dotCommonweal

A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors

.

The Aftermass

Now that wasn't so bad, was it?Or was it?The choir processed in with the pastor and our fine troupe of altar servers. The congregation was a bit sparse, which I attribute to Thanksgiving weekend and not the new translation. We did pretty well by Bach and "Wake, O wake, and sleep no longer."We often go right to the Kyrie. which this morning solved the problem of the new Confiteor text with the breast-beating, repetition and "my most grievous fault." (Being someone known to say "Sorry, sorry, sorry," I've always been for the repetition and a little breast-beating doesn't hurt, but I know when I'm in the minority.)We've already been chanting the new Gloria text for a few Sundays at our parish but, for some reason, skipped the Gloria this morning. That solved that problem.Our cantor is excellent, so with the help of the choir the congregation seemed together at the Kyrie, the responsorial psalm, and the Alleluia.I'm a terribly difficult person to preach to but today's homily was genuinely helpful.We usually use the Apostles Creed rather than the Nicene, so that took care of that.The pastor usually chants the Eucharistic Prayer, so that "for many" and "precious chalice" slipped by without causing any uprising.

There was slight stumbling

over the Suscipiat, and at least a few aggressive references heard in my vicinity to "God's" name, and a little more stumbling later over "enter under my roof."As for the proper prayers of the day, I've always believed that for most congregants these simply mean assenting with their Amen to some pious, high-minded sentiments of which the precise content doesn't matter much. That seemed all the more true this morning: Dah da, dah da, dah da, dah da, dah DA. Through Christ our Lord. AMEN.There was a good deal more stumbling over "and with your spirit" -- about a 50-50 split, I'd say. After the post-communion prayer, we welcome any newcomers in the congregation, and when the pastor resumed "The Lord be with you," the response was particularly ragged. So he laughingly tried it again and again, and we rose to a rousing, "And with your spirit!"Frankly I wish he would do that more often. A majority of the congregation mouths most responses, if at all, with scarcely enough vigor to be heard by the person in back or front of them. This raises doubts in my mind whether forty years after Vatican II the basic idea of active participation in a communal worship has been successfully communicated. I was hoping that the introduction of the new translation might be an occasion to undertake the catechesis which had not been done in the 1970s.Mass concluded with the reliably lively "O come, Divine Messiah." We'll survive the new translation. That is now the bar we've set: Could've been worse.

Comments

Commenting Guidelines

If it took more than four years and 7,000 people involved in getting these results, I feel happy to know these people do not have anything to do with my business life; I would be broke!,I hoped the Catholic Church could outgrow the perennial seriousness of what is supposed to be a party, a feast to our Lord, changing prayers that do not reflect at all the real and daily needs of the people, nor conduct the congregations to gather their souls in joy to the Lord.Instead, we become more worried to follow a nonsense card with the "new" texts and responses, as if we were performing in the theatre.The sad side of it is we lost an opportunity to really refresh our Sunday liturgies and instead of a change towards expressing our real feelings, we simply follow directions to make our sounds void.

As a general rule, the announcement of the New Liturgy was generally, but not totally, rejected a a bad idea. I concurred with that opinion. But through the hard work of our Liturgy group, we introduced, bit by bit, the whole new liturgy. In truth, along with more relective silence at Mass, especially after the readings, it went very well. The preparation undoubtedly helped. In my case, once I simply accepted that the change was going to happen, I felt more open to the challenges.I still despise the way it was ordered to happen. I still think the way Vox Clara bullied some members of ICEL, Bishop Maurice Taylor (Ret.) for one, a fact that can be substantiated!) as totally un-Christain. I don't think the Vatican and the Curia are really in touch with us at ground level. However, Mass was well received by the Lay faithful.

In my two English-speaking parishes in Brussels, the celebration with the New Missal went without a hitch yesterday, Sunday. This is also the 450th anniversary of the King James Bible. The committees that did the work had two basic rules for that "classic" translation of the Bible into English. One, it had to be as accurate as possible on the scholar's desk. And most importantly: Two, it had to pass the test of 'the listener's ear' (whether that of God or of mankind). The New Missal Translation tried to accomplish the first rule, with varying success, but it obviously did not use the second rule. The 'esoteric vocabulary' and the lack of 'euphony' in the reading/praying of the text indicate this lack.

Conversation overheard in Rome""The Church is coming apart at the seams. What are we going to do, Your Holiness?""Dunno [Wei es nicht]. Revise the liturgy?"

After the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the use of the abstruse term "consubstantial," did anyone notice the retention of "man" as a generic in the phrase of the Creed: "...who for us men and our salvation...." The use of "man" as a generic reference to humanity has been considered discourteous for many years now. The Bishops don't seem to have gotten the message on this, maybe because they're all male. I can tell you that when I hear my wife recite that passage at Mass it seems ridiculous. The simple elimination of "man" could have solved that problem as "us" does the job nicely. Why wasn't that done?

