Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fisking Bishop Conley

I have never attempted a “fisking” before; but the never-ending stream of garbage coming out of Catholic newspapers, blogs, chanceries, and even the Vatican itself these days, has led me to the conclusion that I need to develop a certain competency with that particular literary form. I have unfortunately picked a monster to begin with. Below the asterisks is the first of a three-part series by James Conley, Auxiliary Bishop of Denver, in which he purports to explain the necessity for the new English-language missal. The original text can be found at the website of the Denver Catholic Register, here. A shorter rendition of the same material can be read in the PDF version of the newspaper’s print edition, here. It was the shorter version I originally intended to fisk, but I was unable to copy and paste the text from the PDF. Therefore I have undertaken to destroy the longer version—I apologize in advance for the tedium. A word about the format of the succeeding criticism: In proper fisking fashion, I have left the Bishop’s own words in plain text. My interposed comments will be rendered in [red bracketed text]. The article will begin beneath the line of asterisks and will end with another such line, after which I will append a few concluding remarks. May God have mercy on this work and use it for the glory of His kingdom and the restoration of His Church. Amen.


‘A Universe Brimming with Fruitful Spiritual Life’: Reflecting Transcendence in the Liturgy

Most Rev. James D. Conley, S.T.L., Auxiliary [sic] Bishop of Denver, delivered the following address during the Midwest Theological Forum in Valparaiso, Indiana on April 25, 2011.

I want to begin our conversation by recounting a story a friend told me recently.

During Lent this year, my friend’s parish started the worthy custom of praying the Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin.[How wonderful. Liturgical Latin revived as a quaint custom. Tell me, why were they ever prayed in any other language in the first place?] My friend is in his early 50s and we converted to the Catholic Church around the same time during our college years, through a classical “Great Books” program, which included the study of Latin. [So you admit that a classical education is profitable for conversions] He and his wife taught their children Latin at an early age and they sent their children to a private Catholic school where they prayed these prayers in Latin every day at Mass. [Good for them.]

But he and his family were by far the exception at his parish, which is a big, suburban parish made up mainly of young families. He looked around one Sunday and noticed that only his family and some of the older parishioners were praying the Latin. Everybody else looked a little confused. [Is it not the job of the clergy to educate the laity on such arcane matters as, oh, the Liturgical language and principal prayers of the Mass?]

This story gives us some important context for our conversation this evening.

The “new Mass” is almost a half-century old now. A generation of Catholics has grown up knowing only the Novus Ordo. [Do they know nothing of the Church’s history?] I would venture to bet that many younger Catholics have no idea that the prayers we say at Mass are translated from an authoritative Latin text. [if true, an inexcusable oversight on the part of the Bishops.]

In Advent, we are going to introduce a major new English translation of the Mass with the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. [Another one?]

What are Catholics in the pews going to make of the changes in the words they pray and the words they hear the priest praying? Will the changes make any difference in their experience of the Mass? In the way they worship? In the way they live their faith in the world?[If the Novus Ordo had been as innocuous as you say, there would be no need for a new translation to “make a difference." In fact it would be scandalous if there was.]

These are important questions. And the answers are going to depend a lot on you and me.

This new edition of the Missal is the Church’s gift to our generation. It restores the ancient understanding of the Eucharist as a sacred mystery. It renews the vertical dimension of the liturgy — as a spiritual sacrifice that we offer in union with the sacrifice that our heavenly High Priest celebrates unceasingly in the eternal liturgy.

[The above paragraph is pure gobbledygook. In the first place, this is no “gift” to our generation. It is the imposition of yet another distorted Mass in place of the traditional Latin Mass which had worked just fine for centuries prior. Restoring the Latin Mass—now that would be a gift! In the second place, the ancients did not understand the Eucharist as a “sacred mystery.” They understood it in the same way the true Church has always understood it—as making visible Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, the only pure and unblemished sacrifice in the world. In the third place, the talk about a “vertical dimension” to the liturgy is nothing but obscurantist phenomenological JP2 newspeak. And in the fourth place, Bishop Conley’s final sentence fragment makes neither grammatical nor theological sense. The Eucharist is not a spiritual sacrifice—it is the sacrifice of Calvary, plain and simple. Our heavenly High Priest does not sacrifice himself for us unceasingly in heaven—he is transfigured and impassible. Finally, we do no offer any sacrifices at all. It is Jesus Christ who offers himself through the person of the priest. Nothing we have to offer could possibly affect our salvation.]

In order for the Church to realize the full potential of this gift, it is vital that we understand why we need this new translation. [We would need it only if there was something wrong with the old one—an implicit admission that the old one was no good.] The changes are not superficial ritualism. There is a deep liturgical and theological aesthetic at work. And we need to grasp the “spirit” and “inner logic” underlying these translations.

This is what I want to talk about with you this evening.

As a starting-point, I thought it would be useful to return to the “scene of the crime” so to speak — that is, to the introduction of the Novus Ordo.

Let me say up front: I’m joking here, sort of! I know that some people still talk about the Novus Ordo as if it was a crime. [It was.] I have close and dear friends who feel this way. I can understand their frustration. And I’ll talk about that more in a minute.

But I want to be clear: I was ordained a priest and a bishop in the Novus Ordo. I have spent my entire priesthood praying this Mass with deep reverence. Although I have a great love and appreciation for the Tridentine Rite and I am called upon to celebrate this form of the Mass from time to time, I believe the Novus Ordo is a result of the ongoing organic development of the Roman liturgy. [There can be no development of the Liturgy, “organic” or otherwise. The liturgy was laid down once and for all by Jesus himself at the Last Supper, and was codified for us by Pope St. Pius V at the Council of Trent in the bull Quo Primum. The Latin rite predates the Council of Trent by at least 1000 years. In all that time there has been no organic development. Perhaps the Novus Ordo is one of those 1500-year cicadas?]

I do think it’s important for us, however, to recall the “culture shock” caused by the Novus Ordo back when it was first introduced. [Lamentably there was not enough culture shock to save us from it.] That helps us better understand the concerns and purposes of this new edition of the Missal.

To illustrate what I mean about “culture shock,” I want to recall the experience of Evelyn Waugh, the author of Brideshead Revisited and the Sword of Honor trilogy, among other memorable works. Waugh was a brilliant novelist and essayist. He was a convert to the Catholic Church and he was not bashful about speaking his mind on what he thought was wrong in the Church. We converts can be like that!

And make no mistake: Waugh thought the Church had a made a wrong turn at the Second Vatican Council.

In his correspondence and writings in the Catholic press, Waugh was most disturbed about the Council’s plans for liturgical reform. The reformers, he complained, were “a strange alliance between archeologists absorbed in their speculations on the rites of the second century, and modernists who wish to give the Church the character of our own deplorable epoch.” [Note Bishop Conley does not bother to refute this characterization.]

Waugh certainly had a way with words, didn’t he? And here, as in so many cases, he was razor-keen in his insight.

His worst fears came to pass when the Mass was finally introduced in the vernacular. In early 1965, he wrote to a friend: “Every attendance at Mass leaves me without comfort or edification. … Church-going is now a bitter trial.”

He complained often — as did many others — that the Novus Ordo stripped the Mass of its ancient beauty and destroyed the liturgy’s contact with heavenly realities. Waugh for one, never recovered from the shock. He would say things like: “The Vatican Council has knocked the guts out of me,” and “I shall not live to see things righted.”

Waugh’s end reads like something out of one of his novels.

On Easter 1966, he asked a Jesuit friend to say a Latin Mass for him and a handful of his friends and family at a private chapel near his home. People later remarked that Waugh seemed at peace for the first time since the Council. About an hour after the Mass, he collapsed and died.

It was a dramatic ending to a fascinating and complicated life. [How could you miss the import of a story like that? Yet like the scribes and Pharisees, Bishop Conley fails, and fails utterly, to read the signs of the times.]

The lesson I want to draw here is this: Evelyn Waugh was on to something. He sensed that something had gone awry. [Yes, it was called Vatican II.]

