Faith, Reason, and the
New Mass Translation
by John C. Wilhelmsson (large print)
In late 2011 the Catholic Mass was changed from the clear modern English of the Novus Ordo Mass to an obtuse literal translation from the Latin. According to the Catholic theological principle "Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi" this change in the prayer of the Church also brought with it a change in the belief of the Church. This book details the translation change and the effect it is having on Catholic belief. It also delves into the history of the issue and what the agenda behind the change actually was. Featuring, "The Old 'We Believe' Crowd," "A Tale of Two Traditions," and the basic ordinary text of the 1973 Novus Ordo Mass, here is a reflection on the Mass that has shaped the faith of the English speaking Catholic world for the past 40 years along with a vigorous argument why its demise was unjust even according to the principles of Catholic thought itself.
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Catholic Mass Translation News
"We are seeing a wooden loyalty to the Latin text at the price of clarity and intelligibility. We are seeing a retreat from advances already made in ecumenism. We are seeing the proper role of local bishops and bishops conferences increasingly taken over by the authorities in Rome. We are seeing the liturgy reimagined as an event taking place in some sacral space outside of our world, rather than the beating heart of a world made new."
"Probably the central ritual in human culture, the Eucharist is rightly understood as a celebration of love’s mending of broken hearts. By enacting Jesus’s command at the Last Supper, it proclaims what human beings ought to be for the sake of exercising pressure on how we are. Given the importance of English, especially as a second language, it is highly regrettable that anglophone Catholics have been so poorly served by translators entrusted with such an important task. "
"Since December when the new translation came out, no one has said what would happen to you if you changed stuff," said the Rev. John Foley, director of the Center for Liturgy at St. Louis University. "But I find it hard to believe a priest in Illinois would be forced to resign because he wasn't using the exact words from the translation. It's not a strong-enough offense for that."
"Overall, half of clergy said they disapproved of the Vatican's leadership in bringing about the new missal, a process that began in 2000 under Pope John Paul II. The missal was the first major change to Mass rituals since the early 1970s, when revised texts were issued to implement Second Vatican Council reforms that allowed local languages to replace Latin."
"More than two-thirds of clergy said they didn’t think their concerns about the missal would be taken seriously by church leadership."
"'Faith, Reason, and the New Mass Translation' is a very interesting read. The author explains his point of view in a colloquial but still trained tone; his words made me think about the mass I am used to listening to: did Jesus ever speak to the people around him in words beyond their comprehension? How is this approach supposed to promote meaningful prayer? I found 'Faith, Reason, and the New Mass Translation' by John C. Wilhelmsson to be an honest and very easy book to read, and thought provoking at the same time. The author has written this book with great clarity, providing examples and addressing their meaning and I definitely recommend it to those who are curious about this important Eucharistic change."
-Reader View Reviews