November 3rd, 2010
11:38 AM ET

Catholics to learn new wording for Mass

Roman Catholics are being taught new wording for many familiar prayers.

Roman Catholics will have to learn new wording for some of their most familiar prayers.

The Vatican is rolling out a new translation of the Roman Missal, the text around which the Mass and its prayers are built.

It's the first major revision since Pope Paul VI issued the original Missale Romanum in Latin in 1970.

The English translation was released in 1973 and revised two years later. Those translations were prompted by the Second Vatican Council of 1962, which did away with the Latin Mass and decreed that Masses should be celebrated in each parish's local language.

Pope John Paul II ordered the latest translation in 2000. The first use of the new text will happen about a year from now, on November 27, 2011, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The bishops' conference has been conducting workshops all year to help local clergy and lay ministers prepare for the changes.

Here's a sampling of the wording changes, some of which are throwbacks to phrasing from the late 1960s and early '70s:

Greeting and other dialogues

Old: (Priest) The Lord be with you. (People) And also with you.

New: (Priest) The Lord be with you. (People) And with your spirit.

Ecce Agnus Dei (This is the Lamb of God)

Old: (Priest) This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper. (People) Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

New: (Priest) Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb. (People) Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

There are also significant changes to the Penitential Act (“I confess to Almighty God …”), the Gloria (“Glory to God in the highest …”), the Nicene Creed (“We believe in one God …”), the Sanctus (“Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might …”), and other parts of the Mass.

To see all the changes and a revised order of Mass, go to the bishops' website.

"The long-term goal of the new translation is to foster a deeper awareness and appreciation of the mysteries being celebrated in the Liturgy," the bishops write on their website.

"The axiom 'Lex orandi, lex credendi' - ‘What we pray is what we believe’ - suggests that there is a direct relationship between the content of our prayers and the substance of our faith."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Mass

soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Why is it that non believers are so afraid to believe in something bigger than what they are? To admit God in one's life is not an easy thing. To accept the Holy Spirit is a frightening thing to receive in your heart if you do not believe.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
    • capnjammer

      @Brian: I'm not afraid to believe in something bigger than I am. I've been a Catholic. I've been a Protestant. I've been a pastor, an evangelist, and a missionary. Letting go of God was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Do you think I wanted to lose the only father figure I ever had? Do you think I wanted to lose the rights to pray directly to the creator of the universe and have him listen to my every word? Do you think I wanted to believe there was nothing after I died, and that I would never see my dead loved ones again? Do you think I wanted to go from having hundreds, at times even thousands of followers, to writing a blog that gets 30 views a day? Do you think I wanted all my Christian family and friends to forsake me? I did not, but I could do nothing else but stop believing.

      Logic and reason won out. There is no God, and if there is, there is no human being on this planet that can claim to speak for him or to know his mind. If there was a God, the Bible and the Quran are obviously not his books. There is no reason to believe, and all belief does is cause dogmatic separation of people who could otherwise be friends and coworkers towards a better tomorrow.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
    • brad

      @capnjammer: I for one understand the loss one feels when faced with God's absence. The old mystics called this "spiritual desolation". I also appreciate the risk you run by stating your inner feelings on this site. There are too many others who will kick you when you're down.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
    • Sum Dude


      A great post, bro!
      Ignore these nastier trolls. They love to twist words and provoke using lies – in a decidedly sadistic manner, I must say.
      They / he has been doing this on here a long time. They / he cannot speak straight, see straight, or hear straight, and they / he needs to go straight to somewhere that doesn't exist and makes no sense. 😀

      November 4, 2010 at 5:10 am |
  2. billhiller

    good job valarie

    November 3, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  3. Lulu

    It would be nice if – just once – a media story regarding religion didn't dissolve into a war between non-believers and the faith-filled. Many here who claim to be atheist are merely preaching the gospel of logic & science just as passionately as those who preach the teachings of Christ, Buddha or Allah. If they truly were humanists, they would believe in tolerance for all belief systems, and would disavow intolerance for those who envision the world as so much more than their senses bring to them.

    As for the content of this story, I don't think anyone beyond active Catholics have any legitimate reason to comment on it. Changing the words we say at Mass won't affect those who don't attend.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
    • Evan

      Hmmm, for instance... keeping gay human-beings from marrying or legally having partnerships shouldn't affect those who don't attend?

