This is exciting news. The Washington Times reports:
The Vatican has approved and is ready to release a new English translation of the Mass and its associated prayers and texts.Read the rest.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke Wednesday at the Vatican to Vox Clara, a special committee of Catholic bishops and consultants from English-speaking countries convened to assist with the translation.
"I welcome the news that the English translation of the Roman Missal will soon be ready for publication, so that the texts you have worked so hard to prepare may be proclaimed in the liturgy that is celebrated across the anglophone world. Through these sacred texts and the actions that accompany them, Christ will be made present and active in the midst of his people," Benedict told the assembly.
The Roman Missal is the official Latin texts for the Mass promulgated after the Second Vatican Council, commonly known as the Norvus Ordo or Paul VI Mass. The latest update was approved by Pope John Paul II in 2000 and the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL), consisting of bishops from all over the English-speaking world, has been working on the translation since.
The ICEL's work needs formal and final approval by the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which Vox Clara has been aiding.
While the Vatican-approved text of the Missal translation has yet to be released publicly, various changes proposed by the ICEL have been. Some sections already have received Vatican approval. The aim has been to translate the Latin texts more exactly and literally into English.
As an example of the style of changes, before receiving Communion, the parishioners are to say "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof," instead of the current "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you."
I realize, as the article quotes the Holy Father as explaining, some people are going to be upset about the change--there always are those. But this new translation is far better than what we've had.
In fact, this new translation will underscore the biblical allusions in the Mass, the way the Old Testament is seen to be fulfilled in the New, and the continuity between Jewish and Christian worship.
Case in point: the prayer mentioned above, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof". That of course is a direct quotation from the centurion's words to Jesus in Matthew 8. Notably, the scene ends with Jesus talking about how many will come to sit at table in the kingdom. Of course, this corresponds to what happens after this prayer is prayed in the Eucharistic celebration; that is the last prayer that is said together by the faithful before reception of Holy Communion.
In short, the New Missal is a biblically focused translation.
I'll have more to say on this news in the days to come. St. Joseph's Communications is sitting on a new CD set of presentations I have done on the new English translation of the Missal. In this series I go through each and every prayer and rite looking at the biblical allusions and similarities to Jewish prayers and traditions about the temple.
For example, at the Offertory the priest prays: "Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life."
This prayer has largely been formulated in consultation with Jewish tradition. Consider the table prayer described by the ancient rabbis in the Mishna: "Blessed are thou. . . who bringest forth bread from the earth. . ." (m. Ber. 6.1).
I'll have more soon. Stay tuned!