The big news this week is, of course, the new translation of the Mass which begins today. There are few who like change, especially in the way we pray, and we have been using the now-past translation since 1975, most of a lifetime for most of us. Fr Dominic [the priest who kindly supplied my absence when I was on sabbatical] tells me that he has thoroughly gone through all the changes with you, so that it won’t be necessary to say anything further, but of course I am at your disposal as always, and if I can add anything, I will gladly do so.
Because of our natural resistance to change, I would ask one favour of you, and that is to hold back on criticism for a few weeks. As you know, I have been living in the seminary for the last year, and there we have been using the new translation since Ash Wednesday. All of us, down to the youngest student, found the transition back into the older translation when we went to parishes far more difficult than our adjustment to the new version. What I am trying to say is that I am confident that when we have all got over the hump of the newness and consequent strangeness of the new version, we will like it better. The prayers are much, much, richer; full of depth and meaning. And if words like ‘consubstantial’ bother you, well consider that if a four-year-old can manage a term like ‘Tyrranosaurus Rex’, a grown-up doesn’t need to only use words of one syllable either.
Decisions as to what things might have been translated differently, possibly better—even if we are correct—were never in our gift, so I respectfully suggest that we try not to lower the morale of our parish by grumbling about them. This wouldn’t help anyone, and, I repeat, I am very confident that within a few months almost everyone will feel happy with the new version. Let’s give it a proper try before passing judgement.
I think that for a few weeks we shouldn’t attempt to sing the Gloria or Sanctus or Memorial Acclamation, to give us time to acclimatize to the new words. Then we can learn the new music together.
God bless you all.
Sorry about the strange line-breaks: I'm not sure what happened there!