An interesting post from Ireland

Dairne McHenry RSCJ writes an interesting piece in the September Furrow, reacting to the new translation and its imposition specifically as a woman religious. Click here.

Acknowledgments to the Irish Association of Catholic Priests.

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10 comments

  1. “…are saying that they will decide themselves what part of the new text, if any, they will adopt? I expect and indeed hope that many will simply refuse to use exclusive language in the parts where it occurs.”

    There’s an interesting option I haven’t seen discussed much: just remain silent, or say what you believe on your own. Who’s going to know? Masses may return to the good old days when the priest mumbled the prayers and a few who knew the responses mumbled them.

    1. it’s quite hard to find, and it’s also wonderfully succinct and trenchant, as SS so often is. So let me paste it in:
      ‘This well thought out initiative by a very seasoned and respected pastor is an excellent exercise of the kind of co-responsibility in the Church and for the Church that the Council was trying to foster. Both those who preside at liturgy and those who pray with them will be negatively affected by the pointless mangling of the English language involved in this “new” (anachronistic, gratuitously unintelligible, and in many cases silly) translation. Who, exactly, thinks this alienating “reform” is a good idea? It does not seem to be priests, bishops, or the praying community. If people find the liturgy an exercise in fastidious irrelevance they will simply go elsewhere to worship. Ex-Catholics are the second largest “denomination” in the United States. Do we want it to continue to grow? I support this initiative whole-heartedly.’

  2. Just reading about an interesting 17th century controversy in France about some parishes that read the Roman Canon aloud. The Bull Unigenitus took unfavorable note of those who would even encourage use of the Vernacular. See Jean-Louis Quantin, Le Catholicisme classique et les Pères de l’Église. Paris 1999.

  3. I used to like to walk over to the Catholic English-speaking mass in Geneva, Switzerland because its language was not gender-exclusive as the French church language is. But the parish seems to accept ‘en bloc’ the new Missal and go at it with gusto.
    I cannot imagine myself listening once again to a language where only 49% of the world population is represented.

    1. I have worked with that parish on a number of occasions over the years. It draws in people from a large number of nations — the last time I was there, 85 or more. For most of them English is their second (or even third) language, so you would not expect them to be as sensitive to gender-exclusive language as native speakers.

      And yes, there is a great spirit in the parish, so they have a go at most things with gusto!

  4. When reading comments about the new translation on progressive Catholic blogs, I often read “people do not want change” or similar.

    I am a person. I am member of the Body of Christ. I am a Catholic. “I am Church.” I also can’t wait for 1st Advent and the roll-out of the new translation in North America.

    Why do progressive editorials and op-eds always presume to speak on behalf of all Catholics when many are not included in their number? Is the “progressive we” an attempt to completely marginalize and objectify the very presence of Catholic liturgical conservatism? I’ve never read a progressive editorial which concedes that the progressive view is not the only horizon in the Roman rite.

    Perhaps the “progressive we” stems from a narcissistic subjectivity also found in this article and in other progressive editorials and comments. Lamenting the loss of a prayer “because it made me feel (x)” is not an objective view of liturgical change. Nevertheless, this shallow subjectivity often passes for an academic and empirical evaluation of liturgy in progressive circles.

  5. Jordan – would strongly suggest that we can take your comment and change “progressive catholic” to “liturgical conservatives” and it would apply equally.

    Your comment reveals a “shallow subjectivity that often passes for an academic and empirical evaluation of liturgy.”

    Helps to focus on facts and points rather than question motivation or label folks.

  6. Sr. McHenry: I expect and indeed hope that many will simply refuse to use exclusive language in the parts where it occurs. Given the average age of religious women in this country, it really is rather ridiculous to expect us at this stage in our lives to be willing to say for example in the Creed: ‘for us men and our salvation’!

    I agree with Sr. McHenry and most PTB readers that “for us men and our salvation” is a faulty translation which causes undue distress on all sides of the question of inclusive and exclusive language. “for us and our salvation” is not an accurate translation of the Greek δι’ ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους or Latin qui propter nos homines either. The question of the translation of the Nicene Creed is no lightweight matter, for it is a concrete statement of the orthodox Christian faith. Every word counts, even if the words are emotionally charged. All ages, all sexes, and all Christians must engage the Creed dispassionately, empirically, and rationally even within the turbulence of emotions. This is nearly impossible, but I cannot see any other way of maintaining the integrity of prayer. Casting delicate questions in mostly emotive terms distracts from the intricate task of maintaining the exact meaning of the prayer as it travels from language to language while respecting the equality of Christians.

    Perhaps one might translate δι’ ἡμᾶς τοὺς ἀνθρώπους/proper nos homines as “for us persons”, as bad as that sounds in English. I am inclined to think that the Creed here refers to individuals, not “a people”. I must respect Sr. McHenry’s decision to obey or not obey liturgical directives. Still, the examination of liturgical texts must proceed despite faulty translation and the ecclesial scars engendered by poor translation.

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