RIOTING: REFUGEES BIG CHANGES IN MASS
I;! DISCUSSED BY ROME EXPERTS
RADICAL changes in the Mass were forecast this week following meetings in Rome of two international committees.
Arriving in London on Sunday from these meetings, Fr. Frederick McManus, Dean of Canon Law at the Catholic University of America, and a liturgical expert, outlined to me some of the changes expected in the next few years.
',The Canon will be made much simpler, and there will probably be a choice of several versions.
*Some or all the silent Offertory prayers will go. Many theologians object to these because they seem to imply a sacrifice before the real sacrifice in the Canon.
• A Scripture reading from the Old Testament will be added before the Epistle.
• The psalm verses of the Gradual will be revised so that they have some connection with the Scripture reading they follow.
• The chants o f the entry, Offertory and Communion processions will be more flexible.
It is also expected that regional adaptations of the liturgy will follow once these revisons have been undertaken.
The two committees concerned with the changes are: the CONCILIUM, set up to carry out the Vatican Council's liturgical reforms, and the ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON ENGLISH IN THE LITURGY. This is responsible _for preparing a common Mass text for all English-speaking countries, involving some 80 million Catholics.
Fr. McManus described progress on this international text for all English speaking countries as "medium". The committee, with members from America, Canada, Australia and Britain has met twice. Both meetings were held in Rome; the next one is planned for the United States.
It is the committee's task to iron out difficulties and explore the norms of translation before commissioning translators to work on the texts themselves. The new transla tions will be aimed at the average man, but, says Fr. McManus, "we are not pretending we can put words like 'salvation' into basic English."
A problem the Advisory Committee has yet to solve is whether to use "thou" or "you". Every hierarchy except the British one is strongly in favour of "you". The British are at present committed to "thou".
On a vote of the eightmember committee the figure was 7-1 in favour of "you". The only vote against came from one of the two Britsh delegates.
The new Mass text which the Bishops of England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland have issued for use from the First Sunday of Advent this year has been strongly criticised for using "thou". But nothing is likely to be done to change it for at least three years.
However, in a recent survey of opinion which the Advisory Committee made of the diocesan liturgical commissions in Great Britain, not one voted for the "thou" form.
FINAL DECISION It is understood that when a final decision on this matter has to be made in three to five years' time the Americans, Canadians and Australians are determined to press for the "you" form.
Last April the Advisory Committee issued two sample English translations of the Mass which the CATHOLIC HERALD reproduced. All Catholics were invited to give their opinion of the translations. Four thousand people replied from the seven countries concerned.
The largest number of these, 1,042, came from Britain. America with seven times as many Catholics had only 800 replies.
Fr. Gerald Sigler, the American secretary to the Committee, commented to me: "The appearance of these texts in the CATHOLIC HERALD was the largest single impetus given them. Many other newspapers followed your lead, but you started it."