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Eight in ten priests want to scrap the changes made to Eucharistic prayers

The Association of Catholic Priests said that Pope Francis may be open to updating the New Missal, but noted that a u-turn would be “embarrassing” for his predecessor Pope Benedict.

THE MAJORITY OF Irish priests are not happy with the New Missal introduced in November 2011.

The document changed the wording of Eucharistic prayers and responses said at masses.

In a telephone survey conducted by the Association of Catholic Priests between 31 March and 11 April this year, the views of 191 priests were gathered.

Six in ten, or 116 of those surveyed, were either dissatisfied (33.5%) or very dissatisfied (27.2%) with the new book.

80% of those surveyed (152 priests) favoured replacing the New Missal – 35% immediately and 45% “as soon as a revised Missal becomes available”.

A post on the ACP’s website described the results as “very interesting and disturbing”. It criticised that fact that the changes were “imposed so arbitrarily”.

One in four priests were either very satisfied (4.7%) or satisfied (19.9%) with the New Missal. 34 of those surveyed (18%) wanted to continue using the new book.

Some 27 respondents (14%) were neither satisfied or satisfied, and one person did not give a response.

Some 147 respondents said they used texts from the New Missal exclusively, 32 used a combination of texts from the New Missal and the 1973 Missal, while ten priests used text solely from the latter.

‘Priestly obedience’

The article on the ACP’s website stated: “A tradition of priestly obedience and loyalty to Rome has created an obligation to follow the new rules.”

It is quite striking that three out of every four Irish priests feel themselves obliged to obey Rome and use the new translation even though more than 60% of the priests surveyed are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with this translation. This indicates that a very large percentage of Irish priests find their consciences pulling them in two opposite directions.

The post notes that some Irish bishops are likely facing “the same dilemma”.

It says that the way forward would be abandoning “the new translation in whole or in part and to go forward or go back to a different translation”.

‘Embarrassing’

However, it warns that “bishops and priests may, with good reason, feel that another major change at present would be very costly and would give rise to even further outrage”.

The article suggests that Irish bishops could consult with their international counterparts in English-speaking countries and approach Rome with their suggestions.

Such a request would surely find a more favourable response from Rome under Pope Francis than happened in the years before Francis became pope. Of course it would be embarrassing for the Pope to call for a complete rejection of the new translation while Benedict is still around.

Read: Priests warn that Church will ‘implode’ if it doesn’t start ordaining women

Read: Pope tells priests to be nicer to their congregations

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Órla Ryan

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