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What was wrong with the original?

It’s been more than a year now, and I still can’t get it right. And I’m not a stupid woman. I actually credit myself with a modicum of intelligence. So why, oh why, can’t I get the new responses into my head?

Up until November 2011 (for practically my entire adult life to date, give or take a year or so), whenever anyone said ‘The Lord be with you’, my rote response was ‘And also with you’. In Hungary, this isn’t a problem. I don’t go to mass in English, so for one hour on a Sunday evening, I’ve very little to say for myself. Surprise, surprise, I hear some of you think. But when I’m in Ireland, I go to mass, in English. And it’s so annoying not to know the words after all the years I’ve invested in Roman Catholicism.

massAs I miss my cue, speak out of turn, and say the wrong words, I can feel the eyes turning towards me, wondering how long it’s been since my last confession. Troubled by this, I finally took the time to see why the words were changed in the first place, when what has been embedded in our collective Catholic memory seemed to be working just fine.

vatican2_500_363_242I’m too young to remember Vatican II  when the Roman Catholic church moved from the Latin mass to the spoken language of each parish.  Apparently though, the English translation strayed a little too far from the original and ten years ago, Pope John Paul II ordered revisions to better synchronise the two versions. It took a while, but now they’re in and accepted.

Interestingly, whenever I went to mass in a foreign language, the Confiteor included the three-time beating of the breast in the traditional Latin fashion of mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa and this was missing from the pre-November 2011 English version. But it’s there now…and sounds most peculiar as ‘through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievious fault‘.

It’s odd to think that the English version of the liturgy was the one out of step with the masses (ahem) for all this time. It doesn’t make much difference to me, though. I’ve missed the learning period and don’t go often enough in English to reprogramme my brain. Perhaps this is a symptom of a greater issue – I’m still reeling at the Pope’s retirement. I didn’t think that was allowed…