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Time to repeal 'ugly' Mass translation



It is good news that Pope Francis has appointed a commission to revisit Liturgiam Authenticam (LA). This Vatican document, issued on 28 March 2001, provided the unfortunate guidelines that 'justified' the ugly, Latinised translation foisted on English-speaking Catholics by the 2010 Missal.

Roman MissalIn a swinging and detailed criticism of LA, Peter Jeffery, a professor at Princeton University, has described the document as 'the most ignorant statement on liturgy ever issued by a modern Vatican congregation'. Jeffery, a Benedictine oblate, places himself on the right of the Catholic spectrum, 'as conservative as one can get without rejecting Vatican II'.

In his Translating the Tradition: A Chant Historian Reads Liturgiam Authenticam, he charged the anonymous people who wrote LA with being 'seriously misinformed' and making many 'misstatements about the Roman liturgical tradition'.

LA claimed that the Latin Church as a whole shared a uniform tradition of starting the Creed with 'I believe', as if 'we believe were essentially an Eastern tradition'. As Jeffery showed, in the Roman Mass there have always been those who used 'credimus (we believe)' instead of 'credo (I believe)'.

LA required vernacular versions to maintain 'verbal equality' with the original Latin in which Paul VI issued the 1970 Missal. The translators went ahead and produced long sentences that belong to the Latin of Cicero but not to modern English.

LA proposed using a 'sacred vernacular' that differs from current speech and could sound strange and even 'obsolete'. Those responsible for the 2010 Missal followed this guideline by repeatedly preferring 'charity' over 'love', 'compunction' over 'repentance', 'laud' over 'praise', 'supplication' over 'prayer', and 'wondrous' over 'wonderful'.

Speaking of an 'oblation' rather than a 'sacrifice' or 'offering' can leave the congregation wondering whether the priest has stumbled over the word 'ablution'. 'Oblation' no longer has currency in contemporary English.

In the Creed, 'consubstantial', straight from the Latin consubstantialis, has replaced the genial translation 'of one being'. 'Consubstantial', like 'prevenient' grace, used by the 2010 Missal for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, belongs to theological discourse, not to the liturgy we celebrate together.


"The 2010 Missal slavishly applies the word-for-word principle inculcated by LA, rather than the meaning-for-meaning principle practised by all great translators from the time of St Jerome."


Encouraged by LA, the 2010 Missal indulges obsequious language derived from the courts of ancient Byzantium and Rome. 'Graciously' incessantly introduces prayers: 'graciously grant', 'graciously accept', and so forth. It is all very different from what Jesus taught about addressing God in a childlike fashion. It is also very different from the straightforward language of the Psalms, which nourished the prayer and devotion of Jesus himself.

The 2010 Missal slavishly applies the word-for-word principle inculcated by LA, rather than the meaning-for-meaning principle practised by all great translators from the time of St Jerome (d. 420). The most unfortunate result has been reverting to 'for many' at the consecration of the wine. This suggests, at the heart of the Mass, that Christ shed his blood for many people, but not for all. Yet he clearly intended to die 'for all' and not merely 'for many'.

There is much more to criticise in LA and the 2010 Missal. Here and there it moves towards the ancient heresy of Pelagius by suggesting that through our own efforts we 'merit' eternal salvation.  

I sincerely hope that Francis' commission will not merely revisit LA but strongly press for its repeal. The road will then be open to revisit the clumsy, difficult 2010 Missal and replace it.

As it happens, last year I have joined forces with John Wilkins, a former editor of the London Tablet, in preparing for Liturgical Press a book, Lost in Translation. We vigorously reject LA and its monstrous child, the 2010 Missal. John and I would be delighted to see the 2010 Missal replaced by an incomparably better translation, the 1998 Missal, the missal that never reached the churches.

This 1998 Missal, a painstaking revision of the 1973 translation, was approved by all the conferences of English-speaking bishops. It was then summarily dismissed by the Vatican. So much for the collegial authority of the bishops taught by Vatican II!

The 1998 Missal is waiting in the wings to take its rightful place at worship. It needs a few additions, such as texts for the Masses honouring recently canonised saints. Its genuine and prayerful English can be proclaimed very easily. Its opening prayers or collects rank among the finest ever produced.


