Friday, January 22, 2010

Deafness in the Catholic Church

At his blog, Father Z posted this question he received and asked for answers since he didn't have one himself:

I have often wondered if there was any specially approved liturgy for profoundly/ severely deaf people prior to the liturgical reforms of the ‘60s? Surely, there must have been some adaptations of the Tridentine Mass to accomadate their needs? For instance, a Tridentine facing the people, or even it being said in sign langauge or something?

In the comments, there are no specific answers and the general consensus is that there were no provisions for the extraordinary form of the Mass prior to the introduction of the new Mass. The comments though focus more on the larger question of how best to accommodate the deaf in Mass. My comments throughout are from the perspective of an adult who has lost his hearing after already being fluent in English. The commenter Ana argues from the point of view of a congenitally deaf person (she is hearing, but her brother is deaf and she is a sign language interpreter).

I could summarize it all, but it would be time consuming. Just go check out the thread.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A World Apart

Last night I watched A World Apart with Barbara Hershey and Jodhi May. It takes place in South Africa during Apartheid. It came out in 1988 and was written for the screen by the real life daughter of the Barbara Hershey character who was played by May in the movie.

I enjoyed the movie, but I have mixed emotions regarding the Barbara Hershey character and the husband/father in the movie. They were both idealists fighting for the cause and were selfless in their efforts and the sacrifices they made and yet their selflessness was negated by their selfishness in having three daughters who suffered.

Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? Bentham would say so. On the other hand, I am reminded of this: "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire."