Resource from Irish National Centre for Liturgy

I would like to call attention to an EXCELLENT resource recently published by the Irish National Centre for Liturgy entitled The New Missal: Explaining the Changes. Written by Fr. Patrick Jones, with assistance from Sr. Moira Bergin, Julie Kavanagh and Fr. Liam Tracey, it explores aspects of the new (3rd) edition of the Roman Missal and impending changes in its English translation with a special focus on the texts of the congregation, though aspects of the Eucharistic Prayer are also highlighted. I am in awe of how much helpful information is presented with such little verbiage and how elements that could have excited partisan polemic are detailed forthrightly and without bias.

For example, consider how The New Missal treats the Memorial Acclamation:

The 1975 missal gave us five acclamations, including ‘My Lord and my God,’ which was included ‘for Ireland only’. The acclamations ‘Christ has died…’ and ‘Dying you destroyed our death…’ are inspired by the Latin but they are not strictly translations and, therefore, do not appear in the new edition of the Missal. We may note that ‘Christ has died…’ is different to the new translations where the people acclaim the Mystery of Christ using the personal pronoun, ‘We…,’ or, in the third acclamation, ‘us’. Nevertheless, ‘Christ has died…’ has probably been the most popular and most used acclamation. It is used by many other Christian Churches and its composition is often attributed to the late Fr. John Hackett, former professor of classics at Maynooth and parish priest of Cappamore, Co. Tipperary, who died in 1970.

The new translation, a literal translation of the Latin, adds at the end ‘again’, which is not in the Latin: We proclaim your Death, O Lord, / and profess your Resurrection / until you come again.

The second acclamation is: When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, / we proclaim your Death, O Lord, / until you come again. Thus there are two small changes: “O Lord,” translating the Latin “Domine,” replaces ‘Lord Jesus’. The final word ‘again’ replaces ‘in glory’. The Latin simply ends ‘donec venias’ (ntil you come).

The third acclamation, following the Latin, now reads: Save us, Saviour of the world, / for by your Cross and Resurrection / you have set us free.

This bald reproduction was not able to show how the use of shadow boxes surrounding some texts set them off for immediate identification by the reader. Published by Veritas of Dublin, I would strongly recommend that university libraries and diocesan offices of worship invest in a copy. Even though some dimensions of the text only apply to the dioceses of Ireland, much of what it offers could be of great use in catechesis on the new translation in other parts of the world.


  1. 1. The What If We Just Said Wait petition has just broken through 22,000.

    2. Thanks, Michael for the lead. Not having access to the text though, from what you’ve quoted, it seems just to enumerate the changes with some backgound info, without any depth of analysis of the actual changes themselves.

    I wonder how many educated English speakers would simply be satisfied with the “whats”, without wanting to know the messy and much more interesting “whys” as well.

    Saying that it’s not in the Latin, or that the rules have changed simply isn’t good enough to explain why people are being commanded to let go of their prayer.

    1. Graham: “Saying …..that the rules have changed simply isn’t good enough to explain why people are being commanded to let go of their prayer.”

      An echo of ++Lefebvre there.

      But then again, the explanation can be found (amid other places) in LA itself. Just because we may not like an explanation does not mean that one has not been off offered.

      1. Daniel, you are wrong to see an equation between Graham’s position and that of Archbishop Lefebvre, and, may I say, to taunt Graham with it. Archbishop Lefebvre had substantial disagreements with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, especially its teaching on religious freedom and ecumenism. It was not a case of “the rules changed” and LA is not of the same level as the teachings of an ecumenical council. I think you know all this, but perhaps you don’t.

        I also think you know that none of the background to the new translation has been made public. That’s not good enough, and it is FAR different from the situation which obtained after the Second Vatican Council.

      2. Rita,
        Pointing out that ++Lefebvre made a similar argument is not a taunt unless one has a presupposition to presume a taunt to be there.
        The topic here is liturgy not religious freedom, ++Lefebvre signed SC and the missal currently in use came after the council, it was not produced during the council. The “rules changed” argument underscores much of what the archbishop and his supporters said especially in reference to a certain papal bull.
        I don’t know if you are aware of all the maneuverings that preceded & accompanied the existing missals implementation and the early ICEL translation, maybe you do but to me the similarities are convincing & merit discussion.
        Lastly, I guess there are those who might also deem a reference to “What if we just said wait” & its latest signature count as a “taunt” but they would undoubtedly be mistaken.

      3. Daniel, it’s enough for me if you say you did not intend the comparison as a taunt. I accept your word. I do however regard the level at which that division took place as far more serious than anything we are talking about here, so the implication that the two are parallel seems unfair to me. Fr. Ryan has not ordained bishops or rejected theological teachings of an ecumenical council, and neither has Graham endorsed anything even vaguely resembling this level of protest. The Lefebvre statements about liturgy cannot be taken in isolation and then compared to current concerns about the new translation; these are apples and oranges. And by the way, he did not “sign” SC. He didn’t even vote in favor of it. He abstained.

        I do not withdraw what I said concerning the openness of the process which produced the current translation compared to the former process, and yes I am reasonably well read on the subject (both primary and secondary sources, not blog sources). Even on our own little blog, however, have you read the testimonies of Xavier Rindfleish on this very point? Secrecy is the order of the day now. It was not so in the past. Have you read our 3 posts on the 1967 texts? Explanations were given. Are you familiar with any of the progress reports of the 1998-approved translation? It was not always a secretive process.

      4. Daniel and Rita, one of the remarkable things the Xavier Rhindfliesch articles pointed out is that amazingly Vox Clara in place after place did NOT follow the “changed rules” set down by the Vatican. It’s incredible to me that in place after place as XR gave examples both Liturgiam Authenticam and the Ratio Translationis were not followed. Bishop Serratelli seemed to dismiss the criticisms by saying we decided to follow LA faithfully but not slavishly. I know my confessor wouldn’t buy that approach to the ten commandments 🙂

      5. Jeremy, I’m sure you once sent me photos of Professor Rindfliesch and yourself in the most convivial surroundings – can’t recall if it was in your mobile home there in the Kentucky hills, or at that Da Roberto joint in the Borgo Pio . . . anyway, wasn’t Bishop Serratelli one of the prelates in those photos of you and the professor?

      6. Good memory, Chris! The Professor stopped by the famous double wide and enjoyed some black skillet cornbread with black-eyed pea soup while on his way to the Abbey of Gethsemani. He and the late lamented monk Father M. Louis (Thomas Merton) had been friends in the long ago days of the interfaith dialogues with the religions of the East. The Professor also wanted me to take him to the famous General Store which features in Elvis’ classic hit “Kentucky Rain.” My Grandpa Eli Stevens had been one of the characters in that song: “Showed your photograph to some old gray bearded men.” grandpa swore he had actually seen the girl: “Yes, shes been here, but their memory wasnt clear: was it yesterday? No wait, the day before.” When the Stevens clan went to Rome, the Professor said “Call me venn you get sick of zee churches und museums.” and that was the cool restaurant and way too much wine.

      7. Rita,

        I think ++Lefebvre did sign SC but did not sign Dignatatis Humanae (there is some dispute about DH, nevertheless). Perhaps you have a reference re. Lefebvre & SC. In consideration of the unpleasant process leading to the still existing translation I can only refer you to the public testimony of the late ++Dwyer (Portland), Fr. Elvins & the Assoc. of English Worship in Britain, the writings of former ICEL member Fr. S. Somerville in the US & Canada, and the editors of the Universe in 1979.

      8. Ah yes, ALL the usual, very credible, suspects.

        If only the blog administrators would let me tell the truth about some of those jokers – but alas . . .

      9. Sorry for intruding into this exchange, and this is off-topic: I think we know some of the same people in Rome. Did you two know a Msgr. Schultz who worked at CDF (I think) and was some sort of chaplain to the Swiss Guard? HE had some fascinating stories, and hung out at that same place in the Borgo Pio that you people are talking about – and had connections to a certain (then) Cardinal who hailed from Bavaria (!).

