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Why Does Mass Language Seem Less Communal Lately?

A listener named Dan calls into the show and asks, “Why does the language at Mass seem less communal lately?” He uses the example of the profession of faith in which we say, “I believe” instead of “We believe.”

Father Dave explains that the translation of the Roman Missal plays a part in this. “Much of what we hear now in the English translation of the Roman Missal is more God-focused and less us-focused. We are pointing toward God more and using God in the second person more. … The same is true with Latin; we use the Latin syntax. So, what they did with this translation of the Roman Missal is instead of taking the thoughts that were conveyed and asking, ‘How would we say this in English?’ they did a much more literal translation.”

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Father Dave points out the reason why the Creed shifted from we to I. “The Creed was written in the fourth century. When they wrote it, it was a statement that each individual member of the Church was to make. We also use it in community, but it’s a personal statement of faith. It is kind of like what you would use in the RCIA. This would be a summary statement of what that person would assent to, and once they say all those things, then somebody would say, ‘You’re Catholic.’ For all those centuries until 1969, we were saying ‘credo’ in Latin. What the Church says in every other country of the world and every other language is the direct translation of credo, which is, ‘I believe.’ … In the minds of the translators, they were making corrections.”

Father Dave also points out that the Creed is used in other contexts besides the Mass. The Mass is a community prayer, however, we do say the creed when praying the rosary, which is often prayed individually. (Original Air 6-04-18)