Friday, June 30, 2006

Schism watch

Not much on the Catholic front today--short of yet another, if incoherent, denunciation of civil unions in Italy by B16--so on to the Anglicans, or better, to the U.S. Episcopalians, who don't look like they're wilting before Anglican Communion demands that they get back in line on gays.

Just after a House of Bishops resolution that encouraged "restraint" in the election of further non-celibate gay bishops, the diocese of Newark has included among its four candidates for bishop a gay priest from California, Very Rev Canon Michael Barlowe, who has been partnered for 23 years to another priest. Of course, he may not be elected, and, if he is, he may not be confirmed by the House of Bishops, but there you go.

Whether you agree with the move or not, that's what we call spine, something the U.S. bishops have almost none of, at least if their rollover on the English translation of the Mass is any indication. (Wait till you hear the explanation of why we have to respond "And with your spirit" to the priest. You'll love it.)

Still, I don't get why the Anglicans can't work this one out. Only three provinces have women bishops (Canada, the U.S., and New Zealand), and not all of them ordain women at all, which seems a graver communion-related issue than homosexuality. Regionalism is the Communion's stock and trade; we Catholics could learn a thing or two from them on that one.

Still, the Communion won't be quick to kick the U.S. out, since it's the Episcopal Church that funds most of the rest of the Communion's charitable work, especially in those places so strenuously objecting to ECUSA's stand on sexuality. We'll see if the conservatives put their money where their mouths are.


At 11:47 AM, Blogger Nate said...

Bryan, I have to admit that I don't get your opposition to the new Mass translation. My problem with it is that it wasn't translated correctly in the first place.

Don't you want the Mass celebrated the way that it was written by Rome after Vatican II? Because there are big differences.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger CtotheL said...

It's completely inaccurate to say that the Mass wasn't translated correctly in the first place. It was done well, using the principles of dynamic equivalence as found in Comme le prevoit, which outlined the rules in force at the time. This claim that we currently have "bad translations" is completely spurious. They're "bad" only because Rome changed the rules.

The new translation, quite frankly, was prepared more quickly and by fewer qualified people than the 1970 edition and is more ideologically driven. And no, I do not want the liturgy exactly as it was "written" by Rome after the Council. That wasn't the intention of the Council and is not the purpose of an editio typica, which is more of a boilerplate for the translation and adaptation of liturgical books for other churches.

No one celebrates the liturgy from the editio typica anyway, except maybe in Vatican liturgies. Everyone uses the translations and texts found in their own language group's liturgical books, many of which (German, Italian, English RCIA and OCF), incidentally, include original texts composed in the vernacular language, all of which were approved by the Vatican.

What has happened in the past 15 years is simply regime change, and with the new regime has come a new liturgical theology that treats Roman texts as if they fell out of heaven. Which they didn't. And this approach is quite frankly a novelty in Catholic tradition, which has always permitted liturgical variation. Note that the Eastern churches in communion with Rome have never, not even after Trent, been required to replace their liturgies with those of Rome.

If the Tridentine liturgy receives wider use, we'll know for sure that what's going on is not some great desire for uniformity, but a concerted efforts to overturn the 2,500ish to 3 vote in favor of liturgical reform.

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