      10. You’re trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and it’s not working.

    2. Daniel

      I don’t think I’m the same as Marcel Lefebvre, because I haven’t walked away.

      As Rita rightly points out, this hoo-ha is about current translation fashion, not doctrine.

      We Catholics who speak English and pray in English are being asked to give up our prayer in favour of something else, which is not really our language. Most of us don’t see the need to change the words. Most of us don’t see the problem. We need convincing to let go. We need convincing that what the Holy See is offering is superior to what we pray now. We need help in mourning the loss of the prayers that are so familiar to us and in understanding exactly why they are being torn away and discarded as no good any longer. We need help in welcoming the new prayers and in understanding their strange meanings.

      We need help in knowing why an odd solution is being thrust upon us when we didn’t even know there was a problem.

      Do I really sound like Marcel Lefebvre? I don’t mean to.

      Did he stick around and ask for help and understanding?

      1. Graham,

        No one said that you were the same as ++Lefebvre but that your complaint “Saying that …..the rules have changed simply isn’t good enough to explain why people are being commanded to let go of their prayer” was an “echo” of Lefebvre. The echo remains in what you’ve written above, IMHO.

    3. The Irish National Centre for Liturgy is an organ of the Irish Episcopal Conference. It looks as if they made a decision to follow the party line. Reading between the lines, what is missing from the booklet is a sense of enthusiasm for the change.

  2. This great work of the late and much revered Monsignor Sean Swayne.

    But now they must be good soldiers.

  3. Daniel McKernan :

    Graham: “Saying …..that the rules have changed simply isn’t good enough to explain why people are being commanded to let go of their prayer.”
    An echo of ++Lefebvre there.
    But then again, the explanation can be found (amid other places) in LA itself. Just because we may not like an explanation does not mean that one has not been off offered.

    It is just so sad that Vox Clara did not follow the rules of LA, at least not consistently. That is one of the problems with the text.

  4. Daniel: I don’t know if you are aware of all the maneuverings that preceded & accompanied the existing missals implementation and the early ICEL translation,

    Alas, Daniel, these things are mostly urban legend. Don’t believe everything you read on other blogs…..

      1. Don’t hold your breath, Chris Grady. Jeff likes to do the nasty strike, then disappear. Not much on arguing. Probably because, usually, he can’t make his argument stick. He’s a big 2010 cheerleader and has his own blog: Authentic Update. ‘Nuff said.

      2. Dropping quips that seem to be digs at posters is quite common here and seem, IMHO, to be generally applied to more traditional participants. For example, Mr. Inwood dropped the 1st quip above not Jeffrey.

    1. Of course with the Vox Clara hijacking of 2008, there’s no need to rely on urban legend. We have the actual texts in various stages of evolution (or, in the case of the 2010 “revisions,” convolution or devolution). Apparently the whole point of the secrecy and subsequent firings of competent critics (Fr Ruff, Canon Griffiths) was to make sure people did NOT know the details and/or to punish those who made them known. I think that’s what’s really driving the cheerleaders of 2010, the “ours is not to question why, ours is but to do or die” gang, crazy about Pray Tell. Right, Jeffrey?

      1. Jeremy;

        Your “point” has become so convoluted, I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking “right” about.

        But if what you’re suggesting is that somehow there is some kind of fear amongst the supporters of the new translation that chat sites such as Pray Tell are going to “blow the lid off of the whole thing” and bring it crashing down, well… I don’t think there is very much fear of that. If there were going to have been any consideration of re-thinking the process or the results, it would have been done at least several years ago.

