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Friday, 14 May 2010

Chancery Official? Educating the Flock on the New Translations

My brother, (who apparently doesn't listen to a word I say to him, as I had certainly talked about this...,) told me that he was surprised to read in the bulletin, on a chance visit to his cathedral, that new translations were on the way. Anyway, it prompted him to seek out the other articles in the series:

small cross Series on The New Translation of the Mass

Introduction: (1)

None of us likes change! We are, however, nearing the end of a very long and careful process which will result in a new English translation of the Mass coming into effect at some point in 2010. In order to begin to familiarize ourselves with some of the changes, and to look at the reasoning behind them, I will be writing a short series of articles in the bulletin over the next few weeks. We may repeat them again in the new year when we have a more definite starting date for the changes.

As an introduction, it is important to remember that the official language of the Latin-rite Catholic Church is Latin. It is only by special permission that Masses are celebrated in the vernacular. The new English translation is meant to be a more faithful rendition in English of the Latin Mass. There are two great advantages to this: first, it means that we in the English-speaking world will be more in tune in our celebration of the Mass with those of other languages in their translation from the Latin; second, at present the English-speaking world is itself divided. For example, Mass in England or Australia or Canada uses different words or expressions to a Mass celebrated in the United States. The new translation brings a uniformity or harmony in English, wherever the Mass is being celebrated. “May this process of the implementation of the revised Roman Missal be a time of deepening, nurturing, and celebrating our faith through our worship and the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy.”

The Greeting: (2)
The first and most obvious change will be in response to the priest’s greeting: “The Lord be with you”. The people’s response will now be “And with your spirit” (rather than “And also with you”). Four times during Mass, at significant points, the priest (or at one place, possibly the deacon) will utter these words. At the beginning of Mass, immediately after “In the name of the Father....”; before introducing and proclaiming the Gospel; at the beginning of the Eucharistic prayer; and before imparting the final blessing. Contrary to popular belief, the Mass does not begin when the presiding priest may say “Good morning” or “Good evening”. That is a purely secular greeting which is not found in the Missal. Rather, when the priest uses the words: “The Lord be with you”, and the people respond, “And with your Spirit”, a spiritual space or framework for celebration is created by the Holy Spirit by means of an exchange of a promise and a bearing witness to his presence. The words, uttered at these significant points of the Mass are a sign of the reciprocity that constitutes the full truth of the relationship between the Christian community and the priest who is the president of that community at the celebration of the Sacred Mysteries.

The confiteor (I confess) (3)
There is one major addition and two minor changes to the confiteor. In our current English translation a whole phrase was left out from the original Latin text, a phrase in which we, the penitent, acknowledge that our sins, our failures, are our own responsibility. In today’s society we have fostered a mentality of either no blame, or no responsibility, for wrong-doing, or a responsibility that is somehow held collectively. How often have you heard the phrase, “I blame the government” or “I blame the parents”? Accepting a personal responsibility for sin is a vital step on the road to true repentance. At these restored words we are invited to make a physical gesture of repentance by striking our chests three times.
In Christ, Fr Andrew

“I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.”

In Christ Our Lord,
Fr [X]

The Gloria (4)
The great hymn sung by the angels to announce the birth of Christ, which is recited or sung at each Sunday Mass (except in Advent and Lent) and at Masses on Solemnities and feast days. The new translation is more faithful to the Latin text, restoring several phrases that were omitted in the current rendition.

In Christ, Fr [X]

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory,

Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.”

