May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and lead us…

Several things have been changed in the Order of Mass as approved by Rome two years ago. Multiple sources confirm that the absolution of the Penitential act has reverted to the current wording. So much for the ablative absolute (dimissis peccatis nostris), I guess. Each section of the Profession of Faith will begin “I believe in…” rather than “And in…”

Same with the Prefaces – complete sentences beginning with “For he” rather than “Who.” (The howls of protest that it was ungrammatical, injustified in this case in my view, apparently caused a rethinking.) Several little changes in all four Eucharistic Prayers. And all the various ways of restructuring the Opening Rites from the 1997 sacramentary have been approved after all. (Just kidding about the last one.) No word yet on the US request to retain “Christ has died.”

Lots of to-ing and fro-ing in all this – did you know that politics sometime creep even into the life of Holy Church? It’s a funny system to run a church at this late date, absolute monarchy. But get used to it, I guess. Or drive yourself crazy.


  1. Father Ruff:

    For those of us who may be unfamiliar with the ICEL proposed Sacramentary of 1997, could you explain what you mean by “And all the various ways of restructuring the Opening Rites from the 1997 sacramentary have been approved after all?” I realize that you were kidding, but I have never seen any of the text from the Missal that never was…

    1. Father Babick,
      I don’t have all the details at hand, I’m sure someone else here does. But as I recall, you could do sprinkling OR penitential rite OR Gloria OR canticle “This is the feast,” OR various combinations of these. That’s the general gist, if not the exact details.

      1. As I recall, the “This is the feast” option was dropped before the Sacramentary was sent to Rome for approval. The options were the sign of the cross and greeting followed by either:

        1) the blessing and sprinkling of holy water (w/out the concluding “absolution” form in the current rite)
        2) the Kyrie (w/out a concluding misereatur)
        3) a “litany of praise” (the current penitential rite C but w/out the concluding misereatur and with invocations focused on praise instead of penitence)
        4) the penitential rite (current options A and B, concluding with the misereatur or the “absolution” from the rite of sprinkling. No kyrie)
        5) the Gloria

        then the opening collect.

        The Gloria could be added to any of the options.

        If true, I am glad to see the non-literal translation of the ablative absolute. It was cringe-inducing, as if someone were to translate the Spanish tengo frio as “I have cold.”

  2. If this report is true then we should watch to see just how much “dynamic equivalence” survives in the new translation! Some hope then for the translation that comes after that one, which will be done properly and will take 25 or more years to prepare, and which will also consider 1998 with less of a polarised perspective.

      1. However, this is in disagreement with what LA(Liturgiam Authenticam) says. And also refer to SC 36.1-4

  3. This is a little disturbing. These changes seem somewhat minor, but I hope the principles of accurate translation and mildly elevated language have not been seriously compromised by the CDWDS and Vox Clara in the changes we haven’t seen. That said, I do hope that they did a final read through and perhaps tweaked the one or two areas with somewhat awkward phrasings (e.g., I hope they put a comma before “or they offer it for themselves and those who are dear for them” in the Roman Canon, as I think the complicated and innately awkward phrasing there reads better with a comma).

    1. “Mildly elevated language” is a mild descriptive.

      “Pompous abject language” would better describe much of the new translation, as in

      Renewed by the nourishment
      of the Sacred Body and the Precious Blood,
      we ask your clemency, Lord,
      that what we celebrate with constant devotion,
      we may attain with redemption assured.

      which is more distanced and more “someone else’s prayer” than the elegant simplicity of the present translation

      you give us the body and blood of your Son
      to renew your life within us.
      In your mercy, assure our redemption
      and bring us to the eternal life
      we celebrate in this Eucharist.

