Friday, December 16, 2011

An 81 Year-old Retired Pastor, the New Translation, and Preaching

Friday greetings from the California desert. Each year I help out a dear friend, a retired 81 year-old priest, with a Christmas party at his home. I play the piano for the Christmas sing-a-long for a group of people I have grown to know and appreciate over the past eleven years of my friend's retirement. This is a beautiful area of the country and I feel blessed to be here.

It has also been quite interesting to be in conversation with this retired priest. He no longer presides at Mass in a parish, but does "say Mass" here in his home. I have sent him copies of our worship resources so that he can use the newly translated texts. His major complaint is not the texts themselves. He complains that the church has not done enough to address the real issues that affect peoples' (especially young peoples') attitude toward the Mass. He consistently complains that most preaching is poor and does little to draw people into the power of the paschal mystery for everyday life. He told me that it would have been so much more effective if the Church in the United States had spent as much time, energy, money, and catechesis on training those who preach, instead of what the Church has done with respect to the new translation.

Interesting points, for sure. As usual, what do you think?

Hoping your weekend and the celebration of the Fourth Sunday bring you closer to God.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


David Nicholson said...

Rome was not build in a day -

I glad your friend still cares about his community and its people.

His example can do more for us than just preaching. I see this change as an opportunity to grow and a real awaking.
I still have trouble with the responses and maybe that's a good thing. It let's me know my faith and formation is etched in my heart. Our community is actually talking more to each other.

This new translation puts my children and I on common ground. In fact they can teach me -
"Dad .... and with your Spirit"

Anonymous said...


Rev. Gene Vavrick said...

Great insights. I too fully agree that we need to address the issue of preaching in this country.

A quick story: 10 years ago, I was the Chair of our Diocesan Liturgical Commission, and had a chance to meet with our Bishop. The whole issue of preaching came up, and I suggested that our diocese take part in the DC program of "Preaching the Just Word", getting our priests trained in better, more relevant preaching....especially about social justice issues. My bishop immediately shot down the idea, with the comment: "Our priests aren't ready for this. Too many of them can't even speak English." So that was the end of that. Totally shot down.

And so our diocese doesn't care about good preaching, about good liturgy (we no longer have a Liturgical Commission) and we're just being urged, like so many other Ameriacan dioceses, to "Just implement" the new translation. Any questioning of the "new translation" is seen as being disloyal to the Catholic Faith...almost a herey for questioning the quality of the translation.

Tough times. Retirement is looking better and better. I have a hard time urging any young person into a life of service to the Church these days.

Anonymous said...

I believe that some, but not all, of the English MR3 proponents have the best of the Church at heart.

Your friend, Jerry, is closer to the heart of Christ in his desire for better preaching. Fr Vavrick's bishop is not.

It's as simple as that.

Let me ask an open question of those who have worked their butts off for MR3. Would you be willing to put the same effort into actually improving the liturgy of the Roman Rite? Or are you too tired from either the discouragement or the sycophancy?


Jeffrey Herbert said...

Sacramentum Caritatis made this point as well...preaching needs to be improved.


Not all supporters of MR3 are weary from either discouragement or syncophancy. Some are actually energized. You seem to be inferring that the efforts of those who find your position in disagreement with theirs are somehow though they are knowingly wasting their time on an effort that they agree will do nothing to improve the liturgy. I think that's referred to as projecting your viewpoint on the motives of's a shame that you actually believe that.

Todd said...

Jeffrey, actually not. I speak from experience both in my parish and among colleagues.

And to pick up on your last point, yes: the current system is a shame. No doubt.