The introduction of the Revised English Translation of the Roman Missal seems to have brought about controversy. Being born in the late 1950s, I served at Mass when it was in Latin and knew the responses pretty well. However, when it changed into English being of tender years I had no idea of the controversy it brought about. I suppose, as a child I just accepted it but I am now aware that many were upset, clergy and laity alike and that some still prefer the Latin Mass.

Today I have been much more aware of the changes and surprised that it has been older people that do not like the changes – perhaps this is because there are so few young people, that their voice hasn’t been heard. It is not just the laity that have objected, but priests too.

I have read different accounts on how the new translation was formed with suggestions that the Vatican interfered and imposed its own rules. As I have researched it I have come across the American Catholic Council  which has as its byline: “Reclaiming the Promise of Vatican II” and involves lay peolple, priests and bishops. This Council is seeking all kinds of reform within the Church, for example handing over the administration of parishes and their finances to trained lay people.

It is not just the American Church that seems to be seeking reform or what some may see as the full implementation of spirit of the Second Vatican Council. On mainland Europe, four flemish priests have issued a church reform manifesto calling for the appointment of laypeople as parish pastors, liturgical leaders and preachers, and for the ordination of married men and women as priests, see:  http://ncronline.org/news/global/belgian-catholics-issue-reform-manifesto

CBS news carried a report in December on whether the Church is divided, citing a medical case in a Catholic hospital where physicians and the board of ethics which included a Catholic nun decided that an unborn baby (11 weeks) should be aborted in order to save the mother’s life – she had four other children and the baby would not have survived in any case because the mother was nearing death herself. The nun was excommunicated but this has since been rescinded. The hospital has been asked not to carry out such an operation again if it wishes to recover its Catholic status. See further details at: The Catholic Church: A house divided?

These are just some of the difficult issues faced today by ordinary Catholics like myself who find it hard to know where we stand. With the church seemingly facing an exodus and uncertainty, particularly in Europe and the USA, is it not time that these matters were fully debated? Should we re-visit and discuss all the documents of Vatican II? Perhaps the time has come to call a Third Vatican Council.

This might be something to consider, especially as today is the 46th World Communications Day.

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