Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New missal translation to change words, not the Mass

.Catholics will notice changes in the wording used during the Mass after the new English translation of the Roman Missal is implemented, likely late next year.

The new English translation of the Roman Missal is seen in Rome April 29. CNS photo / Paul Haring
Among the changes is the assembly’s response to the priest when he says, “The Lord be with you.”

Currently, Catholics reply: “And also with you.” The new response will be: “And with your spirit.”

Clergy and liturgists from area dioceses attended a seminar May 24-25 at St. Peter in Mendota to learn more about the new translation. The seminar was the sixth of 22 “Welcoming the Roman Missal, Third Edition” national seminars, which are sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The seminar featured presentations by Father Richard Hilgartner, associate director of the USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship; and Peter Zografos, director of campus ministry and adjunct faculty member at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio and adjunct faculty member in the graduate School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University.

The new translation more closely aligns with the Latin-language Roman Missal, includes more theological terminology, and strengthens scriptural metaphors in the text, Father Hilgartner said.

Beyond new words

In 2000, Pope John Paul II announced a revised edition of the Roman Missal, the book containing the prayers for the Mass. Following the Roman Missal editions of 1969 and 1975, this third edition of the Roman Missal includes new prayers for observances of recently canonized saints, new prefaces for the eucharistic prayers, and additional vigil, votive and special intention Masses.

Because the Roman Missal is written in Latin, its translation into English is necessary for its implementation for English-language Masses.

Prepared in a highly consultative process by the InternationalCommission on English in the Liturgy, or ICEL, the new English translation is intended to be an exact translation, “without omissions, without paraphrases or glosses,” said Father Hilgartner. The new translation’s language is intended to be easily understandable, dignified, beautiful and doctrinally precise.

(See the sidebar “English in the Mass” to learn more about the history of the English translation of the Roman Missal.)

Although the Holy See confirmed the translation April 30, the U.S. bishops have not yet received a final text, which underwent editing by Vatican officials. The missal is expected to be forwarded to the U.S. bishops soon, and then it will be prepared for publication. The USCCB expects to implement the new translation in late 2011.

The changes, like the response “and with your sprit,” express a sound ecclesiology, Father Hilgartner said.

“The greeting ‘and with your spirit’ is a response that you give when the priest, bishop, or deacon . . . is about to do something specific with their ordination,” he said, like presiding over the liturgical assembly, proclaim the Gospel, consecrating the Eucharist, and imparting the final blessing.

“The response from the assembly is the recognition, the wish, and the hope that the priest, deacon or bishop is acting not of their own will, their own person or their own volition, but what they are about to do is what they are ordained to do,” he said.

Among other changes, Catholics will also begin the Nicene Creed not with “we,” but with “I” believe, as is already the custom in other languages, including the original Latin.

Although the plural pronoun expresses the faith of the whole church, using “I” requires each Catholic to speak for himself or herself, Hilgartner said.


Opportunity for catechesis

Father Hilgartner expect the texts to be greeted with both excitement and apprehension.

“We’ve come to embrace and love the celebration of the liturgy the way it’s been. That’s why this is such a difficult moment for so many people,” he said.

However, a common translation among English speakers that is precisely translated from the Latin Roman Missal is unifying, he added.

Liturgical texts change in almost every generation, Father Hilgartner said.

“The liturgy is a living and evolving thing. It has to speak to the needs of the people. It has to address the needs of the church,” he said.

Beginning in the fall, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office for Worship will offer workshops for lay people to learn about the Mass text’s changes.

“It’s an opportunity not only for education on new wording, but on the Mass itself,” said Father Erickson, archdiocesan director of worship. “It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for liturgical catechesis.”

Father Erickson emphasized that only the words of the Mass — not the Mass itself — are changing with the new translation.

“It gives us all, priests and people alike, a chance to reflect and to engage in what the church calls ‘mystagogy’ — to think about the texts as they’re being said,” he said. “I do think a new richness will come — both because of the change in the words, but also just because there is change.”

To learn more about the Roman Missal, Third Edition visit

English in the Mass

The current Roman Missal was promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 in Latin.

The missal contains the prayers for the Mass, and it has been translated into many languages so that the Mass can be celebrated in the vernacular.

The Holy See confirmed the English translation for the Order of Mass and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in 1970, and the complete English translation of the Roman Missal was approved in 1974. However, Masses were celebrated in English in the late 1960s and early 1970s as the English texts were approved and made available.

International Commission on English in the Liturgy, or ICEL, prepared the translation. Based on consultations with bishop conferences, ICEL translated the texts with simple, contemporary language, mild paraphrasing and new metaphors.

Within a year of the English translation, the Holy See issued a new edition of the Roman Missal, in Latin, and a second edition of the English missal was published in 1985, and is currently in use. This edition included several additions to liturgical texts, but it did not change the text of the Mass.

Even at that time, experts raised concerns about the English translation’s accuracy, beauty and imagery, said Father Richard Hilgartner, associate director of the USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship. Although work had been nearly completed on a new English translation based on the 1975 Latin edition of the Roman Missal, in 2000, Pope John Paul II promulgated a third Latin edition Roman Missal. That edition was completed in 2002.

The new English translation is from this most recent Roman Missal. The USCCB expects to implement the translation in late 2011.
Catholic Spirit

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