NCR Today

California cathedral meets new missal with indifference


At the cathedral of the San Jose, Calif., diocese Sunday, the first use of the new translation of the Roman Missal was met with a mix of indifference and creative interpretation.

While the domed ceiling of the mission-style Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph echoed with a mix of "And with your spirit" and "Also with you" responses from the congregation at several points, many of the other changes went off smoothly, with many parishioners bowing their heads to read from an instruction pamphlet.

Yet in one noted change, the cathedral's pastor told parishioners after his homily that while they'd be saying the Nicene Creed this week, they might not in the future.

Instead, Msgr. J. Patrick Browne said he'd rather use the Apostle's Creed, which is "shorter and easier to understand."

Joking after the recitation of the creed, Browne said that next week "there will be a test on the meaning of the work consubstantial."

After Mass, one parishioner said she thought the new prayers would lead to a deeper appreciation for the Mass.

New Jersey parishioners take new missal in stride


"Good morning. Hmm, I'm not sure I'm allowed to say this with the new Roman Missal. I feel edgy, like I've never done this before and it's my first Mass," quipped the priest, who had certainly celebrated at least his silver jubilee, at the beginning greeting of liturgy using the new Roman Missal in a New Jersey suburb in the Diocese of Camden. "I think I already made one mistake, but that's OK, we'll get through this together."

Prior to Mass, the music director had gone over a few responses, though it was obvious the community had been preparing along the way. With humor and encouragement, he said several times: "The Lord be with you," attempting to reprogram the previously normal response into "And with your spirit."

With grace and good humor, community members laughed and practiced. During the liturgy it was apparent longtime practices are hard to break, yet the community created powerful liturgy evidenced in its gestures, prayers, proclamations and music.

Washington parish meets new missal with confusion, resignation


Foreheads wrinkled in confusion, giggles, sighs, smiles and occasional eye-rolling were the order of the day as parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish in LaConner, Wash., fumbled with the ubiquitous "cue cards" and goldenrod music scores employed to coach them through the first Sunday Mass of Advent 2011 -- an initiation to the revised Roman Missal translation.

Acknowledged as a "destination parish" -- defined more by joy than geography -- Sacred Heart draws parishioners from at least a half-dozen towns in Washington's Skagit Valley. It has no resident pastor.

New parishioner Jeff Scott, who coaches basketball at nearby Mt. Vernon High School and works at Washington Bulb Company, said of the new Mass rite, "There's nothing wrong with change and it will take a while to learn, but I welcome change. It's no big deal."

LaConner resident Tracy Hancock, 37, was perplexed about the revised translation. "I was telling my mom who was sitting next to me, 'Is this just change for change's sake?' I guess I just don't understand the whole rationale behind the changes."

New missal could drive away Catholics at California parish


On the first Sunday of Advent, Michael Cassidy sat in a pew at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Berkeley, Calif., as he has done most Sundays for the past 35 years. But it is likely to be his last liturgy there for a while.

Because of his strong opposition to the new Roman missal, he is taking "a vacation from the Roman rite," a decision he describes as "very painful."

Cassidy's concerns go beyond the new translation to the motivations underneath the words.

"I believe the whole thing is designed to undercut the ecclesiology of Vatican II, which in turn underlies the prior liturgical changes which followed the council," he said. "The next generation -- assuming that they come to church -- will grow up with a liturgy which denigrates that ecclesiology and glorifies another, older one. So much for 'letting in fresh air.'"

In another pew, fellow parishioner Mary Bucher was offended at the insertion of "I have sinned greatly" into the Introductory Rite.

"I don't go around sinning greatly," she said. "I am not going to say this."

Why the return to such a negative view of faith? she asked. "Are they trying to undo Vatican II?"

Well, she said, "We're not going back."

Religious liberty blossoms at the U.S. Air Force Academy


The newly minted and urgently created U.S. Bishops Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty will be tickled to learn that the U.S. Air Force Academy is officially making room for pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times:

"We're here to accommodate all religions, period," [says Chaplain Maj. Darren] Duncan, branch chief of cadet faith communities at the academy. The building of the Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle on the hilltop, he says, is no different from the past conversion of chapel rooms into worship spaces that serve this year's 11 Muslim, 16 Buddhist and 10 Hindu cadets. There are also 43 self-identified atheist cadets whose beliefs, or lack of them, Duncan says are also to be respected.

"It is very nice to have our own space," says Cadet 1st Class Nicole Johnson, a 21-year-old senior from Florida who became a pagan after entering the academy.

Alabama: The price of intolerance


Today's New York Times editorial captures the high price of Alabama's radical new immigration law. For those championing the move to airlift more than 11 million undocumented immigrants back to their birth countries or those trying to concoct a dastardly law like Alabama's, they ought to pay close attention to the true cost of such ideas.

Back in 2004, President George Bush proposed comprehensive immigration reform:

"Saying the United States needs an immigration system 'that serves the American economy and reflects the American dream,' President Bush Wednesday outlined an plan to revamp the nation's immigration laws and allow some eight million illegal immigrants to obtain legal status as temporary workers.

Heidi Schlumpf on NPR: What she missed


My paper issue of NCR arrived in my mail the day before Thanksgiving. But it was only today that I had time to zero in on Heidi Schlumpf's column, "NPR: Not Particularly Religious."

On many levels, I agree with Heidi. NPR is probably the best source for national and international news anywhere on any dial, radio or television. Like her, every radio I own is tuned to my local NPR station; in my case, WAMU. I imbibe "Morning Edition" with breakfast and listen to "All Things Considered" as I'm driving home from the studio in the evening.

Heidi is also correct that there is some resistance to religion coverage at NPR, and at some (not all) NPR stations. More on that later.

Morning Briefing


Catholics use new English translation of Mass. The new translation was introduced in every English-language Mass in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and India over the weekend, and had been phased in elsewhere in the English-speaking world over the past year.

New York City -- New Translation of Catholic Mass Makes Its Debut

Washington -- Catholic Mass changes don’t upset faithful

Erie, Pa. -- Catholics say missal changes 'beneficial'

Dallas, Texas -- Mass sounds different in Catholic churches

When the Poll is Called Up Yonder


My friend George Gallup Jr. died this week.

He was a fountain of benevolence and cheer, a welcoming and winsome presence. He wrote with grace and charm, spoke melifluously and schmoozed with panache.

These gifts drew on a reservoir of what was, I believe, a Christian vocation that summoned him to Episcopal ordination during his college days at Princeton.

Soon after graduation, he turned away from that ambition to return to his father's famous polling research enterprise where he he channeled his vocational bent into decades as an evangelist for American religion both within the Gallup Organization and as a cure for personal souls.

He made religion integral to a highly political survey operation. Though his father wasn't much interested in religion, his open mindedness gave George Jr. an opening. The son also inhereted his father's generosity and tolerance.

The son was a dutiful keeper of the Gallup flame, safeguarding its integrity and devotion to the principle that democracy depends for its existence on ability and an awareness of public opionion as a political force to balance the array of special interests.

'Have a Little Faith' a heartwarming, interfaith story


This is the first in a trilogy of blog posts by Sr. Rose Pacatte looking at some of this year's new holiday television movies.

Have a Little Faith
Sunday, Nov. 27
ABC, 9 p.m./8 p.m. CST

"Have a Little Faith" is this year's Hallmark Hall of Fame's made-for-TV holiday movie. It's based on the 2009 best-selling book by Mitch Albom and in many ways is similar to "Tuesdays with Morrie" -- a book (1997) and film (1999) that made me cry a river.

"Have a Little Faith" is about Mitch's relationship with the rabbi of his youth, Rabbi Lewis (Martin Landau), who asked Mitch (Bradley Whitford) to write and then give his eulogy when the time came. As a journalist, Mitch agreed, but only after he conducted several interviews with Rabbi Lewis. These led Albom to notice stories about faith in Detroit, where he worked. He met Henry Convington (Laurence Fishburn), a former drug addict and ex-con in Detroit who became a reverend and ministers to the people of a poor inner-city church, working to make the lives of his people better.


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June 16-29, 2017