Press Conference on New Liturgical Texts

Below find part of the presentation made by Gerard Alwill, Dermot Lane and Padraig McCarthy at a press conference chaired by P.J. Madden in Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin on Thursday, Feb. 3rd.

New Translation of the Missal Unacceptable says the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP).


The ACP understands that the Irish Conference of Bishops has decided that the new translation of the Missal will be introduced in Ireland on the First Sunday of Advent 2011. While a new and improved version of the current missal would be welcome, this new translation is not what is needed. The ACP urgently calls on the bishops to defer its introduction for five years. During that period the bishops, together with the people and priests, can properly examine the suitability of these texts for the Irish Church. 

The celebration of the Mass is central to our work as priests and, more importantly, to the lives of the people we serve.  In the words of the central document of Vatican II, Lumen Gentium  (The Light of the People), the Mass is “ the source and summit of the Christian life.” (LG11). Our concerns flow from our experience as pastors who attempt each Sunday to celebrate the liturgy with our people in a meaningful, dignified and prayerful way.  Many bishops, priests, lay people, theologians and liturgists across the English speaking world share our concerns

Opposition on the grounds of the Language used

  • A word-for-word translation from Latin into a vernacular language, mandated by the document Liturgiam Authenticam (March 2001), demonstrates a lack of awareness of the insights gained from linguistics and anthropology during the past 100 years. Translators in other international bodies follow the ‘dynamic equivalent’ norm which means translating according to the sense of the original text, rather than literally.


  • The ACP is gravely concerned that this literal translation from Latin has produced texts that are archaic, elitist and obscure and not in keeping with the natural rhythm, cadence and syntax of the English language.  In fact, from the few available samples of the new texts, it is clear that the style of English used throughout the Mass will be so convoluted that it will be difficult to read the prayers in public. In the words of Bishop Donald Trautman, former chair of the United States Bishops’ Liturgical Committee, this is a translation where “the vocabulary is not readily understandable by the average Catholic…  how can someone read the text in public when some of the sentences contain 70 or 80 words.” 


It is particularly ironic that this Latinised, stilted English is being imposed on Irish people who are so blessed with world-renowned poets, playwrights, and novelists.

  • Catholics should be allowed to pray publically in their own language.  Jesus used the language of the people when he was speaking with them. The New Testament is written in the language of the ordinary people, not classical Greek.


  • The ACP is aware of the history of this translation. It regrets that the expertise of scholars in many disciplines was spurned. Many of these scholars gave their time and talents freely to help the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), produce acceptable texts.  In 1998 the ICEL translation was accepted and approved by every conferences of bishops in the English speaking world.


  • The translation is also in conflict with the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy which has a whole section on norms for adapting the Liturgy to the temperament and traditions of people. This allows for legitimate variations and adaptations. (No. 38).


  • This translation runs contrary to one of the main goals of our Association, namely: That liturgical celebrations use rituals and language that are easily understood, inclusive and accessible to all


A Theological Problem


A central teaching of the Christian Churches is that Jesus died for all people.  This meaning is conveyed in the current translation of the Latin words of consecration over the chalice, pro vobis et pro multis. The phrase is translated for you and for all in the current missal.  The new text opts for the more literal translation, for you and for many.   In English, the word “many” contrasts with the word “few,” so people may be led to ask, are there some for whom Jesus did not die?

Furthermore, in a country where ecumenism should be an important pastoral priority, it is worth noting that the new text is less ecumenical than the current one.

Ignoring Lay People

In Ireland, hundreds of thousands of lay people attend Mass each Sunday. This is the principle expression of their faith, the most important prayer they can offer to God and the focal point of their togetherness as a Christian and parish community.  Together we are the people of God, yet we were ignored during the period when the texts were being translated.

Ignoring Women

Many women will be rightly enraged by the continued deliberate use of non-inclusive language.   The ACP strongly opposes the introduction and use of any texts which will insult and offend women who are at the heart of every Christian community in Ireland. 


Ignoring Priests

Priests, who work hard with their parishioners to celebrate the Eucharist in a prayerful, dignified manner, were ignored by those who translated these texts. They have a better knowledge of the prayer-life and liturgical needs of Irish Catholics than anyone in a curial office in Rome. The ACP believes that the Irish bishops should have consulted widely with their priests and people before agreeing to impose these texts on Irish Catholics,

Confusion and Division

The ACP believes that the imposition of the new texts could lead to chaos and confusion. The new translation may be fully implemented in some churches and rejected in others. Some priests will adopt a ‘pick-and-mix’ approach using some texts from the current Missal and others from the new translation. There may be frustration and even anger among laity, religious and priests alike. As a result, the celebration of the Eucharist, instead of being a symbol of unity, could become a focus of disagreement and division. The Irish church does not need this confusion and disharmony, especially at this time.



  • The ACP calls on the members of the Irish Episcopal Conference to postpone the launch of these new translations. 


  • We ask the bishops to engage with Irish Catholics with a view to developing a new set of texts that will adequately reflect the literary genius and spiritual needs of our Church community in these modern times. 


  • We suggest that the Irish bishops take a lead from the German bishops, who have objected to “good German texts” being replaced with “unfamiliar new interpretations” and to assert the right of the Irish Conference of Bishops to make its own decisions in regard to the celebration of the Liturgy in Ireland. (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36 § 4)

Bishops are the chief pastors of their dioceses. They should give priority to the liturgical needs of the priests and people above everything else.

We encourage priests, laypeople and religious to read these proposed new texts. If you share the perspective of the ACP as outlined above, we urge you to make your concerns known to the bishop of your diocese. The U.S. version of some of these texts can be found in

Since Rome is intent on imposing this new text on the Irish Catholic Church without proper consultation you might wish to share your views on this and other matters with the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, H. E. Card. Antonio CAÑIZARES LLOVERA.

Tony Flannery (087) 6814699),  Brendan Hoban  (086) 6065055),  Sean McDonagh (087)2367612),  Gerard Alwill (087) 2305557,  PJ Madden (087) 2208882

In the new translation of the Creed we have an example both of non-inclusive language and insensitivity towards other Churches.


I believe in one God,

the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth,

of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the Only begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light, true God

begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father,

Through him all things were made,

For us men and for our salvation

he came down from heaven.


The use of “arcane” language  Canon I 

In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God:

command that these gifts be borne

by the hands of your holy Angel

to your altar on high

in the sight of your divine majesty,

so that all of us, who through this participation at the altar

receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son,

may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing.

An example of a long sentence


The Blessing of the Ashes on Ash Wednesday

O God, who are moved by acts of humility

and respond with forgiveness to works of penance,

lend your merciful ear to our prayers,

and in your kindness pour out the grace of your blessing

on your servants who marked with these ashes,

that as we follow the Lenten observances,

they may be worthy to come with minds made pure to celebrate the paschal mystery of your Son. (67words).


An Example of Convoluted language


General Preface No 2

P:  Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

R:  It is right and just.

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,

always and everywhere to give you thanks,

Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

For in goodness you created man

and, when he was justly condemned, you redeemed him in mercy,

through Christ our Lord.

Through him the Angels praise your majesty,

Dominions adore and Powers tremble before you.

Heaven and the Virtues of heaven and the blessed Seraphim

worship together with exultation.

May our voices, we pray, join with theirs

in humble praise as we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.




Eucharist Prayer  4   Translations   compared

                             The preface  





Father, we acknowledge your greatness:

all your actions show your wisdom and love.

You formed man in your own likeness

and set him over the whole world

to serve you, his creator, and to rule over all creatures.  

Even when he disobeyed you and lost your friendship

you did not abandon him to the power of death,

but helped all men to seek and find you.  

Again and again you offered a covenant to man,

and through the prophets taught him to hope for salvation.

Proposed New



We give you praise, Father most holy, for you are great,

and you have fashioned all your works in wisdom and in love.

You formed man in your own image

and entrusted the whole world to his care,

so that in serving you alone, the Creator,

he might have dominion over all creatures.  


And when through disobedience he had lost your friendship,

you did not abandon him to the domain of death. 

For you came in mercy to the aid of all,

so that those who seek might find you.  

Time and again you offered them covenants

and through the prophets taught them to look forward to salvation.

ICEL – 1994 – 6

Father most holy, we proclaim your greatness:

all your works show forth your wisdom and love.

You formed man and woman in your own likeness

and entrusted the whole world to their care,

so that in serving you alone, their Creator,

they might be stewards of all creation.

Even when they disobeyed you

and turned away from your friendship,

you did not abandon them to the power of death,

but extended your hand in mercy,

that all who search for you might find you.

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  1. The proposed introduction of the new liturgical texts in such a hasty manner is in sharp contrast to the current preparations for the Eucharistic Congress. However I believe that it will have a far more lasting (and potentially negative) impact on our church. I welcome and support the ACP press release. I hope that it will start a comprehensive and informed discussion on the issue, particularly by liturgy groups throughout the country. The suggestion to postpone the implementation is justified.

    I am a lay person involved in music ministry and from a church music point of view there are many practical considerations in addition to the points raised by the ACP. I am not aware of any published settings of the proposed revised parts of the mass by Irish composers or attempts to amend existing established ones. It will be impossible to fully implement the introduction of the new texts in the short term if sacred music is a consideration. The reality is partial implementation at best in the timescale proposed. There is also the difficulty of setting some of the proposed texts to music. For example the first line of the proposed Gloria will be very awkward and contrived when set to music. The only practical solution? back to the Latin text! I suspect that there were no native English speaking church musicians involved the decision making process regarding the proposed text.

    I conclude with a somewhat trivial analogy, apologies in advance. If McDonalds decided to change their well established jingle ‘I’m lovin it’, it would be very reasonable to assume the following: Management would have consulted widely, would be very confident that the change would be for the better from all points of view AND would implement the change with a jingle which is both musical & identical to the printed text. It is inconceivable that they would use a contrived jingle that rolls off the tongue such as ‘Lovin it I am’ or even ‘Lovin it with certainty’.
    Even one occurrence of convoluted English is unacceptable in any proposed revised text.

  2. I fully support the Association in this. The new texts are a step back to a church that I thought had died long ago? The fact that it is so difficult to access what is proposed says plenty ( apart from the US website…. there is no Irish equivalent offering us a full copy of the proposed new texts) about how the ordinary clergy and people are kept in the dark. I appeal to the Irish Bishops to have the common sense to reject this imposition.

  3. B Devlin****** says:

    As a woman the texts you quote do not insult or offend me. I understand the use of men here refers to human beings in general and is not intended to be non-inclusive. I might have thought it was when I was eighteen, but since then I have matured. I also don’t find it elitist. In fact I am grateful that the laity is not being treated in a patronising way and is being given credit for being capable of understanding the liturgy, even when it’s in ‘long sentences’.

  4. Fr S Corkery says:

    I think Ann Widdecombe summed up alot during the Pope’s State Visit to the UK when she thanked the Pope for treating the british people like adults.Before getting outraged about these texts, it will be important to ask ‘what is the Liturgy?’ Only then can we approach these texts sensibly. Another way of putting this might be to say that this moment in the liturgical life of the Catholic Church is an opportunity to ask important questions about the role of worship in the life of the parochial, diocesan and universal Church.
    I am a young priest. I would love to hear some sentiments of hope and enthusiasm from my more experienced collegues who belong to the group running this website. This idea of lamenting a future that never happened is such a turn off for me and so many young people my age. Young Irish poeple are so full of energy, positivity and hope for the future. We yearn for some of the same from our leaders. It is hard to listen to the offical pronouncements of negativity and criticism all the time. Christ is alive and the Church is vibrant in significant ways all over Ireland. No grammatical syntax is capable of keeping a human heart that is beating for Christ away from the Eucharist.

  5. Mattie Long says:

    I am glad that following Pope Benedict’s visit to the U.K. many felt he had treated them like adults. Of course, this is how it should be.
    But it raises a question for me regarding the introduction of the new missal; are members of our church being treated as adults by those in leadership positions?
    Without any consultation with the overwhelming majority of church members, lay and ordained, a new missal is ‘set in stone’. It is to be imposed on the English speaking world.
    We are informed by a spokesperson for the Irish bishops, through the secular print media, that there is no possibility of any change.
    It seems this ‘no change’ policy is absolute, even where grammar is poor, where language is convoluted and almost incomprehensible, or even where scholars have pointed out glaringly bad translations from the Latin, or indeed where they have pointed out additions to and omissions from the original Latin text. (Areas of Difficulty in the Received Text of the Missal. )
    Some may accept that the usage of ‘man’, ‘him’ and ‘his’ is meant to include all of humankind, male and female. For most English speakers these terms are gender specific and are exclusive. Why create a problem for many people by the use of these terms when it would be as easy to use inclusive terms, if the inclusive is indeed what is meant.
    It is not only women who object to the use of exclusive language. As a man I object to the use of exclusive terms that will cause genuine and unnecessary offence to many people.
    As a priest I would dearly like to be treated as an adult by the authorities in our church, I would dearly like to be consulted in some meaningful way about matters that are important to me and not be treated as someone incapable of forming or expressing a worthwhile opinion.
    I am equally sure that many others in our church, lay and ordained, feel the same.
    Others, no doubt, will have different opinions and may be willing to accept unquestioningly what they are told is ‘set in stone’. I respect their right to do so.
    However, I am of the opinion that it is a dysfunctional exercise of power and authority when decisions are made in secret by elite groups who then seek to impose them on others through blind obedience without real consultation or dialogue. This secretive way of exercising power and authority was highly criticised in the Murphy Report.
    There is no urgency here. I can see no reason why these changes in the liturgy cannot be piloted in various parishes, urban and rural, in various English speaking countries. Then they could be properly evaluated and decided upon through a process of genuine dialogue, a dialogue that would involve and respect all members of the church. Not to do so sends a clear message to me, intended or not, from those in leadership in our church that I do not count and am not to be treated as an adult.
    Such an attitude I fear may well be capable of keeping human hearts that are beating for Christ away from the Eucharist.
    That I find sad.

  6. Enda McAteer says:

    After being treated to an analysis of the new Liturgy from a Benedictine priest I have an observation to offer. The Priest (I know he was a priest because someone told me) made the same comments as those of your piece. He than went into detail on 13 changes, only to concur, that they were an improvement in 12 cases and he wasn’t too sure in the 13th.
    As a father of five children and a coach of other children for 30 years, I recognised an the voice of assumption and not of reason. Children a great human beings; most of them grow out of those mistakes, usually. I will pray that the members of the ACP will grow up and gain the gift of humility, so that they can re-embrace their God given duty of being Shepherds of the flock, instead of their vain attempts to scatter the flock. You, Fathers, do not know better than the Magisterium of the Church as proven by the corrections the American Bishops needed with their fashion based effort.

  7. Maeve Staunton says:

    Dear Fathers, there is much of the adolescent in your attitude! Big bad Rome telling you what to do, eh? Are you going to be naughty boys and sulk in the corner? Come on, grow up! Ours is the Latin rite, and our texts are wonderfully venerable Latin texts. This new translation does a far better job of conveying their riches than the previous one. It is up to you priests to explain to us, the faithful, the meaning, when it is hidden. Please do not condescend! I have read all the above examples, and find them beautiful and uplifting. So, once more, grow up, dear Fathers! This is 2011, not 1968.

  8. Your report rightly says, ‘Jesus used the language of the people when he was speaking with them’. But with the exception of the beginning of Mass, a few brief dialogues and blessings, almost everything in the Missal is addressed to the Father, or in some cases to Christ, not to the people. One of the common mistakes that one often sees when the priest celebrates Mass facing the people is that he seems to think he’s addressing them instead of the Father.

    I would hope that God, and the people of Ireland, would not have to put up with five more years of banalities such as ‘from east to west’, the ‘translation’ of ‘a solis ortu usque at occasum’, the Latin for ‘from the rising of the sun to its setting’, which is correctly translated in Irish, Portuguese, Spanish and German, for example.

    Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy No 14 states: ‘In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else’. There is much less ‘full and active participation’ in the Mass in Ireland now than there was 40 years ago because hundreds of thousands of Catholics (far more than the ‘thousands’ projected to leave in yesterday’s Irish Examiner), especially the young, have already left. Is it just possible that the current English translation, ‘a new and improved version’ of which the ACP would welcome, is one of the reasons they have done so?

    Priests in Ireland have a very difficult mission. But there are signs of hope. It is noticeable, for example, that both the people and the media highlight the importance of the priest in times of tragedy. It would be a tragedy of a different kind if priests in Ireland were to waste their energy and confuse the people by engaging in an unnecessary ‘war’ about the new English translation instead of preparing the people for the change.

    This is only an opinion of one ordained in Ireland in 1967 but who has spent most of the years since here in the Philippines: it seems to me that many priests of my generation are living in the past, in the 1960s and 1970s, apparently unaware of the fact that the vast majority of Catholics in the world today were born after Vatican II, many of them without the ABCs of the faith. Preparing the people for the introduction of the new English translation of the Missal may be an opportunity to teach those ABCs to those who still attend Mass.

  9. Charlie & Kit says:

    We wish to applaud the ASP for their stand on the proposed changes in the liturgy of the mass. We are a couple of typical Irish catholic granparents who grew up in the era when to speak badly of the church or clergy was unthinkable. We have seen with shock and dismay all that has gone wrong in the church. We have heard the Hierarchy’s defence (lack of knowlege!)and protestation (preventing scandle!) and more recently their “innovative” solution – Pastoral Renewal. Now we read their spokesman quoted that these changes “are set in stone”. Such arrogance! Will they ever learn?
    Can they not understand the need to consult with and listen to the priests and people? What evidence is there that the proposed reversion to more obscure language will bring young people back to the Mass?
    We believe that this change is a backward step, that it is unnecessary and will be damaging. It is further evidence of a lack of comprehension among Vatican and Irish church leaders of reality as experienced by the people of God.

    Charlie & Kit Cullen

  10. James McGivern says:


    I am too young to remember Vatican 2 and what went before it and I can understand your affection for Pope Paul’s mass but here’s the thing. Of all my catholic friends of my generation or younger only myself and one other are still practising their faith. That was the status before all the child abuse scandals broke. Something is seriously wrong in our church and it seems to me that Benedict is trying to help us find the answers to fix this problem.

    Even ignoring B16’s pre-eminence as a theologian, if, as we Catholics believe, he is the direct descendant of Peter then surely we are obliged to at least try the new translation.

  11. I started using the New Translation January 2010. I have not experience an negativity from the laity. In fact practically all comments are positive. The most positive coming from women. This makes Mons. Lane and friends comments nonsensical. They are talking from theory I am talking from experience. The only negativity towards the new translation I have experienced is from priests.
    I think the APCI is wasting time on this issue. You are not going to stop the New T, it is already being used in New Zealand and guess what the sky has not fallen in.
    It will be use in these islands and practically all English speaking world this Advent or would you prefer we stand in splendid isolation.
    Remember the old saying be careful what you pray for ,you may get it.The ACPI leaders have demanded for years change and now you have it. it’s not want you wanted but hey thats life. When I was a student of Mons. Lane he would often lecture us on how the Church is not tied to one era , she is constantly moving . We can either move with her or be left behind. It’s time Mons lane took his own advice. Change is obviously difficult for memebers of the ACPI but, more advice from my seminary days, dont fear change embrace it. The ACPI maybe playing to the gallery on this issue but I think it would be far more beneficial if you embraced what is coming and help priests to implement the changes. Or will you be the new lefebvtists

  12. I’m really disappointed by the personal attacks made on the priests who are protesting the new translation – how does that advance any debate?

    In response to Gabriel Burke, I’m in New Zealand, having moved back here in November after 2 1/2 years in Northern Ireland, we are using the new translation, and I have to say it’s not great. It feels like a step back into the bad old days. For me as a woman the use of man, men etc is disappointing, to say the least – has the church learned nothing? I do find it somewhat offensive, to have been excluded, then included, and now excluded again. Contrast the congregation I’ve been in in Belfast, where my PP regularly made a point of saying “sisters and brothers” instead of the other way round. I can’t tell you how much more valued that gesture makes me feel.

    Then there’s the convoluted language, the archaisms (“and with your spirit” instead of “and also with you”), not to mention the lovely “consubstantial”, when “one in being” is just such a *good* dynamic equivalent. What’s lost is accessibility. Sure, it sounds grander, but it’s a step toward Shakespeare rather than towards communication with a friend, a brother, a Father. Will we have to say thee and thou next?

    It’s all very well to be close to the Latin, but behind that is the question, when did Latin get let down on a string from heaven anyway? (I guess we’d better not even go near that one.)

    Most disappointing of all to me though is that the church is expending so much energy on something that ain’t broke, when there are so many things that patently are – the scandals worldwide surrounding clergy, the huge drop-off in young people in the western world, particularly Ireland, in practising their faith, and the crash in numbers of vocations (and what kind of rethinking does that call for, and why doesn’t it appear to be happening?).

    I agree wholeheartedly with the many sentiments expressed that failure to work this through with anyone at grassroots level is yet another source of disappointment. Please wake up; if there are other options open, at the very least to work this out in the local context, even if it means ultimately accepting the thing if that’s what most people want, then at least give people the chance to say so. Is it not our church too?

  13. Colin Thomson says:

    I welcome your article on the proposed new translation of the Missal. In the article, I perceive signs of renewal in the church. You have presented an important topic and clearly articulated, even demonstrated your concerns. Then you have presented a recommendation for action by the Irish bishops and an invitation for me to participate. Yes, this is new, especially as the topic is liturgy. It has been my impression that the typical approach is that liturgy is something prescribed by clerics, especially at the local level, that only requires my “amen”. Clericalism is a mindset that does not serve the church. When power, privilege, prestige and prerogative are the hallmarks of the way our work is being done, then some-one has to speak out. Thank God, members of the ACP have done so and you want to choose another way. As a church, we need to pay attention to the scandals in our midst that remain unresolved and to the clericalist mindset that led to the poor pastoral responses that failed so many. We need to seek renewal in the church at every opportunity. Vatican II recognised that renewal begins with the liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium).

    I have said that I perceived signs of renewal in the approach adopted by the ACP as it reflects on liturgy texts. It appears to me to be in stark contrast to the proposal of the Vatican. There is no engagement in parishes. To present a text “set in stone” for familiarisation by the laity within six months sounds like behaviour that is already too familiar. I hope that the Irish bishops will explain this approach and demonstrate that they are not lapsing into “old ways”. Also, I need to understand how this approach to liturgy fits with pastoral initiatives in the parishes that are more collaborative. So the recommendation of the ACP seems reasonable and I suggest that it is not just for the consideration of the Irish bishops but for Parish Pastoral Councils too.

    Finally, I have concerns arising from some of the responses to the ACP article. I am disappointed that the members of the ACP are criticised simply for expressing their concerns. Another criticism is more personal, describing them as hurt individuals taking out their anger on the church. I can acknowledge that I am “hurt probably by a dysfunctional family…” if you understand clericalism in the church to be a wound to that family of faith. I have been very dis-spirited but I will not dwell in that space. Another critic speaks from their experience of the new text, but then as a lay person I have not had the privilege to have been consulted already and I cannot agree that the current liturgical texts have caused lay people to leave the church. Scandals have done that. In my mind, clericalism tends to disengage the laity. I am asking for more engagement.

    Once again, I commend the ACP for this initiative, it is a good beginning.

  14. Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh says:

    I applaud the Association of Catholic Priests of Ireland, for having the courage to make a stand, in regard to the awkwardness of the new translation of the Roman Missal. I have had 4 years of Latin in my training, and the literal translation of Latin into English is clumsy.

    What is more of a concern, is that the literal translation of Latin into English, does not convey the real meaning of the words for the People of God in this present age. A good example that the ACP mentions is “pro vobis et pro multis”, rather than Jesus dying “for all”, it now looks like Jesus just died “for many”.

    The ACP makes excellent points in their letter to the Bishops of Ireland. As a woman, I am grateful that the priests take up the issue of non-inclusive language, and of “Holy Mother Church” going backwards(my opinion), by again treating women like second class citizens.

    In my experience, I believe that the Pope and many in the hierarchy do act in an elitest way, and seem to be proud of it. After all, they are Princes of the Church! I wonder if Jesus would be comfortable being around the Pope? Would Jesus be happy with the lack of pastoral sensitivity that the Pope and Curia are demonstrating?

    Pope Benedict XVI has even spoken of the “faithful remnant” that may be all that is left in the end. I do not believe that this Pope is very ecumenical.

    Pope Benedict lacks the vision of the Church that was ignited by the Second Vatican Council, where it was acknowledged that all of the faithful are members of the Priesthood of Christ, and have a right and duty to have their voices heard.

    I believe that the Roman Catholic Church still believes that Jesus died for all mankind. Words have meaning. Why wouldn’t the young people be confused with the literal translation of Jesus dying for “many”, rather than for “all”?

    I hope and pray that the Bishops in Ireland will heed the wise words of the ACP, and decide not to accept the literal translation from the Latin into the Irish liturgies.

    I also hope and pray that the Bishops of the World, will get the courage to use their special charisms, and work together, and find their voice, to challenge the Pope and the Curia, in areas where the Pope and Curia are making poor decisions, decisions which are having disastrous pastoral results throughout the world.

    As an Irish-American, Catholic physician, I am not only talking of the need to get rid of the literal Latin translation of the Roman Missal, for the good of the faithful.

    I am also seriously talking about the mess that the Pope and Curia have created for years, in the clergy sex abuse crisis, which has spread worldwide, due to their poor decisions to protect predator priests, rather than protecting the innocence of children.

    These have been crimes against the innocent that cry out to God for healing, since Pope Benedict and many in the hierarchy seem to lack insight, into the theft of childhoods by priests, that will never be able to be reclaimed. Sadly, many in the hierarchy in the States are continuing to play legal games against the survivors and are revictimizing them, instead of caring for them as a loving parent would do. The lack of transparency continues in the RCC in the USA.

    Sincerely yours, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, Illinois,
    (Daughter of Thomas McHugh, formerly of Corha, Islandeady Parish, Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland,
    and of Rose Ann Moore, formerly of Kilbride, Swinford, County Mayo, Ireland)

  15. Couple of comments, the first being WHY is it being changed in the first place? Have there been years of complaints about the current form? Or is the simply that a bureaucracy (that is what the church is after all!) feels it needs to show it’s doing something?

    I have no problem with man/he etc but in this day and age it could have been made more inclusive. What I do have a problem with, as a professional writer, is the use of obscure language and very long sentences – there is just no need for it at all; simply bad writing with little or no thought for the reader.

    When I was young you went to mass because you got talked about if you didn’t and it wasn’t until I went away to university that I stopped to think about WHY I went – there was nobody to chase you to go and no obvious drawback if you didn’t! I was lucky in that the Catholic chaplaincy was lively and vibrant where the students got involved which is so unlike many parishes I have been in. A stilted, obscure liturgy is not going to draw them in and I fear that numbers will continue to fall as the population ages and parishoners die. Even now, for many, after primary school it’s marriage and burial – the old ‘hatch, match, dispatch’! At a first communion a few years ago the PP said (talking to them/parents afterwards) that it would probably be the last time he’d see them until confirmation – the new liturgy ain’t gonna help this at all.

  16. Apologies for the jumbled mixture of thoughts that follow – it’s a bit of a stream of consciousness!

    I am a Catholic who only very rarely attends Mass. Nonetheless, and perhaps surprisingly, I am very much in favour of the revised English text. The language of the current text, along with the overly casual, rushed way in which it is conducted by so many priests, leaves me almost completely cold and fails to connect me with the Divine.

    Regarding the proposed new text, the claim that “the vocabulary is not readily understandable by the average Catholic” is almost insulting to the average Catholic. I agree that some of the sentences are long but we’re not talking about plain prose here. Prayer is surely closer to poetry if anything, and nobody complains about the length of sentences used by Shakespeare, Keats, Yeats or Heaney.

    I am confident that just one sermon (perhaps on the back of a pastoral letter with a glossary) would be sufficient to explain any obscure words or phrases to the congregation. With this done and the new text then fully intelligible, would a slightly Latinate cadence and word order really be such a bad thing? The inevitable rich echoes that would result might help connect us to the ancient traditions and older liturgies in a way that plain, everyday street English never will.

    The change from Latin to English following Vatican II did little or nothing to stem the decline in church attendance. The idea that rowing back a bit from the use of everyday English might further hasten the exodus is completely unproven. If anything, I believe the opposite may be true. I recently read a piece about the continuing popularity of the King James Bible for many Protestants, and not just those who would be seen as very conservative. One of the main reasons given for its popularity is precisely the fact that it is written in archaic English. Its fans feel that the language makes them switch into a different mode when they read it, that it imparts an other-worldliness to the text, and conjures a sense of the Divine.

    A friend of mine is married to a member of the Syrian Orthodox Church and the wedding ceremony used their very ancient Aramaic liturgy. The sacredness of the occasion was palpable and moving in a way that I have rarely experienced in a Catholic Mass. I had a similar experience when attending Mass at a Greek Catholic church in Malta.

  17. william mccartney says:

    The phrase “for many” rather than “for all” surely echos the Calvinist theology of limited atonement in that Christ died to puchase the salvation of His elect. I am more and more convinced that the present pope is a Calvinist at heart.


  18. “I am very much in favour of the revised English text. The language of the current text, along with the overly casual, rushed way in which it is conducted by so many priests, leaves me almost completely cold and fails to connect me with the Divine.”

    Here we see the way the wool is pulled over people’s eyes. They are told that the new texts are elevated, noble diction, and they believe this without even seeing the texts. Then all their annoyance at the banality of our liturgies over the last 40 years prompts them to believe that whatever problems the new texts have, they cannot be as flat and dull as the present ones. What they do not realize is that in 1998, after 11 years of work, and with the blessing of all the bishops’ conferences, a revised version of the current translation was completed, which from all I have seen of it is far superior to the present texts and above comparison with the wretched new ones that are to be imposed this year.

    The idea that stilted texts are suddenly going to make priests more enthusiastic celebrants is another wishful fallacy. In fact the new texts are calculated to have a deflating and disheartening effect on both priests and congregation.

  19. Alan Robinson says:

    I am an Irish catholic layman and I am delighted with the poetic, rhythmic and more accurate translations that many of us look forward to later this year. Why have we waited so long ? Can our priests tell us………most lay people I know either look forward to them or couldn’t care less. It seems to be the priests who are worked up.

  20. I agree that Jesus surely spoke with the people in their own language when he preached and ministered to them, but this overlooks the issue of the prayer language of Hebrew that was employed in His day. This is not to even mention the fact that the Palestine of Jesus’ day was multi-lingual: Aramaic, Greek, and Latin at leat. The prayer idiom in English that the Church is giving us as a great gift is truly sacred and holy for prayer. It is English, and very faithful to the original Latin from which it has been translated. Of course on the issue of the “pro multis” (for many): these are the very words Jesus gave and passed on to His Apostles at the Last Supper, and they were in use for decades before there were ever written down formally under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to comprise the Canon of Sacred Scripture in the Synoptic Gospels and St. Paul’s 1st Letter to the Corinthians.
    The honest and intellectual discussion on this issue is summarized in the text below, and ought to be presented for fair discussion:

    To their Eminences /Excellencies, Presidents of the National Episcopal Conferences
    Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
    Prot. n. 467/05/L
    Rome, October 17, 2006
    Your Eminence / Your Excellency,
    In July 2005 this Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote to all Presidents of Conferences of Bishops to ask their considered opinion regarding the translation into the various vernaculars of the expression pro multis in the formula for the consecration of the Precious Blood during the celebration of Holy Mass (ref. Prot. n. 467/05/L of July 9, 2005).
    The replies received from the Bishops’ Conferences were studied by the two Congregations and a report was made to the Holy Father. At his direction, this Congregation now writes to Your Eminence / Your Excellency in the following terms:
    1. A text corresponding to the words pro multis, handed down by the Church, constitutes the formula that has been in use in the Roman Rite in Latin from the earliest centuries. In the past 30 years or so, some approved vernacular texts have carried the interpretive translation “for all”, “per tutti”, or equivalents.
    2. There is no doubt whatsoever regarding the validity of Masses celebrated with the use of a duly approved formula containing a formula equivalent to “for all”, as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has already declared (cf. Sacra Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, Declaratio de sensu tribuendo adprobationi versionum formularum sacramentalium, 25 Ianuarii 1974, AAS 66 [1974], 661). Indeed, the formula “for all” would undoubtedly correspond to a correct interpretation of the Lord’s intention expressed in the text. It is a dogma of faith that Christ died on the Cross for all men and women (cf. John 11:52; 2 Corinthians 5,14-15; Titus 2,11; 1 John 2,2).
    3. There are, however, many arguments in favour of a more precise rendering of the traditional formula pro multis:
    a. The Synoptic Gospels (Mt 26,28; Mk 14,24) make specific reference to “many” (plolnv) for whom the Lord is offering the Sacrifice, and this wording has been emphasized by some biblical scholars in connection with the words of the prophet Isaiah (53, 11-12). It would have been entirely possible in the Gospel texts to have said “for all” (for example, cf. Luke 12,41); instead, the formula given in the institution narrative is “for many”, and the words have been faithfully translated thus in most modern biblical versions.
    b. The Roman Rite in Latin has always said pro multis and never pro omnibus in the consecration of the chalice.
    c. The anaphoras of the various Oriental Rites, whether in Greek, Syriac, Armenian, the Slavic languages, etc., contain the verbal equivalent of the Latin pro multis in their respective languages.
    d. “For many” is a faithful translation of pro multis, whereas “for all” is rather an explanation of the sort that belongs properly to catechesis.
    e. The expression “for many”, while remaining open to the inclusion of each human person, is reflective also of the fact that this salvation is not brought about in some mechanistic way, without one’s willing or participation; rather, the believer is invited to accept in faith the gift that is being offered and to receive the supernatural life that is given to those who participate in this mystery, living it out in their lives as well so as to be numbered among the “many” to whom the text refers.
    f. In line with the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam, effort should be made to be more faithful to the Latin texts in the typical editions.
    4. The Bishops’ Conferences of those countries where the formula “for all” or its equivalent is currently in use are therefore requested to undertake the necessary catechesis of the faithful on this matter in the next one or two years to prepare them for the introduction of a precise vernacular translation of the formula pro multis (e.g, “for many”, “per molti”, etc.) in the next translation of the Roman Missal that the Bishops and the Holy See will approve for use in their country.
    With the expression of my high esteem and respect, I remain, Your Eminence/Your Excellency,
    Devotedly Yours in Christ,
    Francis Card. Arinze, Prefect

  21. Kevin Burke says:

    Dear All,
    I have just ordered my copy of the New Missal so that I can study it and then comment on it from a fully informed viewpoint. Having come through the Vatican II era (born in 1953), experienced the Charismatic Renewal in Ireland form the inside, watched with shame the unfolding stories of abuse, ignorance and simple wrong doing my many I am still involved in our Church. And I mean OUR CHURCH. I really get my goat when I am not involved in how my Church is developing. Christ did not put together a democratic institution – in fact he did not put together any sort of institution, we did that. Christ asked and still asks us to live in a certain way with certain values. one of the supports and essential aspects of that life is prayer. So what is prayer : “the lifting of the mind and soul to God” was the old definition. The word you use do not have to be impressive but for me they need to be understandable and come from my heart. Christ when he spoke we are told he used words that were from the heart and understandable. LET US DO THE SAME.
    When I have studied the missal I will get back to you.
    In the meantime why are our Parish Pastoral Councils not involved – they are charged with the pastoral support and formation of our parishes, they are supposed to be there to help, support and advise our Parish Priests (when they are let!)

  22. I congratulate the Association of Catholic Priests of Ireland for their accurate criticism of the literal translation of the liturgy from Latin to English.
    I feel that the process of having the Vatican Curia do the translating for the church of Ireland, rather than having the Irish bishops and local Catholic scholars, who know the Irish culture,do the work is a step backward from what is taught in the Documents of Vatican II. It should not be a surprise to see that many Irish priests and educated laity reject the new liturgy. In my judgement it is simply a another expession of the unwillingness of the Curia to allow the bishops, priests and laity of a particular country to make their decisions re what words reflect the culture of their own country.
    The dialogue between the Bishops of Ireland and the Association of Catholic priests over the new translation will be joint step forward to creating the renewal, necessary healing and purification of the Church in Ireland. I pray that the dialogue takes place.

  23. Frank Bogan says:

    Kevin, while you wait for your Missal to arrive (it could take a while!) you might like to have a look at the new translation. Much of it is available here:

    (Click on the ‘Sample Texts’ menu on the blue menu bar, where you can download lots of resources in PDF format.)

  24. Fr Jim Clarke - UK says:

    I must say I agree with the sentiments of the ACP, and I worry about some of the views of our young priests, such as Fr Corkery (who’s comments I read with much interest) whom it seems has a rather nieve view about liturgical texts being unable to keep people away from the glories of the Eucharist – believe me Father when I say people are much more fickle than you seem to presume.
    The new translation of the Missal has taken at least 30 years to produce, and even now with its start date looming, it is almost impossible for me as a Catholic Priest to get hold of a copy. It is most frustrating. I feel, as a not so young priest, that like the members of the Irish clergy, I am able to understand and gage the understanding of my people. The introduction of this new translation will, I feel put many a person off the beautiful liturgy which we celebrate now, ie. easy to understand, and very accessible to most. When I was ordained, I too was nieve in the fact that I thought that the “Church” and the powers that be, would only do for the Church what was in its best interests. I feel now that this is not the case; a simple prayerbook can complicate things and change our understanding of the liturgy totally. The language is elitist, and while I understand the sentiments behind going back to the original Latin text, the mother tongue of the Church, the everyday language of my people, even those with the best education, sounds nothing like a literal translation from a Latin text.
    At a time when the falling numbers at Mass and the Sacraments continues to grow, I feel this is a retro step which will do more harm than good.
    I will stay true to my vow of obedience to my Bishop and will do all I can to introduce this new Missal with as little trauma to my people as possible, and indeed intend to put on an evening discussion of its introduction very soon; having said this, it does not alleviate my difficulties with such a monumental change which has been kept so under wraps, that when I mentioned it at Mass three weeks ago, everyone was flabbergasted.
    Please God, that we have not made a huge mistake, and that the people of God will embrace this sudden change, and take it to their hearts.

  25. Father Clarke, let me explain something. I am in my late twenties. I look around at Mass and I see nobody my age around me. Where are they? What we are doing now is simply not working. Take it from me – what we are doing now is not working. Most young men my age think that what happens at Mass in most places is lame. All my friends are saying the same thing. It’s lame and it’s irrelevant.

    On the other hand, I’ve been to sacred and holy Mass offered in both forms which has been beautiful and awe-inspiring. But those experiences are very rare. Usually, it is just lameness which is on offer.

    For myself, all I ask for is Mass according to the Roman Missal – but where can I find such a Mass?

    All we want is reverence and sacrality. We’re not getting it. We’re not stupid. We know when we are denied our rights.

    If it wasn’t for the Sunday Obligation and the pain of mortal sin, I probably wouldn’t even go to Mass. As it is, I endure what is going on in my parish.

    I think the ACP is so out of touch – its just another clerical exercise in blindness – the ACP don’t have the answers. Our young people, men in particular, are committing suicide. What is the Church doing for them? Trying to be hip and relevant has failed miserably so let’s just stop the charade. Why not listen to the young prophets?

  26. Stan Mellett says:

    March 29th.
    In a few months I will be 80 years of age. The prospect of new words and phrases in the Mass is pretty daunting. When John Paul 2 died it took about a year before I automatically inserted the name Benedict instead John Paul at the appropriate moment in the Eucharistic Prayer. I foresee much hesitation and annoying correction after this new version is imposed. However that problem can be overcome. But I do feel sad that our opinions were not canvassed in the preparation. Surely the use of inclusive langauge would have been a must if we were listened to. I cringe while celebrating the liturgy with the constant use of ‘man’ and ‘men’ while the congregation is usually with a majority of our sisters in the faith. The new transaltion is not an article of faith to be held by all the faithful. It is a safe issue on which to take a stand and strike a blow for a limited bit of freedom merely requesting that our opinions we heard. Whatever the pros and cons Mother Church will surive in spite of us and because the Holy Spirit will not fail to give life.

  27. Clare O'Malley says:

    I can’t believe the arrogance of this group. IF I had been to a Catholic Mass in Ireland that was 1) prayerful, 2) engaging, 3) liturgically correct, 4) that the people in the pews seemed vaguely interested, 5) that the priest had not preached his hoomily to the ceiling, 6) that I had been given ahost that was not reserved in a tabernacle, 7) that I had been given the option of receiving from the cup, 8) that the music had been appropriate to the dignity of the Mass, 9) that the priest had not appeared bored out of his gourd, the YES…..I might take thier opinion on things such as liturgy seriously. But dudes…..srsly….grow up, get a clue. Your churches are not even close to the rest of the world in terms of good liturgy. Nope. Get with the program. The new translation is gorgeous and more importantly, correctin terms of accuaracy to earlier text, historically accurate, and reflect true Catholic theology, not just some sort of “gee, wouldn’t it be nice if…..” It would have been nice if I had not left your churches feeling like no Mass had taken place. Sorry. You’re worried about inclusive language? That’s a dead issue. We “girls” got over that eons ago. Get yout yong people back in the church. Focus boys, Focus.

  28. Fr Giorgio Miles says:

    Since when has the Church been a democracy?

    The missal is produced in Latin and it is for each bishops conference to submit an accurate and truthful translation to Rome for approval. This ensures that the mass is the same mass – importantly with the same meaning and teaching – throughout the world.

    It is not an exercise it getting everyone’s individual beliefs and wishes into the liturgy – it is about universality and truth.

    What I read here sounds more like a demand for local, self contained, self governing churches. We have them already – the protestant churches where, in many cases, the people are subject to the whims and like of the local pastor or committee.

    As an ex-Anglican I beg you not to go down that same destructive path the Anglican communion seems set on.

