Posts Tagged ‘Missal Translation’

DEVOTEDLY YOURS TOO – 40,000 FEET

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Hearkening back to my blog entry on the way to Seattle I find myself once again on United, flying over one of those big square states that all look alike between Colorado and the Mississippi River. Our bishops meeting in Seattle ended one hour later than scheduled last night in Bellevue, Washington with a very long Executive Session. The public agenda was very light as I have previously indicated and pretty much devoid of disagreement as I have noted already.

There is a short, succinct statement of the bishops on the matter of Physician Assisted Suicide which can be read on the USCCB website by clicking here. I found it interesting that the site of the acceptance of the document happened in a state (and along with its neighbor Oregon) which allows for it legally and that it follows closely the death of Dr. Jack Kevorkian a few days ago – probably the most famous and fatal administrator of assisted suicide in the history of this nation.

Attention was given to fixing some things in the Dallas Charter for another two years before it will once again be revisited and reexamined. I know that some people, particularly victims and groups representing them believe that there are large lacuna in the charter and things which the bishops do not wish to change. Personally, as I have written earlier this week in the ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, I recognize that the Charter is not a perfect roadmap to complete and total child safety but its efficacy can be seen in the radical drop in new reports of sexual misconduct against minors by priests and other Church employees. In our area of the country, our diocese, you have not had a reported instance after 1995 and contrast that with the instances in the five county public school districts and other organizations dealing with kids.

Our Diocese will be audited under some new rules as well as under some previous rules in October of this year. There is a new auditing firm. They do what are called compliance audits to make sure you are doing precisely what you promised to do. My staff and I welcome this visit and are prepared to tell them that there have been no complaints against priests, religious, volunteers, staff, faculty or volunteers during the period of the audit.

The bishops did agree to start implementing the music attached to the new Mass translations which will be used throughout the Liturgy on the First Sunday of Advent this year, so we will begin to sing the Gloria and the Agnus Dei in English using the new translation in our parishes beginning in September. I need to consult with the staff of my Worship Office to find out how best to accomplish this, so stay tuned here for more information as it becomes available.

Bishops’ meetings are opportunities to spend time with old friends, from the staff of the Conference as well as with brother bishops. This meeting marked the 51st General Meeting I have attended, either as staff (22) or as a bishop (29). My good friend Bishop Paul Etienne of Cheyenne, Wyoming, boarded the flight with me in Denver last Sunday and we spent Monday on Puget Sound and celebrated his birthday on the 15th.

What is always hard for me is that the membership of the episcopal conference is about eighty per cent new since I left the Conference’s employ and became a bishop myself. Faces that I could recognize in a nano-second are no longer present and the new faces one does not see often enough to etch them in memory. The outgoing General Secretary paid a nice but unnecessary compliment to me in his farewell speech and now I shall miss him unless and until he returns as a member.

Finally, they almost all want to come back to St. Petersburg for a meeting and soon. They loved the Vinoy, the waterfront, the gelateria on Beach Drive, the walks to Albert Whitted Airport and the Rays baseball games. I told them, you had better hurry, and the clock is ticking quickly on my time. I was happy they loved our area so much. Also the Bethany Center gets brought up often as a destination of choice for retreats and meetings. So we may not have Mt. Rainer (saw it for the first time this morning in all its glory) or Puget Sound or a seafood store where the employees toss salmon at you but we do have things which give birth to good memories. I will be glad when in one hour I step forth at TIA once again and am back with those I love.

+RNL

THE ROAD TO HELL . . . .

Monday, February 21st, 2011

I have always loved and found generally true that old aphorism, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” It has been about ten days since I last logged on to share some of the things happening in the life of the diocese and each day I rise saying, I am going to write a blog entry and each night I go to bed saying, “shucks.” So there is a lot to cover in this entry.

