Bad news for the critics of the new ICEL translation. No surprise for the rest of us.

This Saturday/Sunday is the liturgical 1st Anniversary of the implementation of the new, corrected ICEL translation in the USA.  I have been exchanging emails today about the findings of Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University concerning how the new translation has been received.  Their press release is HERE.

Bad news for the critics of the translation.  Anyone with common sense knew how this was going to turn out.

And then there is this:

84% agree or strongly agree from among those who go to Mass weekly or more often.

But keep looking.  Even among the rarely or nevers, 63% agree.

OORAH!

And there is this.  Look at the changes in 2012 (left) compared to 2011 (right):

And, back to the issue of how often people go to Mass…

Interesting.

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49 Responses to Bad news for the critics of the new ICEL translation. No surprise for the rest of us.

  1. Jason Brown says:

    You’ve misinterpreted the third box (immediately following “And there is this. Look at the changes in 2012 (left) compared to 2011 (right)”).

    It’s not 2012 on the left and 2011 on the right. It’s all 2012. The left column is total responses “agree” or “strongly agree” from 2012. The right column is just “strongly agree” from 2012. The bracketed numbers show percentage change from 2011.

    In fact, all of the numbers have decreased since 2011. Not sure what to make of that; I myself think the new translation makes the meaning of the prayers much clearer.

  2. wmeyer says:

    Do I hear Taps? A distant bugle? Just once, for the old books…..

  3. Jonathan Marshall says:

    Over at ‘Pray, Tell’ the liberals are scraping the barrel to explain away this result. People ‘didn’t understand the question’; the questions weren’t the right ones; people haven’t noticed that the words have changed; etc etc, blah blah blah.
    Losers.

  4. annmac says:

    Now we just need to get Priests to say it in Latin…oh, but that may be too much to hope for:D

  5. franktocarm says:

    Well, I disagree. I find the new collects harder
    To understand and the English grammar is
    Bad. I do not see the improvement at all.
    Our pastor uses the new Eucharistic Prayer
    For Special Need. It is much nicer than the
    Others. Word for word translation (in this case
    Latin to English )is not the best translation as
    Anyone familiar with biblical translation
    Knows. They should have had poets translate
    So it would be understandable and beautiful.
    And I don’t know where those people are who
    We’re interviewed for the survey…most people
    I know say The previous was easier to understand. I am talking about only
    The collects. The rest is good.

  6. APX says:

    @ annmac
    Now we just need to get Priests to say it in Latin…oh, but that may be too much to hope for:D

    Give it time. I personally know one priest who has been ordained for less than a year (I think we’re going into his 6th month). He knows Latin, and has the Latin 2012MR for celebrating Mass, and also plans on learning the EF Mass soon, but he needs a missal, and likely time. The parish he is an associate pastor at is just starting to use the Latin chant settings for the propers, and the possibility of celebrating a Mass ad orientem has recently been mentioned. I can see a Latin OF Mass being celebrated publicly in the future, especially given that every other language of Mass gets celebrated at some point in the diocese.

    Not to sound cliche, but patience is a virtue.

  7. Cincinnati Priest says:

    I would be very interested in not just the Mass-attendance breakdown, but the age breakdown of those who strongly agreed vs. disagreed.

    I would lay dollars to doughnuts betting that the huge majority of “strongly disagree” folks were on the more geriatric end of the spectrum (especially the 60-85 range — aging baby boomers and the generation slightly older than they).

    From my experience as a pastor, they are always the ones who complain the loudest about all of the changes the Church has been making recently.

  8. contrarian says:

    Yeah, but I’m really going to miss the Lame Duck ICEL for the Feast of St. Peter Claver.

    I mean, just for old time’s sake, we gotta revisit some of these beauties.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2011/09/reason-668948-for-the-new-corrected-translation/

    Classic.

  9. Charivari Rob says:

    Jason Brown, good catch on that third box. Both columns are indeed from 2012, the figure in parantheses showing that each entry has dropped a few percentage points in comparison to the 2011 responses.

