Wednesday, February 09, 2011


I don't want to upset you but if you are a regular Mass goer, you are in for a shock at the end of this year.

Around the beginning of December all the Mass books will be dumped and a new translation of the Mass in English will become mandatory.

It will cost millions of pounds to replace the perfectly acceptable missals and many of our familiar prayers at Mass will begin to sound as if they were written by a scrupulous professor of Latin who never spoke English.

I'm not joking. It's done and dusted. You weren't consulted and neither were priests.


But the sermon notes for the soft sell have been completed and handed out to complicit clerics all over the country.

It is something we don't need and never asked for.

It is now 46 years since the Second Vatican Council allowed us to use a language other than Latin in the official liturgies of the Church.

Granting us this liberation was accepted by the vast majority of those present. Only four bishops voted against it. 2,147 voted for it.

That's what you call consensus.

I was a clerical student then and even though I am ordained for almost 42 years, in that time I was asked to offer Mass in Latin only twice.

Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd live to see the systematic dismantling of that crucial Vatican document.

But I can assure you the retrenchment is well advanced. 

The Vatican's aim is to have an accurate translation of a Latin text rather than to have prayers which help the congregation pray meaningfully.

Encouraging people to pray in a healthy and communal way should be top of the agenda. 

However it is clear that for the powerful Vatican officials authentic Latin is more sought after than helpful liturgies are.

The text has been imposed across the English speaking world with relatively little opposition. 

That's how apathetic bishops are worldwide.

There is a movement in America called "What if we said wait?". 

They are an articulate group who are asking for a reasonable discussion about this translation.

Why not wait and consult the people in the pews?

One of the great liberating features of the Second Vatican Council was that it gave local bishops the authority to produce their own translations.

That freedom has now been withdrawn and an impossible translation imposed.

If you are so inclined you can get the new translation on the internet.

Here's just one small example. 

In the first Eucharistic prayer we currently have,"Joseph, her husband."

In the new translation it reads, "Joseph, spouse of the same virgin." 

It would be laughable if it weren't so tragic.

I urge Pastoral Councils, where they exist, and other interested people to appeal to their bishops to stand against this imposition. 

It won't be disobedience, it will simply be recognising the ham-fisted attempts to impose archaic language on Eucharistic worship.

It's an insult and disrespectful.

It's not just rearranging chairs on the Titanic, it's more like cutting the last remaining lifeboat adrift. 

Much of the new translation may well be an accurate presentation of the Latin meaning.


But it is bad English and is unspeakable. 

I am merely highlighting what is about to happen and I trust you will do your best to make sure it is discussed and, where necessary, opposed in parishes and dioceses everywhere.

You will not be alone in doing this because the German Bishops did so with surprising results last September.

They said their vernacular liturgies were widely accepted by both priests and faithful and this should not be jeopardised by replacing, "Good German text, with unfamiliar new interpretations."

They had the courage of their convictions.

The English speaking hierarchies, however, have capitulated. 

This is a pointless exercise which highlights how out of touch the Vatican bureaucrats are.

They have no interest in our opinions. 

They are the Scribes and Pharisees of our day and we know what Jesus thought of them!

No comments: