Follow by Email

New Translation Review

On this last day of Thanksgiving break, I attended mass at Saint Pete's with my family. There were three major changes since I last visited home...and I liked them.

First Change: 
There was a new statue of La Santissima Virgen del cisne (Blessed Lady of the Swan). Saint Pete's church has been home to a long line of immigrants, and each one seems to bring their own traditions. We had a wave of Germans, followed by Italians, followed by Portuguese, followed by Brazilian, followed by all sorts of South American and Eastern Europeans. I've been around since the Portuguese wave and remember when all we had was the one statue of Our Lady of Fatima. With the Brazilian influx to Saint Pete's came a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Aparecida. Now, we have the Lady of the Swan. I'm all for cultural diversity and Our Lady, so I welcome this change wholeheartedly. 

Second Change:
With all the Thanksgiving hubbub, I completely forgot about what time of year it was until I walked into the church and saw all the purple. At first, I wondered where all the green went...then it hit me. IT'S ADVENT. You know what this means (no, it doesn't mean shopping season). It means that we, as Catholics, are in "Anticipation mode." It means that we are awaiting and preparing for the coming of the Christ Child. Forget Black Friday specials and all the crappy holiday music (I will probably have to start a petition to have "Christmas Shoes" banned this year)...this season is about something far more great than we can ever imagine. All that purple in all these churches is here to remind us about what this season is all about, before we're tempted to pepper spray or shoot fellow bargain-hunting shoppers

Third Change:
Okay, I admit it. I messed up the words 4 times. The first time caught me by surprise. The second time was because I wasn't paying attention as I should have been. I caught myself midway through the third time (which I had recited out of habit even with the translation sheet in front of me). However, it was too late to correct myself, so I kept going anyway. The fourth time, I managed to correct myself as soon as I started. I was tempted to make it not count towards my final score, but ultimately decided to keep it. Even with all of this said, I liked this change the most. Why?
Well, I learned all of my prayers in Portuguese. My parents were Portuguese, my CCD classes were in Portuguese, and my catechism was in Portuguese. Our family even went to Portuguese mass for most of my childhood. As a result, I ended up forming most of my religious life around this language. I find that this new translation is a lot closer to the prayers and responses present in Portuguese masses and masses all over the world. it is more similar to all of the masses I have ever attended outside of the United States. This, in turn, leads me to believe that this new translation brings more unity to our Church. 

Call me crazy, but I think that these translations also explain and describe things a lot better. Truth be told, I never understood "begotten not made, one in being with the Father" part of the English Creed (please see my previous post on this). What does "one in being with the Father mean?" Does it mean that God and Christ dwell in the same place? Does it mean that they're the same person? Does it mean that they share the same way of thinking? Is it a place that they occupy together, a way of thinking that they share, or is it a state of being that Christ somehow achieved? Do you see how this translation could lead to all sorts of heresy (for  people like me at least). Okay, so let's toss this part out and replace it with the new translation "consubstantial with the Father."

Consubstantial means "being of the same substance', meaning that Christ is of the same substance as the father. This, in turn, reiterates the "true God and true man" part of the divine praises (see below) well as some of the most important theological teachings of the Church. The beauty of it is that it uses one word....only ONE WORD (consubstantial) to summarize something that even a CCD teacher could stumble through if some kid went up to them in the middle of class and asked them to explain what "one in being with the father" meant. Call me paranoid, but can you see how something so seemingly innocuous as the older translation could easily become a breeding ground for heresy?

While this is the only part of the mass that was tough for me to really interpret, an analysis of the "new missal changes" cards given to us at the beginning of mass seemed to ground my feelings regarding the new translation. As much as I am used to the old sayings, phrases, and greetings I've used in mass for 20 odd years, we needed these new translations. They clarify some of the more old school theology and do away with some of the wishy-washy terminology we've been using since Vatican II. I am not saying that the old translation was terrible. It was more like a temporary alternative that was never meant to last as long as it did following a translation of our mass from Latin to England. Following Vatican II, mass had to be translated from Latin to insert language here. It was a lot easier for our European counterparts to come up with suitable translations because their own romance languages were very similar to Latin. However, considering how only about 60% of English is derived from Latin, we did lose some things in the transition...and I'm glad we're finally retrieving them several decades later. Better late than never.

Pax Vobiscum

Let me now end this post with a quick (and calorie-free) Latin treat for anyone still trying to recover from all the times they messed up the new translation in mass this weekend:

The Divine Praises                                                Laudes Divinae

English version:Latin Version:
Blessed be God. Blessed be His Holy Name.Benedictus Deus. Benedictum Nomen Sanctum eius.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.Benedictus Iesus Christus, verus Deus et verus homo.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.Benedictum Nomen Iesu.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.Benedictum Cor eius sacratissimum.
Blessed be His Most Precious Blood.Benedictus Sanguis eius pretiosissimus.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.Benedictus Iesus in sanctissimo altaris Sacramento.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.Benedictus Sanctus Spiritus, Paraclitus.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most Holy.Benedicta excelsa Mater Dei, Maria sanctissima.
Blessed be her Holy and Immaculate Conception.Benedicta sancta eius et immaculata Conceptio.
Blessed be her Glorious Assumption.Benedicta eius gloriosa Assumptio.
Blessed be the Name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.Benedictum nomen Mariae, Virginis et Matris.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.Benedictus sanctus Ioseph, eius castissimus Sponsus.
Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints.   Benedictus Deus in Angelis suis, et in Sanctis suis. Amen.


  1. I'm so glad you like the new Missal. I think it was a waste of time, but it makes me smile to read others who like it. I'm glad to see others enjoy it and it encourages me to find the good in the change.