    We all took an oath of obedience at out ordination and it is not for us to pick and choose which versions we like and so will use.

    I for one am glad to see the error in translation of ‘for all’ introduced in 1969 corrected. Are we to believe that the Church has been getting it wrong for 2000 years and now suddenly in 1969 the English translators saw a truth missed in the Latin text there were ‘translating’?

  29. Gerard Flynn says:

    Fr Miles, a few comments. Democratic accountability is one of the ‘signs of the times.’ The Ferns Report made this clear, for those who had not already grasped that. It also made clear that the monarchical style of government, which we have at the moment, is inadequate today, to deal with the complexities of modern life. To expect that one single leader would have the expertise in all of the areas required for government and leadership is wishful thinking.

    Secondly, the 11 English-speaking bishops’ conferences did send their approval of the 1998 translation to CDWDS, which rejected it.

    How does a translation, or even an original text ensure that any two people extract the same meaning from it, much less, everyone who hears it?

    Are you against consulting people? The work of translation needs the consultation of people with expertise in that art. It’s as much about poetry as it is about accuracy.

    The issue of local autonomy of churches, at national or diocesan level is a question of the balance between the centre and the periphery. You appear to want the scales to be weighted in favour of the former. Not everyone would agree with you. The same debate was carried out between W. Kasper and J. Ratzinger over a decade ago, from different perspectives. That debate is ongoing.

    Your concept of obedience sounds more like a military than a spiritual one. Biblically, the notion of obedience is primarily about listening. So yes. There is scope in the liturgy for local custom and preference.

    Much has been said and written about the meaning of ‘for all.’ The issue is complicated by the fact that our experience of liturgy over the last 40 years has shaped our understanding of it. This means that a change from ‘for all’ to ‘for many’ will necessarily convey a limitation or containment of the universal salvific will of God.

    Here is an egregious example of inconsistency in the new translation, which is needlessly offensive: ‘pax hominibus bonae voluntatis’ from the Gloria, in the new translation reads, ‘and on earth peace to people of good will,’ while, ‘qui propter nos homines,’ from the Creed, is translated ‘for us men.’ Why?

    Enjoy your retirement!

  30. Andrew Harper says:

    Gerard Flynn makes some interesting points but I fear the tone is not charitable and his concept of responding to Fr Miles comes across more like a military one that a spiritual one. It is true that one man cannot have all the answers but to the best of my knowledge no recent pope has claimed this – does Gerard Flynn know otherwise? The church in Ireland has reached a tipping point and Fr Miles is right to point out that division and in fighting will lead to implosion. The anglican church is a prime example of this. I think we must be prudent with our comments and avoid in fighting – the media would have a field day with it. Good luck with your meeting today but it seems a pointless exercise and if it’s sole purpose is for clergy to vent anger then I would suggest that this is not a very christian activity. The upside of the new translations is that they give us all the opportunity to rediscover the Mass, it must surely be better to teach people about the Mass than fight about it. Please do not cause civil war in our church.

  31. Gerard Flynn says:

    We didn’t need a new translation, certainly not this one, to rediscover the Mass. All the talk about the translation’s being an opportunity for catechesis has come very late in the day. There was very little demand for it over the past ten years.

    The translation is so poor that it is apologetics which will be required to justify it, not catechesis.

    A translation, made by people who are not expert in the science/art of translation, is deplorable in itself. It sounds as if anything is good enough for the People of God. What expertise has Mgr Moroney as a translator? He has given us such clangers as ‘the immensity of your majesty,’ ‘constrain them mercifully,’ ‘by a bond of love so tight,’ and ‘dewfall.’

    It is hard to see in this new translation anything but a symbolic repudiation of the Second Vatican Council.

    It looks as if the bishop charged with organising the Irish bishops’ approval, was caught unawares.

    I can see the word ‘abuse’ being resurrected again, unfortunately, when Advent arrives.

  32. Once again the Vatican have proven themselves to be completely out of touch with the people and the Holy Spirit which they claim to represent…

  33. desmond mccabe says:

    I’ve found the text by the ACP, together with some of the comments above, one of the few heartening things about this terribly depressing event. Just to explain where I’m coming from: born into the Catholic faith, I’ve been a marginal but persevering member of the ‘church’, such as it is, since I reached some kind of spiritual independence in my mid-teens. Very briefly – like many, or all, of my friends, I’ve never for a moment been able to identify with any definition of Catholicism grounded in an organisational structure in which the congregation is divided into a ‘religious’ or mediating clerical caste and a body of subordinated lay ‘faithful’. Instead, being a Catholic has meant to me belonging to a body of faithful willing, as equals before God, to take part in the common sacramental prayer of the Mass – traditional liturgy is the living heart of Catholicism. (The faith does not seem to me to consist in a doctrinal apparatus and a structure of obedience of will to an enlightened elite – that looks to me like a ghoulish and phantasmal version of real Catholicism). The priest has a particular ministry but the congregation has just as important a role in bringing the contemplative prayer of the Mass to fulfillment (this may be a heresy, but what of that…). The Mass has been capable of uniting in spiritual fellowship a vast body of participants with a huge variety of conscientious understandings – unity in diversity – the only way, in my opinion, there can be any genuine vitality in religious faith. Every one of us is going to and must have a unique, changing and largely incommunicable relationship to God and Jesus, acted out in common and private prayer and worship. I’m not sure that many older or more orthodox church-going Catholics would see things in this way but it’s the only way that makes sense for myself and anyone else I know among my friends (very few) still interested in going to Mass, if little else. Clericalism seems to me to have been the chronic problem of Catholic Christianity – once a bureaucratic caste installed itself, in the early middle ages, with the self-appointed task of ‘governing’ the congregation – the senior clergy (and many of the parish clergy) has been obsessively dedicated to the pursuit of authoritarian control, the policing of doctrinal ‘orthodoxy’ and curbing or sterilising non-clerical religious vitality – the Vatican has done precious little good for religious life and the only thing keeping the faith going has been the extraordinary (and ambiguous) humility of a subordinated congregation, willing to put up with all kinds of nonsense for the privilege of taking part in the Mass, and in forms of folk-Christianity outside clerical control, but unable or unwilling to deal effectively with the misbehaviour of power-mad clerics. The destructive changes happened slowly over centuries but are probably moving too fast now to do anything about it. It seems to me, as it happens, that virtually killing off the Latin Mass was the beginning of the final phase of the church but that what’s going on now will break it up entirely or reduce it, in Europe, to a small sect (the Latin Mass argument would take a bit of elaboration but I think it was basically a sacred liturgy in common stewardship – I’m a left-wing conservative of a sort – I feel much as Dave – 7th feb – feels above). Once those of the laity in their sixties to eighties are gone there’s not going to be much left and it’s hard to believe there’s any chance that the clerical powers-that-be are capable of radical intelligent change. The only way I can see a living Catholicism surviving is for the transformation of clericalism – and the prospects for that are miserable.