The Creed (5)

The Creed (Part 1)

There are a number of differences to the present text, as the new translation makes a great effort not only to be a more faithful rendition of the original Latin text, but also to be more faithful to the teaching of the fathers of the Councils of Nicea, who in order to resolve disputes in the early Church promulgated the Creed in AD 325. The principal, and most notable change, is that all the statements of belief are made in the first person singular, so that, instead of saying “We believe...”, we shall say “I believe...”. This underlines that the profession of the catholic faith is to be owned by each individual and not just by the community as a whole.
The changes to the first part of the translation emphasize, as the council fathers meant to emphasize, the divinity of Christ, asserting his co-eternalness with God and confirming it by stating his role in Creation, i.e. that Jesus truly is God and God’s Son and not himself a creation of God. Similarly, Jesus is not ‘of one being’ with the Father. The First and Second Persons of the Blessed Trinity are distinct, but of the same substance (‘consubstantial’).
The change from ‘born of the Virgin Mary’ to ‘became incarnate’ underlines that it is from the moment of his conception, and not from his birth, that Our Lord took flesh and became a man like us in all things except sin.

In Christ, Fr Andrew

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit
was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

The Creed (II)

The alterations to this second part (my division) can be seen in bold type. There is really no further comment to make, other than this represents a far more faithful translation.

In Christ, Fr Andrew

“For our sake
he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated
at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord,
the giver of life, who proceeds
from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
And one, holy, catholic
and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection
of the dead
and the life of the world to come.

The Eucharistic Prayers (I)

The Preface Dialogue

As has already been noted, in response to the priest’s, “The Lord be with you”, the response of the assembly will now be, “And with your Spirit.” There is no change to the invocation to lift up our hearts, but to the third part, in response to the “Let us give thanks....” the people will now reply, “It is right and just”. For it is not only right that we give God thanks and praise, as we currently declare, but more importantly it is just that we do so. Justice towards God is called the ‘virtue of religion’ (CCC) and denotes a constant and firm will to give God what is due to him and to our neighbor.
In Christ, Fr Andrew

“Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right and just.”

The Eucharistic Prayers (II)
One of the criticisms of our current translation, particularly in the central prayers of the liturgy, is that the language used can seem ordinary or everyday and yet we are daring to address, praise and entreat God. Accordingly the new translation faithfully incorporates the distinctive style of the original Latin, in that the language used is more poetically resonant, employing a noble tone and rhythm and a heightened style of vocabulary and grammar. Perhaps even more importantly, the close link between our liturgy and scared scripture will be emphasized with the restoration to the prayers of the direct quotations from scripture which are employed in the original, but which we somehow lost in the translation. Just as one example, amongst so many, in the current Eucharistic Prayer III the priest employs the phrase, “from east to west a perfect offering may be made...” In the new rendition the passage, “from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered...”.

May we continue to look forward to the promulgation of the new translation next year with joyful anticipation. In Christ, Fr [X]

The Eucharistic Acclamations

A minor, but important change, again to link more closely the words we use in the liturgy with the words of Sacred Scripture.

“Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.”

The final text of the alternative responses to “the mystery of faith” has yet to be determined, but the following have been approved:

A – We proclaim your death, O Lord,
and profess your Resurrection
until you come again.

or B – When we eat this Bread
and drink this Cup,
we proclaim your death, O Lord,
until you come again.

or C – Save us, Savior of the world,
for by your Cross
and Resurrection,
you have set us free.

In Christ, Fr [X]

Even more resonantly are the invitation to communion and the people’s response linked with the words of Sacred Scripture. First, by the priest using the words of St John the Baptist and then by the faithful echoing the words of the centurion from St Luke’s Gospel:

Priest: Behold the Lamb of God,
behold him who takes away
the sins of the world.
Blessed are those called
to the supper of the Lamb.

All: Lord, I am not worthy
that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word
and my soul shall be healed.

This concludes my short series of articles on the new translation which are meant to help us in our preparation for the changes, the final date for which we are still waiting. In the words of the prophet: “How long, O Lord?!” In Christ, Fr [X]
Well, nice that SOME dioceses are on the job.
Also, isn't it nice that this preist, (the cathdral rector, perhaps?) asks, How long, O Lord?
A much wiser question than What if we just said 'wait'?, in my opinion.

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