A smooth transition to the new missal

“In countries where parts of the new English translation of the Roman Missal are already in use, the feedback has been very positive,” Zenit.org reports. The speaker is Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, executive director of the Secretariat of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). Msgr. Wadsworth says, “People find the elegance of the language, its dignity, the sort of cadence of the language – which particularly lends itself to the sung parts of the liturgy – they find all of that to be a great improvement.”

Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles says that the new missal translation “restores the beauty of the original Latin.” The translators “did a beautiful job,” he writes.

*               *               *

“I have no stomach for the doublespeak that attempts to present this translation as the best thing since sliced bread,” Fr. Michael Briody of North Lanarkshire writes to The Tablet in this week’s issue. “I have seen nothing in it which backs up the assertion, for instance, that this will make the Mass more prayerful, something which I desire and have worked on for 34 years of priesthood.”

*               *               *

“Introduction of new missal going smoothly in English-speaking nations,” says the CNS headline. A gradual introduction of the Order of Mass is underway in many English-speaking countries. For the most part, the entire new missal with the proper prayers of the priest will not be introduced until this coming Advent. There have been extensive efforts to explain the changes to the people in the past year. CNS quotes Martin Foster of the bishops’ conference liturgy office in the UK, “My ambition is that people turn up on the first Sunday of September and they’ll know there’s a new missal.”

*               *               *

A woman from the UK emailed me yesterday that she just discovered Pray Tell.

She was searching the internet because of her distress that the new translation will begin to be implemented this coming Sunday. “I can honestly say that I am heartbroken and feel spiritually flat. I do not feel I can worship at a church that uses these words. As there is no way to protest our outrage at this intrusion into spiritual life, I and my young adult children have (independent of each other) decided we will most likely worship at the local Anglican church in the future.”

*               *               *

Bishop Joseph Toal and Archbishop Mario Conti have told Scottish Catholics to embrace the “marvelous opportunity, challenge and necessity” of the new English translation of the Roman Missal ahead of the first Scottish parishes adopting it this weekend. Archbishop Conti wrote in a pastoral letter, “There has been an attempt to dignify the language we use at Mass by a return to words which might be judged as more literary, and thought by many to be more becoming for public prayer.”

*               *               *

“The prospect of having to implement the new translation of the Missal is making me ill. … This new translation I find totally unnecessary, clumsy and off-putting. The manner of its imposition is also, in my opinion, unworthy of people who profess to follow Christ,” writes Fr. Val Farrel of Lancashire, also in this week’s Tablet.

*               *               *

Cardinal Pell of Sydney, Australia, president of the Vox Clara translation commission, has been a vocal defender of the new translation. As the Diocese of Sydney’s website states, “Cardinal Pell believes when those priests become familiar with the way the changes were undertaken and the results, there will be few who will remain displeased. Parishioners too, he believes, will come to see the improvements with the translation.”

*               *               *

“Might I report on three months’ experience of the use of the new Missal?” writes a man from Australia in this week’s Tablet. “Well, after an initial compliance, the faithful have ‘voted with their voices.’ At the principal Sunday Masses over the last three weeks I have hardly heard on “And with your spirit.’ Overall the level of responses by the congregation has dropped off significantly. There is almost an angry silence from a large portion of the people.”

*               *               *               *               *

Is the transition to the new missal going smoothly, as the CNS headline claims? It’s too early to tell. We really won’t know until the worst texts of the missal, the proper prayers of the priest (collect, prayer over the offerings, prayer after communion) come into use. It is these prayers which are especially clumsy, poorly constructed, and – despite the claims – shockingly inaccurate in places. The heresy in the collect for Trinity Sunday, for example. Or the incorrect word order in the prayer after communion for the First Sunday of Advent, telling us that we learn to love the things of heaven not from the celebration of the sacred mysteries, but from the “passing things” of this earth!

