Update: translation politics

Reliable sources report that the executive of ICEL was able to meet last week not only with CDW official(s), but also with Pope Benedict. This is perhaps good news – one hopes that the 46-page (depending on your formatting) scathing critique of the 2010 Received Text (mis)translation was given to the Holy Father. But on the other hand – maybe this didn’t happen. But if it did: whether it leads to further revisions (with attendant delays) is anybody’s guess.


  1. Count me on ICEL’s side. These are folks I respect and trust. I hope they were able to put it directly to Pope Benedict. And, in any event, the fact that they were able to actually meet with him sounds to me like a good omen.

  2. There won’t be implementation delays as the USCCB has already determined the final implementation of November 27,2011 and dioceses are already working on how to catechise the faithful on this. Also. ICEL thinks their version of the translation is the final draft of the product. In reality, their draft was just one step in the translation process.

    1. +JMJ+

      As I said in the other post, the USCCB can change that date.

      What makes you think November 27, 2011 is the “final implementation”, when the 2008 Order of Mass was suspected also to be the “final draft” of the ordinary?

  3. “ICEL thinks their version of the translation is the final draft of the product. In reality, their draft was just one step in the translation process.”

    Followed by these steps:
    A. Take the text the bishops approved
    B. Forget the directives of Liturgiam authenticam
    C. Hand it over to someone who doesn’t seem to know Latin
    D. Hand it over to someone who DEFINITELY doesn’t know English
    E. Turn it into a great big fancy book to hand the Pope
    F. When questioned about all the wrong translations and incorrect English quote Sgt Schultz: I KNOW NOTHING!
    G. Get a promotion?

  4. I’m worried. Consciously or unconsciously, this latest twist in the sorry story–whereby the new ICEL is treated as shoddily as the old–seems to be setting us up for Rome to withdraw from 2010, so that we gratefully receive 2008 as some great liberal concession to the spirit of collegiality, and forget the abusiveness and withdrawal from the spirit of the Council that underlies the whole Liturgiam authenticam project.

    We need to start again: to keep 1973 in place as the official text for another ten years, and have another process, transparent and collegial, drawing on the best wisdom of 1998 (notably its option to leave the peoples’ parts well alone) and 2008. This process should be marked by real experiment in real places.

    1. +JMJ+

      “notably its option to leave the peoples’ parts well alone”

      I don’t find that to be wise. I thought it was well-decided that the 1973 translation wasn’t meant to be set in stone. Why then are the 1973 texts for the congregation to remain the same? It has defects that could stand correcting.

      “And with your spirit” notwithstanding, I consider the following to be defects which are in great need of correction: the excising of repetition from the Confiteor, the screwy translation of Penitential Act B, the manhandling of the Gloria (at least the three-clauses-become-two), the problematic replacing of “incarnate” with “born” in the Creed, the dropping of “holy” in “all his holy Church”, the loss of the scriptural “Lord God of hosts” in the Sanctus, the obscuring of the scriptural allusion in “Lord, I am not worthy…”

      I think those things are all worth correcting.

      What exactly is the rationale for correcting the priest’s prayers but not the people’s?

      1. The point is certainly debatable–but the negative effects of change are likely to be far greater in texts that are repeated and familiar. It would be possible to correct the 1973 collects, for example, in such a way that the average Catholic wouldn’t notice; we could keep the 1973 register, while adjusting the content significantly, whether on grounds of closeness to the Latin or for some other reason. Changing the priest’s parts of the ordinary is a bit more disruptive; changing the people’s parts maximally so. I don’t agree with all your criticisms of the 1973 people’s parts; I do agree with some of them. But I don’t think any of the problems with the people’s parts of 1973 outweigh the disruption that any change, even a change for the better, will bring with it.

      2. Yeah, the Gloria, Creed and Sanctus definitely needed improvement. There was no good reason to leave those interim texts set in stone; perhaps consultation on an ecumenical revision would have been advisable, but those interim texts were impoverished and leaving them so in the name of leaving the people and ecumenical partners undisturbed is a pragmatic weasel approach.

      3. +JMJ+

        I don’t think any of the problems with the people’s parts of 1973 outweigh the disruption that any change, even a change for the better, will bring with it.

        Fr. Philip, how long should we stick with the faulty translations of the ordinary, then? Have we taken too long to address them that they are here for good?

      4. I think the faults are relatively slight. I think it was a mistake to lose ‘under my roof’–but then I’m British, and we still have that idiom in common speech over here. So I think it’s worth living with that. And it’s certainly not worth changing what we now have in the Creed for something which is notably worse. But these things are a matter of opinion, on which good, competent and intelligent people differ. The real scandal lies in the high-handed way in which Rome has driven this project through, in flagrant breach of any non-trivial version of collegiality.

  5. My point Jeremy is that the Roman Rite as a whole is bigger than the directives of Liturgiam Authenticam, as Sacrosanctum Concilum said that in all things, the Roman Rite must be preserved. If you read the book the Genius of the Roman Rite(Keith F.Pecklers,S.J.), Liturgical Press, 2009, you will understand what this means. What Liturgiam Authenticam was after was to the recover tradition of the Roman Rite that was lost in the 1973 translation. And Fr. Phillip, the 1973 translation was a faulty translation. And many of the changes, such as the Holy Holy were the original texts of the first Novus Ordo translation.

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