What was wrong with the old ICEL translation of the Mass?

“New” (top) vs. “Traditional” (below)


From God’s perspective (or man’s, for that matter)
which Mass looks more like genuine, authentic worship?

Anyway, that’s the most striking thing I noticed about the ICEL, just from contrasting Eucharistic Prayer I with a word-for-word rendition of the Latin Canon. God is dethroned; we are no longer servants offering a Pure Victim, an Holy Victim, an Unblemished Victim unto God’s most illustrious majesty, which we beg of Him to accept with a serene countenance. Rather, we are “ministers,” bossing God around like fussy matrons in an hurry, so unimpressed with the sacred that we tend not to qualify anything with superlatives or ennobling adjectives.

Even where such adjectives are used, something seems amiss. It may seem small, but I think there is a big difference between offering a Pure Victim, an Holy Victim, an Unstained Victim unto the Most Illustrious Majesty of God, and offering a sacrifice to the God of glory and majesty… just like there is a difference between Jesus’ “glorious Ascension into the heavens,” and Jesus “ascending into glory” (whatever that means). I.e., in subtle ways, even in the places where positive adjectives are used of God’s actions or attributes, the phrasing is usually reworked so that any sense of subordination to the Divine Attributes, or awe of the loftiness of the divine actions, is replaced by a simple acknowledgment that God happens to be great. It’s almost as if it were saying, “I’m not offering this unto Your Majesty, I’m offering it to You, Who happen to be majestic… but, don’t expect me to trip over myself in adulation just because You happen to be majestic. After all, I am Church; I am child of God; I am God. Lord, I am worthy that You should come under my roof. Because You said the word, I have no further need of You.”

In short, I think that is why they eliminated all the “majestic” and “noble” sentiments of the Canon, even in places where seemingly no pet project of the liberal agenda was involved. It may seem like there was nothing to be gained from demoting “This All-Illustrious and Venerable Chalice” to “the cup.” But, if you detest any hint of men fawning before an Holiness transcendent of their limitations, you especially can’t bear for a mere “cup” to capture man’s awe and devotion.

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The Eucharist, the Eucharistic Prayer, and the Mass

eucharisthands

The Eucharistic Prayer of Mass
(from the USCCB)

The Eucharistic Prayer or Canon of the Mass is the central prayer of the entire celebration. Most Catholics have been made aware from their earliest days that during the Eucharistic Prayer the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. What many Catholics are not aware of, however, is that the Eucharistic Prayer is about more than adoring Christ who becomes present in our midst.

The Church tells us that liturgy (and the Mass is the highpoint and heart of liturgy) is the action of Christ the Priest and His Body, the Church. In the celebration of Mass, during the Eucharistic Prayer, not only does Christ become present, body and blood, soul and divinity, under the forms of bread and wine, but Christ’s saving action, His passion, death and resurrection are once again enacted and offered to the Father by Christ Himself in the person of the Priest or Bishop, and by all present.

This is a truth of enormous significance! This action of Christ which brought about our redemption from sin and eternal death, offered once for all on Calvary, becomes present again for us, here and now, in this time and place, so that we can join in Christ’s perfect offering and we can ourselves participate in His perfect worship.

Read carefully any of the Eucharistic Prayers. You will see that the prayer is offered, not to Christ, but to the Father: Father, you are holy indeed …; Father, we bring you these gifts …; Father, we ask you …. It is worship offered to the Father by Christ as it was at the moment of His passion, death and resurrection, but now it is offered through the Priest or Bishop acting in the person of Christ – in persona Christi – and it is offered as well by all of us who are part of Christ’s Body, the Church. This is the action of Christ’s Body – the Church at Mass.

When the Priest or Bishop prays the Eucharistic Prayer he prays we bring you these gifts; we ask you …; we offer. That we signifies that all the baptized present at this Eucharistic celebration make this offering in union with Christ, pray this prayer in union with Him. And what is most important, we do not offer Christ alone; we are called to offer ourselves, our lives, our individual efforts to grow more like Christ and our efforts as a community of believers to spread God’s Word and to serve His people, to the Father in union with Christ through the hands of the Priest or Bishop. Most wonderful of all, although our offering is in itself imperfect, joined with the offering of Christ it becomes perfect praise and thanksgiving to the Father.

And so, during the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass, we have more to do than to look forward to the moment of Consecration and remain there while the prayer of the Bishop or Priest continues.

Before the Consecration we join in the prayer of praise and thanksgiving to the Father known as the Preface and affirm that praise and thanksgiving in our singing of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy). Following the Consecration we join together in the Memorial Acclamation which proclaims our common faith in Christ’s Real Presence and is an acclamation expressing our gratitude to Christ for His wonderful gift of salvation.

But then our prayer moves on and we are called to offer Christ, and ourselves with Christ to the Father: ‘We offer to you, Father, this holy and living sacrifice…’ and to pray with the Priest or Bishop that ‘we who are nourished by His Body and Blood may be filled with the Holy Spirit and become one body, one spirit in Christ…’; we then join our prayers with the prayers of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints for our Holy Father the Pope, our Bishops and clergy and all God’s people, living and dead.

At the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer the Priest or Bishop sums up all that has gone before: ‘ Through Him (Christ), with Him (Christ), in Him ‘(Christ) in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, forever and ever.’ And we who are privileged to make our own offering through, with and in Christ, respond with the most important acclamation of the Mass, the great AMEN by which we profess the action of Christ to be our action as well.

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A short slide show on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass