This weekend the revised liturgy is being introduced in Roman Catholic parishes across the English-speaking world. It is the first time that the English version of the mass has been revised since it was introduced after Vatican Council II. One of the major changes in Catholic religion made at that council in the 1960s was conducting worship in the language of the lay people. Incidentally, this was a very old issue at the time which got its start during the Protestant Reformation.
Many Catholics in America and Europe believe that this revised English liturgy simply re-introduces ideas and language from the old Latin liturgy; that it is a triumph for conservative Catholics who would like to erase the changes resulting from Vatican II. Bishop Donald Trautman, former chairman of the U.S. bishops' committee on liturgy was quoted in USA Today earlier this week labeling the new liturgy "elitist" and incomprehensible to the average Catholic. He sees its introduction as prelude to a "pastoral disaster."
Much of the change in the liturgy involves the insertion of English translations of the old, Latin mass. There is a line-by-line comparison available on line if you want to see all of the details, most of which is obscure to anyone not trained in theology and church history. It includes more direct statements of a number of ideas that were never officially removed from Catholic theology, but have been largely ignored by pastors and people in recent decades.
This event demonstrates how difficult it is for religious institutions to reform themselves. Tradition has a power all its own. The center of gravity seems to always shift away from the "new thing" that the Holy Spirit may be calling God's people to and back to the old paths. The Catholic Church is not the only religion that suffers from this disability.