Office of Worship
2. Reasons for the New Translation
The revised rite of the Mass was promulgated in 1970 following Vatican II. The English translation of the Mass was published in 1973. At that time the translators were very careful that the meaning of the Latin was retained when translated into modern English. [Translators were working from a translation theory of “dynamic equivalence” known as Comme le prevoit issued from Rome in 1969.]
The English translation of the Mass has been in place for over forty years. Two generations of Catholics have grown up knowing the prayers of the Mass only in English. Certainly there is greater participation of the faithful in the celebration of Mass since Vatican II: responses, prayers, intercessions, acclamations, singing, postures, gestures and even active participation in the silences. But much has happened in the last forty years, including advances in theology and biblical scholarship, development and critique of liturgical translation as a science and an art form, and over forty years of liturgical experience with English translations which allows for the possibility of reflection and improvement.
Building on the foundation of forty years of liturgical celebration of Mass texts in English, new criteria for the translation of liturgical texts have been developed. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDWDS) issued Liturgiam authenticam in 2001 to help translators render vernacular translations as close to the original content and structure of the Latin text as possible.
The new translation of the Roman Missal, based on the principles outlined above and expected to be implemented in 2010, exhibits the following advantages:
- The new English translation is closer to the original Latin text.
- The new translation is incorporates more Scripture texts.
- The new translation presents a richer theology of Incarnation and Church (ecclesiology).
Implementation of the new translation of the Roman Missal will contribute to greater uniformity of liturgical celebrations throughout the Church. One prayer, though many languages mirrors St. Paul’s theology of One Body of Christ made up of many parts.
Director, Office of Worship
Diocese of Shreveport