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Rising from the ruins of 2010 Mass translation



In Christian churches the celebration of liturgy is always contentious. Fr Gerald O'Collins' latest book deals with a relatively small and domestic issue: the ingeniously engineered launch and spluttering subsidence of a revised English Catholic Mass translation.

Lost in Translation: The English Language and the Catholic Mass by Fr Gerald O'Collins SJThough small, however, the events he describes carry a large symbolic weight.

O'Collins tells the story succinctly. The Vatican Council made bishops of the various language groups responsible for translations of the Latin Catholic liturgical texts. The bishops of the English speaking world established a panel of Catholic scholars to undertake the work under their direction.

The panel produced a draft and then in 1974 a provisional text of the Mass that won general approval. It aimed to produce a text accessible by local congregations by reproducing the meaning of texts rather than offering a literal rendering.

But some influential critics believed it introduced doctrinal errors and lacked the openness to mystery found in the Latin text. They particularly objected to the avoidance of literal translation in favour of representing the meaning of texts. Their hostility was sharpened by later proposals to reflect common English usage in respect of gendered language.

The panel was also charged to prepare a more definitive text, which in 1998 it presented to the Vatican for routine approval. But by then its critics held key positions in the Vatican set on strengthening central authority. Local bishops, too, had been appointed on the basis of their loyalty to Rome. The Vatican rejected the revised text. It ordered the panel to be reformed, and vested approval for new translations in Rome and not with the bishops. It provided a new set of principles that were to govern revised translations of the Mass. These insisted on a literal translation in a sacral style.

Eventually another translation was prepared and sent to bishops' conferences for ratification. Unlike the German bishops, the English speaking bishops' conferences approved the draft provided them. In 2010 Rome approved a final version, making a thousand or so extra changes.


"What was intended to be sacral is mannered; what was literal is clunky in the reading and hearing; what aspired for mystery yields only mystification."


O'Collins tells this story of the political triumph of central power over local responsibility, reflects on the principles guiding the 1974 and 2010 translations, and compares the quality of the 1974, 1988 and 2010 translations. He makes his case that the principles governing the last translation could produce only a soggy mess; the examples he adduces show that it was duly produced. What was intended to be sacral is mannered; what was literal is clunky in the reading and hearing; what aspired for mystery yields only mystification.

He calls for the use of the 1998 texts on the grounds that they are accurate, elegant and inviting in their language. Pope Francis has recently made it clear that the responsibility for producing and approving texts remains with the bishops, and that the criteria of translations is their pastoral effectiveness.

At one level this story is simply one of 20 lost years. But it has larger significance, viewed best against the scriptural story of the Tower of Babel. This story describes an age in which people throughout the world were united in a single language, built a city and set out to make a name for themselves by building a tower reaching into the heavens. God met this presumption by confusing their languages so that they were scattered over the face of the earth. The tower crumbled.

The Babel story illustrates the relationship between God and humanity, and particularly the way in which human beings connect with God. It intimates that this connection is made by God's gift and not by human striving — by God coming down and not by human beings climbing up. In the world we inherit the connection with God's mystery is through fragmented revelation, not through a single illumination in a shared language.

The story of Babel has been widely used as a lens for reflecting on totalitarian societies. They embody the dream of realising a totally ordered and prosperous world through concerted and directed effort under all-powerful central leadership. The leaders of such societies always look to control the future by controlling language. Words are prescribed and proscribed for use in describing the dream, the relationships between citizens and rulers, and those between citizens and enemies. It is assumed that if citizens use the right words they will also embrace the dream and commit themselves to it.

From this perspective the story of the 2010 Mass translation represents the lofty dream of Catholic leaders to assure the connection to God through liturgy, which they thought to be threatened by the free use of local languages. They carefully built a tower by razing local structures and strengthening central authority. Liturgy would maintain the connection with God through sacral translations, as part of a wider distinctive Catholic language. That tower lies in ruins. The 2010 translation, a headless Hermes, is now its uncommunicative monument. It is time to trust God to speak freely through good and living words.



Andrew HamiltonAndrew Hamilton is consulting editor of Eureka Street.

Topic tags: Andrew Hamilton, English Mass translation, Gerry O'Collins, Catholicism



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Existing comments

There is a tension between local language usages and the universality of theological truths the liturgy enshrines. If liturgical language is to reflect the unity and catholicity of the Church's faith, how can the task be left to local arbitration? Further, how many Mass-goers are dissatisfied with the current translation?

