13 June meeting: New English translation of the Mass, its theological background

Discussion leader: Dr. Phillip Eichorn

In 2011 English-speaking Catholics encountered a new English translation of the Mass of Paul VI.  There were noticeable changes in the prayers said by the priest (including the Eucharistic Prayers), but from the perspective of the people in the pews the most noticeable changes were in the words and phrases they’d become accustomed to saying over the previous 40 years.

One of the most noticeable changes was in the response to the priest’s invitation, ‘Let us pray.’  Instead of ‘And also with you’, the people were now expected to say ‘And with your spirit’—as in fact, they would have done in pre-1973 vernacular versions of the Mass.

But why these changes?  Why a new translation at all?

It may well be that the 1973 translation had certain shortcomings (which we will discuss), but not everyone has been pleased with its replacement.  Some have pointed out that another translation was prepared and finalised in 1998, but was never approved for use.

Background reading for this discussion:

Material relating to the 1998 translation.

General learning sites on the ‘Translation theory’:

For more additional reading please contact Dr Philip Eichorn