napkin to wipe the froth from his mouth with!

  30. Caro_c says:

    Most people in Ireland, have not heard of the New Translation.

    ” The Pope may have to write a letter. The Irish bishops should prostrate themselves in their cathedrals over the hurt this new translation will cause. “
    But Fr Z those remarks are uncharitable.

    Try not to be smug and superior, it does not help the cause.

  31. Supertradmum says:

    This reminds me of the Americanist heresy, led interestingly enough, by Irish bishops in the United States. I am currently reading The Americanist Heresy in Roman Catholicism, 1895-1900 by Thomas T. McAvoy (it started earlier than that-Catholic Liberalism was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors) and the list of Irish hierarchy is the States who objected to Rome’s statements regarding social justice, is impressive and sad. Remember that Leo XIII’s letter on this was addressed to Cardinal Gibbons. Also, remember that the fight for the statement of infallibility of the Pope was from the US-the Irish bishops, and see also the books such as by Tierney and O’Toole. The Irish have a very long history of wanting independence from Rome, as seen in the Catholic education of that country even in the 19th century, and part of the problem of our local dioceses is that they have been infections of this independence as early as the mid-19th century.

    What the Irish priests who support the Father McDonagh viewpoint are doing is what they have been doing since at least the 1840s. I heard of a poll, maybe a reader here knows the details, where contemporary Catholic youth in Ireland were asked about infallibility and the vast majority either disagreed with the idea, or were completely ignorant of the idea/term. Such is the Faith there.

  32. CharlesG says:

    This is hardly a fair and balanced article, in that no defender of the new translation was cited. It is really untrue this charge of “imposition” of the new translation that one hears from its opponents. The bulk of the translation was prepared by ICEL, which reports to the English speaking conferences of Catholic bishops, and was approved by the bishops of those conferences. Vatican II (Sacrosanctum Concilium) did see the bishops as taking the primary role in liturgical translation, but it also foresaw the need for the Holy See’s involvement in liturgical translations as well, and also provided for the Holy See’s competence to regulate the Roman Rite liturgy generally. So the process is in full accordance with Vatican II. Yes, ICEL had to follow the general principles of translation enunciated by the Holy See in Liturgiam Authenticam, but I view that as part of the Holy See’s general liturgical regulatory power. Yes, there were some changes made by Vox Clara and the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, which could be said to be “imposed”, but that probably is at most 5-10% of the text. It can’t be said that the entire text is imposed or is not an act of episcopal collegiality. I think there can be room for some practical criticism about how the last minute “imposed” changes came about and were handled. Personally, I think that to the extent the translations produced by ICEL and approved by the bishops were consistent with Liturgiam Authenticam, Vox Clara and the Holy See should have been more careful, sparing and considered with the changes they made, and conducted dialogue with the experts at ICEL responsible for texts before making any changes. As I understand the process in other languages, as with the Spanish bishops, I believe there is some back and forth between the CDW and the episcopal conferences before the final recognitio text is given, and I do think that would be a better process to the extent it appears not to have been the case here. There are a couple of the last minute changes that I do think were not particularly well thought out, e.g., the Postcommunion of the First Sunday of Advent where the referent for “they” wrongly seems to be “passing things” rather than “mysteries”, or the word “overcome” instead of “overflowing” in the Easter preface. On the whole, though, the new text is far superior and more accurate than the current translation, and should be supported. I hope somebody makes a list of the few glaring issues with the propers while we use the texts in the next few years, and perhaps the bishops and the Holy See can make a careful emendation with minimal changes after a period of time, as was done with the Latin text of the third edition of the Missale Romanum.

  33. Sword40 says:

    I’m a little more than “upset” with the Irish AND European whinners. We have enough problems with our own whinners here in the US of A. Isn’t this the same crowd that has preached “obedience” to us for the last 40+ years? Sorry, lads and lassies, no sympathy from me.

  34. Maltese says:

    “…it would be unfair to use it in nursing homes…” LOL! It truly WAS unfair to take the Traditional Latin Mass from the elderly–who may have prayed it for many decades–and replace it with a foreign-from-the-faith, fabricated, fashionable liturgy. That quote is asinine on so many levels, low-minded and nit-picky.