I hope the transition to the new missal does go smoothly. That’s right – I hope it goes smoothly. The liturgy is the “source and summit” of our Christian life, and we must always strive for its worthy celebration. Come Advent, I’ll be laboring mightily for the best possible use of the new missal at the abbey. The sacred liturgy isn’t the place for protests or divisions. It’s the place for celebrating our new life in the death and resurrection of Christ.

But outside the liturgy is another thing. There, it is important (a duty, according to canon 212.3) to make known to our bishops that this translation was a mistake, that it never should have happened, that it would not have happened if our governance structures had proper accountability. As it is, a mediocre translation is being forced on us because the hierarchy has unlimited power to force whatever it wants. This is not as it should be in Christ’s church.

And so, I will implement the new missal as best I can. I will work so that the transition goes “smoothly,” as CNS puts it. But I will make my opinion known, for example at the Call to Action convention in November and throughout the U.S. on my CTA speaking tours. I will encourage my listeners to make their displeasure with the new missal known to the bishops. I encourage you to do the same.



  1. We’re implementing the laity’s parts this weekend with special permission from our bishop emeritus. However, we celebrated the new English for the laity at our school’s (4k-6th) First Friday Mass this morning and the kids did marvelously even with the one word stumbler changes. They sang their parts wonderfully too! These are exciting times. I can’t wait for the weekend.

    1. Always enjoy how you make excuses to avoid implementing some of the rite’s sacramental signs in their fullness (let’s see – last excuse was age and risk of injury) but no issues when it comes to LA, 2010, even latin for the tykes.

      1. How did you know the “tykes” as you call them know Latin.Yes, they do! Greeting, Sanctus, Agnus Dei! The last time I checked all sacramental signs were in place! We say the black and do the red and with quite a flair I might add. You must come visit. EF Mass this Sunday at 2:00 PM too! It’ll nourish your outgoing, magnanimous spirit.

  2. Hi, Fr. Ruff, minor correction-Abp. Gomez is Met. Abp. of LA. SF Abp. Niederauer is recovering from a major coronary/quadruple bypass suffered earlier this week.
    Prayers for him.

    1. CC, thanks for the brief post! We’re grateful for small mercies! Let’s hope you continue in the same vein.

    1. Forget translations, forget Latin/English, forget standing/kneeling or in the hand/on the tongue!

      The major problem with the Mass in the Church in America is the priest standing facing the congregation when he should be facing the tabernacle and crucifix when he is talking to God.

      The celebrant should be facing God when he is saying the prayers of the Mass and only turning to face the congregation when he is leading them in prayer, saying a prayer that calls for a congregational response, or when he is doing the required Epistle and Gospel and Psalm readings.

      Once this is done, all temptation to extemporize will be gone.

      1. The Church doesn’t require the tabernacle to be in the center of the sanctuary – it rarely was until the 16th century and in many historic churches and many cathedrals it isn’t. So why do you speak of the priest addressing the tabernacle? Good heavens, what is your theology of the eucharistic sacrifice, if you think the tabernacle should be a central focus of attention DURING Mass?

        The Sacrifice of the Mass is offered to the Father, not the Son – so why should the priest address or face the Crucifix, the image of the Son on the Cross?

        What makes you so certain that God is located in some parts of the worship space but not others?

        Several theological problems here.


      2. Certainly your history on the placement of the tabernacle is correct. Just a side note, though, when the tabernacle was on the altar, traditionally it was veiled and when Mass was/is celebrated the large altar card (EF Mass) was/is placed in front of it thus in a sense “hiding it” during the celebration of the Mass. Of course that was removed for the majority of the time the Church is used which is for personal prayer.
        The Mass of course isn’t offered to Jesus Christ, but it is certainly offered through Him to the Father as is all prayer. So a crucifix can be a powerful reminder or symbol to the priest of this truth especially when celebrating Mass facing the people.

  3. Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles says that the new missal translation “restores the beauty of the original Latin.

    Original? Who wrote it? When? Is this from some new source of revelation?
    Who decided that this is what should be translated? I hope no one asks me!

