Tuesday greetings from Chicago, where we awoke to about an inch of snow on the ground. It is actually quite beautiful, but it should all be melted in a matter of hours. The view on the train platform this morning:
While away on vacation last week the new CARA survey on The Roman Missal was released. Frankly, I did not find any of the findings that surprising. In my travels, I have noticed that the majority of priests over forty have expressed dismay with the text; younger priests have generally expressed satisfaction with the text.
I would like to share more of my own experience. It is becoming increasingly more difficult for me to pray with the celebrant at Sunday Mass when the official texts are prayed. I am listening so intently to the words and phrases that I am too distracted to actually pray. Sometimes I try to tune out the praying of the collect, for instance, just so I won't get bogged down in trying to figure out what the prayer is actually saying. This saddens me. Since I have been somewhat of a "travelin' man" Catholic for the last year, I have had experiences of excellent celebrants who have prepared the texts quite well. But even then, I find myself being impressed more by their preparation and delivery than by the texts themselves. I knew, certainly, that this would be the case for me as the implementation of the new translation began to unfold. But I expected this not to be the case today, a few years later.
I am speaking from my Catholic heart here, not my publisher heart. I believe that something needs to change in the next several years. I need the English-language texts of the Mass to make sense when they are prayed. I need the English-language texts of the Mass to inspire me at face value, without having to decipher the meaning embedded in a convoluted word-order. I need the English-language texts of the Mass to draw me deeper into the theology they express in much more straightforward ways. I am growing tired of doing linguistic analysis at Mass. I am not there to analyze; I am there to pray with my sisters and brothers. Something's gotta change.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.