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Irish priests claim new Mass translation is ‘elitist and sexist’

By on Friday, 4 February 2011

The new English translation of the Mass (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The new English translation of the Mass (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A group representing more than 400 of Ireland’s 4,500 priests has made an urgent plea to the country’s bishops to postpone the introduction of the new English translation of the Missal for at least another five years.

The call from the Association of Catholic Priests came as the National Centre for Liturgy in Maynooth launched a new publication aimed at explaining and preparing priests and lay people for the changes in the Missal. The new texts will be introduced on November 27, the first Sunday of Advent and the start of the liturgical year.

At a news conference in Dublin, representatives from the priests’ group said the proposed literal translations from Latin had produced texts that were “archaic, elitist and obscure and not in keeping with the natural rhythm, cadence and syntax of the English language”.

The association also criticised the new translation for “exclusivist, sexist language”.

Fr Dermot Lane, president of Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin, said the priests were making an 11th hour appeal to the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference and urged the bishops to begin consulting with priests, liturgical committees and lay people to develop new texts that would inspire and encourage the faithful.

“We are passionately concerned about the quality of our liturgical celebration and about the quality of the language that will be used in the way we worship Sunday after Sunday,” he said. “If this goes ahead, instead of drawing people into the liturgy, it will in fact draw people out from the liturgy.”

The association said that it was “gravely concerned” that the “word-for-word translation from Latin into a vernacular language … demonstrates a lack of awareness of the insights gained from linguistics and anthropology during the past 100 years”.

The translation was mandated by the Vatican’s 2001 instruction Liturgiam Authenticam (“The Authentic Liturgy”). The International Commission on English in the Liturgy met for several years to develop translations that more closely matched the original Latin prayers. Local bishops’ conferences also worked on the translations and submitted them to the Vatican for approval.

The priests’ association suggested that the Irish bishops follow the example of the German bishops and assert the right to make their own decisions regarding the celebration of the liturgy in Ireland.

Fr Gerard Alwill, pastor of a rural parish in the Diocese of Kilmore, said during the news conference: “We are saying very clearly that this new translation of the Missal is not acceptable… We are deeply concerned that if these new texts are imposed, they could create chaos in our church. Our Church doesn’t need chaos at this time.

“How can we, the priests, be asked to introduce this with any conviction when we ourselves haven’t had any input into it and when we have such serious doubts and reservations about it?” he added.

Fr Alwill called upon priests, parish pastoral councils, religious men and women and lay people to read the texts and to raise any concerns they may have with their local bishop.

  • EditorCT

    This certainly bears repeating, Rosary15!

  • Jorge

    I realize (by other posts of yours) that you deny the Vatican II and defend the SSPX.

    You are wrong.

    Now, don’t get me wrong.I hate the hideous heresy of modernism. The world would be immensely better without it.

    But Vatican II was a valid ecumenical council, and, by denying the infallibility of it, you are performing the mistake of Martin Luther. Luther too, in his insanity, thought he was restoring the “original faith”.
    The problem with the Church was the crazies who said there as a “Spirit of Vatican II”. Their story is ludicrous: they wanted to turn the Church upside down, but the documents of Vatican II did not allow that. So they come up with the idea that the bishops in the Council did mean to turn the Church upside down – that was the “spirit” – but they lacked the courage to put it in writing. And then the wackos started to implement their own modernist ideas claimed it was the “Spirit of Vatican II”.

    It was a disaster. However, the Church has been even worse.Around the turn of the first millennium, things were so upside down that Rome had to explicitly say that priests could *not*, in fact, have concubines.
    But somehow the Church picked itself up, and in the Middle Ages we had a glorious Christendom (have you read the book “How the Catholic Church built the Western Civilization”?).

    And I know the Church will pick itself up again. God said “And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

    Now, I cherish the courage of the men of SSPX, and their willingness to defend Christianity when it is politically incorrect. But, to the point they deny Vatican II, they are schismatic and heretic. We must pray for those talented and brave men to reunite with the Church. We need them.