Although I had attended a few teaching sessions which had lauded the new translations, I was unimpressed. Aside from some giggles at the blunders and a lot of fumbling with the laminated response cards, it was a non-event. The language does not feel at all "elevated" to me; quite the opposite. It is awkward. It has the kind of grammatical awkwardness that a "Google Translate" translation provides, full of odd constructions and strange word choices. It feels poorly translated and in need of a human touch.

I always do a pastor's message in our Parish Bulletin. This Sunday it was on the new translation. By the way, it was over ten years of translation work but many years were thrown out by Liturgicam Authenticam that I summarized in this way: The new translations of the Collectno longer called the Opening Prayerand all the other prayers, like the Eucharistic Prayers, have been similarly translated keeping in account three translation principles: 1) use the same Latin sentence structure if at all possible and 2) use the same Latin word if it can be found in English, and 3) translate every word of Latin into English. Examples of principle #2 are consubstantial for the old one in being and incarnate for born in the Credo; chalice for cup, poured out for shed, and for many instead of for all. All three principles are used in the response And with your spirit. Every word, same structure, spiritu = spirit.It's called "formal equivalence," more of a Latin paraphrase or sometimes straight transliteration. In the end it's not really an English translation, but awkward paraphrase. Apply the old Rudolph Flesch Readability Formula to the new text and see what the results would be.

I went to the 11 a.m. Mass yesterday in my neighborhood at the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine in northern Manhattan in NYC. The shrine was about 75 percent full with a very diverse congregation.The Magnificat pew cards were passed out to everyone upon arrival. There was a brief music practice prior to Mass. After Mass began, the celebrant paused several times and pointed out moments for using the new translations.The "and with your spirit" responses and the "Holy, Holy" went well. But, it was 50-50 on some of the others, including "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof ... "The celebrant used the second option for the Penitential Act -- and said that he was doing to to avoid the breast-striking through the "faults." He also chose to the option of saying the Apostles Creed. (I have a hunch this may become a regular practice.)At the end of Mass, a lay woman who coordinates things at the shrine gave the standard announcement about turning in ticket books for the parish raffle. Somehow her announcement avoided supervision of ICEL and the Vox Clara Committee.

I appreciate the scholarship in the sharings around "consubstantial." I thought it was ungainly, but I'll hold my peace for now.What really grated was "and with your spirit." Which I guess challenges the larger notion of fidelity to the Latin. But it seemed like striking a blow for dualism. One of the things I love about Catholicism is its appreciation of the material: bread, wine, water, oil. I planned to wish the celebrant, after Mass, that the Lord be with the rest of his person, as I had only been able to address his spirit during Mass. But then I did verbalize the more complete blessing several times, by happy accident, during Mass.Also grating is the use of "man" for "human being." No surprises there."Chalice" doesn't bother me. To me it signifies the continuity from Jesus' Seder, where he presumably used something we would call a "cup," to the practice we have evolved, using a chalice. I guess on the whole I would prefer using less gold and ornament, in deference to Jesus' humble circumstances, but I recognize the transcendental intent the riches signify.

I expect that vernacular liturgies will have to be changed every 25-50 years as English, a living language, changes (witness Luke's daughter's comments about the word "adore").I expect that these vernacular change will always be met with dismay by some and triumphalism by others, depending on their views about the current papal regime--progressive, regressive, liberal, conservative, inclusive, traditional.Question for C'weal editors: I realize there were no blogs when liturgical language changed in previous decades, but I'm assuming that reports in the mag might have discussed the level of dissatisfaction (and I'm reading mostly dissatisfaction by those who actually subscribe to the magazine) from readers. Are we seeing mostly resistance to change here? Or is the laity who reads C'weal really more exercised than ever before about these changes?

As a journalist, I don't like most of the changes because, as Luke Hill noted, they amount to mystification instead of clear use of contemporary English, i.e. "consubstantial." Nevertheless, I consider the controversy a tempest in a teapot as most of the changes are anodyne. I don't see what's so egregious about replacing "and also with you" with "and with your spirit" or adding "grievous" to fault. Perhaps this is because I was one of the last people trained as an altar server for the old Latin mass who later studied Latin for 2.5 years in high school. So I recognize the new translation's similarity to the Latin original.There is one exception, however. I am not only upset but offended by the change of "for all" to "for the many." I just cannot imagine what caused the supposedly conservative Roman curia to favor a flawed translation over a basic doctrinal issue, i.e. that Jesus Christ came to save us all. I ask: If he came only for "the many," who does that leave out? The Jews? The Muslims? The liberals? I'm tempted to say I hope it leaves out those who supported this unconscionable change, but that would be violating my own principle. Nevertheless, that's how I feel.

