Bravo, Father Anthony Ruff, OSB

Finally a national-level liturgist has refused to any longer be a part of the translation fiasco. Father Anthony Ruff, OSB of St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota has long provided on his PrayTell blog a forum for people to discuss the coming translations and had been scheduled to deliver several talks on the new Missal's implementation in preparation for its Advent 2011 debut. He has withdrawn from those engagements in an open letter to the U.S. bishops. (More coverage from America magazine here.)

I am sure this was quite difficult for Ruff, especially since he has now made himself a persona non grata in certain circles. But his analysis of the ecclesiastical situation–"The forthcoming missal is but a part of a larger pattern of top-down impositions by a central authority that does not consider itself accountable to the larger church"–is spot on.

I also applaud Ruff's Benedictine superiors for permitting this public statement. St. John's Abbey is the literal and spiritual center of the liturgical movement in the United States, and it is wonderful to finally have some heft behind the move to resist this imposition on the most important facet of Catholic life: our Sunday celebration of the Eucharist.

It is probably a fool's hope that more will follow Ruff's lead–especially the priest-liturgists who are going around the country on the "new Roman Missal" circuit. Too many are drinking the "it's a good time to catechize about the liturgy" Kool Aid.  

But you simply cannot do good liturgical catechesis with rotten liturgical texts, especially those spoiled at the outset by a betrayal of the conciliar principles–notably collegiality–that inspired the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the first place. It is time for a more direct and assertive resistance before this goes any further. The Association of Irish Priests has made a good first start by proposing a five-year study period; perhaps some U.S. diocesan presbyterates will do the same.

About the author

Bryan Cones

Bryan Cones is a writer living in Chicago.