21 May 2011

The Liturgy of the Academy

Over at the Pray Tell blog we’ve been hearing ad nauseam from Fr Anthony Ruff OSB just how bad the new English translations of the modern Mass are.

He recently took exception to a piece by Msgr. James Moroney, Executive Secretary of Vox Clara, and declared: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen, through the whole missal translation saga, the truth stretched this far. I can’t let this one pass without comment.” If you’re interested, you can read it all here.

"Why weren't we asked?"
One of Father Ruff’s main complaints is that “the Academy” doesn’t agree with what the hierarchy have decided is best for the Church. He complains: “If there was a consultation with, say, members of the North American Academy of Liturgy, or Societas Liturgica, or the Society for Catholic Liturgy, or the Catholic Theological Society of America, or the faculty at Sant’ Anselmo or any other theological faculty, I missed it.” And again: “Consultation with mainstream scholars? No. If there had been consultation with the academy, and if their input had been taken seriously, neither Liturgiam authenticam nor the 2011 English missal would have happened.”

Well, Father Ruff, the Academy (however you define it) and “mainstream liturgical scholars” (which is a nice way of excluding scholarly critique of your own position) are not in charge of making decisions about the liturgy. The pastors of the Church are. It is the Church’s liturgy, not the Academy’s, thank God.


  1. The pastors of the Church are. It is the Church’s liturgy, not the Academy’s, thank God.
    Father Anthony is absolutely right on target. "Pastors", Vox Clara and the Congregation of Divine Worship aren't the Church either. WE the People of God are the Church and WE should have been consulted on this missal.

    Certainly people who know the English language should have had a role in it's preparation. Instead, it comes to us as a result of the last minute machinations of people with a political agenda who know little English. The missal is a monument to sloppiness and disorderly English sentence construction if there ever was one and should be rejected outright by priests and people everywhere.

  2. As someone who has been translating from several languages into English since the age of ten, are you actually telling me I'm supposed to consult large numbers of people who have no knowledge of the language from which the translation is being done? When engaging in translation work such as this (liturgical texts) it's not so much a matter of knowing English, though as native speakers with doctorates I like to think my colleagues and I have some modest level of mastery by now; rather, it's a matter of knowing Latin well enough to make an accurate and honest translation, no matter what my politics might be. If considerable numbers of the People of God in the Anglophone world do not know Latin -- which I reasonably believe is the case -- how is it that I am supposed to consult them?

  3. "should be rejected outright by priests and people everywhere. "

    Can we reject the "People of God" unconsulted Novus Ordo, or is it too late for that?