From a parish newsletter in Galway, Ireland

A reader sends in this copy of the parish newsletter from St. Augustine’s Parish Church, Galway, staffed by Augustinians. Here is the parish website. “As I Was Saying” will interest you. No, it is not the editorial position of Pray Tell. But we thought you might want to know what some priests are telling their people.

48 comments

  1. Honesty is not always the best policy.

    Where does this parish go from here? How can they receive, in any positive, open manner, the new translation, (which among its many flaws does contain some elements of beauty). Why should they devote any time to hearing and praying new texts for themselves? How will they be able to worship by the bright light of burning indignation?

    What about this bulletin article that reminded me Martin Luther was an Augustinian too?

    1. Perhaps there is some sort of obligation to give authority the benefit of the doubt, and perhaps the tone of this might benefit from a little more moderation. But I’m loath to deny that honesty is the best policy–and quite sure that dishonesty is always a bad one.

  2. Perhaps PrayTell should consider the editorial wisdom of giving such utter tripe an undeservedly wider audience. Has PrayTell chosen to give similar exposure to any parish bulletins which are supportive of the new corrected translation?

    1. John, you don’t get it. We report NEWS here. Sometimes news is not good news, but it’s really interesting. (Ever read headlines??) I find it highly interesting that a Catholic priest is so forthright in attacking the new translation. I would think any strong supporter of the new translation would find it newsworthy – it tells us something about what at least what some people think and what they’re doing about it.

      Of course we’d print something else which is closer to our own position – if someone sends it in. And if it’s interesting.

      This is so tiresome to have to keep repeating, but one more time: not everything we print here reflects our own editorial position. I’ll have you know that I have spent a good deal of time flying to two different dioceses this month promoting the new translation and the new missal chants, and I’m flying to the other end of the country to do the same the end of this week.

      If I sound irritatied with your second-guessing of our editorial policy, it’s because I am. If I may politely ask: if you really don’t like Pray Tell, why do you keep coming here?

      awr

  3. (I’m whispering in case I’m overheard, but is it just possible that a some parishes simply won’t adopt the new translation – at least of the assembly’s words – without a fight? Ssshhhh! Don’t want that thought to get out. Shhhh!)

  4. The newsletter has been replaced by a new one (this happens every week!) Here is the link to the editorial on the new translation: http://bit.ly/cPxZw3.

    Fr. Borchardt, could you expand on “Honesty is not always the best policy”? How do you think a priest who does not like the new translation (or disagree with any other official Churche policy) should speak about it without lying (which I assume you would not recommend)?

    1. ‘Spleen’ labelled as ‘honesty’ is never a good policy and always bad pastoral leadership.
      As pastors we are responsible to the communities we lead. While I do not doubt that this pastor has shared his sincere belief, his honest opinion, the larger question remains; does this article benefit him or his parish or des it benefit him at the expense of his parish?

      1. Dear Father Borchardt, I am sorry, you are not answering my question. My problem is not what this pastor has done wrong, but what you would recommend that a priest, who thinks that the new translation is a mistake do? Should he pretend he likes it? Should he say, I do not like it but let us do our best? Are there other solutions?

        Simply stating “honesty is not the best policy” creates a real problem for a Church which can be so scathing in denouncing the hypocrisy of any other institution.

      2. My own answer to that question would be that if any priest felt, after the process of preparation, serious resistance to the new text, he should not preside in public. His anger and his misgivings will communicate themselves and disrupt the celebration.

    2. Mr. Cremer

      Thanks for the follow-up question. First, my opening statement was ironic/sarcastic. As to what my personal response will be, I will try to model the type of leadership I had hoped to see from Rome, Instead of demanding total acceptance, (Rome) or total rejection, (Galway),
      I will present the new texts as positively as possible, (‘credo’ is ‘I believe’, ‘Deus’ is not ‘Father’) I will admit that there are are short-comings, (‘chalice’, overly latinate constructions, etc.). I will invite people to prayerfully enter into a deeper faith thru concepts like ‘incarnate of the Virgin’ or ‘consubtancial with the Father’ and images like the dewfall invocked in the epiclesis. And in the few areas where the new text is wrong, (‘the many’) I will explain my faithful adherence to the core belief that Christ died for all.
      Above all I will make every effort to respect the consciences and intelligence of my parishioners.

  5. I have my misgivings regarding the new translations. I have seen what the new responses are to be through an Apple application which gives a reason for the change for each part. Whilst I am not a liturgist and going purely on my instinct I thought that the argument given were very weak.
    I have been listening to a podcast featuring Fr Jeremy Driscoll OSB (he is part of Vox Clara) talking about the new translation, and some of the examples for Collects etc, which he gave are more expressive than the current translation. I would be very interested to know what others more knowledgeable than myself think of what he says. The podcast is done by Fr William Holtzinger.

  6. Thinking of the number of parishes here in the UK which, musically at least, have not yet got around to using the present translation, I wonder how many will attempt the new one.

  7. I wonder why so many of those who oppose the new translation get so hung up on “and with your spirit,” as if the phrase is totally alien to the experience of English-speaking Christians. Of all the changes, I would have thought that to be perhaps one of the least controversial, yet it seems to be one of the more trumpeted ones.

    I guess I just don’t see what “and also with you” has going for it other than familiarity. Some have argued that that is what the Hebrew origin of the Latin phrase merely meant, but that seems to be contested enough that I’d rather we err on the side of caution and just use the traditional (and literal) rendering that we are about to switch to.

    1. In the interests of fairness, I would note that I, for one, think the new translations are deeply flawed, which I expected ever since Liturgiam Authenticam, but I have no problem with “and with your spirit.” Similarly, the loss of “Christ has died” is OK with me, and I’ve long preferred to use one of the others anyway.

      Nuance is indeed possible. I can stand quite opposed to these translations and the process which produced them, while acknowledging that they got some things right. A stopped clock is right twice a day. 🙂

      1. I’ve always thought that “Christ has died” is the only one which fits – yet that’s the one we’re losing. The whole Eucharistic Prayer is addressed to the Father and then, with the other acclamations, we all chime in with something addressed to the Son.

  8. Thank you, Fr. Anthony, I find your nuanced position helpful. Although I think it may be reading too much into things to make everything a power issue as the author of the column in question seems to be doing, my chief concern from a linguistic perspective is the apparent rejection of dynamic equivalency. A good translation should mean the same thing to its target audience that it would mean to speakers of the source language. Within this primary goal, fidelity to the source text and a natural feel in the target language are both valid concerns. To equate the former with literalism is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of translation principles, which makes me wonder – have any actual linguists been involved in this process?

  9. This is bigger than “and with your spirit”. It another step by conservative revisionist in undoing Vatican II. I thought that the pope and council when acting together were infalible in matters of faith. The times have changed and are changing….. English, not latin, is the language of the world. It certainly is the language of the electronic media like the Internet where a new evangelization is to occur. The Vatican does not get it. The vernacular is the people’s language the the people haven’t said “and with your spirit” for some time. This language definitly does not attract people to the faith.

    I will personally not be using the new “old” words as I attend mass nor will my substantial contributions be placed in the collection basket. Like the Pius the X Society, maybe its time for a new modern english rite where people can parise God in a language both he and them can understand. Pope Benedict did say at the beginning of his papacy that there would be less catholics at the end of his papacy, didn’t he. And with your spirit, Holy Father.

    1. The vernacular is the people’s language the the people haven’t said “and with your spirit” for some time.

      It’s been a while since I said “And also with you” to anyone (outside of Mass, of course).

      As to the bulletin column, it strikes me as very, very unhelpful. Honesty is the best policy, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep your honest thoughts to yourself when they will be of no help to people. This strikes me as one of those occasions.

    2. +JMJ+

      Michael, could you explain your argument better? How does the new translation undo Vatican II? What “infallible act” of the Council is being undone?

      What does the fact that English-speaking Catholics haven’t said “and with your spirit” for 40 years — “some time” — mean? This makes “and also with you” some sort of unbreakable and infallible tradition that cannot be rescinded?

