Preface of the Annunciation: 2008 and 2010

At the abbey church here in Urbe, where I am wont to hide behind a pillar and “hear Mass” on major feastdays, the celebrant of this morning’s conventual Mass, Ordinary Form, Latin, chanted (in the impeccable style acquired during his youthful days at Solesmes), the Preface of the Annunciation.

Hearing a number of “flagged words” in that Latin Preface, I decided (although Lenten penance is suspended for this Solemnity) to check the “Final Text” against the ill-fated 2008 translation prepared by ICEL. I suspect the readers of Pray Tell will be as surprised as I was at the text that obtained the recognitio of the Holy See. (Note: in the posting of the Latin text, I have rearranged  its phrases, the better to show how each translation renders them.)

PREFACE OF THE ANNUNCIATION CHART

1.  In their zeal to “de-inclusify” the 2008 translation, the Vox Clara team has inexplicably lost the Archangel Gabriel!

2. Perficeret veritas is surely rendered more adequately as “fulfilled” and not simply “come about,” a pedantic expression if ever there was one, and one that does not convey that in the mystery of the Lord’s incarnation we see the truth of those ancient promises verified in the Truth Himself taking our flesh.

3. If homines in the early lines need to be changed to “men,” though we know that homo, hominis means “human beings,” “people,” (as in the new Gloria: “peace on earth to people (hominibus) of good will,” then why does filiis not need to be changed from “children” (2008) to the more literal “sons”?

4. It may be noted that in the conclusion of the preface, the Vox Clara version does not convey the divine agency as explicitly as 2008 does (and Liturgiam Authenticam requires). Surely, ut admitti iubeas is more adequately translated “(that you would) bid our voices join with theirs” (2008) than Vox Clara’s reversion (odd, in light of all the criticism!) to the old ICEL’s “May our voices join” (old ICEL: blend): iubeo has disappeared entirely, and with it, God’s action!

Our amazement continues at the work that has merited the Holy See’s recognitio! Well, from all the ads we’ve seen, at least the new Missal will look nice!

Xavier Rindfleisch

18 comments

  1. Thank you, Xavier, for the interesting analysis.

    Looking ahead to the Vigil, have you by any chance reviewed the VC2010 version of the Easter Proclamation?

    It would make for an interesting post here.

    What I downloaded was:

    Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
    exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
    let the trumpet of salvation
    sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!
    Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
    ablaze with light from her eternal King,
    let all corners of the earth be glad,
    knowing an end to gloom and darkness.
    Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
    arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
    let this holy building shake with joy,
    filled with the mighty voices of the peoples…

    Please tell me my download was corrupt and that the Proclamation really is not that horrible.

    Fr. Jim

    1. Jim, I had the same reaction as you did, yet I am told that the translators think it is most beautiful and excellent in every way. This isn’t idiomatic English.

      By the way, my text has “arrayed with the lighting of his glory” rather than the “lightning.” Which is the typo? Anybody know?

      1. It reminds me of children reciting verse from the stage during a very bad third grade play.

        Maybe I have a tin ear, but that sounds ugly to me.

        I am guessing “lightening.”

        My copy is from a Canadian bishop, so might be slightly different.

    2. gloom and darkness is an unfortunate phrase as gloom has two meanings in English (it can mean sadness or darkness).

      knowing an end to gloom and darkness — what sort of English is this?

      the mighty voices of the peoples — in Scripture only the Lord has a mighty voice.

  2. It’s never good to start looking for problems . . . hmm, maybe that’s why the Congregation didn’t scrutinise the Vox Clara work any more closely . . . but I just looked at the Collect:

    Deus, qui Verbum tuum
    in útero Vírginis María veritátem carnis humánae suscípere voluísti,
    concéde, quaesumus,
    ut, qui Redemptórem nostrum Deum et hóminem confitémur,
    ipsíus étiam divínae natúrae mereámur esse consórtes.
    Per Dóminum.

    2008
    O God, who willed that your Word
    should take on the reality of human flesh
    in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
    grant, we pray,
    that we who confess our Redeemer to be God and man
    may be made worthy to share also in his divine nature.
    Through our Lord

    2010
    O God, who willed that your Word
    should take on the reality of human flesh
    in the womb of the Virgin Mary,
    grant, we pray,
    that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man,
    may merit to become partakers even in his divine nature.
    Who lives and reigns.

    “EVEN in his divine nature”?
    Why choose EVEN as a translation for ETIAM?
    Isn’t the sense that “just as we confess him . . . so may we also”?
    This odd use of EVEN (haha) reminds me of that strange construction in the Vox Clara conclusion of the Easter Prefaces: “even the powers of heaven rejoice” – as if we thought they wouldn’t – when the text means that “just as the whole world rejoices . . . so also do the heavenly powers.”

    Well, like I said, at least it will LOOK nice: here’s the awful translation of this Collect made to look just as nice as can be:

    http://ctscatholiccompass.org/roman-missal/new-missals-pictures-revealed-illustrating-the-incarnation/

  3. “EVEN in his divine nature”?
    Why choose EVEN as a translation for ETIAM?
    Isn’t the sense that “just as we confess him . . . so may we also”?
    This odd use of EVEN (haha) reminds me of that strange construction in the Vox Clara conclusion of the Easter Prefaces: “even the powers of heaven rejoice” – as if we thought they wouldn’t – when the text means that “just as the whole world rejoices . . . so also do the heavenly powers.”

    Just goes to show, alas, that the guys who did the revision know little or no Latin. So why should we be faithful to it if they don’t even [sic!] know how to be? One would be forgiven for wondering if the new Google Latin translator was employed in a beta version…

    1. Paul,

      Just for kicks, I ran the Latin text from Xavier’s comment through Google Translate. Here’s what came out.

      O God, Who to your Word
      in the womb of the Virgin Mary of the flesh of man ‘s the Word of truth should take,
      grant, we beseech Thee,
      that we, who, our Redeemer, we give thanks to God and man,
      his even the divine nature may be found worthy to be partakers.
      Through the same Lord.

  4. “Why should we be faithful” to the new translation? I believe the pastoral approach would be to use the new translation “faithfully but not slavishly,” to use the words of Bishop Serratelli.

  5. I am sure there will be many excursions. I will not use “many,” or “chalice.” Frankly, I have the EP’s memorized, and I am thinking of retaining their use.

    1. Really?

      Jared, because it is so obviously clunky, this new translation will surely compel priests to adjust it, as has already happened in South Africa, where we’ve been using parts of the new translation for over two years. It’s inevitable.

      But think of the unnecessary stress it causes. We can see and hear the absurdity in the English, yet we are told how beautiful and how worthy it is.

      “Woe also to you lawyers! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not lift a finger to ease them.”

      1. Joe, a split Infinitive!

        You wouldn’t have got through First Divinity Moral Theology in Maynooth in my day with that.:-)

  6. What if we just said wait – for the inevitable corrected version in a couple of years’ time – before spending the big bucks?

  7. Xavier is letting off Vox Clara’s efforts too easily. “Come about” is not merely pedantic; it is misleading. When “promises … come about,” this can just as easily, or even more easily, be understood to mean that they are expressed or entered into, as opposed to “fulfilled.” Thus, their translation has taken a clear and beautiful Latin expression and stripped it of both clarity and beauty.

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