Sunday, 27 November 2011

Questions about the New Missal

Why is there a new translation of the Missal?
The missal we currently use was published in 1973 and has served the Church well for nearly 40 years. However over that time there has been much discussion of the need to revise this initial translation of the Latin into English in order to recapture more accurately the meaning and poetry of the original Latin texts and their allusions to Scripture. In 2001 the Vatican published guiding principles for translating the Latin Missal into other languages. This new translation follows these guidelines and will adhere more closely to the Latin text. It will be more formal at times but will provide a richer and more nuanced translation of our rich heritage of prayer that is contained in the Roman Missal.

Who is doing the work of translation?
The work of translation has been done by a group of Bishops specialising in translation and
linguistics. The International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL) has translated the
Latin into English and then submitted the drafts to all the Bishops of the English speaking
world. Finally the translation has been approved by the Vatican Congregation for Divine
Worship and the Sacraments with the assistance of a committee called Vox Clara.

Is this Missal the Vatican II Missal?
It is most definitely the Vatican II Missal. It is the same missal which was produced in 1970
and revised on two later occasions. It is the translation into English that has changed not the
original prayers of the Mass.

Will it sound very different?
Yes, it will. Not only will the people’s responses change but the prayers said by the priest will
also change. The Eucharistic Prayers will sound different. Remember, it is not the original
Latin Missal that has changed only the translation. So it will be the same Mass that we have
had since Vatican II but it will sound different.

Will there be any changes in posture?
No, any changes in posture have already been introduced in recent years. Therefore you will
continue to sit, stand and kneel as you have always done.

How will we know the new responses?
There will be pew cards produced throughout Australia to assist the people with responses.
Some Churches have data projectors that may also assist with the people’s responses.

Will the readings change?
At this stage the readings will remain the same. In a few years time the Lectionary will be revised and the translation of the readings will change then.

When can I buy a new Missal for my personal use?
The new Missal for use by the priest during Mass will be printed in the latter half of 2011. The new version of the readings will not be available for a few years. Publishers will publish personal missals soon.

Will there be one book for the Missal or will it be several volumes?
The Missal will be in one volume. Eucharistic Prayers for Children will be published in a
separate supplement.

Will there be many changes?
For the people the changes are minor ones. For the priest, however, the changes involve all
the Prayers and the Eucharistic Prayers and are quite extensive.

Will there be a cost involved?
Yes, Parishes will need to budget for the cost of the new Missal and also for pew cards and
music for new Mass settings.
How will we sing the parts of the Mass when there are new words?
New Mass settings have been written by Trinidadian and international composers. There is also
a chant setting in the Missal.

Will Communion of the Sick change?
Yes, wherever parts of the Mass are used the words will change. Texts used at Weddings and
Funerals will also change.

Why do we say consubstantial in the Nicene Creed?
In the new translation of the Nicene Creed, “consubstantial with the Father” replaces the
expression “of one Being with the Father”, in speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ. The
nature of the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, and the truth of the Son’s
divinity, are most important aspects of the Christian faith, and Councils such as Nicaea
(325ad) and Calcedon (451ad) were held to address these questions and to discern and
express the orthodox belief of the Church.
The difficulty in expressing in an acceptable way the relationship between God the Father and
God the Son required the early bishops and theologians to give new subtleties of meaning to
existing Greek and Latin words. The expression “of one Being with the Father” in the current
translation of the Nicene Creed is not always thought to convey the meaning of the Latin
consubstantialis, nor indeed the original Greek homoousios which it referred to, in a
satisfactory way. Some Latin words have meanings which are simply not readily translatable
into ordinary English. The metaphysical concepts of “essence”, “being” and “substance”, of
which consubstantialis and homoousios speak are not straightforward and in fact they are
easily misunderstood because their theological meaning is not exactly the same as their
meaning in ordinary English. “Consubstantial”, which has been chosen in the revised
translation of the Creed’s Latin consubstantialis, has a genuine and distinct theological
meaning. It is not a common word in English, but is being used to identify and express a
unique relationship.

