St. Peters

The new translation of the Roman Missal

The USCCB website offers a summary of the changes to the Roman Missal now under preparation, comparing the new and existing translations. Unfortunately, it neglects to situate the translations in the appropriate context, which is (pace Fr. Zuhlsdorf): what does the prayer really say? Unless the changes are placed next to the latin editio typica text, readers may find the changes arbitrary, and are more likely to deem them needlessly inelegant and intrusive. The table below is intended to complete that provided by USCCB, to the benefit of the faithful generally and catechists particularly.

Changes in the people's Parts
PART OF MASS ORIGINAL LATIN (Roman Missal 2002 editio typica) PRESENT TEXT (1973 ICEL text) NEW TRANSLATION
Greeting

Priest: Dominus vobiscum.
People: Et cum spiritu tuo.

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.1
Penitential Act, form A (the Confiteor)

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti,
et vobis, fratres,
quia peccavi nimis,

cogitatione, verbo,
opere, et omissióne:
mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa;

ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Vírginem,
omnes Angelos et Sanctos,
et vos, fratres, orare pro me
ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault,

in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;

and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord, our God.

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,

in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
1

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Penitential Act, form B

Priest: Miserere nostri, Domine.
People: Qui peccavimus tibi.
Priest: Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.
People: Et salutare tuum da nobis.

Priest: Lord, we have sinned against you: Lord, have mercy.
People: Lord, have mercy.
Priest: Lord, show us your mercy and love.
People: And grant us your salvation.

Priest: Have mercy on us, O Lord.
People: For we have sinned against you.
Priest: Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
People: And grant us your salvation.
Gloria

Glória in excélsis Deo
et in terra pax homínibus bonae voluntátis.

Laudámus te. Benedícimus te. Adorámus te. Glorificámus te. Grátias ágimus tibi propter magnam glóriam tuam. Dómine Deus, Rex caeléstis, Deus Pater omnípotens.

Dómine Fili Unigénite, Iesu Christe,
Dómine Deus, Agnus Dei,
Fílius Patris
,
qui tollis peccáta mundi,
miserére nobis;
qui tollis peccáta mundi,
súscipe deprecatiónem nostram.
Qui sedes ad déxteram Patris,
miserére nobis.

Quóniam tu solus Sanctus.
Tu solus Dóminus.
Tu solus Altíssimus, Iesu Christe.
Cum Sancto Spíritu, in glória Dei Patris. Amen.

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world,
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.

We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer
;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Nicene Creed

Credo in unum Deum,
Patrem omnipoténtem,
factórem cæli et terræ,
visibílium ómnium et invisibílium.

Et in unum Dóminum Iesum Christum,
Fílium Dei unigénitum,
Et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sæcula.
Deum de Deo, lumen de lúmine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
Génitum, non factum,
consubstantiálem Patri:
per quem ómnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos hómines, et propter nostram salútem
Descéndit de cælis.
Et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto
Ex María Vírgine:

et homo factus est.
Crucifíxus étiam pro nobis sub Póntio Piláto
passus, et sepúltus est.
Et resurréxit tértia die,
secúndum Scriptúras.

Et ascéndit in cælum: sedet ad déxteram Patris.
Et íterum ventúrus est cum glória,
iudicáre vivos et mórtuos,
cuius regni non erit finis.

Et in Spíritum Sanctum,
Dóminum et vivificántem:
Qui ex Patre Filióque procédit.
Qui cum Patre et Fílio simul adorátur et conglorificátur:
Qui locútus est per prophétas.

Et unam, sanctam, cathólicam
et apostólicam Ecclésiam.
Confíteor
unum baptísma in remissiónem peccatorum.
Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum,
Et vitam ventúri sæculi. Amen.

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary
,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in fulfillment of the Scriptures
;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic
and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

I believe in one God,2
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father;3
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit
was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
3
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

And in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

And one, holy, catholic
and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Apostles' Creed

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem,
creatorem caeli et terrae,
et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum,
Dominum nostrum,
qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto,
natus ex Maria Virgine,
passus sub Pontio Pilato,

crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus,
descendit ad ínferos;
tertia die resurrexit a mortuis;
ascendit ad caelos,
sedet ad dexteram Patris omnipotentis,
inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.

Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,
sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem,
remissionem peccatorum,
carnis resurrectionem,
vitam aeternam.
Amen

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son,
our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again
to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son,
our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died and was buried;
he descended into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there he will come
to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.

Suscipiat Dominus

Suscípiat Dóminus sacrifícium de mánibus tuis,
ad láudem et glóriam nóminis sui,
ad utilitátem quoque nostram totiúsque Ecclésiæ suæ sanctæ.

May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands,
for the praise and glory of his name,
f or our good, and the good of all his Church.

May the Lord accept the sacrifice
at your hands,
for the praise and glory of his name,
for our good and the good of all his holy Church.

Sursum Corda
Priest: Dóminus vobíscum.
People: Et cum spíritu tuo.
Priest: Sursum corda.
People: Habémus ad Dóminum.
Priest: Grátias agámus Dómino Deo nostro
People: Dígnum et iústum est.

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.1
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right and just.

Sanctus

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra glória tua.
Hosánna in excélsis.
Benedíctus, qui venit in nómine Dómini.
Hosánna in excélsis.

Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Mystery of Faith (formerly the Memorial Acclamation)

Priest: Mysterium fidei.

People:

(i) Mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine, et tuam resurrectionem confitemur, donec venias.
(ii) Quotiescumque manducamus panem hunc et calicem bibimus, mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine, donec venias.
(iii) Salvator mundi, salva nos, qui per crucem et resurrectionem tuam liberasti nos.

Priest: Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

People:

(i) Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.
(ii) When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.
(iii) Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Savior of the World.
or (iv) Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Priest: The mystery of faith.

People:

(i) We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.
(ii) When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.
or (iii) Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.
Sign of Peace

Priest: Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.
People: Et cum spiritu tuo.

Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
People: And also with you.

Priest: The peace of the Lord be with you always.
People: And with your spirit.1

Ecce Agnus Dei

Priest: Ecce Agnus Dei,
ecce qui tollit peccata mundi.
Beati qui ad cenam Agni vocati sunt.

All: Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea

Priest: This is the Lamb of God
who takes away the sins of the world.
Happy are those who are called to his supper.

All: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Priest: Behold the Lamb of God,
behold him who takes away
the sins of the world.
Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.

All: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

A few words on the translation as a call to unity and catechesis

As a postscript, it should be noted that not everyone is happy with the new translation.4 While I am not wholly unsympathetic to their concerns, I want to respectfully address a few words to them.

We should not be dismayed. Yes, change is difficult, and—truth be told—not everything in the new translation is as I would have preferred, given my druthers.5 Nevertheless, there is so much more good in it than there is problematic. Vatican II's call for liturgical renewal can be misread,6 and the council surely never supposed translation would be a vehicle for liturgical disintegration. Its watchword was aggiornamento, not disgregamento.

One need only look at the table above, however, even without a deep grasp of latin, to see that there are differences. Granted, some of us may prefer the current formulations, from either inertia or considered preference.7 We might prefer to say "we believe" rather than "I believe" in the creed, for instance, but all will agree that there is a difference. Should we not also be willing to consider at least the possibility that these differences undermine the liturgical unity of the Church?8

Let me be franker still: in the context of the Mass, I love the collective "we believe." There is value in the collective confession of faith of the entire assembled congregation. Is there not, however, great value also in saying "I believe" along with the entire Church, assembled spiritually? As the Bishops have noted in another context, "[t]he Mass is not simply a private encounter between an individual and Jesus Christ. In a mystical manner, the whole Church is present in every celebration of the Mass, including the angels and the martyrs and saints of all ages.”9 And in any event, does the atomic "I" rather than the collective "we" really detract from the former so very much?10

With this in mind, we should be able to appreciate fully the Congregation for Divine Worship's command that in translating the missal, "the greatest care is to be taken to maintain the identity and unitary expression of the Roman Rite, not as a sort of historical monument, but rather as a manifestation of the theological realities of ecclesial communion and unity."11 This is about unity.12 It is about what the prayer really says, and offering the same prayers as our brothers and sisters in Christ across the world; many languages, one prayer. "I beseech you, brethren," says St. Paul, "by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no schisms among you…."13

The new translation has laudable goals: liturgical unity in the universal Church. And I submit that on this matter, Roma locuta est, ideo, causa finita est. The new translation is going to happen, like it or not. We should therefore see those things in the new translation that trouble us as water over the dam, and more than that, see the entire enterprise as a golden opportunity for catechesis.

-Simon Dodd, Dec. 15, anno nostræ salutis 2009.


Footnotes

1. See Liturgiam Authenticam (2001), no. 56:

Certain expressions that belong to the heritage of the whole or of a great part of the ancient Church, as well as others that have become part of the general human patrimony, are to be respected by a translation that is as literal as possible, as for example the words of the people’s response Et cum spiritu tuo, or the expression mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa….

