February 21, 2011
Fr. Charles Pottie-Pâté

Fr. Charles Pottie-Pâté


WINNIPEG — The new Roman Missal is a necessary change in the life of the Church, says Jesuit Father Charles Pottie-Pâté.

“In 2001 the Vatican’s office of sacraments said, ‘We need a new translation and it needs to be as faithful to the Latin as possible,’” Pottie-Pâté said.

Pottie-Pâté explained that, after Vatican II, the first project the bishops chose was to translate the liturgy from Latin.

“Up to that point most of the people at Mass didn’t know what was being said. The bishops agreed that the liturgy belonged to all the people, not just the priest, and that was a revolution in the church,” Pottie-Pâté said.

By 1970 the prayers and the books had been translated “and that was not a lot of time,” he said. In 1975 some corrections were made but some of the translations were not accurate.

“What we’re going to get is a whole new translation, especially in the prayers, but much will stay the same and I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult,” said Pottie-Pâté. “We need a new translation every 20 or 30 years because we speak differently, so it’s not going to be the last one.”


Pottie-Pâté said change is good “if we maintain the heart and meaning.”

The Jesuit made his comments in conversation with youth and young adults of the Winnipeg Archdiocese during a Theology on Tap evening Jan. 27 at a downtown pub.

The new translation, Pottie-Pâté said, is “very strong on the participation of the faithful. The Christian liturgy must be a full, active and conscious participation.”


The new version emphasizes the importance of song and “will invite the composers to write new music. Vatican II opened the gates for creativity in music, art, symbols and vestments,” he said.

Although the new missal translation will be implemented in the United States on the first Sunday of Advent, 2011, no date has been set for its implementation in Canada.

The 11 English-speaking episcopal conferences in the world are each involved in preparing their own text of the missal. The proposed text is sent to the Vatican and each conference must receive approval before proceeding with the publication of the missal and selecting a date for its implementation in its respective country.

The Canadian translation will not be identical to the U.S. version.