Embracing the new Missal
Publication Date: 2011-09-02
Bishop Toal and Archbishop Conti speak of the challenge and necessity of the new translation
Bishop Joseph Toal and Archbishop Mario Conti have told Scottish Catholics to embrace the ‘marvellous opportunity, challenge and necessity’ of the new English translation of the Roman Missal ahead of the first Scottish parishes adopting it this weekend.
The changes to the Liturgy, which will be applied in all Scottish parishes from the first Sunday in Advent, will affect the words said and the postures and gestures adopted during the Mass.
The new texts will also be used in the celebration of Mass at the national pilgrimage to Carfin this Sunday.
Bishop Toal, president of the Scottish bishops’ Liturgy commission, said that the new translation of the Roman Missal would take some Catholics out of their ‘Liturgical comfort zones’ but that they should regard this as a ‘challenge and a necessity for us all’ moving ‘towards a more faithful celebration of the Roman Rite.’
“It is difficult at times to change the way we do things but if it is not the right way we should be humble enough to admit this and to re-learn how the Church asks us to celebrate Her sacred rites,” Bishop Toal said. “Celebrating the Liturgy in our own language has led to more possibility of variation and diversity, and the introduction of the new English translation affords an opportunity to strive for a celebration of the Eucharist with less of our personal or local additions and omissions.
“An obvious example is to stop the exchange of ‘good mornings’ at the beginning of Mass.”
Bishop Toal added that the Liturgy had always developed over the centuries, most recently in the translation of ‘the texts from Latin into the diverse languages of the world’s peoples, in our case into English.’
“We have grown used to our present texts but are being asked by the Church to accept and learn a new translation of these texts,” he said. “We are now beginning this learning process in our parishes and communities, and we are committed to doing it as best we can, so we will continue to celebrate and pray the Sacred Liturgy as the Church asks us to do.”
The bishop also said that the changes would require bishops, priests and deacons in particular ‘to have the courage, if necessary, to change some of their own “personal” practices in celebrating Mass.’
“It means also changing habits in parishes, where people like to do things their way, and giving the necessary instruction in what is the right way,” he said. “It is important also that the lay Faithful who carry out ministries at Mass are fully instructed in what is required of them and do it properly—these include altar-servers, readers, musicians, choirs and cantors, extraordinary-ministers of the Eucharist, passkeepers and collectors.”
In this way, the bishop concluded, Catholics will get ‘the real thing, the full message’ in our worship.
In a pastoral letter to his Archdiocese, Archbishop Conti of Glasgow said that the purpose of the new translation was to ensure greater fidelity to the original texts.
“This new Missal contains new translations into English of the original Latin texts,” he indicated. “Every effort has been made to render them more faithful to those scriptural allusions which have sometimes been overlooked in the familiar texts to which we have become accustomed. There has also been an attempt to dignify the language we use at Mass by a return to words which might be judged as more literary, and thought by many to be more becoming for public prayer.”
The archbishop added that he hoped that people would embrace these changes.
“My concern is to encourage you to accept these changes in language, to be patient in doing so and to share my conviction that this is a marvellous opportunity for us to revisit our celebration of the Liturgy, to see its great beauty, to love it as an expression of our Catholic Faith,” he said. “Throughout the world and throughout time we have been prepared to make sacrifices in order to show not simply our unity of purpose in our worship, but also our harmony of expression.”
The archbishop also said that Catholics should familiarise themselves with the changes in the months that remained before they are universally applied.
“In the months which remain before the new Missals are placed on our altars, we have an opportunity, week by week, to become more familiar with the texts, particularly the common parts of the Mass in which there are changes,” he said. “In all things we struggle for perfection. ‘Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect’ said Jesus to His disciples. In Liturgy also we have the same endeavour.”
“The process will begin this weekend though the pace of the introduction may vary from diocese to diocese and indeed from parish to parish,” Fr Andrew McKenzie, secretary of the Liturgy commission, told the SCO this week.
In addition to changes in the English Mass translation—that will affect the recitation of the Gloria, the Creed and the various responses—the Scottish bishops are also placing increased emphasis on posture and gesture during the Mass to endure synchronicity among parishes nationwide.
Among changes to gesture, during the Confiteor the Faithful will now be encouraged to return to the practice of striking their breast as they say ‘through my fault, my fault, through my most grievous fault,’ as occurs in the Gospel of Luke during the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.
In the majority of Scottish parishes preparing to adopt the new Missal translation there will be cards and leaflets available to the congregation providing further details of the changes.
“I hope that the new translation will enhance our appreciation of the Church’s Liturgy leading us to reflect more deeply on the words we use in the celebration of our Faith,” Fr McKenzie said.
—Read Archbishop Conti’s comments in full online at http://www.sconews.co.uk/opinion/11834/archbishop-new-missal/
—Resources at http://www.romanmissalscotland.org.uk