Monday, October 26, 2009

Things Catholic

I don't pretend to be an expert on my Faith. As a Vatican II baby and the product of a well intentioned yet dubious CCD program it has been a struggle the last few years to play catch up in the pursuit of a knowledge base that I feel is appropriate for a Catholic Adult. Where I can make time in a busy schedule I struggle with Latin, try to make important liturgical celebrations and just try to polish what has turned out to be a very unfinished piece of educational woodwork.

In this pursuit I have had the benefit of some very patient and learned clergy who take the time to teach their flocks and provide ongoing support for growth. Soon, Holy Mass will change somewhat with better translations that will result in the new English language version of the Mass. You would think this would be a welcome development. After all, as a Faith rich in tradition we should endeavor to stay as true to our roots as possible. Apparently in addition to being mistaken, I am also a bit dim.

WASHINGTON – Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pa., former chairman of the U.S. bishops’ liturgy committee, sharply criticized what he called the “slavishly literal” translation into English of the new Roman Missal from the original Latin.

He said the “sacred language” used by translators “tends to be elitist and remote from everyday speech and frequently not understandable” and could lead to a “pastoral disaster.”

“The vast majority of God’s people in the assembly are not familiar with words of the new missal like ‘ineffable,’ ‘consubstantial,’ ‘incarnate,’ ‘inviolate,’ ‘oblation,’ ‘ignominy,’ ‘precursor,’ ‘suffused’ and ‘unvanquished.’ The vocabulary is not readily understandable by the average Catholic,” Bishop Trautman said.

Not to question the teaching authority of a Bishop but I had always understood that the primary responsibility of a Diocesan Ordinary is to TEACH. So in an instance where the vast majority of us pew sitters are not familiar with words of more than two syllables, should not the focus then be on uplifting the flock both spiritually and intellectually?

Touching back on Vatican II this is clearly a case of reaping what one sows. When a centuries old style of worship is removed willy nilly and dumbed down what does one expect? There are a great many commentaries on the web today both supporting and challenging Bishop Trautman's stance.

A basic tenant of gardening is that if the roots are week the plant will wither and die. It is time as Catholics to return to our roots (Brick by Brick as the de facto flying Bishop of the Internet Father Z would say) and ensure that they are healthy and capable of delivering the fragrant fruit of the Good News.

The rest of Bishop Trautman's comments here.

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