May 24, 2006

Closer to the Latin

On June 15, 16 and 17, the U.S. bishops will meet in Los Angeles to discuss and vote on a new English translation of the people’s prayers and responses during the Mass.

The Latin name for the book of prayers (and some readings) used at Mass is Missale Romanum. In the United States that book has been called the “Sacramentary” since 1970. The Vatican wants to restore the name “Roman Missal,” since it is an English translation of the normative Missale Romanum.

In general, the new translation of the people’s responses and prayers will be slightly longer and fuller, since the Vatican requires greater faithfulness to the normative Latin text.

Whenever the priest says "The Lord be with you," the proposed new translation will have the people respond, "And with your spirit." This would be the literal rendering of the Latin original that is in its turn simply a literal translation of the same phrase that appears in the original language (Greek) of the New Testament. The current response in use is "And also with you." Early Church Fathers comment that “And with your spirit” is an acknowledgement of the apostolic ministry of the priest or bishop.

In the first form of the penitential rite, the people will confess that "I have sinned greatly ... through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault." In the current version, that part of the prayer is much shorter: "I have sinned through my own fault."

The current English version of the Gloria is missing parts of the structure of the Latin original. The new translation will correct this.

The Creed will follow the Latin by beginning "I believe" instead of "We believe."

In the Creed, the Latin refers to Christ as consubstantialem Patri. Discussion is underway as to whether to keep the present English usage, “one in being with the Father,” or to replace it with the more literal "consubstantial with the Father."

The Sanctus will start, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts." The current version says, "Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might."

The proposed new version of the people's prayer before Communion says, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." This is faithful to the Latin (and also to the Gospel text from which it is taken). The bishops, however, may seek to keep the shorter English variation that has been in use up to now, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you."

Completing the new translation of the entire Roman Missal will probably take at least two more years. The final translation would need the confirmation and authorization of the Vatican.

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Catholic News Service has an article about these changes and the upcoming meeting of the U.S. bishops.
Click HERE for it.


Blogger Kevin said...

A most welcome change. I hope it will happen worldwide.

9:10 PM  

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