How have the Mass texts been revised and who revised them?

February 15th, 2011  |  Published in New Roman Missal

The texts have been revised through a re-examination of the original Latin texts and have resulted in a more formal style and greater adherence to the original Latin. You will find that many sentences are longer because our previous translation broke these up when they occurred in Latin. The new translation stitches these phrases together again so it may be more difficult to say and hear, at first. These longer sentences have produced prayers that express more nuances of meanings and express more clearly why we pray, why we hope, and how we present ourselves before God.

The original translation helped entire communities make the jump from praying Mass in Latin to praying it in English. It showed us how a good translation can enhance the prayer of individuals and of entire congregations. It gave us a better understanding of the faith we share and laid a foundation for vernacular worship upon which the Church is now building anew. The guiding principle was to achieve a translation that better evokes what the Latin says.

A large number of people and groups worked on the translation and the entire process was guided by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). This was the same organization, although with different members, that provided the first translations for all English speaking countries a generation ago. This Commission prepared and evaluated the work and presented the results to the various conferences of bishops around the world. After a number of rounds of improvements between the Commission and conferences of bishops, the product was presented to Rome. At the level of the Vatican, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments along with the Vox Clara Committee made final adjustments to the texts before approving them for publication.