Thursday, April 14, 2011

Liturgy translation 'suprisingly good'

Liturgy has always aroused strong passions. In the 19th century, some London churches served by Anglican priests who wore lace were stoned. So it is not surprising that the introduction of a new translation of the Catholic Mass should be turbulent. It raises many interrelated questions about the process by which the translation has come to exist, about the quality of the new texts, and about how best to respond to it. It is helpful to treat these questions separately.

The central question concerns what matters. For most Catholics what matters most about texts is to transcend self-consciousness in praying aloud with others. They want to be on the same page and to sing from the same hymn book. So it will be important for people happily to pray the same responses. Uncertainty about how to respond simply breeds a mumbling hesitation that proclaims neither faith nor freedom.

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