      1. Well said! I wonder what he thinks of the Mexican Missal, which was based on the old ICEL and whose Spanish couldn’t be more different from the texto unico …. 🙂

    1. The history of the composition and authorship of the prayers and elements of the Roman Rite would make for an excellent read. I know there are individual Prefaces attributed to particular popes, and at least one of the Offertory prayers (which uses very post-consecratory language about the bread or wine) in the Pian Missal was lifted from the personal prayer-book of Charles the Bald (9th century).

      Fr. Z regularly identifies the sources of the preces of the 1962 and 1969 Missals on his blog (e.g. “This is from the Leonine Sacramentary” or “This has parts from prayers in the Gelasian Sacramentary and some modern additions”), although I don’t think we can ever be very sure about the individual person who penned or edited a given prayer.

      If the problem is with the Latin of the 2002 Missal, then it seems the immediate “who” is the Consilium, the body of people that put together (or whatever verb-phrase you prefer) the 1969 Missal. They decided, more or less, what stayed, what went, what was edited, etc. There are others who have tweaked the Missal in the decades since then (like BXVI who decided on three new dismissal texts).

  4. In our parish bulletin we’ve moved from an honest presentation of the history of the VC2010 (including some of the most important parts which are dishonestly omitted from the USCCB site and other official sites) to an explanation of some of the rationalization behind the text changes themselves. I did find Father Turner’s little 2009 piece on the greeting very helpful and included that in my letter this week (with reference, of course). Then we will deal with the Glory to God, the Creed and a few other things.

    Turner’s video from ND’s “Web Catechesis” is very good on the question of “pro multis,” and has pretty much convinced me that the addition of a definite article will fix that defect in the VC2010 very nicely.

    Interestingly I’ve had parishioners read my bulletin letters on the VC2010 and say, “I can tell you hate it,” and “You must really love it.” Generally I’ve tried to be officially neutral because in the long run the text will speak for itself – there is really very little a pastor can do to make it worse or make it better.

    One thing I won’t do is become a salesman for the new sacramentary. If it can’t sell itself, it’s not going to be on me to make up for it. Also, I have not heard one sales job on the VC2010 that did not drip with intellectual dishonesty (e.g., pretending to offer a history of the development while conveniently omitting the marginalization of the bishops’ conferences and ICEL, the hijacking of the process by Rome and the shameless rejection of the ICEL1998.)

    Okay, I will pass the conch . . .

    1. Anthony, thank you for the survey! I’ve written to every RC bishop in Ireland to make known my displeasure with the new interlinear translation.

      Over one-third of them have so far replied with everything from a bare acknowledgement to an apologia to a recognition of its flaws.

      It’s hard not to feel a certain humiliating shame that the apostolic succession which they share is treated so disgracefully by Roman beaurocrats, headed at one stage by a devote of Senator A. Pinochet, whose plans for the RCC worldwide were in line with his political master’s plans for his country.

    2. I appreciate your post. I don’t know how I feel about it really. Am I ‘fer it
      or agin’ it’? As a cantor, I am learning the ICEL Gloria, and it seems both familiar in a good way, and awkward, in a bad way. As you said, time will tell. In the meantime, I am dealing with a music director who is distressed by the suggestion that we should chant anything and a parochial vicar who thinks we should chant everything, and a pastor who pmainlny wants to celebrate Mass. Being in the middle isn’t much fun right now.

  5. I am sad that the new translation is being implemented as I love the present translation.
    I am hoping that the bishops and priests will encourage us to tell them what we think of the new translation, both positive and negative comments.
    Then, after a certain amount of time, possibly after Easter, I hope that each person in every church where the new translation has been introduced will be asked “Do you like the new translation?”so that we will know what the majority of people think about the new translation. This can be done by either a show of hands or a tick in a box yes/no at the end of Mass.

  6. David, does the worm turn any differently here than at the Cafe? Do you see three monkeys, each covering a senscient organ of communication when you scan these com boxes? How ’bout you, Todd?
    How’s that I Cor XIII “greatest of these is love” working for some of you that also traffic in scorn?
    God bless and help you. I mean that.

