It seems well to reflect on some of the comments written by those taking our survey on the revised translations of the Roman Missal. Keep in mind, the earliest shipping dates I have seen for the missals themselves are in September and October.
Q. How are these changes going to be introduced to children, especially young children, who are still learning parts of the Mass and trying to understand what they mean? What materials are religious ed/CCD teachers AND parents going to be given to help them explain the changes and what the words mean to the children?
Good question. The new translations will be an excellent opportunity for teaching, even if some of the words are more difficult for the children to pronounce. We're still reviewing the materials as they're printed and will select the best to use in both our Religious Education Program and our School. There are, as you may be aware, three separate Eucharistic prayers which can be used during masses for children which we use from time to time. I need clarity on whether these can be used after Advent, or which parts need to be changed. Stay tuned.
Q. In a time when attendance at Mass is plummeting, why is the church hierarchy spending resources re-translating the Mass instead of addressing some of the more fundamental problems facing the Church? Further, the translations have resulted in a more stilted, awkward dialogue -- not a dialogue that would increase a person's feeling of comfort and closeness communicating with God.
Interesting comment, but mass attendance in the US is not plummeting, it's been fairly constant for at least the last decade. It's dismally low, to be sure, but mass attendance entered a slow and reasonably steady decline from peaks in 1957/1959 beginning in the sixties. (See hyperlinks to CARA documents below)
It's premature to speculate on the fruits of the new translations, but I think it's fair to say that "comfort and closeness communicating with God" was not the aim of the new translations. For good or ill, a liturgical, Scriptural tone more attuned to the Church's official texts was the goal. Let us pray that our liturgical prayers bring us closer to God in all ways.
Q. Everything old is new again; makes earlier decisions look questionable; why, therefore, not these?
A: I doubt these translations are forever either, you're right. As spoken and written English changes, or if the priciples guiding the translations are changed, so will the text...just not quickly.
Comment: Won't make anyone more holy.
Response: No public liturgical prayer will automatically do so. The hope is that the more formal language will promote a spirit of reverence during the liturgy which will help our personal call to holiness. Let us hope.