Page 7, 21st September 2001

21st September 2001
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Page 7, 21st September 2001 — Liturgiam Authenticam : Canon Walsh defended From Fr John Fitzsimmons
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Liturgiam Authenticam : Canon Walsh defended From Fr John Fitzsimmons

Sir, It is high time your readers were confronted with a few facts concerning the Vatican document Liturgiam Authenticam. Up to this point we have had nothing but

laudatory not to say nauseating — contributions full of praise for yourself and (of course) denigration of anyone who thinks differently, in this case Canon Chris Walsh.

He is well able to answer for himself; suffice it say, he has a point or three.

Fact 1: Liturgiam Authenticam was issued without prior consultation of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, in spite of the express direction of Paul V1 (Motu Proprio, 27.6.1971: "The Pontifical Biblical Commission must be consulted before the issuance of new norms on biblical matters", no.13). Liturgiam Authenticam. has issued such norms; they have been issued without the necessary consultation —worse still, they are flawed in the extreme.

Fact 2: Liturgiam Authenticam. misinterprets the authority of the Nova Vulgate Latin version of the Scriptures. If Liturgiam Authenticam. is to be followed, accurate vernacular versions of the Bible are rendered impossible. Liturgiam Authenticam. No 37 states that NV is to be "the point of reference as regards the delineation of the sacred text" and that "liturgical translation must be prepared in accordance with the same manuscript tradition that the NV has followed". There cannot be a serious biblical scholar in the world who would take such nonsense on board. The advent of vernacular translations has rendered the Vulgate and the Neo-Vulgate redundant. Both are replete with errors and serve only as historical comment on the complicated history of the Latin Bible. John Paul ll's apostolic Constitution Scripturarum Thesaurus (25.4.1979) and the subsequent commentaries make it clear that NV is to be used only where those who are translating know no Hebrew or Greek and have no

access to resources for translations

from the original languages. This manifestly does not apply to the English-speaking world. It is a matter of some wonder that Liturgiam Authenticam. never refers to Pius Xll's magisterial encyclical Divino Afflante Spirit ii ence. So I tagged along, and was pleased to see so many youngsters and a good cross-section of ages in the well-attended pilgrimage. Sure, Archbishop Lefebvre went too far, but does that take away from the licit and well-intentioned side of wishing to celebrate Holy Mass in that special and unique way that identifies our Church universally for probably over 1500 years?

As I said, I may be naive, but I felt uplifted as a gatecrasher at this event, and was privileged to see two newly ordained priests give their first blessings. And to offer some comfort to a third writer from France. Stephen Boyd, the singing was hearty and heartfelt, and the hymns were "proper" Catholic hymns. It seemed to me we were simply carrying on the faith of our fathers.

Yours faithfully. ALAN FROST Sandbach, Cheshire.

Libdem anti-popery

From Mr Adrian Owens Sir, The terrible scenes outside the Holy Cross Primary School in North Belfast, graphically depicted in your front page photograph (September 7) have once again given Liberal Democrats the opportunity to criticise Catholic and other denominational schools.

Phil Woolas, the Liberal Democrat education spokesman, said that more religious schools will create a two-tier system. "The product of a selective, faith-based, exclusive education system is graphically illustrated in Belfast is this the extent of Tony Blair's vision for our secondary schools", he said.

Mr Woolas seems to ignore the moral teaching of religious schools and fails to explain how the vacuous citizenship education planned for our secular schools will provide future generations with the conscience formation required to make the scenes in North Belfast less likely.

The Liberal Democrats' antipathy to the Catholic Church was underlined prior to the election when International Development spokesman Jenny Tonge said that (30.9.1943); what is said there is, of course, reinforced by Vatican ll's Dei Verbum (no.22). Not only does Liturgiam Authenticam. fly in the face of proper Vatican procedure; it is clear that those who wrote it do not "know their stuff".

Fact 3: the authors do not know the meaning of the term "editio typica". Twice John Paul 11 refers to NV as an "editio typica": what that means is that every edition of NV must follow the text of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1979, not that it is to be used to correct other biblical versions. Liturgiam Authenticam.'s injunction that "in every territory there should exist only one approved translation" (no.36) seems reasonable enough, until it is realised that that means a version concocted according to the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam., which would spell disaster. Given that Liturgiam Authenticam. has got it so monstrously wrong in matters biblical, to the extent that it has become an embarrassment to those of' us who have to deal with other churches, why should it be taken seriously in matters liturgical and (above all) in matters affecting the English language?

The lesson of Liturgiam Authenticam. is a profound one. It is a reminder that those who live and move and have their being in Rome with the possible exception of the Pope himself, in very restricted circumstances) are as fallible as the rest of us. There may well be arguments on either side with respect to other aspects of Liturgiam Authenticam.. With regard to the biblical side of things, I take refuge in the Scholastic Philosophy I was brought up on: "Contra Fatum Non Datur Argumentum".

No wonder the Executive Board of the Catholic Biblical Association of America described Liturgiam Authenticam. as containing some provisions which are "sufficiently ill-advised as to be the likely occasion of embarrassment to the Church" (Letter to the ISCCB, 13.7.2001).

Yours faithfully,

JOHN H 11TGSIMIVIONS

Church of St John i3osco. Erskine, Renfrewshire From Fr John S McLorinan I would respectfully suggest that the Roman Catholic Church policy towards HIV/AIDS was "evil".

She said the Church should feel guilty because "by banning condoms they are ensuring that AIDS is spread across the developing world. To me, it is evil'"(Independent, 12 July 2000).

We should not be surprised at such hostility to aspects of Catholic life from the seemingly moderate Liberal Democrats. Their recent election manifesto did not contain one mention of marriage, and proposed not only the abolition of Section 28, but the introduction of "civil partnerships" (i.e. gay marriage).

Now I hear that at this month's party conference the Liberal Democrats are to debate making hard-core pornography available to 16 year-olds. Is it any wonder that Lord Alton, the former Liberal Democrat MP despairs of his former colleagues and sits in the House of Lords as a crossbencher?

Yours faithfully, ADRIAN OWENS Newburgh, Lancashire, WN8 7ND

Real Presence

From Miss R Yendell Sir, With Mr Lloyd-Williams of Oswestry, I was deeply grateful for the article by Pastor Iuventus in the Herald of 31st August. Pastor luventus' final comment, that we are sadly and unwittingly approaching the Lutheran position that Our Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament only if a person believes Him to be so, set me off along a road of I hope harmless fantasy.

Let us suppose for a moment, error though it is in Catholic thought, that Our Lord comes to dwell in the Sacrament of the Altar only as a result of the faith of those who worship there. If this were the case, what possible reason could there be for not wanting Him there?

If we really love Our Lord, why should we not wish Him to be there, and if it were possible, cause Him to be there as a result of our faith? Could it be that it is simply too much effort to have to John L De Souza is misinformed. The Council quite clearly established facilities for cultural differences within the Church, and it was Pope Paul VI's objective to have the laity participating fully in the liturgy through the use of the vernacular.

Moreover, the Council re-established the concepts of collegiality, and of local Churches in Communion with Rome. Thus, the English-speaking bishops were quite within their rights to establish ICEL, a body which proposed texts to bishops conferences for their approval or otherwise.

(Incidentally, Liturgy has now become a subtle, convoluted living dialogue, a celebration, not merely a matter of opening a textbook, or even a book of rites!) ICEL has ensured its fidelity to the original Latin by consulting worksheets prepared by patrologists for every text. Priority was given to the accuracy of each word in each context. Certain presidential texts have been rendered suitable for spoken or sung delivery by careful use of stressed syllables. From the mid 70s ICEL had a policy of the sensitive use of inclusive language where appropriate, and, more recently problems surrounding the common use of English in different cultures has been addressed.

As for the role of Canon Walsh, I have been privileged to observe his ministry since his ordination. He is a deeply spiritual and scholarly priest, and a man of integrity. I would suggest that his contribution to the life of the Church's liturgy could find few parallels. His position, that newly adopted forms should grow from existing forms, is irrefutable.

1 seem to recall Cardinal Ratzinger, hardly an unrecalcitrant liberal, stating the same principle. Moreover, one could cite countless examples of attempts by Rome to frustrate the spint and development generated by the authentic teaching of the Church as promulgated by the Vatican Council.

We should be thanking God for Canon Walsh's input and leadership and supporting the wisdom or our bishops in encouraging so faithful, experienced and knowledgeable servant Of the Church.

Yours faithfully, JOHN S F MCLORINAN, [email protected] relate to God, to God-made-Man in Christ, hidden in the consecrated Host on the altar, rather than to chatter with our neighbour? St John says wisely that "a man who does not love the brother that he can see cannot love God, whom he has never seen" (1 John 4: vv20 -22) but the implication of this is that all human love is meant to lead on to the love of God, for Himself and in Himself, not to stop at the chatter with the neighbour.

And above all, not in the building which is specifically dedicated to the worship of God. Anyone who has attempted to pray in any deep sense knows very well that it is far easier to talk to one's neighbour whom one can see, than to focus on the invisible God. It is even easier to read about God than to speak with Him direct in the darkness and mystery of prayer.

Fortunately, as Catholics, we do have Our Lord present on our altars, even in spite of our weakness in faith and our many abuses of His presence. Can we not begin to wake up to the gift that is ours, and reach out in prayer to Him who is always there for us in spite of our inattention and indifference, while we still have the opportunity?

Yours faithfully, RUTH YENDELL Exeter.

Continuing carnage

From Mr Adrian Dulston Sir, The world is shocked at the horror which took place in America. May I remind readers that God is not shocked at this. He sees embryos destroyed, He sees babies crushed in wombs, He sees people taking their own lives in the name of dignity. As evil as the acts of terrorism were, we must not forget those innocents who have been murdered in America, and whose deaths have never been screened, nor mourned, nor repented. Truly God's vision is wider than television, and divine vision accounts for war, the fruit of abortion, as Mother Teresa once reminded us.

Yours faithfully, ADRIAN DULSTON,

Brentry, Bristol I3S10 7HZ




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