Wheat Ridge, Colo., Nov 20, 2010 / 08:39 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Denver's Auxiliary Bishop James D. Conley addressed a group of church musicians on Nov. 20 at Colorado's Queen of Vietnamese Martyrs Church, celebrating the feast of their patron St. Cecilia and discussing important changes in the forthcoming English translation of the Mass.
He expressed hopes that the new, more accurate translation of the Roman Missal would enhance the reverence and beauty of Catholic worship. The new translation will become standard next year, at the beginning of Advent in 2011.
Bishop Conley also acknowledged liturgical abuses and aesthetic misjudgments in parts of the Church, but said these problems were not due to the Second Vatican Council, or the practice of having Mass in the local language that it allowed.
Rather, he said, the problems had arisen from a misunderstanding of the council, and resulting misconceptions about Catholics worship. “The new liturgy that the Council gave us is beautiful,” the bishop affirmed. “The problem has been that even good people have misinterpreted the Council badly.”
To illustrate this misunderstanding of the Council's spirit and its liturgy, Bishop Conley recounted an occasion in the life of Dorothy Day, the respected co-foundress of the Catholic Worker movement. Known for her social activism and service to the poor, she also described herself as a Catholic “traditionalist,” and resisted attempts to use the liturgy as a political tool.
When one misguided priest offered Mass at a Catholic Worker house using a coffee cup as a chalice to consecrate the blood of Christ, Day was “scandalized by the sacrilege,” in Bishop Conley's words. She “dug a deep hole in the backyard … then she kissed the coffee cup, and buried it,” ensuring the impromptu “chalice” would never be used for mere beverages.
In this incident, Bishop Conley observed the contrast between the priest's clumsy attempt to acknowledge Christ's humanity –at the cost of dishonoring his divinity– and Day's understanding that “in the Mass, God stoops down to lift us up to his level.”
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