VISIT TO OUR SEMINARIANS

Week before last I visited our seminarians at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami and St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary at Boynton Beach. We currently have eighteen on campus at the former in their college and pre-theology years and nine on campus at the latter plus two men currently in the diocese of what is called “Pastoral Year.” I try to give each seminarian twenty to thirty minutes for some private time with me, celebrate the Eucharist for them, take them en masse out to dinner and say prayer with them. This year our new diocesan Vocation Director, Father John Blum accompanied me and he too spends time with each seminarian. At the conclusion of our visit, we both meet with the Rectors of the seminaries to gain their perspective on  how they see our men doing in formation. Honest seminarians always admit to the challenges of pursuing their vocations. Think of what we ask of them: celibate chastity all their lives beginning when they enter the seminary gates, living in close proximity to others and constantly under a microscope (not necessarily of their superiors but even their peers) studying two intellectual disciplines which are largely abstract in their origins (philosophy and theology), living, studying and praying in multi-cultural, multi-language Miami and South Florida. There is little that is new here to priestly formation but the experience of recent years in the Church has shone a spotlight much more glaringly on seminary education and formation and our men sense it. Overall, they are doing quite well. Some have decided not to go on after this year and they spoke honestly to me of their reasons and I admire their decisions, hard as they were to arrive at. Most are content, challenged, and eager to move on eventually to priesthood. From the perspective of a soon to be seventy year old, I can not help but admire the sacrifice these young men are making in a youth culture, perhaps even in a secular culture which neither understands nor values a chaste and celibate priesthood. While I stop short of elevating our seminarians to the ranks of heroes or saints, I can not help but admire their generosity and commitment. I left my camera at home on this trip but here is a picture of the college seminarians and one of the theologians will follow as this week I must return to both seminaries for the twice yearly meeting of the Board of Trustees.

College Seminarians 2011 with Fr. Blum

The college seminarians with Fr. Blum.

ROMAN MISSAL WORKSHOPS

Over 750 people attended one of five workshops held the last ten days throughout the diocese on the introduction on the First Sunday of Advent of the new Roman Missal translation of the Mass. I was so proud of both the presenters and those who gave of their time and talent to come and learn about what will be happening and how best we might prepare our parishioners for it. Planned, organized and executed by the Diocesan Worship Office and Commission, I have to admit that I learned some new things myself, even though I had been actively involved in the process of vetting the translation recommendations. In a few days, and I will make note of it here in this space, a video of the two major presentations made during these workshops, one by Doug Reatini on the history of changes in the Roman Missal and the second by Father John Tapp on what to expect on “T DAY” (the last Saturday in November at the Vigil Masses for the First Sunday of Advent) will be available on our Diocesan Website to join the video of Bishop Blase Cupich’s fine presentation to our priests in December of last year. If you are truly interested and I hope you are, take the time to watch both of these videos and I guarantee you will be ready for T-Day. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make these workshops so beneficial. The “buzz” (“buzz” is different from the things which are said to the bishop to make him feel good) on these days has been overwhelmingly positive and grateful. I am proud of our diocese and I know in my heart and mind that we will be ready.

Workshop held at St. Timothy Church in Lutz on Feb. 12, 2011

THE CATHOLIC FOUNDATION DINNER

About 540 people joined me in our annual dinner for the Catholic Foundation which has as one of its principal goals raising money for tuition assistance for children attending our Catholic schools who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Last year they raised just over $150,000 for tuition assistance and this year appears that it will be about the same. It was truly “Women in the Church Night” at the A La Carte Pavilion in Tampa last Saturday a week ago.  Sometimes when our Church gathers there is this underlying feeling that unless one has a cardinal or well-known archbishop to give the major address, there is little reason to go. Well this year gave the lie to that line of thinking. The major address was given by a woman born in mainland China and the show was stolen by an eighth grade young lady from St. Raphael’s school.

The principal speaker for the evening Professor Carolyn Y. Woo, Dean of the Mendoza School of Business at Notre Dame University. Dean Woo told of her own personal debt to the Catholic schooling she received in Hong Kong at the hands of the Maryknoll Sisters who had been forced by the communists out of mainland China and had taken up both residence and mission in Hong Kong. It was the sisters who guided this young girl, the fourth of six children, through elementary and high school and gave her the courage to look to the United States for her college. With only enough money to pay for the first year of tuition at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana, against her father’s wishes she made her way to the college of her choice, using $1800 (the cost for one year’s tuition in 1972 at Purdue) which she had saved from summer jobs, gifts from her siblings, and help from her nanny. Alone, afraid, but determined, she went to daily Mass at the student center at Purdue and almost immediately met the man to be her husband years later after she had completed her doctorate degree. Purdue hired her, first with a teaching job and then as a part of the University Administration. Fourteen years ago Notre Dame discovered her and asked that she come to South Bend to be Dean of their Business School. In the succeeding years she has led a major school on campus which this year in one ratings system is now first in Undergraduate Business schools in the nation and sixth in their Graduate Program. And she would lay it all at the feet of those noble women from the United States, the Maryknoll sisters, who taught her that a woman can become a leader, even in a culture (Mandarin Chinese) that relegates them to inferior positions behind men. Her story is one of amazing accomplishment and deep faith and one could hear a pin drop in the huge room while she was speaking.

Dean Carolyn Y. Woo, Dean of the Mendoza School of Business at the University of Notre Dame with Henry Jenkins, currently an ACE teacher at Holy Family Catholic School in St. Petersburg

But even Dean Woo would say the evening belonged to in the eighth grader at St. Raphael who won the diocesan first prize in an essay contest on what it means to be in a Catholic School. Speaking for about ten minutes from memory and with a super accompanying video which she herself put together, she won a long, sustained and enthusiastic standing ovation from those in attendance for her talk and presentation. It was stunning, even to me who sometimes callously thinks I have seen and heard everything. Her prize was full one year tuition which she will spend at St. Petersburg Catholic in the coming year. This young woman stands a great chance of being her generation’s Carolyn Woo. Here is Heather Finster, this year’s winner who has set the bar incredibly high for eighth graders who will attempt in future years to top her. Heather’s mom worked for many years for St. Joseph Hospital and her father died a number of years ago, making this achievement all the more beautiful. Congratulations, Heather, and it will be nice to have you in the neighborhood when you come to SPC.

Winner of the Catholic Foundation's First Annual Essay Contest on "What a Catholic School Has Meant to Me"

The Foundation made a special award to Mrs.Cecile Demers of St. Patrick’s parish in Largo  who with her husband have been strong supporters of  Catholic education, particularly at St. Patrick’s school , Clearwater Central Catholic High School and  St. Leo University. Although her husband is now deceased, Mrs. Demers continues to share the blessings of her life with young women and men who probably could not afford to be in a Catholic school were it not for her generosity and that of her late husband. Here is a picture of my presentation of this year’s Foundation Award to Mrs. Demers who used the moment appropriately enough to tell me to do more for Catholic school kids – truly an amazing woman.

Photo compliments of P. L. Carrillo

Finally, it has been “crunch time” for Confirmations and I have been doing about four a week since a month ago. There are eight more between now and the night before Ash Wednesday when we cease the confirmation circuit to better focus on Lent and preparing once again for Easter and the Triduum which precedes it. All toll, this year I will celebrate the sacrament of confirmation forty-four times before mid-June and will have served fifty-one parishes (some combine their young people and others come to the Cathedral for the two large group celebrations of the sacrament. Here one final picture of that special moment – in my life and hopefully in the lives of the young women and men who receive the sacrament.

Photo by Walter Pruchnik III

This completes the longest blog entry in the short history of this author. But now we are caught up for the moment. I hope reading it has not been something akin to walking that road to hell but in writing this, however late, I did have good intentions.

+RNL

ET CUM SPIRITU TUO

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Welcoming the Roman Missal Third Edition

On the first Sunday of Advent this year, we will change a good portion of the language of the Mass with which many of you grew up. For the first time in forty years a new English translation of the ROMAN MISSAL will be introduced and used in every parish and chapel throughout the English speaking world. While it will take some getting used to, so did the prayers and translation we are currently using when they were first introduced following the close of the Second Vatican Council.

Over the coming months I will use this space to present my own thoughts on how we get from what has become very familiar to the new, from the present translation to the new translation. This week and next over 650 of those working in our parishes in this diocese will come to a workshop presented by the Diocesan Office for Worship in techniques which might be employed to aid in making the adjustments and getting ready for the introduction of the new translation on November 26th. These sessions throughout the diocese will include our priests, deacons, music ministry people, catechists and religious education teachers, everyone who will be working to make this as smooth a transition as possible.