    By the way, before you tell me, I am very aware that some modernist priests are harming the Church from the inside, and, despite their hideous heresies, they are complimented by journalists. And the SSPX, which is not as heretic as the modernists, is described as some sort of monster that “hates the poor and the gays”. I agree that is *not* fair. And in fact, some say those modernist priests should be disciplined or even excommunicated. But their bishops have not done it, and the Pope is accepting the attitude of said bishops. And the Pope knows quite a lot more about taking care of the Church than we do. And the unfairness of the situation does not in any way justify what the SSPX did. Their schism and heresy are unfair and, to the point that those talented men excluded themselves from the Church (instead of staying in the Church and helping the Pope to restore the orthodox catholic faith), it is frankly stupid.

    And while they are in a state of schism and heresy, we – the faithful – must renounce them.

  • RJ

    On the point of discipline: Charles Curran and Hans Küng were both deprived of their licence to teach as Catholic theologians. I believe Boff and Schillebeeckx were disciplined in the same way. I know that won’t satisfy you but it isn’t nothing. I shall now withdraw behind my shield!

  • Bridget

    They may also the priests who do not teach about the fundamentals of our faith, like mortal sin and heaven and hell and wont speak out against contraception and all the ills which have not only wrecked the church but have caused havoc in society and aresending poor souls to damnation. God have mercy on us!

  • Buddy

    Why bother tinkering with the Novus Ordo Mass at all? How about scrapping it altogether, apologise for the mess [ after all we're falling over ourselves apologising to everyone and anyone for the past sins of the Church], the Pope publicly celebrate the Mass Of All Times, order all the bishops to make it available in every parish in the world,and disipline those that disobey? That was a lovely dream I had Last night.

  • Anonymous

    You are right – the alleged “disciplining”of these heretics, against the excommunication of Archbishop Lefebvre and the attempted suspension of Father Gruner for the crime of promoting the message of Fatima, is derisory.

    Here’s the Wilkipedia entry – first paragraph only – on the heretic Kung:

    Reverend Father Hans Küng (born March 19, 1928, in Sursee, Canton of Lucerne), is a Swiss Catholic priest, controversial theologian, and prolific author. Since 1995 he has been President of the Foundation for a Global Ethic (Stiftung Weltethos). Küng is “a Catholic priest in good standing”,[1] but the Vatican has rescinded his authority to teach Catholic theology. Though he had to leave the Catholic faculty, he remained at the University of Tübingen as a professor of Ecumenical Theology, serving as Emeritus Professor since 1996. In spite of not being allowed to teach Catholic theology, neither his bishop nor the Holy See has revoked his priestly faculties. END

    Under the modern popes, heretics have been allowed to influence the faithful, through giving talks and
    through their repugnant writings, long after any pretended “disciplinary” action.

    Take a look at the item on the Catholic Ttuth website where we report the repeat invitation to that other heretic, ex priest Groome, who is coming to Glasgow to spread his poison.

    Last year, when this scandal was originally scheduled, a young man in Glasgow sent every priest in three dioceses (Glasgow, Motherwell and Paisley) a letter giving details of the heresies held by Groome and asking them not to go. Archbishop Conti’s response was to send every one of his priests a letter encouraging them to ignore the young man’s letter and to give Groome the kind of welcome they should accord to “a member of the household of the Faith.”

    No, RJ, these heretics get off lightly. Once we get another pope like St Pius X, who knows how to act like a pope instead of being a kind of holy celebrity, then we’ll see what a disciplined theologian looks like.

  • LeFloch

    Mere slaps on the wrist compared to the ‘excommunication’ supposedly incurred by the saintly Archbishop Lefebvre.

  • LeFloch

    Quite right. Let’s have the True Mass not the New Mass. Souls depend on it.

  • RJ

    One thing about today’s situation is the publicity given to dissidents, over which the Church has no direct control. The most effective remedial measure/punishment is to deprive them somehow of the oxygen of publicity. My impression – I could be wrong – is that once they are no longer seen officially as Catholic theologians, this reduces their pulling power on the media.

