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 September 17, 2007   •   VOL. 45, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
Letters from Readers

A time for justice

Justice requires action, not lofty speeches or promulgations. Action is happening between Sept. 6 and Oct. 15 and you can be a part of the movement to cancel the debts of the poorest countries in the world. Join the Cancel Debt Fast.

How? By becoming a partner with Jubilee USA Network and the Rev. David Duncombe, an activist for Bread for the World. Beginning Sept. 6 and continuing through Oct. 15, he and others are fasting and walking the halls of Congress to press for passage of legislation that will end global poverty.

The bi-partisan Jubilee Act of 2007 can do this if the legislation is passed, and it can pass with your help. Register with Jubilee USA Network (www.canceldebtfast.org) and indicate what date or dates you will fast. Fasting can include things other than food. When possible, send money to promote the legislation. The address is Jubilee USA Network, 222 E. Capitol St., N.E., Washington, D.C. 20003.

Be an activist, get involved, don’t just talk about poverty, take action that can change it.

Edna Pucci

Uphold conciliar decisions

I found the three letters in the Sept. 3 Voice in support of Latin Masses and the Tridentine liturgy to be interesting albeit naive nostalgia.

While the primary consideration of the recent Motu Proprio may allege to be pastoral, it effectively resuscitates an understanding of Church that the Vatican II conciliar bishops were overwhelmingly convinced had outlived its usefulness.

Thirty years ago and more, one could hear criticism that the Church had moved “too fast” in changing the liturgy. Although I cannot say for sure, I suspect this complaint was raised by those Catholics opposed to any change. Lately, we’ve been hearing that the old liturgy might inspire needed improvements in the new one.

There are basically two views of change management: implement change through a gradual step-by-step process to promote “buy in,” or implement change quickly to eliminate/minimize the possibility of resistance.

The world’s bishops 40 years ago were looking at the “big picture” and were persuaded by experts in theology, biblical studies and other fields of the need for change. Vatican II, in this regard, has been referred to as a “pastoral council.”

If there’s been any failure over the years, I think it’s been more a matter of the laity and bishops at large failing to hold the Vatican accountable for continuing post-conciliar renewal than of the so-called “failure of catechesis.”

I see the latter criticism as largely a straw man. Why? Because there are folks adamantly opposed to change, especially change in the religious sphere. No amount of catechesis could ever be expected to convince them otherwise.

The conciliar fathers from around the world spoke 40-plus years ago, and now we have one man — a young peritus at the time — who believes he knows better and has used his papal position to undercut the rightful authority of bishops to manage the internal affairs of their respective (arch)dioceses.

Jim McCrea

Another perspective on Latin

A note on the Latin language used in the Western (Roman) Catholic Church since the fourth or fifth century. I’m sure that the writers of the letters to The Voice touting the glory of Latin in the Church universal are aware of the history (in the beginning tumultuous) of Latin that was (is) used in our Church today.

The literary exchange of St. Jerome and St. Augustine would amuse anyone looking for the fine art of a put-down. Jerome had been commissioned by the Pope to translate the Bible (most of which was originally Hebrew) from Greek into Vulgar Latin, the common speech of the people as distinguished from standard literary Latin.

When Augustine pointed out what he felt was a faulty translation by Jerome, the great biblical scholar replied, “I have never found anything to criticize in your works! I have never gone to the trouble of reading them.”

The whole point of this is to show that with Latin in liturgy we are already dealing with multi-layered translations. Why should one more make such a difference?

Peace, Latin lovers!

Sister Ann Ronin, OP

The opinions expressed in letters to Reader's Forum are the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Voice or the Oakland Diocese.

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