      November 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
    • Sum Dude


      If you feel that way, then why are you even here? Why don't you go to your EWTN site or some other Christian site and enjoy the company you say you prefer???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

      November 3, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
    • Lulu

      @ Evan: I think everyone should be allowed to marry whom they wish so long as they are legal & consenting adults. Those who don't think so, should not attend the weddings. And I think religion should stay out of politics & law.

      @ Sum Dude : Why do you think I prefer the company of religious-minded people ? I said no such thing. Do you have no better argument than to tell me to go away ?

      November 3, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
    • Sum Dude


      Oops! Sorry. I think I got you mixed up with Jim. My eyes started scrolling on their own separately from the wheel on my mouse. Sorry! 😳

      November 4, 2010 at 12:36 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Sum Dude

      Hey Dude..! What's happenin'...?


      November 4, 2010 at 12:58 am |
  4. cj

    To "what we pray is what we believe" I suggest adding "what we pray is what we do".

    November 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
    • Lulu

      That would've been a good addition ...

      November 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
    • Den

      That is pathetically bad grammar, syntax, and semantics. Pray that you are able to bear this burden or become healed.

      November 5, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  5. K

    Hmm. Just based on the sampling in the article, the new translations seem much more awkward than the old ones. Words repeated unneccessarily, odd turns of phrase, etc.

    Not sure I really see any benefit from either the standpoint of being more precise in the meaning or of being more comfortable/understandable for parishoners.

    There may be many areas where the church could strive harder to reform and revise, but as the culmination of a 7 year project this one seems kind of off-putting and unnecessary.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Evan

      Hey, at least it kept them busy, you really don't want a bunch of priests with too much time on their hands hanging around, now do you? Busy minds, pure thoughts….

      November 3, 2010 at 4:47 pm |

    "Feel the power of the dark side"

    November 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm |
  7. Kathleen777

    For the non believers: a good history book to see how Catholic your day-to-day life is

    Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, H. W. Crocker III

    November 3, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
    • Valerie

      Kathleen- I like that......hahaha....yes!

      November 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm |
    • capnjammer

      Of course. That's because the Roman Empire knew it was dying out and a-ssimilated Judaism into its pagan roots so it would have an arm to continue growing throughout history, just as it had done with the Greeks, the Babylonians, and the Medo-Persians, and like it tried to do with the Ottomans during the Crusades. To the victors of history go the rights to write its history books. You follow the remains of the pagan Roman Empire.

      The intellectual minds of the Renaissance knew this. That's why whenever you see a picture of St. Peter, the first pope, he is carrying a crooked staff and holding two fingers up to the sky exactly like in classical depictions of Jupiter.

      November 3, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
    • jm

      Catholics need to read this book as well. There are so many lies and distortions out there that uneducated Catholics fall for such crap as the Dan Brown garbage. I would also highly suggest "How the Catholic Church Created Western Civilization". It corrects many of the lies and distortions regarding the histoy of the Church that are so prevalent today.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  8. Margaret Mary

    "Those translations were prompted by the Second Vatican Council of 1962, which did away with the Latin Mass and decreed that Masses should be celebrated in each parish's local language."

    This is absolutely wrong. Vatican II did not do away with the Latin Mass, With the permission of the local Bishop, a parish could hold a Mass in Latin (either in the old style or a Novis Ordo Mass). This is one of the ways in which some folks (in the opinion of many) went too far with Vatican II reforms. While the goal was to create an experience for Modern Roman Catholics, the intention was never to throw out the old.

    November 3, 2010 at 3:48 pm |
    • Kathleen777

      We Catholic hippies may have gone a bit over board with change after VCII, but we are slowly dying off and the Church in its glory continues!

      November 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
  9. Jim

    What Valerie is saying is why as a non believer are you reading articles and posting messages about verbiage used in a ceremony you don't believe in. For instance, I don't like video games. Why would I go on a video game message board and tell people they are stupid for liking video games? This doesn't pertain to you, so don't worry about it.

    November 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It's a slow day on the Belief Blog and the non-believers are bored.
      Riling up Catholics by pointing out the absurdities of cannibalistic rites, hierarchichal haberdashery, ancient inquisitions, biblical inconsistencies, rampant pedophilia etc. is almost as easy as pestering young earth creationists by showing them fossils.
      It's always entertaining to poke at dogmatic thinkers.

      November 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • capnjammer

      @Jim, I'm sorry, but it does pertain to us. As long as you believe in your imaginary friend, my g-ay friends aren't allowed to marry, my cousin who almost died while giving birth to an encephalitic child whom the doctors knew would be stillborn anyway can't get abortions that would facilitate their survival and good health without risking a back-alley version of the surgery, stem cell research which could help all manner of illnesses and even facilitate the regrowth of lost limbs (which is something God has never done) will remain illegal, religious people will continue to break the first amendment and cause laws to be passed which give deference to their beliefs and no one else's, children will continued to be sequestered away from reality and not given a chance to make important choices that will effect the remainder of their lives, and the world will continue to be segregated by dogmatism. That's why I stand up and make my voice heard. I know you are most likely too indoctrinated to change your mind, but if I can reach someone who is struggling with their faith or who hasn't been fully indoctrinated yet, and prove that logic and reason win out over blind faith every time, I know I can make a difference.

      November 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • Matt

      A good thing to do is ignore the comment sections. People who argue on the internet obviously have nothing better to do.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • Evan

      Matt, that is so completely true. Amen!

      November 3, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
    • brad

      @Doc Vestibule
      When people level the charge of "cannibalism" against us Catholics, they are acting according to script (Jn 6): "How can this man give us his body to eat and his blood to drink?!" Jesus didn't pander. He responded "Does this offend you? What then if you see me return to the place from which I came?" (paraphrase)

      November 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
  10. Scargosun

    You have GOT to be kidding me. I just read all the changes on the website referenced above. I REALLY don't want to know the amount of money WASTED on this. Half of the changes don't even make sense. It's not as if there was some more accurate translation done to get to this point. They clearly decided to use some new words to jazz up the prayers people (including me who is not a member of the Catholic Church anymore) know by heart. I am sorry but if that is what the church thinks is needed to keep parishioners, doesn't it seem like there is probably a larger issue that needs to be addressed?

    November 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
    • capnjammer

      Maybe that's the point. Just like when they couldn't restrain it any more the church had to start allowing the vulgate to be read without burning every copy they could find, now they find themselves in peril and are using diversionary tactics to get people's attention off the fact that they may not really be the mouthpiece of god...

      November 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
    • jm

      These phrases are nothing new, but ancient and taken directly from the scriptures. Give me accuracy anyday, instead of the feel good stuff we've been using.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:29 am |
  11. Iqbal khan

    Here we go again changes...


    November 3, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • Muneef

      @Iqbal Khan.
      Thank you for this important peace of information which I never knew before as I always thought that the Holy Books they have are the words of God and which it turned to be not?? Where is the True Angeel of Al Messiah which were told about in the Quran given to Jesus? It is the only truth that came before Quran? So as it seems not only tried to sacrifice Jesus and caused the death of the Aramaic language but as well they made the Holy Angeel to disappear?!

      November 3, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  12. @@XPST

    Seriously??? I hit reply...

    November 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  13. @XPST

    A lot of assertions in that first paragraph...

    November 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  14. DBSR

    Valerie..." I firmly believe ALL cahtolic mass should be celebrated in Latin, in the original form, but it is not for me to decide this."

    Sorry Valerie the original form was Greek not Latin

    November 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • Valerie

      I wrote, "form" not language.

      : )

      The Mass said today is not the same "form" as the old one. I do believe I worded myself correctly.

      November 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • Megatron

      It's not the same form because people were bored with Catholicism and in fact were leaving the church. The songs were added to make it more "interactive" in the dark ages. I suppose God's design isn't good enough when the coin isn't flowing in eh? 🙂

      November 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • capnjammer

      Latin Mass is simply a confusion tactic. Just like the Bible was not allowed to be translated into the common language, and all copies of the Vulgate were burned by the Catholic Church, the Mass being spoken in Latin kept the common people ignorant and under their thumb.

