Adoremus, Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
Online Edition - Vol. VII, No. 6: September 2001
New Direction for Chicago liturgical publishing firm
Paulist Press marketing director to replace Gabe Huck at LTP
The Archdiocese of Chicago announced August 12 that it has named a replacement for Gabe Huck as director of Liturgy Training Publications. Huck, director of LTP since 1977, was relieved from his post in mid-July and replaced by John A. Thomas, former director of marketing and sales at Paulist Press. (See www.archdiocese-chgo.org).
Cardinal Francis George , in announcing the appointment, said, "This is a new moment in liturgical catechesis, one that requires new policy and new direction.... I believe that John Thomas is best equipped to lead LTP in that new direction".
Liturgy Training Publications is owned by the Archdiocese of Chicago and has annual sales of $7 million. It is one of the largest and most influential publishers of liturgical materials, including lector's workbooks, worship aids, the "Meeting House" series on church architecture, official liturgical books and other books and videos related to the Liturgy. LTP published Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony 's 1997 pastoral letter on the Liturgy, "Gather Faithfully Together" ( Guide for Sunday Mass) , and accompanying videos. Huck also appeared at the launch of the pastoral.
Interviewed by Robert McClory in National Catholic Reporter (August 10), Huck said that he had a troubled relationship with Cardinal George, "clashing" with him over issues such as inclusive language.
Huck was LTP's editor of the ICEL Psalter project, a version of the Psalms and Canticles produced by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy , published by LTP in 1995.
In a 1996 letter to the president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Holy See ordered the withdrawal of the Psalter's imprimatur. This was done in 1998, but use of the defective works continued. Early last year the Vatican ordered that the Psalter and related books be removed from distribution. Among the problems cited was ICEL's use of neutered ("inclusive") English.
Cardinal George, since 1997 the US bishops' representative to ICEL, favors fidelity to the original in Scripture and liturgical translations.
In a commencement address at Thomas Aquinas College in California this year, the cardinal called for liturgical translations that would conform "our attitudes toward life" to the will of Christ:
"The first translations of the Roman Missal in the late 1960s ... were done far too quickly, probably with good intent", Cardinal George said. "But they have been heavily criticized, even by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy itself.... They did not adequately capture the Latin original".
According to the NCR interview, Huck also differed with Cardinal George about the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, which LTP used for Scripture citations in its many liturgical resources. The Holy See also expressly rejected the NRSV for use in the Liturgy.
Huck told the NCR that he objects to "Roman authorities only too eager to hear the complaints of reactionaries in this country and to translate those complaints into new legislation or into heavy-handed changes".
Last fall, Huck, in accepting the Frederick R. McManus Award at a meeting of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions , suggested that the Holy See's interventions in the Liturgy are traceable to "the successors of those fearful curial folk who never wanted a council in the first place".
"The Catholic genius for sacramentality and metaphor is being replaced by the Catholic weakness for power and for the literal", he said.
Erie Bishop Donald Trautman , chairman of the USCCB's Doctrine Committee and former chairman and current member of the Liturgy Committee, told the NCR that Huck is an "extremely competent liturgist who has done so much for the American liturgical renewal", and expressed sadness over Cardinal George's decision to fire Huck.
Huck has not announced his future plans.
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