Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago and the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced that a new English translation of the Roman Missal will be used starting on the first Sunday of Advent on November 27, 2011.This is the first significant change in the English version of the Mass since it was first celebrated in English following Vatican II.
A two-day conference of Catholic clergy and lay leaders was held in Milwaukee earlier this month to take a look at the controversial changes that will be introduced into the Catholic liturgy. The new translation, nine years in the making, is the work of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments and a committee of English-speaking bishops and consultants.
The new text was approved by the Vatican this past June. The prayers of the Mass will contain new remarks offered by the priest and new responses from the congregation. The starting date gives parishes 15 months to familiarize their members with the new arrangement.
Catholics will have to learn the new responses which supporters claim are more poetic and reflect more
accurately the spirit of the original Latin. They assert that the church is a dynamic, living organism in which changes have occurred often over time. However, critics of the new text maintain that the new translation is too literal and contains theologically complex terms which could trip up the congregation. They also fear that the faithful might be alienated further at a time when the church is already struggling financially and failing to retain members.
Changes occur in possibly a dozen places in the Mass. When the celebrant says “The Lord be with you,” the people will respond “And with your spirit,” instead of the present day response “And also with you.” The familiar dismissal by the priest which states “The Mass is ended; go in peace” will instead have four options including “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”
Another criticism is that the priest’s stipulated prayers contain unfamiliar terms such as consubstantial, oblation, ignominy and inviolate, which are difficult to understand, particularly by children in the parish.
However, Catholics by this time are certainly accustomed to periodic changes and will undoubtedly adjust to the alterations in a respectful manner.
The Buffalo News, 8/22/10