But he was wrong not to trust the Holy Spirit’s guidance of the Pope, the Church and the Council fathers if, in fact, he did begin to despair with the direction the Church was headed. God in his kind providence spared him the experience of much of the post-conciliar silliness and the gross liberties taken with the liturgy. [Now the Bishop has devolved into pure blasphemy. How could the Holy Spirit be responsible for a reform which resulted in so much chaos and lost 75% of the Church?]

The Novus Ordo is an organic development of the Church’s ancient liturgical rites and traditions. It is a genuine sign of Christ’s faithfulness to his promise — that his Spirit would guide the Church into all the truth and would glorify him in all things. [Attributing the works of Satan to the Holy Ghost is an unforgivable sin.]

But the new does not replace the old in the Church. [At Vatican II, it did.] There is always continuity and not rupture when it comes to the authentic development of doctrine — and also when it comes to the authentic development of the liturgy. [Authentic doctrine cannot develop. The deposit of faith was sealed with the death of the Apostles. That goes for liturgy, too.]

I believe our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, like Pope John Paul II before him, has given us a healthy way to think about the relationship between the Novus Ordo and what Benedict calls the forma extraordinaria. [The traditional Latin Mass which held for 15 centuries is now “extraordinary?”] They are not two distinct liturgical rites. They are two expressions of the one Roman rite. [What sort of nonsense is this? One rite needs only one expression. If the other one is not superfluous then it is different. If it is different, it is defective.]

As I said, I have great love and appreciation for the Tridentine, or “extraordinary form” of the Mass. But I also see how the ordinary form, the Novus Ordo, has nourished and sanctified the spiritual lives of countless souls over the past 40 plus years. [25% Mass attendance? Catechetical crisis? Pedophile priests? Parish closures?] It has helped the Church to rediscover the Eucharist as the source and summit of our lives. [This exactly contradicts what you said earlier about the need for a new translation.] And we cannot forget that this Mass nourished the spiritual lives of two great figures of our generation — Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the soon-to-be Blessed John Paul II. [Two heterodox Catholic “Blesseds” attested with dubious miracles.]

And yet.[Bishop Conley, your two-word, once-sentence paragraphs are making my HTML coding unnecessarily difficult. If you must take theology lessons from Rob Bell, could you at least refrain from taking writing lessons from him also?]

And yet I think many of us would agree with Waugh on this point: Something has been lost. Something of the beauty and grandeur of the liturgy. Something of the reverence, the mystery, the sense of the transcendent. [You don’t say?] This has been a persistent criticism since the Council — and not only from so-called traditionalists.

But I can’t agree with those who blame the Novus Ordo or the vernacular. This answer is too facile. [Oh, please! A subtle ad hominem from a man of your station? Yes, you’re right. It is just so utterly facile to think that changing the language and rubrics of the Mass somehow altered the character thereof. Silly me. What do languages and rubrics matter?]

The problem has been with the way the New Mass has sometimes been understood and implemented. [Certainly that can have nothing to do with the language or the rubrics now, can it?]

I, along with not a few friends, have had the unfortunate experience that Pope Benedict has described in his 2007 "Letter to the Bishops of the world" when he issued his Apostolic Letter, Summorum Pontificum, on the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the Reforms of 1970:

“In many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience … I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.”

Again, the problem is not the Novus Ordo — but the license that people sometimes take in celebrating it. [A situation which the Bishops could have amended with the stroke of a pen had they shown the slightest interest in doing so.]

I would add that another big part of the problem has been the translations we’ve been using. [So I guess language does have something to do with it. Never mind the fact that you cannot really “translate” anything. Every translation must necessarily be a paraphrase.]

There is a banal, pedestrian quality to much of the language in our current liturgy. [What happened to your beloved “organic development?”] The weakness in the language gets in the way and prevents us from experiencing the sublime spiritual and doctrinal ideas woven into the fabric of the liturgy.

The translators had well-meaning pastoral intentions. [Which evidently included deceiving and insulting the flock.] They wanted to make the liturgy intelligible and relevant to modern Catholics. [An expedient which no other generation required.] To that end, they employed a translation principle they called “dynamic equivalence.”

