Friday, August 12, 2011

Introducing the New Translations

I have been experimenting with the Liturgy, well more with the new translations. I wanted to get a group of lay people together who would be familiar with them before they are introduced generally next month. I hate the idea of everyone, including myself, being confused on Sunday September 4th. I thought of having meetings, and practicing them, more for myself but also for God’s Holy People but I decided no one would come. Therefore I decided to introduce them on one day a week just so there is a core of 20 or 30 people who have some familiarity with them but that produced more confusion than was dignified at the Sublime Sacrifice. I was told one or two priests around here have been using them for some time, so, for week days I have introduced them, in the hope that when they are come in properly, at least someone would respond “and with your Spirit” to my “The Lord be with you”. My daily Mass congregation are quite enthused by them.

It is not going that well, I find it a bit difficult to get out of “automode”, which means I easily slip into the familiar and mislead people, or they mislead me. Like most priests I am a creature of custom and habit. I have been using some of the introductions, like the one to the Pater noster for some time but it took me ages to get, “At the Saviour's command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say...”

The thing that I find really irritating is the interim Missal, with use of a hot iron I have manage to persuade it to stay open, now it refuses to shut and just looks messy. There is a lot of fumbling and turning pages, which I hate; Mass should be smooth, seamless but now there are pauses whilst I find the Mysterium Fide or the precise words for the Ecce Agnus Dei.

My other source of annoyance with the interim Missal is that the absence of music for the Preface, the music for the dialogue is their but not the actual Preface, which we have been accustomed to use on feasts and solemnities. The size of the print is also a bit of problem.

No-one seems to have too many problems with the translations, in fact on the feast of St Lawrence some people commented on the beauty of the Preface. One of the things that confuses people slightly is the abruptness of the dismissal. Our sisters have been using the literal translation, “Word of the Lord” for years now, I hate it but now I stopped flinching and but I have to make conscious to drop “This is the...” before, “Gospel of the Lord”.

For a long time I have said the offertory prayers silently, not just because it is a preference but because they themselves are so trivial. I have now started to say the silent prayers of the priest before and after communion, which are slightly longer, in a voice that can be just heard. I haven’t followed the example of one bishop, though I am tempted, to start saying the Eucharistic in quiet voice.

We have produced our own sheet for the people, in order to encourage them to take them home. For September I think I will simplify them and take out some of the options. I mean only have one Penitential Rite, one acclamation after the Consecration, one dismissal. The others can be introduced later. I think it would also be useful to make an altar card, to rest on my side of the crucifix, with the things I need to remember, so I am not looking continually at the Missal.

One of the good things in our diocese is that our bishop has been working his socks off enthusing people about the new translations.

25 comments:

Evagrius Ponticus said...

Well, I don't think anyone expected the transition to be easy, Fr. - it seems to me that a lot of people are going to carry on saying the old translation simply out of habit, whether they mean to or not.

I do find it interesting the way you describe the issue, though. One of the things about the new translation is that it feels... wrong. It doesnt work within the cadences of English speech. Which isn't to say it's not an improvement, but at the same time...

Neil Addison said...

Father I think you should encourage your Congregation to buy one of the new CTS Booklets. The Simple Prayer book at £1.95 is great value and has the new Translation in it as well as other prayers. The Leather backed volume at only £4.95 is also worth a look.

Rather than you having to produce sheets getting them to have their own booklets seems a sensible use of time and at £1.95 I doubt if anyone could honestly say that they cannot afford it.

I agree with you about the Interim Missal i just cannot see the point of it

GuidoM said...

I cant agree more - the new translation certainly is a great improvement and far more dignified but it is hard to get out of habits especially when in some places the new translation is similar to what was before. I love the idea of an altar card. The Oratories around England introduced that theme quite a while ago for the Novus Ordo latin and english and it works well and looks nice. I'm hoping the finished edition of the altar missal will be really beautiful

stmarymagdalenchoir said...

http://www.icelweb.org/musicfolder/openmusic.php

All the prefaces with notation.

Keep an eye on The Music Makers website because they are going to be uploading recordings of all the prefaces as the year goes on.

Neil Addison said...

As a layman I simply do not know whether the new translation will be better, worse or much the same as the present translation but I wait for it with hope that it will be an improvement. As a Catholic I have to trust and hope that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church in this new development and for that reason I

One thing that does concern me however is how the change over is going to happen. I think it is important that the Church does not repeat the mistakes it made when the change over was made from the Tridentine Mass to the New Mass. At that time, as I am old enough to remember, there was in many quarters a disrespect shown to the Old Mass which had the effect of destroying the faith of many who, in effect, felt that they were being told that the Mass they had known was no longer valued and respected. Rather than that inspiring them with a love of the new Mass it had the effect for many people that it destroyed their faith in the Mass itself and therefore their faith in the

Whatever the faults may be of the present translation it is the Mass that English speaking Catholics have known for 30 years, people have been married, buried, confirmed and had their first holy communion to its words and that I suggest does give the present words a degree of sanctity which needs to be respected and formally addressed.

