Friday, June 16, 2006

US Bishops Approve Translation

U.S. Catholic Bishops Approve New Mass Translation

(AP) LOS ANGELES The nation's Roman Catholic bishops signed off Thursday on a new English translation for the Mass that would change prayers ingrained in the memories of millions of American parishioners.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted at its biannual meeting for a new translation after a brief but vigorous debate over several small changes in wording. The 173-29 vote on the Order of the Mass was aimed at satisfying Vatican calls for a translation that's closer to the Latin version.

Before Mass changes at the parish level, the Americans' version must go to offices in the Holy See for final approval.

"Without a doubt, this is the most significant liturgical action to come before this body for many years," said Bishop Donald Trautman, chairman of the conference's Committee on Liturgy.

"It will take some adapting, but it is not earth-shattering when you think of the changes we went through 40 years ago," he said, referring to the Second Vatican Council, where the Latin Mass was replaced by the vernacular languages in each country.

The new translation alters the wording of key texts spoken by Catholics during worship, including the Nicene Creed, the Gloria, the Penitential Rite, the Sanctus and Communion.

Some have worried about changing a fundamental rite of worship that is so much a part of Catholic identity, especially now. Mass attendance has been declining, the priest shortage has left a growing number of churches without a resident cleric, bishops and parishioners have been battling over the closure of old churches and schools, and the prelates have been trying to rebuild trust in their leadership after the clergy sex abuse crisis.

"It's going to cause chaos and real problems and the people who are going to be at the brunt end of it are the poor priests in the parishes who don't need any more problems," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University and a Jesuit priest.

The Vatican recently issued updated guidelines for the translation of the Latin texts that try not only for accuracy but for "a deeper language that's more expressive and more poetic," said Monsignor James. P. Moroney, who leads the liturgy office for the bishops' conference.

Minor changes to the wording of many portions of the Mass will be obvious to Catholics. The repeated exchanges "The Lord be with you" / "And also with you" between a priest and his congregation, for example, become "The Lord be with you" / "And with your spirit" in the updated version.

The prayer said before Communion would become "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof," instead of "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you."

Survey results released by the conference's Committee on Liturgy last November found that U.S. bishops were split over whether the changes were necessary, but in the end the proposal won more than the 168 votes it needed for approval.

Some bishops said the changes would deepen lay people's understanding of Catholicism and the Scriptures. They said priests could use the changes to spark a discussion of the liturgical reasoning behind them, including citing biblical stories and the Latin version.

"All these changes should require ... a certain amount of explanation and allow the people who are using them to grow in faith and not remain where they are," said Archbishop Oscar H. Lipscomb of Mobile, Ala.

Bishops debated for about 20 minutes on a variety of wording changes, some pitting the familiar against the new. A proposal to change the words of the Nicene Creed from "in one being" to "consubstantial," which is closer to the Latin, failed.

(© 2006 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Taken from in Los Angeles

The comment by Fr. Reese comes as no surprise. However, the changes will be far from traumatic for many of us lay people. In fact, this can't even come close to the trauma imposed upon the lay faithful so abruptly in the 60's and 70's. Those things affected rituals and traditions in effect for centuries, not mere decades. Like Cardinal Mahony, perhaps Fr. Reese is concerned that certain "tunes" in use for 30 years will no longer work. However, this is not the fault of better aligning English with Latin, but a consequence of using something for 30 years that ought not have been, that is the dumbed-down translations.

"Diogenes" at CWNews Off the Record takes addersses Fr. Reese.

More translation news stemming from this vote:

Gerald Augustinus at The Cafeteria is Closed extracts some of the detailed changes in list form.

the Chairman of ICEL gave a rather interesting address before the vote.

A comment from Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, who writes the column, "What does the Prayer Really Say?" and has a blog of the same name.

More comments from Fr. Zuhlsdorf:

Hrumpf....Ironic, no?

Stilettos and Heels

"Diogenes" at CWNews "Off the Record" comments on the address given by the ICEL chairman.

I'll continue to bring translation news and commentaries as they become available.