      I would guess you do not sympathize much with the SSPX, except that you use their act of disobedience as justification for another act. How convenient.

      As for Pope Benedict, perhaps you’re thinking of a quote from Card. Ratzinger from a 1997 book: “Maybe we are facing a new and different kind of epoch in the church’s history, where Christianity will again be characterized more by the mustard seed, where it will exist in small, seemingly insignificant groups that nonetheless live an intense struggle against evil and bring good into the world – that let God in.” I think you may be misremembering the quote… or misrepresenting him. Or did you have another quote in mind?

  10. +JMJ+

    This example isn’t even accurate:

    The acclamation after the Consecration is another example of this folly: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” will be replaced by: “We proclaim your death, 0 Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.”

    “Christ has died” isn’t being replaced, it’s being removed; and the “replacement” text is one of the three normative responses, translated from the Latin. I’m quite amazed at how the “Christ has died” English composition became deeply ingrained as the virtual norm for the acclamation.

    1. Perhaps it became ingrained because it worked better than the others, which are somewhat clunky. Those who dislike “Christ has died. . .” seem to dislike it very much, so I doubt I would ever convince them of its virtues. But it seems to me that it at least pays attentions to the rhythms of English speech, it is memorable, it is succinct, and it sums up nicely the mysteries of salvation.

      1. Well, none of the four memorial acclamations/mystery of faith phrases really fit in with the Eucharistic Prayers, do they. The EPs address God the Father, then suddenly (in the three surviving versions) the acclamations shift to addressing Christ, then back to addressing the Father. The “Christ has died…” phrase is just us talking to ourselves, and was never in the Latin Missale Romanum.

      2. “Christ has died” was in the Latin of the Children’s Eucharistic Prayers back when these were part of the Missale Romanum.
        awr

      3. “Christ has died” also (at least) can be articulated clearly and runs no risk of being misconstrued. “Save us, savior of the world…” on the other hand — one of the new translation’s worst efforts, istm — awkwardly piles up sibilants and unless one sees it written down, it will surely land on the ear as “Save a Savior of the world” because people will elide the two s’s.

        The liturgy is, of course, an oral-aural event in a primary way. I’m sure the people who made the translation knew this intellectually. But I don’t think they regarded it as much as they should have. As I read the new translation, I am continually impressed by how dependant it makes us on reading — and re-reading! — rather than hearing.

      4. Re: talking to ourselves …

        I guess we can ditch the Creed by that standard.

        Re: shifts in address …

        Probably happens all too fast for us poor pew folk. Better reconsider the Agnus Dei, too.

      5. I won’t really miss “Christ has died,” but I don’t dislike it either. It probably became so popular because, like FC Bauerschmidt said, it is catchy.

        I wonder if they will ever drop the memorial acclimation altogether and put “mystery of faith” back into the consecration formula for the chalice. Perhaps I’m alone in this, but it seems almost random and is kind of distracting – like its only reason for existence is to give people something to sing during the Eucharistic prayer (a noble aim, but one that probably could have been done in a more natural way).

  11. “the new translation, (which among its many flaws does contain some elements of beauty)”

    Sorry, but the many flaws are in the most important texts, such as the Eucharistic Prayers; bring forward those shy “elements of beauty” if you have really succeeded in finding them — hidden away in the preces perhaps?

    The Galway editorial understates the gravity of the problem. The acclamation at the Consecration is indeed typical of the limp, nerveless, uncommunicative characters of this fakely pious text. I have no problem, personally, with “and with your spirit”, still to be heard in many Anglican churches, and it is marginally more meaningful than “and also with you”.

    What should a priest who thinks the new trans is horrible do about it? Can he (sic) recite it in good conscience if he does not find it a prayable text? One thing he could do is recite the Canon in Latin.

    1. One thing he could do is recite the Canon in Latin.

      Some have been saying for a number of years that this is in fact the underlying agenda of Liturgicam Authenticam and its promoters — that this is a stage in the death of the vernacular. If you don’t like the new vernacular, why not go back to the Latin?

