14Mar A submission from Srs Barbara and Miriam

Your Eminence,
I understand that today, perhaps more than ever before, there is a need for reform in our Church, particularly here in Ireland. It is no secret that a large number of our Catholic population are no longer church-goers, and our churches are practically devoid of our youth. There is a great deal of anger in Ireland over the recent revelations of scandalous abuse and cover up. I think it is highly inadvisable in such a climate to introduce a new translation of the missal which would be seen by most of the laity as totally irrelevant to their felt need – and this without any consultation either with the clergy in Ireland or the laity, who are, surely, those whom we are anxious to serve.
I think the introduction of the translation should therefore at least be postponed indefinitely or abandoned totally and attention be given to more pressing and relevant reforms.
Srs. Barbara and Miriam

11 Responses

  1. Patrick Rogers

    I’n encouraged to read this calm letter from the two sisters, on the inadvisability of imposing the new translation right now. Just to plough ahead with imposing it, in face of the genuine dismay expressed by so many at its inadequacies, sexist language etc., would be very a poor expression of ecclesial dialogue, and indeed of the spirit of collegiality which, according to pope Benedict, should inform all liturgical initiative.

    In particular, just going ahead and imposing the new Missal without some consultation of the local church would portray our bishops as supporting a purely one-way, pyramidal, non-listening theology of church: not People of God, but authoritarian Cadre. This surely could have unintended side-effects, such as greatly lowering the enthusiasm of many priests for the forthcoming Eucharistic Congress, or other initiatives from the top down.

    While priests are not a militant trade-union, surely our many years in the ministry should give us some voice in a matter so central to our priestly task as the form in which the Mass is to be celebrated.

  2. Dairne McHenry

    I simply wish to offer my whole-hearted agreement with the proposal to postpone the introduction of the new missal, and with the reasons put forward in favour of this. I hope that more and more priests and laity will come forward to voice their opinions on this question, as otherwise silence may be taken as consent.

  3. Kyle

    Can there be anything more pressing and relevant than the worship of God? I profoundly feel that the reactionary forces that are trying to stop the new translation of the Missal are living in a bygone era. I can now appreciate how the great reformers of the Second Vatican Council felt when confronted by the ‘Prophets of Doom’, and yet, these same ‘Prophets of Doom’ are the very people who feel themselves progressive. As Archbishop Diarmuid Martin observed in his speech at Mater Dei yesterday about the rejection of renewal: “There is slowness on the part of some who would think themselves progressive but who fail to realise that many of the things they propose are really the answers to yesterday’s questions and are much less relevant to the realities of today,”

  4. Benny

    Would anyone bet that the new translation will not be in place and on time. I certainly wouldn’t. The good sisters might take their own advice and do something about other “pressing and relevant” matters, they are wasting their ink on this one.

  5. Joe O'Leary

    Kyle and Benny, we have heard these talking points against critics of the new translations a thousand times. But have either of you read the new translations? Have you anything positive to say in their defence?

  6. Marcus

    Joe, I have, and I have to say I love the new translation. I actually role my eyes at what we’ve been using these last 38 years when I see the literal translation versus what we got. And I think the new translation is a massive improvement and I can’t wait to see it used. If any folks out there wanna see it for themselves, log on to wdtprs.com

  7. Gerard Flynn

    Benny,the condescending tone and arrogant tenor of your post adds nothing to the dilemma in which we find ourselves with this translation which is simply bad English. The importation of Latin syntax into English simply does not work.

    The arguements in favour of a change of text are valid. But the proposed text is not the answer. The 1998 translation which was approved by all of the English speaking conferences of bishops is far superior to the 2010/11 translation. If we are to have a change let us have that!

  8. Dermot

    Gerard, the translation has been approved. This is the text that will be used. This translation has, contrary to claims, has widespread consultation and input across the globe. Compare that to the original 1973 translation which was simply dreadful and really was imposed on everybody. We were all short changed. It was quite simply dreadful. Absolutely. I can’t believe they got away with it and Holy Church approved it and it took nearly 40 years to correct it! Unbelievable. The 1998 translation was rejected and that is that. It had numerous problems and so it was rightfully rejected.

    Anyway, we have several options: we can use the new English translation, Latin, or the Irish. Irish is actually a beautiful liturgical language and I had the opportunity to attend a Gaelic Mass in the Western Isles of Scotland and it was one of the most wonderful experiences. Why not say the Mass in Irish? That would be a wonderful thing. Failing that, use the new English, and failing that you can use Latin. All excellent choices.

  9. Benny

    Gerard, sorry I was not meaning to be condescending or arrogant to the sisters. Obviously you are strongly in agreement with them but as I strongly believe and as Dermot appears to confirm, this cause is lost (and rightly in my own, humble view).

  10. Gerard Flynn

    Dermot, the 1998 text was approved by the 11 bishops’ conferences of the English-speaking world. The highest teaching authority of a general council, a sacred constitution (Sacrosanctum concilium) gave to bishops’s conferences, not to a curial department, the authority and responsibility of producing their own translations of Latin texts. Liturgiam authenticam, a curial ruling has attempted to reverse this decision. But all of this conversation about the process whereby the text was produced, pales into insignificance when looks at the brutalised English text we are now dealing with. As an example of something which, to use your words is absolutely dreadful, here is Vox Clara’s 2010 translation of the Exultet.

    Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
    exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
    let the trumpet of salvation
    sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!
    Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
    ablaze with light from her eternal King,
    let all corners of the earth be glad,
    knowing an end to gloom and darkness.
    Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
    arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
    let this holy building shake with joy,
    filled with the mighty voices of the peoples…

    If you have tears, prepare to shed them now!

  11. Dermot

    Gerardm is that last bit part of the official translation? =p

    Anyhow, I don’t see the issue.

    If you ask me, (and nobody has), I would like the Mass in Latin. The readings could be in English, the homily would be in English too, perhaps the introductory and closing prayers might be in English, but all the rest – the Creed, the Eucharistic Prayer, etc… would be in Latin.

    I’ve also said that Irish is a good liturgical language.

    English isn’t a terribly good liturgical language.That’s just the way it is. You have really only three choices: exalted English (Cranmerian English), banal, street English, or a happy compromise, which is what we are about to get – a worthy translation in my view.

    I looked up the 1998 translation last night, and I didn’t like it. It is really just a slightly improved version of what we are currently using. The new 2010 translation is a fresh break from these banalities.

    What I have seen of the new translation in English, I am happy with it, especially the Eucharistic Prayers, the Creed, and the collects.

    I look forward to my new missal and reading the prayers, and maybe I might even pray at Mass, who knows.

    All this bickering is really doing a grave spiritual harm to the Church and all Her members. Just imagine if everybody swallowed their pride for a while, along with their opinion, and prayed the Litany of Humility?


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