Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Mass

Here is a NYT article on the new English-language Catholic liturgy. Apparently starting in November all Masses in English will slightly change the language used. The motivation is to bring the liturgy closer to the original Latin. So instead of translating "Dominus vobiscum/ Et cum spiritum tuum" to "The Lord be with you/ And also with you" it will go to a more literal "And with your spirit". I understand the motivation to make the liturgy more standard, more universal across cultures. Hell, often I'd even prefer for us to go back to the original Latin Tridentine Mass for everyone. But the change in language in the English Mass will be problematic. Critics say it sounds more cumbersome, less English. For me in particular, it will be really odd to change from the Mass I grew up with, the Mass I've known all my life, to a different version. Surely no bigger of a change than my mother experienced going from the pre-1960s Latin to the Novus Ordo Mass in English, but at least in that case people were going from one familiar thing (the centuries-old Latin Mass) to another familiar one (their own native tongue). This new change though will go from a familiar Mass to a new one using less natural language. My situation is particularly tough because I no longer live in the States. The Mass I regularly hear is in Spanish, so when I go back to Chicago a few weeks every year, I already have trouble remembering some prayers in English. Now I'll be really lost.

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