Our priests spent a day at the end of November 2010 listening to a very clear presentation on the new translation and why it has come to be. Y0u can watch the video of the three hour presentation by Bishop Blase Cupich of the Diocese of Spokane, Washington below or on our diocesan web site and I highly recommend that to you if you have the time and interest. Bishop Cupich explained to us that the new translation while strictly and closely translating the Latin text is theologically richer than that which we are using and can lead us deeper into the mystery of the Eucharist if we wish to go there. He made a good case and convinced a number of skeptical priests that this was indeed not “the end time” but rather the beginning of a new day in our communal prayer.

Pope Benedict has made it clear since his election that he wanted a uniform translation in English which was faithful to the Latin text. Please remember that no one is making the case that Jesus spoke Latin but rather the oldest versions of the Mass were Latin translations from a variety of other languages like Hebrew and Aramaic. The text which we have been using was rather quickly put together and approved following the Council’s close and certain approved translation liberties were taken (I will spare you here the convoluted details). Now they are being replaced by a literal translation of the Latin. Thus the famous “Dominus Vobiscum” followed by Et Cum Spiritu tuo” will once again be rendered as “The Lord be with you” and the response will be “And with your Spirit.” Bishop Cupich does a very fine job on the video of explaing that and as awkward as this may sound, it is a much more spiritually deeper response than the present “And also with you.”

One prayer in which there is no change is the Our Father. But expect some changes to get used to in the Gloria, Confiteor (“I confess…..”), Holy, Holy, Holy and O Lord I am not worthy.” The task of changing is far more challenging for the celebrant of the Mass as the Eucharistic Prayers have been altered with certain word changes, but the priests and I will work on those.

Change is never easy but I am willing to bet that proverbial dollar to a donut that you will adjust quickly as we did in the ’70’s when the present translation showed up. I intend to reflect more on these changes and hopefully help you prepare for T-DAY (aka Translation Day) throughout this year. Again, I can not recommend enough watching the video presentation of Bishop Cupich to our priests. It will help you enormously.

+RNL

FROM SACRAMENTARY TO ROMAN MISSAL

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

As I promised in my blog entry “AND WITH YOUR SPIRIT” videos of Bishop Cupich’s presentation on the new translation of the Roman Missal are now available on our diocesan video site.  The videos are divided into the three parts of Bishop Cupich’s presentation: History of Language and Translation in the Mass, The People’s Parts, and The Priest’s Parts.  The videos are also included below so that you can watch them here.  You may also be interested to download a PDF handout of the presentation slides From Sacramentary to New Roman Missal.

AND WITH YOUR SPIRIT

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Monday was a significant moment in the life of our local Church. Almost all (247 out of a possible 261) of the priests living, or working, or helping in the diocese gathered at the Bethany Center to begin the work of preparing ourselves and our people for the changes in translation of the Order of Mass which will begin next year at about this time (the First Sunday of Advent). I invited Bishop Blase Cupich, bishop of Spokane, to come and be present to us as we begin this journey from a translation which we have used for about forty years now to the new translation. The bishop holds a doctoral degree in Sacramental Theology from the Catholic University of America and was a member of the Committee on Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops during the time of discussion and debate on the new translation. God’s people in this diocese can approach any and all of your priests this week-end and ask how the presentation went and you will hear nothing but high praise, at least for the presenter and ever more likely for the changes which both the bishop, priests and people will have to become accustomed to in the months to come.

Most Reverend Blase Cupich, Bishop of Spokane, presents on the new translation of the Roman Missal.

Most Reverend Blase Cupich, Bishop of Spokane, presents on the new translation of the Roman Missal.

Bishop Cupich’s presentation was divided into three parts: the history of the Roman Missal in Latin and English from the Council to the present moment; changes effecting both priest presiders and people; and navigating the orations or prayers at Mass (opening, over the gifts, after communion) which tend to be long and also use some interesting phraseology and word choice. As challenging and different at times as this new translation is going to be, by the time we all left the Bethany Center on Monday, I think we shared a sense that the new translation is probably theologically richer than the translation we currently use and offers we priests new opportunities for preaching the faith at a deeper level by focusing on and integrating not only the readings but perhaps the prayers and orations as well. If you have the time, the Bishop allowed us to record the sessions (three of them each about forty-five minutes to one hour in length) and they will be accessible through our diocesan web-site and this blog once they are available.

The new translation is a work of many “chefs” and not just from the United States but from the English-speaking churches throughout the world as well as the competent offices of the Holy See (The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, for example). Therefore, it reflects a universality of English usage which is not always the American-idiom and we need to be prepared for this in the new translation. It is also a negotiated document, long in preparation and debated at length and some would say ad nauseum by our own bishops’ conference. I must say that many of the parts of translation which I found particularly troublesome were addressed in the final redaction, mostly to my personal satisfaction though that should count for little. So what we will be praying will be slightly different, more faithful to the Latin tradition and texts, and, I think, after some getting used to has the possibility of enhancing our celebration of the source and summit of our faith, the Eucharist.

We priests will help you come to the same conclusions and understanding prior to the implementation date on the First Sunday of Advent in 2011. We will hold five diocesan-wide consultations in February for those who will be involved in either the catechesis or the implementation. In the Fall, in early October, I will travel throughout the diocese to personally make myself available to all who wish to come to hear the why and the how of the changes coming. I personally want this to go well and our diocese to stand out for its smooth and stellar transition from the present to the future in our Eucharistic worship.

Bishop Cupich got us started Monday in a fine manner and it was one of the first times when almost all the priests left saying such things as: “this was excellent,” or “I came opposed and angry and left thinking, OK this can be done and explained,” or “now I get it.” We have established a firm foundation among the priests now for the transitional work which lies ahead. Expect to read a lot more about these changes in this blog, on a radio series which I intend to launch on the topic, and using the electronic media, our web-site as well as printed materials. Only a stranger in Church on the First Sunday of Advent next year will come to Church unaware of what that day will bring and most of us will come saying, I embrace this change. From the bishop and priests of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, thanks to Bishop Cupich for a great start.

+RNL

THE MORE WE GET TOGETHER, THE HAPPIER WE’LL BE

Monday, October 4th, 2010

114 priests of the diocese are meeting in convocation at the Sable Park Crown Plaza hotel in East Tampa from Monday afternoon through Thursday noon. This non-mandatory convening of the fathers is meant to provide us with some time for fraternal support, continuing education, and afternoons generally free of appointments, telephone calls, etc. It is an annual affair and something which I always enjoy. Of course, last year I was unable to be present except that I did make it for dinner with the “brothers” on Tuesday night.

Each year has a central thematic and we invite at least two and sometimes more special people to come and present to and instruct us. This year we are spending our mornings listening and thinking about new and better ways to minister as priests in a multi-cultural environment. Our major presenter is Father Alan Figuroa Deck who is currently heading the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops office for Multi-Cultural Ministry. A good sixty percent of our 76 parishes in this diocese has some presence of people not of the Anglo-Saxon culture: Hispanics, Portughese, Koreans, Polish, Lithuanian, Vietnamese, and Haitians just to mention the larger presences. I suspect that most of we priests don’t think we do a great job of evangelization to these different cultures and wish we could do more and do it better. The days will not solve the problems or eliminate the challenges, but I am looking for best practices which we or at least I can employ in reaching out to these people. In my parents’ time there were national parishes to care for these groups but these have largely disappeared.

This gathering is not mandatory but has always enjoyed good attendance. Please don’t think that bishops can mandate anything these days. I have asked every priest on faculties in the diocese to join me on November 29, 2010 when Bishop Blase Cupich of Spokane and a member of the USCCB Committee on Worship speaks to us about the new translation of the Roman Missal which we will begin using in December 2011. Already seven (7) have said they cannot come. There are moments when I am surprised that all twelve apostles made it to the Last Supper but then one did leave early even from that.

This year, of course, there is baseball as a distraction but God is good and our Wednesday game has been scheduled for 1:37pm allowing a number of us, myself included, to make the game and be back for dinner and for Eucharist. Every afternoon is free to do something and they often schedule golf, tennis, and visits to places like MOSI and the Lowry Park Zoo.

