New Translation of the Roman Missal
A new edition of the Roman Missal is being introduced this year. But what is the Roman Missal?
The term “Missal” refers to the book that contains all the prayers and instructions for the celebration of the Mass. The scripture readings used at Mass are also part of the Missal but are published separately in the “Lectionary”. The Missal is first written in Latin and this Latin text is then translated into the particular language of the people. In this way, while the Mass may be celebrated in many languages across the Roman Catholic world, it is the same core Latin text that is being prayed by the Church. In Ireland we have been using our current Missal since St. Patrick’s Day 1975. A new edition, the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, is coming into use in Ireland and in other English speaking countries in Autumn 2011. – prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy
Why are we getting a new edition of the Roman Missal?
The new edition of the Missal will come into full use over a period of time between September and the First Sunday of Advent 2011. The new edition is necessary for a number of reasons. Firstly, in the years since 1975 when our current Missal was published, a number of additional texts have been made available for use in the Mass. These include additional Eucharistic Prayers, some new Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Masses for over 20 new Feasts of Saints (for example St Pius of Pietrelcina – Padre Pio, Edith Stein, Maximillian Kolbe). These and other new material now need to go into the Missal so that they can be used in our celebrations.
Secondly, in recent years Rome gave new directions for the translation of the Latin text. Translators were asked to make the English text follow more closely the original Latin in its wording and structure. They were also asked to strengthen the Biblical language and images in the texts and to re-introduce some theological vocabulary that may have been lost over years. Across the English speaking world the new edition of the Roman Missal will, therefore, contain both new material and a new style of translation.
Prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy
Is Mass Changing?
The structure of the Mass is not changing. Its order and the actions of the Mass remain unchanged. The readings at Mass are not changed. However, with the introduction of the new edition of Roman Missal we will notice a change in how the Mass sounds. The translations of a significant number of our prayer texts from the original Latin have changed – sometimes by just a change in a particular word or in the word order. Prayers that we are used to hearing the Priest say will sound different to us. The style of language we will hear and pray may seem more formal to us and perhaps, in parts, more complex. But over time, with the praying of these texts, the sound of the Mass will again become familiar to us.
Prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy.
When will we be using the new edition of the Roman Missal?
The texts of the new edition of the Roman Missal are being Introduced in two phases to avoid too much change happening at once. From the second Sunday of September many dioceses will begin to use the new translations of the people’s prayers and responses at Mass, for example, the Confiteor, the Gloria and the Creed. These texts will be in missalettes and on congregational cards when people come to Mass. From the First Sunday of Advent the new translations of the prayers of the Mass that are led by the priest will come into use, for example, the Collect or opening prayer and the Eucharistic Prayer. The Third Edition of the Roman Missal, therefore, will be fully implemented on the First Sunday of Advent.
What differences can we expect at Mass in September?
During September, congregations may begin to pray the new translations of the people’s prayers at Mass. These new texts will be on missalettes and on congregational cards. In some places people will, by then, already be familiar with this congregational card through using it at weekday Mass or at parish meetings.
What differences can we expect in November?
From the First Sunday of Advent congregations and priests will use the texts of the new edition of the Roman Missal for the celebration of Mass. While the structure, actions and pattern of the Mass will remain the same and the readings will be unchanged, the texts of recited prayers will sound different on our ears. Overtime, as the new style of language becomes familiar to us it is very much hoped that we will come to appreciate both the richness and depth of our prayer at Mass. Prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy.
Why is the Irish Church introducing this new Missal now?
The Irish Church is not alone in introducing a new edition of the Roman Missal at this time. The new edition of the Roman Missal is the English translation of the Latin Missal that was issued by Pope John Paul II in 2002. Since 2002 the Church across the world in its many languages has engaged in the work of translating this Latin text through study, reflection and consultation. This work in English speaking countries is now complete. In Ireland, as in other English speaking countries, the New Missal will come into use during Autumn 2011.
Is what we have been praying up to now wrong?
The Missal that we have being using in Ireland since 1975 was approved for use by the Conferences of Bishops and by the Holy See. Over time and with use, some of its weaknesses have emerged. The revised translation is intended to address some of these weaknesses, particularly by seeking to strengthen scriptural imagery within the prayers and by elevating the language somewhat. The current translation has served a number of generations of the faithful well and remains the proper and valid form of our prayer together until such time as the new Missal is introduced.
Aren’t there more important things we could be doing as a Church?
