Archbp. Coleridge hits a liturgical home run

**Archbp. Coleridge hits a liturgical home run **

CATEGORY: SESSIUNCULA — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @ 9:12 pm

Ever since the papal Master of Ceremonies Msgr. Guido Marini gave a talk in Rome to English-speaking priests about liturgy and liturgical reform, liberals have been coming out of the wood work.

They are now emboldened to attack Benedict XVI and his vision through the easier target of Msgr. Marini.

There are many reasons for their attack on the Holy Father, but the more immediate casus belli in the new translation.

You might recall that, inter alia, Msgr. Marini said that when the Council mandated the reform of the liturgy, the people put in charge of that reform didn’t really understand well what they were doing.

While I agree with that to the extent that the “experts” probably didn’t really get the point of what the Council Father’s mandated, taken up in their own agenda as they were, they certainly knew what they wanted to do, regardless of what the documents said.

Now comes this about what Bp. Mark Coleridge of Canberra said about the new translation of the Roman Missal.

Archbishop Coleridge’s Comments and Fr. Z’s assessment is below:

My (Fr. Z’s) emphases and comments.

By Anthony Barich

PERTH, Australia (CNS) — The newly translated Roman Missal to be issued in Australian parishes in 2011 will help address the serious theological problems of the 1973 missal currently in use, said one of Australia’s most senior liturgists. [Get that? “Serious” theological problems. Rememer: the way we pray as a reciprocal relationship with what we believe.]

In the process, it will **more faithfully implement the liturgical vision of the Second Vatican Council [Because the liturgical vision of Vatican II was never really tried.] ** and also fulfill the reforms of the much-maligned 1570 Council of Trent, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra-Goulburn told approximately 200 liturgists gathered in Perth in early February.

Archbishop Coleridge is chairman of the Roman Missal Editorial Committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy; he is also chair of the Australian bishops’ Liturgy Commission.

While Archbishop Coleridge acknowledged that the missal used since 1973 has made gains in accessibility, participation, Scripture, adaptation and inculturation, he said it also has “serious problems theologically” and “consistently bleaches out metaphor, which does scant justice to the highly metaphoric discourse” of Scripture and early Christian writers. [It is important to remember the role that biblical positivists played in the liturgical wars. Blinkered by their approach to Scripture they effectively evacuated a great deal of the significance of the liturgical texts.]

This is the result of a misunderstanding of Vatican II’s reforms, he said. ** [Yes.]**

Occasional claims of the Roman Missal revisions being a “merely political right-wing plot of the church” to turn the clock back miss the point of reform and of the purpose of the Mass, which is “a gift from God, not something to be manipulated,” he said.

“Nothing will happen unless we move beyond ideology and **reducing the church to politics **and the slogans that go with them, which are unhelpful,” he said. “Drinking from the wells of tradition passed on supremely in the liturgy is what this new moment of renewal is all about.” [Very well said.]

[Note this well:] Archbishop Coleridge’s speech to the liturgists came just two weeks after Benedictine Father Anscar Chupungco, a former consulter to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, said Jan. 22 that the reforms were part of an attempt to turn the clock back 50 years. [Precisely. Remember: Liberals want to control the narrative of the Council and the post-Conciliar reform. They must be set straight.]

Archbishop Coleridge said that one of the ironies of criticism of the new missal is that “we can fail to attend to history even though perhaps the most fundamental achievement of Vatican II was the restoration of historical consciousness to the life of the Catholic Church.”

“A claim that troubles me is that this initiative is somehow a retreat from all that Vatican II tried to promote and enact and a betrayal, therefore, of the (Second Vatican) Council and, by implication, the Holy Spirit,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

He said if that were true, he and thousands of others involved in the missal process “would not have shed the blood, sweat and tears of the last seven years.”

“We would’ve saved ourselves a lot of time and money if we’d just stuck with the Latin, but that’s not what the Spirit is saying to the church,” he said. ** [With due respect, I am not sure how that can be demonstrated. But let’s more on.]**

However, Vatican II’s reforms were **not properly implemented ** and were taken too far, he said, after the Latin texts were translated in 1973 with “breathtaking speed.” [And breathtaking incompetence.]

