THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The NEW Roman Missal is about to undergo a dramatic change. The liturgical changes are expected to come down in about a year. They will be so dramatic it will effect the whole way we celebrate mass in the English speaking world. So you might as well save your money, and don't buy any missals for the upcoming year, as they will soon be obsolete.
The current version of the English missal, used for over 30 years now, is rife with inaccuracies, omissions and innovations when compared to the official Latin text issued by Rome back in 1970. In effect, the English mass we Americans have been celebrating for the last 30 years IS NOT the same mass issued by Rome in the original Latin. What US Catholics have been celebrating, for 30 years, is an innovation -- a "defective text" according to Rome. The Vatican has withdrawn permission to celebrate it and the US Catholic bishops have no choice but to comply with the authentic liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. So get ready for some significant changes to the liturgy, the lectionary and the official Bible of the US Catholic Church.
These dramatic changes, both in the prayers of the mass, and the responses of the people, are sure to cause some confusion for the laity. They may wonder why the mass needs to be changed -- again. Therefore, it may be helpful to compare the current, and upcoming missals to the original Latin text issued by Rome over 30 years ago. In doing so, US Catholics will discover the significance of the illusion they've been under for so long. The liturgy we currently celebrate, and have celebrated for three decades, is "defective" and inaccurate. The new changes coming down are meant to put us back on track with authentic Catholic liturgy.
The following is an abridged list of the changes we can expect...
The current lectionary, along with the NAB (New American Bible) is kaput -- no more. The Bible used by US Catholics for over 30 years will no longer be used in the liturgy of the Church. Instead, the Lectionary text will be taken from the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) corrected according to the Latin of the New Vulgate.
When the priest says "The Lord be with you" the congregation will now respond: "And with your spirit" - not "And also with you". The original Latin reads: Et cum spiritu tuo, which is now correctly translated. During the Confiteor, the Latin mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa is translated accurately as "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault" and not just "through my own fault". Worshippers are also reminded to strike their breast as they say these words - a practice that has fallen into general disuse, though it is called for in the present Missal. In the Gloria, "peace to his people on earth" becomes "peace on earth to people of good will", which is literally what the Latin says. "Sin" of the world now becomes "sins" of the world - the Latin peccata being plural. "Sin" suggests a collective guilt or "sinful structures" rather than our personal sinfulness. Another significant change occurs in the Nicene Creed, where Credo is translated accurately as "I believe" rather than the present "We believe". Eucharistic Prayer I will now be virtually identical to that used in the Tridentine Mass. Following the consecration, the present first acclamation, "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again", becomes in the new translation, "We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection until you come" - which is what the Latin actually says. The current English version, which is a gross mistranslation, empties the response "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed". The new text refers us to Luke 7:6-7, from which the words "come under my roof" sub tectum meum derive. This is the Gospel account of Our Lord's curing of the centurion's dying slave. The centurion says: "I am not worthy to have you come under my roof" (Catholic RSV edition). So the new translation will read: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed."
Further liturgical reforms are underway as well. The Holy Father has made his desire widely known that the ancient music of Gregorian chant be returned to standard practice in Catholic parishes around the world. Along with the newly reformed liturgy, we might expect to see this change as well. In addition to that, there is significant talk in Rome about ad orientem -- the direction the priest faces while celebrating mass. The standard practice today is toward the people, but nothing in Vatican II or the Missal of Pope Paul VI (modern mass) mandates this. It is generally agreed that the proper liturgical norm is for the priest to "face the Lord" when offering sacrifices on behalf of the people. How this will translate into future mandate is unclear. Some in the Vatican have suggested that the priest be given the option, of turning to face "the Lord" with the rest of the congregation during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, or alternatively placing a crucifix on the alter, so that he may be "facing the Lord" even while he is looking out over the congregation.
It would appear the "reform of the reform" is well underway in Pope Benedict XVI's reign. The changes in the new English mass will bring it into conformity with the liturgical tradition of the old Tridentine mass, and what Pope Paul VI intended when he released the new missal in 1970.