Saturday 28 November 2009

Selling ICEL

As we begin the first Sunday of Advent, it is not without a certain amount of pleasure that I reflect that by this time next year, God willing, we will be consigning our 1975 ICEL Missals to the same dusty corner of the sacristy that used to house the old Latin Missal. As I begin the collect tomorrow, I shall be comforted by the thought that I will be using it for the last time.
Tactics over the next twelve months, though, will be crucial if there is not to be chaos. There are bound to be problems, but not all of them are unavoidable.
Some undesirable things will certainly happen. Some, perhaps many, priests (and even bishops?) will change the translation into something they like better. 'For you and for many', I can see not being used universally. And some collects and other texts have not been translated as well as they might (I'm told that the collect for the First Sunday of Advent is a case in point). Musical settings of the current translation (or paraphrases thereof) are not going to be dropped overnight.
But I hope that our bishops have learned from what happened in South Africa, where the change was introduced all of a sudden, and caused confusion and annoyance. That could easily happen here, and a widespread revolt on the topic is not impossible.
The Catholic Herald tells us that there is a plan for a phased introduction of the new version. That is a good idea. I understand from another source that the proposed plan involves the introduction, first, of the 'and with your spirit' response, in June, then, every three or four weeks, introducing another element until, by the first Sunday of Advent, the whole lot should be in place. Not a bad idea (though see my suggestion below). Unfortunately, according to a Source Close to Fruitcake House, the bishops have decided against this, but without proposing anything else. They are simply scared of the reaction to the introduction of the new missal, and don't know what to do.
Like many things, the longer you leave them, the worse the problem will become. We are not in 1970 any more, and the chance of a smooth, universally-observed implementation of the new missal is slim. We must be prepared for the fact that there is likely to be considerable liturgical divergence (perhaps even chaos) from parish to parish for a long time. Some parishes will use the new missal straight (I will). Others will modify it a little or a lot. Others will still continue to use 1975 to a greater or lesser extent. But it will settle down eventually, and if the bishops act decisively now, the period of chaos will be reduced.
I personally think that a graded introduction is a good idea. But I would start from the other end, with the priestly prayers, in fact, with the Eucharistic prayers, specifically EP3, which I think is the most satisfactory of the translations. The purpose of this is to introduce the people to the register of the new translations; they will grow to understand what it sounds like, and feels like, before being required to adjust to putting it into practice themselves.
Somebody is producing catechetical material for the introduction; I'm not sure how necessary this is, but I do hope (forlornly) that the bishops will not again put a monopoly for publication into the hands of one company (though I've heard that one applicant for the right to publish has produced an absolutely beautiful altar missal). In particular, during the period of reception, I hope that the bishops' conference will permit parishes to download, adapt and produce their own material without fear of getting into trouble—okay, frankly, what I would like is for the bishops to just let each parish priest get on with introducing the material to his own parishioners in the way he thinks it will work best for the people he knows, the process to have been completed in a year's time.
Finally, I hope that a longer period will be permitted for the introduction of new music: if we have to stop using (almost) everything we use now, in terms of Mass settings, then we will be compelled to either have said Masses, or to accepting whatever stuff is produced fastest.


berenike said...

Or going along with the mad idea of using Latin :-)

pelerin said...

Father's comment on 'considerable litugical divergence' resulting from the introduction or not of the new translation brought a wry smile to my lips! Isn't that what we have had for the last 40 years or so?

For some years I have attended Mass in many churches in England when away at weekends. I know 'the Mass is the Mass' but how I craved familiarity. In France too although at least they have a more accurate translation yet much divergence in the celebration of the liturgy.

This year I shall be spending Christmas away and am already wondering what to expect at Mass on Christmas Day. It is not easy to pray at Mass when there is so much divergence today. I support berenike's idea!

berenike said...

You could move to Poland, pelerin :-) In my parish, I have noted one constant liturgical abuse on the part of the (holy) PP. He *always* says "happy are those who have been called and have come to His supper". And one of the other priests has twice used an EP-for-Masses-with-Children at weekday Mass with no children, because he thought it went nicely with the gospel.

Also the food here is very good :-)

Unknown said...

The C-of-E made a rubric at the time of the 1980 Alternative Service Book (which perversely printed rubrics in blue) to the effect that where the Ordinary of the Mass was sung to well-known settings they could be sung to the text for which they had been written. Churches which sung Masses by Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Vittoria, Byrd and Palestrina very quickly cottoned on to this one!

Anonymous said...

