22Dec The New Missal – Another Episcopal Apology

Bishop Thomas McMahon, retired bishop of Brentwood, has now belatedly admitted that the lack of attention paid by bishops (“we failed to do justice to something as important as translations for the Missal. “) when the ‘new’ missal was being prepared has led to the “the rather convoluted prayers that we now have”.

He also alludes to the pressure they were put under from officials in Rome, “I was also very aware that whatever text we came up with, Rome was intent on complete oversight ..”

The admission that he paid a lack of attention is worrying because he was for many years part of the National Liturgical Commission for England and Wales. Perhaps bishops need to seek advice as to how they should spend their time and what should demand their attention. Maybe they need to question if much of what currently occupies them needs to be delegated.

Certainly, one wonders what happens to bishops when they retire that they suddenly see things so differently.

Bishop McMahon wrote to The Tablet in the aftermath of the letter by another retired bishop, Crispian Hollis.

Below is the letter from Bishop McMahon to “The Tablet”.

Your headline “We bishops got it wrong about the Missal” (Letters, 9 December) prompts me to add my own mea culpa. In my case doubly so, since for many years I was part of the National Liturgical Commission.

As Bishop Crispian Hollis indicated in his letter, the volume of work at the Bishops’ Conference is considerable and sometimes we failed to do justice to something as important as translations for the Missal. However, I was also very aware that whatever text we came up with, Rome was intent on complete oversight and having a translation closer to the Latin; hence the rather convoluted prayers that we now have.

Like others, I feel sure that given the support expressed by Pope Francis, a way forward could be found.

THOMAS McMAHON
EMERITUS BISHOP OF BRENTWOOD

 

The difference between the various missals is rather stark; consider the opening prayer of today’s Mass, 22 December.

 

Opening Prayer   22 December

“New” Missal

O God, who, seeing the human race fallen into death,

willed to redeem it by the coming of your Only Begotten Son,

grant, we pray,

that those who confess his Incarnation with humble fervour

may merit his company as their Redeemer.

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

 

1998 Missal

All-provident God,

when we were sunk in sin and death

you turned toward us

and rescued us by the incarnation of your only Son.

Grant that we who acknowledge his coming with reverent love

may also be one with him,

our Lord and Redeemer,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever.

 

“Old” Missal

God our Father,

you sent your son

to free mankind from the power of death.

May we who celebrate the coming of Christ as man

share more fully in his divine life,

for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

 

6 Responses

  1. Chris McDonnell

    Would that current members of the English and Welsh hierarchy had the same courage and sincerity shown by Emeritus Bishops Crispian Hollis and Thomas McMahon in their Tablet letters.

    Instead of expressing gratitude for retrospective guidance over Translation, they should be grateful for his leading by example, acknowledging what we all knew.

    If only we had followed Mgr Michael Ryan’s plea in Seattle ‘what if we just said wait?’ But we didn’t and this is where we are. I wonder when we will next hear from the English hierarchy on the matter?

  2. Martin

    Quote from current translation:-
    “grant, we pray, that those who confess his Incarnation with humble fervour
    may merit his company as their Redeemer.”
    How narcissistic is that? May as well add “… and to hell with everybody else”.
    There are plenty more prayers of this nature. Its embarrassing. Time for change!

  3. Joe O'Leary

    Well spotted, Martin. The new translation attempts to condition the faithful to a grovelling, dribbling posture of self-conscious pseudo-piety. It would be hard to find anywhere a translation of a religious text so devoid of authentic religious sentiment. It is a shocking manifestation of a human, cultural, intellectual, and spiritual void in the heads of those who composed it.

  4. Mary Wood

    28th Read this!
    http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2017/12/27/excellent-article-on-translation-at-vatican-website/

    While I welcome the implications of this distinction, I feel exasperated that we have to strive to get a way ahead by nitpicking.

    A better Mass translation is an urgent matter of Health & Safety and Essential Maintenance.

  5. Mary Burke

    It’s telling when the website of the Vatican carries an article which contains the word ‘abusive’ in relation to Liturgiam authenticam.

    ““Liturgiam authenticam no. 80 was contrary to the Code [of Canon law] and thus gave rise to an abusive practice, whereby it was foreseen that ‘The practice of seeking the recognitio from the Apostolic See for all translations of liturgical books accords the necessary assurance of the authenticity of the translation…’

    There are still examples of the Stockholm Syndrome all over the net which, despite the fact that Liturgiam authenticam has been shown to be seriously compromised, not least by Magnum principium, still put forward the view that it’s too late to replace it.

  6. Paddy Ferry

    Joe@3, fantastic, I love it!! I must try and commit all of that to memory for future use. I probably won’t manage to remember it all. However, that is certainly one of the best and most succinct analyses of what went on that I have ever read.
    Happy New year to you, Joe, and to all our ACP site correspondents. Looking forward to more enlightening and enlightened discourse in 2018.


Scroll Up