      November 3, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
    • Muneef

      Well do not know if the original form was in Greek or Latin but sure they were in Aramaic and Hebrew but not sure which one was first. So do you see how many languages it was translated and circulated, only God knows how many changes took place deliberately or accidentally... Noticeably that even the true language of the Messiah the Aramaic was made to die after him...?

      November 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
    • dalis

      @ capnjammer Latin WAS the common language of people in the Roman Empire. Go look at pictures of Pompeii some time: the graffiti on the walls – the most basic, candid form of expression of common people – is in Latin. Only later it became an elite language of the university/professional fields like law and medicine. And the Vulgate was/is the Catholic Bible; don't know what you're talking about when you say they burned it.

      To answer the other question, the original language of the mass, or Eucharist, was Koine Greek – another common language. Eucharist is a Greek word.

      November 4, 2010 at 3:47 am |
    • capnjammer

      @Dalis: Latin was not STILL the popular language in the Middle Ages, or the Renaissance, or just a hundred or so years ago, when it was still the language being spoken. And I'm sorry about my accidental use of the word vulgate, which means it was in the common tongue. The actual Bible that was in the common tongue is the one that was rounded up and burned en masse. Read the life story of John Wycliffe or William Tyndale. These men suffered and died for trying to translate the Bible into the language of the common man.

      November 4, 2010 at 4:09 am |
  15. JG

    Reality: exactly true about Bishops, but not for Priests. Before being Ordained a priest, it is acceptable to be married. Once ordained, clergy are on the path of celibacy and bishop consideration.

    November 3, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  16. Bill

    Valerie, I second your comments on non-believers. Its amazing how important it is to them to "teach" us that God doesn't exist. I certainly don't spend any time surfing atheist sites to "convert" them. Why are we so important to them? I wonder.

    November 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
    • XPST

      > Why are we so important to them? .

      That's easy. Because you may be wrong. Because you may be precisely wrong.

      You may be acting exactly in the way that dooms us all to hell. If you close your own mind to alternatives, or, worse yet, impede the ability of others to find the Truth, you may impede your own ability to identify valid moral imperatives, or, worse yet, impede the ability of others.

      By Valerie's "Paschal's wager" justification, you should hedge your bet, and oppose prescriptive moral assertions that are not justifiable. You should oppose attempts by others to constrain exploration and diversity, and instead allow for the largest possible exploration space. That is, of course, unless you can justify proposed constraints.

      November 3, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • Megatron

      Bill, the reason it's so important is that believers consantly try and push their faith on us by way of blue laws. For example, having "in God we Trust' on our money. First amendment anyone? Not buying stuff on Sunday?

      November 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
    • Leave Me Alone

      Bill you are blind to how believers push their beliefs on everyone around them with a blind eye. It's offensive and old. I bet if atheists came to your door with literature, tried to talk to your kids without you around to make them disbelieve, and other things you might actually get mad yourself. How about if we told them they were cannibals eating people and drinking their blood at communion. Yuck! Religous people are gross and your parents are gross too. Did you drink blood and eat people. Maybe you're vampires? But atheists aren't telling your kids that (but they are thinking some of it). But believers feel free to tell my kids they're going to burn in hell. If it was happening to you you'd be mad too.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  17. JG

    Chris, the unmarried priest doctrine is a practice of the Roman Church of the West. Orthodox Catholicism has never implemented this "false teaching".

    November 3, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
    • Reality

      Actually, the Orthodox Church requires all bishops to be celibate and to come only from the ranks of celibate priests.

      "Orthodox bishops come only from the ranks of unmarried priests, he faced the choice of all Orthodox seminary graduates: Be ordained unmarried and promise to remain that way throughout your career, or get married and then be ordained. Once ordained, there's no turning back."

      November 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm |
    • coastiegirl

      ... and using that very term, "practice," one would realize that Priests remaining unmarried is someting that can be changed, as the Church sees fit. As for nuns, one of the vows is to remain celibate, in order to dedicate their entire lives to God. It's practical, too– hard to serve as a missionary or live amongst the poor if they have their own husbands and children to also care for...

      November 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  18. chris

    If the pope really wanted to fix the church he'd revisit 1st Timothy 4:3 which talks about how false teachers will forbid people to marry. Catholicisms ban on marriage for priests and nuns is a false teaching and has resulted in great misery for clergy and laypeople.

