Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 23, 1976 when Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien passed away.
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Weigel_NEW The long-awaited introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal on Nov. 27, the First Sunday of Advent, offers the Church in the Anglosphere an opportunity to reflect on the riches of the liturgy, its biblical vocabulary and its virtually inexhaustible storehouse of images. Much of that vocabulary, and a great many of those images, were lost under the "dynamic equivalence" theory of translation; they have now been restored under the "formal equivalence" method of translating. Over the next years and decades, the Catholic Church will be reminded of just what a treasure-house of wonders the liturgy is.

At the same time, the "changes in the words" offer the Church a golden opportunity to confront, and then break, some bad liturgical habits that have accumulated, like unlovely barnacles on the barque of Peter, over the past several decades.

For example:

1. Holy Mass should never begin with a greeting or an injunction that is not in the Roman Missal. The first words the congregation hears from the celebrant should be the liturgical words of greeting prescribed in the Sacramentary. At Masses where there is no sung entrance hymn, the admonition "please stand" should never be heard; if the priest-celebrant (or lector) recites the entrance antiphon in an audible voice before processing to the altar, everyone will get the message that Mass has begun, and will stand without being told to do so.

2. Far too many lectors, including many of the best, begin the responsorial psalm inappropriately, saying, "The responsorial psalm is…." – and then reciting the antiphon to the psalm, which is not "the responsorial psalm" but its antiphon. The phrase "The responsorial psalm is…." should thus be put under the ban. Forty-plus years into the liturgical renewal, there is no need to do anything except intone or recite the antiphon that begins the responsorial psalm: by now, the congregation surely knows that its next task is to repeat the antiphon, either in song or by recitation.

3. Fully aware that I shall be accused by some of crankiness bordering on misanthropy, let me repeat a point made in this space before: the exchange of peace is not meant to be the occasion for a chat with the neighbors, but for the greetings of those closest to us in church with a simple, evangelical salutation: "the peace of the Lord be with you"; "peace be with you"; "the peace of Christ." The longer conversations can be saved for the narthex or vestibule (not "gathering space").

4. The Communion antiphon, typically linked to the Gospel of the day, is just as typically AWOL at Mass. If it is not sung by the choir, it should be recited prior to the distribution of holy Communion, not afterwards, as if it were some sort of afterthought.

5. Then there is silence. The rubrics prescribe various periods of silent reflection at Mass, particularly after the reception of holy Communion, so that the "still, small voice" of 1 Kings 19.12 (butchered by the New American Bible into "tiny whispering sound") might be heard. This is not a matter of doing something differently just to do something differently; it is a recognition that, in the liturgy, God speaks to us through silence as well as through vocal prayer and Scripture. Reintroducing periods of silence into the liturgy will require explanation from the pulpit; but while priests and deacons are explaining the "new words," why not explain why the Church chooses silence over words at some points in its worship?

The resacralization of the English used in the liturgy affords all of us an opportunity to ponder just what it is we are doing at holy Mass: we are participating, here and now, in the liturgy of angels and saints that goes on constantly around the Throne of Grace where the Holy Trinity lives in a communion of radical self-gift and receptivity. This is, in short, serious business, even as it is joyful business. We should do it well, as the grace of God has empowered us to do it well.

 George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.