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New Liturgical Era Begins Sunday For Roman Catholics

This Sunday, millions of Roman Catholics in English-speaking countries will begin reciting a new set of prayers during the celebration of Mass. That’s when a new translation of those prayers, the Roman Missal, goes into effect.Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz says clergy and parishioners alike have long been preparing for the changes."I like to say that good habits quickly become routine and then they quickly become ruts. And so taking a step back gives us a chance to in a sense restore good habits as to what the liturgy is." Kurtz told WFPL.Kurtz and other church leaders say the new translation is more faithful to the original Latin text.But critics complain that the revised text is awkward and could alienate Catholics.Retired Louisville priest Father Jim Flynn says the changes, initiated by the late Pope John Paul II, fly in the face of previous Vatican directives intended to make the church more accessible."By plunging a dagger right in to the heart of the reforms of Vatican II, which was the liturgy, they are thereby negating what all the rest of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council have been and therefore a rejection of Vatican II altogether," Flynn says.This is the third translation of the Roman Missal since the English language Mass was authorized some 50 years ago.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.