It is of little interest to me how docile the sheep were as they were led to slaughter -- except that it increases my dismay no end. The Curia, the bishops, and some pastors are counting upon a ho-hum acceptance of this truly subversive mess. Concentrating upon the language issues per se is simply the wrong tack to take. This is mainly about ECCLESIOLOGY . Whether the new liturgy bombs or wows is important, but not MAINLY for its language -- except as language influences the way we think.The sad fact is that, for nearly thirty years, Rome (those people who never accepted the conclusions of an ecumenical council) has been treating us much like a pedophile treats his future victims: grooming us for the hoped-for result in this case, the repeal of Vatican II and its messy insistence upon the Church as the People of God, along with its emphasis upon ecumenism and upon liturgy as a conscious, understandable action by the People of God. The constant theme of Roman pronouncements (on nearly any subject) has been, This is just a development of Vatican II even when it was perfectly obvious to even the village idiot that what they were saying was exactly 180 the opposite of what the Council had said. In December 2005 this very journal published the definitive article about the process which has brought us this liturgical monstrosity. John Wilkins, former editor of The Tablet, laid out the entire history up till that point; since then, things have only gotten worse.The simple fact is that if this liturgical translation ends up being accepted, especially if so without a fight, we can kiss the ecclesiology of Vatican II good-bye. And with it, the vibrant spirit-filled Church which resulted from that Council will also be gone. And the world will be the poorer for it. It seems perfectly plain to me that, if a change is being foisted upon the Church by such means strong-arm tactics, intimidation, refusal to dialogue, insults to ecumenical partners, lies, secrecy, and even heresy then someone ought to realize that something has gone terribly wrong. And we ought to do something about it. Clearly, any order to use a liturgy which was confected in purposeful opposition to the formal documents of an Ecumenical Council, and which contains a formula which is heretical in the judgment of competent theologians, and which is being promoted by lies and subterfuge such an order is clearly illegal and immoral, and it ought not be obeyed. This is especially true when we take into account the larger context of the Church today: A Church mired in sexual abuse, cover-ups, financial misdealings, secrecy, and general abuse of power possibly even murder (of Pope John Paul I, possibly others).If we stand idly by, if we obey such an order without protest, then we, too, are derelict in our duty. We become like the good Germans who were just obeying orders. This so-called translation is simply WRONG, and SINFUL , and it needs to be opposed. It does not bear the marks of the Gospel. It is not the work of the Holy Spirit.One often hears the mantra, The Church is not a democracy. Perhaps so, but neither is it a totalitarian dictatorship or ought not be. It is worth re-reading Chapter 15 of the Acts of the Apostles. That most orthodox of theologians, Thomas Aquinas, has spelled out in the clearest terms our obligations as Catholics to correct clerics, including popes and bishops, in error. Please see his Article 33 (esp. #4) on Fraternal Correction in the Summa Theologiae, Secundae Secunda (the Second Part of the Second Part). Aquinas cites Augustine and Matthew 18:15 for support. (It is available on-line at http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3.htm).

" The simple elimination of man could have solved that problem as us does the job nicely. Why wasnt that done? "'Twould be pure and simple heresy! That would somehow imply that maleness is not slightly more elevated and encompassing than that other lesser geneder which we all know is a near occasion of sin, particularly to those who have been ontologically altered.

We were away from home in a small town parish. They managed. I was and am in denial. I hope my brother and others retain "cup" despite all. I have said my wife and I felt comfortable among the "all," we're not so sure we qualify for the "many." Ms. Ferrone had it right in her article: "It doesn't sing!"

" If he came only for the many, who does that leave out? The Jews? The Muslims? The liberals? "C'mon, now; how many of those folks do you think will actually be counted in the 144,000 that constitute the many? There won't be room for many Catholic lay folk after all of the clerics are included, so why should other Christians, forgetting those infidels, even think they have a chance?John Calvin appears to have won out over the Counter Reformation after all.

Ever since reading two wonderful (theology)books about "The Mass" one when the parish I was stationed in required it to become "an extraordinary minister"(back in the 1960ies), I have loved participating often when possible at daily celebration of the Euchrist. I frequently thank God for the "new mass" of Vatican II. (no more hocus pocus) For me "And with your spirit", "Enter under my roof and heal my soul" and the solitary "I" in the creed are not just horrible translations, but bad theology. I find it interesting in this time of Libertarian orthodoxy in small government and incresed poverty and suffering and lack of access to health care and greater inequality and less democracy in the "secular" world, even in the sancutary where we celebrate the Incarnation of God with us and finding God in all things, we stand saying "I beleive". The ego of Enlightment philosophy--the I. No it is we believe--there is no me without the we. Plus the Eucharist and Sacrament of the Sick doesn't just heal souls but minds, hearts and bodies, we human beings. "May this mingleing of the water and wine bring us a share in Your divinity, as You came to share in our humanity". Yes words do matter and I'm not changing mine. I'm glad the preist laughed as did Sarah, and oh how I wish pray and hope many priests will continue to use the Vactiacan II words. Words do matter how we humans experience our encounters with the living Christ as the process matter with imposition of an elite command and I do love St Francis " Preach the gospel always; when necessary use words" is how I recall it. The euchrist is communal prayer--for us all. I miss the handshake Kiss of Peace. I love the singing and the English. But now are we to stand there alone, heads buried in books, stumbeling over words? But in the sancturary there is not "secular vs sacred". We are One in the Lord, living the gifts He gives. Staying awake. Good to read this blog. The Holy Spirit is free and with us.

