The Adventist Review shares the following world news from Religion News Service as a service to readers. Opinions expressed in these reports do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Review or the Seventh-day Adventist Church. -- Editors
U.S. Bishop Mounts a Rare Public Campaign
Against the Vatican
n a rare show of defiance, a Roman Catholic bishop is using increasingly fiery language to spark a grassroots revolt against a new Vatican-ordered translation of the Mass.
Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, has used several critical essays and speeches to denounce the proposed translations, which he frankly calls "not acceptable."
Before the new Mass is rolled out in U.S. parishes--still several years away, officials say--Trautman is urging U.S. Catholics to lobby their local churches, bishops, and even the Vatican to get the translations changed.
"Church of God, judge for yourselves. Speak Up! Speak Up!" Trautman exhorts in the May 21 edition of America, a Jesuit weekly magazine.
"People's voices need to be raised to help influence the final outcome," Trautman said in an interview. "I'm hoping to influence the translators and make the text proclaimable and intelligible to the people in the pews."
At issue are the familiar words and phrases used in Catholic churches across the country. In 2001, Pope John Paul II said the English-language Mass must be brought more in line with the original Latin. Ever since, an international, Vatican-appointed team of translators has been hammering out a new translation.
Last June, U.S. bishops approved the first phase of that team's work--a newly translated Order of Mass, which contains the main parts of the Mass used in day-to-day Catholic worship.
While the bishops approved the new translation, some grumbled about what they called its clunky and archaic language. According to a 2005 poll of bishops, 47 percent rated it "fair or poor." The bishops made more than 60 amendments before sending it off to the Vatican for approval.
Monsignor Anthony Sherman, associate director of the bishops' liturgy office, said the new Mass may not reach U.S. churches until 2009, when the entire Roman Missal is translated and approved. There are five or six more sections of the Missal--the written text that guides the Mass--still to be approved by the U.S. bishops, Sherman said. Meanwhile, as phases of the new translations reach U.S. shores, Trautman is wasting no time in criticizing them. For example, some of the proposed new prayers are "a jumble of subordinate clauses and commas," he said.
The Rev. Tom Reese, America's former editor, said Trautman has spent years warning Catholics of the coming changes and criticizing the Vatican for micromanaging the process. But while his earlier speeches and articles were aimed at the hierarchy, Trautman has recently been targeting people in the pews.
"That's an escalation," Reese said. "That's unusual."
Trautman said translating the prayers can't just be a matter of fidelity to a centuries-old Latin text. Rather, the bishop argues, lay participation in the liturgy is essential to reclaiming "submarine Catholics" -- those who only surface at Christmas and Easter.
In a January speech to the Catholic Academy of Liturgy, Trautman called the new translations confusing and predicted they will "contribute to a greater number of departures from the Catholic Church," according to the Rev. Keith F. Pecklers, the academy's executive director.
Church of England to Review Sexual Abuse Policies
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams says the Church of England is launching a review into child abuse in the wake of sex scandal convictions involving a cleric, a former choirmaster and a church warden dating back decades.
All three have been jailed, and Williams told BBC radio in an interview on May 25 that "I acknowledge that errors were made in the period that is being discussed."
The church, he conceded, had "let people down in various ways."
Williams conceded that until 1995, the church's "practice (involving child abuse accusations) was very variable, very uneven and often not very competent or well-informed about the law or best practice"
Williams insisted that the Church of England now has a "very clear policy" when it comes to handling child abuse cases, but he stressed that "we have got to make it work--we have got to get this into the bloodstream."
"We don't just want to look good," he said. "We want to do it properly." And if it is deemed that an independent inquiry is necessary, he pledged, the church will seek "adequate, professional independent advice."
In the latest abuse case cited by Williams, the Rev. David Smith of Clevedon, in southwest England, was jailed after he was convicted of the sexual abuse of six boys over a 30-year period. The other two cases saw Peter Halliday, a 61-year-old former choirmaster from Farnborough, England, sentenced to two and a half years in prison for sexually abusing boys in the late 1980s, and Derrick Norris, a church warden in Northampton, England, jailed for eight and a half years for abusing a young girl and sexually abusing a teen-age boy.
Radio Station Refuses Ads About Female Pastor
Mars Hill, a Christian radio network based in Syracuse, New York, won't accept paid advertising for an upcoming Christian crusade in Syracuse because a female pastor is participating.
"We can't comfortably promote women in the role of pastor," said Wayne Taylor, the general manager.
Mars Hill's nine-member, all-male board of directors voted unanimously on May 22 to accept an interpretation of Scripture that prohibits women from serving as church elders or pastors. That means the Syracuse-based network of four stations will not advertise or promote the two-day City Wide Crusade, which features a June 8 appearance by televangelist Pastor Paula White.
"It's a doctrinal issue," Taylor said. "It's not about women preaching. It has to do with a woman taking on a pastor's role."
Some Christians say literal interpretations of the Bible describe specific roles for men and women. "We know it's not going to be popular," Taylor said of the board's decision. "The word of God is what we're taught."
Bishop Robert Jones, founder of Syracuse's Apostolic Church of Christ, the church whose 1970s neighborhood revival developed into the City Wide Crusade, disagrees with Taylor's interpretation.
"I have no problem with women pastors," Jones said.
White and her husband, Randy White, are co-pastors of Without Walls Church in Tampa, Fla. Neither White nor her publicist was available for comment Tuesday.