In response to “Survey says: Split persists over new translation” (News Analysis, May 4), we asked readers of OSV Newsweekly’s e-newsletter to share their thoughts on the Mass translation that debuted in 2011. We were overwhelmed by the responses we got, many of which we have reprinted here. To join in on the conversation, and for early online access to content from the Newsweekly, subscribe to our one-page e-newsletter by going to OSV.com/more/enewsletters.
There are many things that I like about the restored translation. I like that it’s closer to the Latin (“and with your spirit,” for example). I also like that things that were inexplicably cut from the liturgy have been put back (we can say “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” again, and missing bits of the Gloria have been restored).
But I often do find myself having to read the collect, prayer over the gifts and/or the closing prayer more than once during most Masses. Often they are composed of one long sentence with one or more clauses separated by commas, and it can be hard to understand what they mean on the first reading. Other than that, no complaints at all.
I am very pleased with the restoration and would like to see people encouraged to take the host on the tongue rather than grabbing the Body of Christ in their hand and chewing like a cow chews a cud. Reverence for the Mass has waned for decades, and Pope Benedict was instrumental in encouraging reverence to be welcomed back.
I especially like the “And with your spirit” response we give to the priest after he says “The Lord be with you.” I am in my 50s and feel sadness when I recall how the sacredness I felt in church in my early years was jettisoned by many in the late 1960s and ’70s. Apparently they wanted us thinking more of “us” which, of course, leads us to think less of “him.” “And also with you” as our response to the priest sounded way too much like a “and how are you, today?” answer. I thank Our Blessed Lord for the new translations and hope we continue to move in his direction.
There are many changes I love, particularly the restoration of the wording during the Communion: “I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” I loved those words as a child and am thrilled to be saying them again.
However there are some struggles. In the Creed the word “consubstantial” is a very ecclesial word. “One in being” is very clear to almost anyone. One of the changes to the vernacular after Vatican II was to make the prayers understandable to all. That one misses the boat.
I think the new translation is beautiful and has great rhythm. I grew up with the Spanish translation of the Mass (which is figuratively inches away from the Latin version), so when I used to listen to the old English translation (which was figuratively feet, if not yards, away from the Latin text), I always found it unpoetic and not quite right. Now the language is as it should be, both elevated and elevating, both precise and poetic. We now actually ask that our beloved be welcome into the light of God’s face. We ask that the Holy Spirit come upon the Gifts like dew-fall. The language now echoes the biblical text. As a lay church-goer, I am happy with the changes; they go a long way to making the Mass more beautiful, which, in my opinion, brings us a bit closer to the Lord.
Love the new translations. Our priest and staff did a great job of preparing the parish. It was work, and I know our priest was uncomfortable with the changes — especially the singing. But now he is at ease and it shows in the attention of his people and how much holier our approach is to the Eucharist. For myself, I have learned more in the last three years than in the previous 25. It has been a real blessing to have a priest who does his best to follow the Church’s instructions. The sheep need faithful shepherds.
I think the new translation does not flow well when trying to read it. I think a significant amount of the translation is less understandable to children and a lot of our population. I think the words in the liturgy should bring understanding and meaning to what we believe and pray.
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