Translation of Roman Missal unites English-speaking church

The celebration of Mass is more than personal prayer and is meant to help people connect with Catholics around the world, believes Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, executive  director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

So it is important to have a consistent order of liturgy and prayers that reflect the original Latin text of liturgy as accurately as possible, in order to help people understand their place in the wider church, the British priest told Catholic News Service yesterday.

“Liturgy is something we receive from the church, not something we make for ourselves,” Msgr. Wadsworth explained.

“We all have to bear in mind we’re not talking about personal prayer. … We’re talking about something that is the prayer of the  whole church. Liturgy is a corporate act,” he said.

Msgr. Wadsworth, a priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster (London), has spent his two years as executive director of the organization  known as ICEL explaining the significance of the translation, which is being implemented beginning in Advent in the United States. Elsewhere, the English translation has been introduced in segments throughout 2011 (or earlier) so that it will be fully in place at the start of Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year.

ICEL includes 11 bishops’ conferences as members and 22 others as affiliates.

Msgr. Wadsworth acknowledged that the new translation includes more formal language than that to which people have been accustomed. The translation has received some criticism from a limited number of liturgists, clergy and people in the pews for language that can sound awkward.

“Theology has its own vocabulary,” Msgr. Wadsworth said. “(The translation) generally expressed the idea that a lot of people thought that the  general dignity of the language should be of an elevated style.”

In conversations with CNS, liturgical directors in most of the 11 English-speaking countries that are ICEL members said the implementation has moved forward largely as planned with few delays or criticisms.

In his travels around the world, Msgr. Wadsworth has seen the same basic question arise from priests and people in the pews alike at almost every stop: “Why?”

“It’s really important to speak to that to explain that the translation that we currently use was thought to a have relatively short shelf life, 10 years. We’ll have had this 40 years,” he said.

Rest assured that the future will bring new translations of the Roman Missal as Catholics work to understand the original texts upon which the translations are based, the priest from the English Midlands said.

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8 Responses to Translation of Roman Missal unites English-speaking church

  1. Jeff Sale says:

    To bring back reverence to the Mass Tridentine-Traditional-Latin Mass would be the best way, I wish Vatican II had never had such diabolical consequences on the Church. But I feel the new translation is much more accurate than the prior one, so that pleases me.

    Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is clearly brought out in the prayer that Our Lady gave to the children, a prayer which she asked them to say before making a sacrifice: “O my Jesus, it is for love of Thee, in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate
    Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.”

  2. Fr J says:

    What you wish does not really matter, because it is the Church always worshiping God, trying always to be faithful to the Tradition but adapting to the needs of the present.

  3. Fr J says:

    And, it is not “diabolical consequences.” It is worship in the best way the Church knows how at the time.

  4. Since Jaanuary, we have had articles in theparish bulletin from the explanation of the development of the organizations involved, what the changes are, what they mean and cross reference articles that appear on the internet to help deepen the undertanding of the new translation and why. all of them can be found in the bulletin section at We are scheduling classes shortly and the CFF catechist have a program to follow for the children. At present we are learning the new ordinary muisc, the buklketine is carrying the info about it and and the choir is introducing singing the propers for the Sunday masses. I cant wait for November.

  5. Christine says:

    I am delighted to see the restoration of the original Latin texts for English-speaking Catholics. We are returning to a form of the Mass that was known to Catholics prior to Vatican II but not to the younger generation that grew up on the postconciliar “dynamic equivalence” translation. This is not a “new” translation, actually. Our liturgy will be greatly enriched and I am confident that with proper catechesis Catholics will see what a gift this is for the Church.

  6. Patrick Guinan says:

    The outlawing of the Tridentine Mass was not the work of the Vatican Council. They only advocated use of the vernacular where necessary to ensure understanding of the Mass. The banning of Latin was the work of a more liberal element in the church, whose runaway regulations led to folk song replacing Plain Chant (in contravention of the Council will), home baked bread, chalices rough thrown by amateur potters and the priest standing behind the altar vice facing the altar – leading the people. Granted there were errors that needed correction such as: pious old ladies saying the rosary in competition with the celebrant, introduction of more and more operatic style music which required an almost perfect choir – and was usually sung badly.

  7. JoeyS says:

    “What you wish does not really matter, because it is the Church always worshiping God,”
    Very, very true…people need to leave behind what they want the Mass to be, because the Mass belongs to God…our high form of worship to Him.
    “trying always to be faithful to the Tradition but adapting to the needs of the present”
    As far as the Mass goes, very wrong. We teach in confirmation class that “God does not change”. In that context then the Mass does not need to adapt to us…we need to adapt to it. The Mass is for the worship of God first and foremost.
    I can’t remember the bishop who said it….but I saw it once on EWTN’s coverage of the USCCB conference…it went something like this:
    The job of the Church is to evangelize society…not to let society evangelize her!

  8. John Bilbee says:

    In philly here, iwould say about 90% of the priests change the words of the mass anyway. So whats the big deal. Not to mention all the good mornings and have a nice day at the beginning and end of mass

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