At this time we appreciate your concern for the dignity and reverence with which the Mass is celebrated. This is a central part of the life of every priest and bishop and we are committed to constant effort in this regard. In particular the new translations of the Roman Missal offer us an opportune moment to deepen our appreciation of the Mass. Through catechesis we can renew our reception of the richness of the Church’s faith through the ages which, in faithfulness, is now handed on to us in these texts.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, address to the His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
General Audience for the Bishops of England and Wales Visit
‘ad limina apostolorum’ January 2010
Finally, I should like to speak to you about two specific matters that affect your episcopal ministry at this time. One is the imminent publication of the new translation of the Roman Missal. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the contribution you have made, with such painstaking care, to the collegial exercise of reviewing and approving the texts. This has provided an immense service to Catholics throughout the English-speaking world. I encourage you now to seize the opportunity that the new translation offers for in-depth catechesis on the Eucharist and renewed devotion in the manner of its celebration. “The more lively the eucharistic faith of the people of God, the deeper is its sharing in ecclesial life in steadfast commitment to the mission entrusted by Christ to his disciples” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 6).
Pope Benedict XVI address to the Bishops of England and Wales, and Scotland Oscott College, Birmingham, 19 September 2010
National Liturgy Office
What will change for you? (click here to see a comparison of the current Missal and the new Missal)
The New Translation - what New Translation?
Did you know that the translation of the Mass which we currently use is going to change? The texts we have now have been in use since 1970 and in September we will begin to use a new translation. Over the coming weeks/months there will be short articles in this newsletter which will help us to understand what these changes are and why they have come about. There will also be plenty of opportunities provided to learn more about it and become familiar with the changes. A number of day and evening sessions will be arranged for those who would like to find out more. We will publish some material ourselves and will also provide web links for those who have internet access. This will be a great opportunity for us all to learn more about the Mass and deepen our understanding of the liturgy and its meaning and relevance for us in our lives today.
The New Translation - whose idea was it anyway?
Until the early 1960s, Mass was celebrated in Latin throughout the world. Wherever you happened to be on Sunday the Mass would be celebrated in the language you were used to. At the Second Vatican Council, in the early 1960’s, it was agreed that Mass could be said in the language of the country in which it was being celebrated. There would be no fundamental change to the Mass itself, just the language being used. This would enable us to understand more fully what was being said and help us to participate more fully. An English translation was made available as quickly as possible, but it was intended to be temporary. A more considered translation would be issued later. Now, some 40 years has since passed! This translation has at last been agreed by Rome and we will begin using it in our parishes this September.
The New Translation – when and how will it be introduced?
Although we have already received the official approval from Rome, it will still be some time before the new translation is being used in our parishes. In England and Wales we will all begin using the new texts at the same time, to avoid any confusion. It is planned we will be able to celebrate Mass in the new translation from September onwards. This gives us plenty of time, over the next few months, to learn something about the changes, about how they will affect us and our liturgy and why they have been made. There will be a lot of resources available to help us to do this, both locally and nationally. As well as the information that will appear in this newsletter, there will be lots of internet resources. There will also be parish or group sessions which will help us to explore the new translation and our understanding of the Mass. Please pray that we will all make the most of this opportunity to learn more about the Mass and to deepen our relationship with Christ.
The New Translation – why do we need one?
As we have already seen, until the early 1960s, Mass was celebrated in Latin throughout the world. At the Second Vatican Council it was agreed that the Mass could be celebrated in our own language, and in 1970 Pope Paul VI agreed the official Latin text that would be used. This was then translated into different languages to be used throughout the world. It proved to be a huge task which was completed in a very short time. However, because it was done so quickly, some of the richness of the original Latin prayers was, quite literally, ‘lost in translation’. It was seen that a further translation was needed. The new translation would keep the original words, meaning and style of the Latin as far as possible. The new translation also means a new edition of the Missal which will include some additional text such as, prayers for the saints who have been added by the Church to the liturgical calendar.
The New Translation - the four presences of Christ
The Second Vatican Council reminded us of our ancient faith: Christ is always present in his church, especially in its liturgical celebrations. So, each time we come to Mass we experience the presence of Christ in four different ways:
1. Christ is present in the congregation – the people gathered together;
2. Christ is present in the person of the priest;
3. Christ is present in the Scriptures that we listen to during Mass;
4. Christ is present in the bread and wine when it becomes Christ’s Body and Blood.
The more we are able to understand and join in the Mass, the more we will come to love it. The new translation will help us to do that because the words we will now use will say more clearly what our faith is teaching us.
