Having just tried to take my traditionalist friend Jeff Culbreath of El Camino Real to the woodshed over his worries about the theology of the body, I visited Dale Price's ever-brilliant Dyspeptic Mutterings and found this elegant and brilliant fisking of the National Catholic
In a recent run of articles, NCR has celebrated the 40th anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the document produced by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) that called for reform of the liturgy.
And which also made clear (to little avail), that "reform" wasn't the same thing as "wrecking anything thought to resemble a liturgy." But, as will be noted below, there's always been this "What we say to American Liturgists / What American Liturgists Hear" problem with implementing Sacrosanctum Concilium.
Those articles will continue in coming weeks, but it is appropriate to pause here to take note of the liturgical news that, in effect, signals just how far those who oppose the work of Vatican II have come in reforming the reform.
Last week, we reported that a new English translation of the Mass was nearing completion. Among the changes are phrases that restore the literal translation of the Latin so that, for instance, the now familiar response, "And also with you," will be rendered in the pre-Vatican II formulation, "And also with your spirit."
It isn't the "pre-Vatican II formulation." It's the formulation of Vatican II, which resulted in the Pauline missal. The Pauline missal is in Latin. It's not in any other language -- one must translate the Latin original into the vernacular. The Latin says et cum spirituo tuo, which in English means "and also with your spirit."
And so on.
Indeed -- just one more proof that "Vatican II Catholics" are interested in everything but Vatican II.
To many a few words here and there are not worth getting upset about. But that misses the larger point.
Which is that the "Reformers" got to where they are by understanding the implication of little things, and then making them into big things, and then telling everyone else to stop making such a big deal about little things.
The implications go beyond a few words, to the very idea of church. . . .
. . . . how the church enacts reform and the degree of credibility given that authoritative gathering of the world's bishops 40 years ago.
Which NCR has just urged us to ignore by rendering et cum spirituo tuo as "and also with you, presider-dude."
Five years ago, when our now Vatican writer John L. Allen Jr. first began to uncover exactly how the revisionists were attacking the reform . . . .
It being NCR's editorial policy (set by Editor-in-Chief Kerensky back in 1918) that no one should ever be assigned to find out if the reformers are attacking the reform . . . .
, he discovered that a secretly appointed committee of 11 men -- no women included -- met quietly at the Vatican to overturn decades of work on translation, work that had been done under the approving mandate of Pope Paul VI.
Uh, how do you tell if NCR's in good form? When it contradicts itself, as it does here. Here's the actual NCR story story by John Allen:
The working group met from Feb. 24 to March 8, 1997, in the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. It consisted of four archbishops, five advisers and two note-takers.Get that? "Public at the time and widely reported." Made Public -- and -- Widely Reported -- at -- The Time. Turns out these fellows had some help from assistants, advisors, and commentators whose names didn't manage to get mentioned by ZENIT and therefore constitute secrets that John Allen had to uncover at the risk of being whacked by the Benedictine Hit Men who're featured in John Ringo's novels. In an odd twist, Allen quotes Bishop Hanus as saying those mens' identities "were never secret" but then goes on to report how unnamed sources say they were secret:
The four prelates were: Jerome Hanus of Dubuque, Iowa, the chair of the bishops liturgy committee; William Levada of San Francisco; Justin Rigali of St. Louis; and Cardinal Francis Stafford, formerly of Denver and now head of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. As a member of the doctrinal congregation, Stafford chaired the group's sessions. The bishops' names were made public at the time and widely reported.
Most sources contacted for this article, however, said they regarded them as such, citing Rome's long-standing practice of demanding that the identities of advisers and consultors be kept confidential. In some cases, sources told NCR, bishops have been asked to formally swear not to reveal the names of those with whom they met after a visit to Rome to discuss translation issues.Well, I demand to know what secret group of sources John Allen is meeting with for the purpose of revealing the secret Vatican committee whose names John Allen learned at the non-risk of his life from Benedictines Who Are Not Hit Men. Many people may think this secrecy is a little thing, but I tell you it goes to the very idea of newspaper! What's John gonna say in response, eh? Probably trot out some blather about how newspapers sometimes have to operate confidentially, hidden from public view, making decisions about source-quoting without any accountability outside themselves . . . . . . . elitist nonsense, is what that is.
