Hello all. Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Thursday."
As I mentioned yesterday, we did receive some news from the Bishops Committee on Divine Worship on Tuesday of this week. Not much new to report. There was one item that has garnered lots of interest and opinions over on Pray Tell. That was the decision from the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome that the texts of the celebrant's prayers in the new English translation of the Missale Romanum not be pointed. For those of you who don't know what pointing is, it's pretty simple. Pointing is a system that is employed to mark the texts of the prayer so that the celebrant, who is chanting the prayer, knows when to move the pitch, based on the given formulaic tone for the chanting of the prayers. This would have greatly assisted priests in the singing of the Mass. I agree with those who think that this is a very unfortunate development, or rather "undevelopment." We are to assume that this decision is probably based on the wishes of the congregation that editions of the missal in the vernacular look as close to the original Latin missal as possible, and the Missale Romanum has no pointing of these texts.
I know that my own liturgical life has been enriched by my own pastor's choice to chant the sign of the cross and the greeting, as well as the preface dialogue and the preface at Mass on Sunday, as well as portions of the Eucharistic Prayers during some seasons of the Church year. This is a uniquely Catholic sound in my own ears. Where else, in human communication are we chanting at each other? It lifts the texts to a more profound level; into what sounds like a more sacred realm. Anything, anything that we can do to support our bishops and priests in the singing of the Mass should be a top priority. The Vatican congregation must have its own motivations for the decisions made about the missal; clearly it seems they have missed the boat on this one.
Is anyone else who reads this blog as frustrated as I am about all of this? I know that in another year, we will actually have the missal in hand (although that is beginning to sound like a less realistic expectation), and that what we have is what we have. And we know that the Church has gone through this kind of thing before. Perhaps it was easier when communication was not so instant; when we didn't have e-mail, when there were no blogs, when there was no instant posting to web sites. Perhaps before all of this technology the process was as complex as it is now, with its unexplainable and sometimes secretive twists and turns. Maybe not knowing about all of that was a better thing. But this is a new world with so much at our disposal to assist God's people.
Still hopeful here, but that hope is getting chiseled away bit by bit. Thank God that God is God and we are not.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.