Why is it that we say “through my fault...” three times in the Confession... isn’t that too
The simplest answer is, because that is what the Latin has but that does not really cast any
light on the matter. Simple versions of the Confiteor are found from the 700s. The phrase
"mea culpa" (through my fault) first appeared in about AD 1080, and it remained in this
single form in the liturgies of the Carmelites and Dominicans until modern times, and in the
Roman missal until the 1500s. The version "mea culpa, mea maxima culpa" is attributed to St
Thomas Becket (died 1170). The triple form only entered the Roman Missal in 1570. We can
only speculate about why it evolved into the triple form. It is sometimes said that we like to
tripled things in honour of the Trinity, but intensifying by triplication seems to be a common
human practice. In some contexts this results in the triple recitation of a whole prayer or an
action. Another example of triple intensification in our liturgy actually predates the liturgy
because it is a direct citation of Isaiah 6:3, "Holy, Holy, Holy." Some threefold elements
result from reducing a litany to its minimum form. The best example is "Lamb of God" which
we say three time, but when it was introduced in about AD 800 it was as a litany sung
continuously until the breaking of all the consecrated bread was finished. Other forms of
intensifying triplication are found in our Mass, but with some variation each time, such as in
the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer 1) "these gifts, these offerings, these unblemished
sacrifices". Similarly on Good Friday we find the ancient Trishagion (Thriceholy) in "Holy
is God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal." It appears that the role of such triplications is
to intensify our focus on some element. The repetition and expansion in "through my fault,
through my fault, through my most grievous" thus has the effect of making us pause, in a
sense, to really acknowledge what we are saying. It helps it "sink in", so to speak.

Why do we only say “It is right and just” in the dialogue before the Preface of the
Eucharistic Prayer?
Again this translation reflects the precise words of the Latin text. The Preface will then take
up this phrase and repeat it as its opening words: “It is truly right and just, our duty and
salvation…” To appreciate this connection between the words of the assembly and the
Preface, we need to understand the role of the faithful in the Eucharistic Prayer – they are not
silent spectators, but must be participants who make their thanksgiving to God. St. John
Chrysostom (died 407 ad) writes: “The offering of thanksgiving again is common, for the
priest does not give thanks alone but all the people join him in doing so. Once they respond
by assenting that it is ‘right and just’, he begins the thanksgiving”. Once the assembly has
assented that is right and just to give thanks, the priest can begin the Eucharistic Prayer
because the assembly provide living witness to his words of thanks. Because of the living
faith of the assembly, “it is truly right and just” to give thanks to God.

Why is our response now “And with your spirit” in the greetings?
This is an accurate translation of the Latin text and is reflected in other language translations.
To understand this translation it is helpful to look at the meaning of this phrase in our
1. “In the most sacred mysteries themselves (the Mass), the priest prays for the people who
in turn pray for him since this is the meaning of the words, ‘And with your spirit’”, writes St.
John Chrysostom (died 407 ad).
2. Chrysostom also writes, “If there were no Holy Spirit, there would be neither shepherds
nor teachers in the Church ... You acclaimed, ‘And also with your spirit’. You would not have
done this unless the Holy Spirit were actually dwelling within him”.
3. “They reply ‘And with your spirit’. In this way they make known to the bishop and to all
that not only do others need a blessing and the bishop’s prayer but that the bishop himself also
needs the prayer of all… This is why the bishop blesses the people at the ‘peace’ and then
receives their blessing as they respond, ‘And with your spirit’”. These words come from
Theodore of Mopsuestia (died 428 ad).
Thus when the assembly respond to the words, “The Lord be with you”, they communicate
something of mutual importance between the ordained and themselves. They mutually
confirm the presence of the Lord who unites them and who is the Supreme Celebrant of the
holy mysteries. This is made possible by the gift of the Holy Spirit to the ordained and to the

Apostles’ Creed - “He descended into hell”
This brief and matter-of-fact statement holds the promise of immense hope for believers. It asserts that Jesus Christ not only died our death but also entered the realm of the dead and set them free. This “hell” is not the hell of later popular imagination – the fiery hell of eternal
punishment – but the hell of the scriptures, Hades or Sheol, the shadowy domain where the dead are spiritless and lost, cut off from light and life. Dwelling with the dead Jesus brings his life-giving love to bear on all the powers of darkness and disarms them. Nothing in the cosmos is excluded from this victory, as Paul writes, “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus
our Lord” (Roms 8:38-39).

Words in the Roman Missal, Third Edition

Some of the words used in the new translation of the Mass may be unfamiliar to some Catholics. The following list of definitions may help to increase your understanding of the rich theology that underlies these texts.

Abasement: The lowering of one of higher rank. Jesus abased himself in that, though he was God, he lowered himself and became a human being so that he might save us from our sins (see Phil 2:6-11).

Adoption: In Baptism, the Holy Spirit transforms us into children of the Father, thereby making us his adopted sons and daughters in the likeness of his eternal Son (see Eph 1:3-6). In this way, the faithful are made “partakers in the divine nature (cf. 2 Pt 1:4) by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], no. 1129). In the sacraments, we become the sons and daughters of God by adoption through Christ Jesus.

Angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, thrones and dominions: Spiritual, personal, and immortal creatures, with intelligence and free will, who glorify God and serve him as messengers of his saving plan. Traditionally, the choirs of angels have been divided into various ranks, including archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers (see Col 1:16).

