What does kairos have to do with the translation?

If you go to the United States Bishops’ website for the new English translation of the Roman Missal, you’ll see a counter in the top right corner, counting down the days until November 27, 2011, when we begin use of the translation in the U.S. As of today (September 22, 2010), we have 431 days left. If you’re on the cynical side, this countdown could be like a doomsday clock and maybe the Mayans were right—the world does end in 2012. Or if you’re among the can’t-wait-to-get-started group, it’s like you’re six again, and Christmas can’t come soon enough.

But if you’re where I think most parish leaders are, you’re looking at that counter and thinking about how you can best use those 431 days to get your parish ready. For those born after Vatican II, like I was, this will likely be the only time in our lives that everyone who pays even minimal attention to the Catholic Church—from CNS to CNN, to families at the dinner table, couples in the car, priests from the pulpit, and church secretaries in the bulletin—will be talking about the liturgy. As many have said here and elsewhere, the event of this new translation is a golden opportunity.

So here’s where I think kairos comes in.


  1. Shades of the Millennium Bug! We will see a huge waste of effort in trying to make a silk purse of a sow’s ear — it can’t be done.

  2. “As many have said here and elsewhere, the event of this new translation is a golden opportunity.”

    Indeed, if people like the participants in this forum step up, this can be the advent of that long-awaited “new springtime of the Church”.

  3. I’ve often wondered about the influence that the usual depiction of the god Chronos (the “other” concept of time) – a white-haired, long-bearded man in a robe – had upon Western/Christian depictions of God, and subsequently on our own view of the divine. It seems that many are viewing the countdown clock on the bishops’ website as chronos, not kairos. Others, probably unintentionally, are viewing it more in the spirit of Chronos’ original consort, Ananche (sp?) – she was the godly embodiment of inevitability/fate.

  4. Having been around for over 85 years, I wonder why the changes. I hope not change for the sake of change. Will it make the people in the pews more aware of what’s going on ?, will it make the wording closer to the original ancient greek-latin (do the people in the pew really care), is the meaning of the new translation more uplifting, more spiritual? I’m not a theologian, I’m the guy in the pews. Is “and with your Spirit”, more meaningful than “and with you” Are we not body and soul (spirit) already ?

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