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.

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.



Commenting Guidelines

  • All

My wife, who is Lutheran, found the experience frustrating. As did I. The priest's prayers were quite difficult to follow, which distracted and annoyed me. I had to read along (when I could find his place). He did well, but stumbled through some of the more troublesome locutions. Too many chalices. Half the congregation kept forgetting "and with your spirit." The creed was bumpy. "Under my roof" was almost completely botched. Certainly not disastrous. But not very good either.

Addendum: At announcements and before the final blessing, the pastor observed (or was it opined?) that there were likely to be revisions! To which my neighbor behind replied, "in thirty-five years!"

Thanks for this. We struggled through just fine, too. At the close of Mass our pastor said that it would take "a few weeks" ("months?", I thought) until we all got comfortable with the new translations and urged us all to be patient with him, with ourselves, and with each other.He also opined---as someone who grew up with the Latin Mass and celebrated Mass in Latin in the early days of his priesthood---that this transition would be harder than the one from Latin to English, in part precisely because the changes are (in many cases) so minor, and the language so close to what we have used over the past 40 years.A couple of other observations after Mass: our teenage daughter, now in her 4th year of studying Latin, disapproved of some of the changes. She specifically mentioned "consubstantial" replacing "one in being" as being needlessly obscure. "One in being *means* the same thing as consubstantial! And it's clearer! I don't understand why they changed it." (Interestingly, a theologian in our parish made the same observation about consubstantial: "It's mystification. I don't mind mystery, but this seems like mystification for the purpose of keeping the laity in their place.")Our daughter also speculated (not having seen the Latin text) that the several places in which "adore" has replaced "worship" reflected some form of "adorare" in the Latin text. She then explained why she thought that was a poor decision by the translators. Adore, in her view, has come to have a "cutesy" connotation in contemporary English ("I adore Justin Bieber!", "Don't you just adore this picture of that cute kitten?"). Also, in her view, there's nothing "cutesy" about the God of the Bible! Thus, her conclusion that "worship" is a better, more appropriate, more accurate, dare I say more solemn, English translation of "adorare".

Luke HillYour daughter is very perceptive. All the arguments for "consubstantial" that I have seen are unsubstantial. She also has a fine sense of the effect of "adore". I wonder if she also noticed that "born of the Father" is rather odd. One might have expected "begotten by the Father", which, oddly enough, is what the Greek original has.

No Gloria because it's Advent. Our pastor said "here we go" a couple of times, trying to keep everyone together. He got jumbled up about three times and just stopped and began again.He thinks it will take about 3 months for everyone to get used to the new text. So here we arein Advent, watching ourselves begin something new together.

In our tiny parish, no big deal. One woman remarked: "What is all the fuss about?" It was a little bit like Y2K--nothing disastrous happened.The London Tablet in the 19 November issue (unfortunately not available on-line) has a 12-page comparison and analysis of the 1973 version, the Latin, and the new version.

Today's Mass was an exercise in English as a foreign language.

from St. Theresa's in the Bronx:The Vigil Mass was celebrated by a priest ordained just this past Spring. He said afterward it was like celebrating his "First Mass" again. He prayed Eucharistic Prayer II quite beautifully.This morning I prayed Eucharistic Prayer III, inviting the Congregation to follow in their books. It seemed to me that there was a considerable level of attention.Peter says: "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."Amen! and in the two parishes where I celebrate regularly, it is being done.Finally, though I love robust singing, and rejoice when there is heart-felt and impressively audible exchanges (much better at Saint Theresa than at Sacred Heart, Newton), the "participatio actuosa" that I strive to foster is in the paschal Mystery of the Lord: the ongoing Advent challenge for us all -- until we attain "the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ."

I agree with Luke's daughter and I think "one in being" is actually closer to what St. Thomas Aquinas was driving at.As I recall, "being" is "esse" which is, when applied to God, a verb as well as at the same time being a noun. In everything else the the thing "ens" participates in the esse (verb) of God. But God is the only being whose essence is his existence. This makes God by definition impossible to conceptualize in any way that is not misleading.When the term "substance" is used it sounds as if there is a stable substrate (noun) that holds everything in place which is actually misleading because the stable substrate is actually not so stable in that it is simultaneously a verb. If I am not mistaken, Aristotle believed in such a stable substrate (The Prime Mover) but it was corrected by the very revelation of God on Mount Sinai as "I Am who AM". The Hebrew term is a noun that means a verb.

Alan Mitchell and I belong to the same parish, but I go to Mass at 5:30 pm. So my experience is yet to come.I have heard several times in recent days from Catholics who are at Mass every Sunday (not members of the parish I belong to) ,"Why are they changing everything. Nobody listens to the prayers anyway." !!!Of course, I know the ready response of the proponents, "But they will start listening now." As one my former bosses, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, was wont to say, "If I were a betting man, ...."I am convinced that the jury will be out until at least the end of the Easter Season, if not a full liturgical year. I put no stock in instant analysis in something as consequential as this. Perhaps one of the contributors will take up this discussion next year on 2 December.

The Advent prefaces were some of the most beautiful prayers in the year. The new ones are gobbledegook. I couldn't makes heads or tails out of what I heard today. The old ones echo in my heart.

Some folks gravitate toward archaic verbiage; others don't. I recall attending Holy Communion service on Sundays with my Episcopalian wife thirty-odd years ago; her parish used the 1928 BCP. My Catholic parish, of course, used a more contemporary liturgical phraseology in its worship. I preferred the latter, not because it was Roman Catholic but because it was the American English of my times.This RM3 has been criticized on two counts:+ Quality (or lack thereof) of translation for ordinary people, and+ Its history of development.I'll let others debate the merits/demerits of translation (I've reached my conclusion).On the other hand, the new translation was the product of a top-down process clearly at odds with the principles and process of translation addressed in Sacrosanctum Concilium, especially articles 21, 34, and 36. Its latinized English brings to mind the old Tridentine liturgy that, no doubt, prompted the world's bishops to consider liturgical renewal to be *the* key priority at Vatican II. Old curial cardinals tried to stop change, and it appears that they have finally been successful. How sad.As for catechesis, nothing's going to change. Past performance is the best predictor of future performance. If it wasn't done before (or wasn't done correctly/adequately/whatever), it's not going to be done in the future (or be done correctly/adequately/whatever). If I may opine, when "catechesis" is necessary to explain the meaning, etc. behind a community's way of worship, something is wrong with the worship!!!I'll leave future debates on the translation itself to others.It's the underlying story of development that will stop me from every using this translation.

To me the most jarring and wrong-headed change was the repeated use of "chalice" rather than cup - "the chalice of salvation"? This fussiness about Jesus using a chalice is particularly silly since in the assembly's proclamation of the mystery of faith right after the consecration, it's still a "cup."My own pastor (after four masses with a total of 1500+ people) says he didn't get one single comment, positive or negative, about any of the changes. Not at all sure what that means, and neither was he.

Peter: I hope your servers weren't altered too much. You know the church position on transgenders!We have a very bright pastor/presider who pulled off his part with a minimum of muss and fuss, but he did substitute cup for chalice - deliberately.We also dodged the "C" word by using the Apostle's rather than Nicene Creed."Also with you" will not die easily.Few if any of us entered under anyone's roof, either.When all is said and done, however, if homilies continue to uninspired and the music insipid, then all of this new wording will simply be yet another example of rearranging the deck chairs on the Barque of Petrus.

I should be clear: our parish homilies are rarely if ever uninspired and our music will hold its own (along with our joyful, full and activie singing) with anyone's.

Today at Mass the answers from the congregation were pretty mixed. I could see people using their pew cards. The Creed was difficult. For the sentence about incarnation, almost every one stumbled, which produced a strange effect, almost as if we had skipped that line. I guess that line is just hard to read aloud without prior practice.The presider's part sounded foreign. One big plus was that, before both the opening prayer and the post-communion prayer, he remained standing in silence for a few moments before starting. He was probably just re-reading it in his head before saying it out loud, but the effect of that silent moment was a much more attentive congregation for those prayers. (Not that we got much reward for our attention, but at least we were praying, not looking for our purse or putting on our coat.)The only part to which I had strong negative reactions was at consecration. That chalice! Not just once but several times! And when the priest said "for many", I muttered under my breath: "For all! For all! For all!", and my neighbor turned and stared at me curiously.

Ordain Luke's daughter as a cardinal now! She knows something about the emperor's new clothes that too many of the sheople and clerics do not!

"To me the most jarring and wrong-headed change was the repeated use of chalice rather than cup the chalice of salvation? "Those same prayers in Spanish already used the word "caliz." Perhaps you should ask some Hispanic people how they manage to stand it.

The Washington Post has a helpful blog entry about the changes the English translation. Here is an excerpt:

Posted at 04:56 PM ET, 11/23/2011Will Catholic Mass changes cause mass confusion?By Elizabeth TenetyThe Catholic Church, its religious authorities often remind its followers, is intentionally slow to change, if it ever changes at all. The ritual of Communion, where the priest consecrates the bread and wine for distribution to the faithful, for example, has been observed in similar fashion for thousands of years.But this weekend, millions of English-speaking Catholics will experience some of the most profound change in their lifetime when the words of the Catholic liturgy are phased out in favor of a new translation. . . .One example of that shift is in a line familiar to Catholics at the height of the Mass, just before Communion. Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed, Catholics have said for decades. This weekend, those words change to, Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. This new translation borrows from a story in the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus entered a mans home and healed his servant.

Here is Elizabeth Tenety's bio from the Washington Post.

Elizabeth Tenety is the editor of On Faith. She formerly was producer of Divine Impulses, On Faith's video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.

Saying that the ritual of communion has been observed in similar fashion "for thousands of years" strikes me as incorrect for several reasons, although I suppose some might be willing to let it pass. But to refer to the story of the healing of the centurion's servant as one "in which Jesus entered a mans home and healed his servant" is to reveal a stunning ignorance of one of the most famous stories in the gospels. The Washington Post should temporarily reassign her until she reads at least the New Testament.

At end of Mass at LA Cathedral we (a very multicultural congregation) applauded ourselves for doing so well. AB Gomez also said we did well. The LA Times warned about the dangers of "consubstantial" but there have been no injuries reported.Dignum et justum est.

The for "many" makes me cringe too. It is like fingernails scratching against a blackboard or listening to a best man speech at a wedding.I wait to here the catechesis on that one. If you go by traditionalist oriented blogs who just love that translation, their interpretation is that Christ died for all but only some will avail themselves of Christ's grace.Actually this is incorrect. The translation of the for many comes from the Latin which in turn is based on a Semitic idiom which actually meant for all. So, for example if we were using Vatican logic, the correct translation in 1 Corinthians 15:22 "For as in Adam the many die, so in Christ the many will be made alive." But nobody translates it that way!This is precisely the reason that originally the Vatican opted for the principle of dynamic equivalence in translation for texts but then shifted later on to formal equivalence.

PSthe "for many" is QED of the problem of formal equivalence in translation.

As some have mentioned it is the arrogance of the change that gnaws. After that the constant dominative understanding is that missing Mass is a mortal sin, at least if one misses for a month. With all the learned repartee as to what is wrong or right it might be argued that few understand the theology of the Eucharist. Surely the Apostles were not all that illuminating because they were the "unlearned" of this world. What to do then is to follow Francis to say that we should continue praying (he said preaching) and sometimes use words.

Early liturgy this Sunday - little music; our foreign priest and deacon made it through with no explanations, no directions, etc. Priest does okay in english but he struggled. The deacon - well, to be charitable; it is a lost cause in english. The sparse congregation followed along as best they could.Both our diocese and parish did the minimum in terms of introduction and catechesis (did you know that the root words of catechesis have to do with listening - as in listening to those you are engaging with in terms of faith, community, witness, etc. vs. any US educational definition of teaching or instructing). Of course, we have a FBI bishop who still has the strong brough after 25+ years in the US who stated a year ago - well, the peoples' parts are barely changing; what is the big deal?. The diocese did choose one set of music for the Gloria and Acclamations which began in most parishes in September. The diocesan rag published the USCCB notices and explanations over the last three weeks. Sorry, Fr. Imbelli, don't think that we in this diocese will come close to what you were hoping for. Would agree with John Page - let's see by Easter time.Did have a couple of friends stop me after mass asking about that "strange" word - I guessed "consubstantial" which they affirmed. Tried to give a brief explanation - it only left them confused and wondering what was going on. They were more disturbed by the new pastor's elimination of midnight mass at christmas...guess we will have a more sacral vernacular but move with the secular times and provide masses on Christmas Eve but only one on Christmas day? Now how is that for countercultural and opposing secularism (how yeah, the stores did open Thanksgiving evening for Black Friday - guess it is all okay and in the spirit of the times).

Max Zerwick, SJ, of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome gave this definitive treatment of "pro mulits" meaning "for all". It was published in Notitiae, the official publication of the Congregation for Divine worship in MAy, 1970. Vox Clara has violated what the Congregation offered as the rationale for the translation "for all."

I was home for the holiday weekend, so my first experience with the new translation was in the parish where I grew up. It felt appropriate to be in such familiar surroundings for this venture into the unfamiliar (especially since, in my ordinary life, I'm adjusting to a brand new parish). I thought the priest handled it all extremely well -- he started out reminding us of the changes, in a positive but not patronizing tone. When, immediately thereafter, nearly everyone said "And also with you" anyway, he laughed with us. (By the end of Mass I was four for five with that particular line.) And he pronounced his texts about as well as anyone could, even making a solid effort to get across the unclear pronouns in the post-communion prayer. The congregation was likewise very game. The creed actually sounded more full-throated and less mumbly than usual, with everyone reading it from the page. The line about the incarnation was the exception -- but I suspect it was the marginal instruction about bowing that tripped everyone up. (For me, seeing that particular practice become more widely observed would be a nice outcome of having our heads buried in worship aids for the next several weeks/months.)I agree with Tom; "chalice" was the change that made me cringe most. Hearing "this is the chalice of my blood" made me feel like I was back in introductory Spanish, getting tripped up by apparent cognates and discovering how much more there is to thinking in another language than first meets the eye.

