New Mass translation launches in U.S. parishes

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“It’s ridiculous. I’ve been a Catholic for 50 years, and why would they make such stupid changes? They’re word changes. They’re semantics,” she said.

“It’s confusion. All it’s doing is causing confusion,” she said. “You want to go to church and be confused?”

The roots of the new translation go back to that epochal council held at the Vatican in the 1960s, which allowed Mass in languages other than Latin. An English-language missal was produced by 1973, but that was intended to be temporary while improvements were made.

In 2001, the Vatican office that oversees worship issued a directive requiring translation of the English missal that would be closer to the Latin rather than to more familiar vernacular speech. Numerous revisions and bishops’ meetings eventually produced agreement on the translation being used Sunday.

Parishes and dioceses around the country have spent months trying to prepare Catholics for the change. Descriptions of the new translation have been printed in weekly bulletins, seminars have been held and, since Labor Day, many parishes have been gradually introducing the new translation piece by piece, starting with the parts of the liturgy that are sung.

Most of those activities are for the benefit of the average Catholic, but it’s priests who have more new material to master.

“I’ve had a new missal in my hands for about three weeks now, and I’ve been literally practicing the prayers,” Clay said. “I’ve been doing this now for 31 years, and a lot of these prayers I actually know by memory. I have to make sure my brain isn’t getting ahead of my mouth.”

Associated Press writers Rachel Zoll in New York City and Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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