Thanks to Fr. Jay Finelli (my pastor) for his kind permission to post his Pastor's Corner column for this weekend. A little over a month ago, our bishop, the Most Reverend Thomas J. Tobin wrote of liturgical changes in his bi-weekly column, Without a Doubt, which appears in the Providence Visitor.
Our own Nick asked me via comment in the Bp. Tobin post:
Nice article. If Fr. Finelli shares the letter Bp. Tobin sent to the pastors, please give us the highlights as well.
I never did get anything from Fr. Finelli on the Bp. Tobin take, but the iPadre has a take of his own, which I now share with you, our readers. In my opinion, this article is excellent, and resembles a similar catechesis used when Father gave the good people of Holy Ghost Church their first tastes of Latin (some for the first time ever, some for the first time since Vatican II). He pointed out the documents just as they are, just as he does here. Nothing gets hosed down for the sake of political correctness.
"The Latin liturgical texts of the Roman Rite, while drawing on centuries of Ecclesial experience in transmitting the faith of the Church received from the Fathers, are themselves the fruit of the liturgical renewal, just recently brought forth. In order that such a rich patrimony may be preserved and passed on through the centuries, it is to be kept in mind from the beginning that the translation of the liturgical texts of the Roman Liturgy is not so much a work of creative innovation as it is of rendering 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 rythym 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." (Liturgiam Authenticam, #20)
By now, I am sure that you have heard that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has approved the new translation of the Roman Missal. That is the official book of prayers and responses for the celebration of Mass in the English language. The Bishops voted overwhelmingly, 173-29, to approve the changes. The new Sacramentary will now go to Rome for final approval and modifications.
Since the Bishops' approval of the new translation on June 15th, various new agencies have been putting a spin on this story. Some have quoted one Bishop as saying that this will be a very difficult transition since we have been using the current translation almost 30 years. However, this is a very minor update to the prayers we use for the celebration of Holy Mass. Just think back to the years after Vatican II. We changed from Latin to vernacular and the Roman Missal, which was used for some 1500 years, was changed from the ground up. That was a major change!
Indeed, any change is difficult, but as good Roman Catholic Christians, I am sure we will all be more than willing to accept and conform to any change called for by the Holy Father. When the new ritual is approved, we will have time to explain the changes and prepare to celebrate the Mass with the new translation. Until that time, let us open our hearts to the workings of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
God love you,
Father Finelli has many other great Pastor's Corner articles here. Thank you again, Father, for letting me share this with our readers at Christus Vincit.