As our thoughts turn to the renewal of the translation of the scripture in the liturgy, it seems timely to review our progress in recent years and the principles that underpin our work.
In the last 3 years we have seen that the English speaking Bishops, with few exceptions, can be rendered inert by us: the ruse of having a Mass translation signed off under pressure, before making many more changes, and imposing sound bites for its promulgation to the people, worked better than we could imagine. "Its closer to the scripture" was a particular brainwave masking the reality; after all we have to maintain the scripture and Mass text as tools that sustain our position of authority. It is in using that authority that we are the servants of the people.
We have some issues to address with this translation of the scripture. How do we make Jesus the inaugurator of the dominant clerical class? The use of "Chalice" already helps but perhaps at the last supper they omitted to record how the men retired and then came in wearing alb and stole. Last Sunday's gospel is among those that are awkward: it contends that Jesus confronted the clerical class... but they were not our clerical class of Roman Catholics....
We have to continue to distance His actions from the everyday. Of course sacraments are really about authority and structure, not about such dangerous notions that: a) God is in all things, and b) the Spirit is active everywhere needing to be recognised and named and cooperated with.
As we come to the renewal of the scripture in the liturgy, we must be alert and continue to suppress such ideas, so as to support our own roles as the primary locus of the action of the Spirit in the world, with the laity as passive consumers.