28Mar Press Statement from ACP: Monday, March 28th

Press statement from the Association of Catholic Priests responding to our meeting with a Commission of the Episcopal Conference and their response to our submission, on the subject of the proposed new Liturgical Texts

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) regrets the recent decision of the Irish Catholic Bishops, in response to a submission from the ACP, to press ahead with the implementation of the introduction of the new Mass texts as planned next November.

At a meeting in Maynooth on Monday, February 28th  a delegation from the ACP met the Episcopal Commission of Worship, Pastoral Renewal and Faith Development.  There were five members of the Bishop’s Conference and a number of others, including three women, present. The delegation from the ACP voiced the following concerns:

    1. That the proposed texts are unsuitable and unacceptable in a number of respects:

         (i) we believe that, as literal translations of the Latin, they are too complex and too cumbersome. The guidelines state that they should be ‘comprehensible even to the faithful who have received no special intellectual formation”. This is clearly not the case.

        (ii) we have reservations as to their theological veracity, for example at the very heart of the Eucharistic prayers, the new text states that Christ died ‘for many’ rather than ’for all.’

        (iii) we fear that their introduction will damage the present fabric of worship in our parishes, dissuade people from active participation and introduce annoyance, discontent, resentment and possibly anger into the unifying ritual of the Mass

       (iv)we fear that the continued use of sexist language with its use of ‘man’, men’ and ‘brothers’ as generic terms will alienate some women and men, and is a very unfortunate reversal in an area where some progress had been made.

    2.  We believe that the process by which the texts have been drawn up is seriously flawed.  There was no consultation with either priests or people and this is contrary to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council on the Church. An instructive lesson the Church has learned in recent times is that decisions made by small groups and then visited on the Church as a whole without adequate consultation tend not to serve the good of the Church.

 While the Association of Catholic Priests recognises the need for a new and improved translation of the liturgical texts, we believe that the proposed new texts are unsuitable and inadequate. Many priests will struggle with them and many people will regard them as unnecessary and unusable.  Consequently we believe it is unwise to proceed with them.

While the bishops listened to our concerns, we regret to say that, judging by their response, they failed to take on board what we said and did not furnish any reasons for not accepting the concerns that we raised with them. We do not regard this as an appropriate form of listening or dialogue.

We remain convinced that introducing the new texts next November will have serious repercussions for parishes. While some priests may welcome them, it is clear that others will resist them, while many, maybe the majority, will accept them with a sense of resignation and without enthusiasm. In such circumstances it is, we believe, unwise to introduce them.

We will convene a meeting of our members on Thursday, June 2nd , at 2.30pm,  in the parish centre in Portlaoise to consider our response.  In the meantime we encourage our members to continue to discuss this matter with their pastoral councils, and indeed their parishioners generally.

Brendan Hoban  086  6065055                        Leadership Team

Sean McDonagh   087 2367612

P.J. Madden   087 2208882

Tony Flannery   087 6814699

11 Responses

  1. Fr Gabriel Burke

    The ACPI should take a leaf out of Fr Michael Ryan’s book. He is the Pastor of Seattle Cathedral and it was his talk that started what if we said wait. He has pledged to work towards the introduction of the missal in his parish. It was never feasible for Ireland to go alone while the rest of the English speaking world changes. One wonders why your members left it so late to attack the new missal, it is not as if you did not know it was coming. Yet you leave it to a few month before it’s introduction to raise your objections, why? Don’t use the excuse that your association is new, many of your leaders are well know for talking out and at least three names above have many friends in the media.

  2. Gerard Flynn

    Father Gabriel, the arrogant tone of your post is greatly to be regretted, when in fact you have every reason not to be so snide. It appears that orthographical, syntactical and grammatical sloppiness is not an issue for you. It will not come as a surprise, therefore, that you do not oppose the introduction of the new missal, even on grounds of its failings on these basic levels.

    Father Ryan’s petition has done much to draw attention to the stark position we find ourselves in now. As a matter of fact, the number of signatures is fast approaching a quarter of a million, while a counter proposal has gathered about 5,000.

    It is very easy to explain the association’s timing of its response to the new translation. Since the Irish episcopal conference voted in favour of the translation, a huge number of changes to that text, reputed to be in the region of 10,000, have been made. It is not clear whether even the latest version of the text, some of which is available on the USCCBs’ website, is the final one. In fact, there are differences between the text on that website and the text spoken by speakers in the video clips on the same website. So the final, final, final version is not yet available. And you have an issue with the association’s timing.

