Misguided Missal has initiated several avenues for people to express their reactions to the new Missal in light of their experience with it over the past three months. Following the urging of the U.S Catholic bishops that people live with the Missal for a while before reaching conclusions about it, they waited to take these steps until now. There is a petition, a “two cents” comment card, and sample letters you can use to send one to U.S. bishops and the Vatican. They ask that submissions be made by the first week of Lent, Feb. 26.
Are such gestures even worth the bother? In several blogs, articles and personal conversations recently, I have heard the sentiment, “It’s time to move on,” in regards to the Missal, and I object to the inherent suggestion that continuing to resist is childish. I find this attitude distressing, because it essentially says, “Don’t feel that way,” to people who are in pain, of which I am one.
I detest the new Missal. The language is too lofty and strange with the substitution of “chalice” for “cup” as just one obvious example. I roundly disagree with the theological implications regarding sin and our relationship to God that the new language presents, and I cannot get past the unjust, power-mongering process that led to this new version. I refuse to say “under my roof” because to me it suggests roof of the mouth, and that literalizes what was previously a profound statement of faith in Jesus’ ability to heal.
The love and presence I experience in my parish community week in and week out is what enables me to continue attending church there, at least for now, and I am grateful. Not sure I could go to another church and worship among strangers with this Missal. To an extent I am making the best of it, but I don’t think that requires me to deny my feelings about the Missal process or the product. I recognize that living in a state of anger is not conducive to spiritual and mental well-being, so I choose not to dwell exclusively on my negative reaction. But it is still there. Long-term, this state of alienation is not a hopeful situation. I will be interested to see the Missal’s impact months and years from now. Will it renew the church as the bishops predict? Or will it further fracture us? Would that be such a bad thing?
I was very intrigued to learn in my Jewish class recently how today’s various denominations came to be. For centuries, everyone was what we think of as Orthodox; there was only one way to be Jewish. In 1805 the Reform movement began in Germany around updating the synagogue service and using the vernacular. Eventually dietary laws were made optional, and Hebrew was discontinued for prayer. By mid-19th century, fifty years later, some felt that the movement had gone too far, especially regarding the Hebrew, and the Conservative Movement was born. Keeping prayer in Hebrew, this denomination believes in the primacy of Jewish law but reinterprets it for current circumstances based on historical-critical methods of study. I wonder if there is a lesson here for us. Looking around the Catholic landscape today, the view includes increasing numbers of alternative communities who identify as Catholic but are not connected to Rome, especially in the context of the womenpriest movement. These are definitely interesting times. Veni Sancti Spiritus!