The New Mass Translation - The Power of Fancy

I may be weird, but I am looking forward to the new translation of the Mass.

It’s not that I am secretly a Latin scholar who has for years lamented improper translations. I am not. I don’t know my e pluribus unum from my ad nauseum. But I like the idea that the language will be fancier. I like fancy language. Fancy makes things seem special.

Fancy can take the the otherwise mundane and elevate it and make it memorable.

Do you remember those Merchant Ivory films from twenty years ago? They were all the rage back then. They won all kinds of awards and stuff. One I remember in particular, Remains of the Day.

Remains of the Day starred Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Hopkins plays a stuffy, emotionally repressed butler who never gets up the nerve to ask the maid out until it’s too late. This plot isn’t just mundane, this plot is mundane’s older but even more boring brother, humdrum. I would rather read Brecht while listening to Zamfir on the pan flute than watch this movie.


You throw in some fancy tuxedos, fancy language and some fancy British accents and Bam!! Eight academy award nominations. Fancy did that.

And I remember it twenty years later. Fancy did that, too.

I have been convinced for years that if men started wearing bowler hats again, workplace productivity would go up 20%. It’s the power of fancy.

Who among us, after watching a Shakespeare play, does not feel as if their IQ went up 20 points? I like to watch Shakespeare movies for no other reason than to look down on the people coming out of the Matt Damon movie in the next theater.

Let’s look at this another way. What happens if you take away the fancy? Would the prom still be the prom if everyone wore shorts and flip flops? No, then it would be like a regular summer Mass. But I digress…

Fancy matters because fancy helps us remember that what is going on is special. And what is more special than the Mass? If a little elevated language can remind us how special the Mass really is, isn’t that a good thing? If a few thees and thous and a consubstantial can remind us to lift up our hearts, to lift them up to the Lord, I say all the better.

So while some may lament that the new translation is too, for lack of a better word, fancy, I say bring it on. Bring on the fancy. Sursum corda and all, whatever that means? But it sure sounds fancy.