18 July 2006

More on the Roman Missal

The Most Reverend George J. Lucas recently commented on the approval by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops of the English translation of the Ordo Missae [the Order of Mass].

After giving a brief history of the Roman Missal, His Excellency states,

Many of us remember both the excitement and confusion that we experienced when we began to use the missal published by Pope Paul VI and translated into English. Priests and people were often not as well prepared as they might have been to receive this new missal and to appreciate its origin and its meaning. Now that we have become used to it, many would simply like to leave well enough alone. But that is not up to us. Nor did the bishops of this country decide on their own that there ought to be changes in the Mass.
I wish that the Bishops in the United States - as a whole - would stop "passing the buck" onto the Holy See for the revised translation of the Missal; Rome is not the bad guy and the U.S. Bishops are not lazy, nor are they simply causing difficulty for everyone in the new translation. A new translation is necessary; period. Why must some be "blamed" for what needs to be done?

The fact remains that we currently use the first typical edition of this Missal and the translation recently approved is the third typical edition; the second edition was translated but the Holy See did not grant the necessary recognitio. Why will the USCCB simply not admit that the translation we currently use - helpful as it has been - has several problematic areas to it, not least of which is the semi-Pelagian sense gathered from many of the translations of the prayers? As I continue my class in Latin I see anew everyday as we translate prayers in class how lacking so many of the prayers are regards to the original.

It is time to admit that the current translation has served its purpose and the time has come for a revision, something that was to have happened shortly after the first translation went into effect. There was to be a period of use, followed by reflection and comment, and then a revision, something that seems never to have occurred.

To those who object to the need for a new translation, Bishop Lucas writes the following:

Perhaps some of the changes that this new translation will bring will necessarily seem trivial. In fact, the words that we hear and speak in the sacred liturgy are very important. They help us articulate who we are, God’s holy people, and they make it possible for us to participate in true worship of God. It will be at least two more years before an English translation of the missal is complete and approved for use. An important part of our “staying on the same page,” or remaining authentically Catholic, is our use of proper liturgical language.
He is quite right. It is high time Catholics in America realize that the Roman Catholic Church does not revolve around them and that, in the grand scheme of things, Catholics in America are a great minority in the Church throughout the world. We must always look to the Universal Church while at the same time looking to the Local Church.

No comments:

Post a Comment