Sunday, 4 September 2011

Now Current!

The New Translation of the Mass has been in use in parishes in England since September 2011. The posts below were designed to help people understand the reason for the changes.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Why we need the New Translation

Why We Need The New Translation of the Mass: Some Introductory Comments

In September 2011 the prayers that we currently use in the Mass are going to be replaced by a new translation. This change is going to be the biggest change that we have experienced in the Mass in 38 years.

Why is this happening?
The prayers that we use the Mass are the same prayers said by Catholics all across the world. The official version of these prayers is written in Latin and was revised after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. In 1973 we started using the current English translation of these prayers, however, this translation was produced in something of a hurry and it was always planned that it would be revised. The revision has taken a long time and gone through many different drafts, many of which have been rejected or approved by our bishops and by the Vatican. A new improved text is now finally ready.

Why is this important?
The prayers we say in the Mass reflect what we believe, however, by the very fact that we say these prayers they also form our belief and potentially change what we believe. As the ancient saying goes, lex orandi, lex credendi, “the rule of prayer is the rule of faith”. It is therefore important that the prayers we say are truly a worthy and accurate expression of our Catholic faith. Making sure that the new English translation is a better reflection of the original Latin will help make sure that the prayers form us into better Catholics.

What principles have the translators used?
The 1973 translation drew on principles of translation that were fashionable at the time. In particular, they avoided “formal equivalence” methodologies that aimed at a word for word rendering of the words of one language into another language. Instead, they drew on the “dynamic equivalence” methodology of Eugene Nida. This theory avoided focussing on exact word translations and instead tried to produce the same effect in the new language that a text in the original language had produced. In practice, however, it can often be difficult to faithfully produce the same effect unless you also faithfully translate the particular words. As one of the new translators has put it, “sometimes formal equivalence can be the way to achieve dynamic equivalence”.

What was wrong with the old translation?
The translators of the new text have been keen to say that it is not so much that the old translation was "wrong" but that the new translation will be better. This said, there are certain weaknesses that have been consistently noted in the old translation. One of the problems in the 1973 translation is that it often failed to convey the Scriptural imagery that was in the Latin text. In contrast, the new translation includes many words and phrases that we will recognise as being from the Bible, and this should help us appreciate the significance of the prayers better. Another problem with the 1973 text is that many specific Latin words were given no English equivalent in the translation, with the consequence that the 1973 translation often had a very reduced meaning. In particular, priests have often noted that the Opening Prayers of the Mass can often feel rather vague and as if they lack content. In addition, the general style of the English used in the 1973 translation lacked the “sacred” feel that was present in the style of the Latin phraseology of the original text. This is one way in which the "dynamic equivalence" methodology of the 1973 translation actually defeated itself and failed to produce the same “effect” that was present in the original Latin prayer. Many of the original Latin prayers were composed at a time when Latin was a living language, but they were nonetheless written in a specific sacred style. The new English translation aims to have something of this sacred feel to it, while avoiding words like “thee” and “thou” that might simply feel old-fashioned.

What about some examples?
Different examples can be given to indicate different strengths of the new translation.
One of the strengths, as noted, is the renewed Scriptural imagery in the new translation. For example, before the congregation get ready to receive Holy Communion the priest raises the host and in the old 1973 translation we have been saying, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you”. Instead, the new translation says, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof”, clearly quoting the words of the Centurion to our Lord (Mt 8:8). Similarly, we might note how the 1973 translation of the “Holy Holy Holy” continues, “Lord God of power and might”. The new 2010 translation of this line is more faithful to the Latin and by doing this takes us back to another phrase we should hopefully recognise from the Bible: the new text says “Lord God of hosts”, a common Scriptural title for God as the Lord of armies (e.g. Isa 6:3; Rev 4:9).
There are also many cases of words that were lost in the 1973 translation but are now restored in the 2010 translation. The “I confess” or Confiteor in the introductory rite gives two examples of this: Whereas the 1973 translation had the phrase, "I have sinned”, the new 2010 translation says, “I have greatly sinned”. In addition, whereas the 1973 text said, "through my own fault", the new 2010 text restores the threefold repetition that is in the Latin text, “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”.
Finally, an example of the changes in the Opening Prayers can be seen in one of the recent weekday Masses, Thursday of the 2nd week of Lent. The Latin of the first line of this prayer reads, “Deus, innocentiae restitutor et amator”. The out-going 1973 translation rendered this as “God of love”, a ‘translation’ that bears no resemblance to the original Latin! In contrast, the new 2010 translation translates the text as “O God, who delight in innocence and restore it”.

