Wednesday, June 9, 2010


There’s something worth paying attention here to.” This is what my cousin, a fellow priest, leaned over to me and said during a diocesan meeting of all priests yesterday. I am inclined to agree.

All the priests of the Diocese of Cleveland were together in a great hall at the seminary for a seminar on the new translation of the Mass. My thoughts have been that I was looking forward to the translation but not the implantation of it. It will feel like, and in fact be, the most significant and difficult change to effect in the liturgical lives of Catholics since the sweeping reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Read: Teaching an elephant to walk a tightrope.

Then I heard the new translations proclaimed. I am not a person that rides heavily on my emotions. I am just not built that way. But when I heard some of the texts read I felt a stirring inside. They are absolutely beautiful. Knowing that it will still require great care in the introduction of this new translation and realizing full well there will be people who will resent it (probably exacerbated by my not presenting well to and for all parties) I have moved from having my first concern being the difficulties of introduction to anxiously awaiting the day we may pray these words.

The presenter spoke about why the English language translation is receiving such scrutiny. To begin with, English has become the new lingua Franca. It has become the new international language of common use. Should not then this most important of languages be treated with extra care? And not only that, there are many languages for which there are not scholars readily available schooled not only in their own language but in the depths and knowledge of Latin required to translate prayers going back to before 9th century. Therefore they use the English translation to translate into their tongue. The English translation then is extremely important and it is imperative that it be not only true (as far as translations go) but also beautiful. What is wrong with the English translation will affect the world.

But that does not mean that everyone is going to like it. Conversely there are those who offer numerous and constant complaints over my 12 years as a priest about the current translation. There are those who simply love the way it is (or are simply used to it) and there are those who will go gaga over the new translation. In other words, when trying to please millions of people you are not going to win no matter what you do – damned if you do and damned if you don’t. But no matter what side of the translation fence you happen to think the grass is greener on, the implementation of the new Missal is going to happen. Individuals then can choose to be joyful in it – or at least cooperative – or minimally: obedient, or they can fight and scream, cry, “Foul!”, storm out, and in general make the inevitable as miserable as possible.

That is not always a bad thing. It keeps people on their toes and makes sure that what is going on is darn legitimate. But this is the Mass. It is what we have. We can love it in its latest form or we can choose to be miserable.

I choose joy.


Matt W said...

Put me in the gaga camp, of course. Can't wait to hear it!

Hank said...

"I choose joy."

Good choice!

Karen said...

I can't wait for the new translation to be implemented.

MJ said...

Bring it on!!! Can't wait!

Anonymous said...

I will continue to pray for priest and add the implementation of these changes. Personally, I do not understand why people will be so upset/resistive to the changes.

I am ok with almost all changes, except NOT kneeling after communion. I still long to kneel and pray after receiving communion and at times I do kneel and pray. That is the only change that has been hard on me.

I was born around the time of Vatican II so I don't remember those changes, only some vague recollections of thing like no longer kneeling for communion and receiving by hand.
Mary B

Daniel Humm said...

The new translation does not change anything in the instructions regarding posture, the translation of the instructions having been completed a few years back. Kneeling is not prohibited after Communion. See

Daniel H

Anonymous said...

Father Valencheck, your post regarding the new translation seminar earned "kudos" from Father Z. Be sure to check out Father Z's blog.

Your blog is wonderful and a source of inspiration and edification for all readers. You've certainly earned this praise from Father Z.

Bless you, Father.

Mary Rose said...

Father, this post was awesome! I returned to the Catholic Church in 2008, after being away for 25 years. Sadly, I did not miss the liturgy during those years I was away but did miss the Eucharist. (I was attending non-denominational churches mostly, and many of them did not even celebrate communion.)

When I returned, I found the Latin Mass and surprisingly, fell in love with it. It is through the 1962 Latin Mass that I has propelled me into a love affair with the liturgy. Now I "get" it. I still attend the Novus Ordo at times, and was saddened by what I saw as a loss of much of the sacred language. This is not to say the Novus Ordo as a Mass is somehow "less than" in spirit. But language makes a huge difference in conveying the holiness and awe of what is transpiring. I don't look at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a "get-together" or as a gathering for a meal. There is something spiritually profound going on and I believe we need to assign the best words to describe it. Personally, I found this within the Latin Mass and have been thrilled to see that much of the same language will now be available in the new translation.

I understand how some Catholics resent the TLM as an attempt to "revert the Church to the past," but I'm hoping that they will also understand our connectivity to the past and how our faith is enriched by it, not threatened.

Long comment, but this one is very near and dear to my heart. Dare I hope that a new translation will encourage a more prayerful and intentional focus toward the Mass?

I choose hope! :-)

P.S. I also found this through Fr. Z's blog and now am following you. You're now included in my Priest Blog section. Mega blessings to you!

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

It's wonderful to hear from priests about how actual exposure to the new translation, especially when the prayers are spoken (and not just read), warms their hearts to it.

Thank you, Father!

Anonymous said...

Time will tell. We'll see what happens with mass attendance after a couple years of this. People will vote with their feet one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

Time has already told- it's not all Vatican II's fault, but the interpretation and implementation of it's sometimes vague language (language is important!) has not only emptied the churches but also the sould of the formerly faithful.

Cracked Pot said...

Anonymous ("Time will tell....")--

It is puzzling to think that people would leave for a few translation revisions, especially since we have missalettes to help us with new versions of the responses. I suspect also that more of the changes will involve wording that the priest uses, not us. Does everybody pay attention to every word that the priest reads?

The people who endured the loss of the Tridentine Mass had a much greater adjustment to make (me included).

Some will "vote with their feet?" Jesus once asked, "Will you too leave me?" Peter replied: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life." Where will they go? Will they leave the Eucharist and go to a Protestant church? Won't they then have to learn all new wording?

I am puzzled.

Gina said...

I am one who is very happy about this new translation. I know several people who know the masses in the Romance languages (spanish, italian, portuguese) and they say VERY different words than do we. It's hard to make the "universal" claim when we're not quite saying it the same way.

I mean, there is a seriously big difference between, "and also with you", and "and with your spirit".

I think this is wonderful for unity.

TimcoStandard said...

No need to be upset about translations or missals. You can now enjoy a beautiful Mass with Gregorian Chant every Sunday at 1:PM here at St. Sebastian's, and bring your own missal (or use our missal booklets). You can also receive communion kneeling at the communion rail and kneel all you want! Everyone is welcome, and we'd like to see you there!

Unknown said...

I am the gaga camp also