Wednesday, March 30, 2005

LITURGY - What's with all the changes???

The above title is the title of the talk that was given to the good parishioners of Holy Ghost Church by none other than Helen Hull Hitchcock. Mrs. Hitchcock is the founding member of Women for Faith and Family, as well as the editor of the Adoremus Bulletin.

The talk was given on March 18, 2005, the Friday before Palm Sunday. We started with Stations of the Cross, at which I sang from the pew. The embarassing moment for me was loudly singing the wrong verse of the "Stabat Mater" at the 12th Station - with Mrs. Hitchcock sitting at the pew across from me.

After Stations, Fr. Finelli asked me if I could play something at the end of her talk, as they take up an offertory to defray the cost of her coming to Rhode Island (from Kansas). So, I vested, and sat in the choir area in back while she spoke.

Her speech was pretty much geared much more for the average congregant than the priest, lector, or musician. She pretty much went through the history of events starting with Sacrosanctum Concilium, that is, the Constitution of Sacred Liturgy, which, as I'm sure many know who frequent these blogs, is the document that shaped what Vatican II intended for the Roman Catholic Liturgy.

She went on to the Mass according to the 1969 Roman Missal (or is it 1970? Something like that) - mentioning how the Mass (I think more the translation into English more than the Mass itself) was "rushed", which explains why a good chunk of English was "watered down" instead of being faithful to the Latin.

Later she talks of how feminist groups pushed ICEL into the inclusive language rut that many find themselves in right now. Incidentally, Mrs. Hitchcock strongly opposes inclusive language (as do I), and basically said to the women in attendance, "Ladies, no offense, but puh-LEASE!" Her reasoning (rightfully so) was that the translation of "hominibus", that is "mankind" was intended to be a generic term for both male and female genders. This reasoning, contrary to special interest claims, is by NO MEANS intended to exclude the female race. I mean, we don't say "dogs and bitches" (no curse intended here) to mean "all of the canine species". We just say "dogs". But it even came to the point where these feminist groups wanted the Lord "neutered" with this inclusive language bit, and pretty much anything these feminists wanted, ICEL said "Yes, dear!"

Mrs. Hitchcock finally informs the people that hierarchy is smartening up. ICEL is now reformed, and dedicated to fulfill the wishes of Rome, that is, to make our English translation of the Mass more faithful to the Latin. The Adoremus site has many links to articles regarding the translation process, from Rome, from the U.S. Bishops, and even the present and former Prefects for the Congregation for Divine Worship (the former being Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, the current being Cardinal Francis Arinze). No definite timeframe yet on when this translation would be finished and be promulgated. I'd love to know when, so I can rewrite my sung Mass settings accordingly.

Once the talk was finished, the collection was taken up, and I invited the people to join in song - "The following hymn is not in our pew books, but many may remember it. Those who do are invited to join me in singing." The hymn was Jesus, My Lord, My God, My All - many sang, and without any lyric in front of them.

It was an excellent talk, a great heads up for the people in attendance - about 3/4 of the church was full.

+In Christ,

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