The new Roman Missal: What it does & fails to do

In Plain English

After reading Fr. Nonomen’s column “Missal Defense” (November 4), I encountered the following example of defending the indefensible. At Mass the following Sunday, I heard an explanation of the new translation of the Roman Missal from a preacher who began by talking about change. While I know that we deal with change every day, it occurred to me that there is a difference between change for the better and change for the worse. As the preacher went on, I thought: This is change for the worse.

The principal justification for the change of translation, according to the preacher, seemed to be the desire to capture the nuances of the Latin text. This led to a discussion of the importance of using the word “ineffable” to emphasize the “unspeakable” or “unutterable” mystery of God. In the Creed, God the Father is described as the “maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.” The new translation, however, insists that the Latinate forms “visible and invisible” are preferable to the plain English “seen and unseen.” The Latinate word “incarnate” will replace the current “born” of the Virgin Mary because “incarnate” seems to mean something more than just being born. The Latin incarnatus, from which we get “incarnate,” means to take flesh or to be enfleshed...

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