  7. Since we are encouraged to show both sides my vote is for the new translation. It gives me a more complete thought than the old 70 something version. Some parts may be awkward but I do not think it is as bad as many make it seem.

  8. Our PP is on record as declaring that the current OF translation is “very bad” and he has joyously introduced the New English Translation of the priest’s parts for the past couple of months. Recently he has included in that the practice of saying the prayers that begin the liturgy of the Eucharist inaudibly, so that there is no “Blessed be God for ever,” but silence until “Pray brethren.”

    We have no Mass on Saturdays except EF, so yesterday evening he announced at the end of Mass that the altar Missal volume we have been using would not be used again. One of our Italian parishioners, present for First Friday and a resident here in England for 40+ years, didn’t catch what he said. (There has been no ‘instruction’ on the NET in the parish). When it was explained to her that there was a new translation which is to be used from Sunday, she was disgusted, and vocal. Reassurance that the “People’s Part” was only slightly changed, did not mollify her. She launched into a tirade against the impending disruption in the flow of her customary prayers, and for good measure continued by inveighing vehemently against any possible further reintroduction of the Latin Mass. (She has tried it, found it profoundly alienating and vowed never to go again). We left her haranguing the PP’s henchwoman-secretary.

    Giovanna will get used to it, as will the rest of us. But will it nourish us?

    1. Recently he has included in that the practice of saying the prayers that begin the liturgy of the Eucharist inaudibly[.]

      Just to clarify, the choice to say the prayers during the preparation of the gifts aloud or quietly is not new in the 2002 Missal (or its 2011 English translation). The 1985 English Sacramentary includes the choice; in fact, the response “Blessed be God forever” is not mandatory if the priest prays “Blessed are you…” aloud.

    2. Here’s praying that Giovanna and the rest of us never “get used to it”. We must continue to show that we do not accept the change, by either not saying any of the words, saying the old words loudly, and stopping our donations until the missal that was being used for the last 40 years has been restored.

  9. I’m sure you’re right, but we miss it. We’ve “always” had it in the OF until very recently.

    It parallels our PP’s dismissal of the parish pastoral council, his refusal to use special ministers of the Eucharist, (even for home communions for the sick), his dismissal of the MC and his attempt to get a crony to take over the choir and enforce Gregorian chant.

    Our parish is no longer One, Holy or catholic, but tense, divided, confused and unhappy. We need prayers, please.

    1. Mary, my heart aches for you. Have you tried complaining to your bishop? Like the woman in the gospel who gets a just judgment from the unjust judge simply by complaining long enough (“she will end by giving me a black eye”), the people who do raise these issues should stick to them as long as necessary. Giovanna happens to be right. I hope she remains undaunted.

      If the bishop continues to support the priest who dismisses the parish pastoral council, will not use ministers of communion, and insists on arbitrary liturgical changes to his taste, you should leave that parish. Leave with as many as will leave with you. Go elsewhere, I don’t care where. Take your donations, your love, your prayers, and get out. To be at the receiving end of abusive policies and programs in a church setting is never a good thing. Resist from within if you feel that your conscience guides you to do so, but whatever you do, resist.

      1. Rita, would you offer the same counsel to a parish that has a vibrant EF Mass and a new pastor turned it into an exclusively OF parish, eliminated chant in the more traditional celebrations of the OF Mass, instituted more contemporary music and so on?

      2. Fr. Allen, let me ask you another question. When you are counseling a woman who has been abused by her husband, do you tell her to put up with it and stay in the marriage come what may? Or do you not counsel her to seek outside help, and, if that fails, to remove herself from being at the receiving end of further harm?

      3. You misunderstand my question, for I agree with you in your counsel (a man could have posited what she posited) my question was, would you have offered the same advice for the scenario I presented. I was hoping for consistency from you and evidently that consistency would have been offered in ether case of abuse from a pastor or at least that is my impression from your response to me.