"The line about the incarnation was the exception but I suspect it was the marginal instruction about bowing that tripped everyone up. "Interesting, because that instruction has always been there, hasn't it?

The line about the incarnation was the exception" - a friend had a different conjecture: many people in the US, she said, learnt to read globally, and never learnt how to decompose a word into syllables, so when they meet a new word such as "incarnate" that they have not seen before, they do not know how to read it. (I find that difficult to believe even though I have noticed teenage lectors having trouble with unfamiliar words).

Raber said that the priest stopped parishioners three or four times for "do overs" when they made the wrong response or the responses were muddled. The poor man is in ill-health, so perhaps can be forgiven for being a little testy.National Public Radio ran an interesting spot yesterday about the big boost the new liturgy is giving to religious musicians, composers, and publishers!'s an ill wind that blows nobody good (or, to Latin up a cliche, it's an adverse atmospheric ventilation that that exhales beneficences on no individual. Much better!).

FWIW, regarding "pro multis" - I don't see "many" and "all" as mutually exclusive choices. "All" exists on a continuum that runs from "none" through "some" and "most" before arriving at "all". "Many" exists in a different set of possibilities, one in which its opposite number is "few". It may clarify the difference between these two sets of possibilities to note that a statement about a group of things can refer to *all* without referring to *many*, if it is a small group. For example, if I have three children, and all received a flu shot at school, it would be correct to note that all of my children have been given a flu shot, but it wouldn't make much sense to say that "many" of my children have received the shot, because I wouldn't have many children, I would have only three, i.e. a few.As "pro multis" is used in the consecration narratives, the set of possibilities being referenced is both "many" - billions upon billions of people - and also "all" - no fewer than every person who has ever lived or ever will live.By tradition, only twelve others - subsequently reduced to eleven - heard Jesus utter the words of consecration at the Last Supper. Those words, as remembered in the Gospel accounts and in our Eucharistic Prayers, take care to note that the group of people being referred to is not just those twelve - a set that could be described as "all" but simultaneously "an exclusive, chosen few", but *many* - the twelve plus many, many others besides.I suspect that what folks object to - and what I would certainly object to - is the suggestion that "many" should be taken to mean, "most, but not all".

Peter's experience was almost identical to mine, except that our music seems a lot more contemporary :-)

I think in the begining, when Christians gathered to celebrate they all knew the tune. They knew because they were composing it. When the liturgy begins to sing a familiar song, one that flows naturally from the pews, life and its celebration will once more be one.

Ours went fine. Anticlimax.

Jim, You are losing your breath trying to explain that we replaced "all" by "many", and yet it still means "all". What is communicated is not what you understand but what is heard and understood by the congregation. In regular, everyday English, "many", in the context where it is substituted for "all", obviously implies "not everyone". You can explain what it means for you (and for Pope Benedict) as much as you want, but it's not going to change how people understand it.I glanced, right after consecration, at the row of gay men in the pew behind me. They were looking grim.

At my parish, our first mass with the new missal came off smoothly. Many (including myself) often said the old responses out of habit (particularly "and also with you" instead of "and with your spirit") even as we had the pew cards in hand, but overall the sound of the some saying old responses melted into the sound of others saying the new responses. Father didn't have to interrupt mass for any "do-overs." We've been practicing the Gloria and the Sanctus with the new translations and settings since September, and I think people are used to them (if not in love with them!).I will miss the words that I grew up with, but I open myself to the possibility of being elevated and enriched by a new translation that is not only faithful to the Latin but, more importantly, to the Scripture from which so much of the liturgical text is drawn. The success of the new missal will depend on the willingness of priests to take the effort to proclaim the more complex sentences of the new translation in the most effective way (similar to the effort a lector must make in delivering a passage from, say, Paul's epistles) as well as on the congregants' willingness to do the same and to listen more attentively, i.e. devotedly. As for the "infelicity" of substituting "adore" for "worship".... it is true that the word "adore" has been cheapened in colloquial usage, but I doubt that the cheapened meaning would occur to someone during a properly solemn mass (and "worship" has not escaped some colloquial "cheapening" either). Why shouldn't we RECLAIM these words for their original meanings rather than give up the field to the culture/the world? "Consubstantial"? Hmmm... The idea it is seeking to express is ultimately a mystery. The phrase "one in being with" may have been making things TOO clear, lulled us into believing we understand what cannot in itself be completely understood by the human mind. Perhaps an obscure word we have to ask about is more helpful in this context than a common word whose meaning we take to be transparent."For many"... simply an accurate translation of the Latin "pro multis" as elucidated by the Greek original ("peri pollon" in Matthew 26:28) it is translating. Don't quarrel with the translation of the liturgy; quarrel with Scripture itself. If indeed "for many" was an idiom in Latin, Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew for "for all," then why don't we (in catechesis) give ourselves the license to interpret "for many" in English as meaning "for all." In any case, "for many" does not exclude the possibility that "all" will be saved (i.e. that all will respond to God's grace and be saved by it) for that "all" would indeed be "many."

Attended 5pm Mass last night and, in general, it went okay. People's parts were the least of the difficulties and, with cue cards, most folks did fine. EPIII was my favorite and I'm not a huge fan of the new version. Concluding doxology is painful to listen to, although I'd like to reserve judgment until I hear it chanted.With that out of the way, I want to weigh in a bit on the arguments for replacing "one in being" with "consubstantial." I am actually in favor of this change for a couple of reasons.First of all, few words have caused more sturm and drang in the history of Christian doctrine than homoousious, the Greek word in the Nicene Creed that was translated as consubstantilem in the Latin version. In the 4th century, Christians literally gave their lives over the words of the Creed. Given that the East accepted the Latin translation of the term as orthodox, my personal view is that the bar to using anything but the closest possible English analogue would have to be very, very high. This is one case where I think a strong argument exists for "formal equivalence."Secondly, I question whether the term "one in being" is an adequate translation of the underlying concept. Here, I admit, my views are deeply influenced by the Trinitarian theology of Orthodox Metropolitan John Zizioulas. In his 1985 book, Being as Communion, Zizioulas argues against the general tendency in the West to see the "being" or "substance" of God as somehow prior to God's personal existence as Father, Son and Spirit. "One in Being" reinforces this tendency, because it suggests that the "oneness" of God is primarily found in God's being or substance rather than His uniquely personal existence. I realize that there are arguments to the contrary, but in some ways that is precisely my point. Given the very complex theological and doctrinal issues we are dealing with here, I do not think it was wise to paraphase this particular term. For that reason, I am pleased with this particular change even if I not am not a fan of some others.

