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Bishops’ liturgy official: English priests will adapt to new translation

By on Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The new translation of the Roman Missal as presented to Pope Benedict XVI (Photo: CNS)

The new translation of the Roman Missal as presented to Pope Benedict XVI (Photo: CNS)

Church authorities in England and Wales say they do not expect resistance to the new translation of the Roman Missal when it is introduced in September.

Martin Foster, the acting secretary of the bishops’ liturgy committee, said he did not anticipate that the new translation would provoke the same negative reactions in Britain as have been seen in Ireland and America. He said that all the dioceses had held training days for clergy.

He said: “There are people who like it and people who don’t and some who aren’t so sure. But I think you’ll find that clergy are a fairly pragmatic group of people in the end and they know it’s coming. It has been observed that clergy who are normally not seen at clergy days have been attending because they know that, whether they like it or not, the new Missal is coming and that it is an important development in the life of the Church.”

Asked what would happen if a priest simply refused to use the new Missal, Mr Foster said that this would be a matter of discipline for the priest’s bishop, but that he thought it would be difficult for a priest to do so without the complicity of the whole parish.

He said: “My hope is that come September the new Missal is not a surprise for parishes, so for a priest to refuse to use it, a parish would have to agree with him. But I hope it doesn’t happen.”

Mr Foster said it would be a big achievement if people in parishes already knew about the new Missal by September when the translation is introduced and the catechesis on both the translation and the Mass itself begins in parishes.

He added: “Although the main catechesis around the new Missal begins in September, we are encouraging parishes to engage with musicians and their parishioners about the new Missal starting after Easter.”

Bishop Seamus Cunningham of Hexham and Newcastle said he didn’t foresee any problems and that his diocesan liturgist was doing an “an excellent job – he’s been putting things on in different centres around the diocese and after Easter he’s going out into deaneries and working with lay people”.

Asked what would happen if a parish refused to take up the new translation, Bishop Cunningham said: “We’ll cross that bridge if we have to come to it.”

The bishops in Scotland also issued a statement, saying the introduction of the Missal represented an opportunity for renewed devotion. They said: “We ask Scotland’s Catholics to welcome it as something good, a gift from the Church through which we will continue to worship God and celebrate in English the Holy Mysteries of our faith.”

The bishops of England and Wales already started preparing priests across Britain for the new translation. In the Archdiocese of Westminster priests met at Ealing Abbey last week for an introductory session about introducing the new Missal to parishioners and were given a DVD and booklets outlining an eight-class introductory course to the new Missal. In Salford diocese, priests also met to be introduced to the Missal.

The new translation of the Order of the Mass will be introduced in parishes in Scotland, England and Wales in September accompanied by catechesis. The Proper of the Mass, the sections which change during the year, is expected to be published in England by Advent at the earliest and before Lent 2012 at the latest. In America the new translation will be introduced at the beginning of Advent.

A petition against the introduction of the new Missal called “What if we just said wait?” started last year and has over 21,000 signatures. It includes prominent British Catholics such as Fr Timothy Radcliffe, the former Master of the Dominican order, journalist Mark Dowd, Fr Philip Marsh, the head of the Spiritan congregation in Britain, and Sister Lynda Dearlove, founder of the women@thewell charity. Criticisms of the new translation quoted on the petition website were that it was “clumsy”, “archaic”, “a step backwards”.

In Ireland, an association representing over 400 priests, criticised the new translation last week, describing it as archaic, sexist and exclusivist, while a prominent liturgist in the United States has stepped down from a role promoting the new translation as part of a public protest.

  • SPQRatae

    He said: “There are people who like it and people who don’t and some who aren’t so sure. But I think you’ll find that clergy are a fairly pragmatic group of people in the end and they know it’s coming.

    That’s the sort of ringing endorsement that makes me love Bishops’ Conferences so much, and earns them the reputation that they so richly deserve.

  • Paulus

    As one who deplores the introduction of this new translation on many counts, I find the invocation of pragmatism here complacent and dispiriting. If the sense of this new missal as a monstrous retrograde step is to be dispelled, we need leadership from our bishops: they need to communicate a lived conviction that this new text really will enhance the spiritual lives of their flock. If they can’t do that, they are seriously at fault for having let Rome bully them into accepting it; and even now they should tell Rome that it is they who have the normal competence to judge how English should best be used in worship.

  • TomSammy

    Great news! Hope to see an end to this sort of thing ASAP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vJLZuaWn9s

  • LeFloch

    “a monstrous retrograde step”? Translating a few words more accurately? How will you react when the Traditional Mass is restored?

  • RJ

    I don’t take it negatively. I think it’s good that, despite personal likes or dislikes about this or that point of style, the priests will “get on with the job”.

