The causes of sadness in this fallen world are manifold.

For me, one of them, a quiet, lingering one has been, for quite a while, the introduction of a new “Gotteslob”, a new Catholic Hymn and Prayer Book, in the German-speaking dioceses, scheduled m Advent 2013.

Of cause, even the old “Gotteslob”, introduced in 1975, had its weaknesses, as well as its strengths. Towards the former, one should count the disproportionately large share of 1930s and 1970s hymns (especially those of the Thurmair couple) and the exclusion of a number of highly popular traditional Catholic hymns, e.g. “Rosenkranzkönigin”, or “Jesus, Dir leb ich, Jesus, Dir sterb ich”, towards the latter, the retention of quite a number of good old (and a few good new) Catholic hymns, as well as prayers, litanies, devotions, and catechesis.

One aspect that particularly roused my adversity towards the new “Gotteslob” was that it was to be introduced before the revision of the German translation of the order of Mass. It appears to me, based on my researches, that the German bishops’ conference has been delaying this revision for quite a while, with no end in view. And now, a new Hymn and Prayer Book, including the order of Mass, with the old text. Now the mistranslations from the Latin had never been as bad as in the old ICEL, but one really critical point, in the German as in the English version, was the pro multis. I have actually attended a number of Masses where the priests have changed “all” for “the many”, without any official directive – but the new “Gotteslob” would have the old and still valid translation, and progress would be effectively blocked.

Well, it’s no use crying over spilt milk, so I decided to buy the new “Gotteslob” nevertheless, only to find out that it was sold out until end of January. Humph. Accordingly, due to other delays, I first held the ne “Gotteslob” in my hands at Mass on 1 January (indeed one of the other few singularly German Holy Days of Obligation – just because it is a state holiday: hardly ever  a reference to the motherhood of Our Lady is made).

Given it was at Mass, I did not really have time to thoroughly check the contents. However, this is what I found: Some new ‘modern’ hymns have been added. But some new old hymns have been added as well! In the Advent and Christmas time section, I did not miss any really good hymns, nor were there too many insipid new ones. Indeed, there was the addition of the LATIN text of Adeste Fideles. What a marvel!

And guess what:I looked at the order of the Mass. It seems all the texts envisioned to be said in Latin in the New Rite are set down in proper two-column bilingual! And, believe it or not: It says “für Viele” in the Consecration.

Is the end of the world still not come, after all?

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