Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 26, 2006
New Mass translation coming in '08
Translation honours Latin
"People will see that it is a very beautiful translation."
Bishop Douglas Crosby
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
The Catholic Church in Canada has joined churches in several other English-speaking countries in granting initial approval to a new English translation of the Order of the Mass.
On June 15, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' liturgical commission was in Ottawa counting the results of a mail in ballot the same day U.S. bishops voted at their plenary to approve a new translation that is closer to the original Latin than the version that has been in use for more than 30 years.
The episcopal commission's secretary, Servite Father Camille Jacques, said a majority of Canadian bishops have approved the translation through their mail-in vote. "Nothing will be implemented before 2008 for sure," Jacques said in an interview.
Many Catholics may not notice the few changes. The new translation will make some changes to the familiar prayers and responses such as the Gloria, the Nicene Creed and Eucharistic prayers.
For example, the people's response "and also with you" is likely to be replaced with "and with your spirit," and the Nicene Creed will begin with "I believe" instead of "We believe."
Canada has now joined England and Wales, Australia, New Zealand and the United States in granting this initial assent to new translations for their countries.
"People will see that it is a very beautiful translation," Bishop Douglas Crosby said in a telephone interview from his Corner Brook, Nfld., office June 19.
Crosby has served for the past six years as the Canadian representative on the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), which is charged by the Catholic Church with the task of developing English translations of liturgical texts.
Crosby said the new translation is more accurate and has included the input of linguistic experts, poets and musicians to get the "best and most beautiful words" for the translation.
Every word of the translation has been prayed over, he said.
However, the approval is only a preliminary step that still needs recognitio or approval from Rome.
In addition, the entire Roman Missal still needs to be translated. No changes are expected in churches until that is done. ICEL is aiming for a complete translation by 2007, so nothing is likely to be implemented until 2008.
The CCCB does not plan to release any details of the new translation until the final approval from Rome because the process is still in its early stages and the version could still change and require more votes.
Crosby said he realizes that any changes might generate controversy. "I think if people pray the liturgy and become familiar with it, the controversy will abate."
The translation now in use was done "quickly after Vatican II" and served its purpose, Crosby said, and while the translators did "a wonderful job in the time that they had," he acknowledged that "in some ways it was flat."
That translation had been done according to a translation principle of "dynamic equivalence" that allowed for more flexibility in departing from the original texts to meet the demands of conversational English.
In 2001, the Vatican came out with new rules that demanded more formal equivalence with the Latin.
Spiritual depth lost
Some critics argued that the post-Vatican II translation lost some spiritual depth found in the Latin. Others arguing for the status quo, however, see the potential for disruption when people are asked to change prayers and responses they have used for a lifetime.
The Vatican also issued a revised official Latin text of the Order of the Mass, which is now the basis for the English translations.
"I think people will find there will be new and profound images that have been recovered in this translation," Crosby said.
Crosby believes the new liturgy will provide an opportunity for people who appreciate language and for teachers to reflect on these new images and use them in catechesis.
The American bishops also voted on specific adaptations that are not included in the Latin, but the Canadian bishops are still working on their adaptations in conjunction with the French-sector of the CCCB.
One Canadian adaptation is the acclamation "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again."
This does not appear in the Latin, but may end up being one of the adaptations the Canadian Church will retain, Jacques said.
Australia, for example, has asked to change the word "supper" to "banquet of the Lamb" because for Australians, supper is a snack, Crosby said.