I am deeply touched that Bishop Trautman has a concern for “Joe and Mary Catholic,” out there in the pews in all of our parishes. Such a paternal condescending tone is precisely what American Catholics need to hear from their bishops when talking about the quality of the liturgical translations for the celebration of the Eucharist. Perhaps Bishop Trautman needs a reminder that the current generation of American Catholics is perhaps the most highly educated group of faithful believers with more diversity in subject expertise than perhaps any other group of people in the history of the Catholic Church.

Catholics in the United States are far from incapable of comprehending the linguistic nuances of the Latin translations of the Eucharistic texts and prayers. For the most part, the laity that is subjected to the liturgical experimentations of the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church in the United States are more than capable of cognitive understanding of a phrase or two, in multiple languages and perhaps even are capable of understanding the pronunciation of more than monosyllabic words. What “John and Mary Catholic,” are concerned about is the pervasive inability of the American Bishops to make a reasonable decision that affects the essential quality of expression of our Roman liturgy. Bishop Trautman and all of the other American bishops need to understand and acknowledge there is a growing liturgical movement going on in our domestic and international Church that is strongly advocating the return to traditional Catholicism on their side of the Communion rails!

Tactics such as delaying the vote on the acceptance of new translations that are in more accord with the original Latin texts are frankly amateur attempts by some Bishops to further delay the call to liturgical unrenewal after decades of experimentation by our bishops. American Catholics are no longer characterized as an immigrant and uneducated Church that require the assistance of the clergy for rudimentary choices and decisions in everyday life. Quite to the contrary, American clergy from the bishops on down should trade places with their laity counterparts and see the impressive backgrounds and educational levels of their parishioners. Most likely, on a given Sunday there are multiple PhD’s, M.D., D.D.’s and so on in the pews. These accomplished Catholics, continue to be subjected to pedantic examples of poor liturgy, poor preaching and poor financial stewardship of their Catholic parish resources.

The inability of the American Bishops to agree to a consensus regarding the translations of the liturgical texts is indeed symptomatic of a larger problem that is happening in the entire Church. The Church is having a great problem adapting its role in an ever more highly educated and professional group of faithful believers. The disparity between the understanding of the clergy towards the spiritual needs and desires of a professional and educated Catholic Church is underscored with multiple points that illustrate that “John and Mary Catholic” are not the Catholics of our parents and grandparent’s generations.

A serious chasm is widening between fulfilling the spiritual needs of a faith community and helping the same faith community live a Catholic lifestyle in an increasingly secular and solipsistic world. The fact that there are some Bishops that think the issue resides in the average Catholic’s inability to understand advanced levels of English grammar is the most frightening example of the American Bishops disconnect with Catholic life in the twenty-first century. Catholics want quality restored to their Catholic liturgies. We are tired of social experimentation, progressive changes, destruction of sacred spaces and the attempt to make our Catholic expressions all inclusive. The highly educated and motivated American Catholic wants a religious experience when we go to Mass and participate in the Sacraments. We do not want politically correct euphemisms, subjective interpretations of the liturgy by individual priests or any example of Catholic extremism in our Liturgies.

We want spiritual transformation and qualitative celebration of our most sacred rites, free from showmanship and individual interpretations by any one priest, religious or bishop. Bishops…it is time to allow the social subjectivism of the post Vatican II to peacefully leave our Catholic liturgical celebrations of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. American Catholics and indeed Catholics throughout the world are demanding a spiritual renewal and restoration of our Catholic identity that was coldly ripped away from us as part of the experimentation of Vatican II. Part of the difficulty perhaps for Bishop Trautman is simply the fact that he does not really understand the spiritual desires and needs of “Joe and Mary Catholic,” because he like others in the ecclesial hierarchy have become unfamiliar with the reality of the 21st century grass roots Catholicism that is taking place.

Attitudes that claim to be responsive to the needs of the average Catholic by members of the Bishop’s Conference are indeed not aware of the gravity of secular tensions that are part of the average Catholic everyday life. If these tensions were truly perceived by the bishops, they would take up the task of providing effective pastoral and evangelical Catholicism to a Church that loudly shouts its desire for sacramental quality of expression.

The average Catholic is quite able to appreciate the translations of the liturgical texts in a much deeper manner than the bishops give them credit. Perhaps, the bishops need to understand the complexity of the lifestyles of American Catholics and start by providing them with prayerful and holy liturgical celebrations of Eucharist, effective and intelligible preaching as well as strong financial stewardship of the temporal resources the laity of the American Catholic Church have entrusted to them. If Bishop Trautman and his fellow bishops could accomplish these three points, the revitalization of American Catholicism is on a healthy course and direction.

Hugh McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist that writes on Catholic topics and issues. Hugh studied both philosophy and theology at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. He writes daily at: http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com & http://catholicsacredarts.com & http://pewsitter.com He writes about Irish Catholic experiences  at http://graysferrygrapevine.blogspot.com Nothing Left Unsaid!” is his daily column @ http://catholicnewsagency.com Comments are always welcome @ hugh.mcnichol@trinettc.com

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