Wanted: Bishops who care about the Litugy

Wanted: Bishops who care about the Litugy

I’m still catching up, but many of you might have seen this on other blogs in the past few days. Cardinal Francis Arinze of the Congregation for Divine Worship sent a letter to Bishop William Skylstad, president of the USCCBureaucracy, regarding proposed translations of the Mass to be voted upon at the US bishops’ meeting next month. Evidently, Skylstad and others met with Arinze last month to talk about the new translations, which are more faithful to the authoritative Latin of the Roman Missal and which some bishops, like Erie’s Bishop Donald Trautman, don’t like.

It seems someone at the Arinze meeting said the CDW shouldn’t allow these new translations—more accurate or not—and Arinze is responding. Trautman has argued for the flawed translations that we’ve been saddled with for the past 40 years against newer, more accurate ones on the basis that the people are used to the current translations and it would be too disruptive to change them now. That same concern for disruption of the status quo didn’t seem to concern many people 40 years ago when there was an even more enormous upset of what the people were used to when a much more radical change occurred, stripping them of the Tridentine Mass in favor of a very different vernacular one. I’m not saying a new adaptation or revision of the Mass wasn’t necessary back in the 60s, but for Trautman and other liturgists to be opposed to comparatively minor changes now when they were in favor of much bigger changes then while claiming to be concerned about upsetting the people is a bit disingenuous. Anyway, here’s how Arinze responded:

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  • Dom,

    Great to have you back!  I think this is a great letter from Cardinal Arinze.  However, is there any chance you might be able to clear up a big question I’ve seen throughout St. Blog’s as to the authenticity of the letter.  I see one of the comments at the CWN blog indicated the person thought the letter was satire.  Another blogger, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf had the letter on his blog as well, and was asked by Clayton if he had a source for the letter, as several people had asked him if Diogenes had made it up.  As yet, I haven’t seen anyone addressing these questions/comments.  I hope it is authentic, yet am cautious about getting hopes up/burned yet again.  Any clarification would be welcome throughout St. Blog’s.

  • Yes, I had the same reaction to Bp. Trautman’s ‘40 year tradition’ comment. You would think a Bishop of the Catholic Church would have more of a sense of Church history and tradition.

    Forty years in the life of the Church is a blip. Just because we have had it wrong for that period is no reason to prolong the error. As I recall the Great Schism lasted about 40 years also. Would Bp. Trautman have opined that it should have been extended because people were ‘used’ to it by then…?


  • Dom,

    Thanks for clearing that up.  Glad to hear it!  Always have liked Cardinal Arinze. grin

  • Roseberry, get beyond the fact that you are stuck comparing what we have now and what went before, and look to the meaning of the mass.  Conveying Mass in a proper and reverent way is what this is all about.

  • Sorry for the sharp response.  In hindsight, I don’t like it.  I think the letter from Arinze is great.  I hope the bishops realize playtime is over too.

    I am hearing that the new translations are coming along in a year or so?  What have you all heard?

  • Roseberry—There is a slight difference between those who cling to a 40 year mistake and those who hold to a tradition that was basically universal and unchanged throughout the Western Church for 400 years since Pius V and which has its origins in the liturgy as it was celebrated and as it has organically grown over the past 1600 years.

    I call it a mistake, meaning the Mass of Paul VI not because I thing Paul had no right to change it, in this matter the Trads are wrong. Rather, its a mistake because it ignores how the Second Vatican Council desired the Mass to be reformed.

    As to the issue of our English translation, thank God if in two years it is completed, as has been promised. But I think we all should realize that getting a decent translation of the Mass as it is now and getting people to celebrate it as it is envisioned now, is only the beginning of the reform of the reform.