Gained in translation

From the Tablet that just went online:

Gained in translation: the new texts of the Mass” by Joanna Waller


  1. Waller touches on critical aspects of the art of translation not all of which I fear were uppermost in the minds of the officials at CDW.

    Though I don’t know what was actually uppermost in their minds, I can make some inferences from the results of their work. It appears that they were very much aware of English as the modern lingua franca and were trying to wrest control of it by insisting on its being Latinized as much as possible. I also believe they were doing a lot of reacting to the English speaking bishops and ICEL and the principles of comme le privoit. In my view this was a gross overreaction and a betrayal of the still budding structures of collegiality as foreseen in SC and LG.

    This whole process has laid bare the power struggle by which the centralists seek to reimpose their hegemony over the world’s bishops by claiming that this is what is called for by Vatican I. Why did we have a Vatican II if the primacy of the Pope means he can do and say anything he chooses and that his curia can act similarly. The Church was birthed and flourished because of the fidelity of Peter AND the Apostles. Christ’s prayer that all his followers may be one will never be fulfilled until THEIR successors master the art of servant-leadership. That prayer is about unity with all who profess that Jesus is LORD. We are not likely to achieve that with an English language liturgy that in many places and communities will not adequately transmit the full force of the gospel message.

    1. One wonders if the uproar within the Catholic Church today is a direct result of changes that improved the transmission of the full force of the gospel message! We’ve been warned about trying to put new wine in old bottles!

  2. Paul VI did what he wanted to do with the Mass (1962). The NO was put together with practically speaking no consultation. All this is to say the Pope is the accepted and lawful guardian of the liturgy. The Tablet is a left-wing affair hardly representative of Catholic thinking even in England.

    1. No, John. No. 100% false. Dead wrong. Where are you getting such information from? Scholars did much work on the history of the Roman rite for at least a half century before Consilium began its great work after Vatican II – BTW, Pius X had set up a commission to draw together historical research for a reform of the Mass ritual, but they never completed their work and it died with his reign – and all this research was taken into Consilium. And they had lots of consultors and experts working with them. Paul VI consulted with many people, including cardinals, and in some cases he undid some of Consiliums reforms, or lessened them slightly.

    2. I think the last part of John’s comment is correct: The Tablet is a left wing publication.
      My understanding is that the NO was largely the work of Bugnini and the Pope was so “pleased” that he was sent to Tehran.
      Either way we need to try to make the best of it.

      1. Peter,

        If you think the Tablet is left-wing, you really need a reality check. It’s a bit of a mixture, but in general it’s somewhat right of centre but likes to think it’s really progresssive. That’s one of its problems, apart from a certain amount of ignorance in some areas. Another problem is the small number of staff who make it what it is. With wider input it could be really something. Under the present editor, it has moved in a more conservative direction, and the number of people assisting it has reduced. Under John Wilkins it really was left of centre, and a larger number of people fed into it.

        It’s one of the sanest papers out there, but to characterize it as left-wing is simply to repeat the mindless posturings of Dame T and other similar blogs.

        BTW, the NO was largely the work of the consultors of the Consilium from all round the world, working on behalf of their bishops. Bugnini was merely a facilitator. He did not dictate what the consultors and working groups did, just organized it for them. About time this particular ghost was laid to rest.

      2. Peter – Your history and comments about Bugnini, etc. are incorrect and close to slander. This is online bullying. What happened to Bugnini towards the end of his life was nothing but sleazy get even politics of some in the curia.

      3. Left wing? Oh, you must tell that to my friend Lady Daphne Farthingale, who delicately fingers its pages every Friday over afternoon tea.

        My, what a genius that Bugnini must have been.

      4. Thank you Paul
        I suspect that we will not quite agree on this. If we take supporting the Pope as centre ground, supporting the SSPX as one wing and Mgr Gaillot as the other we will get one perspective. No doubt others could be argued for.
        I am not sure that left and right wing labels are always appropriate in the Catholic case.
        As for the role of Bugnini I note that the Wikipedia entry describes him as a very controversial figure. Certainly there are many who believe that he had a great deal of influence on the reform of the missal. We all have to rely on second hand information which is why I qualified my remark as “My understanding” rather than a fully established fact.

    3. John, what is wrong in there being an alternative to the “right-wing” press? I have to admit that the Catholic Herald does not represent my thought.

    4. Adding to Fr. Ruff’s comments – In addition to consultation “on paper” there were also officially sanctioned “experimental” Masses of provisional structure celebrated both in the Vatican and outside.

      Can all the historical revisionism and historical know-nothing attitude that is so pervasive in the RotR come to an end? To not like the liturgy is one thing. To inflate, conflate, and disregard the historical and liturgical facts is just endemic of post-modernism and deconstruction. Its boring…

  3. I want to join Anthony Ruff #4 comment. In addition to Anthony’s comment, it should be noted that the Novus Ordo came out of long consultations outside the Curia but in connection with the Bishops’ conferences. It was not an ambush that produced the liturgy of Paul VI. I wonder why in the Roman Missal III there was not the same procedures used. I understand that two sets of translations approved by the Bishops have been either entirely set aside or modified.

  4. Joanna Weller’s position that Catholic liturgy should move beyond its Hellenistic-Roman genesis demonstrates a certain hubris. Her desire to view worship solely through the prism of contemporary society and English as a lingua franca obscures two questions. Can Catholicism or Christianity in general excise belief and worship from the culture and intellectual climate of its birth? Why should we privilege today’s perspective over hellenism and romanitas?

    Perhaps hierarchy and gender inequality are the most troubling legacies of Hellenism and Roman culture. Fr. Cody’s earlier posting of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago’s blessing for same-sex unions demonstrates the extreme difficulties in recasting trinitarian theology and hierarchical language (e.g. “Lord”) according to contemporary egalitarian gender and social roles. Where is the bright line between re-presentation of the antique in modern idiom and the creation of a new theology and liturgical science? Weller does not offer a solution beyond a personal conviction that liturgy must reflect present day language and convictions.

    Those who wish to recast liturgy within a modern idiom must also realize that our era is not without bias. The creation of liturgy in the likeness of a few generations will eventually be subject to the same scrutiny as a liturgy with hellenistic-roman foundations. Is it not better to contend with the biases already present in liturgy rather than create new liturgy which might not reflect orthodox theology? Or, are modern-day experiences the “new orthodoxy”?

    Perhaps the greatest weakness of the 2010 translation is not its literalness, but rather its insufficient justification of its staunch support of Roman liturgical antecedents. I am guilty of the same when I claim without justification that the Latin typical liturgies are static and that all Catholics must either approach or reject, but never change, Latin liturgy.

    1. But does the word “lord” in its original language, in its original time have the hierarchical connotations the word has for us today? Using the same title for the Almighty and for human authorities can lead to many misunderstandings!

      1. Are there many instances now where people refer to authorities as Lord? I know such titles still exist in Britain, but not in the US, where Lord is almost exclusively used in religious language to refer to God.

        Also, what about inculturation? Lord is a widely accepted form of address for God amongst English speakers.

    2. My name-mangling strikes again! Thank you, Ms. Waller, for your essay.

      Perhaps my criticisms might be addressed in later installments. It is impossible to judge Waller’s position without the full transcript.

    3. These are not difficult questions.
      Can Catholicism or Christianity in general excise belief and worship from the culture and intellectual climate of its birth?

      The culture and intellectual climate of Christianity’s birth no longer exists, so Christian belief and worship occurs apart from that culture without any effort on Christianity’s part. There are no emperors ruling the known world and binding the disparate cultures into a single empire.

      Why should we privilege today’s perspective over hellenism and romanitas?

      The people of today, when they worship and believe, do not do so from a hellenistic or roman perspective. They do it from today’s perspective.

      When the Eucharist is celebrated, all of us are present again with Christ on the night before he died. Hubris is thinking we are present as first or fifteenth century Romans, rather than 21st century Americans, or British, or Japanese. If he cared, how do you think St Augustine would view an English speaking 21st century woman who claimed to embody the religious and intellectual culture of 4th century Rome? We are present as who we are, and that determines the perspective we privilege.

  5. Our liturgy is held hostage to the medieval past. Idolatry of a dead past is as unevangelical as idolatry of the present.

  6. Only as a symptom is Vox Clara’s neo-Latinizing approach to translation comprehensible to me. As a symptom, it betrays a realization by the ‘translators’ that real reform requires complete de-construction, right down to the ancient foundations, in order to rediscover the builders’ original purpose. Reformers must set things up right in the task of rebuilding; they must renew the original purpose through the new forms they put in place.

    But the Vatican/Vox Clara has applied this approach in the wrong area. It belongs to reforming structure, roles, rules, and communication, not to reforming liturgy. The author’s gloss on T.S. Eliot is apt as another formulation of the “holy remnant” ideal: a translation that creates “a closed, initiate group, with its own language and secret rituals, is not conducive to the intended aim of spreading the Word of God to all. And trying to maintain or restore this sense of encrypted meaning within the liturgy, through the use of esoteric or historical language, sets obstacles (scandal) in the way.” And as the author points out, Latinizing the English translation misses the even more ancient, pre-Latin foundations.

    1. Mary, I’d say the entire Church needs to be de-constructed “right down to the ancient foundations”.

      1. Isn’t that more or less what the Reformers tried in the 16th century? Why should we think our efforts in the 21st century would meet with any more success?