The words of his holiness Pope Benedict in Summorum Pontificum
are perhaps relevant here. "What was Holy to previous generations remains holy to us"

I appreciate that his holiness was referring specifically to the Traditional Latin Mass but his words surely also apply to the present English Translation of the Mass which, in the English Speaking World, has expressed the truths of the Catholic faith for a generation.

I do wonder whether Priests should think about developing an appropriate way of saying farewell to the present translation in a dignified, prayerful and respectful manner. Perhaps at each Mass on the December both the old and new Missal could be brought to the Altar and a prayer said which remembers all those who have been buried to the words of the old translations, remembers all those who who have been married, confirmed or received into the Church under the words of the old Translation and which then thanks God for all the good and holiness which the old Translation has done and expresses the hope that the new Translation will build upon the faith developed by the old Translation. The old Missal could then be taken away by a server or Deacon whilst the new Missal is incensed and blessed and a prayer offered that it will enhance and develop the faith of those who have for so many years heard the old translation.

I leave the professionals such as yourself Father to work out the details the important point is to ensure that every congregation sees the old translation replaced with prayerful dignity and respect rather than simply being pushed to one side and ignored.

In essence what I am saying is that the spirit of the "Hermenuitic of Continuity" so eloquently expressed by his Holiness as regards the Tridentine Mass should also be applied to the old and new translation. As Catholics we should honour, respect and reverence the old even as we welcome the new.

Gail F said...

Father, forgive me for commenting on a typo, but I believe you meant "dismissal" and not "dismal," unless terminology is VERY different in the UK than it is here in the US. Your reflections are very interesting. I wonder what will happen here in my parish? I suppose we will find out soon enough!

B flat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan said...

Any of your young people going to Madrid?

Fr Ray Blake said...

dismal changed to dismissal
Sorry

Michael1 said...

There is one problem that I find continually irritating in the new translation, in the words of consecration. In Latin, there is a single word, variously translated as 'cup' or 'chalice'. In English, 'cup' and 'chalice' have different connotations, the latter being the sacred vessel usually of pressures metal and often elaborate. The new translation insists that Jesus took into his hands a chalice: he did not - he took a very ordinary cup filled with probably very ordinary wine. It is this ordinariness which makes the mystery of the Eucharist so utterly extraordinary. By all means use 'chalice' later in the Eucharistic prayer to refer to that which is before the priest and people, but not in the prayer itself.

Like Evagrius Ponticus, I find some of the cadences unnatural in English. It is as if parts of the translation were written without an inner voice listening to what what was on the page. Good writing involves the ears as much as the eyes.

Katherine said...

The wise and gentle director of our office of worship has been admonishing us to be respectful of the outgoing Missal -- though imperfect, it has served us long and well, and has shaped people's prayer. People need to be allowed to grieve, we are told. We need to avoid the mistakes of disrespect and rupture those of us who are old enough recall from the 60s.

Somewhere I saw the suggestion that at the last Mass of its use, the old Missal be carried out in the closing procession, to a place of honor. (For a parish at large, I suppose that would need to be on the Sunday, while daily Mass-goers would still see it used until the following Saturday.) That would not add anything to the liturgy, nor create ongoing attention to the old book (as I fear Neil's suggested action might do).

If a parish has a place to display cherished but no longer used items (too-fragile old vestments,
etc.) the Missal could join those items in dignified retirement.

David said...

If we are careful to refer to the New Translation rather than the New Mass it will help people to see that this is in no way comparable with the changes from Latin to vernacular. There are lots of different varieties of people's cards (45p to 75p each) and booklets for the laity to use,(beware, one of them has a sentence omitted) and there is at least one altar card being produced. As a layman brought up as an Anglo-Catholic with "The English Missal" (a very good translation into English of the then-current Roman Missal) I already feel at home with some of the new translations. When the novus ordo was introduced it was acknowledged that further work would be needed; now that further work has been done. It is an adjustment, not a New Mass. Let's welcome it and inspire others with our enthusaiam and devotion to the Mass - in whatever words or language are used to celebrate it.

Robert said...

Father looks like the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has finally put the full edition of the New American Bible Revised Edition online. They also revamped their website. For those who may want to see the NABRE for study purposes. Here is the link.
God Bless!.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/

santoeusebio said...

It would be helpful to know what people in the pew who at present use a missal should be buying. I believe there will be more than one publisher issuing a new Sunday and/or Daily Missal. Has anyone seen them or been able to review them? I do hope that there will be something on the lines of the old Cabrol missal with all those useful prayers etc (and lots of other useful material which one can read during particularly boring sermons) which have been left out of the current cut-down missals. I suppose it would be too much to expect a missal like the 1958 Roman Missal with the scholarly translations of Mgr Ronald Knox alongside the Latin rather than the frequent mistranslations of later versions.

