Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas and some humor!

Merry Christmas.  I give you the stupidest thing I have ever read!  My comments in red.

from toledoblade.comby Marilou Johanek 
The pews of many Roman Catholic churches in the Toledo diocese and throughout the country will be filled to capacity tonight. Standing room only is customary for midnight Masses, frequently packed by infrequent churchgoers who maintain a once-a-year tradition. [It used to be customary for everyone, in the Middle Ages]
Even if months, years, or decades have elapsed since Catholics saw the inside of a church, the liturgy they grew up with is easy enough to pick up again. The familiar prayers and responses of the Mass are well ingrained -- or used to be.  ["And with your spirit" is simply way to difficult.] 
An eye-opener awaits occasional Catholics. If the prodigal sons and daughters had trouble relating to religion before, new changes in the Mass liturgy could have them reeling.  [This is reeling stupid.] 
The church hierarchy has ambiguously complicated communication of the text of the Mass. [ROFL!  Its the exact opposite.  This is my favorite sentence from the column.] Certain prayers and passages have been awkwardly translated to comply with the Vatican's wish for a more traditional and spiritual tone in the liturgy. 
The result is language lunacy. [Unlike the author's remedial rhetoric.] Since the beginning of the Advent season, Mass-going Catholics have struggled to adapt to the translations with laminated copies of the changes.  [Like they did in the 60s and 70s.] 
We've been told they more accurately reflect the original Latin language and will help deepen faith in the English-speaking world. Forgive my cynicism.  [and mine] 
As a parishioner and lifelong beneficiary of a revamped Mass liturgy, I appreciate the value of simple, straightforward prayer.   
In the 1960s, the Second Vatican Council made a progressive effort to reach ordinary Catholics with words that are understandable, moving, and meaningful. [Dry, boring, banal, and AMBIGUOUS.  Different strokes for different folks!] After centuries of an antiquated Latin ceremony that isolated ordinary Catholics, the church recognized the need of the faithful to be fully integrated in the Mass.  [What does "fully integrated" mean?] 
Ornate, stilted, tortured text, often whispered by a priest with his back to the congregation, was mercifully changed to make sense to native English-speakers. Gone were poorly worded sentences, fractured phrases, and lofty, out-of-touch verbal and ritual niceties that appealed to no one but Vatican bureaucrats. [Wait, was it in Latin or Elizabethan English?  Does she even know what she is talking about?] 
Instead, pastoral instincts took over. Improving the prayer life of the congregation and broadening individual participation in weekly worship became important. 
Ritual became real. Prayers became personal. The message mattered, not the archaic-sounding and confusing cadences of the old Latin Mass. 
The point -- and it was a good one -- was to bring people and God closer.  [The result: half empty churches and closures everywhere.] Some priests, who are uneasy about expressing their opinion for publication, strongly question whether the new Mass translations will lead to a deeper spirit of prayer in the pews. 
Not only did they thoroughly learn the English translation of the Mass, after saying it exclusively for 30 or 40 years, [Subtraction is too hard!  Advent 2011 -  Advent 1969 = 42 Years] but they also learned how to make the prayers mean something to their parishes. Wordy dictates from traditional church sticklers -- without much if any input from the laity -- threaten to dismantle attempts to enhance relevance.

Read the rest here.   Merry Christmas!


Rich said...

And what relevance did they find? They found the new Mass irrelevant because it did not help them transcend earthly sufferings and contemplate heavenly realities. It merely reminded them of their mundane lives. How uninspiring.

The renewed interest in Latin and traditional forms is an indicator that the imminence of God is not a priority in corporate worship. Private devotions? Yes. But don't make Mass into a Kumbayah festival.

Catholics are relearning their faith, and they know the Mass is the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Calvary. If that is so, then banjos and casualness are not in accord with the spirit of the occasion.

Moonshadow said...

Rich said: "an indicator that the imminence of God is not a priority in corporate worship."

Immanence of God not a priority? When the divine comes to us in the Eucharist? Ahem, Christian worship is about both immanence and transcendence. The "Emmanuel," the Incarnation is what distinguishes Christianity from religion.

I'm not siding with the columnist, just sharing what I observed at the Vigil Mass and the Mass during the Night for Christmas yesterday.

I was disappointed to encounter people, still, who were unaware that changes had been implemented. We sang the "Gloria" without any preparation or run-through. The words are fine but the music is banal. The priest used Eucharistic Prayer III for the first time instead of one of the Reconciliation Prayers he used all Advent. I was stunned at the awkwardness of it, - the first two paragraphs are each comprised of one run-on sentence! But I'm not sure whether the prayer will become smoother as the priest uses it more.

He substituted "offering" for "oblation" and "ask" for "implore." I don't know whether he did this for the benefit of the occasional Catholics, so as not to scare them away, or whether he'll persist in these "emendations," but probably the latter.

Merry Christmas.

Matt said...

For the Novus Ordo I play, last night the priest used the Roman Canon and I thought it went very well. He is african and not a native speaker of English. So he stumbled a little. With some practice it would be outstanding.

I think a smoothing of the new syntax will come with time. Stumbling is going to happen any time people read something they aren't familiar with.

We spoke the Gloria because they didn't put out the music for it yet.

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton