New English translation perhaps in use in UK by next summer

From the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald comes this piece about the possibility of actually using the new English translation of the Roman Missal by next summer.

New Mass translation
will be introduced next summer
By Mark Greaves

7 May 2010

Catholics in England and Wales may be able to use the new translation of the Mass by the middle of next year, it has emerged.

The translation – which will vary slightly in different parts of the English-speaking world – was finally approved last week by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

A taste of the text, which took nine years to complete, will come as early as September when it is used by Pope Benedict XVI during his trip to Britain. Its first-ever musical setting is already being prepared by the Scottish composer James MacMillan in time for the Pope’s visit.   [I very much look forward to hearing that setting!  MacMillan is excellent.]

In America parishes are expected to adopt the new Missal at the beginning of Advent 2011, the start of the Church year, to fit in with the publication of Sunday Missals.

But Martin Foster, secretary of the bishops’ conference Department for Christian Life and Worship, said he hoped it would be introduced in England and Wales by next summer. He said the aim would be to give publishers six months’ notice and to distribute resources to help with catechesis at least three months in advance.


James MacMillan told the Scottish Catholic Observer last week that he had already started working on the first ever setting for the new translation.

"We have stolen a march on the US," he said. His focus, he said, was on trying to write "something simple" that would "make people want to sing". For several years he has written liturgical music for the Dominican parish of St Columba’s in Maryhill, Glasgow.

About 10,000 copies of the new altar Missal will be published by the Catholic Truth Society in three different sizes: large, medium and hand-sized.

Fergal Martin, the publisher, said the aim was to create a "very beautiful and dignified series of editions with hopefully the best quality of production and design we can possibly make. It’s a real labour of love for us and all those involved in the project."

In the Opinion section of this week’s Catholic Herald there is an editorial about the new translation:

The new translation is on its way. Let’s welcome it
Leading article
7 May 2010


The Pope is well aware that a minority of Catholics have theological, aesthetic and (regrettably) ideological objections to the new translation, which renders the Latin text more literally than its predecessor. In the Creed, for example, Jesus is no longer "of one being" with the Father, but "consubstantial" with him. There is greater stateliness and solemnity – "cup" becomes "chalice" at the consecration – and also poetry: in the third Eucharistic Prayer, the phrase "from east to west" becomes "from the rising of the sun to its setting".

This newspaper welcomes the new translation wholeheartedly. One might quibble with one or two details, but the Church has essentially succeeded in producing a text that is both more accurate and more beautiful than its predecessor. Crucially, it has been approved, after long debate and votes, by the bishops of the English-speaking world. Now it is the responsibility of those bishops to make sure that their priests celebrate according to the new text  [Indeed.] – for, whatever we might read to the contrary, a priest has no more right to refuse to use it than he has to refuse to say Mass in English according to the current approved translation[I don’t think that is quite right.  A priest of the Latin Church always has the right to say Holy Mass in the Church’s language Latin.  A priest can opt for Latin without refusing to use English.]

But let us not pay too much attention to any controversy over the Missal, which will die down quickly if the bishops put their full weight behind it, as they intend to. Instead, let us accept the new text for what it is: a refreshing of familiar words that, precisely because it will force us to concentrate more deeply on the miracle of the Mass, offers us an opportunity to deepen our faith[Perhaps more than a new translation will be needed for that, but it will be a good influence!]

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, SESSIUNCULA, WDTPRS and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. DLPalmer says:

    Glad to see the CTS will be publishing editions. Always the best of quality.

  2. PghCath says:

    Could someone explain the ways in which the translation will vary in different countries? I feel like I’ve read (here, perhaps) that US bishops want to keep that most memorable line, “It is right to give him thanks and praise,” but I wasn’t aware there will be other variations. Thanks.

  3. Frank H says:

    PghCath – One of the USA adaptations that is an example is the first “mystery of faith” acclamation “Christ has died, Christ is risen …” That was never part of the Latin mass text, and according to the study text on the USCCB web site is still awaiting approval.

  4. C.B. says:

    I wish they would just have one English translation for the entire English speaking world.

  5. HighMass says:

    I wish that the N.O. would be celebrated with the parts of the Mass in Latin and songs that are a bit less lively. The reverence is what is lacking and when on goes to Holy Mass on Sunday and hears the guitars, etc. it is so disheartening.

    Also please turn the Alter’s back to the East, Ad Orientiem.

  6. HighMass says:

    Sorry what I meant to say was the Parts of the Mass that are suppose to be the same, the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, etc.

  7. Sweet, I think some of the differences will be in spelling, English English versus American English

  8. Christopher Gainey says:

    How about Canada? Is anyone aware whether the Canadian bishops have said anything public about when they intend to introduce the new translation?

  9. paladin says:

    Question: is there a Vatican e-mail to which we can send our fervent pleas that the “Christ has died” interloper be REMOVED? If it’s still “awaiting approval”, it can still be disapproved, yes?

    A few years back, I had my heart in my mouth about the proposed USCCB removal of “men” from the Credo (“…for us MEN and for our salvation…”); I wrote to Cardinal Arinze, begging him to reject that “change”. I don’t pretend that my lone voice made much difference… but I can only imagine that a great many “lone voices” gained some attention. And, as is said in philosophical circles (paraphrase): “What has happened is therefore possible.” Maybe we can take down this deformation of the liturgy, as well?

  10. Dave N. says:

    Three months lead time for catechesis is not nearly enough.

  11. Magpie says:

    Good to see that Harper Collins will no longer have a monopoly on Catholic liturgical books.

  12. Dave N.: Three months lead time for catechesis is not nearly enough

    I am not sure about that. I think that is plenty of time if used well.

  13. Magpie says:

    Will all the old books be burned? I think it would be for the best.

  14. Sieber says:

    Just to keep things real….a professor of Liturgy at St. John’s seminary in L.A. told us that Marty Haugen is even now working on a setting for the Gloria.

  15. edwardo3 says:

    “The cry goes up, How Long”. Haugen is working on a setting for the Gloria? I think it would be far more efficatious to sing the Monty Python hymn, “O God Please Don’t Destroy Us”.

  16. Hans says:

    Its first-ever musical setting is already being prepared by the Scottish composer James MacMillan in time for the Pope’s visit.

    I’m not quite sure exactly what is meant by ‘first’ here, but there are already at least plainsong settings of the new translation from CMAA (follow the Musica Sacra link in the left-hand column of this page and scroll to the bottom) that have been available for some time.

  17. catholicmidwest says:

    Dave N,
    I think 3 months lead time is very, very generous.

    I have no doubt of that. Just like with the Catechism, once it becomes a surety that something momentous is going to be received from the Vatican, the emphasis in some quarters switches very quickly from overt resistance to covert resistance. In other words, some people believe that it you can’t stop it, then you pervert it. Damage control, you understand.
    To wit, there were many “guides to the CCC” that appeared even before the CCC, which were disingenously designed to undercut the CCC in ways subtle and not so subtle. This is the great danger of putting this change off too long. It should be implemented as quickly and straight-forwardly as humanly possible.

  18. catholicmidwest says:


    I don’t see any reason why the “lead time” and the printing time can’t be concurrent. It should take under a year to get the final copy printed and into circulation, if a wide variety of printers are used like they were for the CCC. A wide variety of printers and outlets will assure honesty, accessibility and speed, as they did for the CCC. It is essential that the text be widely available and publisher-neutral. You should be able to buy it in literally dozens of places, just like the CCC.

    Also: If we were to start without a wide variety of musical scores, it would not be a problem at all. Don’t worry, the musical establishment, such as it is, will catch up soon enough. They don’t put near as much musical effort into their output as marketing and hype anyway. It’s the modern way. Less time is as good as more time, as far as modern musical quality goes; let the hype and business aspect suffer. Maybe it’ll clean up the liturgical music industry a bit. It needs a good cleaning.

  19. TJerome says:

    “Dave N.: Three months lead time for catechesis is not nearly enough”

    Ya, Dave. I remember well all the “lead time” we got in 1964 when the “reforms” began to be rammed down our throats. A new surprise every Sunday. It was like a nanosecond. Contrast that to the years the liberals have spent hand-wringing, sobbing, and carrying on about, EGADS, a new translation of the Mass in our native tongue. Oh the horror, oh the humanity. I’m to the point now I’d like to punch their lights out.

  20. Dave N. says:

    My point really is that this is opportune time to do much-needed remedial catechesis on the basic nature of the Mass–rather than just mentioning upcoming “changes” during homilies or putting on a catechetical session or two that many won’t attend. This opportunity probably won’t come up again for a very, very long time.

    The new missal isn’t really about changes but (IMO) a whole new approach–and there’s a lot of damage out there. The average person in the pew probably doesn’t even know that this is coming. If done right, the catechetical process will take longer than three months.

  21. catholicmidwest says:

    The primary purpose of the Mass is not pedagogy, Dave.

    If you are still concerned about ignorance, however, know that you can count on the Mass itself to remedy part of this ignorance. It is a more carefully & literally translated English version of the Latin, and people will hear the words over and over and over, week by week. Let it speak for itself. It is the Mass, or at least a more accurate translation of it.

    I agree that the average person in the pews doesn’t know this change in translation is coming. I think it will be no more than a rumor to at least half of all American Catholics when the new mass comes, *no matter how long the establishment is given to prepare the public*. This is because the majority of the establishment is in damage control mode over this. The longer it is put off, the more danger there is of it being sabotaged.

    It is highly instructive in this matter to read the history of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I recommend it highly. Start with Monsignor Wrenn’s “Catechisms and Controversies.” There are interviews with him too, which offer a taste of what that book contains. His books contain some of the best and most honest reporting of the post-conciliar period. They are impeccably researched and honestly presented in precise detail, with plenty of documentation.

    There is much more going on than you might think. And the moves of Pope Benedict XVI are far more earth-shaking than you might think also, if you are just looking at appearances like most people do. He is very courageous, but of course, sitting over at the CDF dealing with thousands of videos of God-only-knows-what for 25 years probably did that to him.

  22. Jack Hughes says:

    What do we want- a better translation, when do we want it NOW!!!, please can we just have the new translation NOW!!!, I don’t care if we have to throw berrettas and missals at the bishops, I just want a nice accurate literal translation and I want it now !!!

  23. Jayna says:

    “[W]hatever we might read to the contrary, a priest has no more right to refuse to use it than he has to refuse to say Mass in English according to the current approved translation [I don’t think that is quite right. A priest of the Latin Church always has the right to say Holy Mass in the Church’s language Latin. A priest can opt for Latin without refusing to use English.]”

    I’m not sure he really meant to imply that a priest can’t refuse to say Mass in English. I was reading this sentence as being directed toward those priests who would never even fathom celebrating Mass in Latin, thus, as the OF English translation is all they’re willing to use, I took his statement to mean that those priests who resolutely use that missal can’t refuse to use the new one. If that makes any sense at all.

  24. AnAmericanMother says:

    For what it’s worth, I sought an expert opinion from the best musician I know. He says MacMillan is top notch and one of a very few rising stars in the composing field who can actually write good music.

    He adds that we are in for some interesting years (in a good way).

    So take heart! If he says it’s going to be good, it will be very good.

Comments are closed.