Masses in the parish are mostly being covered by our senior, retired priests so we can attend the convocation and every year several leave to cover funerals, etc. My brothers are so generous and mostly committed to their ministry but the more we get together, the better we’ll be.

+RNL

WHAT? WHY NOW? WHY NOT?

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Probably the biggest news in the Church world this week was the announcement which all US bishops received yesterday from Cardinal Francis George that finally, after years of preparation, the new English texts for the Roman Missal have been approved by the Holy See and returned to all of the English speaking countries for printing, publication, and promulgation. Cardinal George in his message to the bishops said that in his capacity and role as president of the episcopal conference he was promulgating that the new translation of the texts used at Mass would be utilized starting on the first Sunday of Advent in 2011. So, the long and short of it is that you and I must begin to prepare ourselves for a new translation in English of texts which we have been using at Mass since the early seventies of the last century.

After the fathers of the Second Vatican Council decided that Mass could be celebrated in either Latin or in the language of every country in the world, the English speaking countries founded and financially supported an organization to translate the texts used at Mass from Latin into English. That organization was called the International Commission on English in the Liturgy or ICEL. Latin scholars and English technicians immediately set about to translate the texts used in the Missal on the altar at Mass into the vernacular of every country. There was enormous pressure to change at the time and the translation admittedly was rushed. The translators were allowed by the Holy See to use a translation technique called “dynamic equivalency” in translating which meant that they did not have to translate strictly but could use words and idiom of spoken language at that time. Or to put it more succinctly, both the Holy See and ICEL wished to present a translation which recognized that words change with time and a strict translation might not make sense to the hearer or reader. When published and approved by the Holy See, the translation we currently use served us well but if words can sometimes change and other words pass into disuse, then an updating from time to time was likely.

The bishops of the English speaking world began this updating about fifteen years ago and ICEL produced an absolutely magnificent translation of the Roman Missal which was passed by the US bishops conference by a vote of 235-32. But there was some controversy and the minority complained to Rome that they were not listened to in the debate in the US at least and Rome heard their complaint, refused to accept the new translation, and then amazingly did what the Council documents left to individual bishops’ conferences and changed the rules of translation from dynamic equivalency to a strict adherence to translating the Latin slavishly. The Holy See then ordered a new or third translation attempt, ICEL was radically altered and work begun on the Mass texts which you should be hearing and praying starting next November, 2011.  So, for example, the Latin et cum spiritu tuo which we have been rendering as and also with you is now to be and with your Spirit.

The changes which will be asked of our praying communities will not be a terrible burden, I think. They will take some getting accustomed to but so did moving from Latin followed by some Latin/English to total English in the Mass. If the praying Church did it in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, I am confident that the praying Church will do it again. Only time will tell if the new translation to be brought into being in fifteen months will stand the test of time as well as the current translation has. There are words being changed which will require catechesis on the part of all of us. We use the word offering at Mass but we will soon substitute oblation in its place. The latter is a stricter translation of the Latin. We need to teach our children and others the meaning of a word which is not in common parlance. Perhaps no big deal but change always comes with some pain.

The arguments among the bishops of this country on this translation wore most of us down but I can tell you that in the end, the Holy See did listen and accept many of the greater concerns of bishops who were uncomfortable with some of what was being proposed. I am personally at peace with the translation as I understand it will be coming to us and along with our priests, I will do everything I can to welcome this change, make it as palatable as possible, provide the necessary catechesis prior to implementation, and ready the parishes and chapels of this diocese for the First Sunday of Advent in 2011. I shall be returning to this subject often in the coming fifteen months. I hope we will be one of the best dioceses in preparing for and implementing the new missal. Now is the time and it falls to us as it fell to our parents as well as ourselves and our beloved Church in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s. As Christ said, be not afraid.

+RNL

BISHOP’S PLENARY – SECOND DAY

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

First, a confession. I spent all day in a clinic and in doctors’ offices for regular post-op visits. All went very well on that front. What I was not able to do was watch the live video of the second day of the annual Fall meeting so for these reflections, I am dependent on news reports from CNS and other sources. As you know, EWTN is not carrying the bishops’ meeting this year, gavel to gavel, so it was not possible  for me to record the meeting and watch it this evening. Anyway, here goes.