  35. shane says:

    Supertradmum, from the reconstruction of the Irish Church under the ultramontane Cardinal Cullen – he incidentally drafted the formula on papal infallibility at Vatican I – the Irish Church was probably the most ultramontanechurch in Europe. The ACP’s stance has nothing to do with some complex historical grievances. It’s just typical post-conciliar modernism. They represent about ten percent of Irish clergy. Most priests I know heartily welcome the new translations. You’ll easily find the same percentange opposed to these translations in any other English-speaking country.

  36. The Egyptian says:

    You can hear this on street corners all through Ireland., etc, etc, etc
    more “loving” well earned snark form the “master”

    Me thinks somebody needs a a good kick in the arse, good Lord, the whining has to be music to Satans ears, is this really all that the priests in Ireland have to bitch about. If they put this much effort into the saving of souls think what a different world this would be.

  37. K. Marie says:

    The Irish bishops new moto, “Competency is for the week, failure is the only option!”.

  38. Joan M says:

    This makes me want to take a flight to Ireland with a 2″ X 4″ in my hand! As I have stated more than once, sometimes the only thing that holds me back from hitting some priests is that it would be a sacrilege.

    The fact that they are countrymen of mine makes me even more annoyed.

    As The Egyptian said, if they put this much effort into the saving of souls think what a different world this would be.

    This lot really has my Irish up!

  39. PostCatholic says:

    I went to seminary (as an American) in Ireland. It’s interesting to see some of these names. I don’t think some of them deserve on the basis of attending a meeting and expressing some concerns about the new translation, to be tarred with the same brush. At least one name quoted above (with a string of sarcastic red thereafter) is someone I recognize as a man of good judgement, gentle temperament and moderate to conservative views (insomuch as any Catholicism can be moderate). Perhaps there’s some genuine pastoral concern over managing change? Perhaps the report doesn’t express the full range of opinion expressed at the meeting? Just some thoughts.

  40. Soler says:

    Fr. Z asked whether “one in being” is currently used in the translation of the Creed in Ireland.

    It is actually “of one being” over here, or at least in the Archdiocese of Dublin.
    It is also interesting to note that our archdiocesan missalettes drop the word “men” from the Creed. Furthermore, as they include not only the proper prayers for the day in question but the Ordinary of the Mass also, they practically force the priest to use whatever eucharistic prayer and penitential rite the diocesan liturgical office has decided on for that particular Sunday.

    Nonetheless, Archbishop Martin has been supportive of the EF and has performed (?) confirmations in the Old Rite.

    And while I’m at it, bishops in Ireland are addressed as Your Grace, not Your Excellency and definitely not Your Lordship as I remember Father Z once implied. ;-)

  41. Cincinnati Priest says:

    Fr. Z:

    You are at your saracastic best here. I love it ;->

    You know the anti-translation crowd are grasping at straws when they use as an “argument” to stop the translation being imposed by Rome=”The Evil Empire” (in their book) that (1) nursing home folks can’t adjust to it; and (2) women will be ‘deeply offended’ by the new language.

    I say Masses regularly in nursing homes, at the parish church and many other venues, and I’m quite certain that (1) the elderly will get used to it (they have bigger problems if they’re in a home, God bless them); and (2) that 99% of the women won’t even notice that the language is now “excluding” them.

  42. Supretradmum – “The Irish have a very long history of wanting independence from Rome, as seen in the Catholic education of that country even in the 19th century”. Any chance of supporting references? Vusutng Ireland and reading about our country is not the same as being born and raised here. Please be careful of racial stereotypes. These dissenters are liberals – they pop up everywhere and have been around since Judas.

  43. shane says:

    The real problem in the Irish Church is actually more obvious. As Church and State magazine (organ of the old Campaign to Seperate Church and State) recently noted:

    So the Pope came [in 1979] and he was received with mindless adulation, lay and clerical, with only two noticeable expressions of dissent—this magazine and the Bishop of Cork, who is now taken to be a by-word for obscurantist reaction, Con Lucey.

    The Taoiseach was Cork City politician Jack Lynch, who had won an overall majority in 1977 in an election campaign which was unusually Catholic clericalist for Fianna Fail. But, two years later, the Pope did not visit the second city in the state because the Bishop did not invite him. And, some time later, Lucey retired and went off to be a missionary in Africa. He did not ever explain his failure to invite the Pope to Cork, but it is not hard to see a reason for it.

    Vatican 2 Catholicism undermined and trivialised the earnest Catholicism of Pius IX on which the Irish Church had formed itself, in association with the developing national movement, since the mid-19th century. That phase of development was not exhausted in Ireland when it was halted by Vatican 2. It was still filling itself out when it was ordered to stop. If the original impulse given by the triumph of Anti-Vetoism in the Veto Controversy was running out of momentum, there would have been evidence of this in the appearance of a sceptical intelligentsia to dispute certain areas of ground with the Hierarchy, and by so doing to provide for an evolutionary transition to a new relationship of Church and State.

    What happened instead was that the new Church formed in Ireland in the mid-19th century—by O’Connell’s Roman colleague, Cardinal Cullen—was stopped in its tracks by the Vatican, while there was still no social development against it to take its place. The Vatican 2 changes had to be imposed on Ireland. And their imposition devalued the values to which the generations then in their prime had dedicated themselves.

    Religious development in Ireland, with which social development was connected, was suddenly written off as an aberration. My Lord Bishop suddenly became Bishop Jack or Bishop Jim. Communion and Confirmation became occasions for display of fashion. Hell was abolished—and Heaven along with it, for all that was said to the contrary. And convents and monasteries were deprived of meaning.

    The ersatz intelligentsia, which is now kicking the Church because it is down, did nothing to bring it down. It was the Vatican that undermined it. But that is an inadmissible thought in the fashion of the moment because the futile scepticism which is the outcome of Vatican 2 must have it that Vatican 2 was a good thing. (The creature must love its creator.)

  44. Precentrix says:

    They’re in Ireland. Surely, if they don’t like the new English translation… they can use Latin. If they insist on using the vernacular, they can use Irish.

  45. Gail F says:

    “…Fr Seán McDonagh said the word “man”, as used in it, was no longer a common noun in contemporary English…


  46. CoastRanger says:

    Fr. John,
    You missed one: “deeply felt concerns.”

    This is the drippy language of sincerity. Concerns are not based on truth but on feelings. The more deeply one feels them, the more deeply true they must be. At least, I very deeply feel this is so.

  47. Tom Ryan says:

    I wonder if the Irish translations were as bad as the English one?

  48. terryprest says:

    “Killala priest Fr Brendan Hoban called for implementation of the translation to be suspended so priests and people could be properly consulted. What was on offer was very deficient, especially in the use of exclusive language, and had been imposed from Rome, he said, according to minutes on the association website”

    See The Blessing of the Babies in Limerick at Youtube:

    Presumaby that was OK ? The Bishop did the necessary consultation, it was not regarded as deficient, there was no exclusive language and it was not imposed by Rome ?

  49. skull kid says:

    These jokers are beyond a joke. I’m wondering if we’d be best off ignoring them altogether.

    Ireland is a liturgical wasteland. When Joe Pews (thanks in no small part to Fr. Z) knows so much more about the liturgy than the priests saying Mass here, then you know there are major problems, beginning in the still woeful formation received at Maynooth seminary.

  50. skull kid says:

    BTW, they have a website here:

    They are VERY selective about posting comments though, so don’t expect any healthy, lively discussion in the comment box! Nothing like liberals to shut down healthy debate!

  51. skull kid says:

    I just posted this comment on their site, but I bet it won’t be posted, cos they don’t really tolerate the refutation of error-

    ”Gerard – in the current translation of the Creed, the English uses the term ‘men’. There is no change there at all. The new translation uses ‘men’ as well in the Creed. ‘Homines’ is actually a generic term which refers to men and women – what we refer to as ‘men’ (e.g. mankind)even today, in contrast to the Latin word, vir, for a man — a male hominus, so to speak — and the word, femina, for a woman. So when English translates homines as “men” it means both males and females.”

  52. anilwang says:

    On the contrary, they raise substantial issues that must be addressed. There’s an easy solution if they don’t want to get with the program:
    (1) People in nursing homes will have problems learning a new mass? Solution, use the mass of their childhood, TLM.
    (2) Deficient translation? Solution, don’t translate, use TLM.
    (3) People are offended by non-inclusive language? Solution, use a translation that can’t be offensive because they can’t understand it, TLM, Eastern Catholic ethnic liturgies, or the Esperanto translation of the New Roman Missal.
    (4) Resentment about liturgy imposed by Rome? Solution, use Eastern Catholic liturgies, or petition to use the native grown Sarum Rite.
    (5) People don’t understand con-substantial? No-one understand what “one in being” means except con-substantial is in the dictionary. Solution, get people a dictionary or actually explain it to them.
    No need to protest, Summorum Pontificum was quite generous.

  53. mjd07 says:

    Unfortunately I have not yet had time to read all the comments above and therefore apologise if this has already been said; The above article is based mainly on the musings of the very vocal and very small Association of Catholic Priests. The association represents less than 10% of Ireland’s priests and is part of the “Lefebvrism of the Left”. As a young Irish Catholic I have yet to come across a priest or layperson who cannot wait for the new translation. Granted, as with any translation it is not perfect, I would prefer Latin, but it is much better than what we currently use.

  54. One has to wonder whether the people were properly consulted by these priests before they set up their Association. One also has to wonder how great a proportion of the people they presumably consulted (I say presumably because one couldn’t possibly think that they failed to consult at all before standing up for the people, could one!) are people who seriously intend to try to conform their minds to the goodness, truth and beauty of Almighty God rather than the spirit of the age.

    Now, there is a kernel of actual curiosity in my questions. I really wonder how great a proportion of those people who seriously wish to to conform their life to the truth still get into this kind of nonsense. I know that it is quite possible for people to be earnest and wrong, but what criteria do the Association think should be used as to which people should be given a say in this. Is any kind of serious attempt to practise one’s faith required? What about any kind of serious attempt to practise the Church’s Faith?

    Or does one just have to qualify as possibly thinking of dropping into a church from time to time (and possibly even a Catholic church) so long as any serious risk of a challenge to one’s chosen lifestyle and conformity to the spirit of the age is removed? Never mind any serious risk of encountering a word not normally used in everyday speech! Because, I mean, if everyday speech is good enough for me, it should be good enough to describe the things of God!

    ‘And I, when I am lifted up, shall suffer attempts to be promptly pulled down lest anyone be required to make any sacrifices at all in order to be drawn to myself…nay not even unto the learning of a new word…or something along those lines….’

  55. Ooops, I forgot to end the italics after ‘people’…..

  56. Re: Leo’s letter, Cardinal Gibbons was the head American bishop guy (Ball’mer and all that). The letter had to be addressed to him if the pope was addressing all the bishops in the US; nothing personal about it.

  57. shane says:

    “And while I’m at it, bishops in Ireland are addressed as Your Grace, not Your Excellency and definitely not Your Lordship as I remember Father Z once implied. ;-)”

    Bishops in Ireland are indeed addressed as Your Lordship/My Lord. Archbishops are addressed as Your Grace.

  58. shane says:

    More confusingly, as a result of historic rivalry, the Archbishop of Armagh (the Patrician see) holds the title of Primate of All-Ireland while the Archbishop of Dublin holds the title of Primate of Ireland.

  59. Supertradmum says:

    You are correct, but so am I.

  60. SEOtechbench says:

    I simply agree with iPadre,… Catholic Latin Mass

  61. robtbrown says:

    Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: Leo’s letter, Cardinal Gibbons was the head American bishop guy (Ball’mer and all that). The letter had to be addressed to him if the pope was addressing all the bishops in the US; nothing personal about it.

    Baltimore was the first diocese in the US, but it is not the primatial See. The US has no primatial See.

  62. Maltese says:

    But please don’t bash Ireland in general. When I was in Galway, a couple took me in, sheltered me. The Irish, still, are among the most gentle but humorous species of man out there. You will get me red-assed if you trash-talk the Irish.

    I’ve scoured that island; and what I found was ancient goodness and beauty… Check out Achill Island, I still have a sweater from their weavers, though I’m trying to forget their “blood pudding” :)

  63. Sixupman says:

    A Free Church Missionary friend of mine, was aghast at the effect, particularly on old folk, when the Old Mass was abandoned! He had no axe to grind.

