“Things of the 1960s should remain in the 1960s.”

In reference to my recent post: Reason #64675 for the new, corrected translation.  This was in reference to the super-bad translation of the Post Communion in the lame-duck ICEL version… of the the very worst I have ever seen.

That said, this comes from a priest reader with my edits and emphases:

I follow your translations of the ICEL text all the time but I think you will be especially pleased to know that I used your translations of the post-Communion prayer for the 3rd Sunday of Advent as an announcement after Communion and before the post-Communion prayer.

I introduced it by saying “You all have heard that there will be a new translation of the Roman Missal for use on the first Sunday of Advent this year.  Perhaps you have also heard some of the ‘conspiracy theories‘ about why we need a new translation.  Or, maybe you hear someone complain [in a mocking tone], ‘Why do we need a new translation.  I like the current one?’  So, rather than tell you why we need a new translation—and no translation will ever be perfect—listen to a ‘slavishly literal’ translation of today’s post-Communion prayer from the Latin text….”

So, I read the slavishly literal translation.

Now, listen to the new translation,” I said and proceeded to read the new translation.  “Do you see how it is pretty closed to the slavishly literal translation and conveys a sense of uplifting the mind and heart to God?”

So, let’s now stand for the closing prayer in its current translation for the last time.”

They laughed .

At the dismissal I said, “Don’t you think that some of the things of the 1960s should remain in the 1960s?”

Many parishioners stopped afterwards and said they’d never ask again why a new translation is needed.

Keep up the good work!

WDTPRS KUDOS to Father for helping people to understand why we needed a new translation.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. shane says:

    Without disagreeing with the good Father’s point, the current translation is from the 70s. The provisional 60s translations are generally not bad.

  2. Ah, the 70s: love the FM radio, hate the liturgical translations.

  3. irishgirl says:

    Woo Hoo! What that priest did! Way to go! Good for him!
    Rev. Michael Church-hey, I like what you said, too!
    I lived through that crazy time!

  4. Childermass says:

    I am reminded of Fr. Finigan’s simple demonstration:

    He took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands


    He took the cup

    This priest knows what he is doing! People are not stupid. Just show them and they will see why we needed a new translation.

  5. Blog Goliard says:

    As a member of what we used to call “Generation X” (before our society more or less forgot that there are people my age at all), the headline to this piece is music to my ears.

    So many things were swept away in the 1960s and 1970s, and not just in the Church. As a lawyer, my mind also quickly jumps to the radical and willful breaking from previous restraint and precedent of the Warren Court, and also the Traynor Court in California.

    If the towering arrogance and self-centeredness of these people wasn’t sufficiently clear at the time, it is now. For the erstwhile iconoclasts now whine that we can’t possibly make this or that change, discard this or that aspect of their glorious handiwork. Don’t we realize that we are obliged to adhere faithfully to all the precedents and traditions handed down to us by our elders? Don’t we realize that change will be disruptive, and disheartening to the poor souls in the pews?

    (If you ever find yourself bereft of a good definition of “chutzpah”, that right there would do in a pinch.)

    Of course, there’s a paradox that arises from where I’m standing as well. How can I condemn them for having disrespected their elders and rejected their heritage, whilst I work to sweep away so many of the things that they, my elders, have wrought and seek longingly to have my generation adopt and carry on? Or, more tartly: how can I possibly resent and undermine my forebears for having committed the crime of resenting and undermining their forebears?

    So they’ve given me, in many cases, stones to eat instead of bread. Or at least what I perceive to be stones. Doesn’t humility require me to ask on what grounds I can claim the authority to judge what are stones and what are bread? Don’t filial piety and obedience to tradition oblige me to keep trying to make the best use of the stones I can? (I mean nutritively…not simply chucking the stones at Marty Haugen.)

    I suppose all I can do is to let go, as best I can, of the bitterness and grudges that percolate in my soul. However much it may feel good and seem entirely justified to get worked up into an anti-Boomer lather, it isn’t helpful to my soul or anyone else’s.

    And to remember that not all those of the previous generation—maybe not, if truth be known, even anywhere near most of the previous generation—support and honor the wreckage that has been wrought. Much of it was accomplished over my own parents’ strong objections, to be sure.

    Finally, if things are to be pushed back towards earlier traditions, those my age and younger must make absolutely sure that we are truly in conformity with and submitting to those traditions, rather than using an idealized (or even largely fabricated) vision of such traditions as mere cover for the imposition of our own particular tastes, our own Zetigeist, and our own wills.

    For one generation to refashion the Church and its liturgy into the image and likeness of itself is, after all, quite enough.

