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Sunday, 4 September 2011

First Sunday with the real translation

For about two-thirds of my life, ever since the introduction of the old ICEL translation, I have argued and written that we should have an accurate translation of the Missal for Mass in English. This morning for the first time, I was able to celebrate Mass in English at which we used a decent translation of the Gloria, the Creed, and the Domine non sum dignus. Although I have joined others in looking forward to this development and defending it, nevertheless, I was rather moved to be able to use it fully for the first time. All my priestly life, I have had to celebrate English Mass with a dumbed-down, lame duck translation.

Of course, many people have been sanctified by their participation in the Mass using this translation but if you have even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin, it is frustrating to know that the people are being denied the richness of the Church's sacred texts. For most ordinary people not involved in ecclesiastical politics, there will be no problems. In a few weeks they will be used to the new translation and beginning to learn it by heart.

For priests it will be a much enhanced text for that catechesis which must, in the present time, form a large part of our preaching. This morning I preached on the word "consubstantial", including some historical background to the Council of Nicea. I promised the children that I would also include an account of a battle, and therefore went briefly into the dispositions of the troops at the battle of the Milvian Bridge. I thought afterwards that I should have set a competition essay on "How should Maxentius have drawn up his troops?" For a few weeks we will have to make do with an interim Missal but that is a small price to pay. I look forward eagerly to the delivery of my new Missals from the CTS.
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