Thursday, September 1, 2011

Missal Myths

There are two things I'd like to address that people who are whining about the Roman Missal translation coming in Advent love to harp on.

1) "There are too many run-on sentences in the new translation!!!"

Here are a couple of sentences from our CURRENT translation

a) "Father, calling to mind the death your Son endured for our salvation, his glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven, and ready to greet him when he comes again, we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice." Total:38 words

When I pray this at Mass, I wonder how many people really follow that whole sentence. It is a great sentence, obviously, but I wonder if people follow it.

b) "We, your people and your ministers, recall his passion, his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into glory; and from the many gifts you have given us we offer to you, God of glory and majesty, this holy and perfect sacrifice: the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation."
Total: 52 words

2) "People don't use language like the language of the translation we're getting - for example, who says CONSUBSTANTIAL?"

Response: But all the phrases in our current Mass translation ARE colloquial? How often have you heard "one in being" in a sentence in the last 30 years outside of Mass? If colloquialism were the gold standard, there would have to be a new Missal for high school Masses with lots of LOL's, OMG's, and "likes" (Jesus like took the bread and like looking up to heaven said OMG...) Of course the new Mass isn't colloquial, but neither is the one we use now.

I really am amazed at how much people whine over the new translation. The Eeyores are everywhere with the new translation, and it is getting a little ridiculous. I talked with a priest recently who proudly informed me that he's been meticulously combing through the new Missal with post it notes, deciding which words he will use, and which words he won't. Besides the enormous arrogance of such a move (I know better than the Church) isn't that just time consuming? I couldn't imagine having to make a decision for myself on every word of the Mass, and with all the work that is needed today from priests, I'm baffled that someone has the time to do such editing.

I personally am excited about the transition - not because I didn't like the old words, not because I'm in love with the new words - I'm just glad that it will provide an opportunity to dive back into the words of the Mass and will provide an opportunity to think about what we say and do at Mass.

Attitude determines altitude.


  1. And remember when it comes to mass,Father Post-its, as Dr. Phil or any of our freshmen could tell you, "It ain't about YOU!"

  2. I talked with a priest recently who proudly informed me that he's been meticulously combing through the new Missal with post it notes, deciding which words he will use, and which words he won't.

    Lay people might have to take the lead on this and write the bishops in support of the new translation and ask that recalcitrant priests be corrected.

  3. Yay, new post! I enjoy your blog-It's great to be able to gain insight into what our priests and bishops think and have an accessibility that I haven't seen before in my ahemty-ahem years.

    I went to many "casual" churches in my youth with friends and although I enjoyed their messages, I have to say that they helped me appreciate the wording in the Roman Missals. In my humble opinion, they are beautiful and bring a spiritual quality that, if spoken in slang or more common terms, would be lost.

    Mass for me is a spiritual occasion, where I can reboot, refresh and gain the strength to face whatever battles I may have that week. It's harder and harder to see the beauty in this world (or even remember that the old man who just spit in your face when you are trying to help him get better is just afraid, not intentionally being mean), and having something beautiful and meaningful to escape to, even for just an hour a week, helps me feel closer to God and a part of something greater. Talk about run-on sentences, HA!

  4. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi--As We Worship, so we will believe and so we will live.

    I recently had the privilege of attending a presentation my own parish priest gave on the upcoming translation. He summed up his own feelings by claiming he was excited by the new translation because it will restore some of the beauty that had been lost in our liturgical language by the previous translations. I most certainly agree with Fr. Joe, and believe this new missal will go a long way in restoring some of the mystery of the Mass. I only pray our parish priests will take the opportunity to catechize which the new translation presents.

    L.A. Archbishop Jose H. Gomez has some wonderful thoughts regarding this here:

  5. I'm a new enough Catholic that I'm not too attached to the current missal. I think the implementation of the new one will be interesting, though. Our priest tried to get an early start (before he was told not to) and taught us to say "And with your Spirit" instead of "and also with you". A year later, half of us are saying one phrase and half of us still say the other. And when we have visiting priests, you can see the perplexity on their faces when they receive both responses.