      Others have claimed that Rome has actively been preparing for a schism for a number of years. Rome’s position (perhaps not such a caricature as it sounds) runs like this: You want vernacular texts, pop music, left-wing liturgies? Then go away and have them, and leave the Church to its Latin, its Gregorian chant and its pomp. We don’t want you here.

      While I do not believe that either of these is true as it stands, there is plenty of evidence for the Ratzinger/Medina collusion in furthering the undoing of what they saw as the ruinous work of Vatican II. In this respect, the author of the newsletter article has a point.

  12. I agree with FCB. As flawed as the new translation is, as bad as the process that got us here, the newsletter puts the Galway parishoners in an impossible place. What can they do about the bad translation?

    For clergy who find the translation difficult, I think there is no need for fawning language — “corrected”, “more sacral”, etc. — in announcing it. Why not simply announce that the new texts are coming, point out the differences, and get on with it?

    Joe’s suggestion is good: do more in Latin. The infelicities of the new translation — the nested subordinate clauses, the ablatives absolute rendered literally, the pleonastic language, etc. — all disappear in the Latin, where (unlike in English) there is nothing unusual about these constructions.

    Our main parish Mass is a Latin Novus Ordo, done without the pomp of many Tridentine celebrations: the priest facing the people, communion received in the hand or on the tongue, as the communicant wishes. We have a beautifully designed peoples’ book in Latin and English. English isn’t the first language for many of our parishoners.

    We need vigorous catechesis against “creeping Calvinism” around the new translation of pro multis. The USCCB website is clear: It is a dogmatic teaching of the Church that Christ died on the Cross for all men and women. This is essential, given that some commentators gleefully juxtapose the new translation of pro multis with their condemnations of various politicians.

      1. Good idea! Right now the book uses the 1974 English, simply because that is the version everyone knows. But if the English is headed “Not an official translation” we could move to the 1998.

      2. While I don’t own a copy of it, I recall hearing that the “Parish Book of Chant” translation of the OF ordinary used an unofficial translation rendered in hieratic English (thee, thou, etc). If one wanted, they could combine whatever they liked from the various translations (74, 98, 08, etc) to create what they thought was the “best” text.

        One of the beauties of the Latin liturgy is that one could choose the translation one liked. I have seen old missals with hieratic English as well as ones with contemporary English. The only time one would need to worry about the different styles of English clashing would be when the readings are recited in vernacular since (in my experience) one’s missal often doesn’t match up with the text the priest is reading.

    1. We need vigorous catechesis against “creeping Calvinism” around the new translation of pro multis. The USCCB website is clear: It is a dogmatic teaching of the Church that Christ died on the Cross for all men and women. This is essential, given that some commentators gleefully juxtapose the new translation of pro multis with their condemnations of various politicians.

      As long as we also make clear the difference between the sufficiency and efficiency of the atonement. You may find interesting articles like this one that look at Calvinist comittments from a Catholic perspective:

      The difference between the atonement’s sufficiency and its efficiency accounts for Paul’s statement that God is “the Savior of all men, especially those who believe.” [1 Timothy 4:10]. God is the Savior of all men because he arranged a sacrifice sufficient for all men. He is the Savior of those who believe in a special and superior sense because these have the sacrifice made efficacious for them. According to Aquinas, “[Christ] is the propitiation for our sins, efficaciously for some, but sufficiently for all, because the price of his blood is sufficient for the salvation of all; but it has its effect only in the elect.” [Commentary on Titus, I, 2:6.].

      1. One of my beefs against the word ‘catechesis’ is that it smoothes over the fact that we are theologically divided. In this case, the row is between those who do and do not believe in universal salvation. By using the weasel word ‘catechesis’, we run away from our divisions. We need a style of pastoral care that somehow addresses them constructively.

        Even if this more general point is not acceptable, what is utterly batty is the idea much peddled in official quarters that one should change from ‘for all’ to ‘for many’, and then ‘catechize’ to the effect that ‘for many’ means ‘for all’! A similar point needs to be made about ‘we believe’ and ‘I believe’. The justification for the latter is not a point about modern Anglo-Saxon individualism, but the tradition that we are saying the creed as one ecclesial person: in other words ‘I believe’ in this context means ‘we believe’ after all. It’s at that point of idiocy that our Galway brother’s excesses start to appear forgivable.

      2. How do we reconcile your “for all” argument in the Mass with the fact that, in every English translation of the Bible that I can find, the Lord is quoted as saying “for many” at the Last Supper?

  13. It strikes me that many priests must now find themselves in a really delicate, diplomatic relationship to their faithful. They may choose to refrain from pointing out any of the “flaws” (which even its supporters admit) of the new translation, so as not to tip the scales against it; but they may not be able to hold silence as they see the faithful gradually begin to feel and haltingly articulate the peculiar malaise that the new translation causes. In response to open expressions of dissatisfaction from the faithful they cannot reply, with Cardinal Napier of South Africa, “Hold your tongues!,” especially given the way that that kind of clericalism has been discredited by the abuse scandals. So perhaps it is best that every priest be allowed to say clearly and publicly what he thinks? The new association of Irish priests put concerns about the new translation close to the top of their agenda.

  14. Leaving aside the question of ‘is this an appropriate venue for this commentary?’, I can’t find anything I disagree with in the commentary itself. The process is, or was, and to put it politely, highly suspect, and the result is almost wholly unsatisfactory. I have to grant that there are a few potential improvements over the present language, but the overall impression is not favorable at all.

  15. John Drake said: How do we reconcile your “for all” argument in the Mass with the fact that, in every English translation of the Bible that I can find, the Lord is quoted as saying “for many” at the Last Supper?

    John,

    It is very simple. The experts tell us that “many” actually means “all” in Semitic language systems. It’s like the peoples whose only method of counting is to say “one, two, many”. There is no concept or way of differentiating “many” from “everyone” or “everything”.

    Vernacular translations, and even Latin, have no way of conveying this.

    Cardinal Arinze’s letter to the Bishops of the US Catholic Conference on this subject did nothing more than demonstrate his total ignorance of linguistics. He should have asked the biblical experts. But that is not Rome’s way, alas.

    1. ‘The experts tell us that “many” actually means “all” in Semitic language systems.’

      This all started with the influential Lutheran scholar Joachim Jeremias, who based his argument on a conjectural reconstruction of Jesus’s words in Aramaic. More recent commentators have been less starry-eyed about Jeremias’s methodology.

      (There is also a rumour that Jeremias denied that there was a word for “all” in Aramaic. But this must be disbelieved, although it apparently was repeated by an ICEL spokesman, since Aramaic does have distinct words for “many” and “all”.)

    2. Further to my last, it appears that Dr Jeremias really did say that there was no Aramaic word for “all”. Not only did he say so in _The Eucharistic Words of Jesus_ (NY 1966), but he was quoted as an authority by ICEL (_The Roman Canon in English Translation, Chapman, Dublin, 1967).

      Dr Jeremias must therefore be regarded as a discredited “expert”.

    3. This still does not seem to explain why every English bible says “for many” yet the Missal says “for all”. Wouldn’t we expect that at least SOME bible translations might pick up “for all”?

  16. Well, that’s what you get with literal translations. If the words are more important than their meaning, why not change the institution narrative to reflect this?

    John Drake :

    How do we reconcile your “for all” argument in the Mass with the fact that, in every English translation of the Bible that I can find, the Lord is quoted as saying “for many” at the Last Supper?

    1. Thank you, Philip. Alas, this does not give the detailed Semitic refutation that appeared when Arinze’s pronouncement first appeared. Does anyone now have the link? The argument was extremely detailed and compelling.

  17. John Drake, the “peculiar malaise” I refer to is the queasy feeling that people habituated to good English prose have when they read or listen to the new translations. It is something close to what Andrew Sullivan calls hathos. For illustrations of this effect in the 2008 and 2010 thttp://josephsoleary.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/10/the-latest-version-of-the-new-translation-of-the-roman-canon.htmlranslations of the Roman Canon, see

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