    I would guess that one reason for some of those drops is that people are re-evaluating their understanding in light of the “new” translation.

  10. catholicmidwest says:

    The first graph is far more significant than that other two because it’s an objective question rather than being a within-group comparison like the others. There is a little bit of information at the end of the report on the sample population. Most of my questions really are around that, but then with surveys, they usually are. The new translation seems to be doing well among mass-goers, particularly frequent mass-goers, according to that poll. My own experience comprises only a few data points, but nevertheless, this doesn’t surprise me one bit, based on what I’ve seen in Church. Personally, I like it a LOT better.

    The last graph simply appears to say x, therefore x. People who go to mass weekly probably always get more out of it, and there can be a lot of reasons for that. Perhaps they are nurturing their faith with more vigor; perhaps they are more inclined to religious practice; perhaps they have learned how to listen….I mean, there are a lot of possible reasons. The real lesson to be had from that, I suppose, is that if you want to be a better Catholic, and you want to be able to worship better, practice aka observance is almost certainly a good thing. Some people would say that this is indicative of the new translation. Maybe. The new translation may key into the same things that cause a person to be that more observant or a more practiced person. But that’s a conjecture. There are ways to poll that can sort these things out.

  11. RomanticTradition says:

    This is interesting considering U.S. Catholic Magazine released a scathing review with a bombardment of readers giving unfair and unjustified hate and distaste to the changes, from that article alone I thought there was no hope for America’s Catholics….but then Fr. Z….

  12. RomanticTradition: “I thought there was no hope for America’s Catholics.”

    Since U.S. Catholic surveyed only its own readers, the more likely inference is that there’s little hope for the kind of “Catholic” who subscribes to U.S. Catholic (which might be considered a low-brow version of Father Z’s beloved Fishwrapper).

  13. benedetta says:

    Huh. The results of this study do not mesh well with frjim4321′s dire warnings about the effects of the new translation he posted continuously last fall. As a matter of fact, this study shows that people responded precisely opposite to his prediction.

  14. dominic1955 says:

    “Over at ‘Pray, Tell’ the liberals are scraping the barrel to explain away this result. People ‘didn’t understand the question’; the questions weren’t the right ones; people haven’t noticed that the words have changed; etc etc, blah blah blah.”

    Of course they are, not that long ago they were eminently confident that the whole enterprise was one gigantic pastoral flop and it was horribly received in their parishes and so must be everywhere else. Big suprise-the rank and file didn’t agree with the dissident ivory tower and dilettante liberal latinists. Maybe, just maybe, their little hang ups and “concerns” are just the manifestations of their own agendas…nah….

    Now, if you brought up the same thing about the change over from the old Mass to the new back in 1970, they’d pooh pooh the idea that the people didn’t really understand what was going on and that they accepted it out of obedience rather than some grant desire for it. No, of course that was one grand victory of a educated and proactive laity claiming their baptismal vocation or somesuch. In reality, if you do your homework, its not hard to find all sorts of agitators saying “Rome” said this or that and so that’s why we’re doing x, y, and z craziness so put up or shut up.

  15. dominic1955 says:

    They also constantly bellyached about how no one could get the responses down, etc. etc. ad nauseam. In my area, its pretty much just me who screws them up and has to still use the card-and that’s just because I go to the TLM or Byzantine Rite 90% of the time.

  16. frjim4321 says:

    Huh. The results of this study do not mesh well with frjim4321?s dire warnings about the effects of the new translation he posted continuously last fall. As a matter of fact, this study shows that people responded precisely opposite to his prediction.

    It is nice to be remembered so fondly.

    Was this one question part of a larger survey? I think Jack R on PRB raised some good questions from the aspect of social science. Anyway, I think Cara is about to be commissioned to do a detailed study of the VC2010.

    Indeed the question as raised was not even correct, it was a statement with a question mark.