Three things left me discouraged:In his homily, the priest said that the reason for the more difficult text was that we need a special language to speak in church that isn't the same English we speak when we go to the donut shop. I guess this is the idea of having a "sacral" language; carried far enough you end up going back to Latin. There was no instrumental music today. This is a church that until now has had a half-dozen different groups providing a wide range of music for different masses. Today there were no musicians in sight and except for a single unaccompanied hymn verse at the end of the Mass, there was only unaccompanied chant from the Missal. I was surprised at how much this diminished my sense of participation in the Mass. The third isn't related to the change in the Mass, but just piled on one more thing to add to my discouragement. Last month, on two consecutive Sundays, Communion was distributed under both kinds. I hoped this was a trial run for distributing under both kinds starting in Advent with the new Missal. I sent an email to the pastor thanking him for those two Sundays and encouraging him to continue. I got no reply from him and there was no Communion under both kinds today.

George D., consubstantial (homoousios) means "of one being with" or "of one substance with" -- it was used by the council of Nicea as a refinement on the previous lawyerly phrase "that is, of the substance of the Father" (dropped in the Niceo-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 which we now recite). Thomist ontology is not very relevant to this. But you are right that "when the term substance is used it sounds as if there is a stable substrate (noun) that holds everything in place which is actually misleading because the stable substrate is actually not so stable in that it is simultaneously a verb." Put more simple, ousia in Greek is better translated as being rather than as substance (Augustine already objected to substantia and preferred essentia). The refinements of Aquinas' definition of being as act and of God as the subsistent act of being were not in any theologian's mind in the 4-5th century.

One might even make a case that theology in the century from Nicea to Ephesus worked with a too substantialist idea of God's being and that consubstantial or even homoousios could encourage a regression to that. Like much of our Chirstian language it functions more as a historical memento than as present living expression of what we believe.

Hi, John H, if you don't mind my asking, what diocese are you in? Do I understand you to say that communion under both kinds is unusual there?Re: the missal chants - there is a (conservative) diocese that adjoins mine that is, I'm told, requiring all parishes to use the missal chants at least in these first weeks. While I am a proponent of liturgical chant in some situations, I think it's pastorally a mistake to mandate it for all situations.

Our celebrant at the mass I attended (our pastor) worked pretty hard to get the words right. By my scorecard, the collect, the preface, the Eucharistic Prayer (EP II) and the post-communion were all pretty easy to follow. (I was in listen-only mode - the parish has provided us with a pew card that has only the people's responses that have changed). The Eucharistic Prayer in particular allowed me to enter in to the prayer more consciously than is usually the case - no doubt in part because the novelty of the language; it will be interesting to see if it wears off after a while.Interestingly, the prayer that struck me as a bit over-the-top was the final blessing.

Translation of anything meaty is always an art, as well as an approximation. When it's considered important to remain faithful to the original, the second text can hardly fail to be a little rough at the edges. The roughness, then, reminds us that it's only a derivative and a crutch - albeit a friendly and permanent one. Reminders are good; we tend to forget.

Yes, the new trans is a crutch for readers of the Latin who may not have a good formation in Latin. The CTS "People's Edition" of the Sunday Missal helpfully prints the Latin alongside the new translation. Thus the faithful are kept involved in the Mass by discovering the Latin originals of what they are praying. Some truly educated people may even discover the meaning of the translation by looking at the Latin (a clear case of the need to consult the Latin to understand the English was given by yesterday's postcommunion).

"When, immediately thereafter, nearly everyone said And also with you anyway, he laughed with us."Good for him! take note, those of you who fear that this new translation is an attempt to roll back Vatican II. If this were truly 'the old days', I suspect that a priest breaking into spontaneous laughter in the middle of liturgical prayer would have been thought to have committed a mortal sin, and he would have dashed off at the end of mass in search of absolution.The times, they have a-changed. For good. Even if anyone wanted to roll back the clock or the calendar, it can't be done.

Then there's eduardo's thread.The general sense in reading this thread is a mixed bag of results.I think we muddled through -with laughter from priest and people, but that doesn't mean the clock wasn't turned back in this.People wil get used to the texts and wil try to cooperate nad do better in participating as good children should.That's the sense I have: after it's over, it's like daddy telling his kid, see taking that medicine wasn't so bad -even if it didn;t taste good.I think Joe J, is right that it won't make much difference in increasing faith!I fact, in this dysfunctional world, needing to hera the Good News, it will continue the dysfunctional proclamation that is tied up with (yes, Jim) the move backward.Peter's,"Could have been worse." struck me as accurate - but not good News.(PS not only "chalice" bugs me but way too many "graciously" inserts.But, words. words, words....)

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. The rhythm is a bit different, a bit more elongated; more poetic e.g., "...from the rising of the sun to its setting". Also, in my opinion, the rhythms are closer to the verbal rhythms used in the Spanish mass. The language reflects a deeper view of the mystery of our faith.I stayed for both the English and the Spanish masses this weekend (was selling Christmas cards for the KCs) and noticed that the English mass now closely tracks the Spanish mass. This was not the case before.I noticed that in both masses, the priest made a point of mentioning that from here on, in the Credo, when we get to the part about the Incarnation (incarnate of the Virgin Mary), we will all bow our heads.Also, I notice that during the consecration, the Spanish priest like in English - now uses por muchos where he used to say por todos.

Hi, Jim P. I'm in the Boston suburbs. The archdiocese has said that the ICEL Mass setting is the "official Mass setting for the Archdiocese of Boston" and all parishes should use this setting at least through the end of he Advent-Chistmas season - after which they can introduce other musical settingsThe diocese supports the distribution of Communion under both Kinds. Last year, after the flu epidemic ended, it published a notice asking parishes to revert to our "common liturgical customs" of distributing Comunion under both kinds and using a handshake as the sign of peace.The final decision seems to rest at the parish level. Some parishes do and some don't; others doom some occasions but not regularly.

doom = do on

I had hoped that I would not be as disappointed as I expected to be. But, in fact, meeting it finally off the page, I found the text shockingly second-rate. This, after eight years and a good deal of money and time? And 7,000 people consulted, we're told. (Not to mention a tendentious and wholesale re-writing of history under the guise of "catechesis.")Spin it as you will, it's an inferior product. We have gained little, or nothing. Lots of words, lots of long words, but no respect for the rhythms of the English language.It is largely ungainly and forgettable. The interruptive deprecative language makes the collects all but unintelligible. That is why 1973 and 1998 avoided this confusing clutter, and opted for "We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ ...." An eminently sensible pastoral solution in English. But pastoral considerations appear not to have been a great priority in the 2010 text. The Eucharistic Prayers are more literally rendered but at the expense of the sure cadences that marked the texts that were superseded on Saturday evening. Sonority is also an aid to prayer, especially public prayer.It's hardly likely that Catholics will leave the Church over this. And just as unlikely that this text will attract people to the Church, including the numbers of Catholics who, for various reasons, most unrelated to the liturgy, have already decided to opt out. Yes, I have broken my own rule on instant analysis. (But then I have thought a bit about these questions for some time.) I still look forward to that Commonweal article (or forum) in December 2012, "The Roman Missal: A Year On."A happy feast of Saint Catherine Laboure', Daughter of Charity and saint of the Miraculous Medal.

