Friday, November 21, 2008

Holy Mass: "Ineffable" gift

"A new translation

"We also approved, after intense discussion, and a number of amendments, many prayers to be included in the new missal. Our readers may wonder why the church is, once again, looking to change the prayers at Mass, which we have been praying now for many years. Let me say, that I am entirely supportive of this change. The new translations restore a certain sacredness to the words in these prayers.

"My old friend and former colleague, Archbishop Al Hughes, served on a commission in Rome, where he goes several times a year, called “Vox Clara” (“Clear Voice”). The archbishop, like myself, graduated from Boston College High School, but I dare say he is a much better Latinist than I am. Remember, the church has very little experience with Mass in modern languages. For 500 years, the text of the Mass of the Roman rite was Latin, which at one time was almost a universal language.

"The effort was to protect the sacredness of the text, and also to protect sound theology. An excellent job has been done, and we expect within a few years there will be a whole new translation of the Mass. I am not anxious about that change. I welcome it and support it.

"Surely, there will be a serious pastoral responsibility, especially on the part of priests and bishops to work hard to prepare our people for this change. But I have always found
that if we catechize and teach properly, if we explain the reasons for it and show that this is better and more beautiful, our people will rally behind it. It is a pastoral task, which we can face together.

"Also, the Mass is not something that we make up. We receive it as a gift, an enormous and ineffable gift from Christ through the church. This translation would be better English, more sacred, and will help us to pray. It is a change, which is foundational and helpful and will require the collaboration of all of us.

"Also, this is favored by the Holy See, and a keen obligation of the bishop is always to be in communion with the successor of Peter."

--His Excellency the Most Rev. John M. D’Arcy of the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend on deliberations at the November conference of the USCCB.

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