Friday, November 25, 2011

If you’re attending Mass this weekend, here’s what you need to know:

- The new Mass will first be celebrated at the Saturday vigil, to be followed by Masses on Sunday and thereafter.
- Priests are unlikely to interrupt the Mass with instructions, but instead will encourage congregants before the service begins to follow along to printed materials containing the new text.
- Some familiar Mass songs will change to accommodate the new translations.
- If you’re interested in the reasoning behind any specific word choice, you can read the commentary from the bishops’ conference at their Web site. Click on the ‘commentary’ links below the Mass part.
You can see some of the new language below.

(Source: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops/The Washington Post)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pope wraps up Africa Trip

Actually he didn't go to 'Africa', that's like saying, 'North America', he was in Benin. The Pope met with about 80k faithful and more importantly delivered "The Commitment to Africa".

What this will do to actually effect change in the continent is up in the air.... we can be cynical and say pretty much nothing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Changes Coming to Liturgy

In an age when Facebook changes every 6 months much to the chagrin of over 40-somethings, a new Roman Missal hits pews Nov. 27. The issue for many parishioners and priests is the plain fact most are over 40, probably 60. Change for an aging generation of churchgoers and leaders doesn't come easy at all.

English-speaking countries will begin to use a new translation of the Roman Missal, the ritual text of prayers and instructions for celebrating Mass. International committees of specialists worked under a Vatican directive to hew close to the Latin. After years of revisions negotiated by bishops' conferences and the Holy See, dioceses are preparing anxious clergy and parishioners for the rollout, one of the biggest changes in Catholic worship in generations.

Now, the power of liturgy in worship certainly can't be diminished, but if you rely so heavily on liturgy to encounter the Lord perhaps you need to rethink your spirituality.

I would hazard a guess the majority of clergy are going to be upset with 'new'. Calling it awkward and hard to understand is pretty standard for something NEW. But there are good arguments that there's a disconnect between what the new MIssal accomplishes and where the church is physically. If we're in a very clear religious dichotomy with culture, then big changes are not only annoying, but a challenge to faith as well.

Other factors push obvious Catholic theology, in the Nicene Creed, the phrase "one in Being with the Father," will change to "consubstantial with the Father." As for Holy Communion the priest will ask God for blessings "by sending down your spirit upon them like the dewfall."


What's a dewfall? So much for connecting with anybody under 40.

The new missal grew out of changes in liturgy that started with the Second Vatican Council, the 1960s meetings on modernizing the church that permitted Mass in local languages instead of Latin. Bishops in English-speaking countries created the International Commission on English in the Liturgy to undertake the translation. The panel produced a missal by 1973, but that version was considered temporary until better texts could be completed. In some cases, the commission sought to use language that would be gender neutral.

The work took a new direction in 2001, when the Vatican office in charge of worship issued the directive Liturgiam Authenticam, or Authentic Liturgy, which required translations closer to the Latin. The Vatican also appointed another committee to oversee the English translation, drawing complaints from some clergy and liturgists that the Vatican was controlling what should be a more consultative process.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ireland Closes Vatican Embassy

Stemming from huge disconnect between state and church, Irish Vatican relations hit a new low with the closure of the Irish embassy. The blow comes on the heals of years of inability of the Vatican to properly deal with sexual abuse scandals that rocked the church. Of course, having a largely limp wristed church with little relevancy in everyday Irish lives certainly doesn't help. In a country where religion is merely a passing thought that your parents had to go to, the death of the Catholic church seems imminent ( at least in its current form).

Some kind of revival is in order, but there's a load of housecleaning to do first. One can fully expect, however, that this closure will be the first of many, and one that will be in all likelihood permeant.