The New Missal: How is it going for you, our members?

I wonder would any of our members be willing to share with us how you are faring with the New Missal. Are you using the full Missal yet, and if so how are you finding it? Any feel yet as to how you parishioners or congregations are reacting to it.
I am a travelling missionary, and so far the parishes I have been in have not made any great effort to implement the new texts, so the old ones are still in possession.
But I have met three different people in the past week whose story worried me. All of them are in their late sixties, and regular, even daily, Mass-goers. But they are finding the new texts very difficult, to the point of not being happy at Mass any more. Each of them in their own way described a battle going on inside them when they are at Mass, frustration and anger with what was happening, that was coming between them and their participation. I felt very sad for them.
It would be good if some of our members would write in and tell us how you are getting on.

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  1. There is a teaching moment here: dying to self. I often see this ‘anger’ rising up in some people about various topics. The anger is telling them something about themselves. It is God’s way of showing them that they need to change, that they need to die to their own self-will, and their own pride. This is an opportunity not to be wasted. Sure, the new translation is more accurate and reverent, but not everyone can see that, mainly because they are poorly formed in the faith. For those who can’t see it, it is up to you, the priests, to teach your people how to die to self-will and how to be obedient to holy Mother Church.

  2. “Surely” says Martin. Does he mean he has READ the new translation and found it more accurate and reverent (and for the preces more accurate and reverent than the rejected 1998 translations)? Recall that the German funeral prayers caused the same unhappiness in German faithful — did the Bishops tell them, like it or lump it, practise humility, die to self? Perhaps remembering the Nazi period they did not urge such blind obedience. They canceled the prayers, sent them back to the Vatican, at considerable expense.

  3. As we approach the full introduction of the new Translation of the Roman Missal there needs to be some catechesis for the non-ordained members of the people of God. The new Translation is far from perfect and in the use of some technical terms is going against the letter and spirit of Sacramentum Concilium and Liturgicam Authenticam. (SC 11,14,50. LA 48) The new translation contains too many technical theological terms and should be expressed in English of the 21st century.
    Jerome, when writing the Vulgate did not use classical Latin but rather the language of the people.

  4. Association of Catholic Priests says:

    Martin – you write: “Sure, the new translation is more accurate and reverent, but not everyone can see that, mainly because they are poorly formed in the faith”. I would reply:
    Sure? – I, and many others, are not so sure.
    More accurate? – Yes, in ways, in the way an interlinear translation is “accurate”, but not in a way which is natural expression in the target language.
    More reverent? I do not find it so.
    Mainly because they are poorly formed in the faith? Certainly, some are “poorly formed in the faith”, but many who are well-formed in the faith take a different and well-informed view. Your assertion is like that of our government asserting that the people rejected the Constitutional Amendment on government inquiries because they were not well-informed or did not understand; whereas it is possible that many rejected it precisely because they were well-informed and because they did understand its implications.
    Be obedient to holy mother church: – it is because of deep commitment to and love of Mother Church that it is important to make known to those entrusted with the service of authority in the church that corrections are needed in both the matter of the new translation and in the mode of exercise of authority in this matter.
    Pádraig McCarthy

  5. Paul Robertson says:

    Being neither ordained nor Irish (I’m English, actually, living in England), feel free to discard my experience as pride and disobedience to Mother Church, but I have several points I wish to make.
    1. This is the Collect from Holy Thursday. Please let us know how this near unproclaimable (I’ve tried a few times) 63-word sentence is more reverent than the ’98 version or the ’73 version.
    “O God, who have called us to participate
    in this most sacred Supper,
    in which your Only Begotten Son,
    when about to hand himself over to death,
    entrusted to the Church a sacrifice new for all eternity,
    the banquet of his love,
    grant, we pray,
    that we may draw from so great a mystery,
    the fullness of charity and of life.
    Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever.”
    2. The Church is not my mother. The Church is the People of God, therefore, the Church is you and me. It is not some distant administrative body telling me what to do. That is the Vatican, not the Church.
    3. I am not a child. Why does the hierarchy insist on treating me like one? I have a brain and an intellect of my own. Telling me that my considered disagreement will vanish like dewdrops in the sun under the gentle application of formation in the faith is arrogance in the extreme. Arrogance, it is true, that we have come to expect, but arrogance just the same.
    Paul Robertson

  6. As a seminarian living in England, I have found that the new translation has come in easily. I am fortunate to come from a diocese that has been preparing its Priests, people, musicians for over a year.
    The new translation is far from perfect but some of the new language is beautiful. I think the Church has tried to be ‘trendy’ with music since the 60’s and it has only seen a reduction in Church numbers. The liturgy should be something beautiful and other worldly. The new translation uses language that is not of the street, so creating a sense of something different.
    As someone of Irish descent, I am sorry to see the state of the Church in Ireland; I think it is a time for people to stay united, not setting up tribes of us and the Vatican. It is worth noting that the current Holy Father has a great appeal with the young people (see pictures from Madrid), they support his view of liturgy it is a shame that some priest don’t!

  7. All I say about this new missal is that I cringe everytime our priest shouts as he begins Mass ‘And with your spirit’ as a way of getting us to respond to his part ‘The Lord be with you’
    Mind you after that opening jump he reverts to a more prayerful respectful approach and allows us to say what feels right for us – as the congregation.

  8. Mary Burke says:

    The new translation is another instance of the People of God being cowed into silence. Because they do not know or will not say the new words, they have to keep silent. But that is only right, since they are voiceless anyway when it come to making decisions in the church. Silent in fact we are now ritually silent too.
    Lex orandi, lex credendi has taken on a depth of meaning it did not previously have.
    In my parish the priest says the people’s part as well as his own. I met someone recently who walked out of Mass after the Introductory Rites because of this.

  9. Neil
    Firstly, I wish you well in your training for the priesthood. I would however like to comment on some of the points you make.
    1. “I think the Church has tried to be ‘trendy’ with music since the sixties and it has only seen a reduction in Church numbers.” – Gregorian Chant was at one point, ‘trendy’ and I’m quite sure wasn’t popular amongst some, in its day. Actually, there were some very beautiful ‘trends’ in music after Vatican II. The St Louis Jesuits wrote some beautiful hymns. They were melodic and stuck to the scriptures. Compare that with ‘Full in the panting heart of Rome..’ and ‘Faith of our fathers…’ They were triumphalistic and had little or nothing to do with the words of Jesus. There was also the music from Taize which was reflective, prayerful and melodic too. I will grant you that some of the Kevin Mayhew stuff was horrendous. However, it is very ‘trendy’ and simplistic to blame falling numbers on music. Its simply not true. Vatican II Council was also inspirational to millions and, had it not been for the Council, Catholicism would now be a small, irrelevant sect.
    2. “The Liturgy should be something beautiful and other worldly.” It should also be relevant. I believe this push towards ‘other worldly’ verges on sinning against the Incarnation. When Peter wanted to sustain the ‘other worldliness’ of the Transfiguration, Jesus told him to get back down the mountain. Matthew also tells us that at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple was torn in two i.e. the gulf between the holy of holies and the profane – ordinary life – was torn down. God was with us, among us forever, not perched on some distant cloud. What does Emmanuel mean? Why did Jesus ask us to address the Father as “Abba” (Daddy, Papa.)? Why did Jesus use human, day to day, imagery to describe God and the Kingdom, in his parables? When he washed the disciples’ feet, did he mean that we were to theatrically re-enact this – or actually live it? What did he mean when he said that he wanted “mercy, not sacrifice”? What was he saying when he asked “How can you say you love God whom you cant see, when you do not love your neighbour whom you can see?” What were his instructions regarding people who “Lord it over” others? When John XXIII called the Council, when he wanted people to have daily access to the Eucharist, to give the Word of God a place equal to the Sacraments, I think he saw that we had effectively locked Jesus away in our golden tabernacles to be adored and praised at a distance. He saw that the greatest praise we can give God is to love our neighbour “whom we can see.” This New Mass could be described as ‘spiritual’, it could also be described as empty, theatrical, emotional sentimentality, utterly removed from the reality in which our salvation is worked out.
    3. “The present Holy Father has a great appeal amongst the young.” Freebies in sunny Spain have great appeal amongst the young. This Pope will actually go down in history as very unappealing as can be seen by the millions of ordinary, educated Catholics who have had enough of his legalism and bullying and are leaving our Church.

