Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Summer We Spent Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

There has been a peculiar atmosphere in the Church this summer, as we wait for the expected finalization of the new translation of the Roman Missal - it has rather been like the proverbial "waiting for the other shoe to drop", as they say.  The "final" approved version of the newly re-translated Missal was handed to Pope Benedict in April, and ever since, we have waited for Rome to give back their final version and the go-ahead to begin implementation. 

Restlessness and rumor have set in, as the months go by. There is a sense that the finalization is overdue, complicated by rumors of "10,000 changes" being made by the Vatican, or the implementation date being moved from Advent, December 2011 to Pentecost, 2012.   Reports from last week's annual convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) were that discussions related to the new translation domininated the event. Publishers of music and missals, such as WLP's Jerry Gallipeau, who has exhibited an even-handed attitude up to this point, has begun, in his blog to indicate more than a slight sense of unease with the length of the process.  Over at Pray Tell, Fr. Anthony Ruff has been keeping track of the rumor-mill  -- his latest is that somehow ICEL (International Committee on English in the Liturgy) may not survive this process.

It's true that Rome has all the marbles at this point in the process. All we can do is wait to see what comes out the other end - and when. All our speculation, itchiness and in some cases, downright dread about what is to come ist to no effect.  It has truly been a summer to learn the virtue of patience and to meditate on what Jesus said in Matthew 6:27 - "Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?"


  1. I think the changes coming are exciting. Change is always around us. Sure, a few prayer texts change (don't some priest do that already?)

    From the workshops I have attended I see it as nothing more than a closer English translation of the Latin. A change in text should not change why we all come together each week. If it does, perhaps some are attending for the wrong reasons.

  2. Great attitude! My point in this post was not about the translation itself, but about the process, which is starting to get a little weird. Practically speaking, publishers of missals and composers need a lot of lead time - and that is shrinking as we reach a point when most thought we would have the final texts. I hope that lots of people feel the same as you do.

    I am actually kind of neutral - I see it as a good opportunity to catechize people about the Mass, but also am aware that it will be a huge task to make the transition happen well, since the vocabulary and syntax is difficult and people in general don't like change. Sr. Katheen Hughes, at the NPM convention, promised she will not be "crabby" about the whole thing and urged people to do likewise. Glad to see you are among the "not crabby."