THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: For the last four years, The Catholic Knight blog has been preparing it's readers for the coming liturgical reform of Pope Benedict XVI. At times it seemed like the coming reform was so far away. At times it seemed like it would never come. NOW IT IS UPON US!
Starting in Advent of 2011, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will promulgate the new English translation of the Roman Missal, which has been in the works since the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, and mandated for immediate implementation by Pope Benedict XVI. You can learn more about the new Missal translation HERE at this official website put out by the USCCB. The website is designed to prepare the laity for the coming changes, as they will be quite profound. In reality, the official mass is not changing at all. The mass stays the same. What is changing is our English translation of it. The problem with our previous translation is that it wasn't a true translation of the original Latin text at all. It was more or less a paraphrase or what they call "dynamic equivalent." Many Latin scholars would disagree with the latter, saying there was nothing "equivalent" about it. They would contend the previous English translation was in actuality a watered-down butchering of the original Latin liturgy. Most Latin-English scholars agree this new translation is far superior, and a much more accurate rendering of the original Latin text.
The effect of our previous English translation on liturgical celebrations in the United States has been quite profound. In many parishes, what was once a solemn and dignified act of worship has degenerated into banal entertainment that often produces abusive innovations that are far from what the Holy See intended with the promulgation of the New Missal back in 1969. In most parishes throughout the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia, time-honored customs (with Biblical origins) were completely thrown by the wayside. This included everything from the veiling of women to kneeling for communion. Altar rails were torn out of churches, high altars were deconstructed, the use of bells and incense was all but forgotten. Some parishes even removed the kneelers! None of this was intended by Vatican II. A simple reading of the Vatican II documents will reveal that. Pope Paul VI, who oversaw the promulgation of the New Missal in 1969-70, would have never imagined such radical changes could occur in forty years time. Furthermore, it is doubtful that he was even aware of the deficiency of the English translation that accompanied it. Pope John Paul I never had the opportunity to do anything about it, having only reigned for a month before his untimely death. We know that Pope John Paul II deplored it and ordered it's reform. We also know that a letter to the USCCB from Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate referred to it as "defective" and revoked permission for the US Catholic Church to continue using it. That was back in 2006. It is now 2009, and the USCCB has announced the anticipated changes will be coming in Advent of 2011.
With the coming liturgical changes a golden opportunity now presents itself for Catholics to take back what was lost of our glorious Catholic tradition over the last forty years. The Catholic Knight is calling all his readers to a LITURGICAL RENEWAL CRUSADE!
This is how we'll do it...
- Familiarize yourself with the coming new English translation of the mass.
- Prepare your heart to kneel for communion, and receive in the mouth, once the new translation is implement in your parish. It is best to familiarize yourself with the spiritual principles behind this, and understand that you have the support of the Holy Father, and know that every bishop and priest in the world has already been instructed by the Holy Father to make accommodations.
- Be mindful of proper liturgical rubrics for the laity. For example; the laity are not supposed to hold hands during the "Our Father." The time for personal contact with fellow parishioners is during the sign of peace. Personal contact with fellow parishioners during the "Our Father" is not technically permitted in the rubrics of the mass, and distracts from the true contact of unity we have in the Eucharist. Nor are we supposed to mimic the gestures of the priest during the liturgy. The only exception to this is when the laity mimics the priest as he crosses his forehead, lips and heart during the reading of the gospel. This is permissible. Otherwise, the laity should only cross themselves when appropriate, and keep their hands in prayer position at all other times. Mimicking the priest at the wrong time only distracts other parishioners, and takes the focus off important things in the mass.
- Men, women and children should prepare to dress modestly for mass. Tank-tops, flip-flops, short-shorts, etc. are completely unacceptable for the solemn celebration of the mass. The laity should prepare themselves by reviewing the standards of Mary modesty.
- Women should prepare for the special graces that accompany those who veil their heads for mass and all forms of public prayer. This is a Biblical custom of the Church which has NEVER been revoked. There is an entire spirituality that goes along with this, which men are not allowed to participate in. Indeed they physically CANNOT participate in. It is a spirituality that belongs exclusively to the female Christian. You should familiarize yourself with this, lest you miss out and deprive yourself of these magnificent graces.
Those who implement these five steps at the institution of the new liturgy will not only increase their spiritual participation in the mass, but will do much to effect the liturgical reform in the U.S. Catholic Church the Holy Father so eagerly desires. In review these five steps are...
The time for mental, emotional and spiritual preparation is NOW! The time for implementation is as soon as the new translation of the liturgy is promulgated in the U.S. Catholic Church.
- Learn the new English translation of the mass.
- Kneel for communion (if physically able) and receive in the mouth.
- Cease mimicking the priest except when the rubrics allow, and stop holding hands at the "Our Father."
- Dress modestly.
- Women should veil in accordance with female spirituality and receive the special graces associated with it.