Apparently the Catholic Church takes the Biblical admonition not to change a word of Holy Writ, when applied to its own Missal. The Rev. Bill Rowe, of St. Mary Church in Mt Carmel, Illinois, after 47 years as a priest, resigned under pressure from a bishop after being told that after 20 years of ad-libbing parts of the Mass, that he couldn't stray one word from the Missal. Local news BND.com reports:
Frank Flinn, an adjunct professor of religious studies at Washington University, said it is the first removal of a priest that he knows about in connection with a failure to follow the new version of the Roman Missal.
"I predicted that it would drive priests out and I was laughed at, at the time," said Flinn, "but here it is, the truth."
Monsignor Rick Hilgartner, director of the Department of Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., said the changes were made to make the church stronger by making the Missal adhere as closely as possible to the early Latin among the many languages of Catholics around the world.
"The architectural style of a church and the music vary from culture to culture and from place to place. The language of expressing what's expressed in the Mass, our prayer and our worship, varies from place to place in the way the language is translated," he said, "but the essential truths are the same because we all start with the same text."
Rowe said that during the most recent Sunday Mass at St. Mary's, "That as best as I can remember," he said near the opening of the Mass, "We thank you God, for giving us Jesus who helped us to be healed in mind and heart and proclaim his love to others."
Rome's new Missal required him to instead say, "Lord our God that we may honor you with all our mind and love everyone in truth of heart."
Rowe said he routinely made small changes to make what he was saying "more understandable and more meaningful to parishioners."
Flinn went on to say that the church was nit-picking, to avoid real issues like sexual abuse by priests.