  • Jorge

    According to sister Lucia, the consecration has already been accepted by Heaven.

    And in fact, a few years later the Soviet Union was re-democratized.

    Oh,and I invite you to follow the site It has religious news, mostly about Russia and the Eastern Orthodox. It is amazing how much things are getting better in Russia!
    I forgot the statistics, but they are building (mostly Russian Orthodox) churches fast. They already have many times more active churches then they had in 1991. The number of parishioners is growing fast. They predict that in 20 years there will be 40 million permanent parishioners.

    And even among those Russians that are currently away from church, an impressive amount respects the Russian Orthodox Patriarch. In fact, new navy ships get blessed by the church, and this is shown on TV – if that happened in the UK, the atheists would suffer spontaneous combustion. The government realizes that population decline is a problem (while the British idiots would think it is an asset) and started paying money for coupes to have children. The number of births has increased significantly, and the number of abortions have decreased quite a lot. In fact, the population is now growing.
    The Russian Orthodox Church recently made some suggestions to the government concerning abortion, and I hope the government will follow.

    It looks like Russia has a glorious future. Of course, we must still pray for her. In fact, Russia may become a bastion of Christianity and be a great asset to th rest of the world.

  • Anonymous

    RJ – you are kidding? These heretics are wheeled out to comment or are quoted, at every turn. Not least by fellow heretics within the Church who invite them to address meetings and conferences with monotonous – and predictable – regularity. Remember, they may be forbidden to teach Catholic theology in Catholic institutions, but they remain priests “in good standing.” You just couldn’t make this stuff up.

  • Anonymous

    Islands? In the UK? Location, Location, Location????

  • Anonymous


    I’m puzzled by your post. You accuse me of “denying” Vatican II and “defending” the SSPX. I really do not know what you mean.

    There is no need to “deny” Vatican II – as Pope Benedict has said more than once, Vatican II was a “merely” (his word) pastoral Council which proclaimed no new dogma. Therefore, what have I “denied” about Vatican II? Anything that is binding in the Faith, which was repeated at Vatican II (such as papal authority and infallibility – its nature, extent and limitations) I wholly accept. I do not accept the novelties which have grown up since Vatican II, such as the ecumenical enterprises that have led to religious indifferentism among Catholics, who now openly opine than one religion (and certainly one denomination) is as good as another. Thankfully, these novelties are not binding on the Faithful and cannot possibly be, since they contradict both Scripture and the perennial teaching of the Church so, as I say, I really don’t know what you mean by “denying” Vatican II. I recognise that Vatican II took place between 1962 – 1965 and that the popes involved with it were all at pains to emphasise that it was a merely pastoral Council.

    Nor do I “defend” the SSPX. They do not need defending. If you read Archbishop Lefebvre’s Open Letter to Confused Catholics (which you will find in the Links section at
    you will see that he foretold precisely the utter chaos that we are experiencing in the Church, worldwide, today. I sometimes praise them for their hard work – they travel miles every week, all over the world, to provide Masses in the Traditional Rite. You won’t find any of them regularly heading for golf courses, that’s for sure. Oh, they’re not perfect – not at all. But they’re a heck of a lot more perfect that the “priests in good standing” who are poisoning the Faith in just about every diocese in the western world.

    The SSPX are not in a state of schism and heresy, as you say. The Pope has made it absolutely crystal clear that they are not schismatics or heretics. If you really haven’t read the various articles and interviews (in one interview, Cardinal Hoyos, the then papal representative working with the SSPX) said FIVE TIMES that they are not in schism. Previously, the liberal Cardinal Cassidy responded to a question from a reporter at a press conference, by saying that no, the SSPX would not be part of the ecumenical work of his department, because the SSPX situation was “an internal matter.” By definition, schismatics are OUTSIDE, not inside, Jorge.

    If you really didn’t know this and want me to provide links, let me know and I will.

    God provided Archbishop Lefebvre / SSPX to see us through this time of spiritual, religious and moral devastation. Say “thank you, Lord” – and forget the propaganda. You know it makes sense.

