Soon and Very Soon – UPDATE 4/29

Approval of the new missal is now very close. The Holy Father said this to Vox Clara, the committee advising the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship in its approval of the new translation. Let us all pray fervently for holy Church!

OK, I know, the title of my post could be more elevated. I really thought about “Prope est.”

UPDATE: Thursday, April 29, Catholic News Service says this.


    1. Well, I certainly believe in giving thanks in all things. But right now I really believe in preserving the bonds of union in charity. Without meaning to sound too preachy because I can’t judge your intent, I think it’s not a time for rejoicing that “my side” won, but for striving to keep us all on the same side.

      1. My comment was in genuine thanks, with a sigh of relief underlying it. No triumphalism intended.

  1. I’m taking Pope Benedict’s words as my lead:

    “A new task [now] present[s] itself […] the task of preparing for the reception of the new translation by clergy and lay faithful. Many will find it hard to adjust to unfamiliar texts after nearly forty years of continuous use of the previous translation. The change will need to be introduced with due sensitivity, and the opportunity for catechesis that it presents will need to be firmly grasped. I pray that in this way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted, and the change will serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world.”

    1. Dom Anthony: Mox, vere mox est?

      I was heartened to read the Pontiff’s words addressing the specific pastoral concern. In a communication of this nature they came as something of a surprise. Although it seems full steam ahead, it also seems that the issues that have been raised by “the petition” and other such sources have not been entirely ignored.

      I am still deeply saddened, however, by the loss of common ecumenical texts. . . still, perhaps there will be other opportunities for mutual enrichment. Time will tell.

      1. Petition or no petition, Pope Benedict seems to me to be a pope very much concerned with getting things done (I would even say, “doing the right thing”) but getting them done pastorally. I don’t think pastoral care was ever out of the question with these new Mass texts. (cf. Sac. Conc. 14, 19)

  2. I can remember as a 13 year old the bewilderment of many older people the first Sunday the 1965 missal was implemented, part of the Mass in English, quiet parts of the priest remaining in Latin and the Tridentine Mass somewhat simplified according to Sacrosanctum Concilium’s recommendations. But this was just the beginning of bewilderment for many and great euphoria for others as greater changes came in a piecemeal, drip, drip fashion. Back then of course, people did things out of obedience and eventually accepted the changes though it was difficult for many older people. I think the language change today will be minor compared to what that previous generation experienced in terms of rupture. I know my own parish has been well prepared for this and I look forward to implementing it on the First Sunday of Advent 2011 unless we get permission to do it earlier, which would be great. We’re ready, bring it on!

    1. Allan, you sound hopeful in the midst of what many find frightening, indeed, challenging. Your parish has been well prepared – how did you do this? Would you be willing to share something of the process to assist latecomers realise soem of your hope?

  3. Thank you Father.
    From some of the comments on earlier posts the question was raised as to how this change will be implemented. Some may not use the new texts as they prefer those currently in use. My concern here is that this was probably what led to the formation of the Society of St Pius X.
    The need for proper instruction in the faith may be a challenge but this surely just brings into the open an existing problem, the lack of knowledge and understanding.
    Let us hope that all clergy rise to the challenge to adopt the new text loyally and to try to teach the faith. With luck the mutual enrichment between the EF and OF forms of the Mass will work in both directions. A resistance to the new texts or translations will hinder that and threaten the unity of the Church.

    1. Some may not use the new texts as they prefer those currently in use

      How can you “prefer” something when the alternative is still unknown? So essentially you are claiming that some people prefer the old translation to a translation that they have never used? I mean, yes, I know that the texts have been looked at… but wouldn’t you have to actually use them at Mass for, say…a few years at least before you could really have the basis to state a “preference”? Or isn’t this the definition of “pre-judice”?

      1. Unknown?? There are all kinds of examples of the “new” translation [sic] out there…it’s not pretty. The language is convoluted, ungrammatical, not sacred, just plain bad English!

  4. The imposition of these new texts on the English-speaking churches is an act of abuse. We should not allow appeals to charity and unity to prevent us from naming that abuse for what it is. Such denial of reality brings Catholic ecclesiology into a disrepute which it has richly deserved, and which it desperately needs to unlearn.

    1. Well, that’s an interesting way to dilute the meaning of abuse. Ramping up the rhetorical cudgel doesn’t make the point any more true, nor does repetition, as Monty Python so memorably encapsulated in the encounter of Arthur, King of the Britons, with his less-than-thrilled subjects. It does tend to live down to the caricatures of opposition as hysterical, which is unfortunate.