I guess these new Missals for the laity are going to cost something so it would be very useful if in due course people could tell us what they think of them and which is the best - perhaps for the more traditional minded.

Nicolas Bellord

David said...

To santoeusebio and others I would strongly suggest that "wait and see" is by far the best policy at present. I understand that HarperCollins (Murdoch's outfit) have permission to update their Sunday and Weekday Missals and that the Redemptorists are doing an update on their Pope John Sunday Missal. (This was the best of the current Missals, but was not cheap at £24.95) There may be others, but as the readings are not changing for the present it might be better to wait and, meanwhile, to use a Mass Card or Mass Book which will contain the revised responses and ordinary of the Mass. There is also the ST PAULS Sunday Missal, which is an annual publication. There has been for some time only one weekday Missal (HarperCollins). I don't know if anyone else has sought permission to publish one with the new translation. None of the revised Missals has been published at present so cannot be reviewed. I hope that this is, even slightly, helpful. To be honest, the whole thing is such a shambles that it would be better not to rush in where angels fear to tread!

nickbris said...

I did recently question the change from ordinary cup to Chalice and when it was explained to me that The Last Supper was of course the Sabbath Meal during the most important part of the year,Passover, the penny dropped.

Even the poorest homes would have used the most valuable implements.After all they were all Jews practising Jewish customs even though some of them had cut their hair.

rachel said...

fr,
My pp has been trying his best but it is very confusing,especially for the old folk,i agree with neil,i have bought a few of the simple prayer books and handed them out to a few friends,i have also bought the less detailed prayercards,but i think perhaps the pp should make them available to buy at the back of Church.It must be very difficult for all involved,especially all pp.I think perhaps we need tp Pray for patience,and lots of it!!!!

Michael1 said...

I think Nickbris may be trying too hard. The new translation is designed, I think, more accurately to reflect the traditional Latin of the Mass. In Latin, the word 'calix' is a cup, but there is no distinction in Latin between 'cup' and 'chalice' in Latin, as there is in English and in Italian ('coppa' and 'calice'). Perhaps someone at the Vatican thought 'calice' sounded more like the original Latin: I believe that in the original sent to the Vatican for approval, 'cup' was used.

I am sure that for Passover, Jewish households would use the best available tableware; but I suggest it is unlikely that would be some bejewelled and golden vessel. I think 'chalice' a bit rich even for the best bone china!

nickbris said...

Thankyou Michael1,my ADHD sometimes gets the better of me.

Anthony Jordan said...

There is a useful article on the Catholic Herald's website (http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2011/08/03/publishers-race-to-print-new-sunday-missals/) about new hand missals for the laity - it looks as though the choice will be HarperCollins £17, CTS £18, Redemptorists £25. They all sound good but I personally am going to wait until the new lectionary comes out (roll on!) and then get mine. To tide me over I have one of the CTS's laminated pew cards and I have also splashed out and ordered the CTS priest's study missal, which is a hand-sized version of the full altar missal, with all its contents (on the pattern of the St. Luke's Missal for the current translation). This is not because I have ideas above my station, but rather because I find liturgy interesting, and figure that it is better to spend now on something that will be of lasting use rather than buy a hand missal which may need to be replaced in a few years.

Anonymous said...

Michael1, surely the use of chalice rather than cup is to emphasise the sacral nature of its contents? Is to focus on what was probable used at the last supper to miss the point. Or should we all recline at mass? Chalice says this rather special. The point is not missed in the current Stella Artois adveert, where the Chairman of the brewery says he likes to think not of a glass of Stella but rather of a chalice of Stella. The word chalice affirms the wonder of the contents. Michael X

Anonymous said...

David says that one version of the pew cards available for the new trans. has a line missing. Would he kindly indicate which card and which line, please? Michael X

Anonymous said...

Regarding the pew missals, i understand the CTS missals (Sunday, and 7 day versions) will certainly contain devotional and seasonal material for personal reflection. I believe they are likely to use the format and material used in the current missal published by the Mid Western Theological Forum. This missal is a quality product, so if adapted and adopted for the new translation should be first class. Michael X

David said...

In response to anonymous. I understand that it is not the CTS cards but the “Simple Prayer Book” (paperback and leatherette editions) and “Order of Mass” booklets. In all of these a paragraph beginning “Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation....” has been omitted from Eucharistic Prayer I.

Anonymous said...

David, thank you for the info on the error in CTS Simple Prayerbook and Order of Mass. I have been on to CTS and found them very helpful. A corrected reprint is in progress and will be available in the next 10 days. Michael X