PS And I just read Michael Cassiday above and agree 100% with him. The theology of Vacitan II lead me into the active practice of "the Faith of My Fathers" although now of course I recognize it as the "Faith of My Forebearers". Words really matter but I'm not leaving---"To Whom could we go Lord; you have the words of eternal life". But we all need to pray for those in positions of authority in our Church that lay on heavy burdens. Would that we could just not follow and keep saying "And with You" etc.

I am pretty sure than a number of people have explained previously that the words of Jesus recorded in the Gospels say that that his blood is poured out either to peri pollon (in Matthew) or hyper pollon (Mark), meaning "on behalf of/for many." You can't really say that "for many" is a "flawed translation." The article cited above by Fr. Zerwick does not contest that pollon can be translated as "for many," but rather argues that 1) in the Semitic context "many" can also convey the sense of "all" and 2) in modern Western languages "many" cannot convey the sense of "all."I am guessing that anyone who is not an out-and-out Jansenist would agree with #1. The debate is really about #2. I am inclined to think that in principle Fr. Zerwick is wrong about #2, not least because several million Anglicans celebrate the Eucharist saying "for many" and not only have managed not to be Jansenists, but actually tend to be far more liberal in matters of the scope of salvation than Catholics are. I suspect deeper issues than word choice -- involving people's readings of the dynamics of ecclesial inclusion and exclusion -- are at play here. I may be wrong, but I think that if people felt that the Church was sufficiently inclusive (wherever one might locate the threshold of "sufficient") then we would not see so much anxiety generated by "for many."

As a priest for over 47 years I struggled, but the weekend went well. That doesn't mean I like it. Run on sentences are not acceptable English and are not easily understood.I wll get used to the prayers that i will say regularly such as those said while preparing the gifts and the various Eucharistic prayers that I tend to use. Hopefully I will be able to even pray them in time. I am not so comfortable thinking about the Collect, the Prayer over the Gifts andt the Prayer after Communion. Since many, if not most of them, are very awkward, I am reading them, trying not to make mistakes. I wish I could pray them.This morning (Monday) the thought kept coming to my mind during Mass "This *#^*!*".Isn't that great for someone who has often said "The Mass is my life."This is all about power and our theology of Church.Would Jesus have said the equivalent of chalice or cup?

One of the pleasures of reading through so many thoughtful comments on this thread is the appearance of new names or at least names that I do not very often enounter. Please keep it up. Widen the discussion!

The volume of comments/chatter on this occasion is stunning. I guess it at least provides an opportunity for a somewhat focused discussion, around words that are both simple and yet at times profound. Our pastor kind of downplayed the event, God bless him. He showed us the old Ritual book (latin) that was used for 400 plus years (while blowing symbolic dust off of it), then the 10 year book immediately after Vatican II, followed by the one we've used for the last 30 plus years. He did not treat us as children who needed to practice these changes, but simply explained the word alterations relevant to us. We remain an inclusive, joyful, welcoming community who remember Jesus and his message in our services. Our 70 voice choir helped celebrate the first Sunday of Advent with a brief and beautiful message from the pastor. That is what made it a memorable Sunday in South Minneapolis.

For the first time in my life (I'm 47), during the Eucharist Prayer I felt like laughing--and in retrospect that makes me feel like crying. The new Latinate (sorry, faithful to the Latin) translation sounded exactly like a high school or college student writing to impress the teacher, thesaurus in hand, using no one-syllable words when polysyllabic ones can be found. I half-expected the response for the prayers of the faithful, "Hear us O Lord," to be changed to "Render your auditory faculties accessible to the current assembly, O Lord."

The changes do not improve the quality of the mass. They do nothing to help me be a better Christian or deepen my ability to get at the core meaning of the mass. They do not clarify anything about the mass. In short, they are a waste of time. It is a complete non-sequitur in English to say, "The Lord be with you" and to reply "And with your spirit." That line in fact makes far less sense than the line it replaced. Moreover some of the lines in the Eucharistic "Prayer" are like sentences out of Karl Rahner. They are long and laborious and the furthest thing from poetry. I pitied the priests in my parish having to read what is no longer a prayer and something more like a legal document or treatise. This was an exercise in re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The bishops have failed to look after our kids and make serious reforms post-pedophile scandal. (look to Kansas City if you disagree) They failed to fight a system that increasingly works against the average parishioner. The bishops failed to bring meaningful change through this new translation. They are failed leaders. If inclusive language had been part of the change, it might have been worth all the trouble and expense. Just more proof the bishops refuse meaningful change that will make the church truly universal in character.

