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Home : Faith/Spirituality : Living Faith
11/16/2011 12:21:00 PM
Introduction of new missal going smoothly
Catholic News Service photo
The new translations.
Catholic News Service photo
The new translations.
Catholic News Service


WASHINGTON  -- The third edition of the Roman Missal is being introduced in parishes throughout the English-speaking world.

From Canada to southern Africa to New Zealand, Catholics have seen parts of the new missal introduced at various times -- most since January, but some earlier -- so that by the first Sunday of Advent Nov. 27, the transition to a new set of prayers and liturgical music will be as seamless as possible for the faithful.

Liturgists charged with overseeing the missal’s introduction in seven of the 10 English-speaking countries and regions outside of the U.S. making the transition say their efforts have eased concerns that the translation is a step back from the Second Vatican Council’s vision for liturgy.

The introduction of the English translation of the missal -- under development since 2002 -- is occurring in countries represented by the 11 bishops’ conference members of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Member conferences include the United States, Canada, Ireland, England and Wales, Scotland, southern Africa (South Africa, Swaziland and Botswana), India, Pakistan, Philippines, New Zealand and Australia.

The most recent translation of the Roman Missal is the third since Vatican II’s call for the “full, conscious and active participation” of all Catholics in the liturgy. In introducing the third Latin translation in 2002, Pope John Paul said it more closely matched the vivid language used throughout church history.

The English translation took nearly seven years as representatives debated the proper words that reflected the sacred language found in the latest Latin edition of the missal. The Vatican approved the English translation in 2009.

Disagreements emerged among U.S. bishops as the final translation was reviewed before it was sent to Rome for approval. Some bishops deemed it as elitist or remote from everyday speech. Despite the concerns, the American bishops overwhelmingly approved the translation.

In Ireland, the Association of Catholic Priests, which represents about 10 percent of the country’s clergy, continued to object to the translation into 2011. The association charged that the translation was “too complex and too cumbersome” and included sexist language. It also questioned its “theological veracity” and described the translation process as flawed.

Such challenges have not delayed implementation, however.



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