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Anthony Ruff OSB Speaks on New Missal

Anthony Ruff OSB was so engaging! Anthony Ruff OSB was so engaging!

If you are stumbling over changes in the new Roman Missal and wondering where they came from, listen to Fr. Anthony Ruff's podcast available on the FutureChurch website. Fr. Ruff spoke to a standing room only crowd of 220 at a January 10, 2012, FutureChurch program in Cleveland, Ohio. A Benedictine monk of St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, MN, Ruff teaches liturgy, liturgical music, and Gregorian chant at St. John's University School of Theology Seminary.

With humor, grace and frequent references to common sense questions from his mother over the holiday dinner table, Fr. Ruff both educated and entertained. Fr. Ruff was himself a member of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy until he resigned because of what is widely viewed as a seriously dysfunctional process leading up to the changes. He would eventually cancel previously scheduled talks in six dioceses because he could not defend the translations. Instead, he decided to speak openly about the problems and the processes that resulted in the awkward phraseology so evident in the new Mass prayers.

One important cause is that new translation guidelines were based on literal translations from the Latin rather than previous guidelines using dynamic interpretations from the original languages (usually Greek or Aramaic). Dynamic interpretations match the nearest meaning equivalent in the host language. Since Latin texts are often a translation from the original language, many Mass prayers are essentially translations of translations, something linguists decry.

Fr. Ruff also had serious concerns about how authority was exercised in the development of new missal, pointing to over 10,000 last minute changes made by an unknown Vatican official and never approved by any Bishops' Conference. During the question and answer session, Fr. Ruff flipped through all the submitted note cards, answering each question honestly, acknowledging appropriate improvements in language and stating where he believed the new translations overstepped.

When asked "What do we do now?" he provided ways faithful Catholics might respond. One important suggestion was to let your pastors and bishops know how you feel about the new Missal…does it help you pray, or are the words too often a distraction?

Focus on FutureChurch

Summer 2012


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