While each of these are small changes they will add up to a give a new “effect” that will be closer to the Latin, better express our Catholic faith, and better help raise our hearts and minds to the Lord.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Sanctus and the Preface Dialogue

The following gives the new English translation and some brief comments on it.

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.
Priest: It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Father most holy, through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ...
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.

(1) The response “and with your spirit” replaces “and also with you”. An earlier edition of these newsletter handouts focussed on this change which occurs a number of times in the Mass.
(2) “It is right and just”. At first sight this phrase might seem a little abrupt, if not a little clumsy as the people’s response. However, when it is followed by the priest’s preface prayer, which will always start with the same words “It is truly right and just...”, the flow and connectedness of the dialogue should feel quite natural.

The Sanctus echoes the prayer of the angels and saints in Heaven, the prayer that Scripture describes the hosts of Heaven making to the Almighty (Isa 6:3, c.f. Rev 4:8).
(3) “Lord God of hosts”. The new translation of this phrase is one of a great many examples in the new translation where we will now be better able to detect the use of the Bible in the liturgy: “God of hosts” is a Scriptural term referring to him as the powerful Lord of hosts and armies.
(4) The three-fold “holy” is another use that connects our liturgy with the Jewish Scriptures. Hebrew, the language of the ancient Jews, lacked the ability to form superlative or comparative forms in the same way that we can in English, and so the Scriptures typically uses repetition to say “more” and “the most”. For us, it also adds a poetic dimension that saying “the most holy” would fail to convey.
(5) “Blessed is he who comes” is a reference to Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. This is the song the crowds chanted as Jesus entered Jerusalem. “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest‟” (Mt 21:9).
(6) “He who comes” in the Eucharist. We echo the song of the crowds welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem as a statement of our faith that we are about to welcome him in the Eucharist itself. “Just as the Lord entered the Holy City that day on a donkey, so too the Church [sees] him coming again and again in the humble form of bread and wine”(Pope Benedict, Jesus of Nazareth, Vol 2, p.10).

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Some Lenten Collects

Previous posts have focussed on parts of the Mass that we all say in common. This post gives examples of some others prayers that will change: the Opening Prayers and Post-Communion Prayers said by the priest. In each example it can be seen that the old 1973 translation was shorter and over-simplified. The new translation aims to include nuances and meanings that are in the Latin text but that were lost in the 1973 translation.

The following gives the 4 examples of new English translation. 2nd Sunday of Lent
O God, who have commanded us
to listen to your beloved Son,
be pleased, we pray,
to nourish us inwardly by your word,
that, with spiritual sight made pure,
we may rejoice to behold your glory.

Thursday of 2nd Week of Lent
O God, who delight in innocence and restore it,
direct the hearts of your servants to yourself,
that, caught up in the fire of your Spirit,
we may be found steadfast in faith
and effective in works.

Annunciation, 25th March
O God, who willed that your Word
should take on the reality of human flesh
in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
grant, we pray,
that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man,
may merit to become partakers even in his divine nature.

3rd Sunday of Lent (Post-Communion Prayer)
As we receive the pledge
of things yet hidden in heaven
and are nourished while still on earth
with the Bread that comes from on high,
we humbly entreat you, O Lord,
that what is being brought about in us in mystery
may come to true completion.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

4 Parish Meetings on the New Translation

The following is a guide for 4 parish meetings to introduce people to the new translation of the missal.

The interactive computer DVD resource, "Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ", that has been distributed to help introduce people to the new translation of the Missal is a good high quality resource. However, it doesn't come in a format that is instantly ready for use in a parish group setting.
The following arranges the video clips and text comments of the DVD so as to create four 1 hour-long sessions, each session aiming to have 30 minutes of video clips and 30 minutes of discussion.
To do this your parish would need to have a computer linked up to a projector.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Creed

The following lists: The new English translation, comments on it, the Latin, the old translation New Translation
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe 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,
(All bow during these three lines)
and by the Holy Spirit
was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
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.
I believe 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.
I believe in 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. Amen.

(1) “I” believe rather than “we” believe. The new translation’s use of “I” emphasises that the recitation of the creed is a personal act of faith affirming that we individually assent to what we receive in faith. Nonetheless, because the creed is something that we say together as a group the “we” aspect of our faith is still something that should be evident to us. Like many other parts of the new translation of the Mass this particular word change is simply a more accurate translation of the Latin: the Latin “Credo” says “I believe” and so does our new translation.

(2) “invisible” not merely “unseen”. The use of the word “invisible” helps clarify what it is that we are referring to: we are referring to the entire spiritual order, i.e. of angels and of the human soul. Angels and souls are things that are not only “unseen” but are not capable of being seen because they belong to an order that is different from the order our physical eyes can behold.

(3) Latin experts will note that at this stage in the Creed the translators have not been slavishly accurate: they have added several “I believe” clauses in the course of the creed even though the Latin only says “credo” once, at the beginning. It would seem that this has been done to help the verbal flow of words in English. (This change was a 2010 revision of the 2008 text.)

(4) Why does the Creed focus so much on Christ? In part, because of the centrality of Christ to our faith. But also, because the “Nicene” Creed we recite in the Mass was developed as a response to certain heresies that denied various truths about Christ. Thus, the Creed emphatically asserts Jesus’s Godhead, “true God from true God”, while being equally emphatic about his becoming man and truly suffering and dying.

(5) “Consubstantial” is not a word we use in normal conversation. The different parts of the Mass use terminology and styles (e.g. poetry, praise, repetition) that are appropriate for those different parts of the Mass. The Creed is a precise and formal articulation of our faith and so uses the words of theology, including the word “consubstantial”. While “consubstantial” may sound technical and obscure the philosophy and significance of the word “being” used in the old translation was equally in need of clarification if it was to be correctly understood. One advantage of the word “consubstantial” is that it reminds us that there is something about the inner life of God that is beyond our normal terminology. Literally translated “consubstantial” means that the Son is of the same substance as the Father: He is not of a different substance; He is not of a lesser substance; He has always existed; as St Athanasius summed it up, “there was never a time when he was not”.

(6) “Incarnate” not only “born”. The word “incarnate” helps remind us that Jesus took flesh even before his birth, i.e. when he was in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is an important point to remember today because our culture under-values life in the womb.

(7) Bowing at the lines “and was made man”. What is the most unique and distinctive part of our Christian faith? What is the part of the creed we should most emphasise? The timing of the gesture of bowing during the creed reminds us that it is not the crucifixion but the incarnation that is the centre of our faith: God became flesh. It is only because the Eternal Son took human flesh that he was able to die for us, rise for us, and remain with us in his sacraments. The centrality of this aspect of our faith is emphasised by the fact that this is the only point in the creed when we bow. In many places this gesture has dropped out of fashion, along with some other gestures. The new translation provides us with a reminder that this is something that we should all be doing.

(8) I believe “in” the Church. In what sense can we say we believe “in” the Church? We believe “in” the Church in the sense that what affirm about her are things that we hold as revealed by God, that we hold as “an article of faith”, rather than as things we have deduced by our own thinking. It is because the Lord established the Church that we believe her to be more than just a human society founded by human beings. This said, we do not believe “in” the Church in the same sense in which we believe and trust “in” God her founder and the source of the blessings he promises her (c.f. Catechism n.750).

(9) “I confess”. To ‘confess’ something is another way of referring to how someone proclaims something, i.e. it does not just refer to confessing our sins. Thus we refer to “St Edward the Confessor” –not because he continually confessed his sins but because the holiness of his life proclaimed his faith, i.e. ‘confessed’ his faith.

