29Dec The New Missal – Richard McBrien

An interesting article by Richard McBrien on the New Missal.  Taken from the National Catholic Reporter

Click here to read

15 Responses

  1. Ned Quinn

    Here are some comments made by parishioners after our Christmas Masses:-

    “What have you done to the Mass”

    “Is this just for Christmas or for life?”

    “Don’t you think we have enough problems in the Church.”

    “What was all that about?”

    “I felt sorry for you up there.”


  2. Eddie Finnegan

    Ned, just think of the New Missal / Translation as an elaborate check that your congregations have been attending to what they’ve been saying and hearing these past forty years. It proves that Rome cares. Six of your lot have noticed and passed. Congratulations!

  3. Joe O'Leary

    The NCR combox shows that the backlash is in full swing. Those of us who moaned for decades about the narcissistic and fixated Vatican have now found the clearest illustration of what we meant. Even the Regensburg, Williamson and child abuse scandals do not offer so graphic an illustration of all that is wrong with current church monarchy.

  4. Wendy Murphy

    Yes Joe, I think the apparently disproportionate sadness and outrage over ‘only words after all’ has emerged because the new translation and its entire process does illustrate very clearly now, and is a microcosm of, all the wrongs some of us feel we can no longer bear.
    My hope is, by connecting with others and discussing these matters on blogs such as this, we can bring so much else into the open.

    You might also be interested in the following commentary from Fr John McSweeney in ‘Catholica’

  5. Kevin Walters

    Joe or anyone else
    Can you tell me what NCR Combox is
    In anticipation of your reply thank you.

  6. Mark Coley

    Kevin, I presume ‘NCR Combox’ is a communication box, i.e. the pages of comments (of which there are five at the moment) that occur at the end of the article.

    If anyone is interested, I have a couple of postings on The Tablet’s on-line blog. They link my bishop’s views on the failure of the previous generation to hand on the faith with my own experience of this, and of discussion with him in Lourdes this year in regard to the new translation of the missal. I had written to The Tablet back in August, but my letter wasn’t published. I’d also spoken to Vincent Nichols and Kieran Conry whilst there – Lourdes is a good place to see top people – about my worries about the forthcoming translation. A lot of people were angry about what was to come.

    See http://www.thetablet.co.uk/blogsub.php?id=212&ti=17

    First comment is at the bottom, most recent at the top of the list, so start at the bottom after the opening article has been read.

    Best wishes,


  7. Fr Seán Coyle

    I wonder if Richard McBrien has read the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. A few random quotations. 22.3: ‘Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. [I wonder how many who so ardently defend the old translation, officially approved by the competent Church authorities, actually used it and were faithful to the Council.] 36.1: ‘Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.’ 36.2: But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended.’ 36:3 interprets this broadly: ‘These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used.’ Here in the Philippines, unfortunately, English is widely used in the liturgy instead of the mother tongue, especially in cities. And we have to endure ‘from east to west’ until next Advent.

    Nowhere did the Council ‘turn around the altar’ and nowhere in post-Council documents is the priest required to celebrate Mass facing the people.

    30 reads: ‘To promote active participation, the people should be encouraged to take part by means of acclamations, responses, psalmody, antiphons, and songs, as well as by actions, gestures, and bodily attitudes. And at the proper times all should observe a reverent silence.’ The most common action has been to walk out the church door and never come back, as the reality in Ireland and elsewhere shows.

    When I started studying Latin in 1956 in my first year in secondary school I knew that ‘Credo’ meant ‘I believe’. Richard McBrien, despite being classified as a professor of theology at what used to be a Catholic university seems to be unaware of that. I wonder too how often he celebrates Mass with a parish community in the Archdiocese of Hartford, to which he belongs.

    Ned Quinn, it would seem that the parishioners you quoted hadn’t been at Mass for quite some time. Many places in Ireland started using the new responses long before Advent. Many introduced the new Missal for weekday Masses coming up to Advent. One might have expected such reactions earlier than Christmas Day.

    I’m not sure what the Regensburg and Williamson scandals that Joe O’Leary refers to are. By Regensburg does he refer to a quotation from a Christian emperor of a rump empire with no power asking an honest question of an Islamic scholar whom he trusted as a friend? Is he referring to the knee-jerk violence of some Muslims who didn’t even bother to read what the Pope said and whose response showed the contemporary relevance of what the Pope said? Or is he referring to those Islamic scholars who asked to entered into honest dialogue with the Church as a consequence of Regensburg? Where is the scandal?

    Bishop Williamson who isn’t and never has been a bishop of the Catholic Church wasn’t excommunicated for his views on what happened in Germany. Nor does he deny that many Jews were murdered. He speaks of hundreds of thousands rather than millions. A person’s views on the extent of the Holocaust aren’t matters for excommunication. Nor has Bishop Williamson, as far as I know, used violence against any other human being.

    A much greater scandal is the direct support of ‘Catholic’ politicians, especially in the USA, of the killing before birth of 50,000,000 Americans since 1973. Where was the voice of Richard McBrien when the authorities in the university in which he teaches very publicly endorsed this policy by conferring an honorary doctorate on one of its most extreme supporters?

