Michael Commane on using the New Missal
By MIchael Commane This might well be the end of me as a priest in the Holy Roman Catholic Church. I sort of jest. Only ‘sort of’.
I was ordained a priest in 1974, the day the Germans beat the Dutch in the World Cup in Munich. Beckenbauer was the captain of the German team. I’m not well up in football but even the likes of me would have watched that game but because of ordination I missed it. And it so happens that a German Dominican colleague and friend came to Ireland to attend my priestly ordination.
I’m celebrating Mass quite a number of years. I think it’s fair to say I have a strong voice and have no trouble reading. Actually, I’d go as far as saying I’m quite a good reader. I take care celebrating Mass. I’ve seen too many Masses celebrated in a sloppy and unprayerful manner. I have heard too many sermons, which have been nothing but piffle.
I make it my business to celebrate Mass in a devout and prayerful manner. The new missal was introduced on the first Sunday in Advent, which was November 27, 2011. We are using the new book over five months.
Five months on I still have major difficulty using it.
It is a substandard work and I can’t help think that the same ‘secret’ people, who have silenced Irish priests are at least cousins of the people who have produced this book.
I am not going to discuss here anything to do with the theological aspect of the missal but I am going to say something about the English used in it. The opening prayer is no longer called that. It is now called the ‘Collect’. Why change from ‘Opening Prayer’ to ‘Collect’? Which word is more easily understood?
Many of these ‘Collects’ contain sentences with up to 60 words. It is well nigh impossible to spot the main verb. It is well nigh impossible to make sense of it. And if one has not read it at least twice before reading it at Mass he is sure to get lost in the middle of the sentence or more likely, run out of breath.
The word ‘offering’ has been changed to ‘oblation’. Again, so wonderful. In the second Eucharist prayer we now read about being in God’s ‘face’. The old missal spoke about being in God’s ‘presence’.
If anyone takes time to read the introduction to the missal they might notice that ‘priest’ is spelt with an upper case ‘P’ but ‘people’ can only manage a lower case ‘p’.
That really gives it all away and tells the story as it is. The ‘ruling elite’ in Holy Mother Church have decided that they and their ministers always deserve upper case letters whereas it is fine and dandy to treat the hoi polloi with lower case.
Some weeks ago I was at a graduation ceremony in Trinity College. On the walls of the hall were portraits of the great and the good who lived and ruled in Ireland in another era.
The entire ceremony was conducted in Latin. We were told it was an ‘old tradition’. Wonderful. Indeed, it was a little ironic to hear those talking in Latin, on more than one occasion mispronounce their words.
It was difficult not to think that holding a ceremony in a language the vast majority of people in attendance did not understand is a fine trick to let the world know that there is an elite class and there is a class that does not belong to the elite.
The current Leveson inquiry in the UK is a powerful example of how the elite always manage to mix with one another. How right Conservative MP, Nadine Dorries, was to refer to Cameron and Osborne as the ‘Posh Boys’.
The ‘Posh Boys’ exist in all groups. They seem to be in the ascendant in Holy Mother Church.
I believe the church is in real difficulty and I’m scared of those who are playing such a powerful role.
What at all has happened to the idea of the ‘People of God’?
Wherever the ‘Posh Boys’ are, is there an iota of a chance that the Spirit of the Lord can ever get a chance?