28 November 2011, Thoughts on the New Missal, etc

November 28, 2011 at 20:15 1 comment

Yesterday I celebrated the “new Mass” for the first time. I am trying to put my own thoughts and feelings in order. Since I no longer have the ministry of leadership, I have time to enjoy exploring how I really think about a number of things. I have come to accept that my ways of thinking are foreign to many priests who have had experience only in a civilian setting. I have been told more than a few times by brother priests that I don’t know what I am talking about, and I ought to keep my mouth shut. I have never heard that from a priest with military experience. It probably is not a good idea to tell a retired soldier what he can or cannot say or think, or what opinion he has to have.  Just sayin . . .

Many of the “explanations” for the new translations seem to me to be ludicrous at best, something akin to “alpha kilo”. I wonder how some of these good gentlemen can say what they say with a straight face. I am concerned about the increasing lack of civility in discussions of these issues. None of us have all the answers, no matter what kind of headgear we wear. Honest dialogue has a respect for the truth in another’s position. These days there seems to be precious little dialogue. Too many of us do not tolerate any opinion other than our own.

Because the people where I celebrated Mass yesterday were so well prepped, Mass went smoothly. Most of the rough spots were mine as I tried to negotiate the challenging phrasing. There were no comments on the translation as I greeted the folks after Mass. I wonder if they are just going to passively accept this whole thing, and if those who really care are already gone. I have heard more comments during the week on the street than on weekends at Masses. The street discussions go well beyond just this new translation. Many folks of all ages would like to see women priests.

Everyplace I go to help and celebrate Mass and the sacraments the folks are wonderful, and the pastors are working their tails off. It seems to me they only thing they hear from downtown is that they have done something wrong, they have to do more, or they have another activity coming that they have to support. Over worked and underappreciated is an understatement. Most of the folks seem inclined to just go along with whatever the Church. It seems to me to be a continuum from passive acceptance to blind obedience. Maybe nobody cares. I am less concerned with the quality of the translation, faulty as it may be, and more concerned with the way this whole thing was imposed from on high without any sense of respect to people who asked for a delay or at least a discussion. It seems to me to be yet another symptom of the complete disregard on the part of church “leadership” for any opinion other than their own as it is handed to them again from on high. It seems they really believe they have all the answers for everybody on everything always and everywhere, while the rest of us know nothing about anything. They demonstrate an almost total disregard for any of us at the lower end of the food chain.

I hesitate to judge others, because I know the pain of having been misjudged myself from time to time.  Folks have told me more times than I care to count that being a catholic is like being in the Army: just keep your mouth shut and follow orders. That idea is far from anything I experienced during my years in the Army, where there is respect both up and down the chain of command. There does not appear to be anything similar in the church. The upper levels of leadership demand respect from those below, but do not seem to reciprocate. In the Army any General worth their salt cares about what the Private thinks and does, and tries to know their concerns and address them. A function of command is to keep all levels of the chain as aware as possible about what is important to the mission. A result is that all levels feel important and necessary, and do their best to accomplish the mission. The operation model in the church seems to be the upper levels telling the low to be quiet and do what we tell you; you cannot think this, or discuss that, and you will not question what we say. Of course, this is backed up by the threat of losing one’s immortal soul. It seems to me that the church can learn a lot from our military at all levels.

I am bothered by the quality and quantity of folks I know who for whatever reason have no real involvement in a believing and praying community any more. In many cases, knowing what their experience of church has been, I understand and sympathize with their decision to walk or even run away. Many of them have been presented with a God who is distant, judging, threatening, remote, uninvolved, etc. They have never gotten to know the God Jesus brings to us on a very personal level. I feel bad about this.

It my be a coping mechanism, but I find myself seeing the folks in the pews as the Church, and the “leadership” (such as it is) as an irrelevant embarrassment. I really don’t see any improvement in church dynamics on the horizon. Yet I also believe that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in this mess, and that each of us needs a solid prayer life so we can be open to what the Spirit is calling us to do. Also, I am very glad to be retired.


Entry filed under: Church Leadership, Current Church, New Missal, thoughts.

July 25 2011, Meanderings Gospel Thoughts 1 January 2012

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Pete Russ  |  November 30, 2011 at 17:05

    Come on Father Jim.

    You should thank those “good gentlemen”, those “experts.”

    Up until November 27, 2011, you left out words like “of” and “for” in “consecrating” the bread.
    Result: unconsecrated hosts for communion.

    Up until November 27, 2011, you left out the word “for” in “consecrating” the wine.
    Plus you used “cup” instead of “chalice.” I wonder what Jesus called it.
    Plus you used “eternal” instead of “everlasting.” And the difference is?
    Plus you “shed” instead of “pouring out” blood.
    Plus you only did this for “men” and not women. Politically incorrect!
    Result: unconsecrated wine for communion.

    During you Mass on November 27, 2011, you finally consecrated the hosts and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. You finally fulfilled your vocation.

    Yes I say yes, thank those “good gentlemen.”

    Yes, thank them for incarnating and consubstantiatingatingating the heck out of those innocent second graders preparing for their first Reconciliation and first Communion.

    When they “confess” in Reconciliation are they “admitting” or “believing” as compared to when they “confess” in the Nicene Creed are they “believing” or “admitting” . . . or “believing” . . . or “admitting.” Whatever!

    I’m rambling.

    So just call me, Lester Littlebit.
    Every time there are these changes I bring a littlebit less of myself to church.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Blog Stats

  • 13,391 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 25 other followers

%d bloggers like this: