Back before parts of the liturgy were changed, The Mystery of Faith almost always used “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”, with the alternatives almost never being used (at least at my parish), but when they changed parts of the liturgy in 2011, it was completely eliminated from the Mystery of Faith options. Was there a specific reason why they did this? I’m just curious about it.
The three current options are fairly literal translations of the three Latin Memorial Acclamation options, which form part of the Liturgy of the Eucharist as developed by the Church for use by Catholics all over the world. The fourth Acclamation which appeared in the English language version (“Christ has died…”), while a lovely phrase, doesn’t correspond to anything in the Latin text that it was supposedly translating. I can’t find any history of it to suggest that it has any history other than being invented out of whole cloth and inserted into the Liturgy for English speakers, deviating from the approved liturgy for the entire Latin Rite, but I would love to find that it’s older than that.
My experience was that all four Acclamations were used fairly equally in the parishes I attended, and now we use the three about equally, although initially we relied quite heavily on “Save us, Saviour of the world…”.
Incidentally, something that the new translation has alerted us to is that the Mystery of Faith isn’t the thing we all say: the Mystery of Faith is what is happening on the altar (that’s why the priest says “the mystery of faith” rather than “let us proclaim the mystery of faith”, which was misleading). We respond to the Mystery of Faith by proclaiming one of the Memorial Acclamations, in a mini-ritual which is apparently very old.
Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli explains:The priest’s words, “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith,” have now been shortened in the new missal text to render the Latin text, mysterium fidei, more faithfully. This shorter formula also conveys more accurately the purpose of these words, since they are not, in fact, an invitation to “proclaim” the mystery of faith. Rather, when the priest says “the mystery of faith,” he is inviting the people to make an acclamation. Unlike a proclamation, an acclamation is addressed directly to someone; it is spoken in the second-person, not the third-person.
This interpretation is clearly seen in the new translation of the missal. In response to “the mystery of faith,” the people will use one of three options: “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your resurrection until you come again.” Or, “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.” Or, “Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection, you have set us free.” Even though two of these formulas use the word “proclaim,” the whole formula is not merely a proclamation, but an acclamation directed to the Lord, who is now present among us in the Eucharist.
By contrast, our present response — “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” — is not an acclamation. It simply declares what the mystery is and, for that reason, will no longer be used.
That particular acclimation was an issue from the beginning. The missal is written in Latin and then translated to the various languages. While there were various parts of the English translation that were poor renderings of the words and meaning, the “Christ has died, …” wasn’t in the Latin AT ALL. It comes from a different ancient liturgy. The Latin had only three choices. The other choices in the English translation were translations of the memorial acclamations that were actually in the Missal.
With the new translation, there was a more careful attention to keeping the English translation parallel to the Missal. So we have three choices in English just the same was we do in Latin or the many other languages the Missal is translated into.
My experience differs greatly. Once in a blue moon we used “Dying you destroyed our death…” but 99% of the time it was the now-omitted one that was used. Since the implementation of the new translation we have only ever used “We proclaim your death…” Then again, the choir has used the same setting since Advent 2011.
In the 60’s exact translation wasn’t really the issue; it just had to be distinct from missal translations in order to be copyrighted. The ICEL was determined to get rid of Latin altogether so they could maximize their royalties collected, even outside the English on which it was based. It doesn’t collect royalties on the Latin, which is copyrighted by the Vatican, which normally allows free distribution of the text.
I loved the “Christ has died,” and all the songs (if that’s what they can be called) of the Mass of Creation. I know many think it was overdone for too long, and they got sick of it, but I wish it was back. I don’t know why, I just loved the sound of it. It was powerful. The Mass settings now don’t really have that, but they’re still nice. We seem to alternate, at my parish, between the Storrington and the Mass of Light. My favorite versions of “The Gloria” are the Mass of Creation (powerful), and the Storrington (light)
Which ancient liturgy?
It is supposedly a loose translation of a verse used in an Eastern (not sure if Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Rite Catholic) Easter proclamation.
You can Google and find all kinds of spirited discussion of its origins.
Our local Bishop said recently that he was saddened that this was removed from the mass
The point is that it was never really in the Mass. Not the way it was promulgated back in 1969 anyway.
Still, it was said!! And loved by many
I’m glad to see it gone.