29Jun Prevenient grace: a reflection on the new missal

I have done my best. I have given the revised Roman Missal a fair wind. I have used it faithfully since its introduction, tried hard to become comfortable with it, struggled earnestly to like it, even hoped that I might eventually come to love it. But to little avail. Words matter. Some of the ponderous, heavily Latinised translations which we received in Advent 2011, are truly dreadful in their syntax and choice of vocabulary. No amount of positive goodwill can change this unavoidable conclusion. In spite of this, I continue to celebrate Eucharist with genuine joy. Increasingly however, I find myself devising a range of liturgical survival strategies in order to circumvent those revised texts which are too wordily unwieldy, difficult, and in some instances impossible to use.

My problem with the revised text rears its morale-sapping head, almost as soon as Mass begins, with the linguistically stilted and clumsily confusing congregational response: and with your Spirit. What does this mean? What exactly is it intended to convey? Will we ever get used to this piece of unnecessary theological nuancing? On those increasingly rare occasions when I am concelebrating or participating from the pews, I still find myself reverting to the more naturally pleasing: and also with you. Whatever the liturgical translators found to be unsatisfactory with this neat response for the last forty years, I entirely fail to see. Words matter. What has been gained, if anything, by this particular example of liturgical and theological thinking, is simply beyond my ability to recognise or comprehend.

The new Confiteor is pastorally problematical. Expecting predominantly aged and ageing congregations of faithful Catholics to seek forgiveness because they have greatly sinned, is massively unreflective of the sinning potential, great or otherwise, of most of those good and decent people who attend Mass regularly. During the revised Penitential Rite, I am constantly scanning the body of the church to see where these great sinners might be lurking. For the most part, I have spectacularly failed to find them. During Masses with children in attendance and recently at Masses with more than one hundred variously sick pilgrims on our annual diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes, the revised words of the Confiteor are revealed in all their pastoral and linguistic unsuitability. Words matter. For this reason, I now choose to avoid using the revised words of the Confiteor whenever I can.

The Opening Prayer, or Collect as we are now obliged by the revised Missal to call it, along with its sister Offertory and Post-Communion prayers, must surely qualify as gold-medal winners for their sheer linguistic density and lengthy unreadability. Probably one of the best or worst examples of this occurs in the Offertory Prayer for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Some of the language employed in this specific instance is obscure in the extreme, beyond the everyday experience of parish congregations. I suspect it is also a good distance removed from the theological memory or vocabulary of many parish clergy. Words count. I’m afraid these words will never trip lightly from our increasingly tangled tongues. Stumbling inarticulately through them, the first time I encountered them myself, I was not so much inspired, as driven to poetry:

Eighth of December, Immaculate Conception:
prevenient grace tripped me up like Latin declension.
Close to stumbling, words tumbling
like those from a Longman’s Grammar long ago.
Prevenient grace: theological ace, winning the race,
taking the prize for God-speak.
Theologically obscure, transcendent as God herself,
parsing the prayer like a piece of Latin prose.
Diverting through multiple subordinate clauses,
until prayer’s end, the final Amen,
blessed relief, a chance to draw breath.
A kind of death.*

Many of the revised prayers of the Mass have also lost their fluency, resonance and prayerful rhythms, recently and unwisely jettisoned in their liturgical revisions. The same language and phrasing difficulties arise in relation to many of the Prefaces and even to the newly drafted Eucharistic Prayers themselves, particularly One and Four. There is little probability of restorative revision during the remainder of my lifetime. In the meantime, my own rather drastic and unsatisfactory solution is to shorten the prayers in part or in whole, or to entirely redraft them in my own words. Do I know better than those experts who spent many years working on the revised texts? I claim no particular liturgical or theological competence in this regard. However, after more than thirty years of celebrating parish liturgies, I think I have some instinct for what works linguistically or doesn’t. Words matter. Many of these revised prayers simply do not work and never will. They are too long, clumsy, cumbersome, too replete with subordinate clauses, too difficult linguistically and too technical theologically, to have any meaningful resonance within parish celebrations of Eucharist.