  17. jhayes says:

    Jason Brown wrote:

    In fact, all of the numbers have decreased since 2011

    Which means that the percentage of people who agreed that “The words of the prayers recited by the priest and people make it easier for me to participate in the Mass.” dropped from 86% before the change to 79% after the change.

    The article confirms that the 2011 survey was taken before the changes were introduced

    “These findings are from a survey commissioned by the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University. A related series of questions were asked in a 2011 CARA Catholic Poll (CCP), before the revised liturgy was used.”

  18. jhayes says:

    Interesting comment from the report – the less you were aware that changes had been made the more likely you were to respond that the new translation iss a good thing.

    “Respondents were asked, “During an average Mass, would you say that you have noticed that the language of the prayers that are said during Mass have (1) remained about the same, (2) changed to a small extent, (3) changed to a moderate extent, or (4) changed to a great extent?” Four in ten respondents (40 percent) said they had noticed the language of these prayers had changed to a small extent and 23 percent said these had changed to a moderate extent. Only 6 percent said they noticed changes to a great extent and 31 percent said that the language of these prayers had remained about the same as far as they noticed. Those who have perceived less change are those most likely to agree that the new translation is a good thing. Among those who feel the language was changed to a great extent, a majority disagree that the new translation is a good thing (65 percent).”

  19. acardnal says:

    RomanticTradition, as Henry Edwards said, US Catholic is a nothing but a glossy “low-brow version . . . of Fishwrapper.” Better to cancel your subscription if you have one. It’s part of the problem not the solution.

  20. James Joseph says:

    Being a single, working fella, who attends whatever holy Mass he can get to.

    I am in the Diocese of Worcester so….

    I have yet to hear the new translation of the Gloria or the Credo nor the Roman Canon with any regularity, nor do the priests prayers except for the most essential line-up with what they words are the handy-dandy missal.

    So… yeah… I can’t wait until the translation really takes affect.

  21. BobP says:

    So how do those who never go even know what the translations sound like? I guess it’s remarkable they took time out to respond to the survey.

    And what is this blog’s objectives? One day a big promotion of keeping (all) Latin in the EF and OF and a couple of days later applauding some translation of that same Latin? If the Mass is kept in Latin, what does it matter what the translation is? When I watch a Papal Mass, I don’t want to hear a narrator speaking over the Latin, good translation or not.

  22. frjim4321 says:

    I am thrilled to hear that Mr. Edwards considers the NCR “high brow.”

    Interesting as we hear more about the CARA single-question survey results that it was evidently part of a larger survey and was taken long before the VC2010 was imposed.

  23. Southern Catholic says:

    This is good news, considering that the poll last year near the end of August from CARA stated that 75% of Catholics didn’t know about the new translation.

  24. rtjl says:

    The former translation may well have been easier to understand in the sense that the meaning of the English words is easier to understand compared to the English of the newer translation. I don’t think that’s true but I am prepared to let it stand. The problem in all to many cases, however, is that the meaning of the English in the newer translation doesn’t correspond to the meaning of the Latin: the translation is just plain wrong. What does it matter if something is easy to understand if it is wrong. 2 + 2 = 5 is easy to understand – but it’s wrong nonetheless.

  25. pjsandstrom says:

    It should be noted that ‘older people’ tend to be better/more thoroughly educated than the younger folk. And because of this fact and their experience the older folk tend to be more critical concerning what they hear — because they understand what they are hearing better.

    By the way, next week on December 8 listen for the reference to ‘prevenient grace’ in the “Prayer over the Offerings” and ask yourself, the people in Church with you, and the priest celebrant what that means? The answers might be revealing for those who are ‘uncritically’ present for this Mass Liturgy (and those who think this is a better translation) !

  26. The Masked Chicken says:

    “By the way, next week on December 8 listen for the reference to ‘prevenient grace’ in the “Prayer over the Offerings” and ask yourself, the people in Church with you, and the priest celebrant what that means?”

    Better, ask them who Duns Scotus is. The notion of prevenient grace is something that more Protestants know about than Catholics, especially if they have read any of the early Calvinist or Methodist writer.