In practice, this led them to produce an English translation that in many places is essentially a didactic paraphrase of the Latin. [What else could it be?] In the process, the language of our Eucharistic worship — so rich in scriptural allusion, poetic metaphor and rhythmic repetition — came to be flattened out and dumbed down.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra, Australia has observed that our current translation “consistently bleaches out metaphor, which does scant justice to the highly metaphoric discourse” of the liturgy. [Save the words ‘metaphor’ and ‘discourse’ for the Humanities department.]

This describes the problem well.

Archbishop Coleridge, by the way, is a translator by training. He headed the committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) that produced the new translation we will begin using in Advent.

He has pointed out serious theological difficulties with our current translations, including problems related to ecclesiology and the theology of grace. [So how can you honestly maintain that the previous Novus Ordo translation was licit?]

The key point here is that the words we pray matter. What we pray makes a difference in what we believe. Our prayer has implications for how we grasp the saving truths that are communicated to us through the liturgy.

For instance, our current translation almost always favors abstract nouns to translate physical metaphors for God. If the Latin prayer refers to the “face” of God, “face” will be translated in abstract conceptual terms, such as “presence.” References to God’s “right hand” will be translated as God’s “power.”

This word choice has deep theological implications.

The point of the Son of God becoming flesh is that God now has a human face — the face of Jesus. Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Whoever sees him sees the Father.

Yet if in our worship we speak of God only in abstract terms, then effectively we are undermining our faith in the Incarnation. [A rather serious charge to lay at the feet of an “organically developed” Mass. You heard it here, folks: Bishop Conley admits the Novus Ordo undermines faith in the Incarnation.]

As Archbishop Coleridge says: “The cumulative effect [of abandoning human metaphors for God] is that the sense of the Incarnation is diminished. God himself seems more abstract and less immediate than ever he does in Scripture or the Church Fathers.”

I want to say this again: I don’t believe there were bad motives involved in the translations we have now. [No, of course not. Presumably the Holy Spirit, who is supposed to prevent theological error from creeping into the Mass, was simply negligent in His duties.]

I think the root problem with the translations we have now is that the translators seriously misunderstood the nature of the divine liturgy. [And now we are supposed to trust that these rubes have corrected their own errors?]

Our current translations treat the liturgy basically as a tool for doing catechesis. That’s why our prayers so often sound utilitarian and didactic; often they have a kind of lowest-common-denominator type of feel. That’s because the translators were trying to make the “message” of the Mass accessible to the widest possible audience. [It was never their job to mess with it.]

But Christ did not give us the liturgy to be a message-delivery system. Of course, we pray what we believe, and what we pray shapes what we believe. Lex orandi, lex credendi. But the liturgy is not meant to “teach” in the same way that a catechism teaches, or even in the same way that a homily teaches.

On this point, the words of the great liturgical pioneer[?], Father Romano Guardini, are worth hearing again:[Christ is the only liturgical “pioneer.” Anyone else who tried such a thing is a heretic. I guarantee that Msgr. Guardini thought of himself in no such way.]

The liturgy wishes to teach, but not by means of an artificial system of aim-conscious educational influences. It simply creates an entire spiritual world in which the soul can live according to the requirements of its nature. ….

The liturgy creates a universe brimming with fruitful spiritual life, and allows the soul to wander about in it at will and to develop itself there. ….

The liturgy has no purpose, or at least, it cannot be considered from the standpoint of purpose. It is not a means which is adapted to attain a certain end — it is an end in itself.

This is the authentic spirit of the liturgy.

As Guardini says, the liturgy aims to create a new world for believers to dwell in. A sanctified world where the dividing lines between the human and the divine are erased. [This is utterly false. It indicates some sort of pantheistic or polytheistic thinking, both of which are heretical.] Guardini’s vision is beautiful: “The liturgy creates a universe brimming with fruitful spiritual life.”

The new translation of the Mass restores this sense of the liturgy as transcendent and transformative. It restores the sacramentality to our liturgical language. [Another meaningless phrase. Liturgical language is not itself sacramental; it is not a repository of magic formulae. But if, by the Bishop’s own admission, the previous translation was not “sacramental,” what of the validity of those Masses?] The new translation reflects the reality that our worship here joins in the worship of heaven.

