Viewpoint New Catholic mass wordings might open minds

By Sara Tirrito
City desk editor

Lately, my personality has been working against me.

I am incredibly stubborn. I don’t like altering traditions, and I don’t like change.

I’m a huge fan of having a routine. I like knowing there’s a game plan, and having things figured out.

Maybe this is a part of why I’ve come to love the cadence of the Catholic Mass.

It’s a cadence I’ve taken for granted for years, never having thought that the Mass could change drastically from what I’ve grown up hearing for the past two decades— my entire life.

There have been small changes in the way we celebrate Mass at my church back home throughout the years, and naturally when I came to college there were a few subtle differences between Mass here and Mass at my church back home.

But on the whole, the Mass has remained as I’ve always known it – the prayers are the same, the order is the same. The tradition, from the actions to the words, has been a constant in my life for longer than I can even remember.

It’s changing now, though, and changing fast.

By the end of this month, coinciding with the beginning of the season of Advent, we will cease using the current English Mass translation from Latin and begin using the new translation found in the third edition of the Roman Missal.

As I’m sure most could guess, I, for one, with my stubborn, change-resistant disposition, have not been exactly eager to take on the new translation.

And I’m not alone. Reactions from the Catholic community have been mixed for various reasons.

Some think the new wording doesn’t work, while others find it to be more spiritual.

Some clergy are not happy with the way the changes came about, while others are eager to implement them.

In an Associated Press article, one priest noted that many Catholics are frustrated with having to learn a new translation after they’ve already memorized the Mass as it’s said today.

And in that statement, I found the one point of view that might help me override my stubborn resistance to these changes, at least to some extent.

No, I’m not comfortable with them. I don’t understand why many of them were necessary and I’m dreading Nov. 27 – the day the new translation goes into full effect.

But I don’t think the Mass is supposed to be about having every prayer memorized. There’s a danger in that – of saying the words without thinking, of participating in the Mass mindlessly. Yes, we should know the prayers, but we should also be conscious of what we’re telling God every time we say them.

With these changes to the translation of our prayers, we will be forced to think, to examine what we are saying. I think many of us will find ourselves paying attention in a way that we might not have for some time.

And that’s a good thing.

Every once in awhile we need something to come along and shake us up and remind us why we’re doing what we’re doing. For some of us, that reminder will come with the new translation, and maybe it will help us to accept the change.

Sara Tirrito is a junior journalism news-editorial major from Texarkana and is the Lariat’s city desk editor.