The New Missal has arrived!

There is rejoicing all across the Great Archdiocese of Melbourne in these days (or at least a good amount of curious interest) as the distribution of the new English translation of the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal is taking place. Thanks to a kind benefactor, I have received a copy of the study edition of the Missal.

This is not to be confused with the “Sunday Missal” for the people, which is still a couple of months away (so I am informed by my contacts) from being available for purchase. My copy is a precise minature of the missal that will be used on our altars. The “Sunday Missal” (and its companion, the “Daily Missal”) usually includes the lectionary texts as well, but the Missale Romanum does not incorporate the Lectionary. In any case, the Lectionary is still undergoing revision, and it appears that it will be some time before any concrete edition of that revision will appear. (Out of interest, the contest for the new translation seems to have come down to either the NRSV or the ESV (Oxford Edition with Deuterocanonicals). I greatly prefer the ESV, as I think that it corresponds better with the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam.)

The new missal is already in full use at St Patrick’s Cathedral, and it has been a joy to hear the new Eucharistic Prayer translations and the new translations of the collects. All in all, the process of introduction here in Melbourne seems to have been very successful, largely due to the gradual process of introduction that was been adopted. We are still six weeks away from the time when the new missal will be mandatory, and I know there are a few parishes around that haven’t introduced any of the new texts yet, but I think we can report “so far, so good”.

I have been particularly interested in what the missal does with the “proper chants”, the Entrance, the Offertory and the Communion Chant. (Added to this categoy could be the “chants” of the Gradual/Responsive Psalm and the Gospel Acclamation, but they belong to the lectionary, and so we don’t have those yet).

The Entrance and Communion antiphons are the same as in the old translation, but have, as expected, been retranslated from the Latin (nb. not from the Greek or Hebrew* – these chants are not always taken directly from scripture but belong to the Missal itself, and I believe that even in the Latin missal they do not always correspond exactly to the Vulgate). This will be of some concern to folk such as Adam Bartlett and the guys at Musica Sacra, since the new translation of the antiphons in the Missal does not correspond to the translation they have so painstakingly set to chant in their otherwise excellent resource Simple English Propers.

I am disappointed on two scores in this area:

1) It could have been possible for the Missal to include the actual psalm verses – or even a reference to which verses to use – and not just the antiphons of these chants. I never really expected that, but it would have opened up the use of these chants enormously.

2) I don’t completely understand why the Offertory Chant – or even its antiphon – is not included in the Missal. The rubrics refer to it, and GIRM speaks of it at paragraph 74.

The proper book for these chants is, of course, the Graduale Romanum (and various other editions such as the Graduale Simplex), which can be obtained separately, but the English editions (such as the Gregorian Missal) of course use the old translation.

So. Where do you find a resource that will give you all the processional chants in a translation according to the new Roman Missal WITH suggested psalm verses? Do not despair: such a resource DOES exist.

Compiled by the Society of Saint Gregory, and approved by the Department of Christian Life & Worship of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (and available for download here on the BCEW website) is “The Processional: Texts for Singing the Processional Songs of the Mass from the Church’s primary sources”. It doesn’t include any music, but it does include the texts. This is what they say in their introduction:

It is the Church’s tradition that the processions in the Mass – at the Entrance, Preparation of the Gifts and Communion – are accompanied by antiphons, almost always biblical texts, sung as refrains with psalm verses…

These antiphon and psalm texts have been brought together in English translation in this document. In addition, in the absence of psalm verses for the antiphons in the Missal, the verses proposed in the unpublished ICEL Antiphonal of 1997 have been added. The Offertory antiphon has been restored to its original responsorial form from ancient manuscripts edited by Karl Ott and published in Desclée in 1935 (re-issued by Solesmes in 1985). In the few instances where there were no available psalm verses, these have been added editorially.

For the translations, the new ICEL translation of the Missal is the basic resource. Where the Graduale Romanum differs from the Missal, and unless the same text occurs elsewhere in the Missal, a new translation from the Latin is provided – as is the case for all the Offertory songs. For the Graduale Simplex antiphons, the 1968 ICEL translation is used, unless a closer translation of the Latin has been preferred.

This is a most valuable and neccesary resource for the full implimentation of the Liturgy as envisaged by the Second Vatican Council. All we need now is some good work done by composers to set them to music. Gregorian settings would be lovely – and perhaps Mr Bartlett might like to consider a revision of his “Simple English Propers” to bring them into line with the New Missal (I did warn him that he was being pre-emptive by undertaking his project before the new texts were available). Other composers may like to have a go at something a little more “user-friendly”. Imagine if we had an explosion of compositions for these texts along the same lines as the huge number of compositions we currently have for the Responsorial Psalm!

* UPDATE: The minimal research I had done led me to expect that this was the case. However, it seems not: See here on Fr Bosco Peters’ blog. I have learned two things from his posts on the Revised Grail Psalter. The first is that the RGP is now available online here. The second is that it appears the Entrance and Communion antiphons in the new missal are NOT translations from the Latin text, but draw a lot from the text of the Revised Grail (which IS a translation of the Scriptural text rather than the Missal text). Now whether this is a good or bad thing… I don’t know. There has long been the problem that the antiphons to our responsive pslams in the lectionary differ from the actual text in the psalm itself – which can cause some confusion. Also note that while the US Bishops Conference has voted to adopt the Revised Grail Psalter, such a decision has not yet been made by our Bishops Conference here in Australia (as far as I know). As for Fr Peters recommendation of the Adler translation… I know something of Adler’s work – he is a first rate translator – but it is a Jewish translation, and therefore isn’t open at all times to our Christological interpretation of the psalms. Still, this is all a bit of a surprise.

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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10 Responses to The New Missal has arrived!

  1. Joshua says:

    It would be very Fr Z of you to post the collect &c. for each Sunday, till we finally get our own missals!

  2. matthias says:

    I attended my first Sunday Mass, at my local catholic church ,as my alternative if I cannot get to St Als. I noticed hardly anyone used the printed form provided,and quite a few ,and in fact almost the entire congregation-cept me- responded “And Also with you” at one point. I felt at home spiritually but ,having read Schutz your posting yesterday , the new Sunday/Daily Missal would reinforce both the new liturgy and a spirit of reverence which was lacking prior to the Introit.

    • Schütz says:

      They had the new mass card and didn’t use it? Really? For myself, I also attended my home parish today, and was… pleased? surprised?…to hear a very confident “And with your spirit” response each time it came in the liturgy, even in places where a month ago people (including me) were stumbling. My home parish is not a liturgically conservative parish by any means – it is probably just a little left of centre in that regard – and the new liturgy has been introduced virtually without a blip.

      • matthias says:

        Schutz if your homeparish is the one that i think it is ,near to me,then i think I might attend it on sundays as my spiritual home away from home

        • Schütz says:

          No, Matthias, I was talking about my HOME home parish. Not the parish where I feel at home. The latter is right into the new translation, and I do encourage you to make it your “spiritual home away from home”. But the former too has adopted the new translation without any hiccups.

          • matthias says:

            Thanks Schutz I will make your “feel at home parish” my spiritual home away from home. I think my Spiritual Director-Fr GT -would concur with taht

  3. Peter O'Callaghan says:

    Love the article on the new missal. Love your ideas for the Australian monarchy – every element. Just would like to know what you would call he or she ie what would his her title be and how would they be addressed. Lets do it before we get the ‘defender of faiths’ on the throne. REgards

    • Schütz says:

      Just briefly, because I don’t want this topic to get diverted to the topic of the Head of State (use the search box to find other posts on that topic and endless discussion!): Thanks, I’m glad that you like my proposal for an Australian Constitutional Monarchy. Unfortunately, not many people see the beautiful logic of it (as you and I do) and I doubt if it would ever appear on a referendum ballot! I don’t really care what the Constitutional Monarch would be called: “The Sovereign” would be fine, as would “the Monarch” or “The Head of State”. “King” or “Queen” or “President” are options on the extremes. As for how you would address the Monarch: Governors are addressed as “Your Excellency”, so that won’t do. “Your Majesty” would be appropriate if we adopt “King” or “Queen”, as would “Mr President” if he or she was called a “President”. “Mr King”, I understand, was once employed by George III’s queen…

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