Catholics getting ‘consubtantial’ with new Mass language?

December 6, 2011

SpiritBlog

There’s material for stand-up comedians in the newly translated Roman Missal, to be sure, but there’s also an opportunity for those humble enough to try to see the chalice as half full.

SiriusXM Radio’s “Catholic Guy,” Lino Rulli joked, “After taking the red eye from LA, I went home and took a nap. I felt consubstantial with my bed. Wow, the new translations are kicking in.”

Personally, I wouldn’t call myself a fan of using terms that aren’t common usage — not if one is striving for understanding — but that’s admittedly from my Bradley University journalism training to strive for clarity and comprehension for the greatest number of readers.

But I ran across Alan Hommerding’s take in his column in AIM, the magazine for music and liturgy planning, and he adds something worthwhile to Catholics’ ongoing conversations/considerations about the new language we’re hearing and saying at Mass now. Here’s an excerpt from “Talking to strangers” in the spring 2012 issue of AIM in which he writes about a talk he gave recently:

“I spoke briefly about the terms ‘consubstantial’ and ‘incarnate’ in the Creed . . . . I observed that it wasn’t at all unreasonable in the context of liturgy — meant to celebrate the mystery of Christ — for folks to learn what those words mean; beyond that, to be catechized about them, and even beyond that, to enter into a mystagogical exploration of these two foundational terms of our Christian faith.

“One attendee raised his hand and shared something from a class . . . . His instructor had been Paul Roche, a translator, classics scholar, and linguist . . . . Roche had told students, ‘For a word to be rich, it must first be strange.’

“For those of us who are followers of Christ, this kind of ‘strangeness’ must intrigue us, leading us to explore the mystery of our salvation in Christ more fully.”

Frankly, the jokes about the new translation are a great release valve allowing venting to happen, and that’s better than explosions, whatever form those might take.

But I’d really be interested in learning deeper, productive thoughts others might have or might have run across that will engage minds and hearts around the new words being prayed at Mass.

The floor is yours.

, , , , , , , , , ,

About Bob Zyskowski

Bob is the Client Products Manager for the Communications Office of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. A 42-year veteran of the Catholic Press, he is the former Associate Publisher of The Catholic Spirit. You can follow him on twitter or email him at zyskowskir@archspm.org.

View all posts by Bob Zyskowski