Gerry O'CollinsGerry O'Collins SJ is an Australian Jesuit priest, author, academic and educator. He is currently a research professor and writer-in-residence at the Jesuit Theological College in Parkville, Victoria, and a research professor in theology at St Mary's University College in Twickenham.

Topic tags: Gerry O'Collins, Pope Francis, Liturgiam Authenticam, Roman Missal



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Existing comments

Thank you Gerald. What's the purpose of spreading Gods message if no one understands you. Or worse, your choice of language turns people off. Is it the human ego winning again?Where can I find a copy of the 1998 Missal?

Michael Gill | 09 February 2017  

JMJ Dear Father Liberals are still to realise that God,s ways are not ours and ours as in thinking what God needs in the liturgy are not His. You shall tell them by their fruit, the Indigenous of the Kimberley left back in 1970 when the Old Latin Mass was stolen from us

Timothy Morgan | 09 February 2017  

Wonderful to read these lines, Gerry. Bring on 1998! Thank you for your brief but insightful critique of the translation which has been so divisive. I look forward to your book.

vivien | 10 February 2017  

It is a great pity that the Catholic Church does not have the wonderful tradition of the Book of Common Prayer which is right up there with Shakespeare and the Authorised Version. It will be hard pushed to come up to that standard. Whilst the Church is at it, could it get something better than those dreadful hymns we now use on Sundays?

Edward Fido | 10 February 2017  

How heartening to read such an informed critique of some of the shortcomings of what we say and hear at Mass. As the creed commences at Mass with "I believe", but I'm saying it in the company of a congregation of other people of faith, I find myself locking up inside. We are there to worship as a community of believers, so it seems natural and right to begin the creed with "we believe". Equally, I worship in a community where some have limited education and some do not have English as their first language. Words like "consubstantial" simply slam a door closed on the average person in the pews. Using more "plain English" that doesn't need a theologian to explain it seems such an obvious and essential thing to do, yet here is the Catholic Church, 50 years after Vatican II producing liturgical resources that put a barrier between people and the God they seek to worship. Best wishes to Fr O'Collins and his colleague in their efforts to support the Vatican review of Liturgiam Authenticam. Liturgy should lift people's hearts and bring them closer to the God who guides their lives - it should nourish rather than isolate. Thank you for such an informative article.

Carmel Ross | 10 February 2017  

It is hard not to conclude that the current translation is designed to show who's the boss. The words it uses are words that only the initiates can understand and the rest of us will have to mumble incomprehndingly, knowing our place. The consecration narrative is falsified by the assertion that Jesus took a "chalice" when everyone knows he couldn't afford one. And the concept of sacrifice is hard enough for a 21st century christian to get his/her head around without calling it a "oblation". The whole thing is an insult to the intelligence of the laity.

OldG | 10 February 2017  

What a breath of fresh air!

Jo Mercer | 10 February 2017  

Thank you Fr O'Collins. May the Commission be of the same mind.

Brian Cotter | 10 February 2017  

I hope they do change it back. I still rail against consubstantial and oblation but also the destruction of the beautiful poetry of the Gloria.

Pauline | 10 February 2017  

"“Translating the Tradition”. We live and operate in 2 worlds; the material, and the ideal or spiritual. From material approximations the human mind can make a leap and conceive the ideal. But also it can foist onto the material, the status that is due only to the ideal. To promote an ideal, we need a material structure to help propagate it, and this structure can become a Tradition. But it should be used as a stepping stone, to be used and risen above; not as a mill stone around our neck. It is interesting that two of the most harmful mis-translations of traditions in the Church were made by well-intentioned Saints. Robert Bellarmine when, to defend the Bible as the exact word of God, he signed the document that sent Giordano Bruno to be burnt at the stake., and Pope Pius X when he compelled priests and theologians to take an oath against ‘Modernism’ which is precisely the 'aggiornamento' that would have saved the Church from floundering in the mess it currently finds itself in.

Robert Liddy | 10 February 2017  

YES!! WE DO believe . . the whole lot of us gathered here. 'The supper of the Lamb;? ' . . with your spirit'? I could go on, too! Thank you.

glen avar | 10 February 2017  

Thanks Fr Gerry for this article. Please continue to press for a revision of the current liturgical language and restore a 1998 liturgical form. Currently we begin the Mass with that platonic dualism of body/spirit 'and with your spirit'. Why not 'and with you' meaning the whole person, not just the 'spirit'?

Kevin Treston | 10 February 2017  

I couldn't agree more with Gerry O'Collins about the need to repeal the regressive Latinised 2010 Missal and it appears that resurrecting and updating the 1998 Missal is the answer.

Laura Murray Cree | 10 February 2017  

Yes please. I do so miss "And also with you."

Anna Summerfield | 10 February 2017  

What wonderful news. Will we see it happen in our lifetime? With the author and champion of the dreadful translation living and exerting influence in Rome I have grave doubts it will take until his death before we see a useful and insightful translation.

Laurie Sheehan | 10 February 2017  

How wonderful it would be to be rid of the clunky 2010 Missal, couched as it is in "latlish". One should always beware of an excess of adverbs and adjectives and the 2010 translation is replete with them. Jesus spoke simply. We would do well to follow his example also in this.

Gerard | 10 February 2017  

glen avar:"YES!! WE DO believe . . the whole lot of us gathered here". WHAT we believe is not as important as WHY we believe it. If it is because we bonded to it from birth, and have never questioned it, or because it seems to make us 'Special', we are just the same as the fanatics who want to kill anyone who does not share their belief. If we believe because it inspires us to help those in need, then it has some merit.

Robert Liddy | 10 February 2017  

Thanks Gerry in the name of many thousands who would support the reforms you have suggested. It's a much deeper problem than it has been seen to be.

Gerard Rummery | 10 February 2017  

Congratulations, Gerald. I continue to use the old form of words, and at normal volume. While we are at it, can we get rid of the ridiculous "art, Thy and Thou" in the Lord's Prayer? Peter Downie

Peter Downie | 10 February 2017  

I agree entirely. Ugly stuff. It should be poetical at the least. I have always said "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, say but [sic] the word, and I shall be healed" and it scans. Again, I say "And with you" in place of "And with thy spirit". And perhaps "Et cum spiritu tuo" could be translated as "Especially with you". Was it once one sentence: "The lord be with you, especially with your spirit"?

Peter Horan | 10 February 2017  

Great --please get rid of the ridiculous "thy" and similar old English words--also delete "and descended into Hell" from the creed--and instead "the fruit of thy womb" in the Hail Mary--simply say "blessed is your Son"

BERNIE TRESTON | 10 February 2017  

Thank you Fr Gerry. My favourite 'hates' are 'in a similar way' instead of 'in the same way', and the Beatitudes with 'happy' instead of 'blessed'. when my wife first heard the latter she wondered about 'the Happy Virgin Mary'. I am, too, a supporter of the few priests who translate 'Dominus vobiscum' as 'The Lord is with you', instead of 'The Lord be with you.'

Gavan | 10 February 2017  

While a better (more literate as well as more theologically accurate) version is waiting in the wings, would it be possible to address inclusive language where the original GREEK words implied more than maleness? This seems the ideal moment. I would also like to see 'supper of the lamb' changed as in the Australian context there is a strong neural connection to closure by adding...'roast'.

Pauline Small | 10 February 2017  

“The most unfortunate result has been reverting to 'for many' at the consecration of the wine. This suggests, at the heart of the Mass, that Christ shed his blood for many people, but not for all. Yet he clearly intended to die 'for all' and not merely 'for many'.” As might be expected, there is another side. From the Today’s Catholic News website: “However, the most noticeable revision in those same lines is the replacement of “for all” with “for many.” At the most basic level, “for many” is a faithful translation of the original Latin phrase, “pro multis.” Moreover, Isaiah 53:12 prophesied that the Messiah would take away “the sins of many,” and Christ Himself also said His Blood would be shed for “many” (Mt 26:28, Mk 14:24). This does not mean that Christ did not die for the sake of all humanity, for that is indisputable from Scripture. Rather, it upholds the reality that each individual must also accept and abide in the grace won by Christ in order to attain eternal life. The recovery of the wording, “for many,” affirms that salvation is not completely automatic.” All are called; are all chosen? Does spin belong at Mass?

Roy Chen Yee | 10 February 2017  

Thank you - a great reflection. We await good things to happen.

Kath | 10 February 2017  

From its inception I got scolding looks and words from the 'Rome is always right, mob' for saying the LA translation was a linguistic disaster and speaking it was like 'trying to talk with blocks of wood in your mouth'. Thanks to our brilliant and time honoured Aussie theologian for putting a smile on the faces of we disrespectful 'reactionaries'. Presently there are much bigger fish to fry in the winter of our ecclesial discontent but one can only wonder if there isn't some slim yet serious connection between the way our so called linguistic experts walked blindly over us and the yet to be faced underbelly of the sad sad story of institutionalised cover ups. 'Culture is the in-word at present. . . . it's got to be fixed!' 'Elephants in the room' and the 'king has no clothes on' - we wait hopefully and prayerfully.

Fr. Paul Goodland | 10 February 2017  

From your mouth to the Pope's ear. The current translation reflects a horrid taint of individualism that has no place in truly Eucharistic worship.

Joan Seymour | 11 February 2017  

The problem is the English language deprived of words with depths of beauty and revelation such as and full of 'Zoe', not the translation.

AO | 11 February 2017  

My book, Controversy Confusion and Catastrophe: Catholicism in the wake of Vatican II ( Connor Court, Modotti Press, 2015) discussed the effects of the liturgical changes since Vatican II seen through the eyes of a theologically underdone layman. It ruffled a few feathers but also garnered the type of support as seen in many of your correspondents today. I know many who no longer formally practise because of the loss of the rich liturgy replaced by "ugly" words and music, described commonly as "boring". I wish you success in your efforts to restore an inspiring liturgy identifiable by the laity to contribute to the greater glory of God through language and music. AMDG

john frawley | 11 February 2017  

Gerry I think your letters are so clear and precise, you should be on the CDF. The Nicene Creed is too long and ecclesial for today's context and perhaps the Apostles Creed is more appropriate since Peter and his friends were closest to Jesus. The church seems to have got itself into a legalistic tangle with words, which is far from what Jesus intended. Inclusive language is necessary now, especially when our faith and trust in the church has been dramatically shaken up by revelations at the Royal Commission. Gerry keep writing please.

Trish Martin | 11 February 2017  

At last - God bless you, Fr Gerry! Some of us in NZ wrote to our Cardinal John Dew after you spoke against the dreadful translation foisted on us as "vernacular" How can any priest pray it with meaning! I am full of hope in the Holy Spirit!

Patricia Kane | 11 February 2017  

With due respect for those who want more appealing wording in the Rituals of the Church, I suggest it is more complicated.. For Language to be effective, it needs to reach meaningful values in the recipient, and help them to evolve to higher levels, raising them from material considerations to appreciation and assimilation of ideals. It is harder to do this if the words used are associated in our minds with mundane affairs. . It is Ideals that we see most clearly, and love most dearly, and that we should be seeking. This is why Latin, being more exotic, allowed the minds of many to stretch to idyllic interpretations, and thus help them find closer affinity to God. And why many have found common English words empty and uninspiring. There is always a huge gap between common words and the meaning or values we seek when applying them to matters relating to the Divine. Word need to be evocative of the deference we owe to God. This seems to be truer in ”Thy will be done”, than in “your will…” which seems to bring God down to a ’me and you’ level.

Robert Liddy | 12 February 2017  

Common words can and have been used by poets and mystics to evoke spiritual values, as Cardinal Newman did with “Lead kindly light..”. It is Ideals that we see most clearly, and love most dearly. In the spiritual order, Ideals are the important element rather than the material. Ideals are eternal truths. Sometimes our mind can make a leap from a material approximation to an ideal. Sometimes we can try to foist an ideal onto a mere material approximation, and from idealising it we can begin to idolise it. Often our minds can be more than a little confused between the two. This seems to be why well-meaning Bishops put defence of the Church ahead of care for victims of abuse. Flannery O’Connor, an author, and one of the strongest apologists for Catholic beliefs in 20th century America, on hearing that the Eucharist should be thought of as being symbolic, retorted angrily, “If it is just a symbol, to hell with it.” This misses the point that it is the ideal wherein lies the spiritual value rather than the material approximation.

Robert Liddy | 12 February 2017  

Alleluia! Than you Father Gerry! Give us back our Vatican 11. ...Jesus did not shed his blood for many..he died for us all!! The Lord is with us ..not just our 'spirit'. LA is and will always be an example of why we needed a Council - it was produced by a committee designing a horse and producing a camel. Now while you are at it Fr Gerry can we have a translation of the Creed that does not say "He descended into Hell" and a proclamation of faith that does not end "until you come again" at the very minute we are declaring Jesus is with us now?

Diana Santleben | 12 February 2017  

Thanks, Gerry. I continue to use the old responses. The method of introducing the current translation was as corrosive as its content. The 'translation' is juvenile, its theology is dualistic, and its spirit is clericalist. Our ecumenical responsibilities were also ignored. Time for the ACBC tell the pope it intends to exercise its rightful authority by adopting the 1998 translation.

John Browning | 13 February 2017  

Thanks Gerry. This is a cause well worthy of groundswell support. How was this awkward, confected and inauthentically vernacular Missal ever foisted upon us? The episcopal conferences of other language groups have not been so easily persuaded to linguistic surrender; why we Anglophones? Bring on the 1998 version! Let sensus fidelium prevail.

Michael Green | 13 February 2017  

A masterly and definitive critique, Gerald! Let me just add that LA and the resulting translation contradict and even defy Vatican II's insistence: 'The Christian people ...should be able to understand [both texts and rites] easily...' (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy #21).

Brian Gleeson | 13 February 2017  

The majority of the world's Catholics would be bemused by this discussion - ie Spanish/Portuguese speakers in Latin America where their vernacular is closer in meaning and structure to the Latin. So it's merely a fringe minority issue!

AURELIUS | 13 February 2017  

Strongly agree. Some Prefaces have through Christ Our Lord half way through & people respond Amen where there is no Amen. Local bishops need to be given more authority re translation for local regions.

Barry Dwyer | 13 February 2017  

Hooray! Could we also consult other denominations before going to print, as we clearly did backing the 70's

Paul Meagher | 13 February 2017  

Thanks, Fr Gerald, for being part of chorus of (small, but increasingly numerically supported) entreaty to Pope Francis to listen to the sensus fidelium, respect the ecclesiology of communio and principles of good contemporary liturgy, including that of 'dynamic equivalence' in translation. I saw a draft of the Missal in 1994, and it gave me real hope for the Church.

Margaret Ryan | 13 February 2017  

Thanks Fr Gerry, I could not agree more

Chris Halloway | 13 February 2017  

I want to see scientific surveys of worshipers views[pew surveys] on translation versus one man's dislike however learned, joined by academic talking heads.

Father John George | 13 February 2017  

I don't know why I missed this post but I totally support you Fr. Gerry. I recall as a Pastoral Associate when this edict came out, my Parish Priest, a 70+ year old, threw his hands up in horror and said;" HOW"? A good part of the congregation was of Italian origin and Italian was in many cases a first language but the English translation was in his view a disaster. As far as I can recall up to his retirement, he never used the new version! The late Bishop of Townsville. Michael Putney was also on record as against the translation I just hope Pope Francis 'cans' it as soon as possible . As an Acolyte, I shudder at some of the quant language .I wonder what the congregation makes of their meanings.

Gavin | 14 February 2017  

Thank you so much for this article, Father Collins. I could not agree more. There is also the question of dualism, which this awful translation enshrines when it replaces such phrases as : "And also with you" by "And with your spirit" - once again separating body and spirit ( read "female and male"). I pray with you, that another, more beautiful and unified translation, may come from this new situation.

Sr Marian McClelland sss | 14 February 2017  

Thank you for such obvious commonsense. The best news about the Church that I have read in years. I will be praying for the rapid return of sensible liturgical language.

James Depiazzi | 14 February 2017  

Consubstantial says it all really. I have a card on my iPhone but the new language has never stuck and i forget to read it. I just use the old responses now it saves distraction and angst. I am glad Pope Francis is revisiting this. I think many of my era will be pleased.

Christina Coombe | 14 February 2017  

I was so pleased to read this. I find the current translation of the liturgy clumsy and alienating. It uses words that don't belong to modern English and act as a barrier to prayer and connection. I would love to hear the 1998 translation. At every mass, I cringe at certain passages and hope for the day when the language used reflects the experience of the community. Recently I attended an Anglican service and found the liturgy beautiful and meaningful, using language that inspired and uplifted me while making sense and with a contemporary feel.

Janet Depiazzi | 14 February 2017  

Bravo Rev Gerry! Thanks for speaking out for us - the people of God -before we too 'get lost' and leave those who stay to their delusional translation. Poor Jesus! After puting his life on the line to 'bring good news to the poor' by speaking in language and images that all would understand, along came Latin literalists using words and their meanings driven out of their original context and forcing them on people who come to celebrate Jesus amongst them - not their mastery of pronouncing words like 'consubstantial'.