The new translation doesn't feed, clothe or house one hungry person. The new translation relies on a dead language. Who decided the latin was "authentic"? The new translation shows the bankruptcy of Rome and the American bishops who gave in so easily. The tales of those at your Masses is just as silly as the translation. Please let there be a schism from Rome and its bankrupt foolishness.

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

" 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)." 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: 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:"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:"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?

The elocution test, I should say. Though word like execution and electrocution come to mind.

Amen Claire!!!! And George D., I wish my priests would do the same.Talk about Tridentine flashbacks. What next? The priest with his back turned to us? Only altar boys allowed? Women back to their rightful place (in the pews)? The "chalice" touched only by the PRIEST'S hands? I'm sure some will find my comments alarmist, too radical, unorthodox..... Should I expect a letter from the bishop? Nah, I'm only a parishioner and a lay woman at that.Mystification and exclusion often go hand in hand.I don't mind the use of "chalice" though, given the likely poverty of our Lord, it sounds pompous, inflated and pretentious.What really makes me hot under the collar is the "for many" which stinks of triumphalism, supercessionism, because, after all, who else would the "many" be if not Catholics, and only many Catholics, not all Catholics (like me) who worship Jesus and not the Vatican? So much for catholic/universal. I'm not likely to invite my non-catholic friends to mass for a while.And I'm not interested in debating multiple translations and early this or early that. I'm interested in the fractures in the body of Christ, in peace and love among neighbors, in communal worship, generous table etiquette. I made a conscious choice to return to the catholic church because, despite my continuing grievances and disagreements and old wounds, it is, to quote Halevi in At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden, "my language of intimacy with God." But it hurts, a bunch.A wonderful priest I know has suggested I wait one year before deciding I hate the new translation. Lord help me, it's going to be a long year, under any roof..

What most disturbs me is the time, energy and cost that has gone into making these changes - which really do seem quite trivial to me. WHY??? Don't we have more important things to be concerned with as a church in today's turbulent society?

Jin Pawels"If sacred scripture and traditional liturgical prayer both say it is pro multis, then to address your requirement for clear revelation it doesnt 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."But in Scripture there are also forms of these words which do not include "for many." The oldest witness to them in 1 Cor 11:23-25 has: For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. 25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.Luke retains part of that tradition in the blessing over the bread with This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. but witnesses to other words over the cup. And since he had used Mark in the composition of his gospel, we can say he made a deliberate change to what Mark had written. A good argument can be made that Mark and Matthew assimilated "poured out for many" to Isa 53:12 where the Servant is said to have poured himself out to death and bore the sin of many, making it more likely that they are not preserving the original words of Jesus. And Matthew further redacts the saying by adding "of the forgiveness of sins." It is not unlikely that Luke knew that the Pauline form of the saying was more original and understood very well what Mark was doing when he drew the words closer to the text of Isaiah to portray Jesus as the Suffering Servant.So there is not a unified biblical view of what these words actually were. And, therefore, the argument that "for many" is biblical is only partially correct. "Revelation" also includes the variants of the sayings in Paul and Luke. An appeal to "revelation" to settle this question does not seem to me to be successful.

Sorry, that should be Jim.

I sometimes listen to daily mass on the radio on my way to work. The more I listen, the more I like it. I like the language of "poured out" and "from the rising of the sun to its setting"; it is just more poetic and nice. I also like the "I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof"; it reminds me of the story of the Roman centurion.I think folks who are fretting and huffing about this are needlessly working themselves into a lather. This is the new translation and it will not change for a very long time. The task now is not to complain about Rome, but to learn the new translation.Most who are upset now would probably have been happy in 1970 with the then-new translation. Back then, dynamic equivalence carried the day; beginning with John Paul II, the preference shifted, and now is toward a more literal translation. In 40 years, it may shift back to DE, who knows?Most Catholics either like the new translation, or have no opinion about it; the upshot is that Commonwealers will simply need to get with the program.

Ken: why not have an indult to allow several forms of the Mass? The new one, the old one, the older one, the Anglican one... why should one form be forbidden when there is a plethora of allowed forms emerging?

Claire -- Re mechanism in the Church, in Canon 212 under THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF ALL THE CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL ."2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires. "3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they [the Christian faithful] possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, ..", subject to specified conditions. Maybe the new Papal Nuncio to the US would listen: Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigan,Apostolic Nunciature, the Holy See3339 Massachusetts Avenue, NW (Across from Naval Observatory)Washington DC 20008-3610 Telephone: 202-333-7121 Fax: 202-337-4036

Alan C. Mitchell said: "Luke retains part of that tradition in the blessing over the bread with This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. but witnesses to other words over the cup. "The words being: "And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you"The Roman Missal text is a conflation of several sourcesIn its discussion of the institution narratives in Mark and Matthew, the NAB refers to the discussion of "many" at Mt 20:28:" The liberation brought by Jesus death will be for many; cf. Is 53:12. Many does not mean that some are excluded, but is a Semitism designating the collectivity who benefit from the service of the one, and is equivalent to all. While there are few verbal contacts between this saying and the fourth Servant Song (Is 52:1353:12), the ideas of that passage are reflected here."

Mr. Barry, when I quoted canon 212.3 in an e-mail to AB Kurtz in Louisville a few months ago, he essentially replied that I did not meet the qualifications in the canon to share my views with others in our local Catholic newspaper!!! To this day, I don't know if the AB was challenging my "knowledge", my "competence", or my "preeminence" (his word), or all three!Nonetheless, Archbishop Kurtz is more than prepared to take my money to support *his* weekly Catholic newspaper: I'll take your money, but I won't print your point of view.As an agency lawyer reminded me years ago, the meaning of the law depends on whom you ask!

We welcome the improved clarity of "consubstantial" rather than the fuzziness of "one in Being." "One in Being" suggests a denial of the distinctness of the 3 Persons in one God, whereas "consubstantial" more aptly suggests the concept of distinguishing among equals who are separate persons.

Professor Mitchell, and John Hayes - I am grateful for the exegesis. I note that the NAB editors also account for the variances in the various institutional narratives by dividing them into two "schools" - a Marcan-Matthean one, and a Pauline-Lucan one. It seems clear that the Eucharist was celebrated according to several different variants in the very early church.For purposes of discerning revelation, it seems to me that all of the scripture accounts are revelatory. Of the four accounts under consideration, only two of them contain the phrase that is rendered "pro multis" in the Vulgate; Luke's and Paul's accounts omit it completely. As John H notes, the liturgical text seems to be a composite of these accounts.