  7. I think Jordan is right on. Many often forget that it’s the Roman Rite that we are talking about. There were families of rites that developed in that ancient apostolic sees. The point of the reform was to strip away the excess and get back to the essential “Roman” Rite and restore it to its formal glory. Were we to translate out its romanness it would no longer represent the Roman Rite. I think alot of traditionalists and conservatives are reacting to preserve the Roman Rite. Every baptised Roman Catholic has a right to adore God in the Roman Rite in which he was baptized. None of the other vernerable eastern rites are subject to this kind of “de-construction, right down to the ancient foundations” as Mary Coogan said above. Why do Roman Catholics have to put up with this?

    1. The genius of Rome was imperial, not local. Romans were influential, but “Rome” crossed cultural borders. The citizens of Tarsus were “Roman” citizens. In 69 AD one of the three Roman emperors was from Rome. This aspect of Rome is perhaps better remembered by the Orthodox, who looked to Constantinople as the seat of Rome, and some later looked to Moscow as a third Rome.

      This universal quality of Rome is not well served by trying to limit the Church to local Roman influences. I do not know if it is better served by allowing other local influences to infiltrate the pure Roman culture, but that does seem to be what made Rome Roman.

      1. Jim, you’re spot-on about the “genius of Rome”. Rome certainly was not defined by the city of Rome, especially since the majority of the Empire spoke koine Greek. Hellenistic culture was equal to, and perhaps more influential in certain ways, than the cultures influenced by the Latin speaking sphere. It’s important to remember that a good portion of residents in the imperial city of Rome were Greek-speaking immigrants.

        Even so, the late antique Empire shared a common and inescapable social structure. The author of 1 Peter demonstrates the uneasiness between an egalitarian “chosen people” and the omnipresent expectations of the imperial social hierarchy. Slaves, freed people, children, women, and men necessarily expressed local culture through social hierarchy and not through postmodern egalitarianism. Our egalitarianism cannot be superimposed over scripture, apocrypha, or the Latin of the typical missals.

        Today’s Roman missals unabashedly proclaim late antique hierarchy through trinitarianism and the “vertical” or transcendent God-language most notably found in the eucharistic prayers. I am convinced that those who dislike the stilted and literal translation should consider whether it is time for Christianity to break with a theology expressed through non-egalitarian late antique paradigms. Likewise, I must be able to justify my insistence for hierarchical liturgy.

    2. Again, Father, where were you educated? Vatican II was also about ressourcement – it slowly became a Roman Rite and probably not until the 4th-5th century. Your comments reveal a lack of knowledge about Vatican II and liturgy? Even from the 5th century, Roman Rite was impacted by Frankish, Moorish, etc.; influences; Benedctine etc.

      1. Bill, I know Vatican II was about ressourcement, but that’s not the point that is being forgotten in these discussions. Yes, the early Christian liturgy “slowly became a Roman Rite” and gradually became The Roman Rite. But, all of the liturgical families developed that way. Just as the Eastern rites feel beholden to respect the tradition and culture in which they developed, so should we with the Roman Rite. And quit telling people they’re stupid. Peace.

    3. Rank and file Catholics could care less about what we call the rite. They do care about what happens when they gather for worship on Sundays. To think that they will be eager to “get back” to more Latin like English and sentence structure is a reach way too far. Its like saying the illiterate peasants of the 16th century were eager to have a uniform Missal so that the Mass would be the same wherever they went.

    4. Fr. Steve, you and Jordan are constructing a false dichotomy. It’s not a case of either Latinate English or the biases of today embedded in contemporary usage (whatever those biases are). Translators can look both backward and forward. The Vatican might look to its own ancient Roman symbol of balancing the old with the new: .

      But in the work of institutional reform, as envisioned by Vatican II, the reformers should be looking to the original foundations.

      This is my fear: IF a new translation uncritically retains the legacies Jordan describes—“hierarchy and gender inequality,” for starters—in backward-looking, esoteric, obscure language, then anti-reformers may rest content. Embedded in the liturgy will be hierarchic non-consultative decision-making, gender subordination, and triumphalism, and these will seem to define the institution vis-à-vis other Christian sects. With this renewal of the liturgy, the insistence that there is no need for reform will grow louder. Then what about alienation arising from clerical sex-abuse scandals, what about demands from laity for transparency, accountability and consultation in decisions and their own participation, and what about the exodus of millions from the parishes? The responses are predictable because we’ve heard them all already: “Catholicism is not a democracy–go elsewhere if you want equal respect!” “The gate is narrow, and many are not willing to accept what is required to enter!” “We few, we precious few, we band of brothers. . . .”

      1. “With this renewal of the liturgy, the insistence that there is no need for reform will grow louder.”

        Actually, Mary, one might conclude from reform sites such as Adoremus and NLM that they see a more sacral English translation as merely one step in the continuing reform to implement Vatican II faithfully.