  • Cjkeeffe

    “In Ireland, an association representing over 400 priests, criticised the new translation last week, describing it as archaic, sexist and exclusivist, while a prominent liturgist in the United States has stepped down from a role promoting the new translation as part of a public protest.” Given that the Irish Association of Priests represents less then 10% priests – who cares what they think. Likewise who cares what the renta mob of Fr Ratdcliffe et al say. As a lay man, I am sick and tired of the professional moaners complaining on my behalf about what the Holy See does. They are like children asking “what if we just said wait? I ask why don’t we just get on with it. What they seem to be afraid of is losing their power. How much imput did the ordinary catholic have when the Latin Mass was tore from their hands and (in many cases) pitiful English liturgies imposed on us. If these peopel complain so much about the way the church works, well leave it. and also pay the people back who funded you education in seminary and houses of formation. To paraphrase CS Lewis, yes you can have your conscience but your their to teach the faith, not the self styled teachings of Ff Bojangles!

  • CJT

    The old ICEL translation is not a translation but a paraphrase and rather a heterodox one at that. I shall be glad to see the back of it and to see reverence restored in churches from which it has largely disappeared. I sincerely hope that with the old ICEL translation (which reeks of the 1960s mindset that produced it) will go the banal and profane ‘music’ that has disfigured so many ‘celebrations’ since the 1970s. I am not surprised at the list of ‘the usual suspects’ who have headed the ‘anti’ petition. It shows that we must be on the right track at last.

  • CJT

    I doubt if St Gerard Majella felt very much honoured by this disgusting spectacle. What an insult to him and to Our Blessed Lord in the Tabernacle behind this clown.

  • CJT

    You are making the case against a vernacular liturgy very convincingly – as convincingly as the priests and lay people who taught me in the 1950s and 60s. The provision of an authentic Catholic Liturgy is the rightful province of the Holy See, especially in the Latin Rite, of which the UK is a part. Thank God that it woke up at last in 2001 to that responsibility. I note that it has taken the Bishops of the English speaking world and their ICEL friends 10 years to implement ‘Liturgiam Authenticam’. I remember well that it took them half this time to rip out the ‘Extaordinary Form’ and substitute for it the Paul VI Missal with the ‘translation’ we have had ever since. Why was that, do you think?

  • AgingPapist

    The bishops realize, unlike their German counterparts, that you can put some lipstick on this pig, the Roman missal, push it with all your might, and it can still be sold at market. Also, the vast majority of Anglophone Catholics will sleep through any change with none of them being the wiser. Once again, mediocrity and a failed product have been ordered into use by the same folks who gave us the first disaster in 1969.

  • Bwaj

    Perhaps the clergy and laity should remember Vatican 2 does not say the Liturgy, how it is written or even the language it is in is up to them. The final authority is not even the bishops but the Holy Father. If any don’t like it and try to rebel they should be excommunicated.

  • Happy Warrior for Rome

    “How will you react when the Traditional Mass is restored”?
    ————————————————————————————————–
    Sorry, but it won’t be restored. That’s wishful thinking. The whole Missal Mess is an indication English will replace Latin in time and the instigation of the Anglican Ordinariate will be the bridge over which Latin is shown the gate in the Anglophone Catholic Church.

    This pope knows to preserve beauty in the English speaking Church he’s prepared to pay lip service to Latin now and has done so throughout his career as a liturgical scholar, but he knows in his heart of hearts most Anglophone Catholics will, in time, opt for a beautiful English liturgy and other divine services over the restoration of a Latin only liturgical culture.

    Benedict’s thinking reflects a belief that the idea, as expressed in the final documents and votes of Vatican II, must now be dropped as the Church’s liturgical ideal. The widely held view that Latin should and would become the norm in the 1960s, practically speaking, is now unachievable.

    To push idea is to expand the liturgy wars and to continue the conflict over the “pride of place” for Latin indefinitely. He’s tired of that war and he intends to end it.

  • Georgel

    Translating a few words more accurately? How will you react when the Traditional Mass is restored?
    Two things.
    One; some of the translation is inaccurate, there are omissions from the original and, yes, there are additions.
    Two; Traditional Mass restored. Mass is Mass. I will find one in a language I understand. Latin is not such a language.

  • Georgel

    By their love you shall know them?
    “Likewise who cares what the renta mob of Fr Ratdcliffe et al say.”
    I see no love, no charity here.

  • Maggsoc

    Not a very Christian attitute Bwaj.
    The translation is an unmitigated disaster.

  • Maggsoc

    Cjkeeffe,
    Could you at least spell Fr Radcliffe’s name correctly? He is far from being a “rent-a-mob” priest but a highly respected one.
    Your comments strick me as rather simplistic. People do have the right to question what is happening, especially when it is being done in such a secretive manner.
    Being “afraid of losing their power” is not an issue here, it is the abuse of power by Vox Clara that needs to be looked at. If you want “pitiful English” read the new translation!

    By the way, do you have a spell check?

  • chris

    I am old enough to remember the fuss when the Jerusalem Bible was introduced one senior cleric saying ‘ It is such a shame the standard of English is so poor.’ It was the first and only bible I ever bought and I treasure and read it to this day. I assume what upset the critics was it did away with doth , spake , sayeth etc. And so it attracted the young like me then. Good luck to the new missle if it ever does the same for my children.