  6. benedetta says:

    I don’t think people are looking so much to “push back” to another time, or condemn, or even to show disrespect towards elders or legitimate authority. At the same time, it can’t be correct that for lay people to merely question different trends is to show a lack of humility or inability to show respect.

    I think we are called to live in the present. We shouldn’t be preoccupied with looking back, nor should we pine for some idealized utopia. At the same time, many have responsibilities to impart the faith to whom we are entrusted. It doesn’t hurt to ask, what will be helpful to them, and, what may in fact be harmful, given our own experiences. Isn’t that the essence of spiritual parenthood.

    Thankfully we do have many leaders who embrace that call. And there are ways to verify whether the leadership exercised is consistent with the deposit of faith.

  7. I think I am going to follow Father’s example. Well done!

  8. BenedictXVIFan says:

    This is the best. News. Ever.

    @Blog Goliard: as somebody who was born a mere 12 days befor Gen X officially started, let me say you are so right!!! Gen X are the generation that are neither Boomers, nor were many of us raised by Boomers. We are the ideal group to help lead us out of the wilderness.

  9. BobP says:

    In a hundred years from now, no one will remember most of today’s ICEL translations. I’m not too sure the new ones will be around then either.

  10. TNCath says:

    This is precisely what needs to be done. Just take a few snippets from the Mass and show the people how the present translation bears little resemblance to what it actually means! If dioceses would follow suit and do this, we would not need these ridiculously elaborate year-long series of tedious explanations that some dioceses are inaugurating, partially because they are trying to talk about everything BUT the new translations and partially because they have liturgy offices that are trying to justify their existences.

    The Diocese of Memphis has initiated the “Do This in Memory of Me” series, which is a lengthy, lengthy video and workbook combo of the musings of a local priest and two laypersons on THEIR understanding of the Mass as they have seen and experienced it. Needless to say, it’s a lot of pre-Vatican II bashing, emphasizing “full, active, and conscious participation,” and the communal/social effect of the Mass as it “relates to the Church of today.” They have yet to get around to the changes in the actual translations yet. We are still waiting. God help us.

  11. Childermass says:


    I hear you! There is a particular pre-1960s expression that applies here: Just get on with it!

    The more people actually pray the new translations at Mass, the more they will learn them. And priests can expound on the texts in their homilies along the way.

  12. Not sure that mocking the current translation during Mass is the way to go.

  13. Grabski says:

    Brick by brick:
    Reintroduce the EF (Ecclesia Dei)
    Reinforce it (the motu proprio)
    Retranslate the English liturgy
    Make the new English translation an option for the EF (?)_
    That would spell the end of the OF….

  14. Blog Goliard says:

    @Grabski: I’m not sure how the corrected translation helps lead to the last two of your bricks.

    To the contrary: I’m afraid that implementing the new English Missal may well exhaust both appetite and tolerance for change, for the time being. If more “reform of the reform” isn’t to accompany the new texts, we may be stuck with the same order of service and same rubrics in the OF for decades more.

    And probably also much the same music. The OCP folks don’t feel under any obligation to make their Mass settings match the text with any precision now; why should they suddenly start feeling a compulsion to after this Advent?

  15. Grabski says:

    Goliard The new translation is done; no more games with the language.

    Offering the EF in liturgical English probably means that more communities would request it and find less resistance from their pastors.

    The EF in English vs the OF in English? Tough to see the OF winning in that case….

  16. Gregorius says:

    But Father! But Father! Not everything from the 1960’s should remain in the 1960’s. In fact, there is a missal from 1962 I’d like to see kept around. :) [Touché!]

    Unless you’d prefer a pre-1955 missal instead… [I’m content with the 1962, since … that is what we have.]

  17. thomas ryan says:

    say the black, do the red.

    Here this priest is doing the red only if it pleases him (announcements are AFTER the “prayer after Communion, not before). And saying black, explicitly set up to elict mocking laughter.

    For better or worse, the texts in the sacramantary are the prayers until they are not. Imagine being at that Mass, meditating after receiving the Lord, awaiting the prayer to close the Communion Rite. Priest x, kudos from WDTPRS or not, overrides the meditation time, proffers didactic words, and says the official prayer so as to have a good laugh at it. Do the red, say the black, and do not call attention to flaws or odd stuff. Priests, no matter the Missal edition, need to solemnly pray in the best way possible the Missal texts, no matter the flaws.

    If some liberal next December made fun of “consubstantial” in the homily, so as to elicit laughter from creed-saying parishioners, you would be suitably ranting vs. this.
    Tom Ryan

    [The GIRM says:

    90. The concluding rites consist of
    1. Brief announcements, if they are necessary; …

    Apparently, the priest did not violate the rubrics. The GIRM foresees an announcement.
    The priest in question thought that such an announcement was necessary. Furthermore, he seems to have read the Post Communion prayer in the proper place, according the rubrics, the red part. It seems he read the text of the prayer as it was printed in the book, the black part. It seems he did not violate the Novus Ordo rubrics or change the text in the book. Furthermore, it only seems that the priest was playing this for a laugh. That is an assumption. It may be that he didn’t intend it as a laugh line. However, it does seem that the comment at the dismissal, about the 1960s was a violation of the “Say the Black – Do the Red” principle. I don’t find in the GIRM any rubric that permits the priest to add words before the dismissal.]

  18. Charles E Flynn says:


    I still remember the first time I heard a priest say the word “venerable”.

  19. Announcements are to be made after the post-communion prayer, not before it. And this wasn’t an announcement. It was quite inappropriate. The homily is the place for creativity and teaching. If the guy had been poking fun at the new translation you’d all be up in arms.

  20. benedetta says:

    “Oh, the hypocrisy!”, right? But he wasn’t outright “mocking” — like, let’s hold up the icel and mock it. He was responding to the fact that it has already been mocked and ripped to shreds before the Church has even had a chance to pray using it. So, a little rehabilitation given that backdrop may be in order. Why should people’s minds be already closed to it by the alternative campaign when in fact people might even prefer it? So he read the translations so people could decide for themselves. He did add that seemed a good thing given the horrendous “translation” for this week which we can all see is pretty lame. Do you really think that this comment will really be much to sway people’s minds if all they get is the negative and the criticism on balance? At least he didn’t just dictate his own whim or preference but read from the text itself. On the other hand, many of us have lived through the dictating of whim, without real basis in teachings and we were given the “because we said so” reason in essence and when we look to the basic texts we discover all kinds of great new ideas that have never seen the light of day. I think that yes, that what this priest did is very different from the constant berating of teachings or prominent figures in the Church that one easily comes across which is to dismiss without providing much substance in the debate to let people make up their own minds, and that disregards the fact that if given the chance to hear the full truth of the matter, a great many people would in fact choose to work from there in attempting to grow in their faith. Whether the truth is has a political ring to it, or, and this is the really distressing part, not at all. This approach is much better because people are not lemmings and can read and think it through and many people today want to be challenged, to grow, in their faith, not merely flattered all the time. The wdtprs kudos is well placed.

  21. Joe in Canada says:

    I don’t think the post-Communion prayer is part of the ‘concluding rites’, which begin with “the Lord be with you”. The post-Communion prayer is an integral part of the Eucharistic prayer. [I don’t think the Post-Communion is an “integral part of the Eucharistic prayer”.]

  22. Fr. Oddvar says:

    I am a bit surpised that Fahet Z. quotes GIRM # 90 (above) and not # 88 and 89:

    “88. When the distribution of Communion is finished, as circumstances suggest, the priest and faithful spend some time praying privately. If desired, a psalm or other canticle of praise or a hymn may also be sung by the entire congregation.

    89. To bring to completion the prayer of the People of God, and also to conclude the entire Communion Rite, the priest says the Prayer after Communion, in which he prays for the fruits of the mystery just celebrated.”

    After this comes GIRM # 90, quoted above, with an opening for announcements.

    [#88 and #89 don’t change the fact that there eventually comes #90.]

  23. pjthom81 says:

    With the Mass retranslated and the Psalms in the hands of the Benedictines…are there any plans to do a better translation of the Bible than the NAB?

  24. Fr. Oddvar says:

    But # 89 says that “the priest says the Prayer after Communion” and AFTER THAT # 90 gives an opening for announcements.

    I certainly understand the need to argue strongly for the new translation of the mass in English, but I must admit I did not like the way it was done by the priest mentioned in this post – as I see it the place was wrong, and the way he did it was questionable. I react particularly strongly because I have had several arguments about the place of the announcements in earlier years. In several languages this prayer (after Communion) is called Closing Prayer, which gives people the wrong impression that it should be said just before the blessing.

    I am a Catholic priest in Norway and have read this blog every day for about five years, and I have learned a lot – this is one of the rare occasions when I disagree about what is written here. I now say the traditional mass 2-3 times a week (started three years ago), but the new mass (still) much more often. Knowing the old mass has shown me that the priest should say nothing and give no announcements outside the sermon, and this has also gradually changed the way I say the new mass,

  25. Fr. Oddvar: Knowing the old mass has shown me that the priest should say nothing and give no announcements outside the sermon, and this has also gradually changed the way I say the new mass,

    I would be pleased to hear more about how the old Mass has changed the way you say the newer Mass. Perhaps you could drop me an email.

    I have had several arguments about the place of the announcements in earlier years.

    Frankly, I think they should be after the Gospel and before the sermon.

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