Following the Greeting there are three options for the Penitential Rite. Perhaps the most widely used of these options is the form in which the priest makes three acclamations concluding with ‘Lord, have mercy’, ‘Christ, have mercy’, ‘Lord, have mercy’. This is not changing.
Also widely used in the Penitential Rite is the prayer we often refer to by its Latin title, the Confiteor. There is a new translation of this. At first glance these new words might make it look as though we are a lot more sinful than we were, but these are simply a direct translation of the Latin original rather than a sharper criticism of our virtue. The new translation offers us a humbler way to collect ourselves and express our contrition before we move more deeply into the prayer of the Mass.
One of the most striking changes we will notice in the new translation is in the words of the great prayer of praise to God, the Gloria. Immediately this hymn of praise begins with a change – and a more direct connection with Luke 2:14. The opening line of the Gloria now echoes the song of the angels announcing peace at the birth of Jesus. The Gloria then continues with an extended section praising God to the point of excess – exactly its intention. We are so overcome with awe in the presence of God that we keep searching for words to describe the experience. The prayer then introduces a change from the singular to the plural. In the present translation we sing about Jesus taking away the “sin” of the world and the new translation speaks of “sins”. This indicates for us that Jesus takes away not just generic sin from the world but individual sin too. This new translation of the Gloria firmly roots this great prayer in the Scriptures, gives us many words to praise God, and enables us to reflect more deeply on the forgiving power of Jesus.
The Apostles Creed
The words we say to profess our faith are different in the new translation, but it is still the same faith we profess. There are two versions of the Creed – the Nicene Creed and the Apostles’ Creed, but the one used most often in Church today is the Nicene Creed.
The most obvious change in our recitation of the Creed is the change from ‘We believe’ to ‘I believe’- a literal translation of the Latin word Credo. This change does not mean that we stand in Church professing our faith alone, rather we profess the faith of the entire Church together while at the same time asserting our own personal faith.
The phrase ‘visible and invisible’ replaces ‘seen and unseen’ and makes this line more precise. There are some things that can be both visible and unseen at certain times and places. For example, a friend who lives far away is visible, but unseen to you. This change underlines our belief that God is the creator of everything, even the invisible – that which can never be seen.
Perhaps the most puzzling word in the whole of the new translation is the word ‘consubstantial’ which replaces the phrase ‘of one being’ to describe the relationship between Jesus and the Father. ‘Of one being’ is a closer translation of the original Greek of the Creed whereas the new translation is closer to the Latin word consubstantialis.
‘I confess’ one baptism is a much stronger expression than ‘we acknowledge’ in that it involves not just the head but the heart also. In this context it means ‘profess belief in’ rather than an expression of sorrow for sins.
The Creed ends with a great expression of confidence: ‘I look forward to the resurrection’. No longer do we timidly ‘look for the resurrection’ but we confidently state our belief that God, who gives us faith, wants us to join with him in our heavenly inheritance.
Some parishes have been sending cards or ideas that they have designed to help with the implementation of the new missal. I am happy to make this available more widely. Please see this section for more information on copyright..