How Not To Implement MR3

… alternately, I could have titled this post, “How To Chisel Away at Church Unity.”

In a national liturgy resource, I otherwise would commend, I read an editorial with this sample:

(T)he new translation eliminates a memorial acclamation that never existed in the Vatican text, but which previous translators simply invented, and has unfortunately become in many parishes virtually the only memorial acclamation (the mystery of faith) ever heard (“Christ has died.”) The latter acclamation is merely a declaration, not a prayer, in contrast to the others ….

James Monti is an Ignatius Press author, but perhaps he’s a bit out of his depth as a liturgical commentator. If the point of progressive liturgy is to do it all better, more fruitfully, then Mr Monti has a point. On the other hand, every opportunity for better prayer, better music, better words, is an invitation for anyone to go deeper into the mysteries of our faith.

To that end, it is fairly counterproductive to tout the values of the new translation by bad-mouthing the old. It might show the foundation of artistic and spiritual poverty of the MR3, but that’s a discussion for another day.

I might suggest in turn that the Creed is ill-placed after the proclamation and preaching of Christ in the Scriptures. Why declare our faith when, by the standards of MR3, we should have “salutations addressed to Christ, fittingly welcoming him moments after the miracle of transubstantiation has made him present …”

“Christ has died …” is a credal acclamation. Not every text of the liturgy is addressed directly to God, second person. Criticism of texts on this point has pretty much spent itself. You see very little criticism of the so-called “voice of God” these days.

This commentary would also be a prime example of the fault of ingratitude. ICEL and other language groups “invented” (crafted might be a better, more accurate term) liturgical texts for one purpose: to get people to pray with consciousness, awareness, and participation. The singular advantage of the English Memorial Acclamation A is that in ten words it succinctly expresses the Paschal Mystery. The Eucharistic Prayer does not just present a “miracle,” but elicits an acclamation of faith that invites our awareness of an abiding presence of Christ that spans from the Last Supper to the Second Coming.

A few people have been able to promote MR3 on some very substantial merits. I don’t see that implementation is helped by an apologetics of sniping.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to How Not To Implement MR3

  1. John Drake says:

    Pointing out the deficiencies of the soon-to-be-retired (110 days!!) current translation is not necessarily “bad-mouthing” it. Indeed, by pointing out the deficiencies, one helps explain why a new translation was needed.

  2. Todd says:

    Well, sure, John. I count myself on the side of being a critic of MR1. But let’s be realistic: it was always intended to be a preliminary missal, to be replaced in ten to fifteen years. Perhaps there’s some criticism to be spread around on that point, eh?

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