Couldn't all readers — even just for Lent — give up quibbling about niceties of language and translation and get on with attending to the church's Liturgy (i.e. action) as it is? For instance, surely
everybody with a mode of intelligence understands the different emphasis with which a
convert or catechumen (or sponsor for such) says: "I believe" and the assembled (presumably) believing community affirms, in witness and mutual encouragement, "We" believe?
I should like to record my deep gratitude to Fr Clifford Howell, SJ, with whom I was in touch long ago, before and &w in -spell-on-the-eemenitteo of the Vernacular Society.• He was indeed a pioneer in the restoration of the Liturgy to the people. It must be 30 years ago that he took up a letter of mine in the Catholic Herald. I — and many more — were involved in our ordinary working lives with
lapsed and lapsing Catholics. I used to hear about — and witness — the bitter boredom and non-comprehension among many "worshippers".
Some of the lapsed, insufficiently instructed even about the action of the Mass, got plain tired of being present in church where they couldn't even hear the rapid unknown words of a fossilised, hurried "liturgy".
It is completely "wishful" memory that imagines everyone followed in their missals. Many who had no missals wouldn't even have known where to look. I attended Mass often where even the Epistle and Gospel were not read in English.
I had an office junior (formerly at a Catholic school) who didn't seem to know what Ascension Day was about except that "we went to Mass for it."
I worked in the (printed) media: people communicated with us. Even office talk was often about life — death Church and so on. We certainly heard people's comments.
1 loved Latin and Gregorian Chant, but then I had learned them at my (Anglican) school.
It troubled me deeply to notice the bored and dropping off of the un-educated young people baptised into the True Church.
Fr Howell gave me encouragement and a sense of hope that reform was coming. He must have done this for many people here and overseas — in his writing, preaching and talks on what our worship should mean.
Let's thank God that at Vatican 11 the Holy Spirit brought the needs of the people of God into the light. Now nobody can attend Mass without at least hearing something of what their Faith is about.
This speedily led to some effort at vocal participation. And shared worship often leads to shared life, as it should.
Erudite grumblers must be depressing and disheartening to
the faithful priests who are frying to interpret the Gospel and the Church's mind to their congregations here and now. Nobody ever had more than the present moment in which to live and worship.
Easter is coming. We probably all have much to do to be even feebly prepared for it.
Some people say: "There are no cheap books." We spend money on other things even in these times. If it helps (and I think it does) let's buy all the books we can and not worry which translation we find.
What if there is no repository at the church now, or no' holy" bookshops down the road. We send away for spare parts don't
--we? We-read advertisements for mail order and other goo& don't we?
Missals, Bibles, prayerbooks, meditation books — yes and rosaries (with books to help in their faithful use) — are now to be had. People who are making garden fertilisers and washing machines don't expect to get them cheap — up the road.
Isn't a new Missal, Bible, and (if need be) guide-to-the-use-of as important to a practising Christian?
Such hooks are a help to rereading and reflection at home, even while we continue to accept the much-criticised Missalettes.
Some of us have not forgotten the empty faces — let alone empty hands — that were to be seen in those "good old days." Some very loved things are happening in the church HO w.
Constance Holt 465 RussellCourt,
I fear that Fr Clifford Howell's background (February 21) to the "we" tradition in the Creed is not quite as sound as it may appear.
Perhaps the earliest form of the Creed (Baptisms and Councils apart) is to be found in the Der-Balizeh Papyrus, containing a form ("I believe") which can probably be traced back to the end of the second century.
In the first place the Creed as used at Baptism was inevitably in the interrogative form: "Do you believe in God the Father Almighty?" (Canons of Hippolytus c 500). The answer to this question invoked the response from the individual candidate "I believe." There is nothing peculiar to Baptism about this form, it is simply a personal affirmation of faith (viz "The Tridentine Creed," 1564).
As for the "we" form being used exclusively by Councils, St lrenaeus was using this form long before the first Ecumenical Council ever met. It would seem tendentious therefore to try to over categorise the origins of the "I" or "we" form of the Creeds; suffice to say that the Council Fathers and certain aspiring liturgists prefer the "royal plural."
(Fr) Mark T. Elvins Cathedral House, Arundel, Sussex.