    2. I sympathize with Mary. The prior pastor at my parish allowed an EF Mass once a month. He made it clear that he had no interest in celebrating the Mass, but was always friendly and welcoming to the EF community (and was fairly well liked by them). Without going into detail, his replacement made it clear that he didn’t want us around and caused a lot of confusion through actions that seemed very childish. Nobody shed a tear when they finally found a new parish to host the EF.

      I was pretty actively involved at that church (at the OF, I should note), but sort of drifted away as I felt more and more unwelcome. I joined the parish that the EF moved to. It’s closer to my new house anyway.

  10. I applaud the principles that Fr Ruff sets out: outside the liturgy, honesty about the dreadful botch visited on the Church by ICEL and Vox Clara; within the liturgy, smooth implementation.

    It would be helpful if there were more positive things we could say about the new translation. Unfortunately it is less accurate, less poetic in its construction, less true to the Latin texts and less sacral than the translation we are leaving behind.

    So what good things can be said about it?

  11. There does seem to be very little objective judgment here doesn’t there? It is apparent that those who shovelled pseudo folk music, pop styled music, not to mention rock and on and on down our throats for the last four decades are just appalled that here and there now the worm has turned, the shoe is being put on the other foot and voila…. we were not unfair to them, no, not US. But they are being unfair to US. We don’t wan’t Gregorian chant and attendant styles…. But we didn’t care that they didn’t want happy-clappy plunky-plunky music — they were just ultramontain quacks.
    Now, if these people sit through Gregorian chant masses, Palestrina motets, fine organ music, standard hymnody and squirm that way we have squirmed for forty-five years they may begin to realise what THEY, in fact have done to others for hopeless decades.

    (And no, I do not advocate revenge; only reflection and objectivity.)

    This is not written in spleen, I wish no ill on any worshipful persons. We might, though, stop to reflect that there has been a preposteriously unbalanced inclusion in our worship life in favour of the timely, weightless and inelegant against the riches of our heritage and its weighty and pricelessly artful repertory. (The ONLY music mentioned for liturgical use by VII!)

    It isn’t meet that, say, Haugen should be on everyone’s lips while Tallis draws a blank stare peering from a shut mind.

    Is there a more charitable, Christian and equitable manner of resloution to these matters.

    Someone above counselled takingy your money, your love, you talents etc., and going elswhere. This has been done by those on both sides of this coin since the seventies and the problem in still here. Is there another way?

    1. But Jackson, you clearly DO argue for revenge. This entire post, and many of your other posts are all about revenge and how sweet it is. You are reveling in the discomfort of others (over parish councils, not even liturgy!), and exculpating any and all excesses of your traditionalist confreres by touting the permanantly “worse” and never to be either forgiven or forgotten sins of the past.

      It doesn’t matter to you one whit that you know nothing about Mary Wood or her community or me. You have no idea what they or I were doing in the 1960s, or at any other time. But you feel free to insult them and to project on them — and onto me — any and every excess of the past… because you feel that NOTHING you can do is a patch on what has been done to you. NOTHING. Because the excesses of the sixties have now given you a free pass. You have the privileges of permanant “victim status” and will not have them taken away from you.

      It must be wonderful to walk through the world with a ready excuse for everything uncharitable you say about the liturgical views, practices, and concerns of others. Oh, the sixties have been useful to you!

      1. As a recent initiate, and someone who reads this post but tries VERY hard not to enter the discussion (I am embarrassed to admit, primarily out of fear), this exchange between Ms. Ferrone and M. Jackson Osborn is quite disheartening. While realizing that the blogosphere is not the best place to draw general conclusions, I had no idea the extent to which I was entering into “communion” with a community that is so angry, broken, and disunited. It is truly sad.

        Although I am tempted at moments like this to withdraw from this community . . . to run away with all my donations, love, prayers . . . I will continue to fight that inclination with all the strength that I can muster. Lord, please give me the strength.

