August 4, 2006

Be Our Guest / Kris Casey

New Mass translation shows that bishops
are in touch with reality

This is in response to the letter in the July 21 issue of The Criterion titled “Are the bishops out of touch with reality?”

With all the talk about wars, poverty, violence and a vocations shortage, some people are led to ask, “Are the bishops out of touch with reality?” when they work on and approve a new translation of the Mass in English.

I submit that the bishops are more in touch with true reality than anybody else.

These latest changes approved by the bishops are part of a liturgical reform that more accurately translates the Mass prayers from Latin to English.

What does this have to do with what is happening in the world today? Jesus, the Prince of Peace, came to this world to bring us into one fold, one body.

Where is the one place where all of us are gathered perfectly into one body: the celebration of the Mass, Holy Communion!

If we truly believe that we are all gathered into the one mystical body of our Lord, then the new translations make perfect sense because they are a more accurate translation of the Mass from the Latin and, thus, no matter what the vernacular language used, all of the prayers will be more closely linked.

Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi: We pray what we believe.

We are a universal Church; our liturgies should reflect that.

So what about all of the social justice and peace issues? Concern for the liturgy and concern for these issues are not mutually exclusive. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Web site lists arms control, the environment, housing, Iraq, nonviolence and poverty, among a host of others, as matters that it has addressed.

Furthermore, if we truly believe, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, that, “The Eucharist is the ‘source and summit of the Christian life,’ ” (CCC #1324), then we should know that all goodness, and the solutions to all problems, are found in and proceed forth from the Blessed Sacrament and the celebration of Holy Mass.

If we, the people in the pews, are more concerned about social justice and peace issues than about entering into the great mysteries of the liturgical life of Christ’s Church, then the world has no hope for peace and justice.

It is only when we begin to recognize the liturgy of the Church for what it is that peace and justice can be effectively brought to the world, for participation in the Eucharist separates us from sin, strengthens charity and commits us to the poor. (See CCC #1391-#1398.)

So I ask this question: If we are not primarily focusing on Christ in the liturgy of the Church, are we for real?

(Kris Casey is a member of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis.)

Local site Links: