No, not Christmas. The Tower of Babel.
As I'm sure you've heard, the Catholic Church in the English-speaking world has instituted a new translation of the mass. To review the bidding: until 40+ years ago, church rites were in Latin. After V2, the mass was translated into the vernacular. And, it being the '60's, the translation (to the English, anyway) was problematic. The Church officially won't say "Mea Culpa" or more correctly, "Oura Culpa" because the so-called dynamic translation was done under the guidance of the Holy Spirit (no: the Holy Spirit did not do the translation. We are just confident that the decision to go with this particular translation effort was blessed by the HS. For those of you who still don't understand infallibility, just have a drink. That's right: all of you.) Basically, to say that the old translation was bad is to say, "Gee, the Holy Spirit did a bad thing." The Church can't really say "This translation is inadequate", but I can. The old translation was not especially faithful to the Latin. In trying to capture the "sense" of what was being said, there was a systematic change in tone of most of the prayers, and many of them now were totally out of sync with what is said in other languages, which is very counter-productive.
So, how's it going with the new translation? We knew this was going to happen: most Catholics are on auto-pilot in Mass, and if they know their prayers well, they haven't thought about them in years. If they don't know their prayers well, there's one response everyone knows, even non-Catholics. When the priest says, "The Lord be with you", you say:
"AND ALSO WITH YOU."
See- you knew that. But not any more. The Latin has always said, and every other vernacular translation says, "And with your spirit." (If you beg, I'll explain the difference, but not now.) This dialogue punctuates the mass at key points a total of three times, so it's like a wake up call (which is really what it is, functionally.)
We're one week in and this is how it's going: completely off the rails. Nobody saying "and with your spirit." Pew sheet guide is a complete [word normally only used in a Marine barrack]. Everybody flipping the pages wildly to find out where the [not heaven] the Creed is. By the time we get to the Our Father, everyone is so freaked out that they dive for the pew sheet and only realize 17 words in that IT hasn't changed, but are now so discombobulated that no one is holding hands. For this, I am truly grateful.
The feedback I've heard is that the most disliked part of the new translation is the prayer immediately preceding the Eucharist. Used to be "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I will be healed." My opinion: it always sounded a little rinky-dink. I could hear that it was meant to recall Cornelius' words to Jesus, but it was made more generic. The accurate translation is, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed." Which is quite a mouthful, so to speak. Apparently, the original Latin had the play on words–they understood the "roof" of the mouth the way we do.
OK, everyone, how do you say "Buck up" in Latin?