Caterham, Whyteleafe & Godstone

Liturgical Changes

I can remember when the current translation was introduced: I was a teenager  and a young member of the Church in 1969, and the changes seemed very exciting. But some people who had grown up with the ‘Tridentine’ Latin Mass were quite upset, disturbed or at least confused about the changes. A petition of musicians was presented to the hierarchy by Sir Yehudi Menuhin calling for the Latin settings of the Mass to be saved from the bonfire of the older rite. A priest in Norfolk was sacked by his bishop for continuing the old liturgy in his parish. A small number of priests and lay people followed Archbishop Lefebvre into schism, mainly because of the changes in the liturgy. A larger number of people stayed in the Church, but silently resented the way the changes were brought in, almost overnight it seemed, without (as they saw it) any reason, any consultation, or any preparation.

Some people automatically resist change because their idea of the Church is a ‘solid rock’ that never changes, and any sort of change is associated for them with decay, as in the old hymn: ‘Change and decay in all around I see: O Thou who changest not, abide with me!’

Other people see change as a sign of life, growth and development, as in an acorn changing into an oak tree. Newman said that in eternity it is otherwise, but here in this world ‘to grow is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often’. Some people may be distressed when the present translation is superseded, and they may think like Mary Magdalene in the Easter Gospel: ‘they have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid him’. But let us remember the Day of Resurrection and take heart and hope, because ‘types and shadows have their ending, now the newer rite is here’.


Sunday Mass times

9 am, 10.45 am and 5.15 pm