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Deepening Our Faith Through the New Missal Print E-mail

February 23, 2011| The Long Island Catholic Vol. 49, No. 43 | BISHOP WILLIAM MURPHY

This Friday, February 25, all the priests of our Diocese are having a Convocation to spend time in priestly fraternity and to have a day in which we pray together, share our priestly fraternity and reflect on our lives as priests called to serve the People of God in our Diocese of Rockville Centre. Msgr. Steve Rossetti of Catholic University will offer his reflections on priesthood while I have the privilege of a period of time to interact with my brother priests. Msgr. James Moroney is the American priest who has been most involved in the preparation of the translation of the new Third Edition of the Roman Missal. He will give us his insights on how we, as the leaders of our parish Eucharist can best fulfill that role in the preparation of our parishioners and in the implementation of the Missal beginning the First Sunday of Advent this November 27.

In the meantime parish staffs, deacons, liturgical ministers and musicians will all have their time to become familiar with the new Missal as means to ready ourselves so that you, the People of God, can not only know what the changes are. Much more importantly we want this to be a time when you and I together enter more deeply into the mystery of the Eucharist and experience the transforming grace of the Mass as the source and summit of our lives and as the greatest gift the Lord left us as Church on the night before he died.

Two changes you will notice right away concern the dialogue of greeting in the Mass and the actual words of Institution at the consecration of the sacred species. Instead of and also with you, the faithful will respond with And with your spirit. The other change you will notice is that, when the priest says the words of institution over the cup, the priest will say which will be shed for you and for many.

The first change, and with your spirit, has been very beautifully explained by late French liturgical expert, Bernard Botte, OSB, in an article reprinted in Antiphon last year. He explains that the greeting and the response in Mass reflects both the teaching of St. Paul and the earliest written sources we have for the celebration of the Eucharist. What we are saying to each other is a greeting that is also a prayer. That greeting prayer can be found in the Pauline letters and it is the source and inspiration for its use in the liturgy. It calls us to respond to the other with a deep awareness of the spiritual nature of our being, our living, our discipleship. For the spirit refers to the deepest part of our existence, our openness to God and our relationship to the One who has redeemed us. To say The Lord be with you is to recognize in the other the depths of the relationship we have to God and make that the center of our greeting one another. To respond and with your spirit is to answer in kind desirous that the spirit which is that element of who we are, wherein we are united with God, is what opens us up to being the new creation Paul speaks of and to being the ones called to worship in spirit and in truth as Jesus himself explained to the Samaritan woman at the well. Thus from the very beginning of our worship at Sunday Mass, by this greeting, we will have placed ourselves into a mutual relationship of prayer and recognition that echoes the message of Christ, proclaims the life in the spirit according to Paul and makes our own the greeting that has been used by Christians in the Eucharist for as long as our tradition can show us.

For many the idea of changing the English words of institution back to the original Latin of for many instead of what we now have, for all, smacks of some kind of exclusivity, of restricting the salvation of Christ only to those who can receive the Eucharist. Not true! Here again the same issue of Antiphon carries a long and deep reflection by Father Manfred Hauke, a Professor of Dogmatics and Patristics at the Theological Faculty of the University of Lugano, Switzerland.

Let me try to summarize his 60 page theological study. Fundamentally there are two truths that get confused when we translate the text of the Missal which has always had in Latin pro multis or for many with the words for all. Those two truths are first what the Church believes and proclaims: Christ is the unique Savior of the world; He died to save all humankind without exception and everyone who is saved for eternal life is saved through the expiatory death and triumphant resurrection of Christ. The second truth is that on the night before He died Jesus gave to His first disciples and through them to the whole Church the greatest gift He could bequeath us: His sacramental presence in body and blood given for us, given that we might be as His Church and as His Church be nourished by His Body and Blood until the end of time.

In Matthew and Mark, the words are given for many. In Luke and Paul the words are given for you. The liturgy, faithful to the New Testament, has always used for many. Between 1968 and 1970, the translation into several languages proposed all instead of many, and the Holy Father accepted that for those translations, including English. This was perfectly acceptable as a valid translation once it received the Pope’s approbation. But the more research has been carried out, the clearer it has become that many of those translations rested on an exegesis of the New Testament that several have since considered possible but not preferable.

Instead all the theological and liturgical studies have emphasized that, in fidelity to the New Testament and fidelity to the eastern and western liturgical traditions, it is preferable to have all the translations be the same, namely that at the words of institution over the cup, the priest prays given for you and for many.

This is no way denies or compromises the truth that Jesus’ death and resurrection has redeemed all humankind. No one is saved except, because and through the salvific acts of the Son of God made man. Yet on the night before He died, He gave the gift of the Eucharist to His first disciples and to His Church for you and for many so that as many as recognize Him by their own free choice and become His disciples might share in the Eucharistic Body and Blood of the unique Savior of all humankind.

As we hear these words proclaimed we, as His disciples, recognize and proclaim Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free. You are the redeemer of the world. Yet we know that we are the for you Jesus spoke to as Luke and Paul record; we are the many who in Matthew and Mark are called to share His Body, His Blood. And so we approach the Eucharist with a depth of thanksgiving that is immeasurable because we recognize that the very One who has redeemed the world is the One who nourishes us, who are the Body of Christ, with His body and blood that all humankind might see the salvation of our God.

Comments (1)Add Comment
Music Director
written by Terence Purtell, March 03, 2011
Dear Bishop Murphy:

The crowd at St. Rosalie's workshop yesterday was electric (in a wonderful way!) but there wasn't sufficient time to have my questions answered; and I believe there are others like myself who will need more answers than Sister and Father Andrei were able to give.

There was a 25-year gap between the First Edition and Liturgiam Authenticam, as explained at BelongMoreDeeply. If dynamic equivalence was a flop, why did Holy Mother Church take 25 years to notice? Or was the turnaround from dynamic to formal more gradual? How did this ideological turnaround occur? What was the perceived benefit of dynamic when instituted in 1969, and were there any occurrences that disproved the arguments made in 1969? Or is the Church's logic simply that our congregations are thinning anyway--we don't know what to do about it so we might as well try something drastic?

Sister suggested there was pressure from foreign bishops that the first translation was considered "too American". Which nations, and who specifically were the major pioneers/proponents of formal equivalence? There are so many committees working for Rome, but never any names listed; people (at least in America) don't trust committees, people trust other people. Congregations need to know who these "liturgists and scholars" actually are (some names, at least), making decisions on their behalf. How do these committees work, like ICEL and Conferences of Bishops--do they meet regularly, do they vote?

Bishop Murphy, these are details that will aid communication and help to silence naysayers. When people don't understand how ideas arise, they say silly or nasty things--thinking Rome operates on whims, or out of power-trips. Perhaps Your Grace is not aware of everything that occurs in Rome; should that ever be the case concerning info on the Missal, I know people appreciate candor.

A belated thank-you for the generous response to my letter dated 2/12/10 concerning the VSP. Also a thank-you for the show of solidarity with the African-American community this past February; I really enjoyed the heartfelt sermon. I am imposing on Your Grace's time once more in this instance--not necessarily to respond to me personally, I can only imagine how busy the Bishop must be, but--to bring the people of our diocese more specific information on how the decision to turn from dynamic to formal came about, and who were catalysts behind this new paradigm.



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