Australian Produced Resource for the new English Liturgy

Cathnews reported this morning on a story in The Catholic Weekly Bishops vote on new Missal (20/12/2009). Most of the article is “old news” since the bishops meeting was November 23 to November 27. The source seems to be the December 4 “News from the November 2009 Plenary meeting of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference“. But it is good that the Sydney mag is highlighting this development. Here is the story straight from the ACBC statement:

New Missal draws closer

The Australian Bishops have completed their final canonical vote in relation to their approval of the texts for the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge, the Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Liturgy, told the meeting that it is now anticipated that the new Missal will be published in early 2011.

In preparation for the publication of the new Missal an international catechetical resource is being developed. The multi‐media resource, to be used by English speaking nations around the world, is being prepared by Frayneworks, a work of the Sisters of Mercy in Melbourne.

Its preparation is under the direction of Fr Peter Williams, the Director of the National Liturgical Office.

Entitled “Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ”, it will be completed by the end of 2009 and will be launched in London this month by Bishop Arthur Roche, Bishop of Leeds and Chairman of the Leeds Group (of English‐speaking Bishops’ Conferences).

It will be available for distribution throughout the English‐speaking Catholic world by the end of February 2010. The resource will be launched in Australia at the national representatives in liturgy gathering to be held in Perth in early February 2010.

This is a positive development, and we eagerly await seeing what the Sisters have come up with.

In the mean-time, there’s this less than positive response to the new liturgy published in America Magazine “What If We Said, ‘Wait’?” (and you can listen to a podcast interview with the author here – note the age of the author – he says that he “grew up with the latin mass” in his first 24 years). There are not a few in Australia who seem to share these sentiments and plan to act in the same way. Let it be known far and wide: anything achieved by those who obstruct the introduction of the new translations in this way will only be to the detriment of the Church’s faith and life. Let us pray for a positive reception of the new liturgy and that the Australian-produced resource will enable a smooth and enthusiastic reception of the changes.

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3 responses to “Australian Produced Resource for the new English Liturgy

  1. An Liaig

    I have been involved in a number of discussions with normal, lay people who sit in the pews week after week and I have not found any of the reaction that is suggested by the good father from Seattle. Once the extent of the changes are explained, people tend to shrug and say “OK”. Mind you, I suspect that they don’t care much about changes to the priest’s prayers because they don’t actually listen – but that might be just my jaundiced take on it. The thing that really gets me annoyed is the smug superiority these clerics display. If words like gibbet and ineffable are put forward as words the laity cannot possibly understand then either the American education system has failed dramatically (to the point that their people are illiterate) or these clerics have contempt for the learning and intelligence of their people. Ironically, this contempt for the capability of the laity often seems to go hand in hand with the idea that the laity need to be empowered by their priests. More to the point, a prosaic, minimalist liturgy needs prosaic, minimalist language and the new translations get in the way of that.

    • I think what you say about the priest’s prayers is correct. For this reason, Jeff Pinyan, in his book advertised on this blog “Praying the Mass”, concentrates on the people’s prayers. These, after all, are the ones that will need attention among the people. And also, in these, there are minimal (although significant) changes, most of which are significant improvements (those which I do not regard as such are so negligible as not to fuss about).

      But it is the priests who will be responsible for implementing the changes, and their reaction and support will be crucial in this matter. In this case, I say to our good Fathers who may be opposed to the new translations: take a bex, have a good lie down, and then get behind the new missal for the sake of the people.

      As case in point is mentioned by Fr Ryan in both his article and podcast. Here is the story from the article:

      “Recently the Archdiocese of Seattle sponsored a seminar on the new translations for lay leaders and clergy. Both the priest who led the seminar (an accomplished liturgical theologian) and the participants gathered there in good faith. When passages from the proposed new translation were soberly read aloud by the presenter (I remember especially the phrase from the first eucharistic prayer that currently reads “Joseph, her husband,” but which in the new translation becomes “Joseph, spouse of the same virgin”), there was audible laughter in the room. I found myself thinking that the idea of this happening during the sacred liturgy is no laughing matter but something that should make us all tremble.”

      I would want to point out a couple of things:

      1) in context, the phrase is quite understandable:

      “In communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary,
      Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ,
      and blessed Joseph, Spouse of the same Virgin,
      your blessed Apostles and Martyrs,
      Peter and Paul, Andrew,” etc.

      “Her husband” (the current transation) drops the word “Virgin” in the text. The new translation has the emphasis of the original “eiusdem Virginis Sponsi”. The phrase “the same” will be familiar to many from devotional prayers such as the Angelus, which end with “through the same Christ our Lord”.

      2) the context in which Fr Ryan heard these words rendered was a seminar. Consider the possibility that, in this seminar, there was already a good amount of scepticism, which had been aroused by the study of all the other prayers to this point. I have been to many seminars where the mood in the room is one where awkwardness or restlessness is expressed by laughter (I have never experienced anything quite like this in a solemn liturgy, although I have experienced it in ad hoc “liturgies”). It is my guess that the reaction of those attending the liturgy was quite different to what it would have been had these words been chanted or declaimed by the celebrant at the altar. Context, as I think I have mentioned before, is everything.

      But perhaps there is something I am missing here. Is there something “funny” about the phrase “spouse of the same Virgin” in the text above that I am not seeing?

      • Just so you know, I am working on the second book which deals with the prayers of the priest. I’ll try to leave no stone unturned without ending up with a final product the size of a phonebook.