Missal will bring consistency to Mass texts of English-speaking world

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  • November 16, 2011

TORONTO - Not every region in the English-speaking dioceses across the world currently uses the exact same texts during Mass, said Gregory Beath of the archdiocese of Toronto’s Office of Formation for Discipleship.

But with the introduction of the new Roman Missal, that will change.

“This is the first time that we will have across the world a standard English translation of the Roman Missal,” he said.

Speaking to an audience of about 30 people Nov. 9, Beath gave a presentation on the new Roman Missal at the Chancery Office of the archdiocese of Toronto. The third edition of the Missal is effective the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27.

Since it’s become a popular choice for those in other countries to learn English, the Vatican was concerned about standard English, said Beath.

While communities that have strong roots in the Latin language, like Italian and Spanish, will probably have a lot of scholars in the Church that work with Latin regularly and help translate between Latin and those receiving languages, there are many languages that may not.

In these cases, since people are more likely to translate from the English translation, the Vatican wanted it to be as exact as possible, he said.

“The Vatican’s concern is that they don’t want anything to get lost in translation,” said Beath.

And English lacks specific words to mean the same thing which the Latin uses in the original text, said Beath, referencing information from a presentation by Fr. Bill Burke, director of the National Liturgy Office for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

One example can be found in the third preface for the Rite of Marriage, he said. Latin uses five different words as synonyms: pietas, which is the love a parent has for a child; consortia, which designates the companionship of two people sharing a life; amor, which is closely rendered “love” in English; caritas, which is a nobler form of love captured by the English cognate “charity”; and dilectio, which is related to the English word “delight.”

The new Missal will also be more singable, he told the audience.

“The liturgy lends itself to being sung so you’ll notice that some of the prayers will be more singable and we’ve encouraged priests to sing the preface and sing the doxology.”

For more information on the Missal, see www.archtoronto.org/romanmissal.

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