Monday, November 01, 2004

Time to disband
Please take this post tongue-in-cheek. Many of you may not know what the "Loose-leaf Lectionary" is. It is published by Liturgical Press and it is a lectionary on loose leaf paper, made to fit in a binder. It is mailed to subscribers in installments of a few months at a time. I don't care for the thing myself, but I have inherited it in my parish and the one convenient aspect I will concede is that each day's readings also has the day's date printed at the top of the page. That feature sure can cut down on confusion by the lectors.

Well, today before morning Mass the lector came up to me and told me we needed the next section of the lectionary -- the last entry in our binder was for yesterday, not today's readings. So, I went to the sacristy and found the next installment, took off the plastic wrap it arrived in and tried to fit it into the binder. It wouldn't fit. It seems that previously Liturgical Press printed the loose-leaf lectionary with 19 binder holes down the side; now they print it with only 5 holes. The bottom line is now it won't fit properly in the binder, which we also purchased from Liturgical Press.

So, after Mass I called Liturgical Press to inquire about this oddity. The kind representative I spoke with was well aware of the issue and even pulled the words out of my mouth as I began to describe the situation. She told me that Liturgical Press has been trying to implement this change in format for seven years at -- GET THIS -- the request of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops! I said, "You mean to tell me the bishops requested that you change from a 19 hole format to a 5 hole format?" "Yes, they sure did," the rep responded. I added, "That seems rather odd." Thus ended our conversation.

Folks, of all the things our bishops must worry about in their own dioceses and across this nation of ours, they requested that the Loose-leaf Lectionary move from 19 hole format to 5 hole format?! I mean is this because these guys are only interested in 19 holes if it is on a golf course?! What nonsense! Let me see... [now, dear readers, please switch to whiny, mocking tone as I mimic an imaginary session of the conference of bishops]

Bishop President: I now acknowledge my venerable brother, Bishop John Doe.

Bishop Doe: Uhm, yes, we have spent much time working on the current translation of the lectionary and we have had a few years of experience of using it in real dioceses and parishes. More and more, we hear how awkward the translation is and how unclear it is when proclaimed publicly.

Bishop President: Yes, Bishop Doe, I think I see where you are going. Are you suggesting that we should have arranged a translation that was actually INTENDED to be publicly proclaimed?

Bishop Doe: Uhm, well, uh, actually no. I am suggesting that we insist that Liturgical Press print the Loose-leaf Lectionary on a 5 hole format instead of the current 19 hole format. Well, you know, in honor of the five wounds of Christ.

Bishop President: Brilliant! I can tell by the response on the general assembly floor that the bishops of this country are in unanimous approval of your suggestion.

[Back to post] If what I was told is actually true, me thinks it is time to disband the conference of bishops so that more important work can be done.

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