Chalice: From the Latin word “calix” meaning “cup” (see Ps 116:13; Mt 20:22; 1 Cor 10:16). Th e use of this term in the Liturgy points to the chalice’s function as a particular kind of cup and indicates the uniqueness of what it contains, the very Blood of Christ.

Clemency: The loving kindness, compassion, or mercy that God shows to sinners.

Communion: Our fellowship and union with Jesus and other baptized Christians in the Church, which has its source and summit in the celebration of the Eucharist. By receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, we are united to him and one another as members of his body

Consecration: The dedication of a thing or person to divine service by a prayer or blessing. In the Mass, “consecration” also refers to the words spoken by the priest whereby the bread and wine are transformed into the risen Body and Blood of Jesus.

Consubstantial: The belief, articulated in the Nicene Creed, about the relationship of the Father and the Son: that “in the Father and with the Father, the Son is one and the same God” (CCC, no. 262).

Contrite: To be repentant within one’s heart and mind for sins committed and to resolve not to sin again.

Covenant: A solemn agreement between human beings, between God and a human being, or between God and a people involving mutual commitments or promises. In the Old Testament, God made a covenant with the Jewish people. Jesus, through his death and Resurrection, made a new covenant with the whole of humanity. One enters into this new covenant through faith and Baptism.

Damnation: Eternal separation from God’s love caused by dying in mortal sin without repentance.

Godhead: The mystery of one God in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Homage: The honor, respect, and reverence due to another. Homage is especially due to God, for he is eternal, all good, all holy, and all loving.

Implore: To plead, beseech, or ask with humility. This is an example of the self-deprecatory language in the Roman Missal that helps to express our dependence on God. We humbly beg the Father to hear and answer our prayers, for we ask them in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus.

Incarnation: The Son of God assumed human nature and became man by being conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Jesus is true God and true man. As man, the Son of God obtained our salvation. The use of this term in the Nicene Creed indicates that Jesus’ birth has a significance beyond that of any other human birth

Ineffable: That which cannot be conceived or expressed fully (see 1 Cor 2:6-9). One cannot, for example, adequately describe in concepts and words the mystery of the Trinity or the mystery of the Incarnation.

Infusion: The Holy Spirit is poured into the hearts and souls of believers, and so they are filled, or infused, with grace.

Intercessor: One who makes a petition on behalf of others. Our unique intercessor is Jesus Christ, who intercedes on our behalf with the Father (see Rom 8:34). The priest at Mass acting in the person of Christ intercedes on behalf of the whole Church.

Justification: The gracious action by which God frees us from sin and makes us holy and righteous before him.

Lord, God of Hosts: From the word “sabaoth,” hosts are the invisible powers that work at God’s command over heaven and earth

Mediator: One who unites or reconciles separate or opposing parties. Thus, Jesus Christ is the “one mediator between God and the human race” (1 Tm 2:5). Through his sacrificial offering he has become high priest and unique mediator who has gained for us access to the Father through the Holy Spirit.

Merit: The reward that God promises and gives to those who love him and who by his grace perform good works. One cannot earn justification or eternal life; they are the free gifts of God. Rather our merit is from God through Christ in the Holy Spirit. The Father freely justifies us in Christ through the indwelling of the Spirit; and Christians, by the same Holy Spirit, are empowered to do good works of love and justice. In cooperating with the Holy Spirit, the faithful receive further grace and thus, in Christ, cooperate in the work of their salvation.

Oblation: A gift or sacrifice offered to God.

Only-Begotten Son: This title “signifies the unique and eternal relationship of Jesus Christ to God his Father: he is the only Son of the Father (cf. Jn 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18); he is God himself (cf. Jn 1:1)” (CCC, no. 454). Jesus is the Son of God not by adoption but by nature.

Paschal: Referring to Christ’s work of redemption accomplished through his Passion, death, Resurrection, and Ascension. Through the Paschal Mystery, Jesus destroyed our death and restored us to life. The Paschal Mystery is celebrated and made present in the Liturgy so that we can obtain the fruit of Jesus’ death and Resurrection, that is, the forgiveness of our sins and the new life of the Holy Spirit

Patriarchs: Title given to the venerable ancestors or “fathers” of the Semitic peoples, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who received God’s promise of election.

Precursor: One who comes before as a herald. John the Baptist is the precursor of Jesus.

Provident grace: The free and undeserved gift that God gives us as he protects and governs all creation.

Redemption: Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer because he frees us from our sin through his sacrificial death on the Cross.