The Church’s mission in the world is one of loving service and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. This work is at the heart of the Church everyday and finds expression in a myriad of ways. In the celebration of the Mass we nurture and celebrate the faith that calls us to individually share in the mission of the Church. The words and actions of the Mass form the central act of the Christian Community. Together they express our faith – we pray as we
believe. So our words and actions in the Mass matter deeply. They shape our faith and lead us beyond the Mass to live out this faith. The work of the Church rightly continues in all sorts of ways. Yet the importance of the Mass in the life of the Church demands that we give it time and attention and take great care in its words and actions. Prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy
Changes to texts within the Introductory Rites of the Mass.
The Lord be with you. And with your spirit.
This response is one of the very obvious changes as we use the new edition of the Missal. It is the literal translation of what we find in the Latin text “et cum spiritu tuo”. This translation is already found in other languages, for example, German, Italian, French and Spanish. The source for this dialogue between priest and people is very much Scripture. In four letters, St. Paul uses the following greetings: Galatians 6:18 – May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit; Philippians 4:23-The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit; 2 Timothy 4:22-The Lord be with your spirit; Philemon 25 – The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Similar greetings can be found in the Old Testament. What does “your spirit” mean? It is not a reference to the Holy Spirit though it is spoken by people who live according to that Spirit. For St. Paul the spirit is our spiritual part that is closest to God. “And with your spirit” is about having the spirit or mind of Christ as your guiding light, as what guides us through the day – a Christian Spirit. While it will sound unfamiliar to us this greeting and response captures our biblical roots. It is a recognition of the spirit that is among us as Christians, a spirit that we must live and, in greeting one another, it proclaims the presence of Christ among us. This greeting occurs elsewhere in the Mass and each time is accompanied by the response “And with your spirit”. Prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy.
The translation of the Confiteor that will appear in the new edition of the Missal will have a few changes to what we have been saying since 1975. The most obvious change will be the use of the words “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”. This was already retained in the Irish language translation of this prayer. The use of triplets is often employed in Latin and this was not always translated in the texts we currently use. A word not translated in the current Missal is now translated as “greatly” giving us the new phrase “that I have greatly sinned”. This has its biblical roots in the words of David in 1 Chronicles 21:8. “David said to God, ‘I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing…’”
The new translation of this text is a good example of a very close following of the Latin. In the opening lines we hear the words of the Angles’ song over the shepards’ field from Luke 2:14 which speaks of on earth peace to people of goodwill. Then five verbs as we stand before God in awe and thanksgiving, addressing God the Father: We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks.. . This new translation closely follows the Latin rather than the shortened version that appears in our current Missal. In the next section we address God the Son under five titles: Lord Jesus Christ, Only begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father. Very familiar, except perhaps for Only Begotton, which translated the Latin unigenitum. The phrase “sins of the world” is in the Gloria twice; it is also in the Agnes Dei (Lamb of God) three times and in the invitation to Holy Communion. In all six places the Latin has the plural as does the new English translation. Prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy.
Sunday 4th September 2011: Next Sunday marks a significant step in the journey towards full use of the new edition of the Roman Missal on the First Sunday of Advent. This missalette, next Sunday, will include the new translations of the coming texts: the people’s response to the greeting by the Priest, “I confess,” the Gloria, the Apostles’ Creed and the acclamations for the Eucharistic Prayer as well as the text for the invitation to Communion. Prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy.
Sunday 11th September 2011: Today the new translation in responses and prayers said by the congregation are included on the missalette/parish bulletin. But the order and structure of the Mass is not changed. Nor the readings changed. Over time, we will become familiar with the prayers which have very slightly changed, for example, in the Holy, Holy, we say “Lord God of hosts” and in the response to “Pray, brothers and sisters,” the addition of one word, “holy,” before “Church.” Other prayers have much more changes and where we said “And also with you” we now say “And with your spirit.” Prepared by the National Centre for Liturgy.
The Collect or Opening Prayer
The Introductory Rites concludes with the Collect or opening prayer. This prayer changes from week to week, even from day to day. All of these prayers contained in our current Missal have been retranslated. People will notice a difference in how this prayer sounds. The sentences are longer and more complex because they follow more closely the structure of the original Latin text. This prayer will demand our attention. Over time the pattern of this prayer will come more familiar to us and will more easily sit on our ear.
Changes to the text within the Liturgy of the Word
The Word of the Lord / The Gospel of the Lord
At the end of the First and Second Reading the reader acclaims: “The Word of the Lord” – a direct translation of the Latin Verbum Domini. Likewise in the Gospel we see the omission of the words “This is..” making what is proclaimed a very simple acknowledgement of what we have just encountered in the readings and the Gospel – God’s living word to us.