    November 3, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
    • kcm

      No one is forced to become a priest or a nun. This is a personal choice and they are well aware of the celibacy requirement, as well as poverty and obedience. I've discussed this choice with many priests and nuns and they are in full agreement with the rule and are not miserable. Saint Paul says living an unmarried life and giving all for God is an honorable life.

      November 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • capnjammer

      @kcm: obviously they are just hiding their misery, because it often comes out in the form of child abuse when no one is looking. Saint Paul was insane, by the way... he hated women, was probably a eunuch, and declared he wished everyone was unmarried like him, but if you couldn't keep it in your pants then you should get married so you aren't sinning when you boink. So much for the inst-itution of marriage!

      November 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
    • Thomas


      "For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it." Matthew 19:12.

      Frightening to see that you consider Christ's teaching to be false. How's that "interpret Scripture as you go" heresy working out?

      November 5, 2010 at 11:20 am |
    • Ugo

      Oh? and what about the Gospel of Matthew, in which Christ says that some people choose to be eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of God, and that some are eunuchs because God made them so? Or 1 Corinthians, where Paul says he'd rather people be unmarried as he was, that the unmarried can give their whole attention to God?
      Do us all a favour and stop quoting the Bible in selected halves.

      November 8, 2010 at 5:18 am |
  19. Valerie

    I am a tradional Catholic and attend Latin Mass every Sunday.

    These aren't really "new", in fact, they have reverted back to the older wording, more or less.

    I am glad to see these changes, for the Mass in general. I firmly believe ALL cahtolic mass should be celebrated in Latin, in the original form, but it is not for me to decide this.

    Peace be with you all.

    November 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • Kathleen777

      Hooray for the Latin Mass! My family loves it!

      November 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
    • Christine

      Thank you for your insight. It is making me rethink my initial reaction to the changes.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm |
    • Latin Mass


      November 3, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • Donnewald

      Is the original language of the Catholic Mass Latin? Because the Church originated regions surrounding Jerusalem, wouldn't aramaic or another local language most likely have been the spoken language for the early Christians?

      November 3, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
    • dalis

      @ Donnewald The Early Church conducted its rites in the vernacular languages of the Christianized regions – at Jerusalem they spoke Aramaic (and Chaldean Christians still do), at Corinth and Ephesus they spoke Koine Greek, and in Rome, they spoke Latin. Keep in mind that Latin wasn't always an elite language of law and medicine. Jerome translated the Bible from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, Koine Greek and Old Latin sources into a language of common people on the Italic Peninsula; this is why the Latin Bible is called the Vulgate.

      Re: the original Mass, or celebration of the Eucharist...was done in Koine Greek, but of course its true antecedent is the Last Supper. There are many words in Roman Rite mass still retained from Hebrew (Alleluia) and Greek (Kyrie, Anaphora, Eucharist).

      Another important point: the Roman Rite or Novus Ordo of the Mass that was adopted after the 2nd Vatican Council is one of 30 rites recognized as valid by the Roman Catholic Church and practiced worldwide by the world's 1.16 billion Catholics. The article is referring to wording changes to one rite out of those 30. The Tridentine (Latin High) mass, for example, is another and it's unchanged.

      November 4, 2010 at 3:15 am |
    • Brian

      I'd prefer that all Catholic masses be held in both Chinese and Latin, so that I can completely not understand them twice at the same time.

      November 8, 2010 at 12:03 am |
  20. JG

    Many of the new phrases are those that have been used for the past two milennia by the Eastern Orthodox church. i applaud the progress being made towards unity of the Christian world.

    November 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • jm

      1. These "phrases" are not new, but ancient, taken from the bible. I grew up with them, until Vactican II changed them. We are only returning to what we once had, because they are more accurate.
      2. Vatican II did not require the Mass to be said in the vernacular. This was abuse, pure and simple.
      3. Crossan is a heretic.
      4. Religion writers should know something about the church if they are going to write about it.

      November 4, 2010 at 9:57 am |
    • Den

      I applaud your overwhelming ignorance and blathering style of communication.

      November 5, 2010 at 10:41 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.