BY No Author | February 11 2011 | comments icon 6 COMMENTS     print icon print


New Missal will be in place this Advent

— Scottish bishops outline plans for dioceses; Priests in Ireland and the US raise concerns

By Liz Leydon and Martin Dunlop

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has outlined its plans to introduce the new English translation of the Roman Missal to Scottish parishes by Advent.

The Scottish bishops plan to begin introducing the new Ordinary of the Mass between September and the start of Advent this year. Later, when the final Missal is ready and published, they will begin to use it across the dioceses.

“At the end of his recent visit, Pope Benedict XVI described the provision of the new Missal as ‘an immense service to Catholics throughout the English-speaking world,’ and he encouraged us to use it as an opportunity for ‘renewed devotion,’” Bishop Joseph Toal, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland’s representative on the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) that prepared the new translation, said. “The bishops of Scotland endorse this view and have agreed to a national time-table for the introduction of the new Missal in Scotland starting in September.

“We ask Scotland’s Catholics to welcome it as something good, a gift from the Church, through which we will continue to worship God and celebrate in English the Holy Mysteries of our Faith.”

Scottish excitement

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, indicated that his brother bishops and himself were looking forward to the introduction of the new Missal.

“Many of the present members of the Bishops’ Conference are of an age to have remembered the very considerable changes in the Mass introduced following on from the Second Vatican Council,” he said. “Obviously, these present changes are not to the same extent as the previous changes in the Mass as we knew it in our earlier years. However, I am aware that there is still that same sense of excitement and anticipation as there was previously as we prepare for the forthcoming changes in the new English translation of the Mass.”

Catechetical materials are to be distributed by the Liturgy Commission and each bishop in Scotland will decide what materials he wishes to use and how they will be presented in his diocese, according to Bishop Toal.

The news from the Scottish bishops comes ahead of a series of pastoral letters that will provide more details. It also comes at a time when the new Missal is proving controversial internationally.

Vatican view

The new translation has been prepared under the guidance of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) through the Vox Clara committee.

Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, chairman of Vox Clara, said that ‘with the work of the translation of the Roman Missal substantially complete, initiatives should continue around the English-speaking world for its effective reception.’

Vox Clara this month added five new members, including two Americans: Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix and Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, former chairman of the US Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship.

“Some of us who have been around since Vatican II recall the implementation of the new Mass after the council,” Bishop Serratelli told Adoremus Bulletin. “At times, there was chaos and confusion with the quick implementation of the new Mass… We should not put blame anywhere.

“The present moment is better, but the challenge remains.

“In fact, I would go so far as to say that some of the opposition to the introduction of the next texts arises from an insufficient understanding of the Liturgy itself.”

Irish concerns

The Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland last week called on the country’s Bishops’ Conference not to introduce the third edition of the Roman Missal until it has consulted with priests and laity.

The priests, 400 of Ireland’s 4500, have called the new English translation, due to be introduced in Ireland at the beginning of Advent, ‘sexist,’ ‘archaic,’ ‘elitist’ and ‘obscure.’

However Fr D Vincent Twomey, SVD, professor emeritus of moral theology at the Pontifical University, Maynooth—where a number of Scottish seminarians are studying—this week rebutted the Association of Catholic Priests’ statement.

“I don’t expect the new translation to be perfect. It can only be an improvement on the translation in use at present,” he said.

Fr Twomey continued: “What is of ‘grave concern’ to the association is what gives me hope: namely a language that is not conversational but formal, elevated, and theologically dense.”

A spokesman for the Irish Bishops’ Conference said the wording in the new Missal was ‘set in stone’ and that it was premature for any group to be critical of it. “Over the next six months the plan is to inform and advise the priests and the people in a sensitive way so that the changes can be fully understood and integrated into the Mass for Advent,” he said.

US controversy

In the US, where work on the introduction of the new translation has been going on for some time, new controversy has arisen.

A prominent Liturgical scholar and professor of Liturgy in the US published an open letter to the US bishops earlier this month raising his concerns on the new translation of the Roman Missal and publicly withdrawing from promoting it ahead of its Advent introduction. US Benedictine monk Fr Anthony Ruff, OS, who served as chairman of ICEL’s music committee, wrote in an American magazine that he felt the text was ‘unsatisfactory’ and suggested that the Vatican has allowed a small group to ‘hijack’ the translation. Fr Ruff said: “I cannot promote the new Missal translation with integrity.”

He added: “When I think of how secretive the translation process was, how little consultation was done with priests or laity, how the Holy See allowed a small group to hijack the translation at the final stage, how unsatisfactory the final text is, how this text was imposed on national conferences of bishops in violation of their legitimate episcopal authority, how much deception and mischief have marked this process—and then when I think of Our Lord’s teachings on service and love and unity… I weep.”

Comments - 6 Responses

  1. Philip M.McGhee says:

    One problem with the new translation. Too heavvy a reliance on Latin and Greek roots, rather than Anglo-Saxon/Germanic roots. Latin and Greek roots go the head; Germanic to the heart.

  2. Baltazar says:

    It’s not about head or heart. It is not about what you like or what you don’t like. The Church is not a democracy, so anyone who thinks that Rome should consult with anyone else is gravely mistaken to think that the Holy Mass should be a comfort zone for anyone.

    The harsh truth is, the new translation of the Roman Missal focuses on the authentic and original form of the Latin Mass translated into the vernacular or local language. Of course, most people don’t know or use the words “consubstantial” or “oblation” or “dewfall” anymore, but I personally would rather choose to learn the meaning of these new words and be faithful to the strict wording of the context to preserve my Roman Catholic faith—–rather than use some cheap, inaccurate wording which isn’t only theologically misleading—-but ALSO gravely demeaning to the glories of the Holy Mass. God deserves the best, and the best is always the true and original context. So unless the English people can produce or invent a new word that means EXACTLY what the Latin Missal dictates—–this frivolous discussion goes straight to the garbage can. Kudos to Rome & Pope Benedict XVI for preserving the Catholic faith. 40 years of wishy-washy Catholicism gives me diarrhea to my stomach.

  3. Rod Cartner says:

    ‘The Church is not a democracy’ opines Baltazar. Perhaps he can explain the comment that arose from Vatican 2 that the Church is not an autocracy! Why is the current Missal marked ‘concordat cum originali’. Why did the Holy See allow it at that time? Is Benedict infallible then and previous Popes weren’t? Pull the other one!

  4. Concerned Priest says:

    Your priests in the majority don’t want the new translation!!!! This will result in a split! One parish differing in text to the other! At a time when money is short why all this extra expense too!

  5. What, oh what then is your real agenda?, all you priests “in the majority don’t want the new translation”. Is that what this is really about, or are you hiding your real agenda? Oh please have the manners to at least be honest. Get in line with peter or be quiet, many thanks.

  6. Tamsin Geach says:

    I remember distinctly as a child the horrible clunkiness of the new new translation after the relatively more beautiful old new translation (Have most of you oldsters forgotten that detail?) However the passage of years has accustomed my ear to the C20th version, but I am sure that the same process will occur with the new new new translation. But please, for the love of God and for the gloryof His Holy name, don’t lets have some latter-day new lefevrist types splitting themselves off from the Church in defence of what was always (if you know any Latin at all) a massively inaccurate translation.

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