This day next year the new translation of the Missal will come into use in Ireland and other English speaking countries. It will be interesting to see how it will fare. The translation has its virtues and, yes, we have to be honest and admit it, it has some awkward phrasing in parts - but then the translation we are using now has a number of problems, one of them being accuracy of translation. I will also be interested to see how the priests take to it. Certainly the celebration of the Mass will change - the formulation of the prayers will conspire against the rushed Mass and that will be no harm. The Mass will be more obviously transcendent, and I can see that causing problems for some who are more comfortable with emphasising the community meal aspect of the Eucharist, and that will be no harm either - time to be more balanced in our approach to the Mass.
I hope the new translation will bring and end to the coffee table Masses I and so many of my generation had to endure. Certainly the language of the new translation will not suit the atmosphere of the priest in ill-fitting, multi-coloured jumper and baggy corduroys waving a piece of sliced pan and glass of wine in the air and proclaiming liberation and self-affirmation. It's a wonder I have any faith left never mind a vocation! However being a realist, there will be some reactionaries that will hold out. These same reactionaries have been doing a lot of grumbling lately, and I have even read that the self-styled progressives are looking for their own indult to allow them stick to the "traditional" translation. Ironic given that they opposed the various indults given to allow the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form. I have even heard Summorum Pontificum mentioned by some, they're thinking they might be able to invoke it to hold on to the old translation, or to put it more correctly, to allow them to reject the new, official translation. Ironies of ironies: how things turn around.
But back to reality. Veritas, our bishops' publishing house is preparing to print the new Missals, I only hope they do a good job. I have that niggling feeling in that regard. What will the Missal look like? Will it be a throwback to the seventies with that awful graphic art we see so often in liturgical books, or will they try and produce a work of art. I know CTS in the
, and the American Bishops both aim to produce beautiful Missals, can the Irish rise to it? They can when they want. We will have to wait and see. UK
In the meantime, we begin the last year of this translation. Someone suggested that as we progress through the current Missal for the last time, we should tear out the pages as we go as a symbol of our moving on. (Must get the Liturgy office on to design a paraliturgy for that!) But I could not agree with it - the books deserve respect. But what shall we do with them? Will we leave them in the top cupboards of our sacristies, just in case Rome eventually grants an indult? Recycle - keep the greens happy? Bury them next time a grave is opened just as our modernist friends buried the relics of saints (sometimes whole bodies) in the graves of deceased parishioners after V II? Burning them does not seem appropriate or respectful.
Anyway, more pressing work - we have to prepare our parishioners. Pray for us priests who have to do this. In reality we are about to embark on a new, full scale catechesis on the Mass, and that will have its hairy moments.