Since then, the liturgy has largely lost the sense of the liturgy as primarily Christ’s action, [YES!] as something received “not just what we do; a mystery into which we are drawn.” [Wow… does this sound like WDTPRS?]

“We can’t just tamper with it,” he said. “Celebrants sometimes act as if it’s their own personal property to do with what they like. You can’t.”

An overly cerebral approach to liturgy, loss of ritual, oversimplification of rites, loss of a sense of silence, beauty and an unwitting clericalism [No one is more “clerical” in the negative sense than a liberal.] have all led to the Mass lacking its full potential to catechize the faithful and renew the church, he said.

The Second Vatican Council’s “catechetical thrust” that encouraged priests to catechize in the process of celebration has led to the Mass “drowning under the weight of supposed catechetical verbosity,” he said.

The new translations will attempt to control “clerical verbosity and, dare I say, clerical idiosyncrasy,” he said.

“Let the texts stand as is and let catechesis draw out from the texts in a way that communicates to the community, rather than trying to build into the texts a catechesis that runs the risk of corrupting the texts or diluting their power,” he said. [Just Say The Black and Do The Red.]

The proposed English translation of the second Latin edition of the Roman Missal was never approved by Vatican, and a translation of the third Latin edition promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 2002 is near completion, the Vatican said in late January.

Thanks for posting!

Your welcome.

Another related article:

**John Newton in the Catholic Herald: A New English Translation? Amen To That **

by Shawn Tribe


The objections to the new English translation of the Missal fall apart upon close inspection, says liturgical publisher John Newton

Some people are predicting riots in the pews when the new translation of the Mass is introduced.

For several years now experts have been preparing a revised English translation of the Roman Missal, which follows the Latin more closely. Following Vatican approval in 2008 the introduction of the new texts into parishes is on the horizon.Yet the project is not without its critics.

Vociferous objections were raised in some quarters of South Africa when it was accidently introduced last year and in America Fr Michael Ryan’s internet petition to halt the implementation of the new translations has attracted more than 10,000 signatures from around the world. But there’s no reason that changing the words of the Mass should cause any problems.

Perhaps time has dimmed our memories, but we seem to have forgotten that many of the people’s parts were changed in 1975, less than six years after the new form of the Mass was introduced. And, as many of the objections to the forthcoming changes focus on the use of more formal language, it is worth remembering that this is exactly the sort of language that was originally used in the new Mass…


New Translations: It’s Still English!

by Arlene Oost-Zinner

I’m beginning to wonder exactly what kind of a revolt the USCCB, individual bishops, pastors, liturgy directors and other lay leaders are anticipating when the new translations come out. I’ve heard talk of instructional CDs, diocesan programs and booklets and educational aids. Pastors and liturgy directors will be told to deploy them when the time comes, and one thing will be for sure: we’ll be prepared.

Why are bishops and pastors so worried about the reactions of people in the pews? Are they afraid of a mass exodus like the one that happened in the 1960s? This is hardly the same thing. Or given our litigious culture of political correctness, self esteem, and so-called scandals, are they just afraid?

Do they really think they need to spend massive amounts of money on print materials, software, and training programs in order to get the people in the pews ready for the change? It won’t be a new Mass, after all. It will be the same Mass and some of the English words will be changed…


Am I in the minority in thinking this really isn’t a big deal? They’re not changing the Mass, they’re just re-translating. Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m under the impressions that;

  • No rubrics are changing.
  • The rules for music isn’t changing (note; lets not get thsi debate started here, I’ll I’m saying is that its not changing).
  • Bishops will still be able to exercise their authority.
  • You can still choose to do it in Latin or the Vernacular.

All the big hot button issues aren’t being addressed with this. So what are people’s issues?

Some are affraid perhaps that if they fix the translation then they’ll fix reception of communion, gregorian chant etc etc

I agree. While I have nothing against the revised translations — in fact, some of the soon-to-be English prayers and responses appear to be almost identical to those in the old (1940-1950) Latin-English handmissals — nevertheless the Church is asking many to swallow hard and step outside their individual comfort zones. But time will fix this.

