After a Year, What’s Changed?

The beginning of Advent means Catholics have now completed a full year of the new translation of the Mass.

Most of us have gotten accustomed to saying “And with your Spirit” rather than “And also with you” (although I still hear people occasionally saying “And also with your Spirit”). Few seem to have trouble with remembering they are not worthy “that you should enter under my roof” rather than “to receive you.” Many, however, are still fumbling with the word changes in the Gloria, and even more are still struggling with the revisions to the Nicene Creed.

I recognize that talking about this risks my incurring wrath from almost every corner, but I’m clearly not the only one to wonder what the changes have wrought after a year. I actually started to write this post yesterday, but got sidetracked. Shortly after I did, some sent me a link to a survey asking people about their feelings about the changes one year out.

For myself, the conclusions I’ve come to are these. First, I’m not as bothered by some of the word changes as I thought I would be. I was not a big fan about either the process or the results of the new translation, but certainly there is nothing in the words that has hindered my appreciation of the Mass or my connection with God during Mass. (The fact that almost everyone in the pews has to hold up a card to recite the creed and that many priests are still reading the Eucharistic prayers and fumbling over some of the long sentences is a bit distracting, but that is a termporal issues and, I assume, will get better over time.)

But second, I can’t say that the new translation has done anything to increase my reverence or my connection with God during Mass. The short conclusion is that I like some of the changes and I dislike others, but overall, wonder what has really been accomplished by the changes.

Any views on this one way or the other?


5 thoughts on “After a Year, What’s Changed?

  1. I miss the we believe’s as opposed to the I believe. I am part of a greater community, we should profess our beliefs as one. I miss the responses drilled into me from my youth. I still don’t like ‘many’ instead of ‘all’, regardless of the meaning behind it. Familiarity will come with time, but I miss it and need it right now.

  2. After coping with it, I come around to a similar place as you: I can get used to the wording. It hasn’t really made things “worse”, but neither has it done anything to make things “better.” The same things that bother Lisa, bother me. The awkwardness of the sentences still makes me shake my head — I’m learning a new language and one of the things that is emphasized is that you just can’t translate literally (you have to understand the culture and the way the other language says things) — and I still get the sense of a very literal translation that loses the intent at times.

    But, I will live with it and know that the words are just that: the words. They are not the heart of the mass.

  3. I can’t say that I’m still not struggling a little with the changes, although singing the Gloria with the choir helped me learn the new wording a little faster. What we were taught at the Pastoral Institute, where I am studying, is that the goal was to have English-speaking Catholics pray the same words the world over, to have a consistent translation no matter what country you attended Mass in. This was not an issue for most other languages, as Spanish, Italian, French-speaking Catholics have had consistent Mass responses for quite a while. For those of us who remember a pre-Vatican II church, the change to Mass in the vernacular was a big deal – and I think the recent changes were just tweaks to make it – hmmmmm – more “Kosher” shall we say??

  4. In general I feel like changes have been another triumph of form over substance. Responding to a greeting with “and with your Spirit” is a charming and poetic anachronism which I rather enjoy. Most of the liturgies I attend use the Apostles’ rather than Nicene Creed, so the “consubstantial” tongue twister is something I don’t experience on a regular basis.
    What I have found jarring is hearing that Jesus’ blood was poured out for “many” rather than “all.” Although it is my understanding that this change reflects a more accurate Biblical translation, it seems like bad theology. Jesus sacrifice was a gift for all, it is we who do not accept it. God does not withold the gift, it is we who are not open to receiving it. I am grateful to and for Celebrants who have returned to the old words.

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