Awkward: yes. Complain: no

30 Oct


“That was awkward,” is okay. “I don’t like that,” is not okay.

That is my rule for myself until May 27, six months from November 27.

On the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, the new English translation of the Mass will be used for the first time. There will inevitably be awkward moments. It will be okay to note them. It might even be good to celebrate them. But it will not do much good to complain about them.

In the new translation some of the wording in the prayers, dialogues and responses will be slightly different from the wording that we Catholics, and we Catholic priests, have used for the last forty years, or for as long as you have been alive, if you are not yet forty years old. It will be okay to point out the awkwardness, to share the awkwardness with a smile and maybe even with a laugh. But complaining will not help us to make progress or to be prayerful.  

My new rule – a rule for myself – will be: “No Complaining for Six Months.” We priests, maybe more honestly I should say, this priest (I) can be quick to say what I like and what I don’t like about the new translation of a word or phrase that we will use. But I would do well just to pray, using the words that the Church gives us to pray, and not analyze, object or change any word that is in that brand new Roman Missal that arrived in the mail a couple weeks ago.

So, if another priest or a parishioner complains, I must listen, but I do not need to join in, further or add to the complaint.  Perhaps in six months I will look back and discover that what was awkward is no longer so, and what I did not like, I like. Even if not, what the Church has given me to pray as a priest at Mass, I will pray at Mass.

You may want to stay away from me on May 28, when my rule expires. But let us hope that on May 29 all will be well.  

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