The Father of Mercies
For over 20 years now, the Catholic Church of the English-speaking world has been updating our translation of the various ritual books from the Latin typical editions. It actually started in 2002 with the publication of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (3rd edition), both because of new editions in Latin that had never fully been translated into English and to bring translation into conformity with the new instruction Liturgiam authenticam (2001) from Rome. Most Catholics at least noticed when the Missal itself was updated, leading into 2011. Otherwise, they are still responding with, “And also with you.”
The latest is an updating of the Order of Penance or the sacrament of Confession and Reconciliation. Among those that remain to be updated still in the near future include the Pastoral Care of the Sick (mainly the Anointing of the Sick) and a second edition of The Liturgy of the Hours, which is still tentatively expected around 2025. The new Order of Penance can be used beginning on Ash Wednesday of this year and must be used on and after Divine Mercy Sunday.
There are only a couple small changes to the hopefully familiar words of absolution and a few other minor tweaks here and there. I’ve put the changes in italics:
“God, the Father of mercies, through the Death and Resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and poured out the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church may God grant you pardon and peace.
And I absolve you from your sins, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.” R. Amen.
“Sent forth… among us” was changed to “poured out,” and “give” to “grant.” These changes are both a more faithful rendering into English of the Latin prayer and more reminiscent of the expressions found in Scripture. Isaiah 44:3, Joel 2:28, and Romans 5:5 all mention the Holy Spirit being “poured out” upon God’s chosen ones. Jesus uses the image of “living water” (John 4:10; 7:38). As we enter into the holy season of Lent, may our parishes, families, and each of our hearts and minds receive a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit to know and follow God’s will, to the praise of His great glory.