Using the new translation of the Mass

James Sweeney CP

A Passionist priest reflects on the realities of using the new translation of the Mass. James Sweeney CP is the Associate Vice Principal of Heythrop College, London.

Using the new translation as a priest and listening to others using it calls to mind Pope Francis? comment on homilies, that priests suffer having to give them and the people suffer having to listen to them (Evangelii Gaudium, 135). The key actor and first user of the new text of the Mass is the priest. He has the challenge of engaging actively with the prayers. He can ? and must ? make the effort to interpret their meaning in how he articulates them, however clumsily the prayers may be framed. Congregations on the other hand are exposed to the double jeopardy of often poor interpretation of language-challenged texts.

The new text of the Mass, whatever its faithfulness to its Latin origins, is far from user friendly. In its concepts and images it is certainly richer than the previous one but only in parts. ?From the rising of the sun to its setting? in Eucharistic Prayer 3 improves on the more prosaic ?from East to West? of the earlier version.

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