The New Translation - Biblical influences
As we use the new translation we will perhaps notice more biblical connections than we have been used to. The texts of the Mass are precious to us, partly because they were inspired by the bible. These words have come down to us over the centuries, and most of the words we speak at Mass are rooted in the bible. When we gather for Mass, we are praying with words that have been given to us by our ancestors, who knew the bible well and prayed it well. The revised translation tries to make the connections between the bible and the Mass more clear than it is now. It will also mean that we will have some new music for Mass, to take account of the changes. Over the coming weeks we will be looking at some of the revised words we will be saying and hearing.
The New Translation – ‘And with your spirit’
One of the first things we will notice with the new translation is that, when the priest says ‘The Lord be with you’, we now say ‘And with your spirit’. This is much closer to the original Latin. When the Mass was first translated into English we were one of only two languages that did not translate it as ‘your spirit’. It is a very biblical response: Paul concludes four of his letters with a very similar expression. For example, at the end of his Second Letter to Timothy, Paul ends by saying, ‘The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you’. If you think about it, for nearly 2000 years Christians have been greeting each other, ‘The Lord be with you’, ‘and with your spirit.’ So the new translation will bring unity to this response in all the languages of the world - and with all previous Christian generations.
The New Translation – ‘The Word of the Lord’
At the end of the readings and the Gospel at Mass, we are used to hearing ‘This is the Word of the Lord’; ‘This is the Gospel of the Lord’. In the new translation, the words ‘This is’ are now left out and we will hear ‘The Word of the Lord’ and ‘The Gospel of the Lord’. One of the reasons is that the Latin does not include ‘This is’. But there is more to it than that. If the priest or deacon lifts the book and says ‘This is’, it can suggest that he is talking about the book itself. In fact, he is talking about the Word of God - which is alive and active. The words at the end of the readings are announcing a great event. They are telling us that God has spoken; that Christ is present. We respond ‘Thanks be to God’, or ‘Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ’ which is our acknowledgement that what we have heard is, indeed, the Word of God.
The New Translation – The Gloria and the Creed
We will also notice some changes in the Gloria and the Creed. In fact, there is not a great deal of change in the new words that we will pray so we will have to be careful that we don’t slip into the old texts! The first lines of the Gloria itself echo the angels’ message to the shepherds, announcing the birth of Christ (Luke 2:14). Because of these changes, new music is being written so that we will be able to sing the new translation, too. When it comes to the Creed we will notice the first change immediately - ‘I believe’, not, ‘We believe’. We have become used to praying the Creed all together as a parish. The trouble is, when we say ‘we believe’ it could suggest that between us all we believe everything being said. It is not clear that we all believe everything that is being said. To say ‘I believe’ makes it quite clear that each one of us believes everything we are saying.
The New Translation – The Mystery of Faith
For Catholics, a ‘mystery’ is not a puzzle that cannot be solved. It is a truth that is so deep that we know we’ll never be able to get to the bottom of it; a truth we’ll never completely be able understand. One example of this is our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We believe that Christ is truly present but we can’t wholly explain it. The priest shows us the host and then the chalice. Then he genuflects and says ‘The mystery of faith’. We continue with one of three responses. These are all different from the ones we have been used to and they come directly from the New Testament. So when the priest says ‘The mystery of faith’ he is inviting us to welcome this Real Presence of Christ. We then make our response, which we address to God.
The New Translation – Lord I am not worthy
As the priest invites us to receive Holy Communion, he will say ‘Behold’, rather than ‘This is’, ‘the Lamb of God’. ‘Behold’ means ‘to look at’ and is our invitation to adore Christ who we are about to receive in Holy Communion. We are used to saying ‘Lord I am not worthy to receive you’ ... This will change to: ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed’. This is almost exactly what the Roman Centurion said when he came and begged Jesus to heal his servant. When Jesus says he will come to the Centurion’s house, the man knows that Jesus doesn’t need to do that, that just his word will be enough. The Centurion says: ‘Lord I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word and my servant will be healed’. Our new reply changes only one word of the Centurion’s speech - my servant becomes my soul will be healed.
Press release - Issued by the Catholic Communications Network - 30th March 2011
Missal : New Translation preparations moving forward
The Roman Missal in its new English translation will be published by the
Catholic Truth Society in Autumn 2011. This now means that the Catholic
Bishops’ Conference can confirm that the full text of the Missal will
be used at Mass from the First Sunday of Advent this year.
An important milestone - The date for commencing use of the Missal is now confirmed
because an important milestone was reached this week in preparations for
the publication of the new translation, after the fully checked and
approved texts were sent off to the printers for turning into proofs,
prior to commencing the printing and binding process from Easter.
Meanwhile the leather covers are being prepared and printed. The
printing of Missals is very labour-intensive in order to produce a book
that is both of high quality and designed for ease of use. Nevertheless,
copies will be ready to be delivered to parishes for the beginning of
November in plenty of time for the first full use of the new
September 2011 - Preparations for the full use of the new translation in Advent 2011
The full use of the published Missal from the beginning of Advent will
be preceded by the use of just the Order of Mass in the new translation
from September 2011. For these three months from September to November,
the Church in England and Wales will become familiar with those parts of
the translations which are prayed at every Mass, and this will be
accompanied by catechesis on the Mass and the new translation.