    The Chicken

  27. The Masked Chicken says:

    This is a stupid poll, by the way, because only those who attend Mass at least weekly have a large enough sampling of the new translation to have an informed opinion.

    The Chicken

  28. acardnal says:

    pjsandstrom said, “By the way, next week on December 8 listen for the reference to ‘prevenient grace’ in the “Prayer over the Offerings” and ask yourself, the people in Church with you, and the priest celebrant what that means? The answers might be revealing for those who are ‘uncritically’ present for this Mass Liturgy (and those who think this is a better translation) !”

    I love it! Perfect opportunity to educate and catechize oneself and others. Worship of the transcendent, almighty God should not occur by “dumbing it (the liturgy) down” to the lowest common denominator.

  29. StWinefride says:

    Yes, acardnal, here’s one Catholic who had been doing just that – educating herself – when I saw your post!

    And here’s what I found from the Fifth Chapter of the Sixth Session of the good old Council of Trent:

    The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace.

    It’s also rooted in Augustinian Theology.

    God Bless!

  30. pjsandstrom says:

    All of that research is very fine and to be praised, also hunting down the ideas of Duns Scotus, but you do have to ask the same question: upon hearing that, what would the ordinary person in the Church whether Lay or Clergy make of it in midst of a prayer heard ‘once a year’ in a “prayer over the Offerings”? Historically, it was part of a rather esoteric argument over the ‘grace tract’ which was finally silenced by Rome. Is this ‘appropriate’ in a prayer — which of course the Holy Trinity understands — but what about the rest of the folks who hear it &/or pray it — and are puzzled?

  31. The Masked Chicken says:

    I am convinced that the majority of people in the Church do not know what it takes to be a committed Catholic. Not everyone needs to know what prevenient grace is in great detail, but, let’s be honest: ask the person next to you to name the Ten Commandments (the Catholic version – there are three standard versions). The ignorance in the pews is deep. The Internet and the modern apologetics movement is helping, but one must wonder how many of those who though the new translation was bad voted for Obama without informing their consciences properly. If every Church would start an apologetics group or even an apologetics corner in the bulletin, people might become better informed. Alas, will pastors allow this?

    The Chicken

  32. Hidden One says:

    pjsandstrom,

    Personally, if I don’t understand something that I care about, I look into it. If I don’t care about it, I may or may not bother to find out about it. I understand this to be a rather approach to things. If some (or many) people in the pews do care and don’t understand, they can find out (pretty easily). If they don’t care and don’t understand, why would we bother catering the text of the prayers to them anyway? After all, they don’t care!

    Besides all that, GIRM 65 provides for the homilist to explain Mass texts (of either the Ordinary or the Proper) in his homily – even to the point of such explanation being his homily. If he expects his congregation to miss something important in the Proper, he probably should at least make a note of it in his homily. If the priest himself doesn’t understand it, he really needs to look it up.

  33. CatholicMD says:

    Wow I looked at the comments over at praytell. That place is nuts. Talk about liberals in the wild. Not surprising since the priest who runs it teaches at Collegeville, MN. It was also fun to see one of the liberal priests from my home town post there. Half of the members of his parish left when he was transferred there over 10 years ago and his heretical teachings caused a couple of my friends to leave the Church. They are now agnostics.

  34. acardnal says:

    pjsandstrom, Unfortunately, I do not think many people in the pews listen to the words of any prayer said at Mass. The questions you ask about the word “prevenient” could be asked about most any word or prayer said at Mass. How many congregants read the prayers and readings before Mass? How many read the Prayer Over the Offerings? After all, that prayer is said by the priest. AND THAT is the problem. Not the words used, e.g. prevenient. Perhaps if the congregation did meditate on the prayers of the Mass beforehand, they would be better prepared to understand them during the Mass.

    Reverting to my previous post, the priest has a golden opportunity in his homily to educate his flock on “prevenient grace”.

