I refer to Ms Monica Ang’s letter, New Missal and Changes: Is Church regressing? asking if the reversion to an older form of the Our Father disrupts the “uniformity and conformity” of the New Translation.

This is no “regression”; it was done to bring Southeast Asia’s translation into “uniformity and conformity” with what is used today in the UK, US and Anglophone countries worldwide.

The use of Latin at Mass is quite unrelated to the implementation of the New Translation.

If her parish sings the Lord’s Prayer, Lamb of God, and Holy Holy in Latin, it is in response to the Vatican II instruction that all Roman Catholics be familiar with the most common Latin parts of the Mass.

This is reiterated in the General Instruction on the Roman Missal.

I’d like to assure Ms Ang that this applies worldwide, regardless of whether the Mass is in English, Tamil or Chinese. It unites us across language or cultural boundaries since, as she rightly noted, we are the Roman Catholic Church, not a Singaporean one.

At the papal audiences in Rome, the Holy Father invites everyone to join him in praying the Our Father in Latin at the end, since far more people know it in Latin than Italian.

Let’s not use judgemental terms like “regression” to condemn the Church for upholding earlier practices. Not everything that is new is intrinsically good; change must be evaluated over time and modified if need be.

Remember the 20th-century push to feed infants formula milk, which doctors first praised as more “modern” and “scientific” than breast milk? When the deficiencies of infant formula became clear, the medical establishment humbly backed down, and now promotes the primitive breast as still best.

I understand that some people are discomfited by the liturgical changes, but let’s have a bit of faith in the Church, and trust that its leaders devised the New Translation, with its greater accuracy and “elevated” language, to raise our hearts and souls to participate more deeply in the Mass.

Please give it time, come with an open mind, and let its fruits be made manifest in you. n

Estella Young

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