Martin defends controversial new Roman Missal

Tue, Aug 30, 2011, 01:00

THE INTRODUCTION of the controversial new Roman Missal in English-speaking countries has been defended by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, as “necessary for several reasons”.

Fears surrounding the missal would be dispelled through use, as already found through exercises in liturgy groups and parishes, he said.

A gradual introduction of the missal will begin at Masses in Ireland from Sunday, September 11th. It is planned that it will be in full use throughout Ireland and the English-speaking Catholic world by the first Sunday of Advent this year, November 27th.

The missal’s introduction has been opposed by the Association of Catholic Priests, which has described it as sexist, archaic, elitist and obscure.

“Many priests will struggle with [the new Mass texts] and many people will regard them as unnecessary and unusable. Consequently we believe it is unwise to proceed with them,” the association has said.

In a letter to the priests of the Dublin archdiocese earlier this month, Dr Martin said that since the current Roman Missal was introduced in 1975, “many additional texts have been made available for use. These include new eucharistic prayers for reconciliation I and II, and for Masses for various needs I to IV, Masses for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Masses for new feasts of saints, and other new material.”

He added that 10 years ago the congregation for divine worship at the Vatican “gave new directions for how the original Latin texts are to be translated”.

Those familiar with translations in other languages had come to realise “that often there were key phrases and rich biblical allusions missing from the English translation” in the current missal, he said.

Also, “some theological vocabulary had been lost in the 1975 edition” and the new missal “addresses some of these weaknesses”.

Those familiar with the text of the Mass in Irish “will notice how closely the new English missal matches the accuracy of the original Irish translation”, he said.

Acknowledging that there would be changes, Dr Martin said, however, that this would not be “in the structure of the Mass itself, but in the way the Mass sounds”.

“Prayers we know by heart will need to be relearned. Sentences will, on occasion, be longer and the style of language will seem more formal. But over time, as we pray the texts, they will become familiar to us and it is hoped that their richness and depth will bear fruit.”

Dr Martin had “prayed the new missal texts”, as had liturgy groups and others in parishes around the country on an experimental basis. He had “found that fears around the new edition were greatly dispelled through their use”.

A notice to be published in Catholic parish bulletins next Sunday, September 4th, will explain that the following Sunday will mark “a significant step in the journey towards full use of the new edition of the Roman Missal on the first Sunday of Advent”.

It will announce that on September 11th “we will have the new translations of the following texts: the people’s response to the greeting by the priest, ‘I confess’, the Gloria, the Apostles’ Creed and the acclamations for the eucharistic prayer, as well as the text for the invitation to Communion”.

From September 11th the new translation in responses and prayers said by the congregation will be included in missalettes,parish bulletins and congregational cards.

The notice will point out that “the order and structure of the Mass is not changed. Nor are the readings changed.”

It will continue that, “over time, we will become familiar with the prayers, which have very slightly changed”.

For example, in the Holy, Holy, “we say ‘Lord God of hosts’ and in the response to ‘Pray, brothers and sisters’, the addition of one word, ‘holy’, before ‘church’”. Other prayers will have more changes.

Word made fresh: Mass changes

CHANGES TO the wording of the Confiteor, the Gloria and the Creed are included in the new Roman Missal.

The phrase “begotten, not made, of one being with the Father”, from the Creed, has been changed to “begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father”.

The response to “the Lord be with you” has been changed from “and also with you” to “and with your spirit”, while the opening three sentences of the third eucharistic prayer have been replaced with a 72-word sentence.

Throughout the new missal, references are only made to “man”, “men” and “he”.