      2. Hi Tom,

        You are better advised to look to your own parish and diocese than to look around the blogosphere in order to gain a good impression of Catholicism today. The blogosphere is not a representative sample, and it may have little or nothing to do with the real live people with whom your church life is unfolding. Nevertheless, you are obviously right to observe that there are tensions and divisions in the Catholic community which you have recently joined. If you study history you will learn that it was ever thus; the issues have changed but there are always issues. Don’t let it defeat you.

      3. Rita is right – the internet isn’t realistic. I would say that it over-represents and over-amplifies certain debates and concerns and brings out the bad side of a lot of people.

        I used to to participate in classic cartoon discussion boards and the perennial debate was on whether the pre 1948 Warner Bros. cartoons were better than the post 1948 ones. I don’t think I have seen any liturgy discussions here that have reached the bitterness of those cartoon discussions. Never mind that the 1948 distinction was totally arbitrary and came about because Warner Bros. sold its pre 1948 film library to Associated Artists Productions in 1957.

  12. Just back from celebrating the last of three masses with my communities using the new order of Mass for the first time, and it did go very smoothly – people responded enthusiatically (a few “and also with you’s here are there), but no complaints or reservations expressed. I was very pleased – all the hard work seems to have paid off. Hope others have shared the same experience in the UK.

    1. We’re implementing the new translation for the laity this Sunday too in Macon, Georgia (USA) with our bishop emeritus’ approval and so far have had the same experience you report almost exactly! Everyone is so very positive and have a sense of humor about reverting to “And also with you” when they really want to say (or sing in our case) “and with your spirit.” We’re not all that different after all! 🙂

  13. Fr Allan, if your grasp of Latin grammar is not as good as your grasp of English grammar, perhaps it’s not all that surprising that your sensibilities are not irked by the new translation. One wonders how you fare reading the Tridentine usage. And more to the point, one wonders how your congregation fares when you’re reading it.

    1. Or perhaps, that’s the whole thing about the Tridentine usage. The congregation doesn’t need to recognise, much less understand, what the priest is mumbling.

  14. Clanging cymbal, perhaps wishing to be a bodhran to be followed.
    I’m sure Macon’s in good company. Ireland? Not so much, maybe.

  15. @ Tom #33 “I had no idea the extent to which I was entering into “communion” with a community that is so angry, broken, and disunited.”

    I feel compelled to respond to you, as a cradle Catholic, RCIA catechist, but primarily, a disciple in the pews. This is a distressing time. Arguments that it’s always been this way are true, but hardly inspiring. I’ve heard your struggles echoed by others and wanted to share my thoughts.

    I’ve come to the opinion that we, the “folks in the pews,” are, at this point in human history, the parents of our family of faith. The arguing class (including many priests, religious, theologians, “professional” bloggers) are in some ways the children, demanding much attention but contributing little to the actual support and well-being of the family. Tuning into this blog (far less venomous than most) is like walking into a nursery school filled with spats and quarrels—don’t expect adult manners. See it for what it is. Like parents who endure tantruming toddlers, sullen pre-teens and know-it-all teenagers, we must endure them even as we love and provide for them, desire their growth and delight in their potential. I’m not suggesting that we infantilize individuals in this way, but simply hold in prayer those who are invested in the conflict. This viewpoint has brought me much peace and increased my ability to love in the midst of chaos.

    Some suggestions: Stay away from blogs – garbage in, garbage out. Try more positive sites such as http://www.ignatianspirituality.com or http://www.goodnews.ie, which address current issues but from a more loving perspective-not as sophisticated but enriching. Join a small Christian community, share your joys and struggles and find Christ in your midst–that is where the work of the Spirit happens. Know the difference between the Roman Catholic Church and the Kingdom of God. Serve the poor endlessly. Pray with the mystics, they’ll keep you close to God. Remember, in the…

    1. LF, this is an incredibly patronizing comment. Don’t you see that? It’s interesting that it makes you feel better to look down on people who comment on blogs, but that really says more about your own psychic needs than it does about the objective situation.

