UK Launches New English Translation

Via Our Lady and the English Martyrs Church and the BBC, we can listen to the liturgy here.

“The Lord be with you.”

“And with your spirit.”

It seems to go off without a hitch. I was interested in hearing the confiteor. I do love hearing a (blessedly brief) homily — and this one explains the importance of the changes, particularly that exchange highlighted above — in such a lovely, clipped accent.

Listening to the new translations has had a more powerful effect upon me than reading them has had. I feel extremely comfortable with it; most of it is very much like the mass as I first learned it, in the early sixties.

I especially like the small but important changes to the consecration prayers. I’ve read a few complaints about, “this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you, and for many, for the forgiveness of sins…”

The complaints center on “and for many, ” which some find distastefully exclusionary. I don’t find it so. To me, it is an acknowledgment that this salvific act is, finally, up to all of us to accept or reject. It is blood poured out for all, yes, but not accepted by all, and therefore — in practical terms — it is Blood; poured out, but neither forced upon anyone nor made automatic, but embraced and consumed as freely as it is given up, or just as freely rejected. And so it is Blood, poured out for “many” who will be freed by it. This is in fact, more immediate, more urgent and more powerful, much less passive language. It is language that challenges us to remember that there is choice involved here, and that it costs something.

By comparison, the previous language made it sound like His Saving Blood, having been poured, required nothing of us. It confused this act of cleansing and salvation with the movement of grace.

William Oddie calls the UK launch a huge success although he despairs of the Agnus Dei.

But why not “Lamb of God, you who take away the sins of the world”? That is accurate and I would have thought quite mellifluous. It would take some getting used to: but so will “and with your Spirit”. But why am I grumbling? This will be the last time, I swear: for, in the immortal words of John Greenleaf Whittier, “For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’.” It’s too late now: the translation we now have will be the last, certainly in our lifetimes.

Pat Gohn will be going over the new translations on the first Thursday of each month, from now until Advent, when we will begin using the new translations. Part I of that series — the view from the pews — can be found here.

At the end of her piece, Pat has a few resources and recommendations. May I say the Magnificat Roman Missal Companion is my choice for personal use; it is typically lovely, pocket-sized and it provides useful meditations and instructive essays in addition to the translations.

I love their pew cards, too, and am showing them to my pastor!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Stephen Taylor

    “To me, it is an acknowledgment that this salvific act is, finally, up to all of us to accept or reject.”

    You hit the nail on the head. He died for all but only some heed the call. That pesky freewill we were given. Honestly, it sounds a lot like the Anglican and Episcopal Prayerbook. When I converted to Catholicism from the Episcopal Church I told my friends I was taking a step down in liturgy.

    At first I was hesitant about the new missal but with liturgy literally filling my day (vigils, lauds, terce, sext, nones, vespers) this is liturgical history. What it boils down to for me is the mass, so long as mass is said and there is an epiclesis and consecration, I am happy. I’m sure you expected something much more scathing from me, but not when it comes to the new missal, I’m looking forward to it. Of course, I attend daily mass at a Trappist monastery so I am used to a very solemn celebration, even on Solemnities.

    Great Article Anchoress!

  • K Winterer

    I used the MAGNIFICAT for over a year when I discovered that
    it is available at half price delivered digitally to iphone / itouch devices. I’ve now been using that for more than a year and, except
    for a lack of bookmarks, really love that, too. Even the beautiful cover is part of each months download, as are the meditations and saints’ articles.

  • Dad of Six

    What a great step forward! While my family and I are fans of the Extraordinary Form, this will bring the Novus Ordo so much closer to the Latin…can’t wait for the First Sunday of Advent!

  • Jen

    Thanks for the Magnificat tip, Elizabeth. I just ordered my Roman Missal companion! Can’t wait. I’m so anxious for Advent!

  • Jane

    Hi Elizabeth, I’ve been a fan of the Magnificat missal for a few years and I love it! However, what does one do with the discarded monthly book? It’s too good to just throw away.

    [If I like the cover, or a particular reading/meditation has been meaningful for me, I rip out the page or the cover and throw the rest away. Yes, it's full of good stuff, but I reject pack-ratism, and so I throw the thing away with a twinge and consider that it is a useful practice of detachment! :-) -admin]

  • Sally Thomas

    Oh! Oh! We lived across the park from Our Lady and the English Martyrs for the four years we lived in Cambridge, and all our windows looked out on that spire. We were Anglican then, so it wasn’t our parish, but I always think those martyrs must have been praying for us. Lovely to be reminded, and lovely to hear their liturgy, even from this much greater geographical distance.

    And I too am especially looking forward to Advent this year.

  • Ryan

    I still prefer “et cum spiritu tuo”, spoken by the server;)

  • B.R.

    “However, what does one do with the discarded monthly book? It’s too good to just throw away.”

    Donate them to your local jail.

  • Diane Korzeniewski

    I like the design by Magnificat. Their stuff is always classy though.

  • Kristen

    I was a student at Cambridge for a year during college and this was my parish church! The liturgies were always beautiful and reverent, and the church was always packed. A wonderful parish, wonderful people and a wonderful reminder of that happy time. Thank you!

  • Manny

    How did the English get to go to it first? I thought we had to wait until Advent. It’s beautiful! Or at least that celebration at that church. Their Gloria was wonderful. I wish I could get it as a download. Their choir was magnificent. Can’t they come to my parish?…lol.

    How come they recited the Apostles Creed and not the Nicien Creed?

  • stefanie

    Found this on FatherZ’s blog today. Must say, I was transported, listening to the BBC audio this afternoon. I had my downloaded copy (from the USCCB website) of the red/black version of the Mass translation and just moved my way through.

    Very meditative.

    It was lovely to hear the words said in English by the English.

    Look forward to doing the same tomorrow.

    Already forwarded the link to our parish liturgy coordinator who has been feeling abit overwhelmed.

  • eko

    You did hit it… :). When I heard there were complaints, silly me-I figured it would be over the use of the word “chalice.”