Catholic Clergy Ask Bishops to Keep Mass HOLY
MARYSVILLE, PA, OCTOBER 30, 2007 – The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy respectfully asks the Bishops of the United States (USCCB) to disregard the recent letter from the National Coalition of American Nuns on Liturgical Translations. We totally disagree with their request to reject a literal and accurate English version of the Roman Missal based on the typical Latin text. It is our contention as ordained ministers who daily celebrate the sacred liturgy and who serve the spiritual needs of the faithful that they deserve nothing less than total and complete conformity to the authentic and official texts approved by the Holy See.
Since the Eucharistic Sacrifice is the ‘source and summit of Christian life’, it is imperative that the Church’s ministers celebrate ‘digne, atténte ac devote’ (worthily, with attention and devotion). Reverence is achieved not only by diligently following the rubrics but also by having accurate texts which incorporate sacred language. Ritual (gestures) combines with Rite (words) to make proper worship. ‘Full, conscious and active participation’ by the faithful in the sacred liturgy is only possible when pedestrian language and banal translations are abandoned once and for all. The congregation is more educated and sophisticated than purported by those who insist accurate and literal translations from the Latin into English would be confusing at best and frustrating at worst.
We live in a culture where the vulgar, crass and obscene are part of everyday conversation. It proliferates the media at all levels: radio, television, movies, theater, magazines, and the internet. Yet, good taste and graceful language are not archaic. Sacred worship requires a sacred vocabulary and nomenclature which expresses the value and need for reverence for ‘the Holy’ and which transcends the secular world and allows the worshipper to approach the threshold of heaven. Accuracy demands that the word “consubstantial” be restored to the Creed since the Council of Nicea (325) canonized the terms ‘homoouios’ (Greek) and ‘consubstantialem’ (Latin). Adjectives which predicate the divinity of Christ, prominent in the Latin, need to be reinserted into the English. ‘Holy’, ‘sacred’, ‘venerable’, and ‘immaculate’, etc., are not foreign terms to Catholic vocabulary. Edified language “inspires the believer to aspire to those things which are holy and sacred. Banal and pedestrian language lowers us into the gutter. One can and ought to seek a poetic sacred language that uplifts the human spirit to seek the divine rather than being content with the mediocrity of mundane.