En mer verdig messefeiring – på engelsk

Det er bare to uker til den nye engelske messeoversettelsen skal tas i bruk – og Jeffrey Tucker skriver begeistret om dette:

… The language is completely different. What previously was choppy and plain is now extended and elegant. Options for prayers that aren’t even in the Latin edition have been eliminated. The incessant talk about “peace and love” that reflected the political-cultural concerns of 1970 are gone and replaced by actual English equivalents of the Latin. The language is generally higher and more prayerful. The text sounds like liturgy, sounds like Church, sounds like prayer, and the attempt to render all of this in dress-down-Friday prose is completely gone.

The overall effect is about more than the text, as important as that is. The really substantive change concerns the overall ethos of the Mass that will come through in the new language. It is serious, solemn, dignified, and even a bit remote in the way that mysterious and awesome things really should be. The sentence formulations are not like vernacular. They are elevated but without being affected.

Den nye oversettelsen vil også få betydning for musikken i messen, skriver Tucker, og der trengs det virkelig en revolusjon i de fleste engelskspråklige menigheter – ofte er ikke-katolikker blitt skikkelig sjokkert når de har overvært en katolsk messe, skriver han:

The biggest evidence of this change concerns the music. There is a long history in the Catholic Church of missteps in this regard. … The people involved in the production of the English version of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal got it right. They embedded the music as part of the text. You can hardly turn a page in this Missal without bumping into musical notation. This is just fantastic because it establishes a norm for both tunes and for the preferred style of the music to be used at Mass. This style is call chant. The prayers are all chant. The people’s parts are chanted. ….

This is just great because it solves a serious and major problem that currently exists within the Catholic Church: the music that is commonly employed in the liturgy works at cross purposes with the ritual itself. The establishment of a new (actually old) musical norm will have a gradual effect on the choices that the musicians make in the future. Pop music will not fit in well with a chanted Mass. There will be a gravitational pull toward making the entire Mass a chanted event, thereby fulfilling one of the goals of the Second Vatican Council to grant chant “first place” at Mass.

Now, in talking about these issues with reporters, I’ve noticed something that Catholics rarely talk about. The existing problems in the musical area are well known by these reporters. They’ve variously attended Mass with the expectation of hearing chant but come away with a sense of alarm or even shock that this is not what they heard. They tell me nightmare stories I’ve heard a thousand times, stories of amateur guitar quintets that strum away from the altar, stories of bongos and electric basses and trap sets, stories that make your hair stand on end and make you want to hide from embarrassment.

In some way, all these reporters, Catholic or not, are rooting for a dramatic change. They want the Catholic Church to be true to itself. …

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