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Correcting pastoral blunders

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 Contents - May 2005AD2000 May 2005 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Challenges facing John Paul II's successor Benedict XVI - Michael Gilchrist
'Santo Subito': the impact of John Paul II - Peter Westmore
News: The Church Around the World
Year of Eucharist: Religious education: Catholic youth have their say - Shannon Donahoo
Catholic beliefs and practices: the challenge ahead for Australia - Michael Gilchrist
The Da Vinci Code and the itching ears syndrome - John Young
UK survey: why church pews are emptying
St Patrick's Church, Soho Square, a spiritual oasis in London - Tess Livingstone
Bioethics: IVF and embryonic stem cell research: the social and ethical issues - Kerrie Allen
Letters: Appeal to the young - Justin Lynch
Letters: God's Champion - Robert Garrett
Letters: Theology at ACU - Henk Verhoeven
Letters: Overseas priests - Jenny Bruty
Letters: Priest shortage - Jeff Harvie
Letters: Heroic virtue - Bob Denahy
Letters: Catholic education - Geoff Storey
Letters: Private revelations - Anne Boyce
Letters: Sex before marriage - Dr Arnold Jago
Letters: Society of St Pius X - Stephen McInerney
Letters: Ecclesial unity - Meg Fennell
Letters: Correcting pastoral blunders - Kevin McManus
Letters: Catholic hymns - Dolores Lightbody
Letters: Latin Mass Times in Hobart - Kevin Tighe
Letters: Corpus Christi Procession in Brisbane - Josie Mangano
Books: Sacred and Secular Scriptures / The Catholic Revival in English Literature - David Birch (reviewer)
Books: A GENTLE JESUIT: Philip Caraman SJ, by June Rockett - George Russo (reviewer)
Books: Remembering Pope John Paul II
Reflection: Pope John Paul II and the redemptive power of suffering - Fr Paul Stuart

In your February editorial you very clearly outlined the current Church crisis in Australia. Perhaps you could have added that major causes of this crisis have included some terrible pastoral or administrative blunders made since the Second Vatican Council.

Long avoided, if not denied by all concerned, this matter will surface when a more accurate English translation of the Novus Ordo Missal is due for release.

The authorisation of the presently used translation - if one could call it a translation - was a terrible blunder by the world's English-speaking bishops around 1970.

They knew Latin well, and must have known the approved "translation" was inaccurate, yet they insisted on an obedient acceptance of it. We must hope that their current successors will explain to the faithful the difference between our obligation to believe and obey the Church's infallible teaching on faith and morals and our duty to obey, if not agree with their non-infallible pastoral or administrative decisions.

The Holy Spirit always guides the Church and eventually corrects pastoral blunders. But this may take centuries.

You listed some of these blunders. There are others. Probably the worst was allowing an "open go" for liturgical changes which effectively lessened respect for and belief in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. We must hope the damage will be addressed during this year of the Eucharist.

Another example of a post-Vatican II blunder was the suppression of Australia's great parish sodalities on the grounds that no part of a church should be reserved for any particular group.

Yet today parts of churches are regularly reserved for participants at funerals, ordinations, marriages, baptisms, confirmations, Law Masses, Naval Masses, Papal Masses, etc.

Meanwhile, the Holy Name Society is needed more than ever amid the present day deluge of blasphemy.

Any mention of such disasters usually brings the stock put-downs: "One must accept change" or "We cannot turn back the clock". Which is to say, in effect, that blunders are not blunders, or that blunders should never be corrected.

If this is the case, what hope can there be of genuine reform and renewal in the future?

Ashfield, NSW

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 18 No 4 (May 2005), p. 15

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