  10. Sean (Derry) says:

    New translation certainly works for me, at least on the occasions that the priest actually uses it. So we can safely say that it works for ‘many’ if not for ‘all’.

  11. Fr S , thank you for your support and I hope prayers in my vocation, I certainly need both!
    May I be as so bold as to respond to your response;
    1. Maybe my original comment was too broad. As a fan of Taize, I would certainly not doubt the great music that has been produced since the 1960’s. However your comment about the hymn ‘faith of our fathers’ is equally unfair. This hymn can be seen as triumphalist but in fact they also link with the tradition of our faith. It is vital that we can link with the faith of our fathers, people who have gone before us. In a time when Christianity is under attack, can we not take encouragement from the saints of the reformation??
    My comment was more aimed at Kevin Mayhew and the awful hymns he produced, something I am glad to see you agree with!
    2. The incarnational element of our faith is vitally important. This puts an extra emphasis on the importance of the homily given by the priest and the life that he leads. The language that our Lord used was also shocking and challenging. Jesus did not use language that was easy for the people to accept. He did not dumb down his message, so that more people could ‘understand’. The new liturgy opens up so many opportunities for catechesis was this not the purpose of the parables? It invited people to think, not tell them bluntly!
    3. WYD is anything but a freebie! The average cost of a WYD is £1k which is far from free. I would also say that the image of 2 million young people kneeling silently in front of the Blessed Sacrament is more powerful than the thousands of people avoiding tax in Germany etc. I personally find it baffling that priests who say they support the Second Vatican Council dislike Benedict XVI who is its biggest supporter. The difference is he supports the documents of the Council rather than the ‘Spirit of the Council’ which has caused so much upset. It is a sad reality that priest s supporting the ‘Spirit of the Council’ did more damage to the Churches in England than the reformation! The destruction of Altars, statutes etc from my point of view is indefensible!
    The Church post Vatican II is the Church that Benedict XVI is building, just as the translation of the Mass were NOW using is the Mass of Vatican II. Prior to Vatican II we were to use political terms to ‘right’ after Vatican II we went to ‘left’ now Benedict is trying to bring us to the center.
    I do wonder with organisations such as the ACP how many of the Priests are under the age of 50? As the views expressed by the ACP and Tablet don’t represent the views of the future of the Church the under 30’s !

  12. Mary Burke says:

    “It is a sad reality that priests supporting the ‘Spirit of the Council’ did more damage to the Churches (sic) in England than the reformation! The destruction of Altars (sic), statutes (sic) etc (sic) from my point of view is indefensible! ”
    I shudder to think how you will minister to the People of God after ordination if this is your attitude now.
    The whole point about the poor translation which we shall soon be using is that language matters. How qualified are you to make a judgement on the quality of the new translation? Language matters.

  13. Amen to Neil’s comments!
    As a young Catholic myself, I have great admiration for Pope Benedict, his sermons and writings, and his personal humility. I think he has been unfairly treated in the controversies that have affected his pontificate – some of which were of his predecessor’s making.

