So much has been happening in the past few days with regard to the new translation that it boggles the mind. You know, I bristle when I hear terms like "the text has been leaked." It all sounds so Watergate to me. And this is why I bristle. Ever since the advent of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, during which the press legally acquired texts that had been in diocesan files for years, I have become an advocate of more transparent processes in the Church. Of course, there needs to be a guarded custody of certain documents that deal with the legitimate privacy issues of the People of God.
But why would we even have to turn to a phrase like "the text was leaked" when dealing with the translation of the Missal? Is this a document that contains material that would harm the People of God? No. Is it a document that contains information that might expose the Church to scandal? No. Is it a document that, if "leaked" would cause irreparable harm to Pope Benedict or to our bishops? No.
If what was "leaked" eventually results in a move to more transparent processes in the future, then that is a good thing. Why are we treating this like we are all involved in an unfolding spy novel?
I think the answer is simple. We care that the texts that we pray and sing, the texts that express our love and lament, our joys and sorrows, the very beliefs that ground us, are good ones. And for many of us, this is a very, very serious issue. Someone (and I have jokingly suggested it be Dan Brown!) needs to write the history of all that has happened with the translation of the Missale Romanum since the Second Vatican Council. This obviously cannot happen until the implementation is complete. But this history will be much needed as we look for new and better ways to move through a process with clarity and integrity. No, I am not suggesting an exposé here, just an honest re-telling of the process of translation. Knowledge is power. And let's commit ourselves to using this kind of knowledge to do an even better job when the People of God are faced with translating the Missal again.
Thanks for listening. And please pray for the safety of travelers.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.