Saturday, January 16, 2010

Riposte To Fr. Ryan

Remember Fr. Michael Ryan? This was the guy who was basically advocating disobedience and schism over the new translation of the Mass.

I have to give props to America for deigning to publish this response from Fr. Peter Stravinskas.

When the English Missale Romanum appeared in 1970, it was clear we had been handed a paraphrase instead of a translation. As a young priest required to use these texts, I quickly determined that something needed to be done to return to the people of God what Father Ryan dubs “their baptismal birthright”—that is, an English liturgy that seeks to convey all the depth, truth and beauty of the original Latin. By 1992, I had assembled a team of scholars who produced an alternative translation of the Ordinary of the Mass and presented that effort to the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy in Washington, D.C., and the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome. Hostility was the response from Washington—copies of our draft were gathered and destroyed at the bishops’ meeting—while Rome expressed a guarded interest in our project.

Keep in mind that Fr. Ryan was up for anything to forestall a shift away from the aforementioned "paraphrase." In fact, he claimed that the laity had a right to such a watered down translation.

Not only does he give a good historical overview, he actually takes what VII actually said (in context) in doing so. How refreshing:

What curial officials and the pope are arguing for, with the enthusiastic support of junior clergy, is not a moribund “rubricism” but a genuine ars celebrandi that makes the sacred mysteries palpable. Not a few observers have noted that much of the liturgical change that occurred after the council—both officially sanctioned as well as in explicit violation of church law—would have been unthinkable to the council fathers.

Unthinkable. Yet we still wound up with the product that we did. Weird.

On a side note, I wonder what sorts of things he might be thinking of here. Something like Latin, maybe?

Father Ryan shares the concern of Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pa., the former chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, who has complained that the U.S.C.C.B. did not have a direct hand in the antiphons of the Missale Romanum. In a speech to the bishops conference in November, Bishop Trautman cited paragraph 36 of Sacrosanctum Concilium, which he argued gave the episcopal conferences the authority to produce and approve liturgical translations. Yet the paragraph in question in no way calls for what Bishop Trautman demands: it stipulates that episcopal conferences are to approve translations (not produce them), with subsequent approval by the Holy See.

Ironically, the very same paragraph of the conciliar constitution also states that, “The use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin rites....Care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” In other words, if paragraph 36 had been followed in regard to the primacy of Latin, the Ordinary of the Mass would not have been translated into the vernacular in the first place!

Let me go out on a limb and say that Bishop Trautman will never, ever, ever, ever quote from this part of Vatican II.

Nice work by Fr. Stravinskas and, again, thanks to America for putting it in print.

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