Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bishop Conry: Problems of Overcentralization and New Missal under Pope Benedict XVI

Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB
Pray Tell
Feb. 15, 2013

Two days after the announcement of Pope Benedict’s resignation, Bishop Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton in the United Kingdom, spoke out on the pontificate of Pope Benedict in the pages of The Times (subscription needed).

Bishop Conry spoke of a negative impact on Catholics in the pews through the introduction of the new English translation of the Missal: Liturgically is where it has impacted most obviously on the lives of Mass-going Catholics. We have a new translation of the Mass texts which was really imposed by Rome. There are bits of the translation that people are simply not happy with, words such as ‘consubstantial’ in the Creed. Before that it was ‘of one being’. Had we been able to make local decisions we would have stuck with the original. It has not had a massive impact, but at the same time it has had an impact that is felt.

For Bishop Conry, this translation problem is tied to the larger issue of centralization: There is a need for the Roman Curia, the central administration, to be reviewed. That was not one of Pope Benedict’s strengths. It needs reviewing because it is not working very well. There seems to be a degree of centralization that is not really necessary which might indicate that there is a degree of inefficiency.

A return to the traditional autonomy of local bishops, a characteristic of the early Church, was one of the calls from the Second Vatican Council. The aim was that Rome should work more collaboratively with the local bishops. That has not really developed.

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