Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Credo in 'Crisis'

 I could just about endure the horrors of the English  translation that was foisted upon us with the onset of the vernacular Mass. The mistranslation of 'Credo' as 'We believe' has always stuck in my throat and not merely because it is a barefaced inaccuracy. It is much more than that. In his 'Crisis' magazine article, Fr James Schall S.J. explains why and how.  (h/t to Catholic Culture News Headlines.)

Here's a telling snippet:
"The problem with the formula 'we believe' is that the one who recites it may in fact not be affirming what is in the  Creed. Instead of saying 'I believe' as a public expression of what he holds, he means rather, 'We believe' - that is what this organisation holds, though not necessarily what I hold myself. The unity of belief is broken."

As the Catholic News Headlines item points out:
"Father Schall's argument has implications for dissident Catholics, who might honestly say that 'we' - the community of Catholics - believe all the teachings of the Church. But the dissident may find it more difficult to say 'I believe'.

In one of my books, I forget which one now, I commented on the irony that when we sang or said the Credo, we knew that everyone singing or saying it really did believe its articles. Now we say 'We believe' we are no longer certain of what anyone believes. The opening of the Creed as 'I believe' was, is (and with the new corrected translation will be again), a moment of bold and individual affirmation. Each person confesses his beliefs to  his brothers and sisters, before God. He stands up for himself. It is a brave and joyful moment and one in which those present demonstrate their true unity and are made to feel secure within it. Saying 'we' just does not have the same effect, either on the individual or on the community. I think Father Schall is quite right so say that it breaks, rather than makes the 'unity of belief'.

Of course in the French NO we have always said 'Je crois' and 'Et avec votre esprit'. In that sense this year's first Sunday in Advent will be no different from usual, but I can hardly wait to attend an NO in Westminster once that date has been passed. If priests in Anglophone areas are having problems with the introduction of the new corrected Roman Missal they have only to blame those who allowed the travesty of the last forty years to be introduced and maintained for so long. The Credo matter is the glaring tip of the iceberg of loss to Anglophone Catholicism during that time.

At a recent English parish forum on the new Missal, it was reported to me that one parishioner in a discussion group (not led by the priest), moaned, 'Why do we need to do this?' and another, 'It's too much like the Latin.'  . Honestly these comments would be laughable if they were not so pathetic and sad. A group of sheep will not lead itself out of danger, as this discussion group proved. All that seemed to have happened is the exchange of opposing views with no resolution. The way has to be shown by the shepherd with the assistance of his faithful sheepdogs. Nowadays it seems that there are too many sheepdogs who are frightened of the sheep, never mind of the wolves .

Saint John Vianney pray for our priests.
Saint Joseph pray for them and for our Holy Father Benedict XVI
Our Lady of Good Counsel, watch over us and guide us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

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