John | 14 February 2018  

Unfortunately, the Tower of Banal buried many Catholics under the rubble when it fell. It is difficult to see that they will be resurrected over the generations to come.

john frawley | 14 February 2018  

There should be no tension between on one hand, truth and beauty and on the other theological truth. I still shudder when we read certain translations of the psalms during the response to the first reading. It isn't a head thing - it's an emotion of grief that the truth isn't as clear and touching in this new translation. Also, the whole thing, including the process, is profoundly disrespectful to the speakers of the language. (I think many of them are now taking it for granted that the words aren't meant to be understood, just spoken, like a magic spell).

Joan Seymour | 14 February 2018  

Unfortunately I have seen little convincing evidence that this is a question of tension between local languages and universal theological truths. And it is difficult to find far less asses the theological impact of the prayers of the Roman Rite across the works of theologians or Conciliar documents (Trent, Vat I, Vat II). A closer to the ground view has raises ecclesiological alarms around bullying Vatican behaviours and contrived confrontations with highly loyal conferences of bishops. Gerry's book sets the grounds for a more thorough research beyond the parameters of the pitfalls of an accurate but poor translation.

Gerard Moore | 15 February 2018  

Highly dissatisfied John. I tend to keep my mouth shut and think my own response in several instances. I'm a morning Mass participant.

Patricia Taylor | 15 February 2018  

John, your question is apt. "How many Mass-goers?"

Janet | 15 February 2018  

At the recent funeral liturgy for my father I insisted on pre 2010 translation readings. “John” asks about the extent of dissatisfaction by Mass goers. A better question would be how many former regular Mass goers are disenchanted with with the 2010 translation. In any event, the “renewal” in faith & attendance that at least one Australian church leader foreshadowed has not eventuated.

Paul Crittenden | 15 February 2018  

There are many issues which I won't have space to address. I had been used to hearing mass in Tok Pisin when I returned to Australia and this new "translation" in 2011. Essentially the whole purpose of translation was ignored: To make a phrase/text properly and immediately understood and accessible in another language. For this, each language should be given equal weight and respect, with their various natural rhythms understood. The "translators" ignored this, assuming the Latin held a superior position, and that the English text must slavishly follow it. They may well be among the best Latin scholars, but their English is appalling.

Kevin Wilson | 15 February 2018  

Yes John, very dissatisfied. I propose that parishes are granted permission to use another "Extraordinary Form", that of the 1974 translation.

Kevin Wilson | 15 February 2018  

I was a Pastoral Associate in North Queensland when the "new version' of the Liturgy came into operation. My then (now retired) 70 years + Parish Priest who also spoke Italian as half the congregation were of Italian origin, threw up his hands in despair ! He said to me how is our congregation going to understand this? I am still awaiting some common sense answer to his question. Personally I shudder when I hear some of the phrases during the Mass , particularly with some of the prayers, as the words are so archaic! I live in hope that our local Church will be given the right to tailor the liturgy to the local English with out loss of meaning or intent.

Gavin | 15 February 2018  

Well, I’m a dissatisfied mass goer. For years I’ve been observing a stony silence for years while I wince at the absurdity of the current translation. Wha childish ideologue thought it would be a good idea to for “offering “, I wonder? And “chalice “? God help us. Clearly the imposition of this nonsense on us was a clerical ploy to show who’s boss. Talk our lingo or we’ll send you to hell is the message.

OldG | 15 February 2018  

Thank you for this article Andrew, and the last three sentences give me hope. Thank you for the great summary of "Lost in Translation". As for who is dissatisfied, well, I am. Very. Strangely, as a woman, to continue to endure the furphy that "man" includes "women" no longer annoys me. It's just laughable, pathetic, and so transparently out of step with life. What angers me though, is the thought of all that money spent on printing new books for this exercise in power over-reach. Here I am, like other, beavering away at getting bits of money here and there for beleaguered people, when so much has been splashed around producing these important texts about which we, the people, were not consulted. And not only the people it seems, but all the English-speaking Bishops. Priorities. We can only hope.

