As expected the self-styled the Association of Catholic Priests of Ireland (ACP) have launched their call to the bishops to "postpone" the introduction of the new translation of the Missal - they want it "postponed" for five years. Now you might wonder why I have put postponed in inverted commas, well if you read their statement you'll see why: in reality they do not want it postponed but discarded altogether so, after consultation with the people (ie them, I presume), a new more vibrant, dare we say "relevant", Mass can be put in place.
See their views here. Sarah McDonald of the Catholic News Service has an interesting article on it. I also got to hear part of an interview on Newstalk with Fr Padraig McCarthy from the group who was talking about the number of words in a sentence in the new translation. His objections were pretty poor. Fr Vincent Twomey had been on earlier defending the translation pointing out the overall positive aspects.
The new association's objections were anticipated since the rejection of the new translation now falls in the overall agenda of those who dissent from orthodox Christian teaching and Catholic teachings in particular. But there is also another reason they reject it: their understanding of the liturgy is different from the Catholic understanding. Influenced by the secular thought of the sixties and seventies (they are all of that generation), liturgy is mostly a human centred, human focused activity: it is all about the gathered community gathering together to celebrate this gathering. A ritualistic order of service does not fit into this view of liturgy. The theology of the meal, which is part of the Church's theology of the Eucharist, overshadows the sacrificial element which is downplayed and even rejected, and so a new translation which heightens our focus on the ritual of the sacrifice is unacceptable.
They seem to be particularly stung by Rome's rejection of the 1998 translation and that the expertise of those experts who produced it was "spurned" - seems to be the usual argument liberals use to keep their agenda in place: reject it and you hurt good people who have worked so hard - I've heard that excuse recently.
I remember seeing the 1998 translation before it went to Rome - a liturgy professor displayed it proudly for us when in seminary. Looking at it I knew Rome was going to have a fit and it would be rejected. They had rewritten the Missal according to their own taste - adding their own prayers: it was not a proper translation at all - but a new Missal. It was also a massive tome - it seems when they got down to writing their own prayers for the Mass they forgot to stop. I remember the state the professor was in when news came through Rome had rejected it - he nearly had a heart attack with fury, complaining about those who had no idea about the people in the Church today and no sense of what real liturgy was, and the "good people who worked so hard on it now being hurt and rejected". Thank God Vox Clara came along and got things back on track.
The new translation is not perfect, but it is a vast improvement on the present one which is inaccurate, banal and even dodgy in places. The new is more archaic, but that is a positive - trendy translations age very quickly - imagine a Mass written in sixties language: "Hey dude God, slap me a five" just doesn't do it; no, "Lord God, grant us your grace" sounds better. A trendy translation which the ACP wants will quickly become irrelevant, a classical translation, while not this year's slang, will not date. All the religious traditions recognise this - they conduct their liturgies and worship with a poetic and symbolic language, many of them with a language which is no longer spoken by the masses, because they recognise that while worship is part of every day life it also looks beyond this life, to God and this means ritual action, formal prayer and beauty are essential.
Another positive about the new translation: it will slow priests down saying Mass. It might curb the Sprint Mass and reintroduce a little more decorum into prayer. That can only be a positive.