While I am too young to have experienced the changes of the Second Vatican Council, from conversations with others, I am well aware of how the changes seemed to be rushed. People don’t like to hear about change. Beginning Advent of 2011 (a full year away!), we will begin using the new English translations of the Roman Missal. People are concerned about these changes.
Some people ask why the changes? What is wrong with the translations that we have been using for the last thirty years? It really isn’t a question of right or wrong but making sure our Mass is the best we have to offer. With the new translations, some of the scriptural references will become more obvious. For example, at Communion the people currently respond “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed.” This will become “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” I have to admit that the “roof” reference can seem strange when we are preparing to receive the Eucharist but it is a reference to Matthew 8:8.
Others fear big changes that are rushed through. Let me tell you there is no effort to rush them in. To see the timeline of producing the current translation since 2000 check out http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/resources-timeline.shtml.
Now that the English translations have been approved there is still no effort to rush them into use. It is still almost thirteen months away and we already had an informational session this week with our bishop here in Rochester. We will not simply hand out the new translations next fall and begin use. Between now and then, the diocese has a plan on preaching on the parts of the Mass to help everyone better understand the Mass and then to educate the people about the new translations. We are taking this very seriously to help everyone better understand and appreciate the Mass. My diocese is not alone is this. At the last Priests’ Council of New York meeting, representatives from every diocese said their diocese is working on similar plans.
For more on the new translations check out http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/index.shtml.