Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

not morons

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 20, 2007

George Weigel gives us his take on "John & Mary Catholic" and argues they're not as dense as Bishop Trautman would have us believe.

Bishop Trautman worries that the new translations are just, well, too darn much for "John and Mary Catholic," whose participation in Sunday Mass will, he suggests, be impaired by a translation of the Creed that describes the Son as "consubstantial with the Father" and "incarnate of the Virgin Mary." But that's hardly the end of it. Will "John and Mary Catholic," Bishop Trautman asks, "understand these words from the various new Collects: 'sullied,' 'unfeigned,' 'ineffable,' 'gibbet,' 'wrought,' 'thwart'?" What will "John and Mary Catholic" make of the Collect for June 27, which hails St. Cyril of Alexandria as "an unvanquished champion of the divine motherhood"? Can they grasp the depiction of St. John of God on March 8 as "suffused...with the spirit of mercy"?

My hunch is that they'll do just fine. "John and Mary Catholic," in these United States, are among the best-educated Catholics in history. In my rather typical parish, "John and Mary" can understand legal contracts, Russian novels, architectural plans, IRS forms, the Atlantic Monthly, columns by George F. Will, the calculations necessary to compute an Earned Run Average, their children's math homework, the Federal Register, New England Journal of Medicine articles on osteoporosis therapies, the fine print of their pension plans, and Sports Illustrated stories on the Cover-2 Defense; they're not going to come unglued over "unfeigned" or "consubstantial" or "thwart." In a word, they're not morons.

True. But the contrary claim is very useful indeed to the Liturgical Apparat, which exists to convince us that the liturgy it wants to give us is the Mass we really want to have, though we don't know it yet.

In this respect, we've been slow, really slow, learners.

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