Encouraged by Joe's posting about it on Catholic Commentary , I ordered "Become One Body One Spirit in Christ", the DVD on the new translation of the Mass from the Bishops' Conference here. Subtitled "Deepening our understanding of the Eucharist in our lives", and described as an "interactive" DVD it puts the case for the new/corrected translation very powerfully and is worth every penny of the £14.99 (including postage) price. I have not yet seen all of it but I heartily recommend it.
In addition to videos in which members of ICEL (The International Commission on English in the Liturgy) speak there are commentaries on each of the changes to the texts of the Ordinary of the Mass as well as downloadable essays texts and chant examples. I have been aware of many of the changes for some time now, from other sources, but have still made discoveries. One such revelation was the Exsultet or Paschal Proclamation and, reading it through, have been amazed at its sheer beauty and the richness of its allusions. Being no Latinist, I have always thought the current translation good as a text but, by comparison, the new one goes off the scale of superlatives. Indeed, while watching, I have found myself wondering repeatedly at the poverty of the current translation. It seems sad beyond words that we have been deprived so long of those rich scriptural allusions and resonances.
I was nine years old when I was told that we were living in historic times and that we would soon be hearing mass in English. Over forty years later that seems- at long last- to be coming to fruition.
I am feeling dead chuffed because this morning before the start of mass I taught our small congregation a setting of the new translation of the Gloria which went down very well. In fact we sang it through almost perfectly and unaccompanied! I found it, via a posting on The Chant Cafe, here. In spite of its simplicity- it is very like a psalm tone- it is surprisingly pleasant- much more so, in my opinion, than the missal version (which is based upon Mass XV) and allows the text to dominate. It also enables one to introduce a part of the new/corrected translation with the minimum of fuss. I heartily recommend it.
The above photo shows part of the procession of pilgrims leaving Cofton Park, Birmingham, following the Mass at which Pope Benedict XVI beatified Blessed John Henry Newman on Sunday 19th September last. Some individuals may be seen carrying the distinctive yellow drawstring bags that were a striking part of the "pilgrim packs" we received upon signing up for the event. Ever since returning I have been wondering what useful purpose my bag might serve- until the other day that is, when I realised that therein may lie the answer to one of the great puzzles in life! Like many people I have long meditated upon the Conundrum of the Odd Sock. Socks, as everyone knows, come in pairs. Socks are worn in pairs. Socks are put into the washing machine in pairs. At some point in the washing/drying process, however, many appear to separate with one party wandering off to I know not where. Perhaps socks are promiscuous- or simply prone to the textile version of amnesia. It is anybody's guess, I suppose. I have occasionally thrown a sock away only to have the missing party turn up some time later. But no more! With my special Papal Visit Odd Sock Bag I now have a place to keep my odd socks until such time as the lost/wandering sock returns! I wonder if anyone else has come up with such a brilliantly imaginative use for their Papal Visit bag. I should be most interested to hear. Now as for the CD that was supplied: I still haven't found a use for that. And, Yes. I did try listening to it. All the way through. It was a bit grim. So much so that I wonder it did not come with a plenary indulgence.I hate waste, so if there is anyone out there with a half-decent idea for what to do with the disc please feel free to share it.
"The Baptism of Christ" c1450 by Piero della Francesca- National Gallery, London.
I seem to recall a senior bishop, a couple of years ago, suggesting that this fine work would be better placed in a church rather than in the National Gallery where it now rests. I was amused because, as an altarpiece painting, it was originally designed and destined for a church. The fact that it, like so many other treasures produced in past ages, is now cared for in a prestigious, if secular, art collection is due largely to the fact that past generations of clergy saw fit to re-order and "improve" the buildings entrusted to their care. Vandalism and bad taste did not begin with Vatican 2!