    The ad hominem comments, as in an earlier posting, add nothing to your argument.

  3. Fr. David E. Cooper

    To the Leadership Team:

    Three cheers and then three cheers more! Whether or not your Association of Irish Catholic Priests makes any headway regarding the New Roman Missal, the courage you show in asking correct but difficult questions at this point in time is an inspiration of a small group of priests in the USA. Our hope is to follow your example and create an American Association of Catholic Priests. We feel it is one great way to stand with you and together work for a Catholic Church where all people are welcomed and regarded as equal. The need for better communication and collaboration between bishops and priests is painfully obvious. The New Roman Missal is only one of a whole host of questions that need further discussion. Keep to the high road, stand together, and continue your work! God bless your efforts with great success. Fr. David Cooper, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

  4. Fr. Gabriel Burke

    Gerard, the only one being arrogant and snide is you. Obviously my comments have hit a raw nerve. Fair enough.
    You have not addressed what I have said about Fr Ryan. He has conceded that the new missal is here to stay and will work towards implementing it. What is snide or arrogant about that?
    It appears to me that the ACPI is against the translation that has been published on the internet, so the changes you claim do not come into it.The recognitio for the Ordinary of the Mass came over two years ago and the people who signed the press statement have had ample time to express their reservations. That was my question. What is snide or arrogant about that?
    Are you claiming Frs. Hoban, Mc Donagh and Flannery are not well know in the Irish Media? Are you claiming they are not known for speaking out? Are you claiming that they would not have their reservations published? Where is the arrogance or snideness is alluding to the fact that we all know the three are well known media persons.
    Do you really believe that suspending the new missal is actually going to happen when every other English speaking country will introduce it?
    Do you really believe that a group that claims to represents 10% of Irish clergy is going to stop the new missal in the English speaking world?
    Do you really believe that the Irish people will want to stand alone on this issue?

  5. Joe

    I find it difficult to believe that the representaives of the ACPI thought they really had any possibility of delaying the introduction of the new translations in the dioceses of Ireland. The Irish bishops have not made a decision “in response to a submission from the ACP”. They have simply held to the decision that they had already made, in line with decisions made by other Episcopal conferences – and all credit to them for doing so. What else ACPI really expected them to do I do not know.

    If the bishops had not agreed to meet with ACPI representatives they would have been accused of not listening; having met with ACPI representatives they are accused of not holding “appropriate form of listening or dialogue”. Looks like a bit of a “no win” situation for them. I just hope that they realise how many of us are looking forward to the introduction of the new translations, on both sides of the Irish Sea.

  6. Joseph O'Leary

    Joe, those who are looking forward to the new translations are the people who have not read them, and who have bought the official propaganda about them.

  7. Joseph O'Leary

    “Fr Ryan. He has conceded that the new missal is here to stay and will work towards implementing it.”

    But he is still raising petitions on his “What if we just said wait?” site. I think he expects all hell to break loose when the new translations are imposed in November, and that he has wisely decided not to contribute to that himself. If revolution is to happen, let it come from the laity.

  8. Joseph O'Leary

    correction, the signatures collected by Fr Ryan are approaching 25000 not 250000 as claimed above. In fact, protest against the new translations is still an extreme minority phenomenon. The vast majority of priests and laity are unaware of what awaits them.

  9. Joe

    Joseph O’Leary:

    “those who are looking forward to the new translations are the people who have not read them”

    Not so in my case. I have read and considered a number of the new texts. You need to be a bit more careful about the conclusions you jump to.

  10. Joe O'Leary

    Joe, I have yet to find a single defender of the new translations who actually quotes the texts and points out their merits (other than the perpetrators themselves or bishops who have painted themselves into the situation of having to peddle these shoddy goods). I have found very many who trash the current translation (including the sawdust preces), as if anything must be better — well the 1998 translation was indeed better, but the new translations are significantly worse. I have met many who speak of the new translations as come-uppance for liberals, who supposedly imposed their will on the faithful in the 1960-70s. Perhaps you could quote the parts of the new translation you think are something to look forward to. Frankly I cannot find anything at all in the new translations to look forward to.

  11. Gerard Flynn

    There is at least one thing to look forward to: the return of the bees in the Exultet. The reference was lost in the 1973 translation:

    “On this, your night of grace, O holy Father, accept this candle, a solemn offering, the work of bees and of your servants’ hands, an evening sacrifice of praise, this gift from your most holy Church…”

    TWhen it comes to searching for an improvement in the new translation, the Exultet will be the new buzz word.


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