Well, the previous English translations were carried out using a method
called "Dynamic Equivalence," an approach that sought to translate the Latin text into the so-called "language of the people." Even though the intentions may have been good, it soon became clear that this approach stripped away critical theological significance from certain texts.
You see, similar to Sacred Scripture, the prayers and responses that we offer at Holy Mass often have multiple layers of meaning. In their purest form, they serve to elevate the hearts and minds of the faithful toward God fostering union with the Divine. They should, in other words, move us beyond ourselves and the present world in a way that draws us ever more deeply into the realm of sacred mystery.
By bringing the language of the Mass "down to earth," so to speak, as in the previous translations, the text was often "made flat" as Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops described it. This caused the richly layered content of the Missal to be obscured at times, while in some cases the translations were just plain incorrect.
As a result, we as a People – clergy as well as laity - began to lose our
grip on something very, very valuable: our sense of the sacred.
Recognizing the need to recover what had been lost, Holy Mother Church called for a more literal and faithful translation of the Latin text to be carried out in the Missal’s third edition. This made it necessary for English speaking bishops and liturgical experts to re-examine the entirety of the Roman Missal, not just those parts that had changed between the official versions of the 2nd and 3rd Editions, so improvements and corrections could be made where needed.
To say the least, this was a substantial undertaking
While this is not the place to cover in great detail the many misconceptions surrounding the matter, consider just the following handful of changes to Holy Mass since Vatican II:
- Turning the priest around to face the congregation
- Constructing free-standing altars to accommodate the
- Removing altar rails and giving Communion in-the-hand
- Eliminating the Latin language
- Introducing popular music and the "Folk Mass"
Many more examples exist, but what do all of these things have
in common? None of them, not one, was even remotely suggested much less encouraged by the Council, and yet most Catholics simply assume that Vatican II is the author of each!
And so the point is this; if we’re really serious about living in the light of truth and recovering our sense of the sacred, it’s time to put an end to the confusion. We simply must explore Holy Mass anew to rediscover (for some, for the very first time) the true essence of the sacred liturgy. We must be humble enough to look at Holy Mass through the eyes of Holy Mother Church as expressed in the words of the Council Fathers, so we might come to understand their vision for the liturgy’s renewal, preparing ourselves well for the great treasure that is offered in the new English translation of the Roman Missal