One in being doesn't suggest a denial of the distinction of the three persons, nor does talk of the Oneness of God (which must be had) deny the Trinity. One in being or one in essence both are fair English translations -- the thing is, no matter what word is used, it will fail and will need explanation. Consubstantial is good for theology manuals but I truly wonder how helpful it is in contemporary English speaking recitations of the creed. I wonder how many will read a physical aspect into it just as many do with transubstantiation. One in being at least helps bring us to the oneness of God and also bring out Thomistic discussions on being (if one wanted).

FWIW - the 1965 Roman Missal translation used, "of one substance with the Father"

Jim P, the four accounts don't include the gospel of John. Although John describes the Last Supper in Chapter 13, there is no institution narrative there. The nearest thing John has to an institution narrative is a speech to the Jews in the synagogue at Capernaum on the day after the miracle of the loaves and the fishes:"48I am the bread of life.49Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;50this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.51I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.a52The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?53Jesus said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.54Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.57Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.59These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.--John 6

This product is still the result of a violent, imperious and regressive process.Our "great ones" have certainly lorded it over us with a relentless insistence that this will be done. We'll come up with reasons later. Everything is the same, except for the changes. Mincing monsignori can all have their go at editing and tweaking texts to suit their theological scruples.The Holy Spirit has been suitably displaced by the last two popes...there are no promptings, no surprises, nothing new...always returning to the old.The John Paul II prayer posture is de rigeur for all the ordained: palms pressed together, no bent fingers, fingers pressed up under the nose, head tilted forward, eyes closed, brow furrowed. Message: I'm praying, it's not easy either with this God.The ordained, with their ontological changes, believe they are coaxing God down from heaven into a world bereft of holiness. We are starved for true spirituality and given sloppy bowls full of clericalism. Are we doing this because we love God and believe in communal prayer? Rather, we love our own creation and are fostering individual devotion.

Violence now, is it Charles?Wow -

Jim P - keep in mind that there are different traditions regarding multis - all or many. Jerome did not use formal equivalence when translating the New Vulgate - and the "original" Greek and Aramaic sense was "all"; not many although you might find some linguists who explain the meaning as "the many" in the sense of "all". Arinze made a decision (based on one tradition) - it rejected the principles of SC from VII and it rejected the explanation published in Notitiae in1970 and upon which our liturgy has been based for 40+ years.Jerome and the Vulgate came from one of the existing manuscripts - but, the Vaticanus Codex and the Dead Sea Scrolls indicate a whole other way of translating this phrase/word.Would just suggest that most linguists and experts (including conservative latin scholars) would utilize the dynamic equivalence of SC/Comme Le Prevoit to get across our understanding. It would also support the ecumenical direction of VII (even tho a limited number of conservative Protestant churches have moved to "many").Would recommend being very cautious about ever using Arinze as either an authority or a good example of curial direction. He knew next to nothing about liturgy.

It seems to me that the majority of respondents, in a variety of ways, are resisting the idea of being force-fed, like so many French geese. When can we expect to be treated as The Church, which we are, rather than foie gras? Venting here may be good for our collective blood pressures, but what makes us think anyone in (or representing) Rome is listening?Have any of you read "Saving the Catholic Church While Sitting in a Pew?" ISBN 9781613797198. By Robert J. Betterton. You might enjoy it, even if you don't (entirely) agree.We do have this consolation: Regardless of the wording, Jesus is still really present and we carry Him home in us.

It's good to see some new names appearing. Come back regularly, folks. The comments of the same old ones of us are quite predictable any more. Brilliant - but predictable.

" -- the upshot is that Commonwealers will simply need to get with the program."A scene of catechesis:To what church do we belong, mommy and daddy?Well, my child, it used to be called the Roman Catholic Church, but we have a new name now: it's called the Church of Get With The Program.Thanks, daddy and mommy. I think I'll look around a bit more.Yes, my child, your parents might do the same thing before they die both spiritually and physically.

To all who are of a like mind, I highly recommend:,1518787325,00.htmlHe may be 83 (Hans Kung) but he's right on the money.

A comma is missing in the link supplied by Ronald Naumann. Here is the corrected link:,1518,787325,00.html

The St. Joseph Missal, which some of used as children, teens, and young adults translates the famous "pro multis effundetur" in what we youth understood to be an inclusive way: ". . . which shall be shed for you and for many unto the forgiveness of sins." "Many" did not mean "the many" but, rather "lots and lots of people." Nowhere in my long Catholic education did the idea of Christ dying for "some" ever appear. So there was a supportive theological and educational culture surrounding our use of the missal. Clearly, however, "many" and "all" mean two different things in English, and the mere possibility of confusing people or of printing theological falsehood, post 1960's, led the Vatican Council II translators to choose "all" as Fr. Zerwick points out. Fr. Anscar J. Chupungco in "What, Then, Is Liturgy?," 2010, Liturgical Press, tackles many of the issues of this thread in chapter 5 of his book. He writes, "A confounding issue is the literal translation of the consecratory words 'pro multis' . . . The third century Eucharistic Prayer in Apostolic Tradition omits it. According to Daniel Harrington . . . the phrase 'hyper pollon' in Mark 'means for all, not just for a few.' " Fr. C. continues with an explanation that in Matthew and Mark "many" is a collective, not a restrictive word, and that it means "all." Translating pro multis in the "collective sense of 'for all' " brings this phrase into "conformity with the doctrine of the universality of Christ's redemption. He died for all of humankind, from the time of the first parents to the time of the parousia. He did not die just for the many but for all. I am certain that those who claim the literal translation is more faithful to the original Latin do not deny the universality of salvation, but the literal translation can engender elitist exclusivity. Catechesis is supposed to explain away the problem by saying that the 'many' is the same as the 'all.' As someone rightly exclaimed in frustration, 'If that's what it means, why not say it?' "Why not, indeed?As to the authoritarianism of the church, it is very present in the church as Government and Institution. The Body of Christ, which keeps us alive, is a different experience of church. Pius XII in Mystici Corporis writes that the two, Institutional Structure and Living Body, are always in unity and that papal authority is exercised solely for the sanctification of the entire Body. Today we feel there is a split between the two even as - or because- Vatican Council II has given us yet another view of church, yet to be realized, a more organic, collaborative, communal Body in which all members, at different levels, are working together as servants to hear and obey the Spirit of Christ. To be this church, we all need to listen and learn, and this, I fear, is where the gulf reveals itself. We are groaning literally, because we are so divided about very legitimate issues. Is everybody listening? Is everybody learning? Will power and authority always be clung to? Some of the laity shrug. Some feel it is not proper to question authority. The Vatican seems so far away, not just in space but in time. Some pastors dismiss our questions about the running of the parish or become defensive about them. However, many of us wish to go forward, not backward to the time when Galileo was ten years old. We wish to work collaboratively, in consultation, not as slaves, but as heirs of the living God. We must continue to read, study, educate ourselves. We must listen to the voices that have no voice in the church. We need to speak. Sadly, we need to question misogyny, clericalism, and absolute authority. We need to continue to ask for mutuality and transparency in the face of silence and secrets. If we do this, we will suffer. If we listen for Jesus everywhere, He will suffer with us.Does anybody remember this prayer from the old missal, used at the "Come, O Sanctifier," when incense was used? "May the Lord enkindle in us the fire of His love and the flame of everlasting charity. Amen"

Mary L. -- Save that final prayer for the next time someone is wondering how to use picturesque English for an inspirational message expressed with rhetorical force in easily understood words.