      Besides, it begs the question to assign some sort of superior spiritual adulthood to the people in the pews. Try attending meetings about any contested issue in your average parish, be it a school closing, parish consolidation, or whether it’s OK to build a mosque next door, and you will find as many adolescent minds and as much juvenile self-centeredness as you want. Consider the fact that the people whom you describe here as screaming toddlers in the “arguing class” (another false concept) ARE all (except for the clergy) people in pews — maybe not your pews, but some pews, somewhere.

      No, these are false and facile dichotomies, and it won’t wash. My point to Tom above, and which Jack Wayne helpfully supported with an example from another internet setting (thanks, Jack!) is that we shouldn’t get our impression of Church from the internet. What you do have in a parish and can never have on the internet is a chance to interact with people on multiple levels and in person, in short, a genuine community.

      For the record, let me add one more thing. Blog discussions can and do sometimes bring out the worst in people. Like tabloid journalism or letters to editors. But I have also made friends through the internet and when those friendships cross over from cyberspace to real space I am always grateful.

  16. I subscribe to the Magnificat and was reading the enw translation and found a number of them ridiculous. I was getting worried thinking of the Sunday Mass I would be attending here in the UK where the gradual implementation takes place this weekend. I came to church last Saturday evening when Mass has already started. As my family and I made our way to the pew, I could hear the Gloria being recited – in the 1973 version! It was during the Homily – actually, it was replaced by a pastoral letter from the Bishop- that the parish priest explained that he misunderstood the timings for implementation. At any rate, he told the congregation that instead of dumping the new translation on us straightaway, he would devote some time to explain the new translation. Our parish would therefore would only implement the translation in November, first Sunday of Advent. I could sigh a relief (well, at least for the next few weeks…)!

  17. The mass is our highest encounter with Truth–God. All truth is God’s truth, and falsehood comes from…ah…somebody else.

    Almost all of us know that “credo” means “I believe”–not “we believe.” And that “pro multus” means “for many” not “for all.” And so on. The corrections are a simple matter of no longer stating known falsehoods at our highest encounter with God. It is acting as though truth matters.

    1. This is a rather simplistic view of things.

      Words don’t just “mean” in the abstract – they have meaning within a cultural context. The equivalent of “for many” in Aramaic or Greek or Latin has the meaning of: the great masses of people, the multitudes. But the literal translation into English, in our context, has the new meaning of “for some, not all.” So there is actually a change in meaning – a falsehood, if you will – in translating it literally as “for many.”

      Though it’s been said many times, I’ll repeat that the Vatican’s translation instruction in force when the current sacramentary was translated allowed for taking freedoms such as change in grammatical number. The translators were doing what the Vatican asked of them.


  18. I am a bit disconcerted that all these pixels have been spilled without one note of horror that the editor of this blog is actually planning to attend the Call to Action conference in November.

    1. Is your horror greater or lesser than the horror at our Lord talking to a Samaritan in public – and a woman! – though Samaritans were false believers and mortal enemies of the Jews? And that He decided to remain with the Samaritans for 2 days? (I’ll be at CTA for almost 3 days, fwiw.)


      1. I may not agree with many of the opinions of CTA. But I have not heard they have dismissed the creed. That mean’s they without a doubt profess Jesus as Lord, and so as far as the “false believers” charge goes, it’s a little more complicated than that. But in any case, whatever their “errors” may be, they are still my brothers and sisters and members of the body of Christ, not my “mortal enemies”. And so I believe that Father Anthony’s right to go and share his thoughts on the new translation of the Roman Missal (a purely disciplinary matter, by the way) is secure.

      2. Nowhere have I said that I necessarily agree with ANY of the positions of CTA. I have agreed to SPEAK to them – which is something different.

  19. One thing we can all agree upon is that the Vatican(pushed down to the bishops) has certainly done a good “snow” job in selling this new translation. Why not just let it speak for itself? The need to expound on its greatness tells me that perhaps it is not so great! I fail to see how its uncomfortable, archaic bad grammer will improve my prayer. It really is all about power; if the people do not understand it, the proest becomes the person who explains it and ,thus, has the power.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.