Friday, June 4, 2010

Implementation of the New Translation: A Perspective from Ireland

Friday greetings to you all.

My apologies for not posting yesterday. The day just ran away from me. Lots of driving around to various meetings and, with the Chicago traffic, I ended up in my car for nearly five hours!

I want to share one of the comments from our survey about the implementation of the new English translation of the Missale Romanum. This comment offers a perspective that we haven't probably heard here in the United States. It comes to us from the west of Ireland. Brace yourselves:

I'm a foreigner, living in the west of Ireland.

The church here is totally not in the right place to begin liturgical change:
- Structural reforms following from the abuse scandals are still to occur. 
- There is virtually no awareness of the new translation, and there has been no preparation (that I can see - and I've looked) for the changes. 
- Catholic newspapers are not even available in most parishes: there is simply no vehicle for most people to be given information, except from the pulpit.
- Virtually everyone see the Mass as individual prayer: many many older people are in the habit of muttering the entire Mass, including the priests' parts along with him. The changes will be VERY obvious, and the culture here is to resist change.

I would think that they should delay implementation by some years, because energies need to be focussed on healing abuse scandal issues. However I know (from a liturgical magazine, not generally available to parishioners) that the bishops invited composers to produce settings of the new mass, with the view of choosing four that will be adopted nationwide. I don't know what the response from composers has been and what - if any - formation they received for the task. I do know that they were asked to email a named individual to obtain copies of the text to be used.

So how do I feel, and what is my approach? The only phrase I can some up with is "yeah, right".

I don't even know how to begin to respond to the issues raised in this response to our survey. For those of you who have bemoaned my own past attempts to try to address the relationship between the clerical sexual abuse crisis and the timing of the implementation, I think this Irish perspective might help you see where I was coming from.

Comments welcome. I hope you have a great weekend.

You can take the survey by clicking here.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


John Black said...

The transition time is most definitely not the ideal. The translation is meant to be unifying and faith strengthening, so we must persevere with our end of things. The changing of church organizational and operational structure is truly a slow-moving ship. It's hard to imagine the emergence of a perfect time for the segue from the old to the new. I believe we must address the change within our smaller communities, as the larger picture is beyond our control. We can do good with this transition, and I feel that the way we do it can be community-strengthening.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Folks, Blogger has been down all day. Now it's working. Here's a comment from my friend Steven Warner:

The observations of this congregant – from the West of Ireland – are comments that hold true for the entire nation. Compounding their own dilemma: a church that has made little or no investment in lay ministry; a church that, in the midst of a culture of song and story and valued literacy, has virtually no hymnals in any of her pews.

A priest friend of mine, from the Diocese of Ferns (Wexford), said to me, "It will take a crisis such as this – a firestorm – to eradicate the clergy from their established fiefdoms. But from this fire might arise the phoenix of a new church – a servant church, invested in by many people."

I sincerely believe that Ireland is in one of her bleakest moments as a Church. And she has gotten there, as Benedict so pointedly observed, because of the "sins within."

But there is hope. Because we can sing and pray... and bring back the evangelization to Ireland that she brought to us.

Steve Warner
Campus Ministry
Notre Dame