Priests call for publication of new missal translation to be suspended


IRELAND’S CATHOLIC bishops are to publish a statement “shortly” on the new translation of the Roman missal, they said yesterday.

The translation is to be used in Ireland from Advent next December.

At Maynooth this week members of the bishops’ Commission for Worship, Pastoral Renewal and Faith Development met the Association of Catholic Priests.

Forthright criticisms of the new translation were expressed by priests. Their discussions coincided with the spring meeting of the Irish Episcopal Conference.

In attendance at the meeting with the association were five bishops, all members of the commission, including its chairman Bishop Seamus Freeman.

Killala priest Fr Brendan Hoban called for implementation of the translation to be suspended so priests and people could be properly consulted. What was on offer was very deficient, especially in the use of exclusive language, and had been imposed from Rome, he said, according to minutes on the association website.

It was priests who would face the hostility of many Catholics, especially women, towards the new translation, he said. He said it would be unfair to use it in nursing homes where people were very familiar with the old translations.

Kilmore priest Fr Gerard Alwill criticised the secrecy surrounding the translation process.

He said there was major dissatisfaction with the archaic terms, long, convoluted sentences and sexist language it used.

Kildare and Leighlin priest Fr PJ Madden spoke of a recent meeting in Carlow attended by 60 priests where many said the new texts were not wanted. He felt that at the meeting there was no real effort to take on board the deeply felt concerns of the priests.

Fr Pádraig McCarthy of the Dublin archdiocese suggested the bishops suspend publication of the new translation immediately. A leaflet highlighting its pros and cons should be circulated, after which priests and parish liturgical groups should make their views known to the local bishop and the National Centre for Liturgy at Maynooth, he said.

Dublin priest Fr Dermot Lane said the word “consubstantial”, for instance, as used in the new translation, was transliteration and not used in mainstream English.

He suggested a process of consultation with the people should take place on the new translation such as that used to prepare the new National Directory for Catechesis. He noted that as early as 2003 the Catholic Biblical Association of America was critical of the new translation of the missal.

Columban priest Fr Seán McDonagh said the word “man”, as used in it, was no longer a common noun in contemporary English, and the excuse for using sexist language in the new translation smacked of Humpty Dumpty in Alice through the Looking Glass, where he said “when I use a word . . . it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”