  35. pjsandstrom says:

    One wonders how a ‘technical word’ of theological argumentation only found in the OED and dogmatic manuals can be properly explained in at a, presumably short, homily on a Saturday morning even to a reasonably well-educated assembly. ‘Prevenient grace’ is even less common in ordinary folks’ vocabularies than ‘consubstantial’ which at least would be in repeated use on most Sundays of the year — at least when one does not use the “Apostles Creed”. [Your suggestion does not even take into account the fact that the meaning of the Latin 'preveniere' in English has evolved to mean the opposite to what this text means (that is 'prevent' in all its forms). It seems the translators, even those smitten by "Liturgicam Authenticam," should have taken this into account. ]

  36. Kathy C says:

    That Lex orendi, lex credendi thing is really true. When I prayed “I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed” I felt sad. I couldn’t get past the first part. When I saw the explanation of the new translation I was amazed. That put such a different flavor on it. Rather than a platitude, I saw the centurion with such great confidence. I know it sounds foolish, but faith had always translated to me as belief. I believed, but I did not really have faith that Jesus would forgive me and find me acceptable. This new understanding has led me to a hugely greater faith and belief.

  37. acardnal says:

    pjsandstrom said, “It should be noted that ‘older people’ tend to be better/more thoroughly educated than the younger folk. And because of this fact and their experience the older folk tend to be more critical concerning what they hear — because they understand what they are hearing better.

    Wow! Talk about a generalization . . . .

    Let’s recall that it is the priest who is offering the holy sacrifice of the Mass whether he is in the presence of only one altar server or the pews are filled with 2000 faithful congregants reading every single word of the liturgy along with the priest (unlikely). It is he who says the prayers – preferably in Latin as the Church desires and offers the immolation of Jesus Christ on the altar. It is doubtful that neither the priest nor any of the popes nor any theologian has a complete understanding, let alone can fully express, such mysteries as prevenient grace, the Incarnation or the Holy Trinity. Nor can anyone fully understand what is happening on the altar. It is mystery. It is not necessary to understand but to believe, to have faith.

    The new translation is more faithful to the editio typica tertia than the previous and that’s as it should be. Moreover, there is no novelty in the new translation with using the words “prevenient grace.” It is used in the Traditional Latin Mass/EF liturgy in the Secret Prayer (or prayer over the offerings) for December 8th (gratia praeveniente). Aha! Perhaps that ‘s where Mother Church derived it from for the new translation of the Ordinary Form. How sneaky.

    Secret Prayer:
    Salutarem hostiam, quam in solemnitate Immaculatae Conceptionis beatae Virginis Mariae tibi, Domine, offerimus, suscipe et praesta: ut, sicut illam tua gratia praeveniente ab omni labe immunem profitemur: ita ejus intercessione a culpis omnibus liberemur. Per Dominum nostrum.

    Good enough for centuries, good enough for now, too.

  38. Hidden One says:

    pjsandstrom,

    “One wonders how a ‘technical word’ of theological argumentation only found in the OED and dogmatic manuals can be properly explained in at a, presumably short, homily on a Saturday morning even to a reasonably well-educated assembly.”

    Wikipedia is able to explain prevenient grace in a couple sentences.

  39. Gratias says:

    Here in Los Angeles Archbishop Gomez has supported the new translation fully. The result has been a greatly improved the Novus Ordo mass. For example, in 26 years of attending a liberal parish I had never heard the I confess prayed. We now even have the Agnus Dei sung from time to time, beats the Taste and see. I do agree that we are going to hear more and Latin in the OF. However, I have evolved and attend the EF 50% of the time now (even though this means driving 90 mins).

  40. jhayes says:

    acardnal wrote:
    It is used in the Traditional Latin Mass/EF liturgy in the Secret Prayer (or prayer over the offerings) for December 8th (gratia praeveniente). Aha! Perhaps that ‘s where Mother Church derived it from for the new translation of the Ordinary Form. How sneaky.

    I think it’s from he Council of Trent

    On the necessity, in adults, of preparation for Justification, and whence it proceeds.

    The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said
    Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus
    Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing
    on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from
    God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert
    themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating
    with that said grace: in such sort that, while God touches the heart of man by
    the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without
    doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able
    to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of
    God, to move himself unto justice in His sight. Whence, when it is said in the
    sacred writings: Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you, we are admonished of
    our liberty; and when we answer; Convert us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be
    converted, we confess that we are prevented by the grace of God.

    http://www.thecatholictreasurechest.com/trent.htm

  41. frjim4321 says:

    Not surprising since the priest who runs it teaches at Collegeville, MN.

    Actually he is also an international expert on chant of great repute who worked for ICEL and composed many of the chants in the current roman missal. He was unceremoniously dismissed for being one among several with the courage to tell the truth about the brutal process.

    How freeing not to pin one’s existence on the carrot of becoming a Msgr., bishop, or archbishop. How freeing to be perfectly willing to be buried in situ.

  42. acardnal says:

    jhayes, I was referring to the use of the phrase, the words, in the liturgy not its meaning. pjsandstrom’s implication has been that it (prevenient grace) should not be used in the liturgy. Thanks for your comment though because it helps elucidate its meaning.

  43. robtbrown says:

    The Masked Chicken says:

    “By the way, next week on December 8 listen for the reference to ‘prevenient grace’ in the “Prayer over the Offerings” and ask yourself, the people in Church with you, and the priest celebrant what that means?”

    Better, ask them who Duns Scotus is. The notion of prevenient grace is something that more Protestants know about than Catholics, especially if they have read any of the early Calvinist or Methodist writer.

    St Thomas wrote about prevenient grace before Duns Scotus was 10 years old. Duns Scotus is known for applying the concept to the possibility of the Immaculate Conception

  44. CatholicMD says:

    Fr Jim – Fr Ruff is a typical liberal with authority issues like you. He didn’t get his way at ICEL so he took his ball and went home.

  45. jaykay says:

    “How freeing to be perfectly willing to be buried in situ”.

    While retaining the freedom to make snarky remarks about “hierarchs”

    What I find disappointing is that our parish Mass leaflets do not include the propers. I’m going to buy a missal. The CTS one, I think. Mind you, with all the music books I have to manoeuvre around,being in the choir, I don’t know how I’ll manage it. Still, I can consult it beforehand, ut aptus sim ad sacra mysteria celebranda, sicut dicitur.

  46. pjsandstrom says:

    I want to be clear that I have not any difficulty with the correct usage of the words “prevenient grace” in regard to the Church’s understanding of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I am well aware that that phrase was used in the Latin text of the prayer in question — but I also note that in the quote given above (without reference) from the Council of Trent by ‘JHayes’ in the very last sentence uses ‘prevent’ in a way that if a modern reader of English reads it unwarned, it says just the opposite of what is meant: “Convert us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be converted, we confess we are prevented by the grace of God.” It is the obvious misunderstanding of this phrase for the comprehension for the modern English-speaking reader/listener that I wish that the “Liturgicam Authenticam” based translators could have avoided by finding a proper turn of phrase to carry the true sense of the text.

  47. frjim4321 says:

    Fr Jim – Fr Ruff is a typical liberal with authority issues like you. He didn’t get his way at ICEL so he took his ball and went home.

    Lol that is funny. He is quite traditional and a expert in chant. Hardly a liberal. He saw the ugly underbelly of the beast and spoke out. He is a white martyr.

  48. frjim4321 says:

    Fr Jim – Fr Ruff is a typical liberal with authority issues like you. He didn’t get his way at ICEL so he took his ball and went home.

    Lol that is funny. He is quite traditional and a expert in chant. Hardly a liberal. He saw the ugly underbelly of the beast and spoke out. He is a white martyr in the jp2 sense.

  49. Southern Catholic says:

    frjim said Lol that is funny. He is quite traditional and a expert in chant. Hardly a liberal. He saw the ugly underbelly of the beast and spoke out. He is a white martyr in the jp2 sense.

    LOL, only the flaming liberals are allowed to write for the fishwrap.