Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Translation Tuesday: Come, Holy Spirit!

Welcome to this post-Pentecost edition of "New Translation Tuesday."

I have heard that there are parishes somewhere in the world that have an interesting custom on Pentecost Sunday. As people leave the parish church, someone begins dropping red rose petals on the heads of the parishioners. The symbol here of course is the "tongues of flame" coming to rest on the heads of the disciples and the Blessed Virgin Mary on that first Pentecost. Yesterday, I discovered a video on another site. At the Pantheon in Rome, it is just awesome to see what happens. The petals are dropped through the oculus in the ceiling. I have only been in the Pantheon once. It was a very cold and very rainy day in November. The rain just fell right through the oculus and onto the floor of the massive building. Birds fly around the interior; it's quite an experience, but pales in comparison to what occurs on Pentecost Sunday. Have a look.

Pretty cool, huh?

I wanted to share some more of the responses to our survey about the new translation of the Missale Romanum. If you haven't had the chance to take the survey, consider doing so now by clicking here. I am doing this so that you can get a sense of what people are saying. Here are three comments:

1. I am part of the Roman Missal Task Force for the Archdiocese of San Francisco and I am close colleague with the Director of Worship for San Jose, CA. With the combination of the two resources, I hope to acquire appropriate, sound and helpful resources for this momentous occasions.
I also plan to think more positively of it, instead of groan. If I show more a positive reception, hopefully the assembly's I work for will catch on. It will take a while, but I have faith that the Spirit will be working.

2. We will continue to use some of the older mass settings where appropriate...I'm not going to re-teach Mass of Creation because one word has changed. This is foolish. We will use the old setting.

3. Until I am absolutely ordered by my ordinary to purchase a new Roman Missal book, in writing, I adamantly refuse to use the new translation.

I am noticing that there are many people who are beginning to take on the sentiments expressed in the first comment. Obviously this person had initial "groaning" about the whole issue, but it looks like now there is a certain amount of resignation, almost bordering on hope. I think that lots of people are finding themselves in this situation.

The second comment is quite interesting. It reflects a misconception, I believe. True, the first line of the Sanctus is little changed, but has this person taken a look at the new translation of the Gloria? And what if "Christ Has Died" does not appear in the missal? There are others who commented that they are simply not going to change musical Mass settings. Should be interesting . . .

And then there is the third comment. Folks, this person is not alone; several comments hint at this same sentiment.

I can only imagine some of the scenarios that will be played out in parishes. Parishioners will be hearing about the new translation because the media will undoubtedly make this the new big Catholic story. What happens in those places where the new texts are not being sung because the parish staff has decided to continue to sing the old texts? Parishioners will be confused. Arguments will break out.

What about those places where the pastor absolutely refuses to use the new translation? Do parishioners leave in droves? Does that parish attract people who think the whole idea of a new translation is foolish? Will there be parishes just a few miles (or blocks) where two different translations are being prayed?

Obviously, there is much, much work that needs to be done. The Church in the English-speaking world could be in big trouble.

I, for one, am joining my voice to the first commenter above, praying that the Spirit will be working, and working harder than ever.

Veni creator spiritus!

Comments welcome.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Adam said...

I will (again) simply repeat a comment I made about this topic over at NLM:

My criticisms of this issue have switched allegiances. I initially disagreed with the need of a new translation (Fr. Z has changed my mind on this point). Then I had issues on pastoral grounds- too hard, too complicated, so on and so forth.

I still have those issues, but chiefly now my criticism will be leveled against my fellow liberals who would complain and do things their own way, rather than implement the new translations in full in a spirit of obedience, charity, and unity.

(re: fellow liberals... okay, I really consider myself a moderate, and liturgical liberals really grate on me... but compared to the average R2 junkie I'm a flaming pinko kumbaya-singing Hi God! liturgical dancer)

Inasmuch as anyone cares what little ol' layperson me has to say on the matter:

Dear Priests: Whether you like it or not, please get with the program. I would rather go from parish to parish and find one unified translation I don't care for than 500 patchworked translations I still don't care for. Besides- isn't obedience in your job description?

Diezba said...

Dr. Galipeau,

The third comment appalls me, particularly if it comes from a priest. As a man who has made a solemn vow of "obedience," his sentiment is horrifying. Even we lay people are called, by the Second Vatican Council (and the Catechism of the Catholic Church) to "receive with docility" the teaching of the bishops.

There's a word for people who obstinately refuse to do what the Magisterium asks: "Protestant."

Todd said...

On the other hand, it could be a Matthew 21:28-32 moment.

Adam, I've thought we needed a new translation since before Fr Z was ordained. It took my first liturgy course in grad school to convince me.

I will implement because I can do it well, and because I'm committed to pastoral ministry. (It would be far more damaging for our students to worship along a pendulum from here to their family or post-graduation parishes.

That said, it might be a grace if the CDWDS were to trundle a bit along the spectrum from arrogance to docility themselves, and receive honestly and spiritually the input on the poverty of what we're going to continue to be working with. Such a statement would soften some hardened hearts. Colossians 3:21.

Liam said...


Nice try on the Matthew cite, but the commenter revealed no intention to do anything other than say no. Matthew would be apposite if he had affirmative intentions, et cet. That Matthew passage often gets misused in that way, so you're in good company.