        There are those who suggest that somehow the “intervention” of Vox Clara and the Holy See (that “hijacking” so often spoken of) was sudden and unexpected, despite being set forth in writing in LA 104. For many, myself included, it was expected that the Holy See and VC would exercise their authority in such a way. As early as 2007, I had written an article suggesting that it was a bit futile to nit-pick about the drafts being voted on by the Bishops since, in the end, it would be the Holy See with the final word. I recall bringing this very point up with Fr. Ruff at one of the St. John’s lecture series in Naples FL, and his response acknowledged that such was certainly possible, although he thought not too likely. I thought it was more than just possible, and that it was the likely plan all along. The outcome of the process may be many things, but it was certainly not “unexpected”, it wasn’t secretive (I mean, even I knew about it) and it seems that the point of contention is simply the content of the outcome. Had the same process resulted in an Inter-Faith inclusive-language, plain-English version, I doubt we would be having this conversation.

      2. If there were going to have been any consideration of re-thinking the process or the results, it would have been done at least several years ago.

        Well, Jeremy supports the 2008 text, but not the 2010/2011 changes to the text. While process could have been re-considered years ago, the results could not have been re-considered until we received them, which was only a couple of months ago.

        And just because the process hasn’t been reconsidered yet is not an indicator that it will never be reconsidered.

      3. Jeffrey: if you think that I am among those who favor “interfaith, inclusive, plain English,” then you are just plainly unfamiliar with my postings on here.

        In the “Areas of Difficulty” brief, sent by ICEL to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith well in advance of any publisher’s beginning production of the new Missals, the Congregation is alerted, in my opinion urgently, earnestly and sincerely so (not by a cabal of your ecclesiastical villains, i.e., interfaith, inclusive, plain English fans), to:

        1) out and out mistranslations
        2) violations of the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam and the Ratio Translationis
        3) errors (some grave) in English usage

        by Vox Clara and/or its advisors, some of whom, as is well-known in liturgical circles have/had not only theological issues, but ideological and indeed personal “issues” with ICEL past and present.

        Were the “difficulties” (and boy was THAT putting it charitably!) raised by ICEL addressed by the Congregation? In any substantial way? Or were they handled pretty much the same way Cardinal George’s concerns about the mistakes in the Congregation-approved version of the Revised Grail Psalms were handled? Which is to say not at all?

        I think we both know the answer. And all I’m saying is people who know the answers to these questions and yet pick up the pom poms and start the cheering (or people like the priest writer of another blog who knows as well as we do that the 2010 translation is deeply flawed in the above three categories) while lumping all the critics together as “whiners” or equating our complaints (and indeed distress) with those of the pro-interfaith, inclusive, plain English gang are being disingenuous, or downright duplicitous, and in either case playing CYA on their own behalf. Where do you fit in, Jeffrey?

      4. J. Herbert
        “Had the same process resulted in an Inter-Faith inclusive-language, plain-English version, I doubt we would be having this conversation.”

        Inter-Faith, in this part of the world (Ireland) is used when referring to something which involves two or more world religions. Interchurch or ecumenical are the terms used when two or more Christian denominations are involved.

  5. That’s odd: I’ve just posted something that should have appeared in chronological sequence following Jeremy Stevens on March 17 and 8:14pm. Instead, it has popped up following Paul Ford on March 17 at 6:12pm, before Rita’s and Jeremy’s posts which were already there when I wrote. Something for the tech people?

    [Edited to say that this one has just appeared in the same place, out of chronological sequence….]

  6. First of all, thanks to all of you for overlooking my howler: the book and not yours truly is published by Veritas of Dublin.
    Second, in response to Graham’s post #1: One of the things I constantly have to do as a teacher is assess the amount of information to give my students: enough to spark their interest, to give them the tools to interpret the data, to give them the leads to track down further data, but not to burden them with excessive detail or to force them to re-live sterile ideological battles. The reason why I like this Irish resource so much is that it gives more than the minimum information I see in other resources (e.g., the data about the fifth “Irish” memorial acclamation; the ascription of “Christ has died” to an Irish translator) and allows the reader to draw the reader’s own conclusions based on indisputable data (e.g., “donec venias” does NOT mean “until you come AGAIN” but the commentary leaves the reader free to decide whether or not this is a mis-translation, a regrettable dis-regarding of LA’s prescriptions, or an allowable expansion of the meaning of “venias”). It seems to me this document provides more than a mere listing of the changes with a rah-rah commentary masquerading as catechesis without, on the other hand, leading the “average” reader into the thickets of translation theory and recent ecclesiastical intrigues. For that I’m grateful.

