Friday, 30 September 2011

Were South African Catholics deliberately setup?

I have often wondered why Catholics in South Africa did not receive adequate catechesis regarding the new English translation of the Roman Missal? No, let me rephrase the question. Why did we receive no catechesis whatsoever, before the new English translation of the Roman Missal was thrust on us in 2008?

I came across an article by Rev. Peter Stravinskas in “America: The National Catholic Weekly” titled “Defending the New Missal”. It is written in response to Fr. Michael Ryan, of the “What if we just said wait?” campaign. Fr. Ryan alleges that there was a “careful program of catechesis in the parishes” in South Africa. Rev. Peter Stravinskas responds, and quite correctly too, that “There was no “program of catechesis” to speak of in South Africa and, in fact, some liturgical observers even argue that the translation was thrust onto the faithful precisely to cause a negative reaction.[1] Could Rev Stravinskas be onto something here? Was there a conspiracy?

I must say I have often wondered why the main source of information in South Africa, on the new translation of the Mass, was the negativity that spewed forth from the pages of The Southern Cross. The Southern Cross, our only South African Catholic newspaper, did absolutely nothing whatsoever to publish anything that would stem the negativity about the new translation.

What is so disappointing is that this was clearly a wonderful opportunity for the Southern Cross to provide its Catholic readers with some sound catechesis on the subject of the new Mass translation. Sadly, the Southern Cross failed miserably in this regard. It chose instead to follow the same behaviour, as one would expect from the secular media, and chased the more news worthy controversy that surrounded the new English translation, thereby pouring fuel onto the fire. There can be no doubt that the Southern Cross failed South African Catholics and the Church as a whole.

I also often wondered at the time, why certain priests and even a bishop elected to support the sentiment of discontentment, that the Southern Cross was so eagerly publishing, by also writing inflammatory articles on the subject in the same newspaper. Why did these priests and bishops not show true leadership and harness this wonderful medium to provide their sheep with sound catechesis on the subject?

Is the Rev Peter Stravinskas right? Was there something sinister in the launch process of the new English translation of the Mass in South Africa? Does this then also explain why it was launched almost three years ahead of the rest of the English speaking Catholic world! Was this done intentionally as a conspiracy to create enough noise that it would cause the Vatican to put the brakes on the rolling out of the new English translation of the Roman Missal?

Rev Stravinskas writes further that: “Having conducted several workshops on the new texts over the past year, I can only attest to very positive reactions, from clergy and laity alike.[2] I have to agree with Rev Stravinskas regarding the positive response to the changes following catechesis. My personal experience has always been that, the moment the reason for the change was explained, people generally accepted the change and even welcomed it. This is why, in a previous post, I highly recommended that readers should get their hands on the book “A Biblical Walk through the Mass” by Edward Sri. You can order it online from Kalahari right here »
A Biblical Walk through the Mass
I don’t suppose we will ever know the answers to these questions. I do however know this. We have to study our Faith continuously. We cannot simply rely on receiving this information. Of course, we must always carefully check our sources of information when the subject matter is about Faith and Morals. Look for the Imprimatur to validate the quality of the information that you get before making use of the material. (You can learn more about the Imprimatur, your guarantee of true teaching, here»)

Finally, never forget, if you ever have any doubt, always follow the successor of Peter. 


  1. Only reading this stuff from you now but you're doing good work Mark, thank you. I suspect you are right in your suspicions. Also the faithful are continually thrown to the wolves by certain priests and indifferent Bishops. God bless you

  2. Thanks Vicus, appreciate the words of encouragement.