    I do not know if the new English translation will be a reason for some to leave the Church. But it has to be asked if the old translation, along with the way Mass has been celebrated since 1969, is one of the reasons why the majority of people in the Archdiocese of Dublin have left the Church, many of them having also rejected the Christian faith. The ‘active participation’ that the Council urged is down to two per cent in some parishes, according to Archbishop Martin.

    A Happy and Blessed New Year to all.

  8. Jason Richardson

    Look, please let’s not be carried away on sentiment or exaggeration – both sides, mine and the Novus are equally to blame.

    In the beginning the split was not so much about female altar servers, whether Mass was said in Latin, whether the priest faced the congregation – it was about validity and continuity, a few changes not wholesale unrecognisability from the previous form.

    Benedict has restored “for many” because of the issue of validity. That was the major sticking point for Traditionalists like me. Clearly he’s a Thomist in doctrine. I suggest one read the Ottaviani intervention, available online, particularly the summary. Much of what was criticised has been sorted out in the New Translation.

    That said, it is because I recognise the validity issue as having been corrected that my brethren and I returned to worship with the mainstream Catholic Church … quietly.

    So if Catholics cannot understand what is meant by “oblation” or why “chalice” that is a catechetical issue, not cause for derailment. For goodness sake folks, the Mass is still in English, give over.

    So please, can we not all just get along now? Please?

  9. Paul Burns

    Kevin, the NCR combox is the box of commentary ie responses at the end of the linked article by Richard McBrien.

  10. Martin

    Fr Sean, Bishop Williamson is a valid but illicitly consecrated Catholic bishop. He has no valid ministry in the Church, however.

  11. Fr Seán Coyle

    Thanks, Martin, for your response. Bishop Williamson became a Cahtolic in 1971, according to Wikipedia. He was ordained priest as a member of the SSPX in 1976, which means that, in effect, he had left the Catholic Church, or had become a schismatic, between 1971 and 1976. In other words, he has never exercised any ministry as a priest or bishop in the Church.

    I don’t support Bishop Wiliamson in any way but the ‘scandal’ of his excommunication being lifted is a red herring that comes up far too often in various discussions online. His views on The Holocaust are irrelevant in the context of his excommunication and even more irrelevant in any discussion on the merits or otherwise of the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

    The Lord be with you. (You may respond ‘sotto voce’ in either the old or new translation!)

  12. Joe O'Leary

    By the Regensburg scandal I refer to the blasting out of the water of 20 years of Catholic-Muslim trust and friendship painstakingly built up by John Paul II. For the full scale of the disaster see Marco Politi, “Joseph Ratzinger: Crisi di un Papato”, 2011. For Williamson see the Pope’s doleful personal letter of semi-apology, semi-attack, an unprecedented document. In both cases the Vatican ignored advance warnings and saw themselves as victims of a conspiracy.

  13. Martin

    Fr Sean: according to Cardinal Hoyos, SSPX is not in formal schism.

    Fr Joe: Benedict XVI is credited with having advanced Catholic-Islamic dialogue. As a direct result of what you regard as a fiasco, many high-ranking Muslim leaders engaged with the Pope and Church in dialogue. Benedict’s intervention helped to separate the reasonable Muslims from those who simply want to blow your head off, and as you might imagine, there is really no talking to them, no matter how much tea and biscuits you offer them in the church hall. Sometimes, there is a real need for straight talk, and for me, Benedict XVI is the man.

  14. Joseph O'Leary

    “Benedict XVI is credited with having advanced Catholic-Islamic dialogue.” I know that his fans keep on crediting him with this, but Politi finds the evidence to the contrary overwhelming.

    “As a direct result of what you regard as a fiasco, many high-ranking Muslim leaders engaged with the Pope and Church in dialogue.”

    A dialogue had been afoot for 20 years. Some signatories of that letter remain highly critical of BXVI.

    “Benedict’s intervention helped to separate the reasonable Muslims from those who simply want to blow your head off, and as you might imagine, there is really no talking to them, no matter how much tea and biscuits you offer them in the church hall.”

    Just that way of talking is the problem. The suggestion is that terrorists are typical of Islam. That is liking using the IRA to say that Catholics are typically terrorists. Benedict seems to think like this, but John Paul II did not; and John Paul II could effectively critique terrorist deviations among Muslims because of his love for their religion, which B16 vainly attempts belatedly to simulate.

    “Sometimes, there is a real need for straight talk, and for me, Benedict XVI is the man.”

    His Regensburg remarks were far from straight, especially in view of subsequent rewritings (the edulcorated Oss. Rom. version) and apologies. JP2 had made firm criticism of terrorist deviations, I think in direct address to Muslims (not in some professorial enclave), and JP2 was well accepted in the Muslim world.

  15. Darlene Starrs

    I’ll make this brief. The language changes for the New Missal simply indicates the Vatican’s “confusion” about what liturgical language supports a Vatican II liturgical church. Unfortunately, St. John Paul II, is where “All is Revealed”, but he can’t reedit the Missal. The future pages of Ecclesiastical History will naturally have to do that.!