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Survey shows majority of priests dislike new Mass translation

WASHINGTON (CNS): A majority of priests in a new survey conducted in the United States of America (US), said they dislike the translation of the Roman Missal introduced at the beginning of Advent in 2011. 

All 178 Latin-rite dioceses in the US were invited to participate in the survey; 32 dioceses accepted the invitation. Out of 14,000 priests, a total of 1,536 participated; a response rate of 42.5 per cent. Researchers conducted the survey from February through to early May. Overall, 59 per cent of respondents said they dislike the new English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, while 39 per cent of said they liked the text. 

The survey, carried out by the Godfrey Diekmann OSB for the Centre for Patristics and Liturgical Studies at St. John’s School of Theology-Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota, also found that 80.1 per cent of those surveyed found some of the language in the missal awkward or distracting. 

Chase Becker, the survey’s project manager, described the results as surprising. He told CNS, “When you look through the optional comments that priests were able to leave, I just was really struck by the things that surfaced.” He said. “A lot felt the translation affected negatively on their own prayer life or the ability to connect with their parishioners.” 


Father Daniel Merz, associate director of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship, welcomed the findings, but was cautious in accepting them without question, especially after a more detailed survey of laypeople last autumn by the Centre for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University found that 70 per cent of respondents said the translation was a good thing.

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