URING HIS LONG career, Bishop Donald Trautman published a whole host of liturgical articles, and most are available online. As Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Liturgy, he was a major proponent of the following:
“inclusivity” & “pastoral considerations”
“cultural sensitivity” & “inculturation” *
avoidance of “rubrical rigidity”
For the average Catholic in the pews, what have the results been? To mention just one, 99% of today’s Catholic parishes can lawfully use horrible song texts set to secular tunes instead of the ancient Propers assigned by the Church. Sometimes, the hymns are heretical, but not all are. Usually, they’re just colloquial, lamentably uninspired rubbish, like these typical examples from modern hymnals like GIA’s Worship IV.
ON THE OTHER HAND, BISHOP TRAUTMAN had absolutely no tolerance for the Extraordinary Form or the Ordinary Form said in Latin, no matter how ardently certain members of the faithful desired it. He even issued a special set of incredibly rigid rules in an attempt to prevent his priests from celebrating the Extraordinary Form. I’m probably the last person in the world Bishop Trautman would have consulted, but if asked, here’s what I would have said:
Bishop Trautman, your efforts should not be spent persecuting priests and faithful Catholics who ardently desire a more reverent form the Mass, allowed by the Church. These are venerable rites. With regard to the Extraordinary Form, it nourished so many saints over the centuries. With regard to the Ordinary Form in Latin, the Second Vatican Council specifically ordered that Latin be preserved. You’ve said we must be “pastorally sensitive to the liturgical assembly.” You’ve condemned “rigid uniformity in matters that do not involve the faith.” Shouldn’t your rules be applied equally to all Catholics?
BISHOP TRAUTMAN HAS MADE STATEMENTS which conflict with official statements by the Second Vatican Council:
Why were such bizarre statements made? Some have suggested that “his generation” could get away with it, since average Catholics had no access to the conciliar documents — after all, the internet only became popular in the 1990s. I suppose that’s possible. Another possibility would be that he never studied the documents of Vatican II. After all, his writings are full of errors. For example, Bishop Trautman implied the first Mass was in the vernacular — it wasn’t! — and seems unaware of the “Pauline” origin of et cum spiritu tuo.
Here’s the bottom line: we shouldn’t assume that, because a person is elected to chair the USCCB Committee on Liturgy, he automatically knows everything. For instance, consider these recent words by the former Executive Director of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship, who served just two decades after the liturgical reforms. The reason he can’t find that musical setting is rather simple … the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar were never sung!
* Unfortunately, when Bishop Trautman cites “inculturation,” he ignores the specific requirements given in Sacrosanctum Concilium, interpreting it in warped, one-sided way.