One other unsettling feature of the revised prayers of the Mass is their recurring reliance on merit theology and the entirely unattractive language of profit and loss. What image of God is being conveyed through such language? One image that springs to mind is the book-keeper God of former times, keeping a divine tally of our virtues and vices. Is this the kind of image we want to foster in our relationship with the God of Jesus? Is this really the kind of relationship we gather to celebrate at the Eucharist? It seems to me that this recurring reliance on the notion of merit, has as much place in our relationship with the Lord, as within our closest and most intimate human relationships, which I would suggest is hardly any place at all.

We may very well have to merit the respect of colleagues and casual acquaintances. This is entirely fitting. If we fall short of expected standards in our chosen profession or place of work, a system of sanctions may apply. No such system applies however, within our closest and most intimate human relationships. Here, mutual acceptance and respect are constants, not bargaining chips in these most intimate relational communions with parents, children, spouses, or closest friends. Similarly, in our relationship with the Lord. This constantly recurring theme of merit, which appears to define much of our relationship with the Lord within the revised texts, and the consequent, not to mention rather impoverished quality of relationship which it implies, is most unwelcome. I suspect too, that this recurring emphasis on merit theology within the revised texts may still prove problematical to ecumenical relations and dialogue.

The Eucharistic Prayers have also been weakened in the new Missal. Previously, we could happily choose any one of the four beautiful Eucharistic Prayers provided. Currently, I find myself opting almost exclusively for revised Eucharistic Prayer 2. Words matter. This prayer is more linguistically accessible and consequently more pastorally acceptable than the turgid revised alternatives. Even in revised Eucharistic Prayer 2 however, we are pulled up short by a combination of words slipped in towards the prayer’s conclusion: we may merit to be coheirs to eternal life. This phrase is difficult to pray for the relational reasons explained above. Its insertion at this precise liturgical moment is also frankly baffling. Words matter. Just as we are approaching the sacred intimacy of Holy Communion, this highly technical formula seems to strike precisely all the wrong relational notes.

The substitution of: my sacrifice and yours, for ours, chalice for cup, are minor but not insignificant irritations, amounting in my view to liturgical correctness of the most trivial kind. The substitution at the consecration however, of many for all, is an altogether more worrying shift that continues to be much discussed and debated, running as it does entirely contrary to the inclusive spirit of the Gospel. Who are these unfortunate souls, between the all and the many, who now appear to fall into this newly created version of liturgical limbo? The substitution of many for all, also runs contrary to St Paul’s desire for the universal redemption of humanity. Did he not pray that that we might be all in all?

When the Lord gifted his beloved disciples with the Our Father, he simply and succinctly counselled them: pray like this. Now however, at the beginning of the revised Communion Rite, we find an entirely different kind of formula: At the Saviour’s command, and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say. Words matter.This revised, formally stilted, frankly rather pompous invitation, is anything but conducive to prayer.

Words matter. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s definition of poetry comes to mind: the best words in the best order. Sadly, his definition cannot be applied to the revised Missal or to many of the language and phrasing choices which now robe the revised liturgical texts. The emperor has no clothes. Rather, what linguistic clothes he has, are poorly made and poorly chosen. The liturgy deserves better. So do we.

Michael Maginn is a priest of the Diocese of Dromore, 12 Tullygally Road, Craigavon, County Armagh.

* Sands of Time, Still More Prayers from Life,
Carmelite Publications Glenvale, 2012

40 Responses

  1. Wanderer

    Listen to Card Arinze explain the changes on youtube.

    “And with your spirit,” is to differentiate the ordained from the laity. The priest as specially chosen and blessed to officiate and offer.

    Just sounded to me like putting the priest on a pedestal and they have the gaul to suggest it was ‘me me me’ for the last forty or so years.

    I couldn’t even listen to the whole thing.

  2. Wanderer

    Something I find rather puzzling and I have friends like this.

    They speak about the ‘mystery’ – adding mystery to the entire event, encounter – Offering. Through words, music – whatever. I have no problem with that at all. But the fact is – it’s still about relating to Creator through the created. Seems to me it should at heart be about where your heart is. Cause wherever the ol’ heart is – the feet will wander, so they say.

    I like the traditional at times as much as anyone. But I can’t understand why you’d want it more mysterious than it already is. A degree of understanding – being able to apply in a real way to our daily real lives, would seem to be more profitable, not least spiritually. How I see it anyway.

    I came to understand the words of the Mass – the post VatII version the good Father speaks about above, in my own way in time; which ironically seems to have more in common with the old ‘traditional’ one than I’d have realised. Yet the VatII brings its own ‘mystery’ – not of ‘me me me’ – but Christ and the Christ who would come to live in I, a very real Communion.

    Why does it all have to be rocket science. I some times wonder if that’s not about a lack of faith itself.

    Anyway, will carry on wandering and maybe we’ll all meet somewhere on the road. 🙂

  3. Maire

    Thank you for Fr Michael for you thoughts on the new translation. I am so relieved that they mirror my own.
    The words “kind admittance ” ,amongst many others,send a cold shiver down my spine. I see these words more in keeping, with the duty doctor who tries to reassure a worried patien he is admitting to hospital, or even prison officer who tries to see the prisoner/ man/woman rather than the crime as he locks the cell door.
    What about “a warm welcome”, instead of “kind admittance” ,like that given to the prodigal son by his ever loving father,who runs to meet him,gathers him in his arms,throws a party of celebration to welcome him back. We have always been taught that the father’s actions and reactions represents those of our Father in Heaven.
    A transliteration, which of course is not a translation, seem to take priority over the teaching of just how much God loves each and every one and that includes ” the many”.

  4. Darlene Starrs

    Your entry Father Michael Maginn is a most refreshing injection of truth!

  5. John Wotherspoon

    Thank you Michael for saying what so many of us feel.
    I have linked your excellent article on my file “The New Translation” (http://v2catholic.com/johnw/2012/2012-11-19the-new-translation.htm) which has many similar articles.

    How much longer will the madness of using the new translation continue? It’s interesting to note that Cardinal Bergoglio refused to you the new Spanish translation (see this ghastly article: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2013/03/pope_francis_to_lead_the_catholic_church_cardinal_bergoglio_s_election_as.html)

  6. mjt

    The aspect of this debacle of translation/transliteration that annoys me most, is how it expresses contempt, in my view, for us all, both laity and priests. First, its theology in many places seems very suspect. The “I believe/we believe” change, is one example. And the use of “all” was discontinued, I suspect, mainly because it places us in the hands of God, our All-Loving, All-forgiving father, whose will for us was that all should be saved, whereas “many” puts us back in their control, who are, in John Paul 11`s expression, ontologically different/superior, the ordained priesthood, who are none other and to be nothing other than the remote servants of the Roman Curia.
    As well, the self-righteousness, the stubborn tone-deafness of the translation to the nuances and rhythms of our language smack of contempt for our culture of which the language is the living voice, and, therefore, ultimately, for us, as Fr Maginn notes in the emphasis in the translation on our unworthiness. How sad it is for all of us that he should think: “There is little probability of restorative revision during the remainder of my lifetime”.
    In how many cases was this translation the final, camel`s back-breaking straw? I mean, we would continue in a church in which sinners are numbered among not only the laity but the clergy too: even the saints were sinners, as we are all sinners. We would even have continued in a church whose bishops had secretly worked to cover up heinous cases of abuse, as they, though it might have been misguided and cowardly, could arguably have been motivated by loyalty to the church of Jesus Christ in doing what they thought was best to protect it.
    But a church in which we are condemned in worship to use words and phrases which are awkward, arcane, ossified, desiccated and, worst of all, imposed by non-native speakers? How difficult that is!
    Last, to provide variety to Fr. Maginn`s admittedly very effectively used “Words matter” expression, what of Yeats` “Words alone are certain good”? Or does that overstate the case?