  • chris

    Sorry about the misspelling . I meant Missal.

  • http://twitter.com/ignatzz Ignatz

    I can’t BELIEVE the ruckus being raised by what are really pretty minor changes.

    I find some of the opposition to be pretty damned condescending, and based on the idea that people in the pews are just too stupid to understand three-syllable words.

  • http://twitter.com/ignatzz Ignatz

    Dear liberal Catholics: I am a liberal Catholics. But the Anglicans at this point are KICKING YOUR BUTTS liturgically. Probably because they DON’T think that liberalism and bland liturgy must go together.

    “We’re liberal – therefore we have to get rid of Palestrina and replace it with Kumbaya.” Just silly.

  • http://twitter.com/ignatzz Ignatz

    Excommunicate someone for not agreeing with someone else’s liturgical taste?

    BOY, that’s stupid.

  • Chris McDonnell

    What makes our Bishops so sure that there will not be problems here in England once the detail of the new translation is made evident in the Parishes? Where is the evidence for their argument?

    The lack of informed discussion so far, the attitude of “this is it, you will do it”, is damaging and will give rise to great difficulty in the coming months. How many parishes will be made aware of the machinations in Rome that curtailed the excellent work of the ICEL and gave rise to the text now of offer? Collegiality has been replaced by the instruction “Jump” and the expected response is “How high?”
    Chris McDonnell
    Retired headteacher
    Staffordshire

  • Brenda Shackleton

    I am deeply concerned about the words of Consecration. “……. Chalice of my Blood; the Blood of the new and eternal covenant; which will be poured out for you and for many….. MANY? Who are we leaving out?
    MANY does not translate – or mean- ALL in any language. Apparently we are to understand that ‘ many’ has been used in the Gospels and that it probably means ‘all’. Language is our most important tool and the Consecration is the most important part of the Mass and therefore , it must be completely clear and unambiguous and free from mis-interpretation. I fear that my voice will not be heard.

  • Aging Papist

    I’m a liberal, but I also love and respect tradition and much of the western Church’s rich heritage. The Novus Ordo liturgy has room for both the contemporary and the traditional. Sorry to say, the Roman Missal for 2011 is an unmitigated disaster.

    ICEL and Rome had 40 years to come up with a work of art, both beautiful and “orthodox”, which would set the world on fire. Just as Cranmer’s English liturgical compositions have done for almost 500 years, but the elves in purple and violet with their supposed “experts” bungled the job in Vox Clara.
    I wish the Anglophone bishops would step forward and simply say, this inferior product is unacceptable in our dioceses.

  • Aging Papist

    I’m a liberal, but I also love and respect tradition and much of the western Church’s rich heritage. The Novus Ordo liturgy has room for both the contemporary and the traditional. Sorry to say, the Roman Missal for 2011 is an unmitigated disaster.

    ICEL and Rome had 40 years to come up with a work of art, both beautiful and “orthodox”, which would set the world on fire. Just as Cranmer’s English liturgical compositions have done for almost 500 years, but the elves in purple and violet with their supposed “experts” bungled the job in Vox Clara.
    I wish the Anglophone bishops would step forward and simply say, this inferior product is unacceptable in our dioceses.

  • Andrew Hornsby-Smith

    I’m delighted that there is a petition against the New Missile imposed on us without consultation by those who, on the one hand, cannot dismiss the 1969 Consilium document that ‘the language chosen should be that in ‘common usage’.. and that ‘no special literary training should be required of the people’ but on the other hand, are quite keen not to consult openly about changes. Changes I particularly object to include:
    1) the response to ‘The Lord be with you’ …’And with your Spirit? If it’s good enough that the Lord be with me in my entirety, it’s going to be good enough that I wish you, priest, the same in the entirety of your being, corporal and spiritual.
    2) Credo returning to ‘I’. Ah, I was led to believe that when the church got the priest to face us that that was part of the whole theology of partnership, priest and people worshipping together. I love the cadency and historical line back of the Latin mass, but that’s not the theology I’m signed up to, nor was it one that the English & welsh bishops signed up to in The Easter People. Shame about retaining ‘…for us men, and for our salvation’, too. I’ll just continue to drop the ‘men’ bit, even if our beloved leadership are still content to watch the numbers of priests dwindle and for us to be saying mass in city stadiums.
    3) ‘I am not worthy to receive yu under my roof’? What’s that all about. we are talking about ‘me’ in my most receptive trying to prepare for the reality of receiving my Lord in communion. Do I want to get a Holy umbrella in the way of my prayers? No I do not.
    Clearly none of the spin doctor-like content of the preparation DVD is going to wash on me. I smell a Rat. And I don’t like being drip fed information to soften me up. So, no opposition? Don’t be naive – this will go all the way. And, thank heavens lack of deference in this day and age means that others will also stand up in mass in public and say ‘Where’s the petition?’ ‘Where’s the torch for these laminated mass cards. So, yeah. where’s the petition? let’s get started.
    Andrew hornsby-Smith