I have a little more to say about the Fr Butler, Boss of Liturgy in the Diocese of Brentwood, who regaled his brother priests, and the readers of the Tablet, with his views about the current translation of the Roman Missal into English and about its "illegal" imposition by the wicked Vatican and the pretty wicked English hierarchy.
We all, I hope, realise that there is something thoroughly nasty going on here. Do you remember how, a few years ago, there was a group of clergy in American, opposed to the new translation, who started a movement called "What if we just said wait?" In the 'Vernacular', upon which Butler regards himself as such an expert, this was clearly to be translated as "What if we just said wait until Ratzinger is dead?" And Ratzinger, in the view of these unpleasant individuals, is now dead. So this is their moment to try to bend the ear of a new regime in Rome and to try to reverse the losses which they have suffered in the last decade. It may be something of an up-hill struggle for them; the English-speaking hierarchies, having had 'Liturgy' on their agendas for decades, may not be uniformly keen to go back to square one ... the blue books, the green books, the latest schedule of proposed changes ... and all the rest. And Parish Treasurers are not likely to be in the forefront of a movement for binning all those expensive and still-shiny Altar Missals and Mass Cards and buying new ones. (It is rather sinister that those recently calling for change included a ... liturgical publisher! Turkeys may not vote for Christmas, but turkey-sellers very certainly do.) But ... if they could get a roll going ... if they can persuade disaffected 1970s-trained clergy to open their aged mouths ... if they could somehow manipulate the media so as to present a view that their aims are "what there is a widespread call for" ... and that this is all bound up with burying Ratzinger and moving on to the broad sun-lit uplands of the Francis pontificate ... nuff said, my dear brethren; you see the dangers. Perhaps this is why Butler so boldly put his head above the parapet: he detected the strategic moment. Clearly the Tablet will not be, is not, in the rear-guard of this movement.
It is worth reminding ourselves why this battle is so very important. For four decades after the Council, Catholics were made to worship by a rite which had been changed and in which some important elements of Catholic truth (sin, grace ...) had been weakened. That, however, is by no means the worst news. In that post-Conciliar Latin Missal, a lot of material did still survive from the older rite, and very many of its 'new' materials were drawn from the ancient Roman (and some other) Sacramentaries. The real, major, disaster is that in the 1970s an English translation was imposed which obscured the lines, theology, ethos, of the Paul VI Missal in much the same way as a fair bit of our Oxfordshire countryside is now obscured by flood-water ... you really can't see much more than a few trees marking where some of the field-boundaries are. Think of the new 2011 translation as a Major Drainage Project; it has as its purpose to reveal the landscape once more; to open up for English worshippers the fields and roads and paths, the culture, the world-view, the imagery, the biblical theology of the Missal which emerged in the aftermath of the Council, and which was in greater continuity with the older rite than some people (on both sides) realise.
The Father of Lies, of course, is an adept at putting things exactly the wrong way round. He and his followers claim that the older 1970s English translation somehow is 'the Council'. But that translation deliberately buried, concealed, the Council's teaching beneath bland, cliche-ridden mistranslations ... dirty flood-water. Perhaps you will forgive me for reminding you of the oft-quoted maxim of Hitler (or was it Goebbels?) that, if you make a lie big enough, people will believe it. You wouldn't credit it, would you, if you hadn't seen it happen: an entire generation was persuaded by deceitful men that the translation which prevented them from being fed with the post-Conciliar liturgy ... was what the Council wanted!
Next time, I hope to conclude by arguing that this is the time to close ranks, whether one is a 'tridentinist' or a 'Reform of the Reform' enthusiast, in order to combat the Enemy of all that is good and holy and wholesome. Because he's up and active again.