Aug/Sept 2011 Mystical Body.Mystical Voice. Encountering Christ in the Words of the Mass by Christopher Carstens and Douglas Martis. We visited a Trappist monastery in Conyers, GA on our summer vacation. One of the monks recommended this book to understand the up-coming changes to the English translation of the Roman Missal. He told us that this book was being used in the Diocese of Atlanta for classes for the clergy on the the up-coming changes.

The first half of this book described in more general terms about how the Mass is viewed by Catholic leadership, scholars and theologians. However, it's also an understanding that is expected from the laity as well. The first half of the book also goes into detail of the translation process to faithfully reflect first the intent and content of the Mass from ancient days (in Greek first, then in Latin since ~ the 4th Century), and secondly the process of translating into English.

The second half of the book takes the mass line by line and gives historical background and Scriptural basis at each point. I found this section most interesting. A key message from this book is "words are important." More to the point, selecting the right words is important to make sure that the English translation represents as precisely as possible the words of the ancient Mass. The authors cite the example of the word homouosius being the word chosen at the Council of Nicea (AD 323) to describe Christ as "being of the same stuff" as God. The Arians wanted that word in the Creed to be homoiuosius which means "being of similar stuff" as God. The words differed by just one letter (one iota in fact). The Latin translation of homouosius is consubstantus and our English translation of the Nicene Creed we say that Jesus is "consubstantial with the Father."

I'm not sure that this book was targeted at the general lay audience, but I thought it was really good. There's another book called The Mass. The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition by Cardinal Wuerl and Mike Aquillina that is very good as well, and a little easier to read.