Catholics express unsettling words in response to translation of Mass

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“So many young people are already being attracted to churches who use modern language to convey a message and vibrant Christian music to inspire,” she said. “I am not saying we should follow that lead, but the beautiful liturgy we currently celebrate should not so easily be set aside.”

Ms. Hitchcock, who has been following the implementation of the new translation for a number of years, said some opposition was anticipated but that resistance seems much larger than it is because of the availability of social media.

Ms. Hitchcock said the most common argument against the Missal is that the “‘oppressive, patriarchal hierarchy’ at the Vatican has imposed the texts” upon local English-speaking churches without consultation. She said this is a result of a misunderstanding of the Second Vatican Council.

“The Holy See has authority over the Mass texts,” she said. “It’s in the documents for Vatican II.”

When Pope John Paul II announced the third “typical edition” of the Roman Missal in 2000, work began on ensuring an accurate English translation for the original Latin Mass texts. Standards for the translation were outlined in detail, and the guiding principle for translation was to translate “in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses.”

A committee of bishops and consultants from English-speaking countries was established to assist in the review and approval of the English translation of the Roman Missal. It has met several times a year to review the texts.

“There couldn’t have been a wider consultation than there was,” Ms. Hitchcock said.

Father Flannery said there is not much that can be done about the process at this point.

“It’s in, and we have to go with it for now,” he said. “The last place there should be conflict in the Catholic Church is around the Eucharist.”

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