  64. Gaz says:

    There are two things I want to say.

    1. We have a couple of people in our EF congregation over the age of 90. They’ve had the traditional Mass in Latin for most of their lives and are quite at home with it thank you. I think a fair number in the nursing homes who have no choice but to attend the OF will be OK with a more faithful translation.

    2. In the real world of industrial relations, unions, bosses doing their thing and so on, there is a phrase, “consulted on”. We are “consulted on” a matter, a proposed change. It doesn’t mean we can vote to stop it – it means that we’re engaged in discussion, education, training, means of adapting to the proposed change. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we get an opportunity to voice objections or concerns that may or may not be addressed in the change. We don’t always like it, we tend to do it (or leave the employ) and eventually we get used to it. I dislike the very phrase, “consulted on” because it usually means I’ll have to end up doing something I don’t like but I must confess that I do get used to it in the long run.

    The Church is not a democracy; God so loved the world that he did NOT send a committee to save us: he sent us his and only Son to die on the cross for the sake of our souls.

    There is some legitimate concern about the formation of the laity with regard the changes. I have my doubts that this will occur properly, uniformly, everywhere when we have so many railing against the changes (my country has a few who have published their objections). Those who read this blog are well ahead of the change. Most in the pews haven’t seen the guts of the changes yet. We’re up to splitting hairs over “consubstantial” and “ineffable”.

  65. RichardT says:

    Just a thought, but isn’t “archaic terms” itself an archaic term? How often do you hear it used in everyday speech?

  66. dap says:

    It will be a fascinating experience to witness the reception of this translation at our home parishes and elsewhere. The controversial grammar and syntax of the translation have been well documented as well as the approval process. Ideologically focused internet sites predictably spin the unfolding events to promote their views, but time will tell how the priests and parishioners react in the mainstream.

  67. The Egyptian says:

    Gaz said
    God so loved the world that he did NOT send a committee to save us:

    Memo to all worship committees, Note Above and post on the wall of your meeting room, then go home

  68. JKnott says:

    Why are these priests in Ireland spending so much time and anger on the corrected Mass translation?
    I just read a statistic that only 14% of Catholics in Ireland believe marriage between people with same sex attraction is wrong. The vast majority of the Catholic citizens of Ireland also believe that adoption of children by people practicing homosexual and lesbian lifestyles is acceptable.
    Red Flag? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for souls if these priests and their parishioners take a Thirty Day Retreat on the Baltimore Catechism 101?
    Maybe there is dementia it Ireland (and frankly elsewhere) when it comes to the sin of Adam and Eve? Perhaps the dissenters should change their home address to the nursing homes.

  69. Supertradmum says:

    I do not understand why we cannot criticize individuals, who have a historical record on paper, for being disobedient to the Church, and holding onto heretical ideas. Objectivity in research is essential, and if one is following the history of a particular group, such as the French or the Italians regarding religion in the pew and from the pulpit, one can see trends, especially over a period of time. To say that a particular people are lovely and kind is one thing. To state that their hierarchy has a history of problems regarding Rome is another.

    Tribalism of any kind is not Catholicism. Whether we are German, Luxembourg, Czech, English, Irish or whatever, we have to look at the documentation and research regarding local trends. The art of objective study is a necessity. I suggested some books above. Others may provide the same. I also asked for the poll recently taken in Ireland of the youth’s view of basic Catholic teaching. I have only found old polls.

    Ireland is a very small country. The association of priests in the article have more power than it would here, in our large Catholic community, which absorbs all types of dissent. There are virtually no Catholic high schools, and the quality of the Irish Catholic elementary school is doubtful. It seems as though Ireland has gone the way of most of Europe, except in the brave stand against abortion, where 70% of the population is still against it. However, the European Court’s decision in December of 2010 may effect this independence. Of course, there are liberals everywhere, but it is the hierarchy, the bishops and the priests, what one must study to understand the Church in a particular place. On the whole, as goes the leaders, so go the people.

    How one feels about certain things has nothing to do with how one should think about a situation.

