Roman missal to change at Advent

By Diana Swift
Posted Nov 16, 2011

[Anglican Journal] The Roman Catholic Mass may soon sound a little more…well, Anglican. With the first Sunday in Advent and the new liturgical year just around the corner, most English-speaking dioceses are poised to implement the third edition of the Roman Missal, the ritual text containing prayers, responses and instructions for celebrating the Mass. This version will be more faithful to the language of the original Latin.

The inspiration for the new — and mandatory — version goes back to Jubilee year, 2000, when Pope John Paul II ordered new translations that would more closely reflect the original. The late pope and others felt that the vernacular translations that appeared in the 1960s after the Second Vatican Council were too rapidly prepared.

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Vatican approved the new edition on June 23.

The English text is now closer to the solemn language of the Latin. For example, the words “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,” will change to “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.” Revised versions of the Apostle’s and Nicene creeds will also be used.

According to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, the new translation is based on the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam [authentic liturgy] issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 2001. In this, the principle of translation is “formal equivalence,” which strives for a direct, word-for-word translation from the Latin text. “It is hoped that this will preserve a heightened, sacred style in English by maintaining, as much as possible, the structure of the original Latin text, and ensure accuracy between the two languages so that nothing gets ‘lost in translation,'” the diocesan website stated.

The new missals started arriving in parishes in October and parish priests, lay leaders and liturgical musicians have been studying the changes to the order of Mass in preparation for the transition on Nov. 27.

— Diana Swift is staff writer of the Anglican Journal.