The Catholic Truth Society is publishing for use in this introductory
period an Order of Mass for use by celebrants, which is an elegant but
inexpensive extract from the complete text. Texts of the Order of Mass
for the people to use will also be available from a number of
publishers, from June 2011 onwards.
Martin Foster, Acting Secretary, Department for Christian Life and Worship, said:
"This is a significant stage in our preparations for the new translation
of the Roman Missal. I know that the bishops of the Department are very
grateful for the care and attention to detail which the Catholic Truth
Society has shown in producing a worthy and beautiful Missal for the
Church in England and Wales."
Fergal Martin, General Secretary of the CTS, said:
has worked very closely and constructively with the Bishops of England
and Wales, Scotland and Australia so as to arrive at this point, and we
are pleased that the process is moving steadily forward, on all three
Ritual Editions: the Altar Missal, Chapel edition and Study edition. We
hope that people will find them both beautiful and robust."
Liturgy Office information about the new translation of the Roman Missal:
Catholic Truth Society information about the new translation of the Roman Missal:
National Pastoral Letter on the New Translation of the Roman Missal
The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have issued a National Pastoral letter on the new translation of the Roman Missal to be read on the Sixth Sunday of Easter, 29 May 2011.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
At the beginning of Advent this year, when we gather for Mass, we shall be using the new translation of the Roman Missal. This will be the case not only in England and Wales but throughout the English-speaking world. The Mass will remain the same but parts of it will sound different.
Since the Second Vatican Council, the Church has produced three Latin editions of the Roman Missal. At present, we are still using a translation of the first edition which was published in 1973. Although the texts we have been using have served us well, since that time there has been much development in the liturgical texts themselves and in our understanding of them.
We all become very accustomed to the words we hear; and the fact that we have been praying in a certain way for so long has imprinted that style of language and words upon our consciousness and made them very special. The changes in the language now to be introduced, however, do not represent change for change’s sake, but are being made in order to ensure greater fidelity to the liturgical tradition of the Church. In the earlier translation not all the meaning of the original Latin text was fully expressed and a number of the terms that were used to convey the teachings of the faith were lost. This was readily acknowledged by the bishops of the Church, even back in the 1970s, and has become an increasing cause of concern since then.
There is an old adage in Latin which states that the way we pray forms the way we believe. So words and language are important for the teaching and the handing-on of the faith.
So what does this new translation offer us? First of all, there is a fuller expression of the content of the original texts. Then, there is a closer connection with the Sacred Scriptures which inspire so much of our liturgy. Also, there is a recovery of a vocabulary that enriches our understanding of the mystery we celebrate. All of this requires a unique style of language and expression, one that takes us out of ourselves and draws us into the sacred, the transcendent and the divine.
The publication of the new translation of the Missal is a special moment of grace in the English-speaking world. It offers an opportunity to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the mystery we celebrate each week. This itself will help us to move towards that fuller and more conscious and active participation in the liturgy to which the Church invites us. It will help us also to examine the dignity with which we celebrate the ‘source and summit’ of the Church’s life.
At the end of his visit last year, Pope Benedict asked us to use this moment for genuine renewal. He said: “I encourage you now to seize the opportunity that the new translation offers for in-depth catechesis on the Eucharist, and renewed devotion in the manner of its celebration. ‘The more lively the Eucharistic faith of the people of God, the deeper is its sharing in ecclesial life in steadfast commitment to the mission entrusted by Christ to his disciples’” (Sacramentum Caritatis, 6).
In order to achieve this, the bishops have produced resources for all our parishes and, as from September, we will gradually begin to use the new liturgical texts at Mass and hear why certain changes have been made. Each diocese is already preparing its priests and deacons, catechists and liturgical ministers. Programmes for schools are being developed and new musical settings are being composed. From September until Advent everyone will have the opportunity to study the new texts and familiarise themselves with the prayers and chants. In addition, this period of preparation will allow us to pray these new texts.
The Liturgy of the Eucharist is a gift, something we receive from God through the Church. Saint Paul spoke of it as coming from the Lord Jesus himself. Writing to the Church in Corinth, he said, “for I received from the Lord what I in turn also handed on to you” (1 Corinthians 11:23). So Eucharist is not something of our making but a gift received. Like Saint Paul, therefore, let us receive it with reverence and care, knowing that we are being faithful to what the Lord himself passed on to the Apostles, which has been handed on since, in faithfulness, by their successors to every generation of the Church.
Let us welcome the new translation of the Roman Missal as a sign of our unity and a powerful instrument of God’s grace in our lives.
Published by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, Thursday 12 May 2011