LTP Website: Revised Roman Missal

Liturgy Training Publications has launched an impressive website for the implementation of the revised Roman Missal – news, resources, workshops, blogs, FAQs, and more. Check it out!

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  1. “… a strong sense of unity in prayer will be felt across the English-speaking world once the new Roman Missal is approved and published.”

    I think Fr. Tuzik’s wish may be forlorn. I suspect we will look back with nostalgia at the 1973 ICEL translation as the apex of liturgical linguistic unity in English for a very long time to come. Unlike the new translation, it was the product of the optimism and enthusiasm that directly followed the Council, and in that context will have had much more “buy-in” from English-speaking Catholics than the new, even if it had sounded odd. But it sounded “good” to most English-speakers.

    The laity may not know the theology, symbolism and the history of the Roman rite as well as the experts. But they are expert in their knowledge and appreciation of good English, and how it helps their prayer. The ICEL/Vox Clara translation has a severe defect in its “bad” English, which for many, I fear, may trump all the theological justifications and may itself (ironically) help entrench liturgical disunity, as it has in South Africa. To me, this is so sad and so unnecessary.

    1. Enough of us have studied Latin in high school & theology in college & post-grad to know a bad “translation” & bad theology when we see it…these so-called translators are like the emperor’s new clothes…we need to call attention to their pretensions.

  2. I just bought the Ordinary of the Mass on Eight Languages. It is clear that the English translators believed in a more, shall we say, dynamic rather than literal style of translation from the Latin translation than the translators of the other languages – with one notable exception. The Portuguese translation cannot even pretend to be a dynamic translation but seems to be a different rite altogether.
    For example, “Et cum spiritu tuo” becomes “blessed be God who reunites us in the love of Christ”. I was never good at Latin but even i would award 0/10 for that translation. I wonder what is happening with the Portuguese version of the Missal.

    1. In the current English Sacramentary, one of the greetings by the priest (“The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”) has two possible responses: “And also with you.” or “Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”)

      Perhaps the Portuguese translation adopted a similar device, using “Bendito seja Deus, que nos reuniu no amor de
      Cristo.”

      Does the Portuguese Order of Mass have a different response from the congregation for each of the possible greetings from the priest? It’s been pointed out before that the response to “The Lord be with you” is “He is in our midst”.

  3. In the section on why we need a new translation, the simple answer, “The current translation’s failure to convey the information contained in the original Latin text renders it nearly unacceptable for use at mass,” would have sufficed. Instead, a long, drawn-out historical reason was given. On the bright side, it didn’t say that we needed Liturgiam Authenticam to tell us this.

    Graham, I’m not sure what linguistic unity you are talking about. The current translation will always be tainted for me by the illicit weirdness of the masses I have attended. Nostalgia? Optimism and enthusiasm? I do not share any of these.

    1. I still don’t understand the fixation on the current translation. Progressive liturgists have been urging and waiting for its retirement for decades. The issue is about the merits of MR3’s English rendition, and that it could have been done much, much better.

      A reasonable comparison would be MR2 and MR3, if we’re looking for progress.

      1. Of course the problem is that copies of the draft 1998 Missal are not readily had, and most of the people who’ve had them are those that favored it, so it’s tended to make discussion in particulars difficult at this juncture. The 1975 Missal is currently in print; there are various parts of MR3 available in electronic form. Someone want to dare to post a PDF of the 1998 draft?

      2. I should also add that there are those who have objected to changing the people’s parts; were any changes to those contemplated in the 1998 draft (I can’t recall anymore – I sort of purged it from my working memory since was moot)?

      3. Karl, there were changes planned. “It is right to give our thanks and praise.”, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the the praise and glory of God’s name, for our good and the good of all the church.”, “Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth.”, the Creed were going to be changed. Alternate version of the Our Father. Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head, I’d have to look.

      4. Jeffrey,

        Thanks for that detail; I remember those being considered but I could not remember if they survived to the approved submission stage.