Sister Susan Connelly | 15 February 2018  

Very dissatisfied John. One needs to ask: Does the present translation of the Mass contribute towards a greater faith in Jesus as Lord? Because in my experience it seems too weighted and biased towards Catholic authority rather the the Person of Jesus. In Lilydale the women are expected to recite the Nicene Creed which states: "for us men and our salvation He came down from heaven." Jesus emerged from heaven out of love for humanity, where women are legitimate persons in their own right in the ministry of Jesus. The Church continues to keep us unnamed and of an inferior gender. It is my response that the only legitimate creed should be the Apostles Creed, because the Nicene Creed is centered in a hierarchical and Patriarchal tradition rather than the Person of Jesus Christ. Congratulations on your latest book Gerald!

Trish Martin | 15 February 2018  

I find the language disturbing and stilted bringing to mind its faults. In places, I fight back with my own translation: C: "The Load be with you". R: "Especially with you" which perhaps captures that "et" in the Latin original. We used to say "And also with you" which is fairly natural English and I had no objection to that.

Peter Horan | 15 February 2018  

On the few occasions I celebrate the liturgy in English I use the 1974 translation - I do not wish to insult God or God's people with bad language. As for the 2010 "translation" - try googling the Latin opening prayers and you will get the 2010 "English" translation perfectly except for one or other word. Talk about a brainer! Also, in Indonesia, I use our "old" translation, the "new" one is dreadful.

John Prior | 15 February 2018  

Spot on Andrew, one of your succinct and practical solutions to a Living Language - with due respect to tradition. In the Letter is death only the Spirit gives Life ( See 2Cor.3:6) You search the Scriptures (and Liturgy) because in them you have Eternal Life - but it is they that point to Me - The Living Word of God(See Jh.5.39) Michael Wood

Michael Wood | 15 February 2018  

The 2010 translation finished off approx. one third of faithful Mass attenders, a fall from 15 percent to the present 10 percent. The liturgical disaster that followed Vatican II had already accounted for 70 percent, a fall from the 85% attendance that existed prior to that to 15 percent at 2010. Vatican II failed to recognise the new world it was convened to address in its "renewal". When you toss all your jewels into the garbage disposal bin it becomes very difficult to sparkle and attract.

john frawley | 15 February 2018  

Another dissatisfied punter here John! The translation issue is deeply annoying; just a poke in the eye by the conservatives who captured the Vatican. But profoundly more so, almost to the point of despair for the Church, is what Andrew rightly terms the "wasted 20 years" . A power-structure based on ideology, which is typified by suppressing all discussion. And hippocracy in claiming to support Vatican 2 while at the same actually suppress its fruits. Unfortunately, there s no real indication that most of our Bishops yet "get it", either on this issue or on so many others that need very urgent reform. Thank God we have Christ.

Eugene | 15 February 2018  

"a literal translation in a sacral style" What an order ! St Thomas Aquinas, in my view, got the sacral style right in the Sequence for Corpus Christi. Even though his mediaeval Latin poem would be unlikely to impress lovers of the classical Latin poets.. So the scholarly Latin into English translator are faced with a problem. Do they ignore its 13th century literary Latin style and translate into the Latin of the poets in 50 BC Rome? Or do they try to get an approximation to the sacral writing of 21st century poets or song writers. Here are two verses appropriate to this ES article. Laudis thema specialis Panis vivus et vitalis Hodie propinitur, Quem in sacrae mensa caena Turbae fratum duodenae Datum non ambigitur. The theology is orthodox. The verses are memorable. And singable. But incomprehensible to most of the laity. My Sunday Missal Sydney 1971 has this translation. Today no theme of common praise forms the sweet burden of our lays - the living, life-dispensing food - that food which at the sacred board unto thy brethren twelve Our Lord His parting legacy bestowed. A fairly accurate literal translation but hardly a sacral style.

Uncle Pat | 15 February 2018  

Language does matter, all the more so when expressing shared common belief as here Might I add, case matters vis: god and God, catholic and Catholic. How to change, what catalyst for change, one only has to decide to change (here use the translation favoured); paying the rule setters minimal consideration. After all, their power is actually only imputed, given only, not asserted, as Jesus said of them, they have truly had their reward

David tuke | 15 February 2018  

We are now in Lent. An article about the meaning of Lent would be nice... Rising from the ruins?  Not such a bad thing... But what are we really looking for? ''But I say unto you, that in this place is one greater than the temple''? Lost in translations? So how is it the ''blind see'' and the ''deaf hear''? Sorry. The word 'chalice' is just as fine a word as 'cup'. It's what you believe you are 'drinking' that matters. How by your willingness to share (drink) His Chalice (or cup for those who don't like the word Chalice) accept to transform your life and those in your life, and others. The way Jesus Christ did. "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation'' 

AO | 15 February 2018  

Worth looking up - the plodding replacement of that succinct " make us grow in love " by a plea for "the fullness of charity". Roll on, lucid liturgy reform !

