Friday, June 16, 2006

Yahoo! The New Mass translations are through!

For once I can truly go “Yahoo!” at reading a Yahoo! News report. Following the acceptance of the new mass translations by the bishops conferences of Australia and England and Wales, the US Catholic Bishops Conference has also passed the new translations, with a vote of 173-29. One would like to think that it is now “all over”, but one remembers the bit about “bar the shouting”. One expects that there will be some of this. Nevertheless, for many Catholics around the world who have prayed for this day, it is a day of rejoicing.

Mind you, Bishop Trautman, who previously expressed very negative feelings toward the new translation, has begun well by taking a positive slant toward the texts. According to this report, he acknowledges that "our priests are overburdened now and stretched thin" but added that " this is important for the worship life of the Church. These texts are presenting a new richness that we haven't seen in the past so that will have to be the driving force.”

Just how close the texts accepted by the USCBC are to the ones that have been proposed remains to be seen. Adaptations have obviously been worked in to get it through. For instance, the Yahoo report says that “a proposal to change the words of the Nicene Creed from "one in being" to "consubstantial," which is closer to the Latin, failed.”

So we wait to see where we go from here. I hope that it will not be too many years before we see the new missal in Australia. My greatest hope is that, in partnership with the introduction of the new texts, we are able to reintroduce the tradition of singing the mass. The new translation will have the effect of killing off the current settings of the mass in use. Given that freelance composers do not yet have the text of the new version (although it could fairly be guessed at and has been widely leaked in earlier editions) there is an opportunity here for the official liturgy committees of the bishops conferences to translate the traditional Gregorian chant of the mass and to publish and teach it together with the new translations.

[Reader: That is a high expectation.
Schütz: One is allowed to have hopes—even high ones.
Reader: Just remember Murphy’s Law: ‘Always expect the worst and you will never be disappointed.]

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