  7. Chris McDonnell

    In an article published in the Dominican journal Spirituality in the March/April copy 2011 “When will they ever learn?” on the issue of the New Translation, I commented:

    “The great sadness in all of this furore is that the celebration of the Eucharist where we should, in faith, be gathered in a shared belief round the table of the Lord will become a matter of dissension.

    Will our priests who celebrate with us (some of whom have serious reservations about both textual content and the procedures that have brought us to this point) be forced to accept the new translation? And what confusion might arise if they, in conscience, can’t?

    There is a pervading view being expressed that once the new translation is in use, we will better appreciate its language. Quoted in the Tablet (January 22nd 2011) Bishop Arthur Roche says “In the new translation we find a text that is more faithful to the Latin Text and therefore a text which is richer in its theological content and allusions to the Scriptures but also a translation which I believe will move people’s hearts and minds in prayer” (6).
    May be I am missing something but I do not appreciate the logic of this statement.

    Our young people have difficulty enough with their Christian faith and it is to their credit that in spite of the adversity of a secular age, so many of them hang on and do their best to nurture their children in the church when they too become parents. This translation and the path that has been trodden to achieve it will do little to help.

    Reflecting on Michael Maginn’s comments tells me that misgivings expressed two years back have become reality. Haven’t we enough problems to face without this self inflicted trouble that could so easily have been avoided?

  8. John Collins

    Thank you Michael … I ask the question “where were the so called regulators when we were sold out by the Anglo Bank” … In relation to the new missal can we ask ” where were the so called liturgists to plead our cause for proper english and inclusive language” … I thought (silly me) the reason for the long delay in publishing the new translation was to include rather than exclude which is what we have now … Words do matter …

  9. Wanderer

    I have seen it said that the new translations are supposed to be more Scripturally accurate – and help us ponder the Word of God. Fair enough.

    “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

    In the story when the Centurion utters these words, it is his servant for whom the healing is sought. So in the above, ‘soul’ should actually be ‘servant’.

    Card Arinze waffles again about the change necessary so the focus be given to Jesus – Jesus as outside, a holy one, being invited to approach the sinner – the one seeking healing. It is about Jesus and what Jesus does.

    Again fair enough and right.

    But he seems to suggest a change from something that was again about the ‘me me me’ – to something supposedly better and more spiritually profound and nourishing. Something that deepens the life and experience of prayer. Not his words as such – but that’s the gist that I was getting. It causes so much confusion at times it completely disrupts prayer.

    It’s supposed to be Communion.

    “Lord I am not worthy to receive You but only say the word and I shall be healed.”

    There was nothing wrong with this at all I believe.

    Bad enough that those who are not perfect in their Catholicism cannot receive – now the ‘good’ Catholics are being made feel less worthy to receive too.

    Change for change sake, or a form of ritualised spiritual violence ?

    If someone who is not perfectly Catholic – not living according to the teachings of the Church, or cannot – say a divorcee. She/he cannot Commune. Made to feel less than, worthless to a degree, robs them of the little faith they might have – have left (which might be a LOT to Christ)and creates profound spiritual wounding.

    Communion as a form of spiritual violence. Is that what they are trying to achieve ?

  10. Clare Jethwa

    My reaction to almost every sentence in Fr. Maginn’s article was “Exactly”. To quote an old Jesuit friend of mine: “Latin is not holy. Latin music is not holy. Latin is just old.” And to quote another Jesuit friend: “The Idea that Latin is “purer” so a more literal translation is purer and “authentic” is nonsense. Forgot the fact that for centuries neither the liturgies nor the scriptures they were based upon were in Latin and after the major split with the East, for over a thousand years great portions of Christendom practised non-Latin liturgies and scriptures. And still do — even those who eventually came back into union with Rome.” And yes, Fr. Michael, “Words do matter”.

  11. roy donovan

    My nephew, 11 years of age, a few weeks after the introduction of the new missal, made this comment to me on the new ‘Confiteor’ – “Do they think we are all criminals now”? I asked him to explain. He repeated the words out loud “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”.

