The 1973 translation of the Roman Missal is much-loved and familiar to most of us, but doubts have been raised as to its effectiveness. Does the paraphrasing of a number of key phrases hide its true meaning?
The 2011 translation corrects a number of omissions and additions, but has been criticised by some as being difficult to read. Questions have also been asked about the circumstances under which it was implemented.
Through exploring the reasons behind the new translation and the criteria and method used to draw it up, Pat Mullins analyses the differences between the two translations and invites the reader to draw their own conclusions as to the relative merits of each.
Dr Patrick Mullins is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Dublin. A non-ordained Brother of the Carmelite Order, he is Director of Studies at the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland.
This is the first major study to emerge dedicated to a serious examination of the language of the Roman Missal as we now use it, and will complement shorter studies that have been published to date. It makes a valuable contribution to the wider debate on liturgical translation which has emerged in recent years, and which is far from over.
– Thomas R. Whelan, Associate Professor of Theology, Milltown Institute, Dublin
ln 1974 a new translation of the Roman Missal was issued and over the years it became the accepted norm and liked by most Catholics. However there were always some doubts about its effectiveness in terms of clarity and precision. Eventually these doubts were addressed in a new translation in 2011. This was greeted with much controversy with complaints from laity and clergy about the style and accessibility. Dr Mullins OCarm. examines in detail both versions, compares and contrasts the translations, and comments on the pros and cons of each. He does not attempt to steer the reader in any direction but invites him or her to draw their own conclusions.
– Books Ireland, February 2013
For everyday parishioners and (the more frequently to be found) occasional Mass goers one of the most significant legacies of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI is the new translation of the 1973 Missal which is still being slowly and not always comfortably absorbed by both priests and laity. In the first major study of the changes, entitled My Soul Shall Be Healed, which is dedicated to a serious examination of the new language, Patrick Mullins OCarm makes a helpful contribution to the ongoing debate which may now take on fresh energy under a new papacy in order to fulfil the Vatican II imperative of promoting the full, conscious and active participation of all the faithful in liturgical celebrations.
In this balanced and comprehensive account, which explains with admirable clarity the underlying issues that led to the new translation as well as challenging the view that the changes were simply part of a conservative agenda but instead present a more complex and authentic renewal, the author over three chapters and an appendix which is longer than the chapters offers a full discussion and line by line analysis and comparison of the two translations of 1973 and 2011. He weighs up the arguments and criticisms of a too literal translation from the Latin in the latest translation versus the more dynamic but flawed interpretation favoured by the 1973 authors that he claims diluted the identity and unitary expression that the Roman Rite originally intended. So while praising the remarkable achievement of the 1973 popular translation completed in just three years Dr Mullins ultimately describes the 2011 version as a significant improvement which will in time be more widely appreciated even if it too will require adjustment and revision at a future date. He cites Bishop Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey who commented that the new translation will improve our liturgical prayer but it will not be perfect. Perfection will come when the Liturgy on earth gives way to that of heaven where all the saints praise God with one voice.
– Fr Paul Clayton-Lea, Intercom, May 2013