The Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has approved the new English-language translation of the Order of the Mass submitted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The Order of the Mass, which is the first section of the translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, includes most of the texts used in every celebration of the Mass, including the responses given by the people.
The new translation is more literal at times. For instance, the first line of the Sanctus, which follows the Consecration, reads “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts,” instead of “God of power and might.” The people’s response at the Ecce Agnus Dei (Behold the Lamb of God) is to be “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed,” which more closely follows the Scripture passage on which it is based.
The response “et cum spiritu tuo,” previously translated as “also with you,” is now translated as “and with your spirit,” while the Confiteor (Penitential Rite) now includes the text “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”
A letter from Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said the text is provided now so that there is enough time “for the pastoral preparation of priests, deacons and for appropriate catechesis of the lay faithful. It will likewise facilitate the devising of musical settings for parts of the Mass.”
The new text is covered under copyright law and the Statutes of the International Commission on English and the Liturgy.
The release date of the entire translation of the Roman Missal is not yet available, and liturgists contacted by CNA were hesitant to comment on the new translations until the U.S. Bishops’ Conference offers its explanation, which is expected sometime in early August.
The new translation is meant to give Catholics a greater awareness of the transcendent nature of the Mass, to elevate the language with which worship is offered to God and to more accurately reflect the original Latin prayers.
Bishop Arthur Sarretelli, who chairs the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, recently described the purpose of the changes, writing, “By the very fact that, in some instances, the new translations require thoughtful and careful attention to pauses when speaking helps to foster and create a less rushed and more reverent way of praying.”
He added that, “Liturgical language should border on the poetic. Prose bumps along the ground. Poetry soars to the heavens. And our Liturgy is already a sharing of the Liturgy in heaven.”