  12. John Creagh

    The new translation caused me a spontaneous moment of clarity: that the Church had left me, not the other way around – and that’s after being ordained for thirty years.

  13. john hunwicke

    I sympathise with Father’s distress. But I think he should give an answer to this question: Granted that the new translation more accurately translates the Latin originals of the Missal which was published in Latin at the request of the Council, surely a large percentage (not all) of the complaint really means that the complainant dislikes the teaching of the Missal of Vatican II. I hope he will forgive me for saying that this puts him into a position similar to that of the SSPX … but, of course, at the opposite end of the spectrum.

  14. Joe O'Leary

    Dislike of the Roman Missal is a negligable factor in the malaise induced by the new translation. I am much more shocked by the ungrammatical “acclaim” at the end of Prefaces than by the over-emphasis on guilt in “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa” or on merit in “merit to be coheirs”; in fact the latter do not bother me at all theologically, though as pastoral language they are heavy-handed. If people cannot see the linguistic lameness of the new texts, discussing theology is only a distraction. The bad theology in the new translations comes from the bad, and often inaccurate, English, not from the Latin originals. An example is the Trinitarian heresy in the collect for Trinity Sunday.

  15. John Creagh

    Nothing to do with teaching, theology, or the SSPX. The current translation just cannot be prayed or proclaimed in an intelligble way with all the grammatical errors and sentences that run on for seven lines. Instead of producing a great new work, accessible to the young and the old faithful, we are faced with word choices suitable to lawyers’ obfuscation.

  16. Wanderer

    Good to hear so many more priests speaking here. Regardless of topic. How you have to deliver ‘lessons’ to your congregation/s and the importance of a prior knowledge.

    And that priest might know what they are up against. That whole ‘spiritual warfare’ Paul also speaks bout – in a proper context.

    I have no wish or desire to be disrespectful of anyone or any’s work.

    I’ve heard that Benedict VXI has written some great stuff.

    Gonna read.

    God bless each and every one of you. I was reading some blog thing today by as US priest. Fr Z ( as is Zeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (Boinnnnnng) What he was saying was itself abominable in parts and I’d like to suggest that his putting a fraction of his time truly seeking to love God – in and through prayers, he might meet with more success.


  17. Fr. Kieren

    Agree 100%. Although I do like “coming under my roof”. Like Michael I tend to use EP2, and although the responses have now sunk in with the parish, the mixed responses we now have during Requiems and Nuptials are a little distracting. For school masses I have begun to use the alternative EP’s for special occasions.
    I too thought there was a sniff of heresy regarding the collet for Trinity Sunday.

  18. DOM

    Where does this leave ecumenism? At the Colloquium “Remembering Vatican 2 Some Anglical Perspectives, Kevin J.Moroney in his paper ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium as Companion and Catalyst for Anglican Reform’ made some interesting points. He said “It is ironic, given this paper’s dual foci on Irish Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism, that two of the world’s most recent eucharistic revisions are those of the Church of Ireland in 2004 and the Roman Missal of 2011”. He stated that every attempt was made in that revision (Prayer Book 2004) to remain consistent with the ecumenical consensus on the eucharist. Regarding the revised Roman Mass, the decision to use more liberal translations of the Latin rather than continue to use ecumenically approved texts strikes mant Anglican liturgical theologians as an expressiuon of retrenchment rather than eith ressourcement or rapprochement.
    The proceedings of the Colloquium are well worth reading and they were published i Search, Volume 36, Number 2, Summer 2013. The Proceedings include the ‘Introductory Reflections’ of Archbishop Michael Jackson and the concluding address ‘Looking Back – Looking Forward’ by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

  19. PJM

    Thanks Michael for your article. I too have struggled with the new translation since it’s introduction. It’s a great piece of gobbledigook which seperates clergy from laity.
    Let’s drop it and return to the old translation which is more easily understood by the poor; And Pope Francis loves the poor.

  20. Pew View

    Lots of parsing and analysing here, not to say textual nit-picking. I
    cannot understand how anyone would not favour “Lord, I am not worthy
    that you should enter under my roof…” to “Lord, I am not worthy to
    receive you” with the rich scriptural resonance of the former. Sure,
    the language of the new text which was developed by native English
    speakers contrary to a suggestion made here is not everyday langauge.
    God, as Theresa of Avila says, may be ” among the pots and pans” but
    we do not generally address God in the language of pots and pans so to
    speak. With reverence, awe, a sense of the sacred and the sublime
    coupled with a sense of our own sinfulness is how we approach our God.
    The greatest saints had the keenest sense of ‘mea culpa’ so I do not
    know why the fuss here about the new wording of the Confiteor. We
    can’t stand before God and ask for mercy without having first a sense
    of our own sinfulness.If we are all “good and decent people'”Jesus would have
    hardly needed to come among us at all. It really does go back to
    theology, this discussion on linguistics. I would guess that the
    contributors here would be easy too about the Mass Readings being read
    from scraps of paper (ie the missalette)? Not alone do they object to
    the word chalice replacing cup but they would likely enough be happy
    to use actual cups on the altar. I am not being facetious:
    words matter but so too does register and tone and gesture. By the way,
    Protestants who set particular store by the accessibility of their
    liturgies have always used the response. ‘ And with your Spirit’. As a
    mere’ pewster’ I would much prefer if my priests adhered to the
    approved text instead of substituting their own variants. That way we
    have replaced the dictat of Rome with the dictat of a plethora of
    parish linguistic and theological ayatollahs who vary from one
    another as the spirit of idiosyncrasy takes them.

  21. Jarrard

    The prayers of the 1998 nearly approved translation of the Roman missal are much more amenable for current worship, in particular the alternative prayers for Sundays. These are wonderful summaries of the readings in a “lectio style” and incidentally a great focus for the homily. Though troublesome to download, the prayers and prefaces are well worth using rather than trying to paraphrase the latinised English of the new translation

  22. Paddy Moran

    Thank you Michael for your article. It caused me to refer to the concelebration booklet I received at the Papal Mass in St Peters for the sixth Sunday of Easter .
    Eucharistic prayer number three was used.
    It reads;

    Predete,e bevetene tutti:
    questo e il calice del mio Sangre
    per la nueva ed eterna alleanza,
    versato per voi e per tutti
    in remissione dei peccati.

    Fate questo in memoria di me.

    Tutti is all.
    Molti is many.

    Words count

  23. mjt

    Pew View @20: I`d like to quote Fr Anthony Ruff OSB, former chairman of the music committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), from his letter to the U.S. Catholic Bishops on the Missal February 14, 2011:
    “…my involvement in that process, as well as my observation of the Holy See’s handling of scandal, has gradually opened my eyes to the deep problems in the structures of authority of our church.
    The …. missal is but a part of a larger pattern of top-down impositions by a central authority that does not consider itself accountable to the larger church. When I think of how secretive the translation process was, how little consultation was done with priests or laity, how the Holy See allowed a small group to hijack the translation at the final stage, how unsatisfactory the final text is, how this text was imposed on national conferences of bishops in violation of their legitimate episcopal authority, how much deception and mischief have marked this process—and then when I think of Our Lord’s teachings on service and love and unity…I weep.”

    In 1998 the new translation of the mass was approved by all of the English-speaking bishops` conferences. A two-thirds majority vote was required in each conference. The translation was sent to Rome for the needed recognitio.
    The approved translation remained in the Vatican without a recognitio and without any explanation, until it was finally rejected.
    About this rejection of more than 16 years of scholarly work, Bishop Taylor asked: “Who exactly made that decision? A native English-speaker employed at the CDW? Whom did he consult? We are not told.”
    In 1996 Cardinal Medina Estevez of Chile was appointed to be the new prefect to head the CDW by John Paul II. Estevez does not speak English.
    The fact that the body responsible for the present translation did have native speakers on it only goes to make the finished product all the more lamentable.