The new edition of the Missal seeks to restore the ancient sense of our participation in the cosmic liturgy.

The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the Eucharist bringing us into the heavenly Jerusalem to worship in the company of angels and saints. The Book of Revelation starts with St. John celebrating the Eucharist on a Sunday. In the midst of this, the Spirit lifts him up to show him the eternal liturgy going on in heaven.

The message is clear: The Church’s liturgy is caught up in the liturgy of the cosmos. And our Eucharistic rites have always retained this vision of the cosmic liturgy. [Always, that is, except when bad translations ruined for 50 years at a time, requiring even more translations, etc.]

The Gloria and the Sanctus are two obvious points of contact. In the first, we sing the song that the angels sang at the Nativity. In the latter, we sing in unison with the angelic choirs in heaven; we sing the song that both St. John and the prophet Isaiah heard being sung in the heavenly liturgy.

The oldest of our Eucharistic Prayers, the Roman Canon, lists the names of the 12 apostles along with 12 early saints. This is meant to correspond to the 24 elders who John saw worshipping around the heavenly altar.

The Roman Canon also includes a prayer for the holy angels to bring the sacrifices from our altar up to God’s altar in heaven.

And of course the Communion Rite includes the Vulgate’s translation of the invitation that St. John heard in the heavenly liturgy: Blessed are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb.

Yet we need to recognize that this experience of the heavenly liturgy has been lost since Vatican II. [Argument by spurious apposition. How twisted can one train of logic get?]

This loss is reflected — I’m tempted to say abetted — by our current translation. For the last 40 years we have erased this heavenly reference in the Communion Rite with our bland translation: Happy are those who are called to his Supper.

Again: the words we pray matter. What we pray makes a difference in what we believe.

The Mass is truly a partaking in the worship that St. John saw around the throne and the altar of God. This is not a beautiful idea, but a sacred reality.

This is the teaching of the New Testament, the Church Fathers, the Second Vatican Council, and the Catechism, which contains numerous references to the heavenly liturgy.

And for years now, Pope Benedict XVI has been urging the Church to reclaim this appreciation of the cosmic liturgy, to reclaim our great liturgical patrimony. [The Pope “urges” the Church to reclaim its own theology? Why doesn’t he simply command it?]

I want to underline these words of the Holy Father: “The essential matter of all Eucharistic liturgy is its participation in the heavenly liturgy. It is from thence that it necessarily derives its unity, its catholicity, and its universality.” [‘Universality’ and ‘catholicity’ mean the same thing. ‘Unity’ is redundant in this context. Here you see a typical example of Ratzinger’s much touted “brilliance.”]

The essential matter of our Eucharist is its participation in the liturgy of heaven. In other words: that’s what the Eucharist is all about. The Eucharist we celebrate on earth has its source in the heavenly liturgy. And the heavenly liturgy is the summit to which our Eucharistic celebration looks.

Yet how many of our people in the pews — how many of our priests at the altar — feel that they are being lifted up to partake in the heavenly liturgy? [And who but clergy are to blame for that?]

This is why this new translation is so important. [Yes, because the first attempt to make the eternal liturgy relevant to the unique needs of modern man failed, we must have a second attempt.]

I want to look briefly now at some of the changes in this new translation. I want to meditate on these changes and suggest some ways in which these changes might enhance our appreciation of the essential transcendent dimension of the liturgy.

Many of the changes are small and subtle — but even in these we can sense a shift.

For instance: in one of the forms introducing the Penitential Rite, the priest will now pray: “You are seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us.” Currently, of course, we pray: “You plead for us at the right hand of the Father.”

What’s the big difference?

The new translation lifts our gaze to heaven and asks us to contemplate Christ seated at the right hand of the Father and there interceding for us.

By contrast, the translation we have now aims to be didactic and efficient. It scrubs the metaphor and hence the vision of our Lord in heaven. It opts instead to give us information about what Jesus is doing for us.