    2. Of course…why would we ever allow a sense of obedience or even a desire for good taste keep us from pouring out invective at the Holy Father. I had no idea that being Catholic nowadays was so simple…just bash the hierarchy and you’re in…right?

    3. If various Spanish speaking countries have various & sundry translations, why do English speaking countries have to compromise and have a singular (and bad) translation? The “translation” doesn’t allow for the very real differences in Australian, South African, British, Canadian, U.S. uses of the English language…we can’t just all be lumped together…it is clear this is an outside imposition…at least ICEL worked together with all the various English-speaking countries…

      If the new Roman Missal were a novel, extremely few would bother to plow through it after the initial page or two because it is so badly written.

    4. Just in case there is a problem with the definition of “abuse”…

      Abuse is defined as the systematic pattern of behaviors in a relationship that are used to gain and/or maintain power and control over another.

  5. Paulus
    My point was that many saw the imposition of the current texts as an abuse.
    Can you prove that those who advocate the newer translation are wrong both in fact and in intent? You are free to think it a mistake but to call it an abuse seems too strong a term and to preclude discussion. It also suggests a lack of appreciation of the concerns of those who may take a different view.
    Given the use of the term ‘abuse’ for the criminal actions of some suggests that this was not the best term to choose.
    Beside discussion should try to convince rather than hector.

    1. I guess I don’t see how this is an abuse. Rome sets out some new parameters–somewhat arbitrary, but the old ones were arbitrary too; the U.S. bishops pay some translators; the U.S. bishops okay the translation and pass the potato to Rome; some English-speaking folks in Rome, some of whom are at the same time also U.S. bishops, advise the CDWDS to rubber stamp it; CDWDS rubber stamps it. How can this be considered an abusive imposition?

  6. Fair enough: I was writing at the end of a long and tedious day; this dreadful, if unsurprising, news from Rome was just the last straw; maybe my language was a bit intemperate.

    But I would nevertheless hold that the boundary between obedience-for-the-sake-of-Catholic-unity on the one hand, and complicity-through-silence-in-abusiveness on the other, is a difficult one to draw without begging questions. Catholic loyalty and ecclesial obedience involve a willingness in principle to go along with some things we don’t like for the sake of a greater corporate good. But there HAVE to be limits to the extent that such considerations can lead us to tolerate ‘what we don’t like’, or evil, or stupidity. It’s where these limits lie that will always, in the nature of things, be a matter of dispute. I find the destruction of sensible liturgy in English something beyond the limit. And if there is question that such a line has been transgressed, then there is also question that unqualified appeals to ‘loyalty’ represent an abuse of sacred trust. Such loyalty I find myself unable to give; still less can I lead others in giving it.

  7. Thanks Paulus
    I think that this blog is very good as people on both sides of what I fear is a divide do exchange views politely.
    I am still not really sure what the objections are to the new translation. The English may not flow so well but it is a more accurate translation of the Latin. I get the feeling that you and others object to more than the style.
    The challenge is to argue in a constructive way.
    As for the imposition by authority it seems that the current translation was equally imposed.
    Presumably the alternative to imposing a text is to permit variety. This might lead to a free for all. I suspect that we would not like that. Mind you we seem to have some of that as shown by a later posting.
    Feast of St Catherine of Sienna according to my Hospitalité de Notre Dame de Lourdes (125 years old)calendar. Good. Something to inspire us.

  8. “The English may not flow so well but it is a more accurate translation of the Latin. ”

    I am asking this question in all seriousness.
    Can someone explain to me the value of being more accurate to the Latin, to the detriment of English grammar, sentence structure and (in some cases) inteligibility. (other than the Pope said so in Liturgiam Authenticam)
    I would really like to know as I will be responsible (in part) for implementing the new translations in my parish and diocese.

    1. “Can someone explain to me the value of being more accurate to the Latin, to the detriment of English grammar, sentence structure and (in some cases) inteligibility. (other than the Pope said so in Liturgiam Authenticam)”

      Because the purpose of the English translation is to convey the meaning that is there in the Latin. So if it’s more faithful to the Latin (all other things held equal), it conveys that content better.

  9. Well, we’re about to jump the gun. Surrounded, as we are, by parishes which still do not use the existing texts (preferring the strophic excrescences of the 1960s-70s) I took a “sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander” decision.

    Given that the assembly should sing the Eucharistic Acclamations, I saw three possible choices:

    1) Wait for the whistle, introduce Sanctus, Myserium Fidei and Amen on that day, and then sing them every Sunday for weeks on end. I suspect the assembly would soon get bored and, if they are to be introduced on the First Sunday of Advent (this year or next) it would mean singing the same setting for the seasons of Advent and Christmas.

