Saturday, 28 August 2010

The sting in the tail

I can already feel the mounting wave of outrage at Philip Endean's article 'Worship and Power' in the new edition of The Tablet. Damian Thompson has already called for Catherine Pepinster to resign as editor. I dare say other blogs will pipe the same tune over the next few days.

On reading Endean's article my own impression was somewhat different. Endean's attempt to compare the imposition of the new translation to the abuse of clerical authority during the sex abuse scandals conjures up for me the image of some defeated hussar being overrun by the enemy and finally removing his boots and helmet so they too can be hurled at the advancing foe. I nearly fell of my chair and could have woken the whole house laughing at Endean's complaint that change had to be handled with sensitivity. That's what we call Gander Sauce. Still, if Endean's enmity is clear - and I acknowledge he is trying mightily hard to be civil to his adversaries his weapon might as well be a clay blunderbuss.

It is hard to extract from Endean's article the evidence that proves the main plank of his argument that there has been an abuse of power in the development of the new translation. The one bit of hard stuff - that he, as a consultor of the new translation process, was told to maintain secrecy about the draft translation of the Ordinary which he had seen - is, in the event, rather flimsy. Confidentiality is a fairly standard procedure in all sorts of professional contexts. Dressing it up as proof of an abusive power culture is just plain silly.

As far as I can make out, Endean seems to be saying that because there can be arguments against Liturgiam authenticam, then its implementation is a serious problem. But that too is flannel. One can think of a hundred objections to every piece of legislation. Hinting that the consultation has not been wide enough but then admitting that Archbishop Coleridge has acclaimed the consultative nature of the new translation's development seems rather like sawing off the branch on which one is sitting. Happy landings.

The real point of this article, however, comes towards the end in a two-step shimmy.

But I'll save that for tomorrow.


Of your charity please pray for Brother Stephen Morrison of the Norbertine Priory in Chelmsford who makes his first vows today, the feast of Saint Augustine.

1 comment:

Sue Sims said...

Tomorrow, eh?

Come on - the nation is hanging on your lips. Well, keyboard.