Implementing the New English Translation of the Mass

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  • Fr Kevin Reynolds

    Thank you, dear Russell, for another brilliant piece that “says it all”. From my first sighting of the new translations, at least, five years ago I couldn’t but notice how awkward they were for public proclamation. It is certainly sad that the change in translation policy was driven by political agenda and not the pastoral needs of the People of God.

  • I have made my views regarding this post by Fr. Pollitt’s clear both on the Southern Cross Facebook Page and on my own blog titled “Priest Resistance to Change – Natural”.

    It will be evident that I completely disagree with Fr Pollitt.

  • Graham Wilson

    Mark Nel in his blog is quite patronising and personally insulting in the assumptions he makes about what’s motivating Fr Russell’s objections to the new translation.

    But I think Fr Russell is quite mild in his criticism, both of the secretive and extremely disedifying process that has led us to this juncture and of the quality of the translation itself.

    Consider the following, which we will hear on the first Sunday of Advent after communion:

    May these mysteries, O Lord,
    in which we have participated, profit us, we pray,
    for even now, as we walk amid passing things,
    you teach us by them to love the things of heaven
    and hold fast to what endures.

    Tell me to what is “them” in the prayer referring? It should be “these mysteries”, but the rules of English grammar change the reference to “passing things”. WRONG. On the very first day of the new translation!!!!

  • Lynette Paterson

    I see a good article shared on FB which shares the sentiments of Fr William O’Malley who is a widely recognised scholar. It is interesting to see he also calls for a Mass which is not poorly worded and “speaks to real people”

    Another good site which certainly has, in a scholarly way, revealed the many problematic features of the new translation – in language and theology – as well as the background to what we have been given is the PrayTell site –

    I read Mr Nel’s rant on his blog about the above post. It is clear that he has no intention of even seeing any possible problems. The only view is his own. Other posts on his blog suggest he is very rigid in his focus. He insinuates that the above post takes issue with the word “Collect” – how? It states what the “Collect” is and says nothing more. Does everyone know what a “Collect” is, I doubt that.

    Mr Nel claims on his blog page that he has a Chapel in his home with the Blessed Sacrament reserved in it. I am surprised that a Bishop allows that when more and more rules abound about reservation and respect for the Eucharist that even now require that a priest or deacon only purify after Holy Mass. How can a Bishop agree to this? It does raise questions about the Mass and Eucharist – can anyone request this from a Bishop? Is this a personal devotion? Any sense of community is, for the most part, missing in such an approach which also raises ecclesial and theological questions.

    I think that the huge cost (mentioned in a few places in this debate) is something that cannot be ignored. We are always being told about the poor (and very often meet the poor with Jesus in the Gospel) but now we spend so much money on, for the most part, unjustified and unnecessary changes. Mr Nel is obviously middle class with money so of course he isn’t worried about money – or the waste thereof.

    I guess we are all entitled to our opinions and have our own bias. I do find it strange that Fr Pollitt is accused of being resistant when he clearly says he will obey and implement and yet rightly raises questions. Does Mr Nel believe in the “pray, pay and obey” Church?

    Mr Nel takes issue with the Southern Cross [SC]. It is the duty of the media to inform us of what is going on from as many angles as possible. To simply promote this translation with no critique would be failed journalism. In case you have missed it – for the last 3 weeks (and there are 7!) this translation is being marketed and sold in the paper in a weekly column. Last week’s explanation of translation policy shifts was a good example of just how the best foot work was being done – there was no critique at all! It was very supportive of this translation and so have the previous 2 pieces been. I would venture to say that the SC is doing a very good support and sales pitch for this translation at the moment.

  • Philip Endean SJ

    Mr Nel insists on casting Russell as a psychological weakling, incapable of accepting change. He is not original in using that trope in this connection: even the Papal Nuncio to the UK used it. But it completely misses the point. The difficulty is not with change as such, rather with bad change, imposed unilaterally from above in multiple violation of courtesy and due process, and in contravention of a Vatican II teaching to the effect that translation is primarily the responsibility of bishops’ conferences.

  • Jan Jans

    Thank you Russell – for those who want to think about this, you are a splendid guide. But why continue to claim that this missal is a ‘translation’? I suggest it created a new language: “Sacred Langlish”. So who is afraid of change?

  • Judith Coyle

    Fr. Russell is clearly trying to make a reasoned response to a highly problematic situation, and should be commended for his efforts to bring some element of honesty to the ‘selling’ of this translation. People have been objecting from the start to the manner in which the 1998 ICEL I translations were hijacked (that is the real loss to us all!) – then even to how the ICEL II translations were over ridden by Vox Clara. But when authority is wielded so absolutely, there is no place for any other ‘Vox’ to be heard. For whatever it might be worth, it seems important that intelligent objections continue to be voiced.

  • Donal

    There is more to the resistance to the revised liturgy than aesthetics or accuracy of translation. Many resisters had been anticipating that “dynamic equivalence” in liturgical translation would herald an era of dynamic interpretation of key Church teachings as well, an era of never-ending and ongoing change regarding not only the liturgy but moral teaching as well. If Liturgy could change and be interpreted freely and subjectively, then so, it seemed, could moral teaching as well. While a weakening in the exercise of teaching authority did much to encourage such false hopes, these ambitions were never sustainable in the Catholic Church, given its historic nature.

    The instinct and obedience to traditional teaching of the bulk of the faithful remains intact: “Lex orandi, lex credendi.” – The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief.

  • Well, we belong to an authoritarian and hierarchical Church that seldom, if ever consults! In this instance it ignored the consultation in much the same way as it did with Humanae Vitae! We can grumble but we will be ignored. Unfortunately the Catholic Church is the Catholic Church and there is no-where else to go so we put up with it and like Fr Russell voice our “loyal dissent”. Unfortunately Mark Nel and other ultramontanists believe that any dissent is disloyal.

    The 1966 Missal was rushed through and certainly resulted in a lot of unsatisfactory English but we are used to using it. I have always hated “And also with you” but I became used to it.

    I think that the major problem with the new Missal is that he layout makes it very difficult to read fluently and I am sure we are going to listen to some horrendous stumblings over the next few weeks. The Mass is always the Mass, thank goodness and I don’t have to read it! Most of us won’t really listen anyway.

  • Donal

    There is no evidence whatsoever that “loyal dissent” as interpreted here was ever intended or advocated by St Ignatius Loyola or any of his successors as General of the Society of Jesus, even during the Suppression, to be be the real meaning of the Jesuits’ unique vow of special obedience to the Pope. Quite the contrary, but doubtless this is now held to be open to creative “interpretation”. Still, the Church has withstood great storms before, not only from without but from within as well, and there is no reason to doubt that it will survive this along with all the others.

  • Humanae Vitae is testament to how God protects his Church. Despite the advice to the contrary, Pope Paul VI, obviously led by the Holy Spirit, showed great courage and made the right decision by issuing that encyclical. If abortion has become so rampant, despite Humanae Vitae, I would hate to see where we would be now if Pope Paul VI had not done so.

  • Godfrey CK

    I totally agree with Fr. Rassell these translations have just taken us back in the war of semantics rather than concentrating on helping us christians deepen our faith. I stand to be corrected here, what difference will the few changed sentences make to our faith.
    I would now not help to think that there is a hidden agenda behind these changes.
    What these translations are doing to those of us, that have been using the now abandoned prayers, is making us believe that all we have said and heard since we were young has all been wrong and not effective and so we have to begin to lean new prayers.
    Why did it take so long for the learned to realise the seriousness of the matter such that we have to spend large sums of money to do all the reprints which will also be changed by another team after you have passed on.
    Is it spiritual?

  • Peter James-Smith thank you for the compliment. I am quite proud to be ultramontane. The fact that you end your comment with “Most of us won’t really listen anyway” highlights a huge problem with modernists. They don’t want to listen to anyone or anything anymore. Everyone thinks they are smarter and better informed than the next person, even trumping 2000 years of Sacred Tradition.

    Maybe listening would help create some understanding of the Church teaching. Maybe listening would help your understanding of why the change in the translation was necessary. In fact, maybe listening to the previous translation would have led you to be calling for the changes yourself.

    As an example: A simple consideration of the replacement of “One in being with the Father” with “Consubstantial with the Father” will justify the change. The word “consubstantial” was specifically introduced by the Council of Nicea in AD 325 to address the false teachings of Arius. By not using consubstantial, we have opened ourselves to the possibility of a repeat of this previous misunderstanding of an important Church teaching.

    Some comments on another article, in this newspaper, already reveal how for example the doctrine of the Real Presence seems to have been diluted amongst many Catholics and is revealed in their reverence or lack thereof towards the BlessedSacrament.

    This is why we must stay so faithful to exactly what the Church teaches and always follow exactly where the Church leads.

    Long live ultramontanism!

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