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Commentary on Hymns from Glory and Praise

[Huntington, Indiana; Dec. 10, 20ll] Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., writes in The Priest magazine "Don't Look Now, But the Anglicans Are Coming." He is writing about those Anglicans who are coming to join the Catholic Church, especially in 2012. Father Benedict says "I can imagine former Anglicans having to take a deep breath before facing some of the hymns we sing these days...[t]here is a special room in purgatory reserved for Catholics who are guilty of liturgical silliness...[their] punishment will doubtless involve listening to repeated recordings of the hymns from Glory and Praise."

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Hong Kong Diocese Postpones Intro of New Missal
[Hong Kong, Sept 26, 2011] The Diocese of Hong Kong is delaying for one year the introduction of the new English translation of the Roman Missal. In many countries, implementation is slated for Nov. 27, the First Sunday of Advent. The chancellor, Father Lawrence Lee, said that more time is needed for popular instruction, catechesis. There are over 100,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong; and they need Mass in English. So, of the 51 parishes in the diocese, almost two thirds have the Mass in English.

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New Translation Comes under Fire
[Huntington, IN; June 24, 2011] In the current issue of The Priest magazine, Father Thad Kondzielski reviews the new translation of the Mass, mandatory as of Nov. 29, 2011. Father Thad says that the new texts "show a total lack of...understanding of English grammar." Our prayers, he says, "are being reduced to wordy nonsense." As for the "for many" wording of the Last Supper narrative, in the Eucharistic Prayers, Father Thad says, "I am 70 years old and don't ever remember telling God in the morning, today I am going to pray for many. If I did, God's response would most like be 'many what?'"

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New Instruction about Tridentine Mass.

[Rome, May 14, 2011] A new Roman document, Universae Ecclesiae, provides clarification of Pope Benedict's earlier motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum. The new Roman instruction was released yesterday, May 13. The document provides guidance for the use of the Tridentine form of the Roman Mass, namely, the missal of 1962. Without needing to seek his bishop's permission, each priest can say Mass in this form, according to the request of specific groups of people.

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Australian Priests Criticize New Translation

[Sydney, May 13, 2011] Numerous priests in Australia have said they will not use the new translation of the Mass, to go into effect in late 2011. Father John Crothers said that he could not use the revised texts "in good conscience." He described the new missal as "going backwards instead of going forwards. I won't be saying the priest's part."

Father Ian McGinnity, head of the National Council of Priests of Australia, reported that hundreds of its members were angry at what they felt was a lack of consultation. About twelve have said they would not use the new translation.

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Modern Church Music Said to be Ecclesiastical Karoke

[London, April 15, 2011] A prominent English musician has severely critized contemporary Catholic church music. Joseph Cullen, choral director of the London Symphony, says that in the past 50 years there has been a great lack of "worthy sacred music." In the April 9 issue of The Tablet, Mr Cullen says that since the 1960s, poorly composed hymns have been used primarily as "filler" throughout the Mass. He says that "low-quality material in both inspiration and facility is commonplace."

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Critic of New Translation Throws in the Towel

[Seattle, WA; March 14, 2011] Father Michael Ryan, pastor of St. James Cathedral in Seattle, has described the new missal translation as clumsy, awkward, and alien to spoken English. That was the gist of an article he published in America magazine. Father Ryan set up a website, What if we just said wait? A year ago, in December, 2009, he hoped to delay introduction of the new translation. Now, he says it's time to accept the new missal as inevitable. In the end, he says, the people themselves will make their own judgement on the texts; and that, he says, is what's most important.

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Open Letter to U.S. Bishops

[Collegeville, MN; Feb 14, 2011] Father Anthony Ruff, OSB, writes in the current issue of America magazine that he "cannot promote the new missal translation with integrity." Father Ruff says that he cannot "say things I do not believe." He says that this new translation was imposed on the American bishops, violating their legitimate authority. The process, he says, was marked by "deception and mischief." Father Ruff is the founder of the National Catholic Youth Choir and the editor of the weblog, PrayTell. He is professor of liturgy and Gregorian Chant at St. John's Abbey.

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Catholic Academy Evaluates New Translation

[San Francisco; January 5, 2011] At a national meeting of scholars of liturgy, there was serious consideration of the new edition of English-language Roman Missal. In general, several speakers reflected some criticims originally given by Peter Jeffrey, in Translating Tradition. One scholar suggested that once the Roman Missal is out, we should immediately begin work on another new translation. The gathering was of the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, part of the ecumenical assocation, the North American Academy of Liturgy.

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New Translation Described as Opaque and Clumsy

[London, England; Nov 6, 2010] In today's issue of The Tablet, Father Raymond G. Helmick, S.J., describes the new translation of the Mass as "opaque and clumsy." He says that he was one of the people who prepared the current translation, put into use 40 years ago. Father Hemrick says that at that time, certain important principles were followed that now have been deliberately disregarded. There is even incorrect English and a lack of understanding of English grammar. Father Helmick teaches theology at Boston College, Massachusetts. (See The Tablet for some letters responding to this article.

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Father Joncas Promotes New Translation

Father Michael Joncas[Oak Brook, IL; Oct 19, 2010] Father Michael Joncas spoke to over 1100 priests today at the Drury Lane Theater in Oak Brook, Illinois. He flew in from Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he teaches. (The presentation was summarized and evaluated in the ACP Library, online.) Father Joncas traced the development of the sacramentary and the missal, in the Roman Rite. He then explained the main principles of Roman documents that help translators do their work. Finally, he went through two Eucharistic Prayers in detail, comparing the Latin original texts with the current translation and the new translation, due to go into effect in December, 2011. Priests appreciated the opportunity to sing through parts of the Eucharistic Prayers. Father Joncas pointed out that singing these prayers was promoted in the Roman Missal itself. Throughout, his talk was supplemented with an extensive printed handout and two large projection screens.

He said that as a pastor, his duty was to get into the meaning of the text, highlight what is beautiful, and make it effective prayer for the people. The priest knows, he said, that "It is not my prayer but the prayer of the Church." As a scholar, he will reflect on the translation and the documents in question, raising questions for the future. However, that work is not done, he said, in the pulpit. It is primarily a matter of private study and scholarly publication. In this regard, Father Joncas recommended the recent work of Peter Jefferey, Translating Tradition. (To order this book, send an email to or call 708 331-5485.)

Both Father Joncas and Cardinal Francis George described the work of the two organizations most responsible for the new translation: ICEL and Vox Clara ("clear voice"). Cardinal George is a member of Vox Clara. He said that when the new translation first came out, some criticized Rome for not having enough English-speaking bishops involved; so, Vox Clara was set up to facilitate the work.

Perhaps a third of the Chicago priests present were from religious orders; two thirds were diocesan priests, of whom over a hundred are retired. Questions were submitted in writing; there was no open discussion. From the questions presented and the general audience reaction, the priests seemed to be optimistic about introducing the new translation. Over lunch and dinner, the general mood was positive.

Numerous clergy spoke among themselves in their native tongues, e.g., Polish, Spanish, and various African languages. For these priests, English was not the first language they learned. In such a gathering, the ethnic diversity of the Chicago clergy was evident.

Several catechetical resources were made available for both priests and people, especially from LTP. John Thomas, director of LTP, said that the new sacramentary is expected to be made available in October, 2011, from seven different publishers. In all editions, the page numbering is expected to be the same, for the sake of clarity, from parish to parish. The only differences among the various editions will be in typeface, art work, binding, etc.

Cardinal George concluded the meeting by saying that he considered the new translation an improvement, both in fidelity to the Latin original and in theological accuracy.

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Final Translation Is Now Approved
[Washington, DC; Oct. 13, 2010] According to the current issue of the Newsletter of the Committee on Divine Worship (formerly the Bishops' Committte on the Liturgy), the final translation of the Mass into English is now available. Rome has made four significant alterations from the 2008 text: (1) The words of the priest ("May almighty God have mercy...") at the end of the penitential rite now are the same as the current version. (2) The words "I believe" have been repeated in the Nicene Creed three times. (3) Minor revisions have been made in the Eucharistic Prayers. (4) The doxology concluding each Eucharistic Prayer has been slightly revised.

Several adapations proposed by the American bishops have been rejected. Perhaps the most important rejection is that of the memorial acclamation, "Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again." Even though this acclamation has been in use for 40 years and even though it has the merit of not being directed to Christ (since the Eucharistic Prayer is directed to the Father, not Christ), "Christ has died" will not appear in the new missal. Rome's explanation of this rejection is that the acclamation is not to be found in the third edition of the Missale Romanum. Also, says the Roman congregation, this acclamation is not consistent with the style and meaning of the other three acclamations. Finally, it is said, "Its origins are obscure." So, in this and in other respects, the decision of the American bishops is overruled.

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Advent 2011 Will Bring New Mass Translation
[Washington, DC, Aug 20, 2010] Today, Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, announced that Advent, 2011, will bring into use a new translation of the current sacramentary, the priest's book for Mass. At that time, the new book will be called, in English, the Roman Missal. This book will be a translation of the third edition of the Latin-language Missale Romanum. New chant settings will be included for the prefaces and other parts sung by the priest. New texts will be included for such American feasts as Thanksgiving and Independence Day, as well as a "Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life." Various invocations were also approved for the third form of the penitential rite at Mass, a three-fold litany. To introduce the new book, resources are available online at the website of the U.S. Catholic Conference.

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New App for iPad Serves as Sacramentary
[Rome, June 18, 2010] Instead of a missal or sacramentary, soon the celebrating priest can use an iPad. Father Paolo Padrini announced that his new application will be released next month in English and four other languages. Father Padrini said his app is similar to the iBreviary app created about two years.

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New Director for Office of Divine Worship

Father Richard Hilgartner[Washington, DC, May 12, 2010]Rev. Richard Hilgartner, 41, is currently the associate director of the Worship Secretariat (formerly the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy). Father Hilgartner is a priest of the Baltimore Archdiocese. In Spring, 2011, Msgr. Anthony Sherman, director for the past eight years, will go back whence he came, to the Diocese of Brooklyn.At that time, Father Hilgartner will become the new director.

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Rome Gives OK to American Translation

Pope Benedict[Rome, April 28, 2010] Today, Pope Benedict announced that approval has been given for a new translation of the Mass. He noted that bishops from around the world have been consulted in the process of refining this translation. Since people have been used to other wording for the past 40 years, many people will find it difficult to adjust to the new texts, he commented. Therefore, said the Pope, this new version would have "to be introduced with due sensitivity." This English-language revision will now be implemented in each region of the world by the local conference of bishops, at a time they judge best. Some bishops have said they hope to have the new translation in force by Advent, 2011.

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U.S. Bishops Approve Final Parts of Missal Translation
[Washington, D.C.; Nov 18, 2009] Today the Latin-Rite bishops of the U.S. approved the last elements of the English translation of the Roman Missal. This version will now be sent to Rome for approval, which may come in mid-2010 or sooner. Allowing time for publishers to prepare their work, the starting date for the new translation could be the First Sunday of Advent, 2010, or perhaps Easter, 2011.

Bishop Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, pointed out that the Liturgy Constitution of Vatican II required that local bishops' conferences approve all translations for the liturgy. He said that Cardinal George, currrent president of the conference, gave permission for Rome to go ahead and translate antiphons without even consulting the conference. Bishop Paprocki, George's own auxiliary, agreed with Trautman. However, the conference approved the final translation by a large majority. The job is done.

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News on New Missal Translation
[Washington, DC; Aug. 18, 2009] A new website is available, to help priests and others learn about the forthcoming translation of the Ordinary of the Mass. In a user-friendly format, this site offers separate sections for certain groups, such as priests, lay people, and those involved in liturgy preparation. At, people can read, for example, the new text of the Order of Mass. In the near future, this website will be updated regularly.

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Mass for Human Life
[Washington, DC; June 30, 2009] The American Catholic bishops at their June meeting approved English and Spanish texts for a new votive Mass. This setting is entitled, "Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life." The bishops also approved the possibility of using this Mass on January 22 each year. An appropriate hymn to sung during this Eucharist would be Lord of All Life.

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Sign of Peace to Move?
[Washington, DC; Jan. 5, 2009] According to the latest issue of its Newsletter, the Committee on Divine Worship, formerly the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, 89 bishops responded to an inquiry on relocating the sign of peace, after the Prayer of the Faithful. Following up on a recommendation of the 2005 Roman Synod, the Pope has asked local bishops' conferences to give their opinion on this relocation. Of the American bishops responding to this inquiry, 2/3 favored the relocation.

This issue of the Newsletter also reported some conclusions of the 2008 synod, on Scripture. One of the recommendations is to have the Scripture on public display inside the church building, outside of Mass. For example, each church could have a shrine for the Gospel Book, in the sanctuary.

Also reported was the bishops' approval of the Grail translation of the Psalter. Once this approval is put into effect, the same translation of the Psalms would be used for the Liturgy of the Hours and the Lectionary for Mass. In this way, the Grail translation would be normative for the U.S.

The newsletter did not mention a rewording of the dismissal at Mass, announced last Oct. 14, by Cardinal Arinze. Effective with the latest Latin edition of the Roman Missal, this rewording provides three new sentences, any one of which would replace "The Mass is ended. Go in peace." These new dismissals emphasize the role of the baptized to go out into the world, on mission. The 2005 Roman synod had suggested some such revision of the dismissal rite at Mass. The Pope has personally approved these three dismissal formulas.

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New Head Appointed for Liturgy Office

Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, of Toledo, Spain [Rome; Dec. 9, 2008] The Congregation for Divine Worship has a new head: Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, of Toledo, Spain, 61 years old. The former prefect, Cardinal Arinze, has retired because he has passed the retirement age of 75.Cardinal Canizares is now 63 years old; it is, therefore, not impossible that he could be head of the congregation for the next twelve years or so. Until a new bishop is appointed for Toledo, Cardinal Canizares will continue to administer that diocese and simultaneously manage the congregation.

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The Name Yahweh Is Now to Be Excluded from the Liturgy
[Rome; Aug. 13, 2008] Rome has now prohibited use of the word "Yahweh" in the liturgy; this prohibition applies especially to hymns and metrical Psalms, since the designation appears in no Scriptural translation in wide use in the U.S. American Catholic Press has consistently followed the same principle. See especially the Parish Liturgy article, titled The Tetragrammaton which is supportive of the new Roman norm.

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Study Text of New Translation Is Online
[Washington, DC; Aug 11, 2008] The American Committee for Worship (formerly the "Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy" or BCL) has created a web page on the new translation of the Order of Mass. This web page has just been posted, beginning with an introductory letter from the chairman of the committee, Bishop Serratelli. The page provides a PDF study text of the translation. Although approval has been given by Rome, that recognitio only applies to this translation. Approval is still forthcoming for various adaptations proposed by the American bishops (e.g., memorial acclamation "Christ has died" and additional invocations for pentitential rite III). For further questions on this topic, see the official USCCB website.

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New Translation Approved
[Rome; July 25, 2008] Rome today gave its approval to the new English translation of the Order of Mass, the first of twelve sections of the Latin language Roman Missal. We will say, for example, "And with your spirit," "It is right and just," and "Lord God of hosts." However, it will be at least two years for this translation to pass into use in the U.S. Lead time is available for musicians to make new settings and for those involved in catechesis to do their work.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Latin Rite bishops failed to approve the second of twelve sections; they needed a two thirds majority and didn't get it. So, either they will work on a new translation themselves; or, more likely, they will vote again on this text in November.

There remain ten more sections that still have to be finished, submitted to the U.S. bishops, and then to Rome.

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Liturgical Reform Shortcomings
[New York; July 2, 2008] In the June 2 issue of America magazine, Father Robert Taft, S.J., suggests that liturgical reform from Vatican II has three failings. First, since the early 20th century, the Western Church has put First Communion before confirmation. Father Taft says this new sequence "destroyed the age-old sequence of the rites of Christian intiation." Second, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Divine Office, was never reformed to be a liturgy, a celebration of the congregation; it remains a prayerbook for clergy. Three, in spite of repeated requests from Church leadership, priests continue to distribute Communion during Mass from the tabernacle. The solution to all three shortcomings, says Father Taft, is not in idealizing the East or the Countil of Trent. Rather, we must look to our own heritage, our own Western tradition, which is just as apostolic and ancient as that of the East.

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ICEL Responds to Bishop Galeone
[Washington, D.C.; June 27, 2008] In response to Bishop Galeone, who spoke up criticizing the new Mass translation, the responsible body, ICEL, mailed out a 1,000 word letter to bishops of the U.S. Catholic Conference. ICEL thanked Bishop Galeone for breaking "new ground in the public discussion of liturgical language" and for "raising the debate to a higher intellectual level." ICEL accepted a criticism about word order in a prayer after Communion. However, ICEL also reports on its translation of patibulum by the English word, "gibbet." Since there is no contemporary word available, ICEL uses "gibbet." As Bishop Galeone pointed out, however, virtually no one hearing the word will know what a "gibbet" is.

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Controversial Translation Not Yet Approved
[Orlando, Florida; June 13, 2008] ICEL, the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, recently proposed a new set of translations of the priest's prayers for Mass, for each season. However, for the bishops to approve this work, a 2/3 vote was needed, which was not achieved. Therefore, mail ballots were sent out to the bishops not present.

Many bishops spoke up, to criticize the new translations as too literal. Bishop Victor Galeone of St. Augustine, Florida, for example, said that the new texts were unclear and awkward. Bishop Richard Sklba of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, said that he had trouble understanding the translations. "This is not yet mature," he said. Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, pointed out that the texts use a number of terms that are "archaic and obscure." He said that the "document before us needs further work." Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, reported that in his presbyteral council, 24 of 26 priests were opposed to the new translations.

Of the 250 Latin Rite bishops in the U.S., 166 must vote "yes" for approval; that number is not yet reached. If the ICEL translation is rejected, the American bishops must then come up with a new translation of their own.

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Orthodox Bishop Shares Communion with Catholics
[Timosoara, Romania; May 27, 2008] On May 25,at the dedication of a new Catholic church in Timisoara, Romania, an Orthodox bishop asked to receive Communion. He did so, receiving in the usual manner for a bishop or priest. He was Metropolitan Nicolae Corneau of Banat. It is said that in Syria Melkite priests who are Orthodox and Catholic have also, on occasion, been sharing in Communion. As the estrangement of East and West took place over a long time, gradually, perhaps reconciliation is now taking place in the same way. For Catholics, Orthodox lack nothing of the true faith; hence, Rome is open to the restoration of full communion between East and West.

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Paste-up Corrections for Lectionary
[Rome, May 3, 2008] All over Italy, there is a new Lectionary in use since late 2007, in three volumes. However, there were many mistakes in printing. For example, there was reference to the "First Letter of St. Paul to the Romans." There is, of course, no second or third letter, so the word "first" should be removed.

Rather than reprint the entire Lectionary, the bishops of Italy have distributed self-adhesive strips of paper, with corrections. These strips, then, have been manually inserted in the pages of the Lectionary, one by one.

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Sing to the Lord: A New Document
[Silver Spring, MD; May 1, 2008] Pastoral Music magazine is published by the National Association of Pastoral Musicians. In the current issue, various authors study the main themes of a new document recently approved by the American bishops: Sing to the Lord. This document provides guidelines and principles for the use of music in the liturgy; it replaces such previous documents as Music in Catholic Worship. The result of substantial consultation and research, this new document is valuable and important, for all those involved in pastoral liturgy, say the various commentators.