The Latin
Credo in unum Deum,
Patrem omnipotèntem,
factòrem caeli et terrae,
visibìlium òmnium et invisibìlium.
Et in unum Dòminum Jesum Christum, Fìlium Dei
unigènitum, et ex Patre natum
ante òmnia sàecula
Deum de Deo, lumen de lùmine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
gènitum, non factum,
consubstantiàlem Patri:
per quem omnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos hòmines et propter nostram salùtem
descèndit de caelis.
(All bow during these three lines)
Et incarnàtus est de Spìritu Sancto ex Marìa Vìrgine,
et homo factus est.
Crucifìxus etiam
pro nobis sub Pòntio Pilàto;
passus et sepùltus est,
et resurrèxit tèrtia die,
secundum Scriptùras,
et ascèndit in caelum,
sedet ad dèxteram Patris.
Et ìterum ventùras est cum glòria,
iudicàre vivos et mòrtuos,
cuius regni non erit finis.
Et in Spìritum Sanctum,
Dòminum et vivificàntem:
qui ex Patre Filiòque procèdit.
Qui cum Patre et Fìlio
simul adoràtur et conglorifcàtur:
qui locùtus est per prophètas.
Et unam, sanctam, cathòlicam, et apostòlicum Ecclèsiam.
Confiteor unum baptìsma
in remissiònem peccatòrum.
Et exspècto resurrectiònem
mortuòrum, et vitam ventùri sàeculi. Amen.

Old Translation
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
(All bow during these three lines)
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake
he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
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.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds
from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic
and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection
of the dead,and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

September Launch Date!

As the press release below indicates, we've now been told that parishes in England and Wales are to start using the new translation from this coming September.
This said, the September date will be for the "Ordinary" of the Mass. The "Ordinary" prayers are those prayers that are the same in every Mass, which includes all the prayers that the congregation say. Other prayers, i.e. ones that vary in different Masses, will be introduced with the launch of the full missal in Advent.
It follows that, from the persective of our congregations, the September date will be the truly significant transition date as this will be when their responses will change form the old to the new.


Press release

Issued by the Catholic Communications Network
Roman Missal — the new translation

Introduction in England and Wales

Missal Translation Front Cover

Before leaving England, Pope Benedict XVI asked the Bishops of England & Wales to prepare for the introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal. The Missal contains the texts which are prayed by priest and people every time Catholics come to Mass. Work on the new translation has been ongoing since the publication of a new Latin edition of the Roman Missal in 2002. The Holy Father thanked the bishops for the contribution they had made, ‘with such painstaking care, to the collegial exercise of reviewing and approving the texts. This has provided an immense service to Catholics throughout the English-speaking world’.

The translation of the Roman Missal is now complete and the Holy See has given its recognitio on the text. The bishops, following the Holy Father’s encouragement that this new translation is an opportunity for ‘in-depth catechesis on the Eucharist and renewed devotion in the manner of its celebration’, have decided that from September 2011 the Order of Mass in the new translation will be used in parishes in England and Wales. The Order of Mass contains those texts of both priest and people which are constant at each celebration of Mass. For 3 months from September 2011 until December 2011 there will be catchesis in parishes both on the new translation and on the Mass itself. This will precede the publication of the new Missal which at the earliest is expected by Advent 2011.

To assist parishes and other communities to prepare for the new translation and to assist them in its introduction and catechesis a number of resources are being prepared. The first of these, the interactive DVD Become One Body One Spirit in Christ has already been sent out to dioceses.
Bishop Arthur Roche, bishop of Leeds and chairman of the Department for Christian Life and Worship said:

“The new translation is a great gift to the Church. The Mass is at the heart of what the Church is, it is where we deepen our faith in Christ and are nourished by him so that we can glorify the Lord by our lives. In the new translation we find a text that is more faithful to the Latin text and therefore a text which is richer in its theological content and allusions to the scriptures but also a translation which, I believe, will move people’s hearts and minds in prayer.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Church in England and Wales to learn about our faith and the Mass. I hope that parishes over the coming months will prepare for the introduction of the new translation with resources, such as Become One Body One Spirit in Christ and the materials being prepared by the Department for Christian Life and Worship and others. When the completion of the text was first announced Pope Benedict said: ‘Many will find it hard to adjust to unfamiliar texts after nearly forty years of continuous use of the previous translation. The change will need to be introduced with due sensitivity, and the opportunity for catechesis that it presents will need to be firmly grasped. I pray that in this way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted, and the change will serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world.’ I invite people to unite their prayers with those of the Holy Father for the introduction of the new translation.”

Information about the new translation of the Roman Missal:

Copies of the interactive DVD Become One Body One Spirit In Christ can be ordered online here: