Musings on the Mass - The New Translation (Part II)
Over the past week I have had the opportunity to not only celebrate the Mass using the texts of the new translation, but also to observe several other priests celebrate as well, and I could not help but note something, which is perhaps so obvious as to be overlooked. In my last posting on the new translation, I observed that the new words carried a certain passion about them, something which I was very glad to see and experience. The implication of course being, that seeing the passion in the new words, it became that much more painfully obvious that the old translation was very much bereft of passion. That being said, there is (and I'm sure just about everyone would agree on this point) also a high level of solemnity to the new translation, a gravitas to the new words, a level of formality to the prayers not experienced since the introduction of the Missal of Paul VI into the vernacular. Having observed several of my brother priests celebrating with this new translation something becomes apparent. The old translation begot (in some priests) a rather casual manner of celebrating the Mass, congruent with the more casual language of the text. Having that same causal manner of celebrating imported into the new text now causes a rather significant incongruity, I think. Similarly, the hymns which have accompanied the celebration of Mass for the last several decades, especially those by the triumvirate of Marty Haugen, David Hass, and Lucien Deiss, now seem rather out of place, as we seem to be constantly switching back and forth between sing-songy hymns and the elevated language praising the transcendent God of the Missal. Perhaps the new translation will begin now to have an ever broader effect, both to the ars celebrandi of priests, and to the musical selections by choirs, as we look towards the future of the Roman Rite, and the way we celebrate the praise and worship of our Almighty God.