The Creed we usually say at Mass is called the Nicene Creed, though the shorter Apostle’s Creed is also included in the Missal. This Nicene Creed was drawn up by a council held in Nicea in the fourth century. In the new edition of the Missal people will notice many changes to this prayer. The new translation aims to reflect the original Latin text more faithfully. As the prayer that professes our faith and that is professed by Catholics each Sunday across the world, it is important that we say the same words. Here we note some of the changes. I believe is a literal translation of the Latin credo. In the English translation, unlike the Latin, this phrase is repeated three times in the course of the prayer to help the flow of the text. While the Creed professes the faith of the entire Church the use of “I” in this prayer invites us to join our personal faith with that of other believers. Consubstantial with the Father is an example of a re-introduction of theological term that may be unfamiliar to many people. What does it mean? At Nicea when they talked about the relationship between the Father and the Son they used the Greek Term homoousios to describe the unique nature of Jesus. The term expresses our belief that the Son is of the same essential Being and substance as the Father. The Latin term is consubstantialis – hence the use of consubstantial in the new translation. By the Holy Spirit was incarnate again reintroduced a time-honoured word that may be unfamiliar to many today. The birth of Jesus has a significance beyond that of any other human birth. The Word became flesh in the womb of Mary, the Son of God was incarnate, assumed human nature.
Changes to texts within the Liturgy of the Eucharist
May the Lord accept…and the good of all his holy Church
This response remains unchanged except for the addition of the word holy in the end phrase. This word appears in the Latin text and so is being added to the English text.
The change to the response to “The Lord be with you” as “And with your spirit” has already been noted. The only other change in this dialogue is the final response which is what is found in the Latin “It is right and just”. These words are taken up by the Priest as he continues the Eucharistic Prayer with the Preface itself: It is truly right and just.
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord (Sanctus)
The only change to this text is the phrase “Lord God of hosts” instead of “God of power and might”. “Hosts” or “armies” are the usual translations of the Hebrew word Saboath. Here it means the “heavenly hosts of angels” – a phrase that we are familiar with from the second verse of our Christmas hymn “Silent Night”.
Institution Narrative and Consecration
You will notice some word changes to this central part of the Eucharistic prayer. The word chalice replaces the word “cup” (as in the current Irish language text) and eternal replaces everlasting. The new translation also replaces the phrase for all with the phrase for many, translating the Latin pro multis. This is not intended to imply that God’s love is limited or that Christ did not die on the cross for all men and women. Rather, in translating the Latin and the Greek of the Gospels, it also acknowledges that human beings may choose to accept in faith the gift of salvation that is being offered.
The introduction to the memorial acclamation is now simply the words “The mistery of Faith” – a straightforward translation of the Latin text. The 1975 Missal gave us five acclamations, including My Lord and My God which was included “for Ireland only”. In the new edition of the Missal for Ireland we find four acclamations Christ has died…and Dying you destroy our death…were both based upon. These familiar acclamations do not appear as they are not direct translations of the Latin. Also Christ has died…contains statements about Christ rather than. more suitably, being addressed to Christ. There is almost no change in the second acclamation (When we eat this Bread…) and in the third acclamation (now beginning, Save us, Saviour of the world) there is a change to the current word order. The acclamation My Lord and my God is included for Ireland. New Mass settings have been composed to take account of the changes to the texts.
The Eucharistic Prayer concludes with the Doxology and the people’s response Amen. The doxology will sound slightly different as it will follow more closely the original word order of the Latin. The people’s assent, Amen, remains the Great Amen!
Behold the Lamb of God
…Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof But only say the word and I shall be healed.
The invitation to Communion begins with the priest taking the host and holding it raised above the paten or above the chalice. The new translation captures more the biblical wording of John 1:29 and Revelations 19:9: Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blesses are those called to the supper of the Lamb. The use of Blessed rather than Happy is a stronger reflection of its biblical root and highlights that there is a significant difference between being “blessed” and being “happy”. The priest and people respond together: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. Again this translates fully the Latin text in the Missal, which is taken from the response of the Centurion to Jesus at Capernaum (Matthew 8:9), substituting “My Soul” for “my servant”. The response “under my roof” may be confusing when we first hear it but it makes more sense when we are aware of its biblical roots.
Changes to the texts within the Concluding Rite
Prayer over the People / Solemn Blessing
People may hear a change of style in these prayers. All of these formal blessings have been translated to follow more closely the original Latin text.
While the response of the people will not change, the priest (or deacon) will have several new options for the words of dismissal. These options were particularly requested by Pope Benedict XVI for inclusion in the Missal and very much capture the sense of the faithful being sent to live what they have celebrated, for example, Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.