I like the new translation. (And I doubt that the people who like a little repetition and some breast-beating are in the minority.) All went well at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. If I didn't read magazines from Chicago and the coasts I would think that almost everyone was happy with the new translation. We had a few slips--but we always have a few slips.When the translation is next revised--and I'm willing to wait 35 years, now that the major problems have been fixed--I would like to get "In a similar way" out of the Eucharistic prayer. "In the same way" would sound better and say the same thing. (I add this caveat so that people won't think I am just a stooge of the hierarchy.)

Dr. Bauerschmidt,Cardinal Arize's letter of October 2006 says:"There is no doubt whatsoever regarding the validity of Masses celebrated with the use of a duly approved formula containing a formula equivalent to for all as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has already declared (cf. Sacra Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, Declaratio de sensu tribuendo adprobationi versionum formularum sacramentalium, 25 ianuarii 1974, AAS 66 [1974], 661). Indeed, the formula for all would undoubtedly correspond to a correct interpretation of the Lords intention expressed in the text. It is a dogma of faith that Christ died on the Cross for all men and women (cf. John 11:52; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Titus 2:11; 1 John 2:2)."http://old.usccb.org/romanmissal/translating_arinze_letter.shtmlThe rest of the letter explains why, despite that, it was decided to change "for all" to "for many"What seems to be missing in the discussion is any streetwise recognition that the average person seeing or hearing that change will interpret it as meaning that the Church now teaches that Jesus did not die for all people but only for some ("otherwse, why would they have made the change"?)Those favoring the change say that catechesis will solve that - bring people to understand that Jesus died for all but some will not accept the offered salvation, so the end result is that not "all" will be saved - only the "many" mentioned in the text. Fair enough, but it ignores the people not accessible for catechesis - the 80% of Catholics in the U.S. who don't come to Mass regularly and the whole world of non-Catholics. For myself, I would say that neither "all" nor "many" express the full idea, but if we have been using one word for a long time, common-sense would suggest thinking carefully about the message the change will convey to people who see or hear nothing but the one word without all of the theological details. My sense is that the translations have been prepared in a rather rarified atmosphere in which not much consideration has been given to how the texts will be understood and interpreted by non-specialists.

Arize = Arinze

Mr. Hayes,I pretty much agree with everything you've said. Were I (God forbid) in charge of the liturgy, my bias would be toward a more literal translation of pro multis but, given the dynamics you describe, I might well have decided to keep "for all." I will admit I have not played out the fantasy scenario fulling in my mind, since such fantasies usually lead to nothing more than extreme frustration.

John Hayes ---Indeed. So much of what is wrong with the Vatican seems to stem from its misunderstanding of how language actually works. If it understood that good language is language that makes an intended meaning present in the mind of a hearer, it would see the folly of using "many" instead of "all". With the tremendous discoveries in linguistics, philosophy of language and the psychology of language usage in the last 150 years you'd think the Vatican of all places would want to understand those developments so it could do its jobs of teaching and preaching better. But given the Vatican's cultural isolation it is no wonder they've either ignored the developments or don't realize how valuable they are and not just for computer scientists. Ironically, in the middle ages "rhetoric", which was about language and its uses, was a basic part of the education of all priests. Not so today. Of course, the Vatican isn't the only institution that's ignored all this. Not very many people in the Humanities know much about it either.

Those favoring the change say that catechesis will solve that bring people to understand that Jesus died for all but some will not accept the offered salvation, so the end result is that not all will be saved only the many mentioned in the text.

Which would be incorrect. As pointed out above, the term the "many" is actually a Semitic term which means "all" when used in context. A Semitic mind, at that time, would have no problem grasping the universality intended by what was said. By the way, when the phrase is said in the New Testament it is not qualified by "oh by the way some will accept and some will reject and for those who do reject well they are not included in the many". In fact the contrary is true in that Paul specifically states that "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth," EVERY knee not many knees. The Christology of the new testament points towards universality and Origen even included the devil (although this universality was rejected.

"the term the many is actually a Semitic term which means all when used in context."No, the term "many" is not a Semitic word. It is an English word. I'm sick of this really stupid argument.(Oh? Were you insulted? Don't be. What I mean by "stupid" is what you mean by "tiresome". Couldn't you guess?)

Ken's parish sounds rather mystified: "Most folks I spoke with after mass said they thought it went fine. The priest has the more difficult adjustment, and he did a good job. "Is the Mass now an elocution test or what?I shall pick and choose from the preces of the new translation and ignore its shocking travesty of the Eucharistic Prayers. I can't join those who are nailing Vatican II to the cross of their reactionary fantasia.Honi soit qui mal y pense.

