BY SCO Admin | September 2 2011 | comments icon 16 COMMENTS     print icon print


Embracing the new Missal

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.

Comfort zone

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.

Greater fidelity

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

—Resources at

Comments - 16 Responses

  1. Sir, it is with dismay that i discovered that the bishops expect me to stand during the Sanctus , Agnus Dei and the blessing. There has been much in the Catholic press regarding the more faithful translation of the latin text into english, so far so good. The bishops are being less than transparent in their behaviour – expecting me to change my practice at a weeks notice ? With no intellectual explanation, what an arrogance! How patronizing, so from Sunday i will stand during the Sanctus? Duh! i don’t think so,scottish bishops have hidden for too long behing silly statements, like its the “norm”, it’s the local custom etc. Bishops stop making it up, you are the ones who want the change. Do you really think the Dutch catholics , where receiving the Eucharist in the hand started in the 70’s – would say their faith is increased, charity developed, vocations increased? No because that would be a lie. Bishops why don’t you stop hiding behind the nonesense and say what it is you really want to do? That would be refreshing; openess, honesty and transparency……
    St John Vianney, St theresa, st john Ogilvey, you all clearly were so wrong, not “developed” as we are. What piffle is spoken !Bishops who are the cause of disunity are no use, stop causing disunity, show your communion with peter or please be quiet.

  2. Peter expects you to stand during the Sanctus and Agnus Dei. Read the “silly statement” in the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, paragraph 43, available online at the Vatican website. No exceptions are permitted for kneeling or sitting during the Sanctus and Agnus Dei.

    It is not ‘your practice’, it is the practice of the Church. 1 Cor 6:19-20 says, “You are not your own; you were bought with a price.” Even if you refuse such a practice, it remains the practice of the Church.

    • Alasdair Codona , i have indeed read the full information, and am under no circumstances questioning the more faithful translation of the latin text, i am questioning the Scottish bishops adaptations and manner in which this “instruction” was handled.
      The General Instruction of the Roman Missal – state that it is “up to the conference of bishops to adapt the actions and postures described in the Order of the Roman Mass to the customs of the people”. Since when was it a Scottish custom to stand during the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei or the blessing ?
      It was never a Scottish “custom” i have ever been aware of, put simply it is not true.

  3. Shane says:

    I think the new words are a joke, they are sexist in parts, and a backward step. I am going to continue using the old words – I am not taking part in this change. It is a way for the church to divert our attention from the scandals in the church. When numbers in mass are dropping this will result in more people leaving the church. It’s a stupid and unnecessary move.

  4. Albert Caldwell says:

    The new missal is a tragedy. It will drive away people who are seeing the only prayers that they have ever said, and the only liturgies that they have ever known, being swept away.

    Those in favour of the change have been quick to say that people who oppose the change must have other bigger issues with Rome. The truth is, no, we don’t.

    But, we don’t see any benefit in the amount of sweeping changes that have been imposed upon us, without so much as a warning or a concern for how it would affect us.

    His Holiness may want to roll back Vatican II, but he does so at the peril of losing a lot of his flock.

  5. David says:

    The new translation does not “roll back Vatican II”? Where in Vatican II does it commit the Latin Rite of the Church to the execrable 1973 ICEL translation? Nowhere.

    Greater reverence, beauty, and fidelity to the editio typico contained in the new translation (which is by no means perfect) is to be welcomed not feared.

  6. Albert Caldwell says:

    Part of the 1973 version is that it became more like the everyday language of the people. That means people feel closer to it.

    This new translation is not more beautiful, it is a clunky, strange, unnatural version of the mass text.

    It will be rejected. People should continue to say the old responses after the change is implemented, and on they verses that have not changed they should remain silent. Lastly, they should stop their weekly contributions, until the church realizes that we say “no”.

  7. Gerald M Bonner says:

    As a Catholic born long after Vatican II, I am delighted to finally have an accurate translation of the Novus Ordo!

    The new translation is far more beautiful and reveals the richness and depth of the liturgy far better than the old translation. The only tragedy would be a rejection of this great blessing.

    The new translation is a huge step forward in properly implementing Vatican II. It is also a step towards ensuring the liturgy is always celebrated in the most beautiful and reverent manner possible, instilling an awareness of what is going on. Far from driving people away, this is absolutely essential for the spread of the Gospel.

  8. Janet says:

    And yet, for many of us Catholics born long after Vatican II, we are extremely satisfied with the simplicity of the the existing translation.

    If you want a far more beautiful, richer, deeper translation, then petition the Vatican to allow you to celebrate a mass with that translation, just as the people who use the Latin mass are allowed to.

    Don’t force this new mass on those of us who view it as the only mass we’ve ever used.

  9. Gerald M Bonner says:

    That’s just it – this new translation is not a new Mass, rather it is the same Mass we’ve had for forty years, but now it is more fully revealed rather than being obscured under some of the paraphrases of the old translation.

    Now we are really saying in English what is said any time the Ordinary Form is said in Latin (not the same as what is said for the Extraordinary Form of course)and what is said in any other vernacular tongue (or at least what should be said, depending upon the accuracy of the translation to a given language).

    It is precisely because of my love for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, which we have grown up with, that I am so delighted with the new translation – it lets the rite we know and love shine out more clearly, now we really hear the it in its fullness whether it is said in English or in Latin.

  10. winnie macdonald says:

    subtfuge and confusion reigns! we old catholics have had enough. We are accused of being partly at fault for the sex scandel… not revealing what we always knew…..the church can’t handle the guilt so they devise a way for another cover up by diffusing issues by changes in the mass, not much change mind you, but enough to keep the faithful guessing…it is a hard call for older folks..the young don’t attend mass anyway….total congregation on any given weekend in our parish? 25, all white haired folks.

  11. David says:

    The problem is that the ICEL ‘translation’ wasn’t actually a translation. In many places the prayers were very different from what the Church wants the priest to pray.

    Perhaps there could be an indult – a special permission – for those who cannot adapt to the new translation? One parish in Glasgow, for example, could have a Mass for those who feel unable to accept the words of Holy Mass properly translated?

  12. George says:

    ‘This new translation is not more beautiful, it is a clunky, strange, unnatural version of the mass text.’

    I totally agree. Post Vatican II,the attraction of the mass in english was the simplicity of the language, using everyday words that the average participant clearly understood. This gave rise to greater participation by everyone.

    This new version introduces flowery language not in common usage and changes to posture and gesture that are just another step in the headlong rush by the Bishops to take us back to pre-Vatican II times.

    In recent years I have seen the introduction of more and more ceremonial and hymn sining resulting in less time being available for contemplation and prayer. Now during and after receiving communion, which I consider my closest time to my God and a time for deep reflection, I find my concentration frequently broken by the singing of Hymns.
    Why are we doing this? We will lose the next generation if they are not already gone!

  13. Jo says:

    One comment highlights the changes, not in the text, but in the standing up/sitting/kneeling arrangements. That is disappointing as my issue with the changes is about that. I find my own contemplation is frequently disturbed now due to the whole carry on! It is a disaster. It has taken something from the mass for me and wrecked the most special times during mass when communication between my God and me was once at its deepest.

  14. Michael says:

    Parishioners who find it difficult to stand for a longtime,find it even more dificult and embarrasing now that they are unable to stand with others so often during Mass.

    They are staying home saying their prayers and feeling guilty for non-attendance,and feel no longer part of the Church Community. They do not lose their faith in God, but do feel excluded by “The Church” who should serve rather than be served.

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