    2) Introduce a new Sanctus on the given date and, for a time alternate it with existing ones until new repertoire builds – I reckon it would take a couple of years for an assembly to be able to sing six or seven settings with confidence.

    3) Similar to above but beginning in advance. (ctd)

    1. So, I’ve taken option three and for the next six or 18 months we’ll be introducing new texts (just for the acclamations). At least, by Advent 2011 we’ll have two or three settings including one which is big enough for All Saints, Christ the King, Christmas and Epiphany.

      Against the rules? Yes – and it’s quite possible our bishop could pop in, see what we’re doing and object. In which case, I’d direct him to St Elswhere, St Nowhere and St Laryngitis – all within walking distance and point out that, while we might be singing these texts ahead of schedule, our neighbours are singing texts which have never been approved and never will be.

      At least, come D-Day, we’ll only have to add a new Gloria. And if you could hear some of the ditties which pass for Glorias in these here parts… Ah, but I’m moving into a rant!

      1. Anyway, “Lord God of hosts” might be a more accurate translation than “Lord God of power and might” but for many of us it means less.

      2. Nick, I certainly don’t condone jumping the gun in this matter, especially not when it’s justified by the disobedience of others…

        As for “Lord God of hosts”, that is a rich Scriptural title for God which would mean more to people if they were better-acquainted with the Bible.

        Vicesimus Quintus Annus 15 (Pope John Paul II): “The most urgent task is that of the biblical and liturgical formation of the people of God, both pastors and faithful.”

        GIRM 392: “Language should be used that is accommodated to the faithful of the region, but is noble and marked by literary quality, and there will always remain the need for some catechesis on the biblical and Christian meaning of certain words and expressions.”

    2. One interesting question regarding “early implementation”–which I wouldn’t recommend. How many of our current “Mass settings” are actually from the Missal and how many are simply “based on the Missal”?

      1. Speaking for my own parish, and for those I have advised over the years, I would say all of them are settings of the Missal text. As as parish musician, my job is to help people sing the liturgy.

        However, looking at some of the surrounding parishes, they are, as I mentioned above, not yet using the existing texts. How easily will they then move to the new?

        Publishers will need permission to publish ICEL texts (as they do now) but there’s nothing to stop them publishing items which bear little resemblance to the official text. And there seems to be nothing to stop parishes buying these items. Apart from policing every parish in the world, the answer must be gentle persuasion and good example.

      1. Yes! It is objectively presented from the point of view of the hierarchy. I was looking for something that would mean more to the people to whom I minister.They don’t necessarily care that “consubstantial” is closer to the Latin.

  10. Thank you Linda for reading my comment.
    Whether the new text is better English is a matter of opinion and taste. It strikes me that the meaning of the text is something that most of us lay people need to study. Seeing a different choice of words may prompt enquiry. It is not easy to know what is meant by consubstantial / of one being / one in substance means. I like Grahame Greene’s Mgr Quixote describing one wine in three bottles. I am not sure that CCC 464 – 469 helps much with this.
    My concern with those who object to the newer translation is that they use their dislike of the style of English as cover for objecting to the meaning of the original text. I hope I am wrong on this.

  11. other than the Pope said so in Liturgiam Authenticam

    As a matter of fact, Linda, the Pope did not say so. The man who wrote LA said so, and the (previous) Pope signed off on it — but then the previous Pope signed off on a lot of things in his final years when he was not really aware of what he was doing.

    1. Perhaps the same reasoning could be used to explain some of the changes and decisions made by Pius VI. Perhaps it was Bugnini;s decision, not the pope’s? Was that true? Who knows–but it is just as good a conspiracy theory as yours.

  12. Jeffrey, (I’ve tried to reply to your comment but the “reply” button simply won’t appear next to your name – apologies this is, therefore, floating!) I most certainly agree with you about the importance of the biblical origins of the text of the Sanctus.

    I suppose my question about the translation is really redundant as we’ll be singing “Lord God of hosts” with everyone else. However, I’m just being honest when I say the word “host” really doesn’t have much strength to it – nothing like Sabaoth. “God of power and might” sounds strong and provides pictures. I’m not so sure about “host”.

    As for disobedience – it appears the only way to be obedient is to throw away the six settings we have at the moment and start from scratch, singing one setting ad nauseum rather than changing the repertoire slowly. I’m really not sure this will work for our community.

    1. And now I’m wondering if, by singing “Lord God of hosts”, we really are jumping the gun. That’s the text in the 1965 Missal. Was this text ever abrogated? I’m sure wiser persons than me will be able to tell us!

