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August 27, 2010

The New Catholic Missal

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

(I wrote the following post over at reviovine.com; this is a CnP (a “copy and paste” post).

For some odd reason, I find it necessary to make a couple disclaimers on this post, one that should have been uploaded yesterday since it appeared in The (Bergen) Record on Thursday.

First, I acknowledge that with the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, only Lutheran clergy people and seminary professors will get all excited over proposed changes to the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. I mean, how many Lutherans are going to get excited reading Archbishop Allen Vigneron’s “The Art of Pastoral Translation?To be honest, not many Lutheran clergy people are going to revved up reading this. Me? I stayed up late reading about the changes. My iPad is recharging as I type.

Second, most Roman Catholics who attend mass will probably not like the proposed changes to the Catholic Missal, as proposed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For the first time in 40 years, the bishops have endorsed major changes to the mass that will come as a dramatic shock to many who attend the Roman Catholic Divine Service. For example, when the priest says, “The Lord be with you,” there is going to be some stress in the pews since the regularly mouthed response of “And also with you” is being changed to “And with your spirit.” Us Lutherans wouldn’t have much of a problem since we’ve used both responses interchangeably for years, but with many Catholics, changing the “people’s responses” is going to take a long while getting used to.

To me, one of the big changes the bishops have endorsed comes in the Nicene Creed. The Roman Catholic Church forever has used a corporate translation of the Creed, meaning they say “We believe in…” instead of the LCMS-endorsed “I believe in…” In November 2011, the RCC in the US moves closer to our creedal translation. Most people also will not get too excited over this change, but as a Lutheran pastor who views the Creeds not only as corporate churchly confession, but more importantly, as an individual confession of the faith, I can’t help but to be happy over this change.

Of course, there are other changes within the body of the Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds that don’t make be too thrilled, namely in the Nicene the phrase “is worshiped and glorified” is being changed to “is adored and glorified.” As Christians, while we adore our Triune God, our worship is a little more important than our adoration. But I nitpick.

Links to the proposed missal changes are as follows:

The People Parts
The Priest Parts
The Order of the Mass (this is a PDF download)

One of the cool aspects of the bishop’s changes is that over the next year, parish priest and dioceses will embark upon a major catechetical process to teach the new missal to the church. I know some aren’t going to be too thrilled with some of these changes. But the church will move ahead with the new missal. In fact, on the missal website, they have a daily countdown clock.

Within our Lutheran Church here in New Milford, the Roman Catholic Bishops have given us an opportunity to take time catechize, as well. Starting next month, we’ll begin a lengthy teaching process on our liturgy and why “we do what we do; say what we say” in church. I haven’t decided if we’re going to put in the bulletin or in our weekly parish notes section. But it will be made available on our church’s website.

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