Crispian Holllis - Forgotten, but not gone
It was once said to me that we nearly "lost the whole of the South Coast" under the disastrous bishoprics of Hollis, Budd and Murphy-O'Connor/Conry. So much so that drastic measures have been needed to revive all three diocese, and Bishop Mark O'Toole has said "the West Country is ‘mission territory’ akin to Pakistan or Burma".
Bishop Emeritus Hollis has spoken out against the 2011 English Translation of the Roman Missal in a letter to the mouthpiece of all heresy; the Tablet.
The publication carried a letter from Bishop Hollis, who was bishop of Portsmouth from 1989 to 2012 when the excellent, orthodox and erudite Bishop Egan took over.
I am grateful for the correspondence about the current translation of our liturgical texts and for Eamon Duffy’s cogent article, “Broken English” (2 December). It has given me an opportunity to look back and to regret deeply that I did not take the discussions in the Bishops’ Conference about the translations more seriously.
There were notable exceptions to the consensus among the bishops about the new translations but I think Eamon Duffy is right when he writes that most of us were content “to let sleeping dogs lie.” With the benefit of hindsight, I confess that I was wrong and am therefore partly responsible for the appalling texts with which we have now been saddled. I am sorry!
I am regularly engaged in supplying Masses in our local Clifton parishes and I now constantly have to adapt or change the texts with which we are presented because, as they stand, they are so often unintelligible or so clumsy as to be virtually unusable.
If, as I understand it, Magnum Principium gives the Bishops’ Conference the opportunity to think again, and revisit the 1998 Missal, then such a move would have my full support and encouragement. The matter is urgent; things will not get better and we need to think again.
But then, I am only a retired bishop!
Emeritus Bishop of Portsmouth
One David Hayes, commenting on Pray Tell Blog notes:
Bishop Crispian appears to have forgotten the pastoral letter he wrote in May 2011, in which he said: “In the earlier translation not all the meaning of the original Latin text was fully expressed and a number of the terms that were used to convey the teachings of the faith were lost. This was readily acknowledged by the bishops of the Church, even back in the 1970s, and has become an increasing cause of concern since then.”Dom Hugh Somerville-Knapman is similarly unimpressed:
He then went on to state: “So what does this new translation offer us? First of all, there is a fuller expression of the content of the original texts. Then, there is a closer connection with the Sacred Scriptures which inspire so much of our liturgy. Also, there is a recovery of a vocabulary that enriches our understanding of the mystery we celebrate. All of this requires a unique style of language and expression, one that takes us out of ourselves and draws us into the sacred, the transcendent and the divine.”
He concluded his pastoral letter with the words: “Let us welcome the new translation of the Roman Missal as a sign of our unity and a powerful instrument of God’s grace in our lives.”
Thank you Bishop Crispian, for the inspiring words you wrote in 2011. I agree with everything you said and quote them here so that others, any maybe even yourself, will be inspired by them afresh.