Much ado about nothing. The changes were intended to annoy Catholics like myself who not only embraced Vatican II but also believed it was just the start of a long process of progressive change. I'm annoyed but not enough to go across the street to the Episcopal church. One positive thought. I walk to church and sometimes bring my sweet, playful mutt, Seamus. I tie him up outside. He loves the sound of human singing. I think he also must enjoy that canine-sounding chorus of "roof" coming out of the church. Now there's a silver lining! Roof, roof!

Ann OlivierZerwick's argument about the universality connoted by the Semitic idiom "the many" and the allusion to the Suffering Servant is not stupid at all. In fact it is highly nuanced. You may be sick of it, but that does not invalidate the linguistic basis of the argument. If the translator's of the new Missal are going to stand on the linguistic ground they have carved out for themselves they should at least be honest about it and admit that their reason for changing pro omnibus to pro multis is driven by the ideology enshrined in Dominus Jesus and not on the linguistic origins of the term.

I agree with Tom Baker's comment above: the most jarring change was the substitution of "chalice" for "cup." Even the very literal Google Translate renders the Latin "calix" as "cup." It is a bit of revisionism that calls to mind various fanciful Renaissance paintings of the Last Supper in which Jesus is depicted as giving communion to the apostles in the manner priests do at Mass: http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/j/joos/eucharis.htmlI view the missal episode as another of many steps back. It's something I can accept, like many other steps back. That doesn't mean I think it's a good idea. On the plus side, the pastor of my parish prepared people as well as possible for it, and the transition was pretty smooth.

Glad to know I wasn't the only one who cringed at "chalice." (I'm in the choir and decided to be a smart aleck when we sang "One Bread, One Body" for Communion, substituting "chalice" for "cup" but only my husband (a bass behind me) noticed. Perhaps I am just being rebellious because our bishop, Donald Trautman, opposed the awkward translation.Here's my question: How much did this whole change cost? I wondered about that when we took up our new monthly second collection for our parish food pantry, I wish the $ spent to produce the laminated cheat sheets could have gone to help the poor -- and thought about that even more when I read "Make room for Christ" by Dorothy Day in "The Word Among Us," the daily meditation for Advent that our parish gives out.

Ann:It is not an insignificant point. The liturgy is a public proclamation and if that proclamation is ambiguous or not based on the clear revelation in Christ that a new day has dawned for "all", then how can I, in integrity and honesty, participate in that proclamation?What would you suggest? Re translating words in our head to mean the opposite of what the obvious English meaning of the word is.

George D, here's Cardinal Arinze's summary of the universality argument (from the same letter linked above)"The expression for many, while remaining open to the inclusion of each human person, is reflective also of the fact that this salvation is not brought about in some mechanistic way, without ones own willing or participation; rather, the believer is invited to accept in faith the gift that is being offered and to receive the supernatural life that is given to those who participate in this mystery, living it out in their lives as well so as to be numbered among the many to whom the text refers."

I don't care what any of you people think, I simply love, love, love the new translation! I feel so important, saying all those big words, while all you little ontological wormies crouch on your knees adoring me! Yes, as a matter of a fact, Jesus was consubanshle with the Father and I'm consubanshle with Jesus, and it's about time you people started treating me that way. This mass is a wonderful tool for catechizing you on the doctrine of my holy priesthood.And I love, love, love, love how we finally wrote all those dirty, stinky, female people out of the script. (As if any priest would ever bother coming down from Heaven for the sake of their salvation!) What liturgy could be more like the Beatific Vision than just wonderful, precious me and my fabulous, divine brethren all alone with half-naked Jesus up on the cross? (I am so ready to boot those revolting little altar-females out of my sanctuary, which I plan to do as soon as I've bought myself a golden chaliss with lots of elegant little swirly-curlies engraved on it, just like Pope Benny has. And there won't be any laypeople putting their mouths on my precious chaliss, you can bet on that, nor any disgusting old tuna holding it down there at the foot of the altar for people to drink from.)Oh, how beautifully I prayed the new mass, very slowly and importantly with plenty of intonation, just like Maria Callas singing "Pace, mio Dio", and how elegantly I waved my sacred, venerable hands around all the while, just like Gandalf at the bridge in Moria! And I sounded so marvelously imposing and poetic, just like a Harry Potter book. Who cares what all those funny words mean anyway? I can't understand one word of that Shakespeare stuff, but I go anyway because I simply adore the costumes and swordplay. Nobody comes to mass to hear some ridiculous Word, (duh!), they come to see me in my glamorous costumes. I just hope my butt didn't look fat as I precessed up to the altar in my new cappa magna.Next on the agenda: I do think the non-ordained should kneel throughout the mass. Like who do you all think you are, standing in my holy presence? Did you not hear the part about how consubanshle I am with God?

