The new texts of the Roman Missal: part one

By Father Joseph Scardella
Sun contributing writer

­   On the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27, 2011, we will be implementing the revised texts of the Roman Missal. The revision of the Mass texts was undertaken in 2002 and we are ready now to reap the harvest of the nine years of work by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The first change in the Mass is in the Opening Dialogue between the priest and congregation.

Current Translation:
Priest: The Lord be with you.
All:   And also with you.

New Translation:
Priest: The Lord be with you.
All:   And with your spirit.

This change is occurring for two reasons.  First, in many of our Scriptures, especially the greetings of Saint Paul to the different communities to which he was writing, uses the phrase, “…may the Lord be with your spirit”; therefore the words of this translation more closely mirror the scriptures.  Second, in the Latin text the response of the people would be Et cum spiritu tuo. Translating more accurately “And with your spirit” matches the response that already exists in most other major languages. We believe that the liturgy should speak a “universal” language, that when the Church celebrates the Mass, no matter in what part of the world, it is celebrating by using the same words.

An important part of the Introductory Rites of the Mass is the Penitential Act (formerly called the Penitential Rite). This act places us squarely before the merciful power of our God.  The Penitential Act that is most commonly used is Form C where the priest or deacon speaks an attribute of the person of Jesus and we respond with the “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.” This form of the Penitential Act will not change. What is changing are the two forms, Form A and Form B.  Let us look first at Form A.

Current Translation:
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and what I have failed to do.
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord, our God.


New Translation:
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and what I have failed to do.
through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary, ever-virgin, all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord, our God.

Many of our older Catholics will recognize the triple admission of our sin from the older form of the Mass, prior to the current translation.  This was added to the present prayer because it was recognized as an important part of our prayer-tradition.  Our Holy Father points out that this phrase had been part of the Church’s prayer for over four hundred years.  We are reclaiming this prayer-tradition in our new liturgy.

Most parishes do not use Form B of the Penitential Act.  It, too, has been revised.  Perhaps with a new translation, we might use it more frequently.

Current Translation:

Priest: Lord, we have sinned against you. Lord, have mercy.
ALL: Lord, have mercy.
Priest: Lord, show us your mercy and
love.
ALL: And grant us your salvation.

New Translation:

Priest: Have mercy on us, O Lord.
ALL: For we have sinned against you.
Priest: Show us, O Lord, your mercy
ALL: And grant us your salvation.

The last change in the Introductory Rites comes with the singing or recitation of the Gloria.  Where we have used a more familiar translation of the Latin text, we are now employing a more formal translation.  The change to “on earth peace to people of good will” is so that our liturgy will, again, be more scripturally based.  This is what the angels proclaimed at the birth of Christ according to Luke’s gospel.  In an attempt to bring a greater uniformity to the prayers throughout the liturgy, we will refer to Jesus as “Only Begotten Son” and that he “take(s) away the sins of the world.” We use both of these phrases in other parts of the liturgy and it helps us to be consistent in our prayer.

 

Current Translation:
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly king,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us.

You are seated at the right hand of the Father receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

New Translation:
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you,
we bless you,
we adore you,
we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory. Lord God, heavenly king,
O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us.
you take away the sins of the world receive our prayer.
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

 

Father Scardella is the Diocesan Director of the Office of Liturgy and pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Baldwinsville.

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