Saturday, November 19, 2011

One post-vatican II Catholic's rant about the new mass changes.

Next Sunday, we church-going Catholics will experience the biggest change in the English speaking mass in the past 40 some years.


 My inner Catholic school girl -

  • The one that sat through all the gobbeldygook and nonsense that passed as religion class in Jr. high and high school - (You know - the wonderfully expensive Catholic institutions that my mother sacrificed dearly for because she thought she was saving our souls and giving us a good grounding in the faith).
  • The one that made burlap banners with butterflies, flowers and birdies until I wanted to barf.
  • The one that had a nun tell me that My Sweet Lord by George Harrison was perfectly fine to sing at mass because we were singing to the same God.
  • The same one who couldn't explain, even if my life depended on it, why the church was against contraception, abortion, same sex marriage or why priests were celibate. 
  • The girl who spent her first ten years of adult life wandering around in the land of "I'm OK, You're OK without ever darkening the inside of a church. 
That girl wants to throw a temper tantrum.

 In the vernacular of the day I want to throw my hands up and say, WTF!! And I mainly want to address that to the American bishops -past and present.

Because it is my understanding that when the mass was translated into English, that pesky "spirit of Vatican II" eschewed the idea that a direct, proper and, oh, I don't know - ACCURATE, translation was necessary. We could go with "good enough to get by."

 So once again, my generation  missed out on

  • a good solid understanding of the faith, 
  • the beauty of sacraments, 
  •  sacramentals 
  • living the liturgical year 
  • beautiful sacred music 
  • a reverent mass
  • an understanding of apologetics
  •  priests and nuns that looked like priests and nuns and acted like they actually LIKED what they were doing,
  •  charming stories about saints and angels 
  • and a love for being Catholic, 
  • only to endure years of milquetoast teaching and liturgy 
  • topped off with a nasty sex scandal to boot! -
We took it on the chin and missed what we didn't know we were missing. The deeper meaning and the richness of these new translations is the quinetessential example of this!

 The bishops allowed all of this to be taken away from us and it ticks. me. off.

 The fact that we have to go back and re-do the translation of the mass is just a reminder of all we lost and how much we missed out on.  I cannot help but feel a profound sadness that it took until the other side of middle age to get at least part of it back.

 That all said - I agree with the changes, in fact I think they are beautiful and awesome and I am excited about it.

But at the same time I remember. All of us should remember. And in this age of information I pray that the awakened faithful will never allow poor management and bad leadership send us to wander in the desert again.



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15 comments:

covnitkepr1 said...

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covnitkepr1 said...

At present I'm trying to vfollow you but can't get the wedgit to work. Probably on my end...I'll keep trying.

Moonshadow said...

that pesky "spirit of Vatican II" eschewed the idea that a direct, proper and, oh, I don't know - ACCURATE, translation was necessary.

You know what, they have to sell this change somehow. So the tact they're taking is that the former translation wasn't accurate enough that the previous translation eased the laity into the vernacular with a paraphrase.

But it's fairer to say, as we heard at the beginning but has somehow got lost in recent months, that translation philosophy has changed in 40 years. Now everyone doing translation work in any field strives for more literal.

We're more literal as a society. Everything is taken at face value. Innuendo, etc., goes over people's heads.

You can think of it as missing out if you want to but - and I'm taking a wait & see attitude towards the changes, I can't make up my mind until I've experienced them for a while - I thought the liturgy was beautiful before. I don't feel as if I've missed anything.

Clare@ BattlementsOfRubies said...

Me too Elena.
I completely relate to this post.
Grateful as I am to have discovered the beauty of the catholic faith, I feel profoundly sad that it took me so long.
I feel as though it was deliberately hidden from me and it hurts to think of all the ways in which my young life was poorer because of it.
I know I shoudn't be angry, but I am.

Moonshadow said...

This is what I'm talking about, from my diocese's website :

In 1969, the Church issued principles for the translation of Latin into the vernacular; “Comme Le Prevoit”. The principle of “Dynamic Equivalence” [i.e., paraphrase] was the main rule in this document, meaning the translator was to express the thoughts or concepts rather than the particular words of the original text. In 2001, the Church issued “Liturgiam Authenticam” which established principles that called for “Formal Equivalence” in translation. The texts are translated in such a way that each underlying Latin word has a corresponding equivalent word.

It's just the way things were done in those days.

kathleenbasi.com said...

Moonshadow's right--I don't have a big bone in the translation fight, but I do know that the whole thing about changing paradigms of translation is correct.

There are many people who are thrilled about these changes, both pre- and post-V2 babies, and many who are not. Personally I think people on both sides are making a much bigger deal of this than necessary. I think those who are resisting the changes will find that they're really no big deal at all in the long run.

Making the generalization about the sex abuse scandal, however, is unfair. Sex abuse and coverups have been going on since long before V2. It's an institutional problem with our leadership, and it needs to be addressed--but it has nothing whatsoever to do with Vatican II.

kathleenbasi.com said...

Moonshadow's right--I don't have a big bone in the translation fight, but I do know that the whole thing about changing paradigms of translation is correct.

There are many people who are thrilled about these changes, both pre- and post-V2 babies, and many who are not. Personally I think people on both sides are making a much bigger deal of this than necessary. I think those who are resisting the changes will find that they're really no big deal at all in the long run.

Making the generalization about the sex abuse scandal, however, is unfair. Sex abuse and coverups have been going on since long before V2. It's an institutional problem with our leadership, and it needs to be addressed--but it has nothing whatsoever to do with Vatican II.

kathleenbasi.com said...

Whoa! Sorry @ the duplicate comment, my computer's being screwy tonight.

RAnn said...

Eleana, do you remember the mass after the Latin mass and before the one we have now? The prayers (Commons) were pretty much the same as the ones we are getting.

Moonshadow said...

At the risk of losing all credibility with Kathleen (because that's what I do! But thank you, Kathleen, anyway!), while I can agree the "Hare Krishnas" in Harrison's song disqualified it for many, a couple of his other songs work for me, namely "Life Itself" in which he acknowledges that God sends the rain and brings the sun, stands alone and speaks the truth and is the breath of life itself. He refers to this "One" as "Christ, Jehovah, Our Lord, Creator of All" plus some Hindu names that you don't have to sing.

In another song, "Hear Me, Lord," Harrison asks forgiveness for "those years when I ignored you." A sentiment we can relate to, I'm sure.

Elena said...

I don't remember the changes per se as I was very young. What I remember was the upheaval in the people I knew and respected at the time.

Anyway... I have friends that go to the Latin mass every week and although they would never ever say it, I think they have every right to feel a bit smug about this.

Elena said...

Of course the paradigms have changed. I lived through the paradigm change! That's what the whole rant is about.

Elena said...

and it was the paradigm change - the whole shift of Catholic culture and thought that lead to the massive sex scandal. Read Goodbye Good men for more information on that.

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

Bravo and well said!

Barbara Schoeneberger said...

I think those of us who are seriously into the sacred liturgy and have taken the time to study deeply what happened to it after Vatican II - not what the council Fathers had envisioned at all - go through an anger phase. But I'm so glad to see Liturgiam Authenticam being implemented for those attending the Ordinary Form that I must say, at least we're moving forward. The law of prayer is the law of belief - lex orandi, lex credendi and what we say in our prayers has a profound effect in our souls. So rejoice and be glad and make the most of it.

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