There were no liturgical linguistic changes to the Mass in which I participated. Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community in San Diego is an "extracanonical" community of Roman Catholics pastored by a Roman Catholic Woman Priest, assisted by another woman priest and a gay male priest. Our liturgical changes happened several years ago, and were changes to make the liturgy more inclusive and less imperial. The changes were substantial, so perhaps I have some understanding of what the impact of the New Order of the Mass might be for participants. The difference in our experience of change was that the Community participated in them. Our liturgy is an expression of our understanding of the Mass and the meaning of the several sections of it. I am familiar with the history of the generation of the New Order but I would guess that not one in 100 occupants of the pews knows how the changes happened. And it would appear that about one in 200,000 Catholics was involved in any way with the revisions.That is truly distressing and an example of a wonderful (catechetical?)opportunity ignored.

Well, it is off topic but I have issues with that as well.Bottom line, according to that thinking, in the end sin IS stronger than grace and death IS stronger than life. Because we really have no choice when it comes to sin (given the reality of Original Sin) and we certainly have no choice over death. We cannot refuse the prompting of death but we can refuse the prompting of life?I personally believe the paschal mystery had more significance than that and that is good news. If it is up to me, heck, I cannot even stick to a consistent nutrition and exercise routine for longer than 6 months (but I still work on it) let alone allow myself to participate in the gift of faith.I will still go to mass but I will just be irritated at that part. Don't tell anyone but our priest is an older priest (and a good - not perfect but holy and has a great heart!) who sticks to "all" (guess it is just habit eh).

Paul Moses: "I view the missal episode as another of many steps back. Its something I can accept, like many other steps back. That doesnt mean I think its a good idea."But why? Why should we all just accept what is clearly one of a number of regressions? Why can't the Church in the US stand up to the Curia in Rome and resist and protest like groups of Catholics throughout Europe? I just struggle to understand the view that if it is more difficult to understand, if it is further from everyday usage then is is holier. Don't people realise that the language the New Testament was written in was "common" Greek, not Aramaic. Why? Because more people understood and spoke Greek. The later translations into Latin were likewise because Latin had become the "common" language of the people of the Western Roman Empire and therefore the Church. And then later there were the translations into all the common languages of the people.The mass was written in Latin because it was originally the common language of the Roman Empire and had remained the common language of the clergy and Roman Church administration and had taken on a "sacred" aura for that reason. The translating of the liturgy into the common languages of the people that took place in the '60's was because, like the Bible in the post-Reformation era, it was felt that the Mass should be more accessible to people. But what are we doing now? We are going back to the Latin wording - "consubstanial", Latin phraseology, archaic theology. Why? Because we are reverting to the clergy vs. people, men vs. women, sinners vs. saved, Rome vs. everybody else in the Church, polarities. It is an exercise in power and intimidation - not theology and certainly not spirituality.We shouldn't have to put up with this or get used to this. As a faith community we deserve better than this; we are better than this.

"But why? Why should we all just accept what is clearly one of a number of regressions? "Because there is no mechanism for us to express ourselves inside the church. What I was thinking the other day was: why, when the priest says "for many", can we not speak up and say "for all"? Some people are so upset that they are speaking of going over to the Episcopalians. They are willing to consider leaving the Catholic church, but not willing to speak up at Mass. Why not?A friend recently described "the Catholic way": if something upsets you, you repress your feelings, you don't say anything about it; you simply leave and don't come back. That's how Catholics deal with problems, he said.

George D said: Because we really have no choice when it comes to sin (given the reality of Original Sin) So where does that leave Original Sin, on which several important doctrines depend? According to a remarkable book by Professor Jack Mahoney SJ, to be launched in Britain on 1 December, (Christianity in Evolution: an Exploration) if evolution is true then Original Sin cannot be. (Clifford Longley, The Tablet, 26 November 2011)Mahoney is about to be added to the CDFs spit list right around Christmas.

Alan --Zerwick gives some historical data about the meanings attached to an Aramaic *phrase* which includes one word, a quantifier, which in ordinary English means the quantifier "some". However, Zerwick also shows that in the past when that particular quantifier appeared in that particular phrase *in certain contexts* that the intended meaning of the whole phrase was not "for some", the meaning was "for all". In other words, the meaning of that Aramaic quantifier could mean different things in different contexts. The *only* question for the Mass translators to answer should have been: what does the this Aramaic phrase mean in the context of the larger text which we are now translating? It seems to me it's clear that Zerwick himself has shown that for the early Christians who used that Aramaic text originally it meant "for all". The phrase has had more than one meaning, but the only meaning that counts is the meaning of the early Christians. It is *their* meaning, therefore, that must be conveyed in the English translation.But that is not what the translators have given us -- they have given us the *other* meaning of the Aramaic phrase. But they were hired to give us a translation of what the early Christians meant by the phrase. They didn't, so it's an unsuccessful English translation.A wise man said above in this very thread, "Todays Mass was an exercise in English as a foreign language." Indeed :-)

"It is not an insignificant point. The liturgy is a public proclamation and if that proclamation is ambiguous or not based on the clear revelation in Christ that a new day has dawned for all, then how can I, in integrity and honesty, participate in that proclamation?What would you suggest? Re translating words in our head to mean the opposite of what the obvious English meaning of the word is."Georg D --I agree that it is far from insignificant, since taken literally it's heresy. So re-translating (or rather correcting it) would seem the best thing to do. Or you could just not say the phrase or even the whole sentence, but that would be a loss. And write to your bishop if you feel very strongly about it. They need to know that we're as serious about this as they are.