    The only thing not emphasised strongly enough in the ACP document is that the Mass does not belong to the clergy, at any level, for anyone among them to adjust or tinker with as they see fit – it is a common form of prayer and worship gifted by the Holy Spirit to the trust of the entire congregation. It belongs to all of us – left-wing and right-wing in our opinions (personally I feel greater affinity with the views of the ACP, Gerard Flynn, Stan Mellet, Jim Clarke, Dermot and a couple of other correspondents above than with the more conservative correspondents, who are fully entitled to their views). The Vatican or the bishops do not own the Mass. Neither do factions of ‘right’ or ‘left’ (where I belong) among the congregation own the Mass. In the eastern orthodox church the clergy (politically and in other respects not much better than those in the western church, of course) are not permitted to do anything with the liturgy without the entire congregation being balloted. This means that all changes are very gradual and that due respect is shown to every participant, male and female, young and old. The Holy Spirit works through the full congregation. In May we were told that, whether we liked it or not, for our own good, we were going to get changes in the liturgy. Our local priest – (unfortunately one of the more unwise, literal-minded, hectoring, authoritarian kinds of priest) – told us the changes were going to be slight (he probably knew little enough himself at the time). And the liturgy is the essence of our Catholicism, not something marginal or irrelevant!!! And this particular liturgy has been sanctified by forty years of prayer and mindfulness by devout congregations who have made it (as a body) their own, as best it can be made. It seems to me that the changes are drastic, stupid and shocking. The old translation was of fairly indifferent quality but the new one is full of very poor constructions and ineptitudes. People will differ on these matters of course and on all kinds of details. But whether or not the changes being coercively imposed are any good (I don’t believe they are) it is inherently insulting and irreligious to foist vast and decisive change on fellow-worshippers without respectful and meaningful consultation – but that is and has always been of the nature of clerical Catholicism and it is doubtful whether many clergy would even truly comprehend this kind of protest from a member of the laity. Did the Irish Bishops even bother to reply to the protest of the ACP? Can the ACP do anything about the congregation being dragooned in this manner? It wouldn’t surprise me if nothing has happened or will happen. But I’m not sure that I can stay even as a marginal member of this church any longer – I’m too sickened by the misconduct of the Vatican and senior clergy — having shown moral bankruptcy by failing honestly to address the horror of sexual abuse with any integrity (the Pope has his advocates, I know) — now they are tinkering with our liturgy – it felt as if that was about the only thing left these days. The lack of dialogue (in this and in every other significant matter) is a sign of the profoundest irreligion and Christian failure – I can’t agree with those who virtually define Catholicism as a matter of authoritarian direction. It is not a matter of political democracy (which has some merit) but of spiritual fellowship. Unlike Stan Mellet, unfortunately, I can’t believe that the Church as a whole can survive any amount of injustice, abuse, bureaucratisation, liturgical vandalism and irreligious arrogance. Sorry about the length of this ‘comment’!!

  34. Wendy Murphy says:

    Wow! Desmond – for me, I think you said it all. Bless you.

  35. desmond mccabe says:

    Just one other thing – it’s a good poem (in translation) by an early 20th century Spanish poet:

    God, who knows everything,
    Is cleverer than most men know.
    Now by some outlaw archbishops
    He has been kidnapped and the crafty gang
    Has made Him broadcast on the radio:
    ‘Hello, I’m here with them. Hello!’

    That doesn’t mean He’s on their side
    But that He’s there within their prison wall.
    He tells us where He is. That’s all.
    So we may go
    A rescue party for the God we know.

    Leon Felipe (1884-1968)

    perhaps it is relevant!

  36. As an 80 year old retired P.P., may I congratulate A.C.P.on its criticism of the Vatican’s new English language missal. I have been celebrating the Eucharist, not as celebrant but amidst lay people over the last four years. By and large it has been grim. One aspect of Irish Catholicism that is alive and in rosey good health is clericalism, among many laypeople and priests.

  37. Paul Mulvey says:

    With the introduction of the new wording I am totally distracted at mass, spending the time grinding my teeth in frustration at the arrogance and blindness of the church authorities. Debating the use of ‘for many’ rather than ‘for all’ is a pointless exercise. The debate is akin to a lengthy courtroom clash over the specific wording of a legal contract. The vast majority of mass-goers will not be bothered to reflect on the accuracy of the translation. They will simply become disengaged by any language that fails to communicate clear sentiment. At a personal level I go to mass because it is an essential part of my relationship with God. I don’t know why I feel it is an essential part; I just know that it is. I don’t subject this relationship to a philosophical analysis; I prefer to operate on simple trust.

    Rather than tinkering with Latin translations the church authorities would have spent their resources better by conducting a study of the problem of decreasing numbers attending mass. I don’t believe that it can all be put down to the spectacular and public failings of some church people. From a personal perspective there are a few things that would greatly improve the mass experience:

    1. Priests should be re/trained in the delivery of a homily. They have one shot at it for five minutes each week and the audience is captive. It is a precious opportunity. I only know of a few priests and one bishop who make an impression on me in this regard.

    2. Church music is at the mercy of local volunteers and is a hit-and-miss affair, sometimes uplifting, sometimes distracting. Parishes that have the services of a qualified teacher in singing and music have good church music. Where parishes do not have such a person one should be resourced from church funds. Organise competitions and engage the people by providing professional training.

    3. If you were to ask people leaving mass to name the component parts of the celebration I suggest that no one would get 100%. I have attended over 2000 masses since I was 18 and still cannot name them all let alone explain the rationale for each one of the parts. Surely I am missing out here. Is there not scope to engage the people more by educating them about this event they slavishly attend week after week?

    The church authorities are intent on fixing what’s not broken and refusing to remedy some issues that are staring them in the face.

    This debate needs to be given a more public forum, the church authorities should accept that there is an awful lot of people out there who love their church but despair at the hierarchy. These people only want the very best for their church and while they might rant and give out it is because they care.

  38. brendan devlin says:

    The changes to the congregational responses fail every test of relevance,rationale, timeliness and cost effectiveness that one could apply. The words are inappropriate, old fashioned, often less meaningful and free flowing than the previous version and do not even follow a coherent grammatical logic from the priest to the congregation within interactions. It is difficult to see any justification for such significant expenditure and disturbance at this time.
    This is a time when the Church faces fundamental challenges to it’s authority and it’s view of the world and it’s place within it; this initiative sends all the wrong messages to the world re Church priorities… much for child protection, women priests, married clergy and a review for the requirement for a celibate priesthood!
    The image of an out of touch, authoritarian and dictatorial ruling elite seems to be reinforced by this latest development. Could the Vatican hierarchy please try some basic management behaviours such as discussion, consultation and active listening to avoid embarrassing episodes like this?
    Perhaps there is still an opportunity to roll back this meaningless folly?

  39. Michael Petrus says:

    The changes are a good thing! it is repairing damage done following the highjacking of the second Vatican council. God bless Pope Benedict the 16th for bravely standing up against the tide of modernism. “the celebration of the Eucharist, instead of being a symbol of unity, could become a focus of disagreement and division.” The Eucharist is not just a ‘symbol of unity’ it is the Body and Blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ. This kind of vague talk is exactly what the new translation is trying to fix. Modernists and liberals your days of watering down the Church’s teachings are numbered. A return to tradition that flies in the face of the ‘modern world’ is the answer. Most Sacred Hearts of Jesus, Pray for us. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us. Amen.

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