Actually, the music is changing because the musical settings have to match the official text of the prayers and not the other way around. Quite a few settings do not match the prayers of the Church, most of these are from OCP. Mass of Hope and even some of Bob Hurd’s settings are not word-for-word with the texts of the Gloria, the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei. When Liturgiam Authenticam was promulgated, the document reaffirmed the fact that the official texts of the prayers of the Mass are not to be paraphrased or altered when they are set to music. OCP, unfortunately, has also done this with greater frequency in its Spanish-language Mass settings.

Furthermore, the bishop’s authority is not as all-encompassing as one may think. According to the GIRM, the bishop is, first and foremost, charged with ensuring that the faithful under his pastoral care are to abide by the liturgical norms set forth by the Church. He, too, must be held accountable to the Holy See for whatever happens in his diocese. He regulates the concelebrations, the ordering of churches under construction in his diocese, whether or not Holy Communion will be distributed under both forms and certain postures (at the Agnus Dei).

The greeting between the celebrant and the faithful, the Confiteor, the Gloria, the Creed, the Sanctus, the Memorial Acclamations and the prayer said by the faithful after the Agnus Dei are being amended to conform to the Latin original. In fact, the prayer after the Agnus Dei is more scripturally accurate because it repeats the humble prayer fo the Roman centurion who tells Jesus that he is not worthy to have Him come under his roof

Thus, it will affect music ministers, especially since new settings for the Mass are now required. However, these have to be faithful to the texts of the official prayers of the Church and not paraphrased. .

I think they simply want a smooth transition, with a minimum of misunderstanding and confusion about what the changes actually are and why they are being introduced. People are used to making responses by memory, and so it will take a substantial “heads up” to make the change in a unified manner. And yes, considering the high level of wariness between those who consider themselves “liberal” and those who consider themselves “conservative”, I think efforts aimed at heading off the hysteria of the misinformed are well-advised and well worth any costs involved. That isn’t fear talking. That’s just prudence.

Another report on Archbishop Coleridge’s speech:
“The “grand liturgical stocktaking”, he said, contains enormous frustrations and creates a sense of grief as it “involves an honesty that leads to the unsettling of appalling liturgical habits that have taken root, not because of bad faith but because people were clueless, including some who think they know a lot, including, dare I say, priests”.
He also suggested seminary formation in this area during the post-Vatican II reform period could have been better, citing the liturgical training in his own time at Melbourne’s Corpus Christi College as “nothing short of pathetic”.”

From .

The report quoted from Fr Z is at .

Another report on the conference is at . (This has the wrong implementation date of Easter 2010. The other reports say Easter 2011, or “Easter next year, if not a little later.”)

All three reports are by Anthony Barich.

Having said that, it will be easier for us in the pews in the end, because every version of the Gloria, the Sanctus, and so on will finally have the same words! If you know a prayer in Latin and in the vernacular languages in which you hear Mass, no surprises can be sprung upon you by the musicians!

May I say “Amen” to that? I hate getting tripped up trying to sing these paraphrased versions. It seems as if just when I’m getting the hang of one of them, the choir gets bored with that one, and it is retired. The same thing happens on vacation. It never seems that they use the words we use back home. I’ll be happy when all they can do is ask me to alter the melody.

BG, the text changing isn’t a big deal music wise though. People can always compose new music in the style that their music ministry does things, just make sure it conforms to the words used in the new GIRM.

I suppose they don’t want a repeat of last time this happened. That’s probably a good thing.

There is a 25 page copy of the speech by Archbishop Coleridge at . It is described as “an edited text of Archbishop Coleridge’s talk”. Click on “The norm of the holy fathers” at the bottom to read the PDF.