Most all the action items passed with sizable majorities. While almost every action item had one or two votes against, this preventing a unanimous action of the assembly, I have always held that if the Nicene Creed  (the one we recite and pray at Mass) were placed before the bishops, it too would garner two or three negative votes.

One item which had the largest number of “no” votes was a proposed pastoral letter on marriage. Although the bishops’ National Advisory Council encouraged a “yes” vote on the proposed pastoral, bishops who spoke today felt that while there was nothing wrong with the proposed text, there were some issues and passages which could have been rendered better . The pastoral received five more votes than necessary for passage. The bishops also overwhelmingly approved a revision in the “Ethical and Religious Directives” which guide local bishops, health care facilities, doctors and nurses in hard decisions about medical treatment in an age when technology allows life to be maintained and sustained for years. The Pro-Life Committee saw their work product, a statement on life and birth in a technological age pass by a wide margin. All of these actions are available to you now on the USCCB web site.

The long work on a new translation of the Roman Missal is over and now Rome’s approval is awaited. Sometime in 2011, the new Missal will be implemented in the English speaking world. We will have to get use to some new language and there will be a period of catechesis in 2010 and early 2011 which I and our priests will lead to get you ready for the changes.

Finally, several bishops came to the defense of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development whose collection will be taken up this coming week-end in churches throughout the U.S. Founded about 30 years ago, CCHD has given grants to many organizations and agencies and sponsored an education program on the roots of poverty. Conservatively oriented Catholics have beeb taking shots at CCHD since its inception. Several years ago it was learned that a grant recipient was ACORN which was involved in projects not in accord with Catholic teaching. Several years ago before the US Government and Congress became aware of ACORN’s malfeasance, CCHD had dropped all support for this organization. I personally believe in and support CCHD and feel that our bishops’ committee  has acted responsibly with regard to this challenge.

That’s it from m perspective. Some final thoughts and notes on the meeting tomorrow.

+RNL

WE/I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

I had occasion this Sunday to attend Mass where the new translations of the Order of Mass were in use already. Or perhaps I should say that the new translation of the Nicene Creed was being used. After the homily the priest presider took his seat and when he stood up to begin the Creed, he and everyone in the Church scurried to find the text of the now familiar prayer. Directed to follow a slavish translation of the Latin text, “Credo in unum Deum” which for years we have been saying, “We believe in one God” is now “I believe in one God….” and thereby becomes a personal faith affirmation rather than an affirmation of the whole assembly. “One in being with the Father” is now translated “Consubstantial with the Father” and so on. One nice change is that “for us men and our salvation” is rendered “for us and for our salvation.” When the Creed was ended, everyone including the priest scurried to put away the “cheat sheet” until next it would be needed.

I have no delusions that in time the new translation will be a part and parcel of the praying community’s memory just as the prayers are now to which we have grown so accustomed but I am not sure I will live long enough in my case.

At the end of the Eucharist I asked the priest what he and his people thought of the new translation. His response, speaking for himself and for the people, is not printable here.

Nonetheless, it is coming and coming soon to the United States. At this November’s meeting the bishops of the United States will be asked to approve the final segments of the translation and submit them to Rome for what is called a “recognitio” and then a date, maybe the first Sunday of Advent in 2010 0r some other time in 2011 we will begin to use them in our celebrations of the Mass. The Our Father remains unchanged but we will have to get used to some other things. I predict windfall profits for the missaelette people, missal people and others who will produce, distribute and sell the “cheat sheets” which we will all need for some time.

+RNL

Bishops’ Meeting Day Two

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Today publicly began at 630am for me with a concelebrated Mass followed by a 90 minute breakfast meeting and it ended at 615pm when the final public session of this meeting was gaveled to a conclusion. It was a long and tedious day for all the bishops with very focused discussions among ourselves and then some action items and elections voted on. On the day when the Conference usually votes on elected offices and action items, it has been the recent custom to engage an electronic voting service whereby each bishop is allocated one wireless voting machine and the results are calculated and announced almost instantaneously. Well, shortly into our first vote, the machines malfunctioned and we had to use paper ballots. We Florida bishops were blamed by some for the voting irregularities and the length of time it took to announce results.

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