2. See id., no. 56:

The Creed is to be translated according to the precise wording that the tradition of the Latin Church has bestowed upon it, including the use of the first person singular, by which is clearly made manifest that “the confession of faith is handed down in the Creed, as it were, as coming from the person of the whole Church, united by means of the Faith.”
(Footnotes and internal quotation marks omitted.)

3. See id., no. 50(a) ("In translating words of greater theological significance, an appropriate degree of coordination should be sought between the liturgical text and the authoritative vernacular translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church….").

4. Bishop Trautman in particular has made no secret of his objections. See, e.g., Bishops split over Mass translation, in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, Nov. 16, 2009; 'Slavishly literal' translation of missal criticized, in the National Catholic Reporter, Oct. 26, 2009.

5. See, e.g., And With Your (Not Thy) Spirit, at New Liturgical Movement, Nov. 24, 2009. Some of the changes, moreover, seem to border on the pedantic. For instance: Was it really necessary to substitute "my sacrifice and yours" for "our sacrifice" in the suscipiat Dominus? The Holy See has told us what it expects of translations. They are not an opportunity for "creative innovation," but a commission to

render[] the original texts faithfully and accurately into the vernacular language. While it is permissible to arrange the wording, the syntax and the style in such a way as to prepare a flowing vernacular text suitable to the rhythm of popular prayer, the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses. Any adaptation to the characteristics or the nature of the various vernacular languages is to be sober and discreet.
Liturgicam Authenticam, no. 20. If these goals are our masters for the translation, are they in any way ill-served or disobeyed by declining to split the "our"/"your and mine" hair? If anything, are they not ill-served by splitting the hair, since doing so provide critics of the new translation with an opening, sowing seeds of discord in a project whose purpose is unity (or rather, liturgical unification)?

6. See, e.g., Fr. Michael Ryan, What If We Said, 'Wait'?, in America, Dec. 14, 2009. Legitimate debate is often hampered by terminological imprecision, and the term "Vatican II" can sometimes fall into that category. It seems to me that it is sometimes—perhaps subconsciously—misused as a pars pro toto for the entire complex of changes that took place in the Church during that era, including not only what the council said (e.g. changes to the liturgy), but also those things that it at least arguably set in train (e.g. the comprehensive vernacularization of the liturgy), and even those things about which the council said nothing but which coincided with it (e.g. the de facto normalization of communion in the hand, or disuse of the maniple). Thus, Fr. Ryan's criticism of the tension between the new translation and "Vatican II" depends for much of its force on our willingness to treat the 1973 ICEL translation as an integral part of "Vatican II." Yet what the Second Vatican Council itself said about the liturgy was this:

[T]he use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites … [b]ut since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. … Translations from the Latin text into the mother tongue intended for use in the liturgy must be approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned above.
Sacrosanctum Concilium (1963), no. 36; accord id., no. 54 ("a suitable place may be allotted [in Masses celebrated with a congregation] to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and "the common prayer," but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts which pertain to the people…. Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them"); cf. Veterum Sapienta (1962). This is not to deny, of course, that the council mandated significant changes to the liturgy, see Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 50., but the changes it envisioned were global, changes to the editio typica liturgy, not liturgical disintegration by translation.

7. The latter is not an irrelevant consideration. Cf. Liturgiam Authenticam, no. 64 ("Without real necessity, successive revisions of translations should not notably change the previously approved vernacular texts of the Eucharistic Prayers which the faithful will have committed gradually to memory.").

8. Fr. Richard Kaley has said, in another context, "if you want to know what we believe, look at the prayers; we pray what we believe." Surely, then, we must agree that what we pray is of paramount importance. Granted, one does not foresee schism over the distinction between "in fulfillment of the Scriptures" vs. "in accordance with the scriptures," but it should be kept in mind that the first great schism was over the addition of one word to the creed. See The Filioque: a very basic introduction, at De unione ecclesiarum, Dec. 7, 2009.

9. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper (2006), at 12.

10. But cf. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity 47-51 (3d ed. 2000).

11. Liturgicam Authenticam, no. 5 (footnote omitted); cf. C.C.C. ¶¶ 814-14 and 820-21.

12. It is thus fitting that it should take place in the pontificate of Benedict XVI, in some circles already being called "the Pope of Christian Unity." See, e.g., The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, at The American Catholic, Nov. 22, 2009; The Pope of Christian Unity, at Vox Cantoris, Nov. 13, 2009.; Whose Ecumenism?, at What Does The Prayer Really Say?, Oct. 22, 2009.

13. 1 Cor 1:10 (DRV).