  24. Joe O'Leary

    Bishop Trautman has made a new, powerful statement about the new translation, calling on bishops to take seriously the malaise expressed by 80% of their priests. http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/bishop-address-priests-dissatisfaction-mass-prayers

    Trautman is proven a true prophet, while those who jeered at him are emerging as false prophets and false pastors (e.g. http://wdtprs.com/blog/2009/11/bp-donald-ineffable-trautmans-jihad-against-the-new-translation/)

  25. Chris McDonnell

    Just keep in mind the words from Pete Seeger……when will they ever learn?

  26. Diffal

    As the article says, words matter. The words of the new translation are exactly that, words of a translation which better reflects the content of the Mass of Paul VI and Vatican II than the previous translation did. If the author of this piece has a problem he has a problem with this Mass and its theology, not with this translation per se and thats a seperate issue. For instance as I’m sure you know the original text has “greatly sinned” and the three-fold ”through my fault”, and of course there are many more such examples of textual concordance and theological precision where the new translation better reflects the Mass of Paul VI. words matter.

    On a seperate note I would be interested to hear about this trinitarian heresy people find in the Collect for Trinity Sunday.

  27. Fr. Kieren

    I might be nitpicking but the creed states that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, the collect seems to suggest otherwise. But I also recall a preface from the former translation which I felt was heresy, and refused to use.

  28. Joe O'Leary

    Diffal should read some of the rotten new texts, and not defend them so generously and so vaguely. Perhaps start with these: http://www.liturgies.net/Liturgies/Catholic/roman_missal/prefaces.htm#lent3

  29. diffal

    Thank you Fr. Kieren,

    I see what you are saying, I had never considered it from that point of view. I always thought of it as focusing on the sending into the world rather than the procession of the persons of the Trinity per se.

    Thanks again.

  30. diffal

    @ Fr. Kieren


    As an afterthought I dug out my old weekly missal and it seems to say about the same as the new one: “Father, you sent your Word to bring us truth and your Spirit to make us holy.”

  31. Katherine Lapsley

    The saddest aspect of this sorry chapter in the history of the church in Ireland is the role played by the Irish bishops. Not one of them publicly objected to the process which reversed the roles of curia and bishops. It is the bishops who we call successors of apostles. The curia are administrative assistants. You would be forgiven for thinking that it was the Irish bishops who carried out the role of clerical officers to the magisterium of the curia. They just rolled over. It’s a reflection on the entire process of appointing bishops. Why should they murmur when the curia overrules them. Don’t they owe their appointment to that body. They are not accountable to the people of God in their diocese. The same people of God had no say in putting them in place.

  32. L Macari

    It is almost difficult to add anything to any of the comments as they are all excellent. The best thing which could be done with this latinate translation is to use it as an editio typica for those who do not understand latin and to produce proper English translations.

    The tutti/molti all/many argument is being made in Germany and Italy too. While scripturally correct it is considered by Pope Benedict in his book on Jesus to be acceptable for all to be used. Form some of the things gleaned from the internet it would appear that Benedict issued orders and these were not carried out. Perhaps if there is concerted action the new Pope can hear the cries from priests and people who care about the liturgy and would like language which does not grate (like chalice, greatly, consubstantial, triple mea culpa – a bit like <> in a court of law, many, under my roof) to be reintroduced into living liturgies and some concern for the loss of the ecumenically agreed common prayers to be corrected.


  33. Nuala O'Driscoll

    By allowing the Church to control something as fundamental to our existence as language is, we relinquish our very freedom of thought and our authenticity as human beings. The CDF, the Pope, bishops etc are not to blame, anyone who passively accepts being controlled through fear of being accused of heresy is allowing themselves to be swept up in a journey into the past. God is not male. God is beyond our comprehension. Yes ‘words matter’ the question is how much? I reached my ‘one step too far’ and I am not prepared to wait around for the CDF to come round to my way of thinking. There is life and much meaning beyond the dictatorship of the CDF.

  34. Fr. Tony Cureton

    At least a couple of weeks ago, I read your article and several of the comments. Sadly, I continue to be troubled. I am not sure if it is over the lack of respect shown to our Church; or if it is over the lack of surrender (did we all not take the vow of obedience); or if it is due to the lack of proper preparation in classes by your dioceses. Mine had several excellent sessions, which included the concept of sacred language, history of the former two translations, and yes we even had singing lessons and were able to obtain CDs from the NPM.) Yes, there were/are some challenges to making the transition, but by God’s grace we continue to progress.

    It is no wonder that the number of priests has been on the decline. If this is the mindset of the shepherds, no wonder young men even though offered the vocation by the Holy Spirit, are turning their backs on this path to love and serve God and the Children of God.

    Maybe my perception is influenced by the fact of being an ordained priest for only nine years, and was in the monastery five years before that.

    Maybe I am influenced by the fact that the Mass is the greatest prayer we have. We enter into the sacred space, being in the Upper Room, being there on Calvary. Maybe I am influenced by my mentor during my first year of priesthood, who reminded me, “Remember, it is not your Mass.”

    As we are well aware, even if there were no devil, our egos would give us more than enough problems. I pray that all priests (including myself) realize that we are but instruments, conduits of the graces earned for all humanity, there on Good Friday. May we realize that we are not the priest; instead we share in the one High Priesthood of our Jesus Christ. As our Lord struggled to surrender there in the Garden of Gethsemane, so do we each day of our lives. As our Lord realized that if He did not surrender there in the Garden, He never could have gone through the rest, may we realize our need to also surrender to the will of God, as expressed by Holy Mother Church. As our Jesus prayed to do His Father’s will, not His own, may we do likewise.

    In the love we share of Jesus and Mary, His/our Immaculate Mother,

  35. Joe O'Leary

    Fr Kieren, the heresy is not in the part you refer to (there is no contradiction of the filioque) but in the words “adore your unity” addressed to the Father and eliding the unity of the entire Trinity.

    “God our Father, who by sending into the world
    the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification
    made known to the human race your wondrous mystery,
    grant us, we pray, that in professing the true faith,
    we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory
    and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty.”

    See http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2013/05/20/collect-for-the-most-holy-trinity/

  36. Joe O'Leary

    It’s not the iffy theology and grammatical solecisms that are the most dispiriting aspect of the new texts. It’s their general limpness, as in: “at all times to acclaim [favourite word] you, O Lord, but in this time above all to laud you yet more gloriously [the adverb does not fit the verb], when Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. For, with the old order destroyed, a universe cast down is renewed, and integrity of life is restored to us in Christ. Therefore, overcome with paschal joy, every land, every people exults in your praise and even [mistranslation] the heavenly Powers, with the angelic hosts, sing together the unending hymn of your glory, as they acclaim [solecism]: Holy, Holy, Holy.”

  37. Mícheál

    @Fr Tony Cureton
    Gosh, Tony, if only all our clergy were like you : our churches would be overflowing, our seminaries bursting, our coffers full…..

  38. Joe O'Leary

    Fr Cureton, no one is showing disrespect for the Mass or the Church, Rather we are complaining about shoddy texts that fail to be worthy of the Mass or the Church.

    The Roman Canon is a case in point — a beautiful text in Latin, and well translated in 1973, it has now become unprayable: http://old.usccb.org/romanmissal/samples-priest-prayer1.shtml

  39. Fr. Tony Cureton

    My Brother, Fr. O’Leary (@38)

    Sacred/liturgical language is not the same as “ordinary”/popular language. The Church has made this quite clear. More simply put, prose is not poetry. The rules regarding each is different.

    Perhaps the below link can make it more clear than I am able.


    In our love of Jesus and Mary, His/our Immaculate Mother,

    Fr. Tony

  40. Michael Maginn

    Sincere thanks to all who have taken the time and trouble to respond to my recent article on the language of the new missal. The article expresses my honest opinion. The Prayer Over the Gifts this morning, July 21, is a further case in point. I rest my case. Blessings and best wishes.

    Michael Maginn