  • Anonymous

    And, tell me this Buddy- was your dream set in a time before or after Assisi III?

  • Jorge

    Ok, send me those links.

    Please send them to my email – AT gmail DOT com.

  • Gordon W Thomson

    “How can we, the priests, be asked to introduce this with any conviction when we ourselves haven’t had any input into it and when we have such serious doubts and reservations about it?”

    I wonder if they need the word “obedience” translated for them as well? Suck it up and get on with your responsibilities, that includes following the teachings of the Church, whether you “agree or not”.

  • Jorge

    No one is obligated do be Catholic.
    And once a person becomes Catholic, he can still leave.

    Petitioning the Church to “change” and “be more democratic”
    and politically correct is as stupid as petitioning the Rabbis to
    stop preaching circumcision. If you don’t like it, you can simply
    get out of Judaism!

    And with the Catholic Church, the issue is even more clear.
    The Church preaches pretty clearly that it is the One Holy Catholic Church -
    the Bride of Jesus Christ. She preaches that Her teachings are infallible.
    Every person that goes to Heaven does it through the merits of the Catholic

    This institutions can either be the real Bride of Jesus Christ, or a really
    arrogant, schizophrenic, and delusional institution. So if you don’t believe
    She is the Infallible Bride of Christ, there are only two sane courses of action
    1) Convert and start believing
    2) Get the hell out

    Just like Jesus Himself. He preached that He was God incarnate.
    He was either God, or horribly insane. He cannot be just “a good guy”.

  • darkness

    Jorge you are dreaming. How you can look at Russia and see and kind of genuine conversion is beyond me. Russia was never specifically consecrated as was the request. The conditions were not met. Communism was never defeated in Russia, they just changed tactics and pretended to change to get foreign money and rebuild their economy (as outlined by UK intelligence at the time and Russian defectors thereafter). The Pope (our benny?) will be forced to flee Rome over the bodies of dead clergy. The consecration will take place, but it will be late…..

  • crouchback

    Jorge….EditorCT is correct, you shouldn’t need links, you should be able to verify what she has told you under your own steam….off you go…..

    Let us know how you get on.

  • crouchback

    Your not long for this world Aging…..when you go…..your opinions will go with you…..Thank God…!!!!

  • crouchback

    No…you got it right….These Irish Bankers need to be Punted…..right into the long grass…they are a bunch of Traiters…..Durty ….Traiters every last one of them

  • crouchback

    Right again Aging…how perceptive of such an Aging man……

    “The laity, with few exceptions, are doing nothing”……75 % of our nominal parishioners have given up on the church and never come to mass…..Thanks to the Irish Bankers….and their counterparts in Scotland, England America….and so on, and so forth….forever

  • Ggita

    I think they’ve got what they asked for. They are the same pple who complained that the Church documents werent gender sensitive, exclusivists, etc. Now they are swinging like birds, saying the Missal is sexist. Are they nuts?

  • crouchback

    Correct -a – Mundo……give this Nut a cocoa…..

    The greatest tool in the hands of the Laity has been the internet, the Traditionalist Laity being far more committed than the the sheep that you’ve been quacking at Aging….your sheep have all strayed and your alone, with your empty church. Meanwhile, we know where we are going…..and it’s the Traditional Mass….so you can disent all you like….your a failure, your Parish is a failure, your Bishop is a failure……the lot has failed….

    Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to squirm through the embarrassing Vatican II funeral rites of my dear departed neighbour……

    Disgusting things Vatican II style funerals…..twee and sloppy and sentimental…..

    Just the kind of thing you’d be good at Aging…..what…what….????

  • crouchback

    Sheila’s Wheel’s……”Once you’ve started the car. madam, aim roughly for that big space over there….that is the showroom door….try and not hit the door posts as you go”

    Et cum spiritu tuo

  • crouchback

    “Our church doesn’t need chaos at this time”……what a Dope…..

    Would next week be convenient…??