    2. Personally, I “sabaoth” could have be kept and used as a technical word–much like Hosanna in the same line!

  13. Nick, I certainly don’t condone jumping the gun in this matter, especially not when it’s justified by the disobedience of others…

    Jeffrey, you obviously aren’t aware that both the US and English liturgy secretaries have said that as soon as recognitio is granted and the actual texts are known (which may not be the same thing) publishers may apply for permission to publish new settings so that the people may learn them ahead of time and be ready when implementation day comes. So — Nick is not jumping the gun at all. He’s just doing what all sensible people will now be doing.

    And for information, while the US is contemplating the 1st Sunday of Advent 2011 as a starting date, Arthur Roche in England is unbelievably intent on forcing England and Wales to implement the new texts in Holy Week 2011. Just imagine: no Gloria during Lent, and then suddenly you have to sing a brand new one from the heart at the Chrism Mass, on Holy Thursday and Easter Vigil…

    1. If what Paul says comes to pass, I can only think that this must be the maddest possible time of the liturgical year to so do. Congregations will be dealing with texts and music they sing rarely (Lenten Gospel greeting, for example) as well as those they sing once a year: various Pange Linguas, Processional Song of the Cross, Exodus Canticle etc. Imagine the scene before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Cantor reminds the assembly of the psalm response (Blessing Cup), that song by Dan Schutte which they sing during the washing of feet and then announces, “Oh, and we have to quickly learn a Holy, Memorial Acclamation and Amen”. Don’t think he’d be too popular!

    2. I’m not against knowing the texts ahead of time, but a free-for-all of using them (or not using) them in the Mass without permission seems like a recipe for confusion and/or disaster.

  14. I think Linda’s question deserves a little more attention. The Pope has called for catechesis, and mostly everyone seems to agree, but I can’t see what we will be teaching. (I have not seen the Ratio Translationis. Is it in there?)
    After V2, the catechesis was obvious — words have meanings and we should understand those meanings so that we can participate. But what compelling message for change exists now? “This is how Rome does it.” The Pope says to do it this way.” Those are not particularly compelling for most people, and are positively alienating for many.
    How will this translation help people come closer to God? How will receiving this translation convey the Gospel message?
    Am I wrong to believe there are answers to these questions?

  15. If what Paul says comes to pass, I can only think that this must be the maddest possible time of the liturgical year to so do.

    Nick, it now seems that +Arthur misunderstood information he was given, and that common sense will now prevail.

  16. A correspondent (a priest in Australia, as a matter of fact) has sent me an e-mail questioning the following line from the Pope’s address to Vox Clara: “I pray that in this way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted”.

    He asks
    (a) Does this mean that the Pope somehow thinks Roman Catholics are less intelligent than the rest of the world?
    (b) Is this a frank admission that the new texts are in fact confusing and bewildering, and will therefore need to be introduced with a considerable dose of the sensitivity the Pope says is necessary?

  17. There’s one particular reason some of us are not too keen to embrace the new texts – we will embrace them, of course, but not quite as gleefully as some of the above posters.

    I don’t know how all this will affect our American cousins, but here in the UK (I’m in Liverpool), the change in the people’s parts could have a devastating effect on music in the liturgy.

    When I was a child (I’m now 47), there was only music at High Mass and that would be the last of perhaps four morning Masses. It would be fair to say that, up to the early 1970s, no more than a quarter Mass-goers experienced sung liturgy. I’m only speaking for my own part of a small island, but few parishes appeared aware of Pope Pius X’s 1903 exhortation for the people to sing!

    It’s taken 40 years for us to accept sung liturgy as the norm. And most of that progress has happened within the last two decades. (cont…)

    1. (Ctd.) When I’m leading music at larger concelebrations, Walker’s “Celtic Liturgy” ensures a roaring lead from clergy of a certain age. Other successes include Inwood’s “Coventry Acclamations” and “Gathering Mass” and Farrell’s “Mass of Hope”.

      Now much of that repertoire will be swept away. We’ll have to start from scratch. And it takes time. I first picked up “Celtic Liturgy” at a summer school in Essex in 1981. Christopher Walker had produced it on stiff green card through his own small imprint, Clifton Music. It appeared in a collection in 1985 but it would be a few years before it really travelled around the UK and took off as a standard.

      I have a feeling that the bishops of England & Wales asked if, within the new Missal, the assembly’s words could remain the same (can anyone confirm this?) but the request was denied.

      It really does appear that four decades of labour (and positive results) is about to be swept away. And I fear we will be the poorer for it.

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