The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have been meeting in Los Angeles this week, and they’ve now announced something big, a new English translation for the Mass. Apparently it’s at the behest of, but still subject to the approval of, the Holy See. Said approval could take years.
But it’s really weird to me at first to read the changes noted in the story, originally from the Associated Press, but I read it in the Washington Post. The response to the Greeting, “The Lord be with you,” is changed from “And also with you” to “And with your spirit.” The Act of Penitence changes the sinning from “through my own fault” to “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.” And the Breaking of the Bread response is changed from “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you” to “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.” They all sound so funny!
But, then again, I usually go to the Latin Mass, so I start to think about what we say in Latin, and these new responses start to make sense. To “The Lord be with you,” in Latin, Dominus Vobiscum, we respond, Et cum spiritu tuo. Sure sounds something like “And with your spirit.” It’s almost exactly that, actually. Maybe “And with spirit yours” as the more literal translation, but closer to “And with your spirit” than to “And also with you.” Same with “through my own fault.” In the Latin Mass we say mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. As in, “my fault, my fault, like way totally my fault.”
The Breaking of the Bread response is an interesting one as well. A lot of the Latin responses I’ve gotten pretty well memorized, but not that one: Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea. I’m always scrambling to find the page in the Novus Ordo book, right after the Agnus Dei. Because that’s right after the Sign of Peace, where I’ve put down the book to shake hands with folks.
And I didn’t know the Agnus Dei at our wedding, and I was embarrassed that nobody else sang it either, leaving poor Jenny our cantor singing all alone with her hand up. I asked her about it later, and she said that’s pretty much standard for weddings. Hardly anybody knows it nowadays. So that’s why I made sure to memorize it.
So but anyway, I never can remember the Domine, non sum dignus all the way through. I’ve got to use the book. Maybe it’s because I can’t translate it so well. But that ut intres sub tectum meum, that sounds something like “not enter under roof mine,” though, doesn’t it?
What’s also funny to me is how huge these changes seem, changes to words I first learned almost forty years ago. But all the poor people who had to like learn everything anew after Vatican II, this is like a tiny blip for them, compared to that. So, really, not so huge.