The original Latin — ad déxteram Patris sedes, ad interpellándum pro nobis — combines two quotations from the Letter to the Hebrews. And it’s not just a random allusion to the Vulgate. It was chosen quite deliberately from Hebrews’ meditation on Christ’s heavenly high priesthood.

In the New Testament, to be “seated at the right hand” describes Christ’s divine power and authority. By removing the metaphorical reference to his being seated, our current translation weakens our prayer. This sense of weakness is reinforced by the decision to translate interpellándum by the word “plead” — which in common English usage suggests an inferior or powerless position.

In restoring a faithful translation of the Latin, the new Missal redirects our worship toward heaven. We pray, confident in our Father’s mercy, knowing we are in contact with our High Priest — who “is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,” and “always lives to make intercession” for us. [I thought the purpose of the Mass was not to do catechesis.]

Another example is the epiclesis in Eucharistic Prayer II. [The new rite needs multiple Eucharistic prayers. Apparently one isn’t good enough.]

Currently we pray:

Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

The new translation restores the repetitive language and the biblical metaphor found in the Latin text:

Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Restoring the Latin here gives us a much richer prayer. [Restoring the Latin everywhere would give us our Mass back. What’s the holdup?] It also stresses that the liturgy is not our work, but the work of God, who sends down his Spirit from heaven.

The key word is “dewfall,” rore in the Latin. It is a poetic metaphor that is filled with Scriptural significance. Of course, the allusion here is to how God fed his chosen people with manna that he sent down from heaven with the morning dew. We are also meant to associate this with Christ calling the Eucharist the true manna, the true “bread which comes down from heaven.”

Again and again, this new translation reminds us how steeped our liturgical language is in the vocabulary and thought-world of sacred Scripture.

In just this epiclesis, for instance, we have not only the reference to the heavens that drop down manna with the dewfall. We also have an allusion to the sending down of the Spirit — upon the earth at creation, upon Mary at the Annunciation, Christ at his Baptism, the Church at Pentecost, and each one of our hearts at our Baptism.

Considered prayerfully, we can see that the Spirit’s action on the altar in the liturgy continues the Spirit’s work of creation and redemption in history.

We also must not forget that 80% of the prayers in the Roman Missal date before the 9th century. We have a duty to hand these treasures on faithfully and accurately. [Faithfully and accurately—like, in Latin, perhaps? I don’t even know how to properly ridicule absurdity of this magnitude.]

Vatican II taught that every petition, prayer, hymn, liturgical sign and action draws its inspiration, substance and meaning from sacred Scripture. [So Vatican II went sola scriptura?]

This is reflected in our new translations.

And this is deliberate. This is what the Vatican intended in Liturgiam Authenticam, the important statement of translation principles that it issued back in 2001.

I think what I like about this Vatican statement is its realism. No matter what the fads in liturgy or catechesis, the Vatican is determined to keep us “real.” [Whatever]

Liturgiam Authenticam says: “The words of the Sacred Scriptures, as well as the other words spoken in liturgical celebrations … are not intended primarily to be a sort of mirror of the interior dispositions of the faithful; rather, they express truths that transcend the limits of time and space.”

And when it comes to translating the Latin texts of the liturgy, Liturgiam Authenticam also invokes the same principles of realism.

We will be blessed, as a Church, that in this new edition of the Missal, the translators took these principles to heart.

This is important. Because the liturgy is not only an aesthetic event. It is not only about praying beautiful words. The Scriptures are the inspired Word of God. They are the Word of God in the words of human language.

In the liturgy, we are praying to God in the very words of God. And God’s Word is power. God’s Word is living and active. That means that the words we pray in the liturgy are “performative.” They are not words alone, but words that have the power to do great deeds. They are words that can accomplish what they speak of.

As priests, when we speak Christ’s words in the Eucharist — or in any of the sacraments — these words possess divine power to change and transfigure. “This is my Body … This is the chalice of my Blood.” When we speak these words by the power of the Spirit, bread and wine are marvelously changed.

