New Mass a challenge: Archbishop Coleridge

Canberra Archbishop Mark Coleridge, a member of a Holy See committee for revising a new English translation of the Latin Missal, has called for patience during a "messy transition time" as Catholics get used to the new translation which he says "offers great riches".

Writing from Cape Town where he was attending a meeting of the International Commission for the Preparation of an English Language Lectionary, Archbishop Coleridge said that the different words of the new translation "will take some learning".

"This is not a matter of just tinkering with words or fiddling while Rome burns," he wrote in this month's Catholic Voice.

"The language we use at Mass is a crucial factor in shaping our spiritual lives, our relationship with God in the Church, our mission in the world.

"The Bishops hope to provide in the new Missal words that are richer and deeper because they pass on to us more of the vast treasures of the Catholic faith through the ages," the biblical scholar said.

According to Archbishop Coleridge, "the whole point of liturgical reform at the Second Vatican Council was to generate new energy for mission".

"'New Missal for new mission' is not a bad motto for us all as we approach this new threshold in the ongoing journey of liturgical renewal in the Church," added the Canberra prelate, who also chairs the Australian Bishops' Commission for Liturgy and was a personal chaplain to the late Pope John Paul II.

Archbishop Coleridge also defended the earlier post-Vatican II translation as a quick response by the Holy See to the demand for the Mass in English.

"The Missal and all the other liturgical books were very quickly translated from Latin into English, and those first translations have been used since the late 1960s. But very early on, it was recognised that there would have to be a revision.

"The first translations were OK for the time being, but there was a need for much better", the Archbishop said.

He says the new translation project is intended to ensure that the English Mass is closer to the Latin original.

Anticipating resistance to the new translation, he tells the faithful to expect a different Missal "from what we have known".

"There will be some who say that because it's different, it's no good," the prelate said. "But a little bit of patience through a messy transition time will show that the new Missal offers great riches."

Latest phase of Vatican II journey (Catholic Voice, February 2007)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Archbishop Mark Coleridge (Catholic-Hierarchy)
Archbishop Mark Coleridge (Canberra-Goulburn)
Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments
Australian Bishops' Commission for Liturgy

Vatican says Jesus died for all but correct Mass translation is "for many" (CathNews, 23/11/06)
US Bishops approve new Mass translation (CathNews, 19/6/06)

1 Feb 2007

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