16 June 2006

RC Revision.

Great news for Catholics, despite the tendentious tone of the Times report.

Roman Catholic bishops in the United States voted yesterday to change the wording of many of the prayers and blessings that Catholics have recited at daily Mass for more than 35 years, yielding to Vatican pressure for an English translation that is closer to the original Latin.

The bishops, meeting in Los Angeles, voted 173 to 29 to accept many of the changes to the Mass, a pivotal point in a 10-year struggle that many English-speaking Catholics had dubbed "the liturgy wars."

But the bishops made substantial changes to the text that the Vatican wanted, and those changes could still be rejected by Vatican officials.

Some of the changes they did adopt are minor, but in other cases Catholics will have to learn longer and more awkward versions of familiar prayers. For example, instead of saying, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you," in the prayer before Communion, they will say, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof."

The reason for the change is a Vatican directive issued in 2001 under Pope John Paul II that demanded closer adherence to the Latin text. But some bishops in the English-speaking world were indignant at what they saw as a Vatican move to curtail the autonomy of each nation's bishops to translate liturgical texts according to local tastes and needs.

The new translation is likely to please those traditionalists who longed for an English version more faithful to the Latin in use before the Second Vatican Council in the 1960's. But it may upset Catholics who have committed the current prayer book to heart and to memory and who take comfort in its more conversational cadences.

Here's the whole thing (free registration required).


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