Memorial Acclamations in new Roman Missal

Question: Why was the acclamation “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” eliminated from the new Roman Missal? It went from being the most popular of the memorial acclamations to becoming nonexistent.

Jason Jackson, Bell Harbor, Maine 

Answer: The acclamation was a loose translation of the first acclamation Mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine, ..., which is now rendered more faithfully as, “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection, until you come again.”

The essential problem with the former translation was that it addressed Christ in the third person, speaking about him as if he were not present. All the memorial acclamations speak directly to Christ in the grammatical second person “you,” for he is present on the altar after the consecration. Hence the acclamations speak directly to Jesus, not about him.

The old acclamation could not withstand this critique and was dropped. Of itself, it’s a valid acclamation and can be used in other settings, but it isn’t suited to the moment after the consecration, when the faithful are invited to speak TO Christ.

Purgatory’s end

Question: If no soul may see God unless it has been totally purified and if purgatory ends on the Day of Judgment, what happens to the souls of the people who are still alive on Judgment Day? How are their souls purified?

Amy O’Donnell, Silver Spring, Md. 

Answer: Actually, we don’t know if purgatory ends on Judgment Day. It could arguably continue for some “time” there after. Then again, maybe not. Perhaps the last judgment ushers in a quick searing purification and purgatory passes away with the current heavens and earth.

But perhaps a more fundamental “answer” to your question is to say that there are just some things we don’t know. Good theology must recognize its limits, being content to accept that there are many things God has not revealed. And even in those things he has revealed, we must humbly admit that the mysteries about God and creation have depths beyond our capacity to fully comprehend.

Angels analogy

Question: Our priest in his homily referred to the angels as “reflections of God” and made the comparison to the facets of a diamond, God being the diamond, and the angels his facets. Does this sound right?

Name withheld, via email 

Answer: No it does not. Angels do reflect God’s glory, as do all creatures to some degree. But angels are creatures, distinct from God, they are not a part (or facet) of God.

Some sympathy for the preacher may be in order, however. Sometimes analogies go wrong in live preaching. I suspect he meant to say that angels reflect God’s glory in different ways. The seraphim are the “burning ones” before the throne of God, manifesting God’s fiery glory and love. The cherubim manifest God’s glory and will toward creation, etc. I rather doubt Father thinks of angels as part of God. I think by facets he does not mean to imply the angels are of the same substance as God but rather that they reflect his glory differently as facets or a gemstone reflect different qualities. 

Msgr. Charles Pope is the pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian in Washington, D.C., and writes for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., blog at blog.adw.org. Send questions to Pastoral Answers, Our Sunday Visitor, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750 or to msgrpope@osv.com. Letters must be signed, but anonymity may be requested.