Clare Keady | 15 February 2018  

the most outstanding insult is using the words THEE and THY in the Our Father other Christian Churches have managed to use normal language

Bernie Treston | 15 February 2018  

Please, please bring back the 1974 translation! It was greeted with acclaim by most everyone. I studied Latin, and like it in its place - which is not in translating it literally into terrible English. Our NZ Bishops complained to Rome when the 1974 version was dropped. Let the Holy Spirit and commonsense prevail!

Tricia Kane | 15 February 2018  

Bring back the last translation. I hate the latest version and do not use it during Mass. Peace be with you.

Louis Shane Allan | 15 February 2018  

Hmmm, John. Maybe your parish is blessed with many who are happily 'not worthy that (the Lord) should enter under your roof', but our parish has certainly lost many of the flock; ironically, literally. We need to re-open the windows of VII and bring back the Spirit, the fresh air and sense of community understanding and involvement from 1974!

Kieran | 15 February 2018  

Feeling powerless to protest against the 2010 changes to the Mass, I continue to respond as I have done since a child. The sad thing is that my generation (baby boomers) and those of my children, who used to know the responses, now feel totally disconnected with the Church hierarchy and, if not for our wonderful priest, would not attend Sunday Mass.

Jennifer | 15 February 2018  

"And with your spirit', Andrew. After eight years, i still find myself flinching when 'et cum spiritu tuo' is no longer 'and also with you'! Many many more, which means I've become literally as well as virtually mute in my response rate. Lord's Prayer perhaps best example, as I find myself still mouthing the earlier much more 'real' revised standard version, because, as a retired, but still proactive Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Liaison Officer I found that translation brought us onto one page togther, and adding the concluding response used in non-Catholic churches, which is now lost within a piece of verbal gobbledegook which we Catholics use to fill space - not 'sense space' with. Would also love sometimes to see us use alternative versions such as the indigenous one which was developed back in those earlier, better, out-reaching days - on days when we honour the original owners of this land, our indigenous sisters and brothers, on days like the recent anniversary of the 'Apology' to them, or as on the recently much debated celebration of Australia. Day. Or when we pause to honour them, and give them the wrong names as traditional owners. As in my Nth Shore parish. Correct wording - 'the Cameraygal People of the Guringai Nation - NEVER right these days! I know that's the right wording as I was the one who checked it with indigenous colleagues, so we could intoduce it into our regular liturgical practice. Sometimes it's even worde 'Guringi' people -traditioal owners linked with the Wave Hill Station in South Australia, I think?

Lynne Green | 15 February 2018  

John asks: how many Mass-goers are dissatisfied with the current translation. Well, I see half the people at Mass keeping their mouths shut and arms folded during the "through my fault, through my fault,through my most grievous fault" nonsense. I would say quite a consubstantial number are dissatisfied. And why are children especially asked to say this particular nonsense. How many children would have "greatly sinned" since the previous Sunday's Mass (leaving aside the adults for the moment)? Making people feel guilty for nothing is the first step to manipulating and controlling them. This is what cults do. This stuff has no place in Catholic Liturgy. The response "and also with you" is clear in its meaning. "And with your spirit" means what? Very vague. And what about "oblation being confused with "ablution".

Bruce Stafford | 15 February 2018  

The "Tower of Banal" fell, John Frawley? That's the current 2010 mistranslation. It hasn't fallen yet, unfortunately. Sister Susan, a conservative estimate of the cost of the mistranslation in the U.S. alone would be about $25 million. The Catholic Missions could have done a lot with that money!

Bruce Stafford | 15 February 2018  


Frank S | 15 February 2018  

Thank you Bruce. Yes, those were my thoughts at the time too. Why was the Church wasting so many resources on something not required (less wanted) and causing disruption, when there were other pressing priorities? Priorities, if properly addressed, would have assisted the renewal the Church so badly needed? This should be obvious now.

