USA Today on the new translation

We’re not going to provide a link at Pray Tell to every last diocesan paper or local paper that runs a story on the Mass changes. But this one is worth a link because it’s a major newspaper read by lots of people. USA Today, “Catholics Prepare for New Translation of Liturgy.”


  1. What has impressed me so far in the roll out in local parishes is the number of disconnects:

    1. Practicing the new Gloria before Mass, but singing the old Gloria during the Mass.

    2. Large amounts of “catechesis” in the bulletins unaccompanied by any actual changes at Mass. Do these pastors really think we are going to read and remember all that several months from now.

    The much more effective route seems to be the pastor explaining a change in the bulletin a week or two ahead of time followed by implementation of the specific change or changes.

    3. The lack of information that people in the pews might think as useful, i.e. not telling people when the new Gloria is going to be sung, or whether it is really a new Gloria or just a new version of the old one, or that the Gloria might be heard or practiced on line at a publishers web site.

    4. The disconnect of celebrating Mass in a parish that still says “and also with you” after learning to say “and with your spirit” in a different parish.

    1. I agree about the disconnects. Just in my parish, we have been using the new translation since Labor Day, but until recently we haven’t been singing any of the parts of the Mass that are normally sung. Now we are not singing anything but the Gloria (theoretically to ease folks into it) but really, the chants aren’t difficult at all, and some, like the Lamb of God, are exactly the same as before, so what needs to be “eased into”?. And as much as I like my pastor, he forgets as easily as anyone about the new language. Old habits are hard to change, especially when the changes are relatively minor. The congregation wants to do right, so they get the first “and with your spirit”, but then forget it about it later in the Mass. So it goes.

  2. It’s quite interesting how, on one hand, the class that was being held in Louisville on reciting the new text “is part of an effort under way for months in archdioceses throughout the country”, but on the other hand, the article also says that as of August 75% were unaware of the changes.

    Scroll to the bottom of the article and read the comments.

  3. Peter Smith, Louisville Courier-Journal: ” ‘If any priest picks up that Missal on that first Sunday and has not read it out loud, he’ll be in over his head,’ said the Rev. Paul Scaglione, pastor at St. Barnabas.”

    I suspect that we all can agree with this. I do wonder if a number of priests will lose some credibility or esteem for not clearly saying Mass with the new translation on 2 December. Certainly, people of good will will probably cut priests a break. However, the initial struggle for everyone might result in some defections. It will be hard for both sides of the liturgical aisle to hold parishes together.

    1. Funny. On principle I don’t think I’m going to look at it until 5 PM on Saturday 11/26. If it is so ridiculous that it is unproclaimable, it’s not my fault. I don’t really feel it’s my job to make up by heroic effort for what has been foisted upon the Catholic Faithful.

      I really don’t buy the school of thought that presiders have to practice the prayers in order to “pull them off.” Better that the people hear them for what they are. Maybe if there is an uprising we can go back to the 1974 version.

      Seriously, they are so bad that any amount of practicing won’t be able to repair them.

      My time will be spent making up an altar card with EPIII from the 1998 ICEL sacramentary. That’s what we are going to use here.

      1. Thank you, Fr. Jim. It’s nice to feel that those of us who view the new missal as too extreme or unnecessary have some allies amongst the clergy.

      2. Thanks, Bruce, for your comments, and yes I have reflected on many of those points. First with regard to the “soft clericalism,” I do think you have a point there. But we have that always and everywhere. Consider the myriad excursions from the text that we see now, even from the 1974 ICEL text.

        Having placed the 1998 ICEL alongside the 2010 VC I find that they are fairly similar and with the exception of the rare parishioner who is following along in the book (and do we really want people following along in the book?) it should be fairly seamless approach.

        Just imagine – in light of what we hear these days – the excursions from the 2010 text that will be flying around on November 26 and the following? My contention for quite a while has been that it is better to use the 1998 straight than stumble through the 2010 trying to fix it on the run as thousands of presiders will do.

        With respect to the issue of preparation I think you do have a point there as well. A presider who has done no work or study reviewing the sad brutal history of the 2010 VC text and has not studied several side-by-side examples of responses and prayers from the various texts should probably not walk into church on 11/26 utterly cold and expect to be preside effectively.

        On the other hand I have been studying this matter intently for years now and have a very good handle on the way the prayers were transliterated. Basically the prayers need to be proclaimed slowly until the presider and assembly have a feel for them.

        The first several weeks are going to be rough anyway, and so it seems like a waste of time spending hours with the book in advance particularly with so many other pastoral obligations.

