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LETTERS The new English Missal:


the debate continues You report Pope Benedict’s wise words on the “via pulchritudinis” that leads people to God, including his conviction that “there are artistic expressions that are true paths to God” (Letter from Rome, 3 September). The corol- lary of this is that mediocrity in art, especially religious art, is spiritually disabling. I have pon- dered this point as I listened to the cadences of the revised Missal. I applaud the intentions behind the new translation. However, a commitment to struc- tural conformity to Latin has created a clumsiness of expression which is tanta- mount to bad art. To counter this criticism by claiming that aesthetic merit is simply a mat- ter of taste would be to advocate the relativism that Pope Benedict himself has so emphatic - ally, and rightly, rejected. So the profound spiritual truth of the Eucharist is now obscured by a via deformitatis. This is a dere- liction of spiritual responsibility on the part of the translators and their supporters which should, according to the Pope’s own logic, weigh heavily on their consciences. Tim Burton Whissonsett, Norfolk


As the new translation beds in, there are many pleasant surprises. The flow of the Eucharistic Prayers is certainly most poetic and reflective. There is, however, one significant change which grates. In all of the Eucharistic Prayers the word “cup” has been replaced with “chalice”. Jewish tradition is clear about the drink- ing of “cups” of wine especially at the Seder meal. In the Psalms we speak of raising “the cup of salvation”. Jesus undoubtedly would have followed this tradition. The use of the word “chalice” ritualises Jesus’ actions. It places them out of reality. This is to miss an essential aspect of sacramental theology. What really happens is that Jesus, by what he did and said, brought about the change and makes that change possible for all believers. Christianity has always been based on the incar- national principle, that God in his infinite goodness is capable of transforming every aspect of reality. It is a pity that the new trans- lation has lost sight of this vital truth. (Fr) Basil Postlethwaite St Edward’s School, Cheltenham


Last Sunday we heard a good catechesis on the change “with your spirit”. But it failed as a justification: we were told that the first phase (“the Lord be with you”) emphasises the voca- tion of the laity; the second the vocation of the priest. So why does the wording not remain parallel – unless the Church needs to empha- sise the difference (superiority) of the priest? I expect the call to loyalty and acceptance


will largely be accepted because of the warm relationship between priests and people.


18 | THE TABLET | 17 September 2011


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the Holy See’s decisions about the proposals. The de facto lack of consensus meant that,


Thomas Cranmer, whose Our Father continues to be used: ‘What an irony that the best moment in the Roman Mass in English is still borrowed from someone we burnt to death’. From Faiths Victorie in Romes crveltie, anonymous, 1630


Loyalty and forbearance are good things. But a culture which emphasises authority and sub- missiveness creates the conditions for abuse of power (sexual or otherwise), and the way power is exercised and centralised in the Church aggravates the problem. I don’t mind mirroring what our brothers and sisters say in France, Germany and elsewhere. But it is no good presenting the new translation as better. Everyone knows it has been imposed. It seems fashionable to pay attention to the “movements” and “young Catholics who express their faith on their knees”. Insufficient attention can be paid to young people in our parishes. The mainly fussy changes in the new translation and the use of words such as “con- substantial” and “oblation” will make it harder for many young people to continue their brave and not obvious decision to remain Catholic in the current world. Rosemary Boyle Cambridge


As author of the sentence in the introduction which Robert Nowell (Letters, 10 September) considers at best “seriously misleading”, may I offer an explanation. It is, of course, true that by 1998 bishops’ conferences had by canoni- cal vote approved a translation (and adaptation) of the Missale Romanumwhich was submit- ted to the Holy See forrecognitio, and that this recognitiowas not forthcoming. However, approval, even by canonical vote, does not necessarily make for consen- sus between bishops. Sometimes it only demonstrates the majority opinion. It was clear throughout the preparation of the document submitted in 1998 that there remained oppo- sition to it by some bishops, mainly in the US. The Church, as we are rightly reminded, is not a democracy. Even when a clear major- ity favours a particular action, there is sometimes need to consider the wisdom of what has been agreed/proposed. The currents of dissension within the US conference were a cause of disquiet, which surely influenced


despite the canonical votes, bishops needed to continue to work collaboratively to prepare a new translation for the English-speaking Church around which consensus would be achieved. Some might see that as implying an entirely new start to the project. But in any such complex project there are many distinct stages – some anticipated, others not; some marking steady progress, others not. The project was to produce a new translation authorised for use in our churches. That pro - ject was not completed in 1998, only in 2011. (Fr) Allen Morris London NW8


I like the new Gloria a lot – finally that poetic text can be declaimed as poetry in English. I also like the idea of the Lord entering under my roof. “And with your spirit” instinctively makes me think of a sci-fi movie … but I’ll get used to it. “Chalice” struck a tinny note, but the best prayer of all, the Our Father, is still resplendent in Thomas Cranmer’s radiant words. What an irony that the best moment in the Roman Mass in English is still borrowed from someone we burnt to death. Stephen Hough London NW8


Care for migrant workers In Jersey we have a large percentage of our workforce who are Portuguese, Polish or migrants from other Central or Eastern European countries (“Migrants crave a voice”, 3 September). We find the greatest help we can give our new arrivals is to empower them to speak English. This benefits their personal economy and that of our island. Eight years ago, an old school building adja- cent to St Thomas’ Church in St Helier was converted into a welcome centre for “new- comers”. In partnership with the local college of further education, this centre now provides English classes throughout the year. A few thousand migrants have undertaken these courses; sometimes, it seems migrants feel more comfortable coming to a church- sponsored course rather than attending a college. The centre also offers hospitality with a cafe, a social aspect much appreciated by the immigrant as well as local communities. Integration, while respecting one another’s diversity, is the key to helping everyone. Delia R. Hardiman Stewardship Coordinator, Jersey


Francis Davis claims there is “an almost absent Catholic response in Cardiff despite long -term need among asylum seekers”. In fact, the Church in South Wales has had strong links with the Welsh Refugee Council over many, many years. Our parishioners collect and distribute food for refugees and asylum seekers on a


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