Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Translation Thursday: How to Implement the New Translation

Hope you are enjoying a good Thursday, another "New Translation Thursday."

Just a quick comment and a question today. It has to do—once again—with the new musical settings of the Mass. We are not quite sure how the implementation of the new translation will occur. Will the BCDW (Bishops Committee on Divine Worship) issue a "may use the new translation" date, followed by a period of some duration before a "must use" date is promulgated? None of us is sure about this. If that were the case, how would you handle this in your parish? Some people have told me that they would begin using new musical settings, as well as all of the newly translated prayers and antiphons immediately upon a "may use" date. Others have said that they would use the "grace period," if there will be such a period, to introduce gradually the new settings and prayers in some kind of organized way. At least one bishop I know said simply that the people in parishes would be using the old translation one week, and then, the very next Sunday, all of the newly translated texts will be used.

I, for one, hope that parishes will teach the ICEL chant settings of the peoples' parts early in the process of implementation, as well as one setting that is either newly composed or one of the revised settings—as a start. How all this will play out will, of course, vary from parish to parish. You can trust that we here at WLP are working very hard to provide the singing and praying church with the very best newly composed and revised musical settings of the Mass.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Anonymous said...

Are these actual ideas being considered, or is this just conjecture. I haven't heard anything about a possible "grace period" where both could be used.

The Bishop you cited is stating what I have heard from at least two solid sources closely involved in this project: There will be a date when the new translations are to be used from then on exclusively... period.

That being said, I think the "grace period"...if initiated as part of a nation-wide coordinated program, could be a good thing. For three weeks, the new Gloria would be used with all other old texts, then the Creed could be added with the new Gloria and other old texts, followed by the new Sanctus...etc. This would only be needed (really) for the Ordinary texts.

Drawback: It would give the impression over a period of six months that things are constantly changing. It would need to be very carefully catechized and announced well in advance and explained thoroughly that new texts will be introduced every few weeks and what the goal is.

Unfortunately, a "grace period" not organized in such a way would, for a likely large number of parishes, just be an additional six months to put off using the new texts. After six months, the question would be "well...these texts had to be used six months ago, and we aren't using them yet, and nobody has said anything, so we'll just keep using the old texts" just like any other document not enforced.


Todd said...

I suspect that a final implementation date will be set months intot he future from the final recognitio. When the recognitio is in place and print text available, Catholics will probably be free to use the new translation.

Speaking for my parish, we have five Mass settings that may or may not be updated--publishers aren't telling. We will take the time we need--probably a year--to acquire music for the revised settings, or choose one or two new settings, learn them all, and implement as we go.

As for the clergy, no doubt there will be lots of shipping of new Sacramentaries from different publishers. Maybe they will also be available online. The printing process will also delay a final implementation, unless ICEL makes these texts available online and enterprising clergy take advantage.

As I said before, this translation seems an opportunity for Latin-based musicians like Chironomo to enjoy a bit of glee as circumstances "stick it" to other Catholics.

As for me, I take a little glee myself at the lack of forward thinking in commentary from the Catholic Right.

Anonymous said...

I for my part like the idea of the new translations coming into full use at the start of a new liturgical year. That is after all when many parishes change out the annual worship aids, and there is usually a shift in mass settings and such for Advent in any case. Further, Advent is a time for simplified music, so it would be good time to be start introducing new stuff.

I suppose the great question is how much time will be allowed between the text being made available to publishers and its being put into use? In the wider world of publishing putting out tens of thousands of copies of something in short order is not a serious problem, but it may very well be overwhelming to the rather limited Catholic liturgical publishing world.

It would seem that an excessive delay between publication and adoption would lead some to tend to jump the gun on the official start date, or for people not to give the transition its proper urgency and thus back-burner it for too long. On the other hand, too little time would mean no opportunity to make proper preparations.

Perhaps the ideal would be to let some parishes begin a bit early (like a month or so, but certainly not half a year), but all to move to the new translations by the start of the new liturgical year (whichever year that ends up being). For my part I do not like the idea of mixing the older versions with the newer, this is likely to lead to considerable confusion.

Keep in mind also we are a very mobile society. You can not assume that the people who attend the 10:30 mass one Sunday at a particular parish will be attending either that same mass or even the same parish the next. Thus, it would be best if all parishes worked on a time table that was reasonably well coordinated. Otherwise people would show up at a mass and be expecting the wrong version. Or worse yet you would have people going mass shopping based on which translation is in use, and that is certainly not something needed.


Anonymous said...


I think that a gradual implementation period would be a good thing. There's nothing in adopting the new translation that should "stick it" to anyone, whether left or right. Those who favor the use of Latin as a liturgical language neither benefit from, nor are in any way set back by this new translation. It's all about English, not Latin.

However, I haven't heard anything being mentioned as you have suggested, with a final implementation date at some point in the future with freedom to use the old texts and new texts once approved until that date. That hasn't been mentioned at all. The plan seems to be that there will be a definite date to start using the new texts and cease using the old.

And nobody would like to see actual forward thinking more than I... that's why I can't understand the sudden calls to "slow down" or "wait", even some to just continue using the old translation in defiance... that's "forward thinking"? Nice.


Anonymous said...

New musical translations should be permitted six months prior to a mandatory date to implement all texts.

It would make sense to introduce a new setting for the Preface, Memorial, and Eucharistic Amen acclamations (with the new translations), a new setting of Hymn of Praise (Glory to God), etc., gradually.

Once the new translation musical settings are known for the acclamations/hymns/litanies/prayers of the rite, then the rest of the spoken responses could be implemented on the final date.

The change may be less jarring if at least the musical settings are familiar ahead of time.

Anonymous said...

We will wait until the very last, possible moment to implement because this whole thing is silly. Talk about re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic!