Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Now they tell us

It's been said that journalism is what you know when you know it. For journalists painting their story in the medium of ink on newsprint, production deadlines mean one must file a story with what is known now, and provide updates in the next edition.

So it is this week that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's favorite newspaper, the Catholic Standard & Times, does not report on the outcome of the United States Catholic Bishops' meeting in Baltimore in the paper's Thursday edition. The conference's Tuesday evening session produced, among other items, approval of new translations of the texts of the Catholic Mass.

The lash of the deadline descended upon the paper's editors and production staff, so news of this closely watched development needed to be deferred to next week's edition. Here is what we know today, after deadline:

The bishops approved the new English Mass texts, which feature translations said to be more faithful to the liturgy's Latin source texts. Some bishops objected for years that although the translations better reflect Latin, they will be obscure for most people participating in the Mass.

See what you think. The U.S. Bishops Conference offers many examples of the changes expected to be fully implemented by 2011. Here are two:

Current Nicene Creed: "We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, ... begotten not made, one in being with the Father."

New Nicene Creed: "I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, ... begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father."

Current Lamb of God: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed."

New Lamb of God: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."

It should be noted that the Roman Missal, the texts we pray at every Mass, have been in development since 1963 at the Second Vatican Council. And, it is still the same Mass as it always was: Word and Sacrament, perfect praise and thanksgiving through communion with the most holy Eucharist, source and summit of our worship.

Learn more about the changes, including the extensive period of catechesis (teaching) on this subject from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' site.

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