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Pontifications

Coming soon(ish), depending on subsequent approvals, all-new prayers and responses for the Mass, courtesy of that old-fashioned fellow, Pope Benedict XVI. Why this tradition-minded pope is pushing so many retro innovations is another topic. And I’m sure anything to do with the so-called “liturgy wars” is going to provoke fire and brimstone. The middle ground is pretty much no man’s land, and that’s where I find myself. I like and am familiar with most of the “old” responses, but I do prefer some of the poetry and enriched concepts of the new prayers. Yet some of them, especially those anticipated for the next round, strike me as antique to the point of silly.
Courtesy of the U.S. bishops press office, here are some of the major differences you’ll hear and speak:

1) et cum spiritu tuo is rendered as “And with your spirit”;
2) In the Confiteor, the text “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” has been added;
3) The Gloria has been translated differently and the structure is different from the present text;
4) In the Preface dialogue the translation of “Dignum et justum est” is “It is right and just”;
5) The first line of the Sanctus now reads “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts”;
6) The response of the people at the Ecce Agnus Dei is “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

Implementation will probably be a couple years off, at least, but start learning now. As Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation, said, the text is being distributed now to provide “time for the pastoral preparation of priests, deacons and for appropriate catechesis of the lay faithful. It will likewise facilitate the devising of musical settings for parts of the Mass.”
For a good overview of the new prayers, check out this CNS story. For a sense of the coming clash among the bishops and between the American bishops and Rome, check out John Allen’s coverage of the U.S. hierarchy’s meeting in June.

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