Kevin Wilson | 16 February 2018  

"In Christian churches the celebration of liturgy is always contentious. ' Really...? Seriously, should it be...? I work with an ecumenical women's group and twice a year we work on an Australia wide worship service, taking our turn to compose this. And yes we do debate the wording, the choice of hymns and prayers and even the appropriate responses to readings. But to suggest this is 'contentious' debate would be very misleading indeed. Given the far more deeply contentious issues the Church has faced (inadequately in my view) since 2010 I seriously, though respectfully, doubt if the fall off in Mass attendance can be attributed primarily to the 2010 changes in the liturgy. To the process of change perhaps (yet another decree from on high with which we were expected to comply without question). But to the changes themselves...?? I find the "worthy that you should enter under my roof" far more meaningful than the simple "receive", given that it echoes a particularly poignant episode in the Gospels. Yes some wording I still find uncomfortable.But I was brought up on the Anglican Book of Common Prayer and the Authorised Version (RSV if we were really lucky) and to suggest that was the language of a teenager in rural England would clearly be absurd. I learned to appreciate 'the beauty of holiness' argument and honestly believe that to be the intention of those who wrote our current liturgical texts.

Margaret | 16 February 2018  

The word "man", Sister Susan, (as I am sure you know) as a generic term means human race or human being and includes both men and women just as primate includes both male and female monkeys. Curiously in this usage, however, "woman" as a generic term refers only to women and does not include the male. However, the use of "man" as a generic as described here has become old fashioned or sexist in our politically correct world prompting a note in the new edition of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary which suggests the alternatives "human race" or "humankind". For goodness sake don't tell the hierarchy or they might bugger up the liturgy even further!

john frawley | 16 February 2018  

Interesting, Margaret, that you were raised on the Anglican liturgy. So too was my wife who became a Catholic of her own volition on the discovery of Catholicism in the example of the Catholic Chaplain at England's most prestigious Anglican Hospital, the School of Florence Nightingale, St Thomas' in London. She loved the liturgy of the Catholic Church. Two years after we were married she was greatly disappointed by the changes wrought in the wake of Vatican II. She is still a fully practising Catholic. However, we both find that if you want to experience the beauty of the pre-Vatican II Catholic liturgy, it can be found in part in the Anglican High Church. Oh for a return to the evening vespers, to regular Benediction, to be shriven on Shrove Tuesday rather than getting stuck into the pancakes, to practise Lent and return to the devotional practices we once knew. And that's before we even start on sacred music and reverence in the House of God. The Anglicans and the Godless English wouldn't dare carry on in big Liz's Buckingham Palace as Catholics today carry on in the house of their Godly Majesty. CATASTROPHE.

john frawley | 16 February 2018  

My main concern is for the children and young people. Surely we need to use contemporary, well composed English which welcomes and encourages their inclusion and participation. Fortunately I attend a vibrant parish with a good proportion of young people but having visited many other parishes over the years, I see predominantly the over 50s. I am in that generation and many of my contemporaries no longer attend Mass. Surely the Church should have grave concerns for the salvation of souls and its own future.

Mary | 17 February 2018  

"The word "man", Sister Susan, (as I am sure you know) as a generic term means human race or human being and includes both men and women just as primate includes both male and female monkeys." To illustrate how ordinary people process words like "man", way back in the 1970s feminists began writing things like, "Man menstruates once a month."

Janet | 17 February 2018  

Is there a way of getting a copy of the 1998 Missal! I wrote to the bishops recommending that this Missal simply be approved by the bishops, but got no reply!

Nicholas Punch | 19 February 2018  

John Frawley I agree re High Anglicanism and the 'beauty of holiness'. Currently the Mass I attend has been taken over by a Hillsong style Catholic group and the pain I experience every week is as much to my heart as my ears. Just finishing reading a wonderful book on icons ("Windows to Heaven") written from both a Catholic and Protestant perspective and am further convinced that at least for many of us beauty and dignity in worship remain important. Those were the aims of the 2010 revision and even if we regard them as imperfectly achieved I think we need to acknowledge the intention.