Pauline | 14 February 2017  

Glad to see such enthusiastic & perceptive commentary. Reminds me of the distinction my former Classics teacher made between a translation & a transliteration of a Latin or Greek text. For a transliteration one transferred words: for a translation one tried to convey the sense & style of the original text. He gave the simple example of this dialogue: P. Sursum corda. C. Habemus ad Dominum. Too easy we thought. Sursum corda was the school motto - sursum was an adverb of place meaning 'on high', corda = hearts, therefore we thought the words were an affirmation of our spirit. But our teacher suggested it could be an exhortation or an order. We fought back saying that didn't make sense of the reply "Habemus ad Dominum". Our teacher smiled & said: "Now you're catching on to the difference between translating & transliterating.

JOSEPH P QUIGLEY | 15 February 2017  

If we're floored by 'consubstantial' then, poor things, we really do need a safe space.

Roy Chen Yee | 15 February 2017  

Mr Quigley sir "sursum corda" =a latin translation of the Greek as in oriental Greek etc liturgies The Greek version ??? s??µe? t?? ?a?d?a? means "Let us lift up the hearts," idiomatically implying "our hearts." : Priest (raising his hands upward): Let us lift up our hearts. People: We lift them up unto the LORD. This is the format used in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches, for both the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great

Father John George | 15 February 2017  

Fr Gerald: why is the post Vatican II mainstream Catholic Church, with its obsession with the vernacular in worship, totally out of touch with the rest of humanity? It's so unecumenical!! Guess what? Most world religions of any substance have sacred, non-vernacular, or at least, not necessarily vernacular, languages!! The Hindus (Sanskrit and Tamil), the Buddhists (Pali, some Sanskrit), Muslims (classical Arabic), Judaism (classical Hebrew), Anglicans (17th century English), Australian aborigines (hundreds if not thousands of non-vernacular sacred languages) ... and so on. (Look up "sacred language" on Wikipedia for a partial but indicative list.) The gravitation towards a sacred language is what sociologists call an "anthropological constant". Why? As humans, we WANT to worship in a reserved (sacred) space, so we have temples, churches, sacred sites. We WANT to worship with music that is sacred, so we have hymns and tunes composed for that purpose. We WANT to adorn our cultic leaders in special symbolic dress. Ditto for our language. In other words, we WANT to do everything humanly possible to remind ourselves that in our worship we are not in the garden, or watching the footy, but in the presence of the transcendent Other, the very Creator of our world. (Not overlooking of course that one can be in the garden, etc, AND before the Other). This is not profound...it's bleeding obvious!! So where is the screw-up in the brain of post Vatican II "modern" Western Catholics? True: the question might be moot, since on current projections, a couple of decades hence this aberrant species will simply not exist. Admit it: it’s deckchairs on the Titanic, Fr.

HH | 15 February 2017  

And will the revisions bring us into the 21st century of non-sexist language? Above all in reference to God?

Peter Laffan | 15 February 2017  

Thank you for highlighting the words 'for many' at the consecration of the wine. To be honest, it is only quite recently that I have really thought about what those exact words imply. Since that time I have been struggling with them ever since.

Marisa Jenkins | 16 February 2017  

If the Mass is truly the "source and summit of the christian faith" you would have to expect the language of the Mass to be more formalised, thought provoking and reverential. I think we have to dump this blokey expectation that rejects any attempt at ceremonial.

jenny | 16 February 2017  

The serious sin associated with the LA's Olde/new Mass translation is the waste of money associated with its introduction. About $25 million in the U.S., let alone the rest of the English-speaking world. The Catholic Missions could have done a lot with that money. George Pell justified the change from "and also with you" to "and with your spirit" because only the English and Portuguese speakers used it. Unfortunately for George, English and Portuguese speakers make up a majority of Catholics (albeit only just)! (The Czechs don't use "and with your spirit" either, by the way). There's little doubt that LA was about winding back the gains of Vatican II, not about making a better translation. The one that LA came up with would have earned a FAIL mark if it was handed in as an assignment by a first year Uni Latin student.

