I would like to respond to the Feb. 10 article about Father Anthony Ruff’s withdrawal from speaking engagements on the subject of the newest translation of the Roman missal into English.
His objections to how this translation was accomplished puzzle me. The Catholic Church, while valuing the many gifts of its members — ordained, consecrated and laity — is not a democracy. “The top-down impositions by a central authority” flows from our being an apostolic, hierarchical Church; “the larger Church” to which Fr. Ruff believes the Holy See should be accountable is composed of all of us in the pews who have trusted that system for millennia. The Holy See is “accountable” only to the Holy Spirit.
While the structure for revising the missal left out many who will need to implement the changes and who may find it “unsatisfactory,” that very tension can be the opportunity for the gifted, humble servant of God to experience the power of the Holy Spirit’s sufficiency. The primary responsibility of those changing the texts is to remain faithful to the authenticity of their original meaning. A careless change could erase 5,000 years of biblical truth, exposing the faithful to the unintended consequence of multiplied error.
These requested changes are part of the Holy Father’s “reforming the reform.” Many in the Church “hijacked” (to use Fr. Ruff’s term) large portions of Vatican II reforms, making changes never intended by Vatican II documents or Pope Paul VI. I am one of many in the pews who are grateful to the Holy Father for his courage in going counter to the momentum of recent years.
Change is difficult. It is my prayer that all of us in the Church spend time on our knees asking God for healing in the Church at large and for trusting, obedient spirits.