    OK, that’s next Tuesday, one Plague of Frogs….will Fadder, be requiring Boils on de side. I can trow in a Potsherd for the scraping o’ de Boils Fadder….go on…..go on……Yer a great man Fadder

  • Edgar

    Now I know why the Church in ireland is in so much trouble. They are no more than a bunch of dissidents.

  • Buddy

    I think my dream interprepted it as Ass111- as in donkey.

  • Esnofla

    It appears as though these priests would love to deflect their own incredible failings and place the blame for diminishing Sunday attendance to the New Translation rather than to their own inability to be holy, to be saintly, to give a good homily and to evangelize. How pathetic!

  • EditorCT


    I’ve been out all day but have just now emailed you the promised list of links.

  • EditorCT

    Let’s hope and pray, paulpriest. This is one thing I would just LOVE you to be right about.

  • W Oddie

    The instant, massive and almost unanimous hostility these elitist dissidents–who ludicrously complain about the elitism of the new translation–have aroused (see below), from the people in the pews who have suffered at their hands for thirty years, says it all. What a massive own goal their “urgent plea” has turned out to be.

  • SPQRatae

    When a new Pope takes the name Pius, you know playtime is over. :-)

  • Jorge

    In my experience, almost everytime a person complains about “elitism”, their will is to dumb the world down, reduce everything to the lowest common denominator, and and remove every beauty or wisdom that might remember them there are people with talents they lack.

    It is a different world attitude:
    When some other people hear about Friedrich Gauss, they will think “Wonderful! That man’s intelligence was a gift to humanity. And I can reap some benefits of it, even though I cannot understand all his work, and it shows me how stupid I am. In fact, it helps me to be humble.”
    But other people will say
    “Gauss certainly had a privileged upbringing. I could do it too, if I had the chance. And he was not really that intelligent any way. And he didn’t have the street smarts I have. He must have been a socially inadequate freak.”

    In other words: envy.

  • Jorge

    Those kind of people hate Gregorian music, for example, because it reminds them that they lack musical talent. If they have their way, we will have hip hop in Church, because it is “inclusive”.

    It is the same behavior of the bullies who beat “nerds” in school.

  • EditorCT

    I’ve sent you the links via email as requested, Jorge, but here’s another one, which is of interest to all bloggers, an article by USA lawyer, Christopher Ferrara, precisely on the subject of the SSPX – not lengthy and definitely worth a read.

  • EditorCT

    History is made – we agree on something, at last, W Oddie! Deo gratias!

  • F G Clark

    Why cant these priests do what Rome wants, we did not have thse problems in the past, you did not question Rome. It is an affront to the Holy Father, its getting like they used to say about the Anglicans and probably still do, a Pope in every pulpit.

  • W Oddie

    It has, in fact, happened before, more than once. I’m sure it’ll happen again.

  • W Oddie

    That’s a very perceptive comparison: bullies is just what they are. But bullies are also cowards: if you stand up to them they collapse. And now, they have been decisively stood up to.

  • Askeian

    Good old fashioned Book of Common Prayer Mass is all you need, the English is just perfect – what more do you need? However, from what I have seen of the new Roman Missal, I can but say, I am impressed, it will not pose a problem for priests coming into the Ordinariate I shouldn’t think.

  • Jorge

    If I remember correctly, Screwtape (from the “Screwtape letters”) is greatly pleased with our cultural hatred towards excellence. He recalled that some gifted children, by the age they could be reading Shakespeare and Chesterton, are still told to read Rapunzel stories because their teachers think Shakespeare is “elitist”.

    This happens not only with literature, but with Math and even morality – I have heard of several cases of people who try to do something Christian (such as fasting) but are castigated by the very priests that should help them – the priest says “Who do you think you are? Some saint? Do you think you are better than others?”.

    Screwtape had a name for it, but I can’t remember. “Culture of conformity” or something like that.