  7. Thanks, Fr. Joncas – like your approach in terms of providing students the data; helping them make their own links and interpretations, and not demonizing any one path. Along those same lines in terms of trusting the faithful to draw their own conclusions……Failed to provide a link last week to this article:

    “An Essay on Vatican II – A Look Back Almost 60 Years Later” by Robert Blair Kaiser

    Some pertinent points to the discussion above esp. Paul Inwood’s significant comment about urban legends:

    – “”If it weren’t for Vatican II,” said Fr. Virgil Elizondo, Univ. of Notre Dame theologian, “you wouldn’t see all those young people around the altar.”

    “If it weren’t for Vatican II,” said Dutch Theologian Edward Schillebeeckx, “I would have missed the most joyous days of my life.”

    – “In the civilized West, authority operated in consultation with the people who were being served, and power was collaborative not absolute. By contrast, members of the Roman Curia were courtiers in strict obedience to a monarch who took his orders directly from God and wrote infallible rules for humankind. In his name, they broadcast those orders-in Latin over the face of the earth to almost a billion people, with the expectation those orders would be followed to the letter. They did not understand what the Council journey was all about, or did not want to understand once they realized where it was headed. Moreover, they took active steps to sabotage the expedition.” (so apropos given today’s times)

    – “So, let’s take a little side trip here into history. At the very least, we will understand that Vatican II was about the passing of power to the people of God, who learned from that Council how to wake up and grow up as Christians, with an ongoing mandate from the God who took flesh and dwelt among us to bring light and salience to a world that was already redeemed and didn’t know it.”

  8. I agree with Michael Joncas that the book he recommends is a useful resource. Living in Dublin, Ireland, I have recommended it to groups since it was published – with, however, a health warning! Not surprisingly, since it is published by the National Centre for Liturgy in Ireland, the publication is both a useful explanation of the new translation, and a promotion of what is good in the new translation. I have no argument with that.

    What it omits is any attempt to deal with the difficulties embodied in the new translation. There are two passing hints of these. Page 23 has the following: “No translation is perfect and in time its strengths and weaknesses are discovered. This is true of both the translation we have used since 1975 and the new translation.” This book deals only with the strengths of the new translation. We already know some serious weaknesses, even before it is introduced. I have written about some of these on

    The second hint is on page 25, where Pope Benedict is quoted: “Many will find it hard to adjust to unfamiliar texts after nearly forty years of continuous use of the previous translation.” Of greater concern than that adjustment is the continual effect over the following two or three years of subjecting congregations to a level of language which violates the principle laid down by Liturgiam Authenticam (Par.25): “So that the content of the original texts may be evident and comprehensible even to the faithful who lack any special intellectual formation, the translations should be characterized by a kind of language which is easily understandable”.

    The book is useful, but deficient. The translation we have been using is what I might describe as “not bad” – not perfect, but it has served us very well. I regret that we are replacing that with the impending translation which I would describe as, in some important aspects, “not good”.

  9. Daniel McKernan :
    Dropping quips that seem to be digs at posters is quite common here and seem, IMHO, to be generally applied to more traditional participants. For example, Mr. Inwood dropped the 1st quip above not Jeffrey.

    Ah, so “two wrongs make a right” is a rule for us all to live by?

    It always amazes me how the basic rules of Christian civility can be suspended to suit ideologcal warriors, so long as they’re “orthodox Catholics”!!!

  10. The “we proclaim you death, O Lord” acclamation is not some kind of new version of “Christ has Died….Christ is risen”.

    Those who have sung the Reproaches on Good Friday immediately recognize it as the initial acclamation. I’m not sure if the author was trying to equate the old “Christ has died” with the new acclamation, but they would seem to be from two different sources

  11. I’m sure the good people of Cappamore will not be amused to find that their village has been moved from Co. Limerick to Co. Tipperary.

    I hope the rest of the information in the booklet is more reliable.

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