Of those 11, only one held a graduate degree in scripture studies, two were not native English-speakers, one of the advisers was a graduate student and several had a history of objecting to inclusive-language translations, including two of the American archbishops and the lone scripture scholar.
Which goes to show the kind of horsepower you need to outpace the whole USCC.
A rather poor representation of scholarship and pastoral sensitivities, given the dimensions of the English-speaking segment of the church.
Oh, I'd agree it's a poor response to the sensitivities of some scholars and the English-speaking subscribers to NCR . . . . . But what about the sensitivities of graduate students, eh? NCR just engaged in degreeism! What's next -- Homophobia?
"What has also become clear," our story reported, "is that the elaborate consultative process used in developing English-language translations for nearly three decades meant little.
A little reality check is needed here. It was an "elaborate consultative process" in exactly the same -- and no greater -- way than getting your nine-year-old into bed without one more drink of water or five more minutes of Spongebob is an "elaborate consultative process." For three decades, the Vatican kept saying, "translate this into English" while BCL-ites like Msgr. Fred McManus kept hearing that "liturgical development and adaptation would ultimately demand much more by way of creativity. "
Powers in Rome handpicked a small group of men who in two weeks undid work that had taken dozens of years."
Yeah . . . ain't hierarchy grand!
Is there still reason to celebrate liturgical renewal? Of course.
Because nobody's disbanded the Vatican's Double-Secret Liturgical Probation Committee!!!!
Some things, attitudes particularly, will not change significantly.
By which, of course, NCR means this.
And some of the excesses of that reform, which needed to be changed, are being altered in the rollback of the reform.
I suppose this kind of sentence is inevitable. Under the
But note well, my friends, that NCR has, in a Khaddafi-esque sort of way, realized that the Times They Are A Changin' and that it's no longer politic to advance the full-throated cries of yesteryear . . . . aint hierarchy grand!!!
The unfortunate thing is that the new translations, or the return to old translations, is being done in the style of the pre-Vatican II church, heavy-handed and at the whim of those in power.
Like God, who says He created the papacy and gave the Church an hierarchical constitution where some are in power and some aren't. Just who does He think He is anyhow? Somebody who doesn't have to cater to the sensibilities of scholars and the English-speaking subscribers to NCR?
Gee, I wonder if Ninja-Reporter John Allen will ever use his cloth-covered grappling hooks on the idea that terminating the worldwide celebration of the Mass of St. Pius V in favor of the Novus Ordo was a heavy-handed whim of those in power? Probably not -- in these times, it's better not to plant one's own potatoes.
Which leaves open a not inconsequential question:
. . . and, indeed, a question whose significance may be consequential . . . don't you just loooovee ICEL!
If the prayer of the community
. . . .which is not, by any stretch of the imagination, to be confused with a representation of Calvary . . . .
. . . . is left to the formulation of those who hold power, without consideration for the extensive and long work of a much wider community
Uh, the BCL has how many members? Has anyone at NCR tried to explain to a parish liturgist with a life subscription to America why placing a statue of the Blessed Virgin or crucifix in a Catholic Church isn't grounds for latae sententiae excommunication? (Probaby not. The first thing you have to do is explain "excommunication" . . . . . ). What was it Rev. Mather said? "Which is better - to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?" Of course, he was dismissed from his ministry too, just like priests in the wider community not composed of NCR-certified bishops and liturgists who try to celebrate the Novus Ordo in Latin.
. . . . what's to stop another liturgical coup in the future, should the people and ideas in power change?
Yes, Sasha, here's the NCR standing up for the invariable rock-like constancy of the Depositum Fidei. (Which, if translated into English by a secret Vatican cabal, doesn't mean "What Sister Fonda said at the parish sub-committee meeting.") They really must be getting desperate over there . . . . they're not only threatening to Eat their Young, they're threatening to do it in the name of Tradition!
It's a lousy way to do the church's business -- and it doesn't withstand the scrutiny of serious, adult, educated Catholics in the early 21st century.
Who have, it should be noted, undergone Uplift so that they more closely resemble the Patron Race of Liberals in NCR's David-Brin Theory of Ecclesiology . . . .