Catholic Church's New Wording for the Mass Is a Mess
Last Saturday night, the smell of overheating lamination machines wafted from Catholic Church basements in the US, Canada, UK and India. The next morning, parishioners lucky enough to attend churches not downsized by pedophilia payouts consulted freshly plasticized pew cards for the new wording of their Mass.
Rome had ordered up the change in a move some (me) interpreted as intentionally distracting from larger scandals. Instead of the familiar version of the 1973 Missal, the Clothmen had mandated language that carefully followed every word of the original Latin text and syntax. Earlier translations had been guided by a more flexible, accessible “dynamic equivalence”. Rome heard “sin tax” and errant dangling modifiers.
The Catholic Church had last rebooted in the 1970s after Vatican II. Priests known only by the backs of their heads, shadowed faces or felonies turned around and faced the people. They spoke in English, though sermons in my church, Our Lady of Psychological Warfare, sounded as if they had been translated directly from the Latin with the end of sentences saved for all the verbs. And the whole rite was set to a hootenanny guitar beat. When I finally understood what was being said, like many others, I left.
I have been lapsed a while and some claim my right to complain has expired. But I am still a recovering Catholic. I still see and feel the deleterious effects on LGBT people of the Church’s virulently unchristian preaching about the abomination of homosexuality. I feel quite comfortable giving some feedback.
So CC, you go to all that trouble to change the response from “and also with you,” to “and with your spirit.” That is so last synod. Why not go right back to the original famous Latin area code, “Et cum spirit 2-2-0”? Omnius obsoletus est novus again.
CC, I predict you are going to have problems with the communion “entering under my roof.” Before the post-Vatican II practice of plopping the host in cupped hand, like it was a Bugle snack, First Communicants lived in terror of getting the host stuck to the roof of their mouths. I am eternally grateful to Mother Church for the cunning lingual moves I learned to unstick the host, but the roof reference might trigger impure thoughts for many of my generation.
Kudos on the re-introduction of “consubstantial”! Take it from a former high school English teacher: Catholic kids just jumped three points on their language SATS! Now they can stop turning around home statuary on SAT Saturday mornings or praying to Great St. Joseph of Cupertino, patron saint of exam-taking.
The Credo change from the more communal “We believe in one God,” to the more individual, “I believe in one God,” is chilling. I am well aware we die alone, but before that, in this hyper-capitalized, secularized, atomized mean old world, it is heavenly to have a community of believers in the day-to-day.
Though I quibble, I have taken some collateral inspiration from the recent reforms. Early in my career I spoke in a radical lesbian- feminist language that was baffling to a larger audience. Then I began to use a more flexible, dynamic language accessible to a straighter audience. They got lazy. My LGBT audience drifted. I was too accessible.
Thanks to you, CC, I have been trying a thicker lesbian accent and making my audiences work a bit harder to get what I’m talking about. I might throw in a little Latin now too. Nullum means nullum. Facio amor non bellum. Occupius Murus Streetus. Occupius tuus ecclesia.
If you liked this article by Kate Clinton, a columnist for The Progressive magazine, check out some of her other pieces by clicking here.
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