The quality of mercy in translation

Helen Costigane

Now in its third year, the author reflects on how?the new translation of the Missal affects us and the public worship of the Church. Helen Costigane is a member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus and teaches Canon Law and Christian Ethics at Heythrop College, University of London.

Many years ago, I read some guidance on prayer which said something like: ?address God as a loving Father; do not talk to him as though you were introducing an Act of Parliament?. At the same time, I recall a priest-friend reminding his congregation that a church was a sacred space, for prayer, silence and contemplation ? not a supermarket where one might have a good gossip over the shopping trolley. These two memories came to mind as I reflected on the new translation of the Missal, the way in which we address God, not just privately, but as a community in a sacred space, contemplating the mystery of the God beyond all names, yet One who has become known to us through the incarnation of Jesus.

The new translation is now in its third year. While other people appear to have accepted it, others I know demonstrate a kind of passive acquiescence for something they feel no control over.

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