      2. Mary Coogan:
        Fr. Steve, you and Jordan are constructing a false dichotomy. It’s not a case of either Latinate English or the biases of today embedded in contemporary usage (whatever those biases are). Translators can look both backward and forward.

        I agree. My previous observations were quite dichotomous. Janus is a good example not only as a metaphor for the compatibility of retrospection and possibility. Janus is also the god of beginnings. The new translation has missed opportunities to advance alongside trends in English liturgical language and everyday language development.

        Coogan: This is my fear: IF a new translation uncritically retains the legacies Jordan describes—”hierarchy and gender inequality,” for starters—in backward-looking, esoteric, obscure language, then anti-reformers may rest content. Embedded in the liturgy will be hierarchic non-consultative decision-making, gender subordination, and triumphalism

        I’m not convinced that gender inclusion and more literal and literary translations are incompatible. The NRSV (e.g Psalms) demonstrates an excellent balance between literary quality, horizontal language, and textual fidelity.

        Graham Wilson once suggested that Anglophone Catholics might one day create a rite fully divorced from the Latin. An “anglophone rite” might be the best way to create a truly collaborative and inclusive liturgy. Questions of maleness in Christian doctrine (the “vertical” component) will inevitably pose great challenges even within a wholly English-language rite. The desire for inclusion and historical Christian theology will eventually converge and clash.

  8. The Mass is not a costume drama. If the faithful sense that they are just reciting lines from some 16th century or medieval or even 4th century scenario rather than giving voice to the presence of Jesus now, this will increase the sense that the liturgy is unreal.

    1. Joe, here is a wonderful thought from St. Edith Stein that reminds us not to set subjective personal (one might say, contemporary) prayer over and against liturgical prayer; for all authentic prayer is prayer of the Church. Those 4th century and 16th century liturgical prayers, came from the heart of Christians moved by the Holy Spirit, and we get to be united to these authentic and beautiful prayers and make them our own.

      “Was not the soul of the royal psalmist a harp whose strings resounded under the gentle breath of the Holy Spirit? From the overflowing heart of the Virgin Mary blessed by God streamed the exultant hymn of the “Magnificat.” When the angel’s mysterious word became visible reality, the prophetic “Benedictus” hymn unsealed the lips of the old priest Zechariah, who had been struck dumb. Whatever arose from spirit-filled hearts found expression in words and melodies and continues to be communicated from mouth to mouth. The “Divine Office” is to see that it continues to resound from generation to generation. So the mystical stream forms the many- voiced, continually swelling hymn of praise to the triune God, the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Perfecter. Therefore, it is not a question of placing the inner prayer free of all traditional forms as “subjective” piety over against the liturgy as the “objective” prayer of the church. All authentic prayer is prayer of the church.” – St. Edith Stein

      1. As I read this quote from St Edith Stein, it supports Joe’s point and in fact says exactly the opposite of what Fr Sanchez seems to be claiming it does.

        Maybe it’s clearer in the original French!

    2. It’s not the “I” or the “We,” the “many” or the “all” that makes the words a prayer: it’s “Thou” or “You.” Below are some words of Martin Buber’s that, like E. Stein’s, discuss the danger of subjectivity. Although as Joe O’ L. says, the “Mass is not a costume drama,” it has elements of theater. Dramatists use words that manipulate their audiences emotionally; the Mass does this too. Included in the emotional experience, for ex., is reverence, or a sense of the sacral. However, Buber would say that reverence is not yet prayer, and a sense of the sacral–a fascinating emotion!–can, well, fascinate us. So we focus on the subjective experience; we lose the “Thou” of relation under the sway of emotion (an “it”). Thus prayer can deteriorate into a ritual of cultic identification. Buber’s last six paragraphs, on “disintegration of the Word,” trace the consequences of overly manipulated forms. I assume that one of the meanings of “form” would be “liturgy”:

      Form is also a mixture of Thou and It. In belief and in a cult, form can harden into an object; but in virtue of the essential quality of relation that lives on in it, it continually becomes present again. God is near His forms so long as [we do] not remove them from Him. In true prayer, belief and cult are united and purified to enter into the living relation. The fact that true prayer lives in the religions witnesses to their true life: they live so long as it lives in them. Degeneration of the religions means degeneration of prayer in them. Their power to enter into relation is buried under increasing objectification; it becomes increasingly difficult for them to say Thou with the whole undivided being, and finally, in order to be able to say it, [they] must come out of their false security into the venture of the infinite–out of the community that is now over-arched only by the temple dome and not also by the firmament. . . . (RG Smith Trans.)

  9. “All the nuances and intentions of the original author must be caught by the translated text.” (Ms Waller)

    But here we have a problem with many of the liturgical texts, specifically the Collect and other prayers. We don’t know who composed them or why. The ritual context for which they were written 1000 years ago or more is vastly different to today’s. The style they used belongs to a culture long gone – and sufficiently lofty to ensure that they were NOT comprehensible by the laity.

