New missal could be subject to review – liturgist

The retired director of the National Centre for Liturgy warns that “a review is not a revision”

The retired director of the National Centre for Liturgy in Ireland has indicated that a review of the new English translation of the missal could be on the cards.

Fr Paddy Jones, who has been a prominent advisor to the Irish bishops on liturgy for 21 years, told The Irish Catholic: “In our disucssions at the Council for Liturgy, the bishops’ main consultative body on liturgy, we have talked about a review. Any major project is subject to review and the new missal was such a project, “ Fr Jones said. 

“We are now using a translation very different to what we had become accustomed to, in some cases, for over 40 years. So, it is reasonable to expect surveys about people’s opinions,” he added.

Fr Jones warned, however, that “a review is not a revision”.

He suggested that the first item on a review should be “to see how we prepared for the new missal”. “At a diocesan and parish level, how did we go about the task of preparing for it and explaining the changes,” he asked.

New translation

Another aspect of a review “would be how well we have implemented or received the new translation,” Fr Jones suggested.  

Paying tribute to the “very strenuous effort” of some priests in “explaining the changes and in implementing them in a very orderly fashion”, Fr Jones said, in his experience, the “disturbing quietness of congregations in their responses at Mass” still needed to be addressed.

“I believe that a review would prompt us to look again at the Roman instruction (Liturgiam authenticam) that governs the way we translate the texts we use in our liturgy.”


“We need to review the way ICEL, the agency charged with the work of translation, has given us texts – to put it in simple terms – that are so close to the Latin but sit very uneasy on the ears and lips of those who use English as their language of prayer and worship. The language we use at Mass is important and is worthy of constant review,” he said.