  14. Firstly Mary, thank you for pointing out my awful spelling! Despite the joys of spellcheck, my written word is still poor, an area I must continue to work on.
    I also shudder at the thought of ministering to the people of God! Being aware of my many weaknesses and short comings, I hope that with the grace of God, I will be of some use!
    I am no language expert as my spelling will testify, but luckily Holy Mother Church has appointed people of a much higher standard than me. Out of interest I throw the question back at you – how qualified are you to make a judgement on the quality of the translation?
    I have taken the position of trusting the judgement of the Church, knowing that the Holy Spirit continues to guide us. The new translation will take time for people to adjust to; however I imagine this change is far less traumatic than the change from Latin to the vernacular.
    I accept that my comment on the Spirit of Vatican II is harsh, however this made up phrase has been used as an excuse to destroy so many things. The documents that I have read from Vatican II, none have given the instruction to throw away vestments and white wash all that is in sight. However I am willing to be corrected.
    I fully agree that language matters, that is why I believe the Church has done the correct thing in producing this new translation. I am sure you will disagree with me on this point! I pray though Mary that you will learn to love the new translation and that it will help your relationship with the Lord rather than hinder.
    God Bless.

  15. Fr Brian D’Arcy in SUNDAY WORLD posted this letter from a totally blind Catholic on the new translation:
    This response is pretty similar to the indignation/weariness of the Polish and Italian immigrants in my small parish. Having learned the English responses over the past 40 years, they are quite seriously disadvantaged by the new version. But of course, no one I know in this run-down small English country town speaks English of a style Vox Clara so highly esteems. Do the powers-that-impose remember the Tower of Babel – how human speech was made confusing because of our hubris, our desire to climb to God’s level. The Incarnation surely means he came down to our level?
    I live in a parish where the only priest regularly celebrates 5 weekday Tridentine latin Masses (in full fig) per week, and two English (OF) Masses. He has forbidden SERVICES OF WORD AND COMMUNION when he is away. So he has, in effect, destroyed the practice and fellowship of the weekday attenders, who do not choose to attend the tridentine. Those Masses attract a tiny congregation, between 2 and 4, one of whom drives several miles to be present.
    At least one of the former weekday-Mass attenders has given up, apart from days of Obligation, because she cannot bear the so-called English of the new version. The majority of people are Sundays-only folk, and while baffled by the evident non-necessity of the change, most are making a valiant effort to say their part. Few discuss it either way and those who would say more are careful not to criticise the parish priest or the bishop, though they voice their discomfort with the translation.
    Personally, I find the costume drama on the sanctuary – the priest comes on looking like a 17th century clotheshorse – combined with the belligerent attack of the soundtrack utterly dispiriting. I still fulfil my Sunday obligation, but I seek spiritual nourishment elsewhere.

  16. Paul Robertson says:

    Neil, I hope that, once you are ordained, you are able to prayerfully proclaim the Collect from Holy Thursday and, somehow, pronounce the Prayer after Communion for the first Sunday in Advent without it hopelessly misrepresenting the underlying Latin.
    I also pray that, once you have a parish to look after, you are able to deal sensitively with your parishoners of whom, I guarantee, only two will wholeheartedly and unreservedly believe all that the Catholic Church holds to be true. Ministering to the rest will be hard, for people are messy and compassion is mandatory.
    I salute your courage and resolve to become a priest in these days, where taking such a step is frowned upon from all corners of society, for all sorts of reasons. Thank you for choosing this path. We learn by suffering, so I pray that you find true solace in Christ in the years ahead, through hardship and joy, as you tread in the footprints of the apostles.

  17. Wendy Murphy says:

    Paul, thank you for your compassionate words.
    Simmary – your parish sounds a lot like that of my dear brother-in-law. He’s been a faithful Catholic all his life (he’s 87) Has done everything he possibly could have done for his church and community in addition to, of course,living a good, working life and bringing up a family. Widowed several years ago he continued to support his parish by looking after the church and its finances, serving on the school’s board of governors and, until recently attending and often serving daily Mass. This last, his lifetime practice, ended quite recently when the new priest brought in just the regime you describe. The daily Tridentine Mass is early in the morning – too early for my brother-in-law to attend even if he wanted to. He broke his hip last year, but still would manage to walk to church for the previous usual daily Mass. He was awarded the Benemerenti medal a few years ago – so I don’t see him complaining any time soon. I’m complaining for him – he’s now pretty isolated and without the consolation of his lifelong parish community.