    Using a vernacular instead of a dead language in liturgy makes new demands of communication and comprehensibility which radically alter the function of liturgical language. How to develop a new approach to this while maintaining the continuity of the Roman rite? Pre-1998 ICEL tried this with their new Collect prayers, which unfortunately we are about to lose. Where will the next initiative come from?

  10. Just picked up this blog exchange and was astounded to read that the Tablet is being characterised as a left wing journal…It is the only English journal that offers a weekly view of the church in the UK and beyond, together with its excellent website, giving a platform to reasoned argument and well thought through positions.

    To say that it is left wing (which incidentally is a fairly meaningless tag) is only another way to castigate views that need to be expressed and that are sometimes challenging to the status quo.

    One could say that there are occasions when one wished that the Tablet had been even more hard hitting that it is. Our comfort zone is sometimes too comfortable.
    Chris McDonnell UK

  11. Completely absurd to characterize The Tablet as ‘left-wing’, and the silly ‘Tabula delenda est’ campaign calls into question the judgement of a number of priest-bloggers.

    Although the editors of The Tablet have some slant toward the progressive, they have been scrupulous to ensure that voices from the more conservative side are also heard in their pages, not just in letters but also in articles. By comparison, their most direct rival, The Catholic Herald comes across as tendentious and doctrinaire.

    As just one example: the staff of The Tablet were not enthusiastic about the spread of the Tridentine Mass, but they nonetheless ran this article by Alcuin Reid, in 2007. Here is how it ends:

    I trust our Pope. I trust him to bring the wisdom of the whole of the Catholic imagination to bear in the liturgical life of the Church of today. I trust that he understands well how creativity and genius are not enemies of the tradition but part of it, and that they are its lifeblood because in them the Spirit is active. For he is no reactionary traditionalist, nor is he a tangential liberal. Rather, he is a wise householder who knows when, creatively, ingenuously and led by the Spirit, to bring forth what is new and what is old.

    1. Completely absurd to characterize The Tablet as ‘left-wing’, … Although the editors of The Tablet have some slant toward the progressive,

      Huh? Generally, those things with a slant towards the progressive are correctly described as left-wing. This is not complicated. The fact that they also publish op/eds by conservatives doesn’t change this. The NY Times is liberal despite publishing conservative view points.

      Their “about” page specifically says that they are “progressive”.

    2. Please finish the quote, Samuel. They stand for “progressive, but responsible Catholic thinking, a place where orthodoxy is at home but ideas are welcome.”

      You know very well — and this was the clear sense of John Molnar’s comment above — that “left wing” was being set against “orthodox”; John was using it as a near-synonym for “heretical”.

      And the Tablet does far more than publish a conservative op-ed every now and then. Follow them from week to week, rather than picking up on the articles that Frs Zuhlsrdorf or Finigan rant about from time to time. You will see that there is a pretty good balance of views on ethical, doctrinal and liturgical matters.

      1. Jonathan, I linked to the quote. A) There’s nothing that prevents conservatives/traditionalists from maintaining that one can be left wing and orthodox. And B) They can also describe something as left wing without commenting on its orthodoxy, since those are different things. No, I don’t think left wing is neccesarily opposed to orthodox. It is actually not clear that John “was using it as a near-synonym for “heretical'” and I’m not using it that way.

      2. Jonathan, you are right to point out how misleading is the response and partial quote Sam Howard offered. I would also point out that he is being consistent with what he has said elsewhere on this blog: that he believes no one is obliged by Catholic morality to tell the truth, only to avoid making false individual statements.

        Here is an example of how pernicious such thinking proves to be in practice. Someone says something incomplete and misleading, in defense of a statement that is quite untrue. But offering an incomplete and misleading response, he believes, is still ok because he feels he is under no obligation to tell the truth, only to say things that are not, narrowly viewed, false. (That quote does indeed use the word “progressive”!)

        It would be one thing if I thought the speaker believed that what he was saying was true, and only found out subsequently that it was not. Such things happen. We are all human. But he knew it to be a half-truth, as he says “I linked to the [whole] quote”, and yet he still proposes it in defense of an untrue statement.

      3. Rita, that’s really an outrageous and offensive comment. Besides implying that I am dishonest, it also glosses my comments on truth-telling in ways that distort them.

  12. #26 by Henry Edwards on June 10, 2011 – 9:30 am

    “With this renewal of the liturgy, the insistence that there is no need for reform will grow louder.”

    Actually, Mary, one might conclude from reform sites such as Adoremus and NLM that they see a more sacral English translation as merely one step in the continuing reform to implement Vatican II faithfully.