The words of the liturgy are able to create “a universe brimming with spiritual life.” By these words we are summoned into the stream of salvation history. By these words we are able to offer ourselves in sacrifice to the Father, in union with Christ’s own offering of his Body and Blood. By these words we are being transformed, along with the bread and the wine on the altar. [You’ve got to be kidding me! Here’s a new trend in Catholic theology: the transubstantiation of the congregation.] We are becoming more and more changed into Christ, more and more assimilated to his life.

That’s why it is so important that we implement this new translation with a profound Eucharistic catechesis and mystagogy. [Catechesis again? I thought that was supposed to be out.]

Through this new translation, we need to invite our brothers and sisters to know the liturgy as a mystery to be lived. As Pope Benedict has said, our Eucharistic mystagogy must inspire “an awareness that one’s life is being progressively transformed by the holy mysteries being celebrated.”

That is the great promise of this new translation and new edition of the Missal. The promise of a people nourished and transformed by the sacred mysteries they celebrate. The promise of a people who are able to offer themselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. [This is a rather confusing conflation of the Eucharistic liturgy with Paul’s admonition concerning mortification of the flesh.] A people who experience Christ living in them, as they are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another.

I want to leave you with one last image. I hope it will inspire you to always celebrate the sacred liturgy with passionate intensity [gettin’ jiggy with it] and a keen awareness of the liturgy of heaven.

One of his altar servers left us this description of how St. Josemaría Escrivá used to pray the Mass.

For [St. Josemaría], the liturgy was not a formal act but a transcendent one. Each word held a profound meaning and was uttered in a heartfelt tone of voice. He savored the concepts. … Josemaría seemed detached from his human surrounding and, as it were, tied by invisible cords to the divine. This phenomenon peaked at the moment of consecration. … Josemaría seemed to be disconnected from the physical things around him … and to be catching sight of mysterious and remote heavenly horizons.

Thank you for your attention this evening. I look forward to our conversation.


Concluding Remarks

Well dear reader, I hope you did not experience as much tedium in reading that as I did in writing it. Bishop Con-job is repetitive, illogical, self-contradictory, and condescending—in short, he is a typical representative of the Novus Ordo and its entire attitude towards God and his people. Truly a more thorough refutation of his points is in order, but I hope I have managed with my pithy quips to convey some sense of the towering absurdity in which he engages. Evelyn Waugh was evidently killed of by the New Mass, but does Bishop Conley draw the moral? Waugh can no longer experience suffering, for he is in Paradise with the rest of the real Catholics. But we on earth can relate to his sensation of having the guts knocked out of him. I feel it every time I go to Mass.

Bishop Conley tells us that blaming the vernacular is too “facile,” and then proceeds himself to blame the vernacular. He tells us that the Mass is not supposed to be about catechesis, and then he tells us that it is. He tells us that we must preserve the ancient rites of the Church in the very course of justifying a new translation of the Mass. He argues by apposing baldly contradictory sentences (the common use of this technique amongst postconciliar churchmen deserves a post of its own). In short, I find his speech to be both insulting and ridiculous.

These problems would not exist if we had stuck with the Latin Mass, the Mass set down for all time in “Quo Primum. Why is modern man the only generation so stupid as to require his Mass to be explained to him in the vernacular? Why did the “organic development” of the liturgy choose to take a 1500 year vacation before springing forth with the delightful Novus Ordo, which even Bishop Con-job admits is “theologically defective?” Why did the Holy Spirit inspire a Mass so badly translated that it now requires further amendment, 50 years later. Obviously these questions have no answer, because the entire thing is a fraud. This is being done only to mask the growing awareness that the Second Vatican Council was an infidel synod which was convened to introduce destructive elements into the Church. The sooner it is forgotten about, the better. We need to support the traditional Latin Mass and traditional Catholic theology. Henceforth, that shall be the mission and purpose of this blog.

1 comment:

  1. I think we may have one thing in common. That might be a desire to return to catholic tradition and structures of faith as they were prior to Vatican II. Comparing these changes to the Novus Ordo, we find it makes the Mass much closer to the Mass per the 1962 missal. I see this as an important step in the right direction.