Liturgical Pacifism

September 2001

Jeremiah tells of those who cry “Peace, peace!” when there is no peace. In its June 10 editorial, Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) says it doesn’t like what it calls “the altar wars” — i.e., debates and battles over the liturgy — and OSV appeals for peace. OSV decries the “extremists” in the wars, both those who seek to (further) pedestrianize the liturgy and those who wish to re-sacralize it.

In commenting on Liturgiam Authenticam (LA), a recent instruction on liturgical translation and language issued by the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, OSV declares that LA signals that “the Vatican has had enough” of the “incessant carping and crowing” over the liturgy. In other words, the Holy See is declaring a cease-fire.

But far from being a truce, LA (which severely restricts so-called inclusive language and other trendy modes of expression) is a major victory for the re-sacralizers. Indeed, in the same issue of OSV, Ann Carey has an article where she tells us right off the bat that LA “is prompting celebration among some groups, consternation for others….” She doesn’t tell us who’s celebrating, but we all know it’s the re-sacralizers. Actually, the Holy See isn’t telling partisans to cool it, but is siding with and rewarding one set of “carping extremists” against the other set.

But this isn’t the end of the matter. Everything hangs on whether Rome will insist that LA be implemented, and in full. There already is — and will be more — resistance from some bishops, many so-called liturgists, and much of the Catholic press. And even if the norms do prevail in full, the question remains as to whether bishops will insist that priests and lectors stop ad-libbing or playing p.c. games with the liturgy. If you, dear reader, are unaware of or unexposed to such antics, let us give you an example (from the letter by Mrs. John R. Moore in our Jul.-Aug. issue): “The congregation was led in singing a ‘Gloria’ whose words were in the bulletin. It began as follows: ‘Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth. Loving God, mother of all, Almighty God creator…’ (italics added). Note the striking contrast to the words of the Gloria as printed in the Missal: ‘Glory to God in the highest! Peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father…’ (italics added).” This liturgical wreckovation is contrary to current Church law, but such travesties happen all the time.

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New Oxford Notes: September 2001

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