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Reactions to the New Translation
Reactions to the New Translation
Readers will be well aware of the fact that people have responded in many different ways to the new texts for Mass currently being introduced in Australia. This email reflects many of the issues that concern people:
The changes to prayers and the liturgy of the Mass seem to be change for change’s sake, pedantic change, making small semantic differences at best, or incomprehensible at worst! These changes smack of paternalism to me, from a "top down" institution which has lost its touch with the people of the twenty-first century.
Why were the changes implemented without the opportunity for feedback anyway? If people are to take on change, they need to have a sense of ownership of the changes in the first place. If the church is to continue to be relevant in the 21st century there needs to be a greater sense of communion within the churchand much less of a sense of being dictated toby Rome.
I for one am trying to hang on to the old responses and prayers, which make infinite sense to me. Surely if there is a groundswell of support against the changes, then it behoves people to feed this back to the upper echelons of the church (presumably the people who were responsible for the changes in the first place).
Whether you support the new Missal or not, it is undeniable that the process was less than just and edifying. This has been made very clear by many responsible, competent and committed people, including some highly respected bishops, who were closely involved.
Despite this, and although I share some of the reservations expressed by my correspondent, I would not encourage people to respond by "hanging on to the old responses and prayers". The revised text is a given now and the new printed Missal is on its way. For good or ill, it is what the Church in her wisdom has given us and we need to do all we can to make these new texts the prayer of the people. It would be a tragedy if the Eucharist, which is a sacrament of unity, were to become a source of division because of people choosing to go their own way with regard the changes.
In 2009, Fr Michael Ryan wrote an article entitled “What if we said ‘Wait?’” proposing that the new Roman Missal be “road-tested” before being implemented in parishes across the English-speaking world. More than 22,000 people signed a petition supporting the idea.
Fr Ryan recently expressed publicly his intention to implement the new Missal without changing a word, no matter how questionable or offensive he may personally find it, because he is convinced that the new Missal should be allowed to stand on its own and be judged for what it is.
Hopefully, the new translation will achieve its lofty aims of strengthening the prayer life of worshippers and positioning them properly in their relationship to God, in elevating the tone of the liturgy and correcting decades of “inadequate language and deficient theology”.
My prayer is that these new texts will lift people’s hearts and minds to God and become their own heartfelt prayer. If not, it will be a crying shame, but hopefully lessons will have been learnt for the next time liturgical rites are revised.