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Priests predict possible backlash against new Mass text

A forum of priests on a national radio program has suggested the draft text of changes to the Mass creates a distance between the priest and the people, and it could alienate Catholics who have grown up with liturgy in the vernacular.

The consensus of the discussion on yesterday's ABC Radio National Religion Report suggested that "much work remains to be done" on the draft. This echoes the comment of the Australian Bishops that the draft is merely "a step in the right direction", and Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony that the draft "needs a lot of work".

The discussion involved Dr David Orr, Benedictine lecturer in liturgy at the Catholic Institute of Sydney, Wagga Wagga Diocese priest Fr John Frauenfelder, and Sydney Broken Bay Diocese priest Fr Colin Blayney.

Fr Frauenfelder said: "I would not want in any way for some kind of chasm to appear because of the sort of theology and approach to worship that would appear to be supported and advocated in this new translation."

Fr Blayney said he has been surprised at the extent of the changes, which he had expected to be only minor.

"The draft actually shows that there's a change basically to every single line of the mass, including all the responses and common prayers by the people. So it's a very large change for people to take on board."

As the discussion touched on the process of consultation that appears to have excluded the laity, Dr Orr raised the question of the larger context of the liturgy that "needs to be experienced by the people".

"The worship text is only part of our agenda of liturgy," he said. "The other two agendas quite powerfully are proclamation and service of the poor, that our worship is born of our proclaiming, and it must lead to service of the poor. And I often hear from priests who are out there working with people, in fact who actually have their soup kitchens, and they look at this discussion in the Catholic church about this word or that word, and they say, 'It's totally irrelevant'."
Australian Catholic priests speak about the draft Mass (ABC Radio Religion Report 26/5/04)

UK Bishops rap The Tablet for publishing Mass draft (CathNews 26/5/04)
The draft Order of the Mass (The Tablet 22/5/04)
The Religion Report - ABC Radio | Mass Draft

27 May 2004