Roman Catholics Expected to Grow With Changes in Mass Text

American Catholics are about to experience the most sweeping changes to the text of the Catholic Mass in more than 40 years.

According to the Washington Times, the transition began Oct. 1 with text for the music of the liturgy. The completion of this changeover is scheduled for Nov. 27, which is the first Sunday of the Advent season, when priest and congregation are expected to convert to the new English translation of the original Latin text containing prayers and instructions for the celebration of the Mass.

This transition has already started in Ireland as well as the United Kingdom, where the response to the new wording has been mixed.

According to clergy in Ireland, there has been a lack of enthusiasm for the new changes, but many are resigned to accepting them.

The new text has found its share of supporters who feel that the new wording is a more literal and direct translation of the original Latin. It is reported that the text will also offer a deeper prayer experience for congregations.

Some have said that the changes are more confusing and obscure. Critics also charge that the new text is part of a larger agenda by conservative bishops to roll back progressive changes approved by the second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

The changes include new interchange between priest and congregation, for example, when the priest tells the assembled faithful "Peace be with you," instead of responding "And also with you," the congregation will reply "And with your spirit." That pre-Vatican II language, tracks much more closely with the official Latin ("et cum spiritu tuo").

Church officials have made efforts to prepare priests and the laity for the new changes, which have been 30 years in the making, and believe that any difficulty with the unfamiliar prayers and responses will actually fade with time.