Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Fearful Ideologues Ambush Liturgical Reform. (Editorials)

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Fearful Ideologues Ambush Liturgical Reform. (Editorials)

Article excerpt

The ambush that some of the most reactionary elements in Catholic church leadership have carried out against liturgical reform is unconscionable.

Ambush aptly describes what has happened in recent years to the International Commission on English in the Liturgy--called ICEL. This papacy has permitted a wholesale reversal of the intent of the Second Vatican Council, the work of 30 years of some of the best liturgists and biblical scholars throughout the world and the oversight by bishops of a translation approach that had the written approval of Pope Paul VI. The ambush happened at the urging of a small but highly dogmatic band of revisionists, largely in the United States, and aided by the likes of Chicago Cardinal Francis George and Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, who served as point men on the mission.

While one of the most serious crises to rock the church in modern times went largely unattended, these clerics focused their attention on making sure that no unnecessary feminine pronoun crossed the lips of the faithful.

Perhaps they feel some consolation that, as members of a conference that now lacks credibility in the broader culture, they can still throw some weight around inside the church. Little by little they used backroom tactics, secret meetings, and the power of the office of Chilean Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship, to remake the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

This paper has documented the overthrow of ICEL from the start. The reporting of Rome correspondent John Allen has consistently shone light on a story that would otherwise have gone mostly unnoticed.

What has happened is shameful, because a small cadre has decided--not by dint of persuasion or by choice of most of the English-speaking Catholics, but by ecclesiastical force--to roll back the work of a host of bishops and scholars who labored for more than three decades. …

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