söndag 9 juni 2013

Perverse or what?

Latin is the official language of the church. This was affirmed by the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The only Masses round here that are celebrated in Latin, however, are those in the Usus Antiquior ("Extraordinary Form", I don't like to use the term as it is a mis-translation and suggests something weird). These are poorly attended because neither is at a convenient time and one of them is a twenty minute journey out of town.  Thus the number of people who go to them is no indication of the demand. One of them got the chop a few weeks ago as the curate had to go away to care for a sick parent. The other one will stop for several weeks because the priest who normally says it is taking an extended break. The alternative priest who was asked to say it has flatly refused. Worse still, he refused to say it in Latin in the Novus Ordo form, which should have presented no difficulties for him. That would have been a reasonable and acceptable compromise and way of meeting parishioners half-way. But no.

Yet we have in the parish, four Masses on a Sunday in the vernacular (actually the mother tongue of only a minority of the parishioners), as well as regular masses in Polish, Croatian, Spanish, Chaldean, Hungarian, Slovenian and English. Everything, in fact, but Latin. Having Mass celebrated in all these different languages divides the parish into lots of separate groups who rarely get to meet each other. The English Mass is dire because the celebrants and readers are struggling with the language, a problem aggravated by the new ICEL translation. The vernacular liturgies are not very good either because there is little decent music for the language - there is no musical setting for the Creed and there is an over-reliance on depressing Protestant hymns. Matters are made worse because the parish musicians engage in a sort of acoustic terrorism and nobody has the gumption to stop them. It is all very depressing.

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