New Mass trips up Utahns, other Catholics
Published: December 2, 2011 12:52PM
Updated: December 2, 2011 12:52PM
After being introduced formally on Sunday, the new English translation of the Catholic missal got mostly positive reviews.

“Priests and laity alike stumbled a bit with the new words,” reported Utah's Intermountain Catholic. “[But] overall the liturgy went smoothly.”

The Rev. Peter Do, associate pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center at the University of Utah, told the paper that even after spending eight weeks preparing Utah Catholics for the changes, some were “still experiencing the newness and the awkwardness of the new phrases.”

Do added: “It will take a while to get off the automatic responses.”

One of the biggest changes for longtime Catholics has to do with congregational responses to the prompt: “The Lord be with you.”

In the past version, the congregation would say, “And also with you.”

Now they say, “And with your spirit.”

About half the congregants in a New York church bungled the new wording, writes Peter Steinfels, former religion writer and columnist for The New York Times at commonwealmagazine.org. “After the post-communion prayer, we welcome any newcomers in the congregation, and when the pastor resumed 'The Lord be with you,' the response was particularly ragged. So he laughingly tried it again and again, and we rose to a rousing, 'And with your spirit!' "

He is confident that Catholics will “survive the new translation,” Steinfels writes. “That is now the bar we’ve set: Could’ve been worse."

His fellow blogger is not so sure.

“What a clunky, disaster of a Mass that was,” writes Eduardo Peñalver, a professor at Cornell Law School, who teaches a course on Catholic social thought and the law. “I think I’m going to go grab a chalice of scotch.”

Peggy Fletcher Stack