This is all taking me longer to get round to writing up than I imagined. On the third day we had two talks. However the day had to be re-arranged in that we were supposed to be having EF Vespers in the church of St Stephan of the Abyssinians in the Vatican but since it was discovered that the Abyssinian church was closed with the Epiphany being a holiday in the Vatican, Vespers were re-scheduled to be in the FSSP church of Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini which I had wanted to see any way. This meant that Fr Lang`s talk on the new translation of the OF missal had to be moved to after dinner. Fr Lang works for the Congregation for Divine Worship.
So the first talk of the day was given by Mgr Guido Marini, the Pope`s Master of Ceremonies. Monsignor does not speak English well enough to give talks in it so he spoke in Italian. However he spoke so clearly and calmly that this listener whose Italian is rather rusty was able to understand almost everything. An English translation of the talk had been prepared the day before and copies were available for people to follow. Much has already been written on the internet about this talk which was entitled Introduction to the Spirit of the Liturgy. It is available here. This talk was the highlight of the conference for me and I`m sure for many others. It was wonderful to hear about the ideas for the `reform of the reform` from one so close to the Holy Father. Many of the conference members had commented how the morning`s Mass with the Pope in St Peter`s had shown how far things had come in quite a short time in improving the qualilty of papal Masses. At the end of the session the conference gave Mgr Marini a standing ovation. I`m hoping to share some of the ideas from his talk with the parish to introduce some of the principles governing modern liturgical thought.
After dinner we had Fr Lang`s rescheduled talk. This was the most intellectually demanding talk of the week and as it did not start until after 9pm some of the Fathers were beginning to wilt after a long day. Fr Lang`s talk was entitled Liturgy and language: The "Sacral Vernacular" (Liturgiam authenticam 47) of the new English Translation of the Roman Missal. Father began by demonstrating the nature of sacral language in the Roman Rite, referring to the work of Christine Mohrmann. In the second part of the talk, Father took us through the new translation of the first half of the Roman canon explaining each section. The text has been available on the internet for quite a while now. It will be wonderful to use a translation which is close to the original instead of the current version. Talking to many priests there is some reluctance to embrace the new translation but then religions tend to be conservative. At seminary I lost count of the number of times we were quoted Newman`s saying about to live is to change! Any liturgical change always arouses opposition but surely it is better to have a translation of the Mass which is accurate and captures the spirit of the original rather than our current version which used the now discarded notion of `dynamic equivalence`
Father Lang was unable to say exactly when the new translation will come into use. It was hoped that it would be ready by 2010 but it looks as if it will now be Advent 2011. That at least gives time for preparations to be made to introduce it to the clergy and faithful. In the question session one priest voiced my thoughts when he said how much training does there need to be for someone to read a text? It is hard to see what the training for using the new missal will involve: not all priests will have the linguistic background to enable them to appreciate what has happened and there is no question of the new translation being the subject of debate as it is definitely going to happen. However it will be useful to have an opportunity for things to be explained as far as they can given the level of anxiety there appears to be about it all.