    1. In some ways it is hard to compare the 3 versions, especially from one measuring rod. Each was translated on the basis of a different theory of translation. I think it is generally acknowledged that the 1973 translation is weak and banal. The 1998 translation, in almost every aspect was superior to 1973 translation. I think the controversy with the 1998 translation is not so much with the translation but with other elements it contained: original texts, reordering of Introductory Rites, etc. The 1998 draft was sensitive to inclusive language, and in not wanting to significantly alter existing texts, especially in the Ordinary, didn’t radically change some texts. The 1998 draft would certainly be closer to what we would called literary English. The 2008 translation followed Liturgiam authenticam and a Ratio Translationis, which resulted in it remaining very close to the Latin in order to preserve its Roman style, to the point of it having a less polished quality.

      1. As someone who very much served in the trenches on behalf of inclusive language in the 80s and through the 90s, I would say that was probably premature in the sense that inclusive usage has yet to settle sufficiently into ordinary daily usage (it has in many academic and social-service-type settings, but it’s far from settled otherwise). Vernacular translations by their nature are going to reflect ordinary daily usage on a significant lag; using them to prescriptively reform ordinary daily usage was probably a mistake on our part in those years.

      2. I’m curious if the peculiar qualities of the English translation of 1998 (and the next attempt in 2002) are indicative of an attempt to create an “American Use” of the Roman Rite.

      3. Jeffrey Pinyan,

        ICEL reflected input from all English-language member countries. US-specific adaptations (which do not involve translation issues, to clarify, but rubrics and ritual options) are handled by the USCCB, the same with all episcopal conferences. IMO, the 1998 translations were not about establishing anything like a Use, as it were.

      4. Karl – Okay. Do you know what rationale was given for re-ordering parts of the Introductory Rites and (as far as I can tell from the 2002 letter) making the Gloria and Penitential Act mutually exclusive?

        It just seems to me to be unnecessarily divergent from the Roman Rite in its normative Latin form.

  4. I think the rationale may have been based on GIRM 46 (current numbering): “Their purpose is to ensure that the faithful, who come together as one, establish communion and dispose themselves to listen properly to God’s word and to celebrate the Eucharist worthily.”

    The question is, how do we ensure that these purposes are accomplished by the introductory rites? Or, to put it another way, how do we know, when we get to the end of them, that those purposes have been accomplished? Or yet again, could this turn out to be just going through these rites because they happen to be in a book (the sin of ritualism) rather than trying to ensure their effectiveness?

    (continued)

  5. (ctd) ICEL’s response to those questions was to take a close look at the introductory rites to see if they might be tied in more closely with the scriptures and the mood of the day being celebrated. In other words, one of the six options provided would be selected, not at random, but in order to prepare the people more effectively to “listen properly to God’s word”, etc.

    It was not a very radical departure. We already have three principal options: (1) what you might call the normal beginning, (2) substituting the Blessing and Sprinkling of Water for the Penitential Rite, (3) what happens on Palm Sunday, at funerals, baptisms within Mass, etc, etc, which is different again.

    And for me the main point is that it was a serious pastoral attempt to inculturate the rite, in the same way that the Zaire Entrance Rite had done. We need more of this kind of thing, not less.

  6. Many of the changes proposed in the 1998 draft were approved by the bishops of ICEL, after being suggested by ICEL. This was the result of ICEL’s experience with re-translating the funeral rites, which people found to be a huge improvement over the 1969 version. Included were things like original texts and rearrangement of things (the typical edition of the funeral rites is rather sparse). Anything ICEL did with the 1998 draft was already in place in other translations. The Italian have numerous original texts, the Germans had revised the order of things and had separated the text into 2 volumes, which I still think is a great idea. The real changes came when Cardinal Estevez came on the scene. The first controversy was of the Rites of Ordination, the Sacramentary came next. I suspect there was a huge relief among bishops when the Cardinal retired, although Cardinal Arinze seems to have stayed the course.

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