Parts that struck me as particularly important:

“…It certainly involves a kind of honesty that might lead to the unsettling of bad liturgical habits that have taken root, not because of bad faith but usually because people were ignorant. As a bishop, I take very seriously my responsibility in the liturgical area because I think it is so fundamental to the life and mission of the Church; but it is incredibly hard to unsettle bad liturgical habits. I am not going to enumerate them, but I hope you know what I am talking about. There are priests out there who do certain things they think are good but which are patently bad. You might say, Who is he to be pontificating? Well, I am a pontiff! I am charged with trying to ensure that the worship of the Church is of such power that it gives the Church the energy she requires to do what she is supposed to be doing. In a moment like this, we need a kind of honesty. It’s no good running around saying, Isn’t the Emperor beautifully clad! when in fact the Emperor has very few clothes indeed. …”

“I think the loss of ritual is also something that has diminished us. Do you notice how self-conscious we have become about the use of the body in the liturgy? One example is bowing during the Creed when we profess faith in the Incarnation. Is this an Anglo-Celt thing? But the liturgy, however transcendent it is, is also very physical, very bodily. But we seem to hate bowing; the bow before receiving Communion is often no more than a bob.”

“Another thing that troubles me is a kind of unwitting clericalization of the Mass. When Vatican II decided to turn the celebrant around (though that was never said explicitly), the Mass became much more dependent upon the celebrant than it ever was in the Tridentine form. In other words when the priest faced ad orientem, there was a kind of impersonality, which may have been excessive. But now the priest faces the people, the sense of the celebrant as celebrity can become a problem. The Ordinary Form of the Eucharistic liturgy has unwittingly given us a more clericalized style. This is paradoxical because I’ve just said that we have gained in the area of participation. There is more participation, but we also have a more priest-dependent way of celebrating the Mass.”


The Priest greets us with the Sign of the Cross. Yet how many say Good morning, chilly outside, etc. It’s a sacrifice not a social. They act in persona Christi.

Really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for the link.
I really like the links between Trent, Vat I and Vat II.

Things that stuck out to me included…

First of all, there is no question that the liturgy is more accessible in a certain way, though I don’t think it is always as accessible as priests think. I sometimes look at people’s faces when the prayers are in English and I think that they may as well be in Latin.

Bodily gestures
The Tridentine Mass is surprisingly physical; it is a kind of choreography, a sacred dance… the use of the body and the eloquence of silence struck me…

Active participation
Sometimes there is the impression that people are not participating unless they are doing something. This can be typical of school liturgies where the sense is that the kids are doing nothing unless they are doing something. But the baptized exercise their priestly office just by being there. They don’t have to sing or read or distribute communion or take up the collection. In other words, we still have some way to go before we come to a deep and mature understanding of the participation of all the baptized; but it is undeniably true that we have made great progress down that track.

Another area where I think we have not done well is in fostering a sense of the transcendent or the sacred, the sense of awe if you prefer… Often enough the feel now is more of the church as a hall, little different from a secular space. There is a diminished sense of the church as an oratory and therefore a place of silence.

It is said that Mozart was once asked what he liked best about his music and he replied, the silences. Now there is a music that rises from the silence and returns to silence, transfiguring silence in the process. Great music transfigures silence so that the silence of the tomb, cold, dark and empty, becomes the silence of the womb which is full and joyous. We need a liturgical music that dances with silence, not a noise that replaces silence. Some of what we sing and hear at Mass is a substitution for silence rather than a feeding of the silence of God into which we are drawn.

Design (inside too)
If an atom bomb were dropped on the national capital, how many of the Catholic churches would you want to save? A handful, but no more. Think of the banalities that we have built and the iconoclasm that we’ve perpetrated at times. Often enough too the texts that we have produced have a banality about them. The music can have a banal feel to it… But I think one of the things that Pope Benedict has got right is an understanding of the catechetical power of beauty, and we need to take our cue from him, though in a way geared to this culture.

We need to get the balance right between the universal and the local. We are not a congregationalist Church; we are the Catholic Church, in every time and place, in heaven and on earth.

Yes indeed; they might, in fact, roll back the entire Methodization of the Mass. Which would make the baby-boomers so unhappy… :stuck_out_tongue:

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