Monday, May 10, 2010


This past Friday night all the clergy of the Diocese of Cleveland, priests and deacons alike, were brought together at Magnificat High School to be introduced to the new translation of the Mass. If you have not heard, the new translations has been approved by Rome and at least for now it seems that we will put the new Sacramentary to use the First Sunday of Advent 2011.

This new translation of the Mass is the greatest single change in the Mass since the Second Vatican Council. It is really quite a historic moment. Whether one desires the new translation or not, it will be disruptive for a spell. Some will be excited about it and some will disappointed to the point of anger. I rode to the convocation in a car packed with priests. Some made mention what a shock the new translation is going to be to the Christmas and Easter Catholics for the first few years. I hadn’t thought of that. It will be quite a shock for them.

Just as everyone will be, the clergy are also all over the board on how they feel about this new translation. Some are clearly excited, some just loyal to whatever is asked, some question, some are worried about being able to make the change, and a few are not happy at all. Hence the wisdom of bringing us all together to try to get us all on the same page, to prepare ourselves and in turn to help our congregations be prepared when the new translations hit.

We took our seats in the new auditorium of the High School and were welcomed by the principal of the school. Then we prayed Evening Prayer together which took up the first half hour of the meeting. Then Bishop Lennon introduced another bishop (I do not recall his name) who gave us a history of the translation which was highly consultative and painstakingly researched. Most of the talk was about addressing the “whys” and “hows” and in fact dealt very little with many of the texts.

In brief, it was mentioned that when the Mass was allowed to prayed in the vernacular, the document on it called for the periodic update of the translations. Further, Masses and prayers have been added, patristic and Biblical reference that were obscured were made clear, better understanding of how to translate from Latin to English have been developed, more formal language is used and an attempt to use language that would not cater to one particular English speaking county, and contrary to popular belief, it is not a slavish translation to the Latin though it is much closer than the current translation. (I’m not trying to start a debate, just reporting what was said.)

At the end there came time for Q and A and I braced myself in my seat waiting for some sort of onslaught. There was some bravado beforehand about question that would be proposed but perhaps it was the clearness of the presentation the allayed most of them except one good point concerning one word.

The meeting dispersed peacefully and happily enough. Perhaps this is going to go much better than I had anticipated. Though we may have some differences perhaps it is that we as a presbyterate are much more willing to come together to do this than I thought.
Just one personal note to those who will publish the new sacramentary: Please, please, please keep in mind that we have over 2000 years of Catholic art available to us to use. There are many good current artists. Could we please dump the Play School art and have something a bit more inspiring? (My deepest apologies for those who really like the current art work.)


Matt W said...

The current art is horrible! Don't besmirch Play School by comparing them to the art in the Sacramentary and the current LOH. Don't apologize for good taste!

Cracked Pot said...

Regarding the change back to more accurate wording, the difficulties we are about to encounter are NOTHING like what we experienced in the 1960s: "the Dialogue Mass" and "the New Mass." Back then, it was like pulling an ox through the mud. Now, the ox will have much easier going.

melody said...

This will go more smoothly if our pastors and priests have fantastic, positive and contagious attitudes. The worst thing for a leader to do would be to take on the attitude of a reluctant, foot-dragging, moping teen. Add a little joy and bounce and we've got an exciting new project instead of a burden.

I'm a little nervous about how quickly I'll adapt to the changes but I'm eager. I hope my community and priests can laugh with me (and maybe AT me) as we embark on the beautiful adventure together!

Anonymous said...

at least it's a move in the right direction,..or should I say BACK to it. The modernists, I'm afraid will not obey it, as they do not obey the rights of those who kneel for Communion and receive on the tongue. They despise it and they let you know.

Anonymous said...

"current art work" what do you mean? Our granddaughter and I were reading this together and we noticed the symbols used by you to embellish the blog . . . .magnificat school logo. . . . an open book . . . .a look at a missal . . . I wondered where you get that stuff . . . Anna said he gets it from Google . . . is that so? So, Father, what are you really looking for in the way of art?

rmk sr

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention that I thought that what you expected . . . the onslaught . . . . would have been hilarious.

rmk sr

Anonymous said...

I was so excited watching the actual voting of this (USCCB). The kids had a half day!
I will forever remember Trautman and his last stand.....that was something to remember and the fact that it has always been said in our neck of the woods "It will never happen".
If you ever do look at the original latin to english you will see where ICEL did not do a good job. Sorry. They didn't. For whatever reason. It is going to be difficult to get used to but the change will be worth it in my opinion.
I am happy and excited and hop you get new artwork in it too!

Anonymous said...

Please be aware that the universal LAW of the Church concerning reception of Holy Communion is ON THE TONGUE, and that the indult issued by Paul VI, permitting reception in the hand (when use of reception in the hand was becoming widespread by the Dutch and Americans), has become the norm in much of the Church. In other words, the exception to the law has become the law. Returning to reception in the kneeling position would be highly impractical in today's modernized churches. Nevertheless, reception on the tongue remains the official law of the Church and can be easily used in the standing position.

Michelle said...

I'm with you on the art work! Every day when I open my breviary to those little red icons I offer it up. Bring back the illustrated books of hours....

I wonder if infrequent Church goers will really notice? Parishes that have moved away from missalettes, (mine -- no turning of pages during the readings...ah!) will need some sort of prompts to help people along. I've seen a good trifold aid from South Africa (where the new translations are in use already).

I think one thing that I hear missing in all the conversation is that for people who pray these prayers deeply and well, it will be difficult to change over. It's not all politics, it's also prayer.

Anonymous said...

The effect of the new translation on the Faithful is impossible to gauge at this time. It's going to be a hard sell convincing people that a translation that by design will be more difficult to understand is actually "better." Seems like a power trip on the part of a handful of cardinals and bishops pushing this; it's certainly not a grass roots effort to change the prayers of the mass.

Anonymous said...

as far as "pushing this", a better translation was asked to be worked on about 35 or so years ago.
This is long over due.