Here is just one insight, from an article by J. Michael McMahon. Following the lead of Roman documents, Sing to the Lord emphasizes that singing is needed for those parts of the liturgy that are dialogues between the people and the priest or someone else. That would apply, for example, to litanies, such as the General Intercessions and the third form of the penitential rite. In contrast, Music in Catholic Worship listed litanies as having a low priority for singing.

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Baptism is Invalid in the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier
[Vatican City; Feb 29, 2008] The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made a statement today about baptism. The sacrament, said the congregation, is invalid if done "in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier" or "in the name of the Creator, Liberator, and Sustainer." People baptized with those words need to be baptized once again, "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," as specified in the Gospel of Matthew.

(The original Latin set of questions and answers (as well as all online translations) provides the formulas cited in the English language, not in Latin; the inquiry came from North America. In both Canada and the U.S., especially in some Protestant Churches, feminism is influential, leading to a desire for inclusive language. In these Churches, some ministers wish to avoid such terms as "Father" and "Son," seen as masculine in character.)

In a related commentary, Msgr. Antonio Miralles said that the problem with such formulas is that they "subvert faith in the Trinity" because they do not make clear the relationship among the three, distinct persons within the one God. For example, he said, "God is eternally Father in relation to his only begotten Son, who is not eternally Son except in relation to the Father." All three persons, he said, are involved together in the actions of creation, redemption, and sanctification. He also said that a common baptism is essential for Christian unity; without that, he said, ecumenism is not going to work. Partners in dialogue can call each other Christians only if they recognize each other's baptism as valid.

According to the Catholic News Service, the Orthodox have the same viewpoint as the Catholics; the problem occurs mostly only with some Protestant Churches.

What are these Churches? For the most part, such denominations are those mainline Churches that have lost membership in the past twenty or thirty years. Some of them are the Protestant Episcopal Church, the ELCA (the principal Lutheran Church), the Presbyterian Church in the USA, and the United Church of Christ. In the current generation, these Churches have lost from 25% to 40% of their members. They continue to decline. According to the recent Pew Report, mainline Protestant Churches in the U.S. (all of them, together) now amount to only about 18% of the general population.

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Give Us Traditional Hymnody, not Contemporary Songs
[Silver Spring, MD; Oct 28, 2007] Writing in the Oct/Nov issue of Pastoral Music, Philip Lowe, Jr., writes that "the overuse of many contemporary hymns has replaced the rich and beautiful language of the Psalms and the great hymns of the Church with watered-down spirituality that has very little Catholic--let alone Christian--doctrine or spiritual meaning.

"As one writer of hymnology accurately stated, 'The hymnbook is the poor person's book of theology.' Those who have not learned Scripture or theology [formally] learn them through singing and praying. Through the active participation of singing about what the Church teaches, they come to believe and live their Catholic Christian faith. Again, if these things are missing from the liturgical assemblies of our time, it is because the good hymns of the Church have been disappering. They are being replaced with texts that are poorly written and music that is much harder to sing in most cases than many of the great hymns are.

"I praise the work of the Congregation for Divine Worship . . . Their desire for hymns to have a Trinitarian, Christological basis and to show a clear connection to Church teaching shows that the Church is sensing the need for our worship of God and our walk of faith to be intimately connected.

". . . My work as a pastoral musician means giving good, solid music and hymn texts for the liturgical assembly for my parish to sing. The people of my parish, including the youth, do not want watered-down music and texts; they want good, rich music and texts containing true teachings to be part of their worship. That is why I provide only the best that they can get."

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Inclusive Lectionary Approved for Canada

[Ottawa; Sept. 12, 2007] The Canadian Conference of Catholic BishopsNew Revised Standard Version of the Bible has received permission from Rome to publish a revised Lectionary using inclusive language.

The new Lectionary is derived from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). This liturgical book is expected to be available next spring, for use beginning with the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 30, 2008. Copyright for this translation of the Bible is owned by the National Council of Churches, a largely Protestant association, in the U.S. You can order your own copy of this translation online.

Canadian bishops and experts worked for some years on this project; they did so in conjunction with two congregations of the Roman Curia, those in charge of liturgy and of the faith.

As of now, Canada is the only nation where the Lectionary is derived from the NRSV. Now that Rome has given its approval, other episcopal conferences are also considering using the NRSV for their own regions.

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New English Translation by 2010

[Rome; Sept 11, 2007] Here is a report from Vox Clara ("Clear Voice"), the committee working on a new translation of the Roman Missal. The members met at the Vatican at the beginning of September; they then said that they hoped the work would be completed by the end of 2009. The Roman Missal, the third edition, came out in Latin online (partially) in 2000 and in print in 2002. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) had prepared a draft for Vox Clara. So, the best case for a new English version in use is early 20l0; and that's an optimistic estimate.

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Pope Permits Wider Use of Tridentine Mass

[Rome; July 7, 2007]Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, in the Tridentine Mass Today, Pope Benedict issued an apostolic letter, Summorum Pontificum, permitting each Roman Rite priest to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal, without seeking permission of his bishop. Contrary to media reports, this is not permission for the "Latin Mass," since Mass may be celebrated in Latin and many other languages. Rather, it is authorization to use the Tridentine, pre-Vatican II liturgy. In general, this document is of some significance in certain parts of Europe, especially France and Switzerland, where there are a few "stable groups" who might request such a Mass.

Pope Benedict also prepared an accompanying letter, to explain why he gave this permission.

(Also, as of Sept. 12, it is said that the pope issued this document especially with a view of reconciling Catholics in China).

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Bishop Tells His Priests to Lose Weight

[Arges, Romania; April 14, 2007] Bishop Calinec orders his priests to lose weight. He says "oversized bellies only prove to people that priests have a good life and are not concentrating on their holy mission." He does not recommend sports activities which, he says, are not appropriate for clergy. One of his priests, Father Popescu, says, "I do not believe God dislikes big bellies. He brought into the world thin and fat people and makes no difference between them."

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Funeral Eulogies Restricted by Edict

[Sydney, Australia; April 13, 2007] Cardinal Pell, Bishop of Sydney, has ordered that funeral eulogies be restricted. He limits such talks to 5 minutes; there must be only one eulogy; and the tone of the talk must be in "keeping with the spirit of prayer," i.e., no jokes about the person's weaknesses.

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Sacrament of Love: the Pope's Exhortation

[Rome; March 13, 2007] Today, Pope Benedict issued his long-awaited Apostolic Exhortation, Sacrament of Charity in several languages. As you remember, the Roman Synod on the Eucharist took place in late 2005. The Pope asked that the 50 resolutions of this gathering be disseminated widely and discussed openly. In this blog, you read of some of the resolutions online, right here.