I think the attempt by the present Pontiff to repeal Vatican II is exemplified by this move to Latinize the Mass. I recently attended the funeral Mass of one of my brothers. He was a devotee of the Latin Mass and had gotten a priest of similar mind to officiate. I doubt that two people in the church knew what was being said, as the priest mumbled something while facing a wall. Indeed, it was all I could do to remain silent during the proceedings. I was equally discomfited by this clumsy attempt to get us to accept this "advance to the rear" as we, when I was in the military, called a retreat. It was almost as anger producing as the request by a bishop that I have my own bishop certify that it was okay for me to talk to a parish in his diocese. I wondered if that demand was because of my work having been found useful by the Fathers at Vatican II. I cling to the truth (was it Chesterton who enunciated it?) that the Saints, being focused on the invisible Church, find little to criticize, but not being a saint, I find this latest attempt to reverse Vatican II , coming as it does during the revelations of "holy" coverups of pederasty, almost too much to bear.

"As someone rightly exclaimed in frustration, If thats what it means, why not say it? "That's a question, not for the translators, but for those responsible for the text of the Eucharistic Prayers in the Latin. The Latin doesn't say "for all". It is perfectly possible to say "for all" in Latin, but that is not what the prayers say. Along the same lines: "Credo" doesn't mean "We believe". It means "I believe". If "We believe" is what we wish the liturgy really said, then perhaps someone who wants it to say that can persuade the guardians of the Latin liturgical text to change it. Once it is accepted that translation can be used to introduce desired meanings into the liturgy, the door is open to all sorts of mischief. This should worry progressives, because as things stand now, the powers that be are not very progressive. For example: now that the standing posture in EP II - "We thank you for counting us worthy to *stand* in your presence and serve you" - has disappeared in the new translation, why not tweak the new text to reinforce the desired posture: "giving thanks that you have held us worthy to *kneel* in your presence and minister to you."? Or, in the Confiteor, "Therefore, I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin" is not a very maximal invocation of the blessed Mother; much more could, nay should, be said in her praise. Why not, "Therefore, I ask blessed Mary, ever-Virgin, Queen of Heaven, Co-Redemptrix"? We could accomplish insta-dogma.

Mr. Barbeau, I'm sorry for the loss of your brother. It may be worth reflecting that a "silent mass" is conceptually as possible in English as in Latin; I wouldn't find a renewed, post-Vatican II mass in Latin nearly as off-putting as a silent mass in English, although I wouldn't go out of my way to attend either one. I'd suggest that one translation can be substituted for another without rolling back the Vatican II-mandated reforms. I believe we have already done this once in our post-conciliar history, at the time the 1970 missal was introduced into parishes that were already celebrating in English and had already implemented some of the post-conciliar reforms. The current transition may seem less disruptive than that one probably did (I was still a boy at the time, so don't have a very good frame of reference for it), as it introduced, along with the new translation, the actual reformed (Latin) sacramentary with the new Eucharistic Prayers and new texts for some of the other prayers.

"It was almost as anger producing as [...] I find this latest attempt [...] almost too much to bear."That, I think, is the danger. Regardless of how justified it is, that anger is surely not good for us. How disturbing if the Mass has become a time of anger! We've got to find ways to regain our peace.

Fortunately, a "silent mass" is ruled out by the GIRM for Ordinary Form masses regardless of whether they are in Latin or English32. The nature of the presidential parts requires that they be spoken in a loud and clear voice and that everyone listen to them attentively....What are the "presidential" parts?30. Among those things assigned to the Priest, the prime place is occupied by the Eucharistic Prayer, which is the high point of the whole celebration. Next are the orations, that is to say, the Collect, the Prayer over the Offerings, and the Prayer after Communion. These prayers are addressed to God by the Priest who presides over the assembly in the person of Christ, in the name of the entire holy people and of all present. Hence they are rightly called the presidential prayers.These days, only the Extraordinary Form mass has important parts spoken softly.

Jim Pauwels,Now that Father Dan Coughlin has returned to Chicago after ten years as chaplain to the US House of Representatives, perhaps you could get in touch with him to ask him about the history of the vernacular introduction in this country from 1964 to 1974. As you know, Chicago, in 1965, was the first diocese to establish an Office of Worship, and Dan was named by Cardinal Cody as the first director. Other dioceses followed the Chicago example in the two or three years after.Father Coughlin could also tell you about his role in the founding, in 1969, of the Federation Of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC). The FDLC, working in close connection with the US Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy and its first director, Monsignor Frederick McManus, was responsible for the catechesis that preceded the introduction of the first English edition (1974) of the revised Missale Romanum (1970). (On Monsignor McManus's role in those years, see, among many other accounts, Mark Massa, S.J.,The American Catholic Revolution, Oxford University Press, 2010).There was, in fact, considerable catechetical preparation in this country for the liturgical changes in the decade after the Council. For some reason a denial of this catechesis and the dedication of the priests, religious, and laity who carried it on seems to suit the narrative of those who would have us believe that the introduction last Sunday of the new Missal is the greatest liturgical moment in the half century since Sacrosanctum Concilium. Why this need to re-write history leaves me perplexed. But then I seem to have many reasons to be baffled just now.

Hi, John, I have met Fr. Coughlin - before he went to DC, he was a frequent "visiting priest" at our parish. (I was not a deacon at that time - I was leading an ensemble). I wasn't aware, though, of his distinguished role in the liturgical renewal. Thank you for letting me know about it.I do have a perception, and even some memories, that the vernacular introduction was well-prepared. I hope the same can be said about this new translation. The pastoral situation is extremely different, though: a much larger percentage of Catholics attended mass regularly in the '60's and '70's, and in places like Chicago, as well as huge sections of the South and West, the church has become much less English-speaking (even among priests) than was the case then. We're all convinced that Christmas masses, which draw in many people who rarely attend mass or follow church matters, will be a jolt for a lot of people.

John - on the topic of preparation for the introduction of the vernacular - one of my foggy memories is the use of "commentators" who interjected brief explanations during the mass of what people should do. Compared to what we introduced this past Sunday, the update that happened in that 1964-1974 period seems considerably more ambitious.

John PageThank you for reminding us that the changes introduced by Sacrosanctum Concilium were not implemented in an instant, as was the introduction of the Roman Missal last weekend. In my home parish, the pastor was so against VII that we did not see any changes for several years. It was not until four years after the promulgation of SC that an altar was placed in the sanctuary so that the priest could face the people. As I recall, the introduction of the vernacular Mass was done quite slowly by comparison. Some seem to have forgotten the latitude that was given to bishops and pastors in bringing about the changes in 1964.

"My sacrifice and yours..." Are they different, or is it really "our sacrifice?" Or is he really telling us "I am up here and you are all down there?"It occurred to me that since we all brought our roofs to church this morning, some of us were missing quite a bit of thatch!

Thanks to those who have added comments on the catechesis that surrounded the introduction of the vernacular liturgy in the years following Vatican II. Those who worked hard at that deserve credit. But my recollection, not of their efforts but of what happened in the pews, is quite different. This is not a matter of opposing that transformation. Quite the contrary. As I've mentioned before on this blog, I grew up in an odd pre-Vatican II family that actually believed the liturgy should be in the vernacular (which we did not expect to happen in our lifetimes). It was something I early learned was a semi-heretical idea, if not worse, to propose in parochial school. When it actually occurred, however, I remember my father lamenting, "Same old top-down approach." There were indeed commentators to tell Mass-goers what to do. But I don't think there was much explanation as to WHY we should do it. The main reason was simply that these are now our marching orders. Rome has spoken. And that kind of approach was really not surprising, given the mental framework in which most of the clergy and laity had been trained. Mass in Latin was one of the pillars of Catholic identity, and whole raft of apologetic arguments had been long deployed to justify it. Explaining the change to the vernacular, however, was only part of the problem. The very idea of active participation was a jolt for the many Catholics who understood the Mass as (1) an obligation and (2) a time for private prayer and for hearing an exhortatory sermon and (3) going to Communion and experiencing an individual closeness to Jesus. The very idea of the Sunday Eucharist, its various parts -- liturgy of the Word, preparation of gifts, Eucharisti prayer, banquet as well as sacrifice -- and as communal worship all needed catechesis. I don't recall anything serious along those lines. There were other aspects of the change, such as the rapidity with which it took place in many dioceses and churches, rather than being phased in over an extended period of time, which would have allowed not only more explanation and adjustment but a retention of more Latin, so as to be sensitive to Catholics attached to it and valuable for maintaining a sense of continuity. Now my memories and those of others I've discussed this with could be mistaken. But I suspect that this history turns in part on what has been my concern about catechesis generally: the gap between good work on paper or in limited circles and what actually happens at the point of "delivery" throughout the church. In a comment way above (11/27, 3:25 p.m.) Robert Imbelli says that in the two parishes he knew the kind of catechesis that didn't take place in the '70s was now being carried out. I think it would be helpful if he described exactly what has been or is being done.

Among features of the 60's-70's transition, the one that overrode all else in its impact in my view was the fact that, for the very first time ever, many, if not all, Mass attendees prayed the Mass together in the language they knew and understood. From the beginning of Mass to its end, each phrase and sentence, heard and spoken, literally conveyed meaning with clarity and intensity few had ever experienced at Mass before. The text and music were imperfect. Some retained allegiance to generally unknown Latin. Theological expertise was almost certainly no deeper among participants than it is today. Yet, the community prayed knowingly together, joined by their familiar language and common understanding of what priest and people actually said and heard throughout the Mass. The sudden change to intelligibility after decades of attendance at mostly unintelligible Masses was an uplifting experience, leading to a communal foundation on which other changes and catechesis might build. Intelligibility for the participants in the pews deserves more attention today as Vox Clara II prepares for the next "translation".

As I said in an earlier postMy discomfort comes from not being able to participate in a Mass celebrated in my own English language instead I am presented with a mixture of English words and Latin compositional style that produces sentences that I would never write and words i would never choose. Its a great distraction during Mass.I dont blame that on any of the people who worked on the translations at the ICEL. I thank them for making it work as well as it does but the problem was created as soon as Liturgiam Authenticam was issued and they had to work within its constraints and under the micromanagement of Rome and Vox ClaraI can deal with it but I have a great feeling of loss.To expand on what I said about the ICEL, you might look at this post on PrayTell: "You still remember the Gray Book and the Received Text and the number 10,000 and the internal report Areas of Difficulty, right? Hows that? You want a refresher? OK, here we go.The Gray Book is the final version of the missal translation ICEL sends to the national bishops conferences, after having worked for many years with the conferences in developing it. Then the conferences approve the Gray Book, sometimes as is, sometimes with a few amendments, and send it to Rome for recognitio (= approval).Last summer the story leaked that Rome allowed a few people on Vox Clara to redo the final text. They made over 10,000 changes introducing all sorts of mistranslations, contorted English, and even theological errors. Since Vox Clara had received every draft translation over the previous years with opportunity to give feedback, it was especially puzzling that they held back all the way through, and then at the last stage undid and redid whatever they wanted.Perhaps well never know who was responsible for this mischief, but in some circles they speak of the [censored]. Its other name is the Received Text the text received by Pope Benedict at a luncheon on April 28, 2010 with Msgr. James Moroney and everyone else from Vox Clara." article reports that, subsequent to the "Received Version" 49 corrections were made. So that is how the text we started using last Sunday came to be.

The Vatican needs a Murdoch newspaper to assign a crack reporter-hacker-spy to discover just who makes decisions there and how. McMullan (the guy in the convent) sounds like he would relish the job.

I read about half the thread and was impressed by the effort everybody made to be courteous and thoughtful. I sympathized with those who carefully expressed their dismay at this top-down imposition, and worry about its further implications as the popes continue to steer the Church further and further away from Vatican II. As an old priest, I will continue to use the words "for all," after explaining to the people that I will either do that or preach a sermon every Sunday explaining that for many somehow really means for all. I will do this, not out of disrespect, but out of grave concern. In my diocese, there are a lot of Pius X people who emphatically teach that Christ did not die for all. As proof, they point to the "pro multis" in their Latin words of Consecration. I predict that in a generation or two, a lot of Catholics will no longer believe that Christ died for all.

Dear Father Taylor,Bless you! I'm afraid you may be right. I know so many Catholics who already believe Christ died for a select few. I shudder to think what it may be like in a couple of decades.This Sunday, I found myself gritting my teeth and praying for patience. I've begun thinking about the Episcopal Church, again: great liturgical beauty, the majesty of the Book of Common Prayer, women priests..... Of course, they too have members splitting over other issues.God help us all!

I'm still unable to parrot "and with your Spirit," "under my roof," and "consubstantial." They feel pretentious and inauthentic. Also, "many" instead of "all" violates what I believe. In discussing the changes with one priest he admitted being angry initially but said, "But as I get used to it it's not so bad." When I accused him of damning with faint praise he laughed good-naturedly.It's all just an exercise of authoritarian muscles from the Vatican, in my opinion.

Add new comment

You may login with your assigned e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.

Or log in with...

Add new comment