  70. MarkJ says:

    Another reason to go only to the TLM… personally, I have my own two translations in hand (one in French, one in English) in my 1962 Missals, so I don’t have to worry about what the next translation will be… there won’t be one for me.

  71. Martial Artist says:

    How horrible that this new English translation is being forced down their throats by the Church. Of course, such an opinion is nonsense, as they might simply use this: this! It is even freely available online as a PDF and, unless I am grossly mistaken, they have the authority to do so.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  72. templariidvm says:

    Two general comments about the whole thing:
    1) Alot of the complaints they make are “I” and “we” complaints coupled with assumptions about the laity. It sounds like their focus during liturgy is about “me/us” rather than Christ.

    2) Do many of these assume to have the knowledge, training and experience in theology, liturgy and Church history which is comparable to those who have made and edited the translations? I submit, that not all priests (not even to START talking about the laity) are not equally trained in such things. That should be obvious, and to deny it is to deny the simple truth. As a result, one “in the trenches” may have an opinion, but why should it sway those who have the education and experience and the task of translation?

    When in my high school religion classes, I remember being taught that the purpose of the Church is not to make “me”, the individual feel better. It is to lead us to the truth. The truth is there, and it hasn’t changed. How I feel about the truth does not make it more or less true.

  73. chironomo says:

    I’m going to predict that at some point before next Fall, it will be suggested that the new translation is racist, whether because of the “overly Latin-European” language, or because of the “hierarchical nature” of the church that it implies, reminiscent of the slave-master relationship.

    I mean really, it’s about all they have left to say….

  74. jaykay says:

    When I read that column in the Irish Times on Saturday morning my first thought was “yawn, here we go again”. I couldn’t help recalling that many years ago there used to be a satirical column in that paper called “Man bites dog”. Well, this report is very much in the “Dog bites man” category. It’s what this bunch do. It’s in their nature. Others have pointed out, correctly, that they’re a minority. It’s a case of a small yapping tail wagging a big, but sadly silent, dog.

    I really choked about the “concern for people in nursing homes” bit. Honestly, if that’s the level of the arguments they can drag up…

    Finally, I do wonder what these fine scholars have to say about the official Irish language version of the Mass, which imported the original 1965 translations for the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei introduced into the NO in 1970, and has happily continued to use them ever since. Those translations were a very faithful translation of the Latin. They use some “BIG WORDS” not commonly found in ordinary day-to-day spoken Irish which might even be (gasp) “archaic”! Oh the humanity! How have these poor Irish speakers survived this rampant Romanist non-consultative centralism since 1965???

    Erm, I don’t think they’ve even noticed, in fact. But don’t tell that to the dissidents.

  75. The Egyptian and Joan M: as Brother Tom Forde OFM Cap and mjdo7 pointed out in this discussion, the ACP includes only about ten percent of the priests of Ireland (it’s actually slightly less than that). So ‘is this really all that the priests in Ireland have to bitch about?’ is rather unfair to the 90 percent who don’t belong to the ACP and who are trying to serve their people in a time of bewildering change.

    Soler, while I would burn all missalettes if I had the chance, or give them out after Mass so that people could re-read the Scripture texts during the week, I have never felt forced to use whatever penitential rite or Eucharistic prayer a particular missalette has for a particular Sunday whenever I celebrate Sunday Mass in my native Dublin. These missalettes are not produced, as far as I know, by any diocesan body, though they have the imprimatur of the bishop. Their use is certainly not required. Indeed, they should never be allowed to appear on the altar or on the lectern.

    As Shane noted, traditionally, archbishops, not bishops, in Ireland are addressed as ‘Your Grace’. Bishops are, traditionally, addressed as ‘My Lord’. They are, traditionally, referred to, respectively, as ‘His Grace’ and ‘His Lordship’, though the Irish media speak of ‘Doctor So-and-so, (Arch)Bishop of XYZ’. I have met a number of Irish bishops over the years and address them simply as ‘Bishop’ or ‘Archbishop’. I have never met one who insisted on being addressed as ‘Your Grace’ or ‘My Lord’.

    Precentrix: unfortunately, Irish is not the vernacular of the vast majority of Irish people, though it was less than 200 years ago.

  76. PS I have never felt obliged to follow the choices made by missalette publishers anywhere.

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