    No where in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy is there a call for a “more sacral translation”. This may be the goal of some, but please don’t assign that goal to Vatican II. Some of this translation does not meet the requirements of CSL Par. 34:”The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people’s powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation”. I wonder if words like:sullied, unfeigned, ineffable, gibbet, wrought, thwart-to name a few- are within the normal vocabulary of the average Catholic in the pew? More sacral maybe, within people’s power of comprehension-absolutely not!

  13. Mike,

    Many would say now–forty plus years after Vatican II–that after decades of unfortunate experience with an inadequate translation, it is evident that a “more sacral” translation is one needed corrective step towards the still-awaited fulfillment of the liturgical vision of the Council.

    I myself have no interest in debating moot questions about particular words. However, I’ll admit that I see the particular words that you mention as neither especially sacral nor especially difficult. Apart from which, I think “ineffable” so ineffably lovely and expressive a word that I regret its virtual elimination from the new English translation; it appears only twice in the new translation–in the collects for December 20 (in Advent) and July 1 (Blessed Junipero Serra).

    1. Henry,
      Could you give us an example of how the new translation
      Is more sacral than the current Sacred Liturgy?
      If you want to make statements about the new translation you will need to provide specific words or phrases that prove that it is more sacral.

      1. Pentecost Sunday Collect

        LAME-DUCK ICEL (1973):
        God our Father,
        let the Spirit you sent on your Church
        to begin the teaching of the gospel
        continue to work in the world
        through the hearts of all who believe.

        NEW CORRECTED ICEL (2011):
        O God, who by the mystery of today’s great feast
        sanctify your whole Church in every people and nation,
        pour out, we pray, the gifts of the Holy Spirit
        across the face of the earth
        and, with the divine grace that was at work
        when the Gospel was first proclaimed,
        fill now once more the hearts of believers.

        You decide. 2011? 1973? (As Father Z says.

      2. Henry – to be fair and objective to the original ICEL, you need to insert 1998 – it would be as good or better than 2011 or will that change again?

      3. Technically, what is called the “new corrected ICEL” is actually the “Vatican” text, since the Holy See is now imposing it on the English-speaking world. Remember, the English-speaking bishops never approved the Vatican text. It’s not what they submitted.

        Below is what all the world’s English-speaking bishops approved in 1998 (the Vatican rejected it), and then what the bishops approved in 2008 (Vatican botched up this text to give us the coming text).

        Going forward, as the discussion focuses on the problems with the coming text, and as we begin thinking about how to revise it, it will be more and more important to look at other ways it could have been done and has been done.

        Here are the texts. You decide.

        O God, by the mystery of today‘s Feast
        you sanctify your universal Church
        in every race and nation;
        pour out the gifts of the Holy Spirit
        across the face of the earth
        and, with the divine grace that was at work
        when the Gospel was first proclaimed,
        now fill the hearts of believers once more.

        Lord God,
        through the mystery of this holy feast
        you sanctify your Church in every nation and people.
        Pour out the gifts of your Spirit
        across the face of the earth,
        and in your merciful kindness
        touch the hearts of all believers
        as you touched those who first heard
        the preaching of the Gospel.

        Several awkward problems with the Vatican text, but I’ll note just one thing: why on earth do you suppose they inserted “we pray” when that’s not in the Latin? Just what translation theory is this?!?


      4. 1998, 2008, 2010. Each is a wonderful improvement over the 1973 translation. Now that the Church has made its final and official choice among them–whether or not it would have been yours or mine—why not move on? What’s the point of beating dead horses (or translations)?

      5. Henry:
        You and your mentor are forever beating a dead horse, comparing Vox Clara’s Pell-Moroney-Ward Hatchet Job to “Lame-Duck ICEL”.

        The tactic is interesting but transparent: When first Pell-Moroney-Ward leaked, there was pique in your mentor’s commentary, and, for a while, he posted BOTH 2008 and 2010.

        Soon after, he and other bloggers concluded (or were nudged to conclude) that Pell-Moroney-Ward was the best they could hope for. An example was made of Canon Griffiths and Father Ruff, honorable scholars, loyal to the new ICEL, who had the integrity and daring to critique the inaccuracies, violations of LA, and imbecilic butcherings of English that, inexplicably (unless you know the politics/personalities), won Rome’s “confirmatio,” in violation of the Pope’s trust – as will eventually come out.

        Griffiths and Ruff were ordered fired by CDW (long gone the days when wicked old ICEL provided CDs of the in-progress 1998 to the Latin illiterates, Arlington CREDO priests, etc.) and the new ICEL bureaucrats dutifully complied. You don’t get purple buttons and/or miters by nobly withstanding unjust “obediences.” There ARE careers to think of! Monsignor Moroney and friends were off and running on their several-hundred diocese spin-and-sales tours, emphasizing NOT the virtues of Pell-Moroney-Ward but the virtue of obedience required of good and holy priests.

        Comparisons of 2008/2010 vanished from your mentor’s and other blogs, replaced by Lame Duck vs. Pell-Moroney-Ward.