Temporal: What pertains to this world of time and history, as opposed to what pertains to God, such as our new life in Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Venerate: To show devotion and respect to holy things and people. Catholics venerate relics and saints. Veneration must be clearly distinguished from adoration and worship, both of which pertain solely to the Trinity and Jesus as the Son of God.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2000.
General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Liturgy Documentary Series 2.
Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2003.
Excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, copyright © 2000, Libreria Editrice Vaticana–United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture texts used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, copyright © 1991, 1986, and 1970 by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, DC 20017 and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All rights reserved.



Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Liturgy & Life

At its heart, the Eucharist is a sacrament of communion, bringing us closer to God and to our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. If we live the fruits of the Eucharist in our daily lives, we will fill our families and our communities with the life-giving qualities that the Liturgy brings: hospitality, concern for the poor and vulnerable, self-offering, and thanksgiving.

An ancient saying in the Church reads “lex orandi, lex credendi,” meaning that the law of prayer is the law of faith. More loosely: as we pray, so we believe. To that we might add lex vivendi, meaning that as we pray, so we believe, and so we live. In the third edition of the Roman Missal, the bishops and translators have taken great care to ensure that the prayers accurately and fully reflect the mysteries of our faith. Th  us, the words that we pray in each liturgical celebration will help to form and strengthen our understanding of the faith.

However, if the effects of the Liturgy stop at the doors of the church, we have not made our prayer and our faith part of our law of living. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) teaches that the Eucharist helps us to grow in union with Christ, avoid sin, increase in charity, strengthen communion with our brothers and sisters, and recognize Christ in the poorest and most vulnerable members of society (see CCC, nos. 1391-1397). But what does that mean in daily life?

Our prayer lives should not be limited to a single hour on Sunday mornings. In fact, the richer our prayer lives are throughout the week, the more fully we will be able to enter into the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. Here are some ways to make your daily life more prayerful:
      Try attending daily Mass at least once a week. Your parish may have an early morning Mass, or a church near your job may offer a lunchtime Mass.

Stop in a church before or after work or on your lunch hour for fifteen minutes of quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
      Make it a practice to say grace before every meal—even if you are eating in the car.
·         Schedule time for family prayer at least once a week. 

    This prayer can be as simple as saying the Our Father or a decade of the rosary together.
·         Take time during the week to read or listen to the readings for the upcoming Sunday. The readings are available online (in print and audio) at

·         Begin your day with a brief prayer of thanksgiving to God, offering your day to him.

·         End your day with an examination of conscience, looking at your successes and failures in what you have done or what you have failed to do. If you are aware of serious sin, receive the Sacrament of Penance before you receive Holy Communion again.

Celebrating the eucharistic Liturgy and receiving Holy Communion should strengthen us to conform our lives more closely to the example of Christ. As Jesus knelt before his Apostles to wash their feet (see Jn 13),  
giving them an example of humble service, so must we who bear the name Christian live our lives in service to our brothers and sisters.

To help us in this endeavor, Church Tradition has identified works of mercy. These fourteen practices demand great sacrifice and generosity, but they also draw us more deeply into conformity with the Lord. Focusing on one of these works each week may be a practical way to integrate them into our personal, family, and parish lives.

Corporal Works of Mercy
·         Feeding the hungry
·         Sheltering the homeless
·         Clothing the naked
·         Visiting the sick
·         Visiting the imprisoned
·         Giving drink to the thirsty
·         Burying the dead
Spiritual Works of Mercy
·         Converting sinners
·         Instructing the ignorant
·         Advising the doubtful
·         Comforting the sorrowful
·         Bearing wrongs patiently
·         Forgiving injuries
·         Praying for the living and dead

Our parishes and civil communities offer numerous opportunities to live out these works, from assisting with religious education classes or volunteering at a food bank to encouraging our legislators to put forward policies that protect the life and dignity of each person. As we grow in conformity to Christ, we see more clearly that all people are made in the image and likeness of God (see Gn 1:26) and so have an inherent value and dignity. By helping to build a more just and compassionate society, we act as Christ’s Body in the world.

Living the Christian life is not easy. “What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ . . . preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism. This growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our pilgrimage” (CCC, no. 1392). And so, each Sunday, we return to the Eucharistic table, bringing all our efforts of the previous week, the good and the bad, the successes and the failures, the joys and the sorrows. We gather with our brothers and sisters in the Lord and, together with our priest, we join these efforts to the perfect sacrifice of Christ, asking that God will receive what we offer back to him in humble thanksgiving. The Catechism explains it as follows:

The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body.
The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering. (CCC, no. 1368)

Then, strengthened by Holy Communion, we are once again sent forth into the world to glorify the Lord in our lives.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2000.
Excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, copyright © 2000, Libreria Editrice Vaticana–United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C