Margaret | 19 February 2018  

John Frawley and Margaret. If you prefer the 'High Anglican' style of liturgy as Catholics, I'm sure you are aware of the (Anglican) Ordinariate now in the Catholic Church which uses a form of the Book of Common Prayer and its language for use by former Anglicans in union with Rome. Vespers, Benediction etc. are part of that tradition and it is possible for Roman Catholics to now belong to the Ordinariate. You can find nformation on the Australian province with parishes here: http://www.ordinariate.org.au/

Michael James | 19 February 2018  

Thanks, Michael. I agree. However, it would be wonderful if the traditional Catholic liturgy which survived in the Anglican Church after the Reformation was restored in Catholic Liturgy together with so much of the abandoned devotional practice and musical liturgy. I suppose I am saying let's return to English Catholicism rather than to the "foreign" Italian Catholicism. I consider the English Catholics who weathered the Reformation under the threat of execution for 117 years are perhaps the best Catholics in the world.

john frawley | 20 February 2018  

Michael. I should have added that perhaps the biggest problem facing the Catholic Church is that the vast majority of nominal Catholics simply don't believe anymore along with a number of the clergy. At a Mass recently the priest chose to use the Irish Blessing as the final blessing and concluded with . "And until we meet again may God hold you in the palm of HER hand". I suppose he thought it clever, or perhaps "inclusive", or politically "transgender correct". But it also meant that either Jesus of Nazareth was not God or was cross dressing !!!

john frawley | 20 February 2018  

in my opinion, missals are the least of our worries in the Church at the moment. Appropriate solutions to these problems will not fill our parishes again any time soon. Nor will married priests, women priests or the marriage of LGBTIQ persons in the Church, as much as I believe that these changes are desperately needed, because they are injustices on the part of the Church. The real question for the Church, even in an Australian context is: What if at all, will cause contemporary Australians to embrace Christianity - Roman Catholic or otherwise - and want to belong to parishes and enter into liturgy and fellowship even if the best if offered? These are the types of questions that Bishops’ Conferences and other appropriate agencies should be focusing on and spending money on. I believe that part of the answer is a theological one. Going to Mass every week can mean nothing if we do not understand what lies behind it all. I believe that the Church itself is at fault, right down to parish level, as we have failed to educate our people theologically. We believe in God through faith and faith alone, with no proof, and with that comes the requirement for each person to then explore what that means and to fully understand what they are entering into. But we have to be given the opportunities and have the programmes set up to do this right down to parish level. Which of course is largely not the case. Any first-year theology student will tell you the same. Missals, at the moment, will not fix this problem.

Thomas Amory | 20 February 2018  

Thank you Andy for highlight the latest book by Gerald O'Collins, Please God the 1998 translation will be available soon or an even better translation.

Patrick Kempton | 21 February 2018  

Margaret, I am at one with you with your distaste of Hillsong-style hymns and services. There seems to be a notion around that because Hillsong attracts so many to its services, then that's the way to go. Wrong! They don't realise that apart from a fairly small core group, Hillsong has a high turnover. There's only so much of their music you can take without wanting to call out "no more" (some of their hymns are theologically dodgy too). The answer BTW is not Gregorian Chant; that's going too far the other way. John F, you refer to "The liturgical disaster that followed Vatican II" deterring many from the Church. By that logic then, they should have come back when Pope John Paul II closed the windows opened by Vatican II and nailed them shut. They didn't. Also the 2010 translation may not have been primarily responsible for a further drop off in Mass attendance What it did do, however, was to confirm that the hierarchical mindset was still in feudal mode, with a "pray, pay, and obey" attitude to the laity. There was no consultation about the translation - just a diktat from the Roman Curia. It was a confirmation of the hierarchy's continuing refusal to leave the 16th Century behind.

Bruce Stafford | 26 February 2018  

Bruce S. Perhaps JP II nailed the windows shut in an attempt to stem the flood of priests, religious, sacred liturgy, devotional practices, catholic education of adults and children, etc flooding out through the open windows. It was too late. There was little left to attract those who left back to a Church stripped of most of its beauty, replacing the divine with the human, the sacred with the profane and the catholic with the protestant. Unfortunately, the survivors of this calamitous cataclysm (10 percent of the pre-Vatican II numbers) are represented predominantly by an elderly generation. Two generations of younger people, nominally or tribally Catholic, the future of the Church, have been lost. On some reckonings, this is a catastrophe which indicates that the Church cannot survive or will be very lucky to survive without the second coming perhaps.

john frawley | 27 February 2018  

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