So, the Pope has taken a year and half to edit his text, no doubt seeking consultation and putting time and effort into both content and style. The wait has been well worth it. This is a document truly deserving of study and reflection, with too much to say to summarize here.

With regard to just one question, perhaps a brief comment can be made. In 2005, the Roman Synod said that many people don't understand the nature of confirmation and the Eucharist as the primary sacrament of initiation. The Pope repeats the teaching of the bishops and reminds us that the Eucharist is the center and goal of initiation. To put it bluntly, one becomes a Christian, above all, by sharing in the Eucharist Sunday after Sunday. That represents full initiation, not confirmation. The Pope, therefore, asks bishops' conferences to determine which order of the three sacraments of initiation is preferable, which order best shows that the Eucharist is the center and goal of initiation. The conferences are to do this in cooperation with the Roman Curia.

So, conferences in due time are expected to restore the traditional order of these three sacraments, with baptism and confirmation both preceding first Holy Communion. If the conferences don't do that, the Roman Curia will help them do so.

Contrast the current Pope's polite and diplomatic approach with that of Pius X in 1907. Then, in a more authoritarian time, the Pope laid down the law that people should go to Communion frequently, even daily, and that children should receive around the age of reason. He then backed up his decision with required reports from dioceses. Pope Benedict is much more gentle, though certainly also clear and firm. He has also given us time to discuss the bishops' resolutions and now gives us more time to await the conferences' guidance. In this way, there is ample opportunity for catechesis on initiation. The restored order of initiation will also be implemented, wisely, through the regional conferences of bishops, not just from on high. Overall, this Pope has given us critical leadership, in a pastoral, gentle, and prudent manner. What a blessing! What a gift!

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Father Keith Pecklers Reflects on Litugy Wars

[Jersey City, NJ; March 6, 2007] Speaking at his alma mater, St. Peter's College in Jersey City, Father Keith Pecklers, S.J., reported on recent conflicts in the Catholic Church, with regard to liturgical translation. Father Pecklers is a professor of liturgy at Gregorian University in Rome. In his lecture, he said that the past few years have seen the Congregation of Worship leading the Church in one direction, while other groups, such as some local bishops' conferences, were going in another direction. Such conflict became apparent in different approaches to translation of official texts for the liturgy.

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American Catholic Press

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Motu Proprio Is Coming

[Vatican City; March 3, 2007] Pope Benedict XVIAccording to a report in Le Figaro, the Pope has a new document on his desk, a Motu Proprio, that is, a statement given "on his own initiative." This document would authorize a more widespread use of the Tridentine Roman Missal of 1962; each priest could use it as he wished, without needing to get permission from his bishop. The Pope, it is said, was deeply affected by the resistance of the French bishops to the intent of this document. He has, therefore, delayed its publication, perhaps until after he publishes another document on the Eucharist, derived from the 2005 synod in Rome.

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Litany for the Reception of a New Hymnal

[South Holland; Jan. 19, 2007] In the Christian Century, Martin Marty proposes what he calls Hymn Sing. This is a litany which can be used by the congregation, when a new hymnal is introduced in the parish. Here are the first few lines:

Nostalgists, whining: The new book is not as good as the old one, which we hated when it was the new one.
Response: Get over it!
Foot-draggers, complaining: They only gave us five (or 10 or 15) years to study drafts of the book and make comments.
Response: Get over it!
Favorites-pleaders, murmuring: They left out my own old favorite hymn. They had 108,000 English-language hymns to choose from and made bad choices.
Response: Get over it!

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Pro Mutltis: Not for all but for the many

[Rome; Nov 18, 2006] In a recent letter to episcopal conferences, Cardinal Arinze, head of the Congregation for the Liturgy, directed translators on exactly how to translate the words used at Mass, in the Last Supper narrative. Cardinal Arinze says that "pro multis" has often been translated as "for all" or the equivalent in other languages besides English. There is much meaning in such a translation, he says; the sense intended is coherent with other parts of the New Testament. Nevertheless, the Cardinal now requires that the more literal "for many" be used. Perhaps it should be "for the many," as opposed to "for the few"? In any case, however, when the anticipated revised translations come into use, it will assuredly no longer be "for all."

As you may well know, back in 1970, Rome defended the translation "for all." This previous position, now reversed, is explained by Father Robert McNamara.

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Consultation on Church Music

[Chicago; Oct. 9, 2006] At the Sheraton Hotel today, near Chicago's O'Hare Airport, the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy (BCL) welcomed recommendations on music in the liturgy. The Music and Liturgy Subcommittee of the BCL sat behind a long table at one end of the hotel room. This committee was chaired by Bishop Grosz of Buffalo; he has an M.A. in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame. Bishop Grosz invited participants to give their recommendations, towards a revision of the document, Music in Catholic Worship.

Msgr. James Moroney chaired the meeting, keeping it on schedule. Because of his leadership, each of the 51 participants had an opportunity to speak briefly. A visual clock indicated precisely how much time remained for each presentation. As a result, the discussion was well ordered and efficient. Overall, the meeting was remarkable for the diversity of perspectives presented, within a short time.

Special questions discussed were: (1) What makes music in the liturgy sacred? (2) How should the question of heritage be approached? (3) How should American culture and musical styles have an effect on music in the liturgy?

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Deaf Priest Celebrates Mass for Deaf People

[Coventry, RI; June 24, 2006] In Coventry, Rhode Island, Father Joseph Bruce said Mass at St. Annn's Church, using sign language, with an interpreter. He is deaf. According to a New York Times article, Father Bruce is one of seven deaf priests in the U.S. Many deaf Catholics do not attend Mass on Sundays, because they cannot go beyond the missalette. With a deaf priest, however, says the New York Times, people feel at home.

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US Bishops Approve New Translation

[Los Angeles, CA; June 17, 2006]American bishops at Mass in the Los Angeles Cathedral The U.S. Latin Rite bishops this week approved a new translation of the Order of Mass by the necessary two-thirds vote. Now, the translation will be forwarded to Rome for consideration, including further emendations. It is possible that the revised version of the Mass will not be used until the entire third edition of the Roman Missal is translated and put into use in English in the U.S.; that could be two to four years from now.

Commentary on the just approved translation is available online from John Allen, Cardinal George, and Joe Feuerherd. Allen notes that approval was secured in part because Bishop Trautman, head of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, recommended approval. Cardinal George notes that the American bishops had considered this new translation twice before. He also points out a few ways in which he says this translation may well be an improvement.

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ICEL Head Promotes New Translation of Mass

[Los Angeles, CA; June 15, 2006] 
Bishop Arthur Roche, of the Diocese of Leeds, England Bishop Arthur Roche is the head of the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL). At a general meeting of the American Catholic bishops, in Los Angeles, Bishop Roche presented the results of the work of his group since ICEL was reorganized four years ago.

Bishop Roche spoke in English, saying that comments from the bishops had been received and studied carefully. He argued that the English-speaking world needs a single version of the Mass in English, for use everywhere. It is also true, he said, that the English translation of the Mass is important because it forms the basis for translation into other languages. Finally, Bishop Roche defended the principles of translation used in this new version. These principles, he said, were in part derived from Liturgiam Authenticam, a Roman document from 2001. He gave several examples of revision, in part making the text more clearly reflect the idiom of Scripture. However, another reason for updating the translation now in use is that we have had time to use it; in the past 36 years, many helpful observations have been made. Therefore, Bishop Roche asked the Americans to approve the new translation he proposed for the Order of Mass, once called the "Ordinary."

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Standing during Communion Commended

[Los Angeles, CA; May 28, 2006] According to the LA_Times, some pastors are enouraging people to remain standing during the Communion procession, as required in the 1970 Institutio Generalis of the Roman Missal. A recent adaptation, approved by Rome, allows the people to kneel after the Agnus Dei, "unless the diocesan bishop decrees otherwise." Across the United States, therefore, some bishops have in fact so decreed, asking that people in the congregation remain standing until the Communion procession is completed, in solidarity with those going up in procession to receive. This has been the norm for the whole Latin Rite for the past thirty-six years; in the U.S., however, the norm was largely ignored until recently. In 325, the Council of Nicea forbade kneeling during the whole 50 days of the Easter Season, not just at Sunday liturgy, for the whole Catholic world. The reason given by St. Augustine and others was that on Sunday we commemorate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ; we stand with him. This ancient and universal tradition of the Catholic Church was restored in 1970 and is only now being widely introduced in the U.S.

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Cardinal Arinze Requires Obedience to Liturgiam Authenticam

[Rome; May 10, 2006] Here is a letter of May 2 sent to the head of the U.S. episcopal conference, contradicting the assertion that we shouldn't change texts that have become familiar to American Catholics, since the early 1970s, such as "And also with you." Cardinal Arinze asks the recipient to share this information with other bishops and, presumably, others who are concerned.

Most Reverend William Skylstad
Bishop of Spokane
President, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Prot. n. 499/06/L

Your Excellency,

With reference to the conversation between yourself, the Vice President and General Secretary of the Conference of Bishops of which you are president, together with me and other superiors and officials when you kindly visited our Congregation on 27 April 2006, I wish to recall the following:

The Instruction Liturgiam authenticam is the latest document of the Holy See which guides translations from the original-language liturgical texts into the various modern languages in the Latin Church. Both this Congregation and the bishops’ conferences are bound to follow its directives. This Congregation . . . is therefore not competent to grant the recognitio for translations that do not conform to the directives of Liturgiam authenticam. If, however, there are difficulties regarding the translation of a particular part of a text, then this Congregation is always open to dialogue in view of some mutually agreeable solution, still keeping in mind, however, that Liturgiam authenticam remains the guiding norm.

The attention of your Bishops’ Conference was also recalled to the fact that Liturgiam authenticam was issued at the directive of the [Bishop of Rome] at the time, Pope John Paul II, to guide new translations as well as the revision of all translations done in the last forty years, to bring them into greater fidelity to the original-language official liturgical texts. For this reason it is not acceptable to maintain that people have become accustomed to a certain translation for the past thirty or forty years, and therefore that it is pastorally advisable to make no changes. Where there are good and strong reasons for a change, as has been determined by this Dicastery in regard to the entire translation of the Missale Romanum as well as other important texts, then the revised text should make the needed changes. The attitudes of bishops and priests will certainly influence the acceptance of the texts by the lay faithful as well.

Requesting Your Excellency to share these reflections with the bishops of your conference, I assure you of the continued collaboration of this Congregation and express my religious esteem,

Devotedly yours in Christ,

+Francis Card. Arinze

Prefect, Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

This letter is in part a response to the American bishops' discussion of translation, in November, 2005. A transcript of this discussion is available online.

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Critique of 1960s folk music

[Ypsilanti, MI; May 8, 2006] The president of the Society for Catholic Liturgy, Father Timothy Vavarek, recently published a commentary on the revised Statement of Principles of the Society. Writing in Antiphon, Father Vaverek mentions that 1960s folk music is still sung in some Catholic parishes in the U.S.

In his article, the author says that it "is evident that those who sought to make the sacred liturgy most up-to-date made it most quickly outdated." He says that we now have irrefutable, empirical evidence that the quest for relevance based on ephemeral secular fashion leads to "almost immediate irrelevance." People, he says, should have been brought into an initation into the basic signs and symbols of the liturgy itself. Instead, a lot of energy was invested in innovations that have not endured and that have not nourished the faith. Father Vavarek says that the Society he heads undertakes to study how the liturgy can accommodate contemporary culture while remaining true to its nature.

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What Are the Favorite Catholic Songs?

[San Antonio, Texas; May 2, 2006] You may have heard about a "liturgical music" survey taken earlier this year. That survey reported that On Eagles' Wings was number one. But "wait a second," says Bill Cork, commentator on the liturgy. He says that the survey made use of a skewed method of research. Since it was an on-line poll, one had to find the specific webpage and choose to participate. So, the survey was not based on a random sample. No suggestions were given, says Cork; and you could only mention one song. Although 3000 individuals took part, On Eagles' Wings got only 242 votes, that is 8%.

Maybe we need a better survey?

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Pope Reins In The Way

[Rome, April 10, 2006]Kiko Arguello The Neocatechumenal Way (also known as "The Way") was founded in Spain by Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez. The Way is one of the new movements in the Catholic Church, inspiring people to evangelize the world and renew their lives. The Way is one of the most successful of these movements; it was strongly favored by the late Pope John Paul. (On the other hand, it was condemned by the Bishops of Bologna and Milan.)

In any case, Sandro Magister, writing in Chiesa, says that Pope Benedict last December corrected the liturgical celebrations of The Way. For example, it was the custom for members of this movement to meet in church on Saturday evening to celebrate the Mass, seated around a large dinner table. They would receive Communion, sitting down at their places. The bread is prepared according to very specific instructions. The sermon is replaced by spontaneous comments from the members.

Some members of The Way said that Pope Benedict was actually approving their customs. But January 12, in a public audience, the Pope made it clear that he wants The Way to do what it is told, that is, to celebrate the Eucharist in accord with the norms of the liturgical books of the Roman Rite. Roma locuta est; causa finita est.

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Accclamation Christ Has Died Is Retained

[Washington, D.C., Mar 13, 2006] The Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy met today and endorsed seven adaptations to the Order of Mass. In addition to various alternatives for comments by the priest, the committee also proposed that the Rite of Sprinkling, with a prayer over water already blest, be included in its place within the order, not in an appendix. Another significant adaptation is retention of the familiar Memorial Acclamation in the Eucharistic Prayer, "Christ Has Died." With regard to translations of the Mass, the Committee proposes 15 changes to the ICEL text under study. Two thirds of the Latin Rite bishops of the US must first approve these changes; then Rome must also grant its approval.

The acclamation "Christ Has Died" has become most familiar of the four now in use in the US; it has been set to numerous musical settings and so has been widely memorized. Unlike the three other memorial acclamations, "Christ Has Died" is in the third person, rather than being directed to Christ. Hence, it fits in well with the Roman Eucharistic Prayers, all of which are not directed to Christ but to the Father through Christ. In this regard, "Christ Has Died" is in accord with the Roman tradition of prayer in the Mass and so is a valuable and important Memorial Acclamation.

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Diocese of Tyler Restores Traditional Order of Initiation

[Tyler, Texas; Nov 18, 2005]
Bishop Corrada Bishop Alvaro Corrada, S.J., of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, has restored the ancient and traditional order of the three sacraments of Christian initation. In his Pastoral Reflection on the Sacrament of Confirmation, Bishop Corrada points out that confirmation is not a sacrament of maturity, as it has widely been understood in the U.S. It is in the Eucharist, he says, that we make our sacrifice to God the Father. It is in the Eucharist that we commit ourselves to service to the Church and the community. Hence, confirmation should be given after baptism and before First Communion.

By restoring the right order of these three sacraments, the Diocese of Tyler joins other American dioceses, such as Fargo and Phoenix. It is also joined to the tradition of the Latin Church up to the twentieth century and all the Eastern Churches, as Bishop Corrada explains.

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Rome Synod Releases Propositions

[Rome, Nov 8, 2005]
The recent synod of bishops in Rome has released a set of propositions, to be considered by Pope Benedict. He authorized publication of these propositions, especially for journalists, obviously to promote discussion. An unofficial English language translation is available, under "daily dispatches." Here are just a few ideas:

  • The Sequence of the Sacraments of Initiation
    The close link between baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist is not sufficiently understood. People need to have a deeper theological and pastoral grasp of confirmation. The right age should be reconsidered. We should also ask if the sequence of baptism, confirmation, and first Communion should be in effect not just for adults but also for children.
  • Catechesis on the Eucharist
    There has to be ongoing instruction on the Mass, especially on the part of bishops and parish priests.
  • Mystagogia
    We need continuing formation, after first Communion is celebrated.
  • The Homily at Sunday Mass is important.
    We could develop a thematic approach to the Sunday sermon, following the three-year Lectionary, incorporating the great themes of the Christian faith.
  • The Eucharistic Prayer would be enriched by more sung acclamations.
    In addition to what we have now, we could introduce other acclamations in the course of the prayer, not just after the consecration. A good model is the use of acclamations in the Eucharistic Prayers for Children.
  • The Sign of Peace
    It could be useful to move the Sign of Peace to another part of the Mass, taking into account ancient and venerable custom. (That would mean right after the Creed or at the end of the preparation of the gifts.)

    To be sure, these are only recommendations for the Pope. But he wanted us to know about them and to think about them. Let us hope that these and other good ideas will be put into effect.

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American Catholic Press

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Tridentine Mass 'Not a Priority'

[Rome, Oct. 13, 2005] Tridentine Mass as it was celebrated from the late 16th to the early 20th century At a news conference, Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the Congregation for Worship, spoke to reporters about the current gathering of bishops in Rome. Cardinal Arinze said that no bishop brought up the question of the pre-Vatican II Mass. The bishops, he said, are "concerned that the Mass be celebrated with faith, devotion, and fidelity to the liturgical books." He said that the Tridentine Mass was not a priority for the bishops; no one even brought it up.

"The real problem," said Cardinal Arinze, "is that many don't go to Mass, that often those who go don't understand . . . These are the real problems, not what you're talking about."

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Rome Says New Songs Needed for Liturgy

[Rome; Aug. 2, 2005] In early July, a working document was made available in Rome, for the bishops who are to meet in the fall, to consider the Eucharist. This document says that "songs and hymns presently in use need to be reconsidered." There should be, say the authors, "a sense of prayer, dignity, and beauty." Therefore, composers and authors should write "new hymns, according to liturgical standards," which follow "authentic catechetical teaching on the paschal mystery, Sunday, and the Eucharist." What would these standards be? What is authentic teaching on the paschal mystery? What do hymns say about Sunday? What teaching about the Eucharist would be inauthentic? What would be authentic? See the American Catholic Hymnbook.

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American Bishops Critique New Texts for Mass

[Washington, D.C.; July 25, 2005] At their summer meeting this year, the U.S. bishops considered dancing in the liturgy. They spent time considering various ethnic practices but decided in the end just to continue to monitor what's going on and to see what other bishops' conferences say on the question.

The bishops also considered various editions of the Lectionary, for example, in Spanish and for children. The latest translation of the Order of Mass was also considered, submitted by ICEL (International Commission on English in the Liturgy). On July 1, Bishop Trautman sent out to all the bishops a survey, to
evaluate this translation.

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Dancing Can Be Divisive

[Windcrest, TX; June 12, 2005]Praise dancing during Sunday service in a Baptist church According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, numerous Black churches across the U.S. have recently begun "praise dancing" during Sunday services. Dancers perform in front of the congregation, using traditional ballet movements and newer dancing techniques, such as hip-hop. Some dancers add streamers, tambourines, and ankle bracelets. In Austin, Texas, the One Accord Ministries supports more than 1,000 such programs. At Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, dancers were asked to wear modest skirts and big blouses, when people in the congregation complained. While popular, this new ministry is often controversial.

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Translation to be Delayed

[Silver Spring, MD; April 7, 2005] In a recent issue of Clergy Update, from the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, it is reported that the new translation of the Mass will not be available in the near future. In England, the draft translation has been widely criticized by many liturgy commissions in the various dioceses. Groups working for better ecumenical relations are concerned about the draft translation's changes of texts agreed upon by many denominations. Last year, in July, the bishops of ICEL, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, met in Washington, D.C. These bishops were unable to come to agreement on several principles. Therefore, no proposed version (the so-called "green book") has yet been prepared for the bishops' conferences to study.

It is evident that much more time is needed to achieve a consensus for whatever translation revision is needed.

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Comment on Breaking Bread

[Juneau, WI: Mar 23, 2005] In the current issue of Adoremus, among letters to the editor, Irene Owens says:

"I am writing to ask if the Breaking Bread book was ever approved for worship. The music for the songs is like rock music, and the words don't have any reverence or sacredness at all."

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The Place of Christ in Liturgical Prayer

[New Haven, CT; Feb. 25, 2005]Yale University Divinity School At Yale University, the Institute of Sacred Music organized a conference in late February, 2005. This conference was entitled The Place of Christ in Liturgical Prayer: Christology, Trinity, and Liturgical Theology. Speakers included some of the most renowned scholars in liturgical studies. Larry Hurtado, for example, from the University of Edingburgh, Scotland, spoke on the binaritarian pattern of earliest Christian devotion. Peter Jeffrey, from Princeton, spoke on the Kyrie eleison. Maxwell Johnson, from Notre Dame, spoke on the term theotokos. Robert Taft, from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, spoke of Christology in the Eastern Orthodox Divine Office. Gabriele Winkler, from Tuebingen, spoke of Trinity and liturgy in the Syrian tradition. Open discussion, questions, and conversation allowed for an excellent seminar, which Paul Bradshaw said was one of the "best ever." The event was organized and hosted by Bryan Spinks of Yale, who also spoke.

Overall, the theme of the conference was the major work by Joseph Jungmann, The Place of Christ in Liturgical Prayer. The speakers dealt with specific arguments, conclusions, and hypotheses proposed by Jungmann, for example, the centrality of prayer directed to the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit, as well as the importance of the mediatorship of Christ in the liturgy.

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Baptisms Invalid in Australia

[Brisbane, Australia; Dec 24,2004] According to Inside the Vatican, the December issue, hundreds of baptisms in St. Mary's parish, South Brisbane, Australia, were considered possibly invalid. The local bishop, John Bathersby, ordered that babies involved go through the rite of baptism a second time, using the traditional words from the Gospel of Matthew, "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The problem is that the pastor used words such as "in the name of the Creator, the Liberator, and the Sustainer."

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No Peace in the Assembly

[Burlington, VT; Oct. 31, 2004] Bishop Kenneth Angell has told his priests to suspend the Sign of Peace during Mass,In the United States, the sign of peace usually takes the form of a handshake. as well as Communion from the chalice for the congregation. The bishop said that what he called "a protective measure" was in effect until Easter, that is, March 27, 2005. He is concerned about the spread of the flu virus.

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Large Print Liturgical Books

[Washington, D.C.; Sept. 4, 2004] Large type edtions of the Sacramentary and the Lectionary are available. These books are intended for priests and others who are sight impaired. Contact Sister Mary Amata, O.P., St. Dominic's Monastery, 4901 -16th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20011 (202) 726-2107.

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New Roman Document on Eucharist

[Rome; May 19, 2004] flagon, used to hold wine during Mass, from which one would fill two or more chalices for Communion Prepared at the request of the Pope, a new Roman document, the "Sacrament of Redemption," provides a commentary on the Eucharist, especially the celebration of the Mass. Almost all the document recalls, amplifies, and summarizes existing law and custom; there is little that is truly new. Some norms that would seem new, for example, are the prohibition of flagons for wine and the encouragement of use of the dalmatic for a deacon. It is hardly new, however, to say that lay people should not give the sermon at Sunday Mass or that priests should not alter official texts that are prescribed. If you wish, you can order your own copy of this document online.

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New Parish Website

[Chicago Hts, IL; April 7, 2004] Here's a good parish website that you may want to check out, either to adapt your own or to set one up. Especially useful are the various online introductions to the sacraments: San Rocco Oratory. Unlike many other sites which feature texts and buildings, this site for San Rocco features human beings.

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San Jose Diocese Implements Standing during Communion

[San Jose, CA; March 26, 2004] Bishop Patrick McGrath issued a pastoral letter in January regarding standing during Communion. He explained how symbol is the language of ritual, especially in the Eucharist. In his diocese, San Jose, California, he asks people to continue standing after the Agnus Dei, as they have been.

Bishop Patrick McGrath; he earned a doctorate in canon law in RomeTo show clearly our union with Christ, he says, he asks that each assembly stand and sing from the beginning to the end of the distribution of Communion. Once all have received, people may continue to stand during the silence after Communion or during the assembly's song of praise, or otherwise may sit or kneel for a period of silence after Communion. Standing is the normative posture during the Communion procession, says Bishop McGrath. It is not, however, rigidly maintained for those unable to stand because of bodily limitations caused by age, health, disability, or weakness. The bishop says he firmly believes that such normative postures will help us, especially the children, to understand the full meaning of the Eucharist. He asks for special consideration for people who are unable to participate in the normative posture. Finally, he asks for adequate catechesis to be given in every parish.

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Eulogy at Funerals?

[Chicago, March 24, 2004] At a recent meeting of the presbyteral council, a senate of priests set up to advise the diocesan bishop, the question came up of eulogies at funerals. Two pastors, Fathers Gustafson and Sullivan, said that for funerals they have eulogies given at the beginning of Mass, with good results. This way, eulogies don't take so long. Bishop Conway reported that both dioceses of Baltimore and Boston have also moved the eulogy to the beginning of Mass, for the same reason.

Perhaps the most logical time for a eulogy at the beginning of Mass would be after the opening prayer, before the First Reading. At this point, the Introductory Rites are completed; the Liturgy of the Word has not yet begun. There is a natural break in the celebration, akin to the break after the postcommunion prayer, when announcements may be made. Another advantage of having eulogies done at the beginning is that thereby the priest has the last word, not the eulogist. This can be especially useful when a eulogy is perhaps a bit off the mark. The homily after the Gospel could then politely take such a eulogy into account.

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New Mass Translation

[Kansas City, MO; Jan. 24, 2004] According to a report in the National Catholic Reporter, by John L. Allen, a draft has been circulating of a new translation of the Order of Mass. According to this report, the new version could be in use by 2005.

Some elements of this translation represent a significant change. For example, people will respond, "And with your spirit." In the Confiteor, when used, they will say "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grevious fault." In the Gloria, some English phrases are added, to match the Latin. In the Creed, more than once, they will say or sing "I believe," rather than "We believe." In the Preface dialogue, people sing "We hold them before the Lord," instead of "We lift them up to the Lord." In the fourth Eucharistic Prayer, in some cases, the priest will sing or say "men and women," instead of "man." Some authorities, such as Cardinal George Pell, are quoted as saying these changes are "excellent." Some, such as Father Keith Pecklers, S.J., say they
would be "unfortunate."

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