Saturday, March 22, 2014

Grateful to Father Anthony For Recognition

Shortly before I was taken ill last month, I received an email from a friend and colleague in Australia telling me that my Blog: What Sister Never Knew and Father Never Told You, had come to the favorable attention of Father Anthony Ruff, OSB and the blog he coordinates: Pray Tell .  I have never done anything to promote my blog and have watched it grow slowly over the last several years.  I had been a bit startled to suddenly see the number of hits double and even treble in mid-February and wondered for what reason this might account.  I was flattered to have Father Anthony write: Whoever runs the blog about church history What Sister Never Knew and Father Never Told Youknows his stuff. 
I have long admired Anthony Ruff.  Dom Anthony is a monk of Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville and teaches Liturgy and Liturgical Music there at the University.  He also writes well on monastic spirituality.  Father Anthony had served on the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) in preparing the revised translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal which was introduced two years ago as the “new translation” of the Roman Liturgy in the United States.  At the last moment, Father Anthony withdrew from ICEL and published an open letter explaining why he would not promote the “new translation.”  I'm sure bishops want a speaker who can put the new missal in a positive light, and that would require me to say things I do not believe."
I am not as negative as many towards this new translation.  Overall I find it extremely artificial with its retention of Latin Syntax which simply does not translate well into contemporary English.  On the other hand, there is some lovely phraseology and in particular I am grateful for the return of “From the Rising of the Sun unto its Setting, a Perfect Sacrifice may be offered to the Glory of Your Name” rather than that pedestrian (though still idiomatically accurate) translation: “From East to West etc.”  The better celebrants I know somewhat pick and choose and between the various translations and massage the faux-Ciceronian syntax into something intelligible.  One priest told me that he actually likes the new translation because it has freed him from a slavish dependency on the book and encouraged him to “pray” the prayers from his heart rather than read them by rote.  But I wander.
I am flattered at Father Anthony’s review of my entry on Cranmer and Eucharistic Sacrifice ( and amused at the firestorm it unleashed.  The comments section validated my reasons for talking about the Anglican Liturgy of the First and Second Prayer Books of King Edward VI.  I could not care less about sixteenth-century Anglican liturgies no one uses today.  My point was to draw attention to the flaws regarding an oblatio of bread and wine in some late medieval western liturgies and in the Missal of Pius V.  I am deeply grateful for the 1970 Missal and what is, I believe, a far more clear celebration of our Christian Faith in Christ’s Redemptive Sacrifice as we encounter it Sunday after Sunday (or, for some of us, day after day) in the Eucharistic Banquet.   Father Anthony cited my posting as a reason why “we can’t go back” and that is very much my point.  The 1970 Missal has several flaws, but so does the 1570 Rite (and its 1962 Edition) and there is no doubt that the 1970 Rite is vastly superior as an expression of our historic faith as found in the Scriptures and the Church Fathers. 
That being said, it was later drawn to my attention that this blog, What Sister Never Knew and Father Never Told You  was also given a recognition on  New Catholic Blogs  I don’t seek acknowledgement but am grateful for whatever attention these mentions bring What Sister Never Knew and Father Never Told You.  

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