        That, and this, tell you all you need to know, until the forthcoming guide is published: “How To Correct the English in Your Big Expensive Vox Clara Missal”. But that’s a story for another day!

        Another “funny” – on Msgr Moroney’s blog, even he’s got the WRONG version of EP I !

      6. I must hand it to you mentor, however, Henry, that on this busy Pentecost Sunday, he DID find time to cover so extensively that craziness in Detroit – or wherever it was! And there are birds to feed, coffee to brew, ribs to saute, Missals to mooch . . . And Griffiths and Ruff get fired! Amazing.

  14. Henry,

    I hardly think a manufactured “sacral language” qualifies as vernacular.

    The language found in the 2010 translation is not my language, it distances itself from me, and is just weird.

    What really irks me is how sacrilegious this whole enterprise is at its core. The weirdness of the language lampoons English, abuses its users, and mocks the Mass with its false-sounding phrases because it draws attention to itself and away from God.

    1. Graham,

      Before I had studied carefully almost two hundred of the proper prayers in the 2010 translation, I assumed (based on what I’d read here) that they were really pretty bad. Now I think they’re really pretty good–though hardly the contribution to the English language of Shakespeare or the King James Bible–in many places not as smooth as the 2008 translation, but still a vast improvement over the 1973 translation. In any event, there are few instances of “weird” language, though it’s easy to find spots where a more felicitous selection could have been made. That would be true of any translation by a committee of any size, whether seven or seven thousand.

      After a lifetime of academic battles, I am well aware of how one’s sincere view of the product can be influenced by personal objections to the process. I wonder whether this phenomenon is not playing a big role here.

      1. No one defends the 1973 texts — you should compare with the 1998 texts to realize what might have been. A literal translation of the Roman Canon, used in Ireland in 1966, is far superior to the 2010 version of this hallowed text, and is beautiful and prayable. It was probably made by one person with an ear for language.

      2. Fr. Joe, there are people who support the 1973 texts, and I’m pretty sure at least a couple of them have commented on PTB. If there were a more robust search tool (that could search comments, for example) I could probably find them… or if I had been meticulously bookmarking and cataloging every comment.

        As a programmer, both of those ideas have crossed my mind more than once. I was actually considering spidering the whole blog a few months ago.

      3. I should have clarified that I mean no one supports the 1973 texts of the PROPERS — the preces. I myself support the 1973 text of the Roman Canon for example, and consider all four canons innocuous. I also find the Prefaces acceptable, certainly far superior to the monstrosities now to be imposed.

      4. “In many places not as smooth” – HAHAHAHAHA!

        You’re a real comedian, Henry!

        How about Jesus being “made” Messiah and Lord at his baptism? Not as smooth. Or heresy?

        How about “vices” becoming “faults” in the Lenten texts (and in other places): check the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the difference between a fault and a vice?

        How about all the additions and subtractions to the Latin, in clear violation of Liturgiam authenticam?

        How about all this:

        “Not as smooth” . . . keep the pom-poms flailing, Henry! GIve me a V! Give me an O! Give me an X!

        But not to worry, the Guide even now being prepared is going to help the average priest pencil in the corrections to the mistranslations, the corrections to the violations of LA, and the flat-out butchering of English, every last “constrain them mercifully” and “might, to the praise of your manifest wisdom, be mainfest” without ruining their $500 REGAL editions of Vox Clara’s Pell-Moroney-Ward Hatchet Job in Leather!

    2. Henry,

      Yes, I think the process stinks. But I do I think the product is a chimera too.

      The translation is not ultimately meant to be studied but heard.

      I’ve looked at many of the prayers, read them, prayed them in silence and out aloud, by myself and with others, analysed them. On the whole they are not an improvement because they obscure aural meaning. So ultimately, however theologically dense and “sacral” the language, it fails because it is a stumbling block to active participation, not an aid. It’s that simple.

      … and it all starts with the gobbledegook greeting “and with your spirit”, which does not mean what it is supposed to mean.

      Oh, and because the language also fails as vernacular, it fails as a vehicle for the liturgical reform, and so cannot be said to fulfil the vision of the council fathers.

  15. Henry Edwards :

    Actually, Mary, one might conclude from reform sites such as Adoremus and NLM that they see a more sacral English translation as merely one step in the continuing reform to implement Vatican II faithfully.

    Actually Henry, Adoremus’s statement of purpose contains a classic example of the kind of slide that worries me. They write of their work with liturgy as “renewal.” But then they prophesy that “reform” will somehow magically happen when the liturgy is “renewed” because liturgical renewal will reverse the loss of attendance, vocations, and belief that (in their post hoc thinking) resulted from V.II:
    2. The mission of Adoremus is to rediscover and restore the beauty, the holiness, the power of the Church’s rich liturgical tradition while remaining faithful to an organic, living process of renewal. The purpose of such a renewal cannot be stated more eloquently than . . . by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger [quotation omitted].
    5. Adoremus believes the aim of Liturgy is union with Christ in communion with the Church. The experience of the past thirty years since Vatican II — declining Mass attendance, dramatic decreases in priestly and religious vocations, diminished belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and in other core doctrines of the Catholic Church, and a widespread loss of the sense of the sacred — makes clear the need for genuine liturgical reform.

    Adoremus thinks that the goals which I see as requiring structural reform will be accomplished by restoring/renewing pre-V.II liturgy.

    1. Actually, Mary, as a long-time Adoremus member, and being myself someone equally (and strongly) devoted to both the OF and EF, I know that Adoremus is not. That is, it is not in favor of restoring pre-Vatican II liturgy. Indeed, the leadership of Adoremus, with whom I am familiar, are decidedly cool towards the EF (if this is what you meant by pre-V II liturgy). With them, I share the regret that the OF has as yet failed to reach its potential of a glorious liturgy for all, and so I support their efforts for the necessary reform and continued renewal (without, of course, necessarily agreeing with them on all the details they might advocate).

  16. Quoting from #46/Mary Coogan, from Adoremus:

    “The experience of the past thirty years since Vatican II — declining Mass attendance, dramatic decreases in priestly and religious vocations, diminished belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and in other core doctrines of the Catholic Church, and a widespread loss of the sense of the sacred — makes clear the need for genuine liturgical reform.”

    I know (though I cannot quote chapter and verse) there is much research to suggest that such a claim, is not terribly adequate or objective. Declining Mass attendance, decreases in priestly vocations, diminished belief in the real presence and other core doctrines – to blame this is on the reform of the liturgy since V2 is almost laughable. There are so many reasons why these declines are in place.. for some, yes, the reform of the liturgy had a negative effect. But also, for MANY, the rejections of some of these portals of the tradition are also because of what is experienced to be a church that is out of touch, attempting to live at times in a museum, and not relevant to their lives – all which in most cases – has nothing to do with what their “liturgical preference” may be.

    It is too simple to point blame to the liturgical developments since V2.. I agree that some of them have been problematic. But to cast judgment of all that is wrong with the Church upon the liturgy that we have now, well, come on… this is ridiculous. The problems that the church has are many, complex. To find the remedies in either the restoration of the EF, or in the so called lack of the OF to reach its “potential of a glorious liturgy” – is to truly have a shallow regard for the people of God, and all that they are going through in struggles of their faith and how it lives in harmony/tension with their lives. Let’s get real. I believe in the power of transformative liturgy, do not get me wrong. But there is so much more going on in the concerns of Catholics, and the degree in which they…

    1. I agree with David.

      This topic has come up several times at PTB, and every time people point out the MANY forces affecting church involvement quite apart from liturgy – history, politics, economics, education level, and on and on. Mass attendance in Vienna was already down to 20% in 1950 – no reformed liturgy then to do damage. But there were all the societal changes of the past century or so causing disengagement from church.

      Ireland had very high church attendance for a couple decades after the reformed liturgy, but in the last 5 years or so it has plummeted. Liturgical changes causing it? Of course not.

      Many more examples and much more data could be cited, but it all makes the same point. To blame institutional church decline on Vatican II reforms is so unscholarly it’s laughable.


  17. (con’t)
    stay connected or not. Once again (sorry to keep raising this issue) – people have their preferences in the liturgy – they are all over the map. I know there are many who are still in anger over much of what happened in the liturgical renewal that sprung forth from the council, and many have considered what has happened in the last 30-40 years to be the work of the devil. Some folks do not like what has happened over all these years, and because of that, they have to demonize the efforts (and at times, many of the people), of all that has happened, and toward those who have labored in the renewal over the years. For one example, the styles of music, environment, or translation, or ritual creativity is not a denial of “real presence,” or other doctrines of the church. Not only the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, but also the Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), and the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et spes) – they all speak to the diversity and expanded understanding of the core doctrines to which the church proclaims. Whether a community sings gregorian chant or gospel style music; whether they pray in Latin or the vernacular; whether they worship in more traditional or contemporary spaces; whether they adorn modern chasubles or traditional fiddlebacks – these are certainly significant symbols and meaning is attached to them. But people’s LIVES – these are the things that we should be paying attention to ultimately, and ask ourselves if our ritual celebrations offer right worship to God in conjunction with the journey of life for human beings. Whether or not we sing the proper antiphon or choose a contemporary hymn at the entrance, is not going to have a significant impact on the core issues of their lives and faith in Christ Jesus.

  18. Do not get me wrong – I love these discussions, and I love the back and forth, and I love the debate and difference of opinions.. but to hold our opinions at times as weapons against another stance that is different than ours (I am guilty of this myself) is over the top and unnecessary.