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The new English translation of the Novus Ordo Mass due out in the next two years could very well be the last chance of the full vernacular in the English-speaking world.
But the signs are not good. There is still too much tinkering with language. Not by the clergy so much as by the liturgists. For example, feminist words are frequently inserted in the Mass. Little do people realise that if the gender of the Holy Spirit is changed then Christ must have had two mothers.
Another example is the use of the pompous expression, 'breaking open the Word, or even, 'we break open the Word of the Lord'. Just a piece of harmless tautology?
The only popular use of 'breaking open' would be in opening a packet of biscuits, not a book, and least of all the Bible. In general one either opens something or breaks into it or out of it. In any case, the book is already open on the lectern.
Christ said, 'Heaven and Earth will pass away but my words will never pass away' (St Mark 13:31; St Luke 21:33). Christ never breaks His word and to use the words 'break' and 'word' together implies that He does.
If the clergy are serious about making a success of the new translation they would be very wise to clamp down on any liturgical adventures now.
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 21 No 2 (March 2008), p. 13
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