Quote: "This year I shall be spending Christmas away and am already wondering what to expect at Mass on Christmas Day. It is not easy to pray at Mass when there is so much divergence today. I support berenike's idea!"

Well you could try out an Eastern Catholic parish

Bishop of Ebbsfleet said...

In Anglo-Catholic parishes seeking to change the vernacular - perhaps from BCP language to modern English - the tactic has long been for the priest to change everything he says but leave intact for a while everything the congregation says and sings. That would surely work with the new Missal, given the difficulties.
+ Andrew

gemoftheocean said...

As a card carrying member of "The jerked around" generation, bit by bit introduction is going to seem like Chinese water torture all over again. About a month before hand, each week, hand out materials about "what changed" and have a couple of sermons about it, then one fine Sunday, just CHANGE it all at once. It's less painful that way all around. The people who "won't get it" are the Christmas and Easter Catholics who'd complain anyway, and the people who'd complain just to complain. Just cut the head off the snake and be done with it.

As it is, I'm ticked off they left those DAMNED EPs in for "chilllldrun" [to which some mass congregations get saddled with if there's 5 kiddies in the pews, and the rest of us have to suffer] Frankly, I'm not keen with all the options for the EP, and would have mandated that EPI be used for Sunday---and there be no other option for Sunday. Because too many of us NEVER get to hear it. Usually we're subjected to EPII.

BTW, good luck with "cosubstantial."

Fr William R Young said...

I think your suggestion is good. Perhaps we have to do that without actually asking for permission from our bishops, because perhaps that is, constructively, what they want us to do: get on with it, provided there is no "mailbag effect" for them. Proceed sensitively and with caution. The ultimate threat (promise would be a better word) is, I suppose, to use Latin if there are complaints about the English.
Fr William R. Young

Sixupman said...

Or even the more ridiculous idea of using the vernacular of the 1962 Missal. Oh!, I forgot no lay intrusion into the Celebration - so that kills that idea.

Et Expecto said...

Those people who remember the way that changes were introduced in the 1960s and 1970s will probably agree that introducung changes gradually is a bad idea.

People got heartily sick of having to absorb another set of changes every few months, a process that went on for years. I recall that most priests said that it would have be far better if it had all been done all in one go, and I agree.

pelerin said...

Anonymous - thank you for your advice but as I shall be in a very small town in the North of England (hopefully not flooded!) I don't think I will have this choice! I shall be grateful that there is a Catholic church there at all.

Francis said...

Fr. Sean,

What provision is being made for Catholics who still have not yet adjusted to the change from "It is right and fitting" to "It is right to give him thanks and praise"?

There's more of them than you think!

pelerin said...

I agree with gem about the EPl. When I changed parishes and heard for the first time for years the EP1 with the long list of Saints linking us to the past, I realised that I had actually forgotten this part of the Canon of the Mass. I am ashamed to say that I had actually got used to the much shortened EPs as the norm.

Regarding whether we should have an instant change or a phased-in change to the new translations I seem to remember the last time it was drip fed in with missalettes being issued and Priests having to cope with loose leaf missals to accommodate the changes. Perhaps gem is right and that it will be less painful to do it all in one go?

On the other hand I still remember the final change with the first Mass completely in English (would that be in Nov 1969?)and the shock and great sadness I felt - yes and emptiness and confusion too. Up until then I had actually got used to the various changes taking place - one I welcomed was hearing the actual words of the Priest at the Consecration still in Latin even though if I remember correctly the Priest was by now facing the people.

Little by little I had been able to accept these changes or perhaps I had been too concerned about raising a family at the time to contemplate them fully? It was the final change which was the most difficult to accept and it is good that we can now discuss this without having to suffer in silence. It never occured to me all those years ago to even talk about the difficulties with a Priest but I now realise that perhaps I should have done so.

gemoftheocean said...

Pelerin, the heck of it was the "new changes" are darn close to what "they" gave us in 64'. Some time ago I did a post re: the cards we recieved at the time. I certainly don't remember the priest nagging us to death with explanations beforehand. Indeed, the 64 change took place within a week or two of my 1st Communion. They didn't turn the priest around right away, but did so within a year, and I believe within a year the canon was done outloud and in English -- I always liked the long litanies too in EP I, and have been disappointed NOT to hear them since. Because Mass is SOOOOO dragged out now, the priest usually picks the shortest option.

