Thursday, 4 August 2011

From a parish newsletter: comment on the new English translation of the Mass

The following is taken from a parish newsletter for the 18th Sunday of the Year. It provides first a reflection on how the new English translation of the Roman Missal better expresses the gestures of Jesus as he instituted the Eucharist. It also makes a point that many of those criticising the new translation prefer to disregard, namely, that there has been an extensive and long period of consultation and discussion with many in the Church during the course of preparing the new translation. Are the series of twelve newsletter inserts referred to part of a national initiative here in England and Wales or are they an initiative specific to this particular parish?
We hear St Matthew's account of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes this Sunday. This is not only a demonstration of divine mercy but also a prefiguring of the Holy Eucharist. The liturgy of the Mass recalls the gestures of Our Lord when he raised His eyes to Heaven, gave thanks and said the blessing. One of the lovely aspects of the new translation of the Roman Missal (which we shall begin using partially at Sunday Mass in September and fully by Advent) is that the nobility of these actions is better expressed: On the day He was to suffer, He took bread in His holy and venerable hands, with eyes raised to Heaven....In a similar way, when supper was ended he took this chalice in His holy and venerable hands, and once more giving you thanks He said the blessing and gave the chalice to his disciples....

When the Missal was first produced in English in 1970, the translation of the Latin text was necessarily hurried and without much precision and sometimes lack of faithfulness to the original. I am very much looking forward to using these texts in full (I have already begun using some them at weekday Masses), as they are the fruit of many years of study and consultation between literally thousands of Bishops, Priests and Faithful throughout the English-speaking world. They are more scriptural, theological and properly liturgical in the way they express the truths of our Faith in worship. From September there will be a series of inserts in the Newsletter, for twelve weeks, each providing us with a thorough explanation and catechesis of these new translations of the Missal. It is the desire of all of us involved with the celebration of Catholic worship, that this new Missal will assist us ever more towards an authentic offering of, and participation in, the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

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