      1. First, the present translation you cite is obviously just the roughest paraphrase of the Latin, consisting of mere suggestions of general concepts rather than even bothering in good faith to translate the actual words of the Latin. Second, who are you to say that a more reverential and accurate translation is “someone else’s” translation? Because there may be children in the audience, should we make sure that no words higher than a fifth or six grade level are ever used in the liturgy? So basically all of the Eastern Orthodox who use an elevated sacral language are not using their own translation? And Traditional Anglicans who use Cranmer’s and King James’ glorious English prose are not using their own translation? Culture is not just received, it is created, nurtured and grown. The “Spirit of Vatican II” types that have controlled the liturgy for so long have in the name of trying to reduce things to a “popular” level helped to create the desacralized and dumbed down culture of worship we have today. Liturgy should be something that calls us to worship and reverence of almighty God, not just self congratulation and self assurance that God wants us just the way we are, and don’t worry about all that “sin” stuff. We are called to something higher in the liturgy, and just maybe, with proper catechesis, Catholics can develop a more reverent liturgical culture and learn to take ownership of that with a translation that you so sneeringly call “pompous abject…

    2. Charles, liturgy that is not owned by the people who celebrate it is not worthy of the name. The invitation to make the liturgy one’s own lies at the heart of the fundamental principle of the reform of the liturgy, the call to a full, active and conscious participation by everyone. The antique language that clothes the new translation is aimed at distancing God from the people and making the liturgy more mysterious. The inevitable result will be a general lessening of ownership of the language, more scope for personal interpretation and misunderstanding, as well as an increase in spectatorship at liturgy.

      Perhaps the present translation should be retained as the “children’s version”. I wonder how many priests and people would choose to use it instead of the forthcoming version. I know I would.

      1. Do we “make the liturgy our own” by suiting it to ourselves, or by conforming ourselves to it? Or, put another way, is the liturgy something received by the community, or produced by it?

        I, for one, welcome a sense of mystery at Mass. I do not feel it makes me a spectator. While the language might be different than I’m used to, I will still be able to “own” the language by receiving it; I will “internalize” it.

      2. However, if you read SC P.26, that indicates that liturgical services DO pertain to the whole body of the Church, they manifest it, and have effects upon it;but they concern the individual members of the Church in different ways according to their differing rank, office and ACTUAL participation. So therefore, this is NOT POLITICAL , AND the faithful have no voice in what the liturgy should be or shouldn’t be. We just need to accept the Mass as is according to what those in a higher rank and office tell us not according to what WE want it to be.

  4. This is indeed exciting breaking news Fr. Anthony but I haven’t yet seen your post or its equivalent on Pewsitter, New Liturgical Movement or WDTPRS not to mention abuse tracker. When will it be confirmed?

  5. Fr Anthony,

    This is a little rough! Given the recent Grail Psalm translation recognitio, where the Vatican introduced 341 changes to the approved version sent to it by the US Conference of Bishops, how many thousands of changes might we expect to the “approved” version of the Roman Missal? Such circumstances would explain why the bishops haven’t been quick to respond with implementation dates.

    1. Paul, I don’t think there are many changes to the people’s parts of the Ordinary, and they don’t concern the main acclamations like Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus, etc.

  6. Except Fr. Anthony, currently in the Creed, we presently use “We believe” rather than I believe. So this has changed and is not the original wording. Except for Apostle’s Creed which starts with “I believe’

    1. Tim, I don’t follow what you mean. The Greek original of the Nicene Creed from the ecumenical council is pisteuomen, “we believe.” The Latin liturgy almost always has “Credo,” “I believe,” with the exception of a medieval Spanish liturgy which had “credimus,” “we believe.” Our current Latin missal has “Credo,” so there is no doubt how LA wants that translated. But the change we’re talking about here is to each succeeding section of the creed. Though the Latin has “et in…,” “and in… (eg the Holy Spirit),” they now are adding something not in Latin and rendering it “I believe in … (eg …the Holy Spirit”). So the point is, they’ve now decided not to follow the Latin literally. Expect more of that.

      1. And, to further your point, for those who wonder how the Greek became the basis for translation, the original translation principles for the postconciliar MIssal in 1969 instructed the translators to go through the Latin to original language, in this case Greek; LA changed that.

      2. Hmmm.

        Doesn’t the Vatican have to follow LA when translating from Greek into Latin? But I suppose that would mean dropping the Filioque…

      3. I still haven’t seen anything on any of this on any other blog or news item, so my question remains, is it true and is the bishop’s website with the translations already approved and posted going to state that changes are pending?

  7. I stand by my sources. I take it there is much going on behind the scenes, so I think it could take a while before any final texts goes public.

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