You might enjoy this homily by Ed Foley at Old St. Pat's in downtown Chicago:http://www.praytellblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Foley-Homily-Adve..."Because the Advent call is not simply or even essentially to have more sacred, more literal, more Catholic worship in our churches""And that judgment gospel was not about the quality of our translation, the accuracy of our English, the competency of our cursus, but our care for the hungry, imprisoned, homeless and unloved. Jesus does not divide the sheep from the goats according to what Roman Missal they are reading from, not according to what translation guidelines they used, or even how well they stumbled through the new prayers.He divided the sheep from the goats according to their abilities and commitment to the corporal works of mercy. Not how well did they pray, but how well did they house and feed and clothe and care for the needy.Karl Rahner, a giant of 20th century Catholic theology, and expert at Vatican II, made a very interesting and useful distinction between the liturgy of the church and the liturgy of the world. While Rahner understood how critical the liturgy of the Church is to the holiness and well being of Gods people, he also believed that the liturgy of the world:the mysticism of daily living, the encountering of God in the great and small things of life,was as important and actually prior.Rahner basically understood that most of our dying and rising, most of our crucifixions and resurrections, and most of our decisions about how to live between our dying and rising does not take place in a church, But in the bedroom, the board room, the bathroom,and on the bus on the way to work. Rahner taught that if you dont understand the liturgy of the world, youll never understand the liturgy of the church."Some things for Vox Clara, the CDW, and Rome to think about.

"It is not an insignificant point. The liturgy is a public proclamation and if that proclamation is ambiguous or not based on the clear revelation in Christ that a new day has dawned for all, then how can I, in integrity and honesty, participate in that proclamation?"George, I agree it is a significant point, but much of the argumentation here seems to me to have it backward.The inescapable fact, which can't be gotten round, is that the liturgical text itself - the editione typica, the source text which is to be translated - says "pro multis", and "pro multis" means "for many". The Latin liturgical text in question has been "pro multis" for many centuries before the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, and has remained "pro multis" even after the reform of the Latin text in the wake of Vatican II. This tradition has remained constant.The tradition is significantly bolstered by the Vulgate's also rendering the phrase, in both Matthew and Mark, as "pro multis".If sacred scripture and traditional liturgical prayer both say it is "pro multis", then - to address your requirement for clear revelation - it doesn't seem too strong to assert that what has been revealed to us is "pro multis" - it *is* revelation. Naturally, like all revelation, it needs to be unpacked by, and understood with, the church.The English translation of "pro multis", also by long and venerable tradition, both liturgical and biblical, is "for many". Check any pre-Vatican II personal missal. Anyone whose liturgical participation was formed pre-Vatican II will tell you that "for many" is what the church taught them. Check Douay-Rheims - and virtually any mainstream modern New Testament translation. Both traditional and current biblical scholarship have rendered the phrase as "for many".The novelty, introduced in the 1970s, has been to render "pro multis" as "for all" in some liturgical translations. Arguably, this constituted a sharp break with longstanding and venerable tradition. Apparently, it generated so many questions that the Vatican felt compelled to issue an explanation/defence in the early '70's. Understandably so, as it touches on doctrine that is close to the heart of Christianity.Cardinal Arinze essentially restored the tradition.None of this is to argue that "for all" is wrong - although I have argued that it is susceptible to an incorrect understanding. Of course, we've seen here that "for many" is also susceptible to an incorrect understanding - the view that Christ's sacrifice was offered only for some rather than for all.Neither "for all" nor "for many" captures all of the nuances of "pro multis", and both are susceptible to misunderstanding. But we must choose one. My own view is that there is wisdom in praying with the church, in union with the tradition, and the tradition is "pro multis", i.e., "for many".

I loved the use of "consubstantial." It reminded me of the truth to which The Cloud of Unknowing first brought me: that Being itself is a creature. Our God created Being. It does not comprise Him. Consubstantial? This reminds me of Christ and the Father's inherent oneness, without confinement.

"Consubstantial" can mean anything at all -- it may well serve for a brief trip into a cloud of unknowing.

Andrew Sullivan links to this thread: http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/11/the-after-mass.html"That is now the bar we've set" -- yes, and the majority of the "it went well" crowd simply mean that they passed the elocution text. Oh, we fumbled a bit, but we'll soon get the pitter-patter word perfect! How childish can we get?

Pages

Share

About the Author

Peter Steinfels, co-founder of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture and a former editor of Commonweal, is the author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America.