ECENTLY, a survey on the New English Translation of the Roman Missal was undertaken. From what I understand, the comments were sent in via the internet (which is always a “red flag”).
From a scientific perspective, the survey has been fully discredited, which should not surprise us since “no ostensible polling experts were involved” (more on that here). In essence, it was found to be “self-selecting,” so I shall not add to what Professor Brown has already said. Even the survey’s creators admitted that “this study measures only the views of priests who chose to respond.”
So, what’s the fantastic news? Considering the circumstances, one would have expected the results to be drastically, hopelessly against the New Translation. As it turns out, this was not the case.
What makes me say this? Short answer: self-selecting surveys are usually a prime opportunity for dissatisfied folks to “vent.” After all, folks tend to be highly motivated when it comes to complaining. Furthermore, the survey was sponsored by an organization opposed to the New Translation on ideological grounds. I know several priests who saw the name “Godfrey Diekmann” and chose not to take part in the survey. (Fr. Diekmann was one of the most outspoken leaders of the “progressive” movement and was an ardent supporter of the “hootenanny Mass.” See page 22.)
Y UNDERSTANDING IS THAT this survey was basically a school project undertaken by several students. Nevertheless, I find it remarkable that a crucial question was not asked. That crucial question is, of course:
“Is the New Translation more accurate than the previous one?”
They seem to have gone out of their way to ask every question except the crucial one. By way of analogy, they asked: “Do you like the taste of the pill your doctor gave you?” What they ought to have asked: “Did the pill take away your pain?”
I’m not going to insult the intelligence of our readers by explaining the most probable reason they didn’t ask the crucial question.
IS THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION for the Third Edition of the Roman Missal perfect? No. There are certainly ways it could be improved. For example, it could use the second person singular form “Thou” in addressing almighty God.
However, the most important thing is that our New Translation is so much more accurate than the previous one, and I have yet to find a single person who would argue otherwise. Perhaps this is why the results of the survey were so surprising and positive.