  • Bwaj

    The authorized Missal is Latin – the English version will only be a translation of it and has to follow it literally. Perhaps Catholic priests should remember the difference between our Church (the true Church) and Ecclesial Communities (there are no Protestant Churches) is obedience to the priest (Heb:13.7,17) and the bishop (1 St. Pet:5.1,5). St. Ignatius of Antioch warns us to be in Communion with the Catholic Church everyone must be in Communion with his bishop. Likewise every bishop must be in Communion with the See of Rome. The call to disobey the bishops and therefore the Holy Father places these liberal priests
    at the beginning of a schism. The ACP should be closed down. It is for priests to obey the Holy Father and the bishops under him not to dictate to them.

  • Bwaj

    The Mass is to worship God not man. It is not for priests, religious or lay people to say they want to devise a liturgy they feel comfortable with. A liturgy many of today’s liberal clergy, religious and laity would feel comfortable would deny that impenitent sinners and non-Christians go to Hell, that only believers go to Heaven and that there are believers who after death still need some purification before they can enter Heaven.

    Vatican II upheld the existence of Purgatory and that Holy Mother Church by offering prayers and Masses for the departed helped them during their purification (‘DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH: LUMEN GENTIUM’:49-51). H.H. Pope Paul VI in his 1965 encyclical ‘MYSTERIUM FIDEI’ tells us the Mass is offered for the living and for the dead. In his 1968 ‘CREDO OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD’ H.H. Pope Paul VI not only tells us all Catholics must believe some of the faithful who have died are still being purified but the name of this ‘place’ is ‘Purgatory’.

    How often are the faithful asked to pray and offer Masses for the holy souls in Purgatory generally, and especially for the members of their own family, not just on the days of death and burial and on anniversaries but on all ther occasions?

    The Catholic Church still upholds the efficacy of offering 30 Masses for the soul of one departed person to hasten his / her delivery from Purgatory (‘Gregorian Masses’). How often are the faithful told about this?

  • change?

    Just when you think the hierarchy are maybe listening, they do this. Thanks very much Pope Benedict. We have a Jansenist/Calvinist liturgy to add to the rest of the rotteness (ie: child abuse, feigned ignorance, embezzelment, theft, etc etc etc.) see,1518,700513,00.html

  • Phellyer

    Jorge, Thanks for your contribution which I support entirely. But what pray is the TEC?

  • Jorge

    TEC is The Episcopal “Church”, a supposedly Christian community of the USA. They drifted away from Tradition, Magisterium and Scripture, and became politically correct. “Remarriage”, sodomy, even freaking abortion – whatever is anti-Christian and politically correct, TEC defends. Many of their “bishops” are unrepentant homosexuals and lesbians who are proud of their sins, and openly preach that sexual anarchy is OK.

    Incidentally, they are part of the Anglican communion.

    Fortunately, they are shrinking, because their ideology is ugly and barren.

    Other previously-Christian communities are following the same path. In fact, it looks to me that the attack of secularism and political correctness is separating the wheat from the chaff. Christianity is being purified.

  • Ratbag

    It was interesting to watch a piece on Russia Today (via YouTube) how the Russians celebrated their Christmas (on January 7th) with the beautiful “smells and bells” and glorious hymns in packed churches. Just as interesting was watching politicians Putin and Medvedev attending, too!

    One Russian commentator said that, whilst the West is closing churches that are opening for other uses due to falling numbers, churches in Russia are being built to cope with demand.

    They showed archive footage of the communist regime tearing down the crosses from atop those great ‘onion’ domes and throwing them to the ground whilst those who looked on helplessly were constantly blessing themselves.

    It reminds me of what is happening now in the so-called ‘free’ West.

    As has been expressed in the posts here, the Latin Rite Masses are attended by a fast growing congregation made up of … young people! Why? The focus is on where is should be – GOD!!!

    Trendy Masses are sooooooooooo yesterday!

  • Ratbag

    I’m afraid they have lost the plot, Ggita!

    We must pray for them.

  • Ratbag

    What I would say to Fr Gerard Alwill (eh? His surname is as appropriate as Madoff) are best summed up in the words of the late Terry-Thomas: HARD CHEESE, OLD BOY!

    And in mine…

    Did nobody tell you, Association of Catholic Priests, that the cafeteria is now closed and has been for a long, long time! By order of BXVI!