Wading through the press coverage surrounding the introduction of the third edition of the Roman Missal, as this post atÂ GetReligion points out, can get repetitive quickly, particularly because of reportersâ€™ insistence on covering the liturgical changes from the angle of a â€œcontroversy.â€ But regardless of whether the pressâ€™ inclination to ensure dissenting voices get their due (or, in many instances, undue) column ink is a calculated decision or simply the side-effect of a misguided belief in â€˜fairnessâ€™ that every story should have competing voices, the real question remaining to be asked is about the source of this alleged opposition. Is there even a serious challenge to the Missalâ€™s revision in the Churchâ€™s own ranks, or does the bulk of the criticism originate elsewhere?
Perhaps the most significant and coherent internal opposition came in the form of â€œWhat If We Just Said Wait?â€, an online petition urging bishops to delay (not abandon) the introduction of the revised text. And, truth be told, this campaignÂ Â really wasnâ€™t all that significant: as of today, it has approximately 22,000 signatures, mostly laypeople (despite the New York Timesâ€™ number-immune assertion that â€œmanyâ€ priests have signed it). And, in a country where an estimated 77 million citizens are baptized Catholics, 22,000 is a rather miniscule number.
For the most part, it looks as if even the Churchâ€™s most articulate internal critics have no desire to wage a protracted battle over the changes. Implementation seems to have mostly gone smoothly on the clergyâ€™s side, and lingering resistance seems to beÂ settling into â€œloyal oppositionâ€â€”hardly ideal, but hardly a catastrophe or a civil war in the making. To take just one telling article from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a prominent member of the local clergy, Fr. Michael Ryan, who is described as a â€œformer criticâ€ of the changes, is nowÂ publicly vowingÂ to â€œmake [them] workâ€ as best he can. Though the newspaper seeks out a dissenting voice, it can only find it in â€œformer priestâ€ John Pinette, who lobs laughable hyperbole at the Church (the new translation, he blusters, constitutes â€œVatican vandalismâ€ by a sort of ecclesial â€œTea Partyâ€ uncomfortable with â€œmodernity and pluralismâ€). [more]