Thursday 6 January 2011

Epiphany - A Revelation

We are looking forward to a beautiful Mass of the Epiphany this evening and it moved me to think of how quickly in the Ordinary Form we have galloped through the Christmas season this year. I’m at one with James Preece on Catholic and Loving it:

when he says that our bishops are the ones who should be taking a lead in ensuring that we stand out from the world about us and not follow along blindly behind. Blessed Pope Pius IX gave voice to the fact that the Church is called to “stand erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds Her”. The Epiphany is a major and ancient Feast of the Church, the “Little Christmas”, of great importance to our brethren in the Eastern Churches. Lessening it’s importance strikes me as one of those bizarre attitudes accomplish the opposite of what they proclaim.

There are many instances of this in the ICEL translation of the Mass that we have been stuck with and which is now being clung to by the old fashioned rearguard as a crustacean sticks to a slimy rock in a muddy seaside pool. (For a rather sad example of this see:

How many times have we heard it said that the New Lectionary more fully opened up the treasures of Sacred Scripture for the faithful? The addition of a reading from the Old Testament to the traditional epistle and Gospel reading and the change from a one-year cycle of readings to a three-year cycle created the illusion that more Scripture is being read to the faithful during the New Mass. But is it true?

The Old Mass normally has 7 readings from Scripture:
1. Introit
2. Epistle.
3. Gradual.
4. Gospel.
5. Offertory
6. Communion
7. Last Gospel

As well as:

Psalm 42 during Prayers at the foot of the Altar
Psalm 25 during the Washing of the hands
Psalm 115 as the priest receives the Precious Blood
To name but a few.

In many, if not most, Ordinary Form Masses there will be only 3 Scripture readings: Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospel. The scripture texts of the Introit, Offertory, Communion Antiphon, and possible even the Psalm, will be replaced by hymns or trite ditties about “watching the sunlight”, “walking in the light”, or “being still”.

Worse still, most of the scriptural quotation in the Mass have been eviscerated by ICEL To take just one instance, I’ve never been able to understand why it is that so many references to Scripture were removed in the translation we have been using. “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed” instead of “ Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof” as the Centurion said in Matthew 8:8. Thankfully the new translation will be both scriptural and accurate to the latin.

Scripture references in the liturgy are an ancient custom, not to say THE source of many liturgical texts. Scripture is the one thing we share in common with the Eastern Churches and even our Protestant brethren - why not take every opportunity to include it rather than exclude it? Where is the ecumenical attitude so highly vaunted by those same people and priests who are against the new translation?

Look at all 'dem pickinic baskets, BooBoo!

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