Friday, January 07, 2011

Looking forward to the third Roman Missal

 I know that kind of puts me in a particular camp. A while ago a priest I was talking to practically broke down in grief over what he sees as a movement that seems to threaten all that he, in the heady days after Vatican II, had been expecting. But just to address liturgy alone (not that liturgy ever stands alone), I am really looking forward to the new translation. Not only of the Order of the Mass (the parts that stay the same), but above all the most neglected prayers: the opening prayer and the prayer after communion especially.
This afternoon, while peeling potatoes (potato leek soup) and otherwise puttering about the kitchen, I listened to a conference* by Benedictine Jeremy Driscoll. He's not the most dynamic speaker (if this talk is any proof), but as one of the translators of the Roman Missal, he really has a lot to offer in terms of understanding the principles at work in this massive project. I found that his points really answered some of the criticisms I have heard to date, such as unwieldy sentence structure, overly formal language, insistence on specific, little-used terms like "ineffable" and "only-begotten." Really, just one or two comparisons of the current translation with what is coming next Advent created a kind of wistfulness in me over the profundity we've been missing all these years in which the focus on conversational language eliminated key references (written into the prayers).
True, the elevated language is going to take some getting used to, but I am confident that the very fact of its being so different from everyday speech is going to make our ears perk up a little more, so that we will actually hear what is being said in our name, and can put our "Amen" to it with greater gusto.
Have you begun to prepare for the new Missal in your parish? What stands out in  your mind?

*Special thanks to Fr. Bill for his liturgy podcast, which featured this talk!


Ruth Ann said...

Yes, our parish is beginning to prepare in a low key way by putting something about it in the bulletin each Sunday. What stands out in my mind is that the examples of the new translation that I've heard thus far sound verbatim like what we had in our English translations of the Latin in our Missal back in the pre-Vatican II days. I was a child then and I didn't find it difficult to understand.

angelsteph said...

I'm looking forward to it as well! I was born in 1981, so the current translation is all I've ever known. I am music minister at my parish, so I am beginning the planning and thinking about how to proceed from here. Should be very interesting! :)