I think they should have stayed with the optionless proper of the 64-69 Mass. There are entire congregations who never say the confiteor, have no idea what any EP is like other than EPII [which, I have to admit, from what I read is one of the most ancient ones, to be fair] or get subjected to dingbat EPS written by cretins.

I hate that the kyrie is seldom done.

I have to say overall I like the new series of the liturgy of the word BUT I think there could be a few improvements -- for instance the John 6 readings only come up in the summer of year "B". These readings are too important NOT to be read every year.

Any, that Mass card issued to the pew warmers is here.

Dilly said...

The problem with introducing the phrases a bit at a time is greater in those parishes which use the cheap and cheerful redemptorist leaflets, which have antiphons,prefaces,readings and gospel on one side, and the Notices on the other. They would have to go back to the old "three sheet" booklet that I remember - where there was a huge rustling sound, just before the Our Father........Of course they could be economical with these like one parish priest, who collected them in and used them again 3 years later. In the 90's we were still using 1977 leaflets - and they weren't in bad nick, either.

PS I went on saying "right and fitting" and "resurrection of the body" for many many years.

SPQRatae said...

I think a staggered introduction is a bad idea, even though your idea of reversing the order in which changes are made is better than the alternative.
The problem is human nature. That way, you are just dragging out the pain, with change after change after change over many months.
Much better to get all the pain out of the way in one go, BUT precede it with lots of information, explanations, preparations, talks, study groups etc etc for many months before the introduction. That way it will not be a surprise, and many people of good faith will be positively looking forward to it!

pelerin said...

I have been thinking about these comments while I was out today. Many blogs have mentioned the 40 year anniversary of the Novus Ordo. I think gem has said elsewhere that the original first English translation was actually closer to the Latin but successive translations became less accurate.

She mentions the Confiteor which reminds me of another change which took place in 1975. I remember the date specifically as in that year I spent a couple of months in hospital and twice a week we received a very welcome visit by the local Priest. One visit was always social with much laughter and chat which kept our spirits up.

The other visit, the most important, brought us Holy Communion each week. On the first occasion before receiving, the Priest said to two of us newcomers 'I don't expect you've got used to the new Confiteor yet so would you like to say the old one?' and we were allowed to say the familiar English Confiteor which as far as I remember was an exact translation of the original Latin.
Those were the last times I said the original Confiteor in English.

I don't think I have read anywhere yet whether the Confiteor will revert to that first translation or whether we carry on confessing to our 'brothers and sisters'. I have since wondered whether it was deemed not quite 'in order' to confess to 'Blessed Mary ever virgin, Blessed Michael the Archangel, Blessed John the
Baptist etc? Perhaps that was why it was changed?

berenike said...

The new confiteor is very like that in the Dominican rite. I don't know if this is more than happenstance.

motuproprio said...

I think you are being very optimistic about the ability of the Bishops' Conference to get the New English Missal published by Advent 2010. My guess is that 'unforseen delays in publication' will defer the introduction to Advent 2011.

Pastor in Monte said...

MotuP: you may well be right. But let's look on the bright side of life!
Others: there seems to be some confusion about the new translation. It is a more accurate translation of the Ordinary Form, i.e. the Novus Ordo, not anything else. So the confiteor is not like the Dominican, nor will it have St Michael &c in it.
You can see the whole ordinary on this blog here:

berenike said...

Padre - I wasn't referring to the translation when talking about the "new confiteor", but to the version in the NO/OF Missal. It was a response to pelerin's wonderings about the lack of St John the Baptist etc in the latter. I was merely saying that having known the confiteor from the missals of 1960 and John XIII, and then coming across the Dominican confiteor (in new-rite Compline and at a Dominican-rite Mass), I was struck by its similarity to the NO confiteor (or the latter's similarity to it). :) c'est tout.

Adulio said...

Another reason to confirm why I go to the old rite now: none of these endless changes and vain hopes. Just do the mass, pray and begone.

The Cardinal said...

My spies tell me that the new translation is already being used in Shoreham, although it has not yet been approved for use in this country (or in any country, as a matter of fact).

It appears that some people simply bend the rules according to their own tastes.

My spies also tell me that the church in Shoreham is full to bursting point, so it may be that bending the rules is rather popular on this part of the south coast.

In other place, use of the new translation ahead of time is causing nothing but confusion nd dissension among the faithful.

The fact is that the new translation of the prsidential prayers of the Mass (especially the collects) is nothing short of hideous. I suspect that my spies have confused Fr Finnegan's use of the new Order of Mass with the entire Missal, which is something rather different.