        Finally, there is the matter of emotional health. I think all people, including presiders, need to do what they need to do in order to preserve their emotional health. Since the VC 2010 impacts my emotional health adversely I choose to stay away from it as long as…

      3. Fr. Blue, Just do what some priests I know are planning for Nov. 26. Apart from a Catholic Guy Fawkes type of public burning of the Pell Missal, they’ve stocked up on “White Out”, scissors, 3X5 index cards, and some good old fashioned library paste.
        By the way, no exercise of priestly creativity, or playing Peter here. Our parish has supported the plan and they’ve explained in detail what substitutions they’ll be making.

  4. To be totally honest, I find it (pax Father JB et al.) amazing that there is not the expectation of practicing these texts well ahead of time. As a Protestant growing up, ministers always practiced their homily and scripture readings (including declamation) if they were worth their salt. How much more should the Mass or Liturgy of the Hours be worth that time? Also, as a musician, I am praying the psalms and antiphons, as well as looking at the scriptures for any given Sunday months ahead of time. I realize the clergy are busy, but at some point that also rings hollow with those of us with young children, etc., which also grab at our time.

    Although I’m not willing to elevate any translation of the Liturgy to the level of Sacred Scripture, honestly, how many times do we hear or experience the fullness of a passage of the Bible the first time around? Isn’t this why Lectio Divina developed? So, why not bring these texts to our prayer?

    I’m not giving the text a 100% personal approval vote, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be giving it my best to help those whom I serve. Also, using an unapproved text for a Eucharistic Prayer seems dangerously close to wanting to “make myself Peter”, and a form of “soft clericalism”.

    Please realize this as a friendly, but questioning, view from a p-i-p…

    1. Bruce, I share your concern. I have an expectation (unwarranted, perhaps?) that priests, deacons, lectors, and musicians prepare themselves for the proclamation / praying / reading /singing of their respective Mass texts.

      I’m not at all encouraged or comforted by Fr. Jim’s attitude. And I wonder who the “we” is who will be using 1998’s EP III. Is this the policy for all the priests who will pray Mass in his parish? Is this the decision his parishioners have come to a consensus on?

    2. BL, Jr – a very well reasoned observation. A priest who expects, without much or any study and bonding with the new ritual text is horribly remiss and is going to do himself and his beloved people a gross injustice. Catholics are the only priests I know of who just expect to walk in and ‘do their part’ without reference to or interaction with other participating ministries. Whoever else is invloved is purely decorative and incidental to the priest around whom they orbit. If the new translation is less than well done anywhere, it may well be because the priest didn’t think it worth his time to bond with it, and thought he should, as usual, be able to walk in not having prepared any of his ritual parts except maybe the homily. This new translation is good; it is a very great improvement in what is offered to God, an improvement in what the Church thinks of her people, and a high compliment to their intelligence. It’s high time!!!
      I, for one, can’t wait to attend a Roman Rite mass come Advent. I suspect it will be the first one I ever attended at which I didn’t feel totally, utterly alienated because of the dumb language. Now, it won’t be so jarring when I visit a non-Anglican Use parish. You should all give thanks and sing a Te Deum!

  5. Why does everyone assume that everybody is going to do this, and do it on the dot? Nothing else in the Church (or in civil society for that matter) happens that way. Some will do what they are told with alacrity. Others will not do anything without massive efforts, and I’m sorry, there haven’t been massive efforts here. And yet others will never do things they don’t want to do — at all.

    Remember Hurricane Irene? The police and rescue workers went out to every home in the evacuation areas, telling people that they were risking their lives. Yet even then some didn’t evacuate. There were children playing on the beach, and “hurricane tourists” who came to endanger their lives for fun. Short of arresting them and carrying them off in wagons, no one could stop them.

    So much for preparedness! And that was in a situation of life and death, where massive efforts were being made to get people to do something. How much less will anyone feel they must obey rules that do not seem to them to be either necessary or persuasive?

    This story is indicative. Look at the numbers. It isn’t a critical mass.

  6. The new translation, while awkward in places, is much more easily proclaimed when sung. I’ve found this to be true, while practicing the simple and solemn tones with my pastor. Phrasing and cadences seem to fall into place more readily.

  7. It appears that Veritas Publications the publishing house of the Irish RC bishops has had to recall many copies of the new missal for ‘quality-control’ reasons. They were printed in Italy and have many mistakes. They are being recalled and reissued at considerable expense.

  8. As a person in the pew, I am happy for the changes. Side by side they are a vast improvement. Could they have been better, probably, but that doesn’t mean they are bad. They sound alot better and I like the principals by which they were translated. Literal translation of the Latin as the guide.

  9. “I like the principles” — yes, but the proof of the pudding, etc. Have you really tasted the pudding long enough to appraise its texture?

  10. Since there seems to be a preoccupation with predictions on the implementation of this new Mess, my boyfriend and I will give you our pragmatic prediction: This Christmas will record the lowest level of offerings recorded in the last 50 years… the parishioners don’t talk about the new Mess….they take a walk instead.

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