  18. Kathleen O'Connell says:

    I am really sad to know of the coming end to the use of the phrase “Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, only say the word and I shall be healed.” I have always believed this phrase is at the heart of who and what we are as Catholics. None of us is worthy, and yet all of us are healed when we claim our salvation brought about through Christ’s crucifiction and resurrection.

  19. Thank you Paul for your kind words. I will take them into account as I move forward in my formation.
    Katheleen don’t be to sad, the phrase has not gone but been slightly altered. The new phrase says
    ‘Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, only say the word and my soul shall be healed’
    This is more biblical with reference to the Roman Centurion and continues to hold onto the fact that none of us is worthy and that we gain salvation through the cross.
    I think that one of the aims of the new translation is to bring in a stronger reference to scripture, this is one such case.

  20. Wendy, I think it’s almost certain I know (and profoundly admire) your brother-in-law – your description exactly matches a gentleman in my parish. Except I didn’t know that T had been a school governor, but I am aware of much else about him.
    Well, at least we can be grateful that we’re talking about one parish, not two.
    But back to the new version of the Mass. Yesterday I met with a priest friend, (compulsorily retired), who admits he finds the “English” of the new version so execrable that he has ceased attending Mass. How many priests in good standing celebrate with fixed expressions and heavy hearts? I have heard that many Irish priests just don’t use it – true?
    Our parish choir has achieved a high standard over the past 30 years under a Music Director who has trained them in good modern religious music, mostly but not exclusively Catholic in origin. The diocese has had an excellent programme of music training and advice in the parishes. Now the very lovely, deeply scriptural and meaningful music our choir has learned, is deemed “bad” and “not permitted” by the pp. He would like them to sing the Missa de Angelis, (Gawd ‘elp us). A small fortune has been spent on our (former) music repertoire, due to the Music Director’s unselfishness in funding purchases from the stipends received for music at weddings and funerals.
    The choir is discouraged. Anyone who cares will weep with us.

  21. Wendy Murphy says:

    Ah, Simmary, small world! – you’re quite right and, my first thought on reading your post was ‘can’t be another parish like this one’ – I do weep with you.
    In our parish (lovely, gentle priest,thankfully) since the introduction of the new translation, some (most, who knows?) folks seem to be valiantly struggling along, reading from the card. All communal ebb and flow and any sort of prayerful atmosphere has gone, there are many awkward pauses and stumbles, but, as far as I can tell , the ‘average Sunday Mass-goer’ appears to think the ‘right thing’ is to conform and keep trying.
    Awkward types such as myself keep mostly silent apart from firm renderings of ‘and also with YOU’
    I’m willing to accept that, in time, familiarity could regain a relaxed and prayerful atmosphere, but when I look around at the average age of the willing participants, I wonder.
    Kathleen, you echo my thoughts exactly about the phrase ‘I am not worthy…’ and, I’m sorry to say Neil, you haven’t got it at all. You fondly imagine you’re educating us – but my guess is you’ve got a lot to learn.

  22. Paul Robertson says:

    One interesting point I have read about the Centurion’s speech is that he wanted two things: firstly, for his servant to be healed and, secondly, for Jesus not to enter his house.
    Personally, I don’t have a servant and I most certainly do want Jesus to enter my house. Not only is the “that you should enter under my roof” really clunky English (the only current usage I have found refers to illicit sex “Not under my roof, dear daughter”), but also, I would like the Almighty’s spoken word to heal all of me, to make all of me worthy to receive him. My soul is part of me, sure, but why are we excluding the rest? I have it on good authority that the French version uses the wording we have now lost, so it wasn’t just ICEL that made this decision. The scriptural reference is obvious in both translations for anyone who has had it explained and, given that we don’t want the same thing the centurion wanted, why must we use his exact words?

  23. I still use the current missal for Sunday Masses and will continue to do so until Sunday, 27th November. I use the new missal on weekdays, mainly to familiarise myself with the new texts before they come into full effect on 27th November.
    Here, then, are some practical observations, for what they’re worth.
    The experience of trying to say the Sunday Mass, using the current Missal while at the same time having to keep an eye on the response card for the changes in the text, has been quite a distraction and a nuisance.
    Those who regularly attend the weekday Masses are, in general, getting the hang of the new responses.
    Even on Sundays, quite a number of people are happy to follow the cards and are making a good attempt to answer the new responses. However, there is a sizeable group that continues to answer the ordinary responses. So, there is a noticeable share of “And also with you” side by side with the newer “And with your Spirit”.
    The “Holy, Holy, Holy,” brings us to one of the lesser observed of the new responses. The “Lord God of hosts” text is struggling to make any impact at all. The majority response is still very much the ordinary response, “Lord, God of power and might”.
    And the word “holy” in the offertory response, “(for) the good of all his holy Church”, is not to be heard at all.
    As for using the new missal itself, while some of the new texts are an improvement and, as such are both acceptable and welcome, other sections of the text are very difficult to read. The style of language, the long rambling sentences etc demand a huge effort to be read correctly and with meaning. I feel that when I am using the new missal I am reduced to mechanically reading the Mass as opposed to reverently praying the Mass. In other words, the very effort one has to make to read the new text becomes a serious distraction in itself.
    Furthermore, the poor layout of the texts in the new missal does not help.
    We sometimes have to wade through pages of musically annotated text before we can find the prayer or the piece of text we need.
    The full text of the “Holy, Holy, Holy” does not appear at the end of the preface, but is printed at the start of the Eucharistic Prayer.
    There is little or no attempt to differentiate the text used by the priest as opposed to the text of the people’s responses. In the out-going missal, where there is interaction between the priests and the people, the priest’s words are highlighted in bold type.
    All small issues, but the cumulative effect of them is to unnecessarily increase the number of possible distractions for the priest. A book that is meant to be read in public at something as important and as sacred as the Mass must be clear, easy to follow and totally free from such unnecessary distractions.
    These are just a few early comments and observations on the process of introducing the new missal.
    And what do the people think of the new wording? Best leave that to another day!

  24. I am nearly getting to grips with the changes, the “old” mass came into being just before I was confirmed, so it takes a while to get used to it all. My main problem is that we have to change the music responses, I help with the childrens choir in my parish, and, we will have to try to learn some new acclaimations, but, the ones in the new mass setting music books are not geared towards young people, and the ones in the Aliveo series are dreadful, so if there are any budding composers out there, please give us some pleasant music for young children to use during the Mass, they take more interest in the Church if they are included, and sing very meaningful hymns even if some people think they should be seen and not heard.

  25. seán deegan says:

    I live in Brazil and have a passing interest in soccer. When he moved to play in europe the Brazilian player (Robinho) was asked about his expectations. He was of course excited but remarked that if it didn’t work out he could always come home and work in the local BAKERY (from the english papers translation). No doubt he did say that and used the word PADARIA. Bakery in english has it’s meaning, but not I would suggest what Robinho meant. Padaria is the local corner shop where every urban brazilian goes every day to buy bread, coffee, milk and and meet the neighbours, it’s the heart of the community. That sense is not conveyed by ‘bakery’ even though the translation is literaly correct.
    On a similar vein some years ago when both were in England, the portuguese speaking manager José Mourinho is reported (in english) to have said that his country man Cristiano Ronaldo was ‘poorly educated’ – which he literaly did say using the word ‘maleducado’. In english suggesting Ronaldo wasn’t great at the 3 R’s; that is how Rodaldo’s manager (Alex Ferguson) understood it. However in common usage maleducado means ill mannered or impolite – which Ronaldo might well be even if he is very intelligent.
    Soccer may be light years away from Latin grammar but it gives us simple examples of the problems with literal/dynamic equivalent translations! The recent issue of a Liverpool/Uruguayan player and racist comments is also a case in point. Literal translations can, I think, fail to really communicate the sentiment.

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