Bruce Stafford | 17 February 2017  

Robert Liddy, your comments are similar to George Pell's argument in favour of the LA translation - we need "holy words" in the Mass. Yet, that Latin is the official language of the Church is just an accident of history. It came about because of the Constantinisation of the Church. What would you have done if the official language of the Church was Russian? A good example of the Latin takeover is the "INRI" seen on Crucifixes. At Christ's Crucifixion, there were actually three languages used: Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Notice how the Greek and Hebrew have gradually been "whitened out" by creeping Latinism. And, Jesus did not usually speak Latin except to Roman officials. Normally he spoke Aramaic and Greek. He did not use holy Latin words at the Last Supper!

Bruce Stafford | 17 February 2017  

Roy Chen Yee, I agree, "consubstantial" is easy to understand: Con - a bloke in jail, sub - a submarine, stan - as in Stan Laurel (in Laurel and Hardy)* shell - as in seashell or snail shell. *(Stan also refers to a new online movie platform - which might be more understandable to young people). Incidentally, I wonder how many school kids (the few that is that still go to Mass), interpret "and with your spirit" to refer to Father's collection of Jim Beam whisky and Napoleon Brandy?

Bruce Stafford | 17 February 2017  

Thank you, Father George. Your comment illustrates precisely the point I was trying to make. There is more than a semantic difference between "translation" and "transliteration". One can carry out the latter with the aid of a reliable dictionary; with the former one needs not only a comprehensive dictionary but also a sound knowledge of the origins and usage of the words in a particular culture and an ability to convey that in one's mother tongue.

JOSEPH P QUIGLEY | 18 February 2017  

Thank you Father O'Collins. Excellent article. Most of my community agree with you, if not all of them.

Barbara Campbell | 20 February 2017  

And please bring the OUR FATHER into this. Our bibles translate it into our century so why was it left as in the Middle Ages?

Grahame Lesha | 25 February 2017  

My 1958 Gaspar Lefebvre O.S.B. Daily Missal has 'pro multis' not 'pro omnis' and as to English; Gaol has recently gone to Jail & now Geoffrey Chaucer doesn't read all that well as perhaps Bill Sharp-Stick who invented: "pious bloody laughable suspicious sanctimonious critics!" (and died 216 years after Geoff's death) We know who says: Sine die "sigh knee dye" instead of "see-nay dee-yay" but hey; would that be because vulgate Latin was lost during the Dark Ages only to be discovered as the only written language which is impossible to have ambiguous meanings, thus being loved by today's lawyers ? So my question is: who wrote multis instead of omnis?

Paul Clune | 14 March 2017  

Thank you Father O'Collins for the wonderful news and article. I have been so upset about the 2011 mass translation that I have barely practice my faith for the last several years (and I doubt I am the only one). I wrote a book (Faith, Reason, and the New Mass Translation) about the experience yet have felt like a voice crying in the wilderness until now. If Lex Orandi Lex Credendi is a true principle then a great harm has been done to the faith of many Catholics. May the Church now be guided by its own standard of Subsidiarity and return control of such matters to the local bishops.

John C. Wilhelmsson | 16 April 2017  

An Australian Jesuit? Enough said.

Alfred Dunn | 31 October 2017  

I have just read the book and enjoyed it. I am in the middle, as I like some of 2010 and also 1998. I hope we can stick with "And with your spirit"which others say too. Credimus, or Credo, why not both? I also like he use of more captials, but not too many, such as Body and Blood. In English from the Reformation the Creed has " of one substance"hoe about that, as a compromise.. If we are serious about 1998, there has to be compromises on both sides

david geoghan-powell | 29 December 2017  

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  • Julie Davies
  • 07 February 2017

Sister Barbara taught me in my fifth and sixth years. She had a large multi-grade class, yet she found time to realise I wasn't 'a bit slow' but was actually half-blind, partially deaf and bored witless. She ensured I was placed close to the front where I could hear, and arranged my first eye examination. Sister Barbara also sent away for high school English books just for me and that year this supposedly 'slow' child came first in class. These acts changed the course of my life.


Demystifying 'God's Rottweiler'

  • Andrew Hamilton
  • 08 February 2017

The inflated image I once had of Cardinal Ratzinger, and that many Catholics have of cardinals and other authority figures, was shaped by fear. Fear hands over to the human beings behind the image a power they do not possess. Conversations always turn to them and inhibit the free and constructive living of faith. In helping to demystify such images Last Testament, the autobiography (written with Peter Seewald) of Pope Benedict XVI, serves us well.