Sunday, January 02, 2011

Over-inflated headlines?

The latest Adoremus Bulletin carries an article by the title, "The New Missal - Opening the Gateway to New Evangelization." These sorts of headlines are not uncommon these days. My fear is, however, that such language is often absurdly over-inflated, and that over-use of such language can lead readers to tune out anything that could be of value in such articles.

I am not questioning the importance of the new Novus Ordo Missal with its properly-revised translations of key texts. These represent the ongoing work of correcting a form of the Roman rite which, from the long historical view of our bimillenial Catholic tradition, is anything but settled. These corrections are important for what they are. But just as it took more than a few poorly translated words to get us into our present crisis of faith and morals, it's going to take more than a new Missal translation to rekindle the embers of Catholic faith in the land of AmChurch.

We've heard it all before -- the "New Springtime of Evangelization," the "New Pentecost," the "New Church aborning," etc., etc. It's a bit like passing out Gospel tracts to death camp inmates and announcing that you have thereby flung open the spiritual windows of their lives to the balmy winds of a New Pentecost.

A little more modesty and realism would be refreshing. Just a thought.


Ralph Roister-Doister said...

From what I can see of it, Adoremus is a group of men and women dedicated to the promotion of the flavor of reverence in the Novus Ordo.

To change the metaphor, if you look upon the Novus Ordo as a model of automobile, you could look upon the Adoremus version of it as kind of a PT cruiser, self-consciously "retro" in filigree, but beneath it all the same clunky, cheaply made Dodge engine as has been festooning junkyards for the past several decades. Some may protest, "well, surely a PT cruiser is an improvement over a VW van with tie-dye paint splotching and 'If you see me rocking, don't come knocking' bumper stickers" -- and this is in fact Adoremus' whole point, but it is to me on the whole a rather mewling and self-deluding point indeed.

So I understand Adoremus' penchant for "overinflation" -- when you are starting out with next to nothing, what else can you do?

Anon said...


Anonymous said...


I'm not going to play curmudgeon this morning, even as I realize the obvious rightness of your basic contention.

The new translation is the beginning of the repair work, not its end.

New music and new architecture are necessary. This will follow proper catechesis by priests, from the pulpit.

As I wrote in another context recently, there's no point gained in beating up on Archbishop Dolan because he hasn't cleaned everything at once. He had to start somewhere.

Might I encourage you to post the music for "Oremus pro antistite nostro..."?

God bless,


Sheldon said...

The new translation is the beginning of the repair work, not its end.

No, the beginning of the repair work would be an expose of the corruption and hijacking of the Liturgical Movement years before Vatican II, which led to the hijacking of the Council by the Rheine flowing into the Tiber and the hijacking of the Concilium by Bugnini & Co., which contrived a liturgy that Pope Benedict once called a "fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product," which is a spot-on description for a stratagem targeted at undermining the traditional faith of Catholics.

Oremus pro antistite nostro.

Yes. Indeed that; and much, much more.

romishgraffiti said...

Adoremus is a group of men and women dedicated to the promotion of the flavor of reverence in the Novus Ordo.

There is a joke among us electric bass players called The Cry of the Warwick Owner: "But it was the nicest thing in the store!" Likewise, conservative Catholics have their own tired cry: "But the NO can be celebrated reverently!"

Reverence as seasoning rather than substance. Ouch! As someone for whom the only option is an NO that aspires to being "not too bad" I have to admit it stings because it is true.

Scott W.

Pertinacious Papist said...

Hello Chris,

Yes, I understand that the repair has to start somewhere. Certainly the improved translation is a start, even if not remotely near the end.

As you say, new music is needed -- "new" in the sense of something (almost ANYTHING) different from our iniquitous AmChurch Haugen-Haas fare. Of course one kind of "new" that you and I both appreciate, ironically, is the timeless "old" of Gregorian chant, which we enjoy in our traditional Latin liturgies.

I've found it something between comical and depressing contemplating the amount of frenzied energy expended on re-arranging some of the less-than-tasteful-or-appropriate musical settings (deck chairs on the Titanic?) to accommodate the new translation. Why such an all-out cathartic and kenotic oblation in the service of re-inventing the wheel, especially when the re-invented one is octogonal or square?

You've also mentioned the need for new catechesis. Amen to that; but I sometimes feel we are close to finding ourselves these days in the position of St. Francis when he was asked to rebuild the Church from the ground up. Of course, this is not quite true, because there is an abundance of Sacred Tradition. Only, it is nearly buried these days under a rubble of guitar music and confetti from bongo McLiturgies and Life Teen McMasses, which is the legacy of the hippie-dippy cultural revolution of the 1960s.

Let us pray for our bishops indeed!

JM said...

The new translation sounds better, but it is hard to believe it will change much other an giving conservative Catholics less indigestion. We need evangelism of the parishoners, and revival amongst the clergy, to counter the stagnation so pervasive. Policy changes, vocabulary improvements.... all nice, but slightly off point when we find ourselves in a culture war but the too many more in step with the culture than the Church.

Anonymous said...

JM -

Of all the things we need, a "revival" is not one of them. "Reinvigoration", perhaps, is a better term. An adjustment of expectations is clearly in order. Mass isn't about the narcissistic me, so measuring Mass by "what I get out of it" is using the wrong yard stick. Every time we assist at Mass, grace in some measure is on offer, even if we are in mortal sin: the grace of our awareness of the need for a savior.


I absolutely agree that reworked junk is still junk. I've tried to write an organ voluntary on "On Eagle's wings", and it sounds limp -- but then I've also tried setting the theme to Dr. Who as a harpsicord piece and "Gather us in" for Tudor woodwind ensemble .... so: wierd, if not always successful, is in the repertoire.

Perhaps, if I can be forgiven for referring to Fr. Fessio in these pages, [Ralph, I don't have any flame retardant] the solution is in recognizing that some of the schlock is quite interesting, but it doesn't belong at Mass. Let it serve as accompaniment to coffee and donuts, or elevator music -- or mall loiterer removal?

God bless,


Anonymous said...

"For you have given your children a sacred time
for the renewing and purifying of their hearts,
that, freed from disordered affections,
they may so deal with the things of this passing world
as to hold rather to the things that eternally endure."

This is the language of the new translation -- what is so wonderful about it?