Saturday, November 26, 2011
Reform of the Roman Missal
I attended the 5pm vigil mass at my parish. The new words were very beautiful and inspiring... but the overall anticipation for this event let me down a little. I was looking forward to saying the Confiteor, with the "mea culpa", but we skipped over it and went right to the Kyrie. Although I don't blame him, the priest didn't seem well rehearsed with the new words and stammered quite a bit. And there was the Andrew Lloyd Webber hymnal that bogged the celebration down. One nice thing was when the parish said "And with your spirit" the very first time, very loud and confident.
But overall, I hope in the weeks to come, the priests will get more used to the new words, and not stumble so much, and we may get better music... perhaps even chant. And hopefully we will get to say the Confiteor soon.
There are critics on the left who say the older 1970 paraphrase translation is more understandable, and there are critics on the right who say it doesn't matter how they improve the translation because only the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is pleasing to God. While I am fond of the Extraordinary Form (the 1962 Missal of Blessed John XXIII), I don't know if simply going back to it exclusively is something that would be accepted by the ordinary Catholic, unless it is gradually done over a generation. Even I don't think I could attend the Extraordinary Form exclusively, due to the somewhat confusing nature of it, not so much due to the Latin, but because much of it spoken by the priest in a low voice, having the people sit there in silence, reading the English translation missalettes on their own. The plan of Pope Benedict XVI seems to be to gradually merge the Novus Ordo of Paul VI and the 1962 Missal of Blessed John XXIII together. The new English translation of the Missal of Paul VI seems to be step 1. Some years later, step 2 may be a hybrid Mass, perhaps based on the 1965 Missal. After a decade or so of that, then it would be feasible to think the 1962 Missal could be restored as the only form, slightly revised to include more vernacular, less "sotto voce", and to fit the newer liturgical calendar and three year cycle of readings.
But for now, I am looking forward to the new English translation of the Ordinary Form, and excited to see the celebration of it become better and more fluid, and just maybe, priests may start saying the Eucharistic Prayer ad orientem.