Sunday, November 27, 2011

New Roman Missal, Advent 2011: Snits and Sense

The new Roman Missal was blessed during Mass this morning, down the street at Our Lady of the Angels church. We also started celebrating the Mass, using the new Roman Missal.

It's going to take a while, before I get used to the new words. During one of the responses we sing, I got in several words of the old version before getting smart and reading from that little card.

We've been practicing with these "Pew Cards," from, for a few weeks. (November 20, 2011)

New Roman Missal: We're Getting it Right

This is the first Sunday when Catholics in America, and around the world, have been celebrating Mass with the New Roman Missal.

We've been getting 'heads up' messages about it for more than a year - and the parishes here in Sauk Centre have spent the last few weeks practicing some of the parts. Like "and with your spirit." (Not the 'good old-fashioned' "and also with you.")

I haven't noticed anyone complaining that 'nobody told us about this,' but maybe you have. There have been the predictable complaints. And sensible statements.1

Everything I've heard and read about the new Missal, from folks who understand Catholicism and know Latin, is that the New Roman Missal isn't so much a revision of the English translation, as a correction.

I don't know how or why words like credo got - imaginatively? - translated, back when grooviness was in the air: but this time, someone made sure the translation was (much) more accurate.

New Roman Missal: IT AIN'T AMERICAN!! (or Irish, or Australian, or Andorran, or - - - )

I don't know what's going on in other people's minds - which is just as well. I have enough trouble, trying to keep myself on-track, and that's another topic.

I also wasn't at all surprised to find this in the news:
"...thousands of other Catholics, including some bishops in the U.S., Ireland and Australia, are criticizing it as 'archaic' and 'convoluted,' with some worrying the theology is too 'exclusivist.' One Seattle priest, Michael Ryan, creator of a website called 'What if we just said wait?' has attracted more than 22,000 protest signatures from leading Catholic clergy, liturgists, musicians and lay people...."
(The Vancouver Sun)(and yes, I know: Vancouver is in Canada)
Like I said, I don't know what happens in another person's mind. My guess, though, is that some of the "protest signatures" are from folks who are annoyed that the Catholic Church isn't acting like the decent American (or Irish, or Australian, or Andorran - or whatever) church they feel it is.

I've gotten used to old-school journalists focusing on a marginal, but groovy, set of folks, and that's yet another topic.

I'm not particularly upset that The Vancouver Sun found some American bishops who didn't feel good about the new Missal. There were times, from 1058 to 1181, and again from 1316 1447, when we had the Pope: and up to four ersatz Popes running around.2 Things could be a lot worse.

It's the Catholic Church

Reality check: the Catholic Church is in America, and Ireland, and Australia, and Andorra. But we're not part of an American, Irish, Australian, or Andorran church. The Catholic Church is - literally - the Universal Church.

I think the confusion comes partly from the decision to translate Ecclesia into my Germanic language - but leave "Catholica" pretty much alone, apart from dropping the final vowel. And that's yet again another topic.

Our official language is Latin. Yet again more topics.

Like it or not, the reality is that documents like the Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae (Catechism of the Catholic Church) are in Latin: not English, or German, or 中文 (繁體 or 简体).

Time to Switch Off the Autopilot

The 'it's not fair!' response to the New Roman Missal wasn't nearly as universal as it may seem in some of America's better Starbucks.3 Not as far as I could tell, anyway.

I've run into a fair number of folks who knew that the new Missal was coming, why it was coming, and aren't offended at living in a world where everybody isn't pretty much just like them:
"...It's going to take me some getting used to (after a lifetime of ritual responses, I'm practically on autopilot!), and I'm sure there will be some moments of self-conscious laughter in the pews, but I'm ready for the 'new' Roman Missal."
(Sister Anne Flanagan)
Of course, I'm one of those Catholics who take their faith seriously, and who realize that the world is larger than their circle of friends and acquaintances.

Maybe I'm being unfair: and that's, good grief, one more topic.

I found Sister Anne Flanagan's post refreshing. Particularly what she said about being "on autopilot." I'm a convert to Catholicism, so my 'autopilot' has been reprogrammed a few more times than a 'cradle Catholic's.' But today I discovered that quite a bit of what I do during Mass is - habit.

I suppose the trick will be to keep paying attention to what I say and do - after the New Roman Missal becomes a habit.

Related posts:
News and views:

1 Excerpts from "News and views:"
"Changes to the Mass are not American, but universal"
Sister Anne Flanagan, Daughter of St. Paul and author of Nun Blog, The Seeker blog, Chicago Tribune (November 26, 2011)

"For the third time in the lifetime of some Catholics, the Mass is changing. One gentleman came into my community's downtown bookstore very upset by all this. To him, the new translation of the Mass prayers (which go into effect on the First Sunday of Advent—tonight, practically speaking) can only mean that things were going 'backwards,' to a time 'before Vatican II.'

"He wasn't much mollified when I mentioned that what we'll be hearing are the words that Vatican II gave us (plus some new things, courtesy of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI). 'We don't speak like this,' he replied. 'It's not how we Americans express ourselves.' And he was right.

"Cardinal Francis George has been closely involved with the whole process, exercising the Latin skills he acquired in his priestly training when everything-including the classroom lectures-was done in Latin. He recently commented that the new translation had to accommodate the needs of English speaking Catholics in some 30 nations. For all its ungainliness in some respects, the translation is another sign of the universality of our prayer.

" 'The Lord be with you: And with your spirit.' 'Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.' 'I am not worthy that you should come under my roof...' It's clear that these words we will hear and speak and offer to God are not our own...."

"On Sunday Catholics return to 'mea culpa,' English version"
The Vancouver Sun (November 25, 2011)

"Are Roman Catholics ready for Sunday? On that day they will be exposed to the biggest change in four decades in what they will hear, recite, sing and do during their main church ritual.

"Canada is one of 11 English-speaking countries in which tens of millions of Catholics will begin Sunday to adopt the Vatican’s English translation of the old Latin liturgy. The date, Nov. 27, marks the first day of Advent and the beginning of the Christian calendar.

"The Vancouver archdiocese is among hundreds busily trying to educate the roughly 400,000 nominal Catholics in the region about what to expect Sunday, including an English-language version of the penitential Latin 'mea culpa.'
The revised mass – the central act of worship – is being praised by most Catholic leaders and traditional faithful as more 'reverential' and 'scriptural.'

"However, thousands of other Catholics, including some bishops in the U.S., Ireland and Australia, are criticizing it as 'archaic' and 'convoluted,' with some worrying the theology is too 'exclusivist.' One Seattle priest, Michael Ryan, creator of a website called 'What if we just said wait?' has attracted more than 22,000 protest signatures from leading Catholic clergy, liturgists, musicians and lay people...."

2 Source:3 Yes, I know: Starbucks is an international coffee company, serving ethical coffee, that started in Seattle, Washington.


Brigid said...

Missing end parenthesis: "(or Irish, or Australian, or Andorran, or - - -"

Oddly out of place quotation mark: "but leave Catholica" pretty"

Something missing: "so my 'autopilot' has been reprogrammed a few more times a 'cradle Catholic's' but today"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...


Oops. Fixed, and thanks!

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