Pre-2011 English Translation of the Mass
  • CatholicZ09
    Posts: 15
    I was flipping through some old hymnals that were published with the old translation, and I was wondering something:

    How did composers of the Mass settings pre-2011 get away with the liberties that they took with the texts?

    One example is the “Great Amen” from the then-popular St. Louis Jesuits’ Mass.

    “Amen, Alleluia, forever and ever, forever, Alleluia, forever and ever, Amen!”

    This is just many of the instances where the text was altered by composers. Why was this so common pre-2011?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,860
    As best I remember, it was allowed in musical settings. Also, we had what was called a "dynamic equivalence" translation. It wasn't exact until the time of Benedict XVI. That's when we were given a more accurate, literal translation.

    BTW, we had to toss all our old mass settings when the Roman Missal was revised. Their use was no longer allowed.
  • KyleM18
    Posts: 147
    Several of the new settings took a few liberties too, for example, Misa Luna (the 2011 revision, before the new 2019 revision that fixed it). That Honduras Alleluia is still in use, with the "El Senor Resucito" attached. I'm sure there are others that snuck by, not to mention any settings written specifically for a parish that did not get approval by the USCCB, but may be in use (such as a parish I went to in the last few months while traveling).
  • Marc Cerisier
    Posts: 408
    I concur—it was allowed, if not encouraged—depending on when it was written...

    We saved all of our mass settings, because they Kyrie, Sprinkling Rite, and (usually) Lamb of God.

    Marc
  • MarkB
    Posts: 182
    I don't think there was much official oversight from the bishops during the 70s and 80s, and things liturgical were very loosey-goosey and experimentation ruled.

    I recall at my childhood parish the "Lilies of the Field" Amen being sung at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, complete with Sidney Poitier's descants sung by a bearded, bell-bottom wearing vocalist. Went on for about two minutes and had the congregation clapping enthusiastically.

    Then there was "Peace, Give I to Thee" sung during the Sign of Peace, or sometimes "Peace, I Give to You, My Friend. Shalom, my peace in all you do" or "It Only Takes a Spark to Get a Fire Going."

    The memories both make me shudder and make me nostalgic.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Carol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,860
    Our pastor insisted we follow the approved texts. He admitted the texts were not ideal but told us not to make any changes in them. Fortunately, he lived to see the new texts implemented at Advent 2011. He loved liturgy and was glad he was able to see them.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 7,649
    The US bishops music committee document "Music in Catholic Worship" (1972) encouraged additions to the text of certain Mass parts when they wrote, for example:
    The worshipers assent to the eucharistic prayer and make it their own in the Great Amen. To be most effective, the Amen may be repeated or augmented. Choirs may harmonize and expand upon the people's acclamation.

    Thanked by 2Richard Mix CharlesW
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,252
    There is precedent for adding tropes to the texts of the Mass, and Vatican action to restrain this tendency.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,860
    We saved all of our mass settings, because they Kyrie, Sprinkling Rite, and (usually) Lamb of God.


    Marc, the new missal was like a ray of light from above and a booming voice that said, "throw that trash out." LOL. What a golden opportunity that was.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Marc Cerisier
    Posts: 408
    You presume we used trash prior to the most recent translation being implemented?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,860
    No. I inherited a collection of trash from my predecessor - actually, more than one predecessor. I felt no guilt about wasting church resources when I junked most of it. The fact that some of it was no longer compatible with the current missal was even more justification.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Carol
    Posts: 439
    Overall I think the current Mass is an improvement and the emphasis on keeping to the exact psalm text etc. is a good thing. I do think the Gloria with the additional text is not as poetic as the previous translation. Consubstantial doesn't really roll off the tongue.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Joseph Michael
    Posts: 158
    There is no additional text to the new Roman Missal "Gloria". The earlier text removed or downsized or simplified the original text. The new Roman Missal restored the original lines.

    Thanked by 3MarkB CharlesW Carol
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,252
    more accurate, literal translation
    St Jerome was clear that a word for word (literal) translation could NOT accurately convey the meaning of a text. OTOH the 1970's translation was both inaccurate and incomplete, so I might buy more accurate - but often clumsy, and badly misleading in places.
    The Gloria second stanza suffers badly from the leaving Father at the end. In English we need the reference to the person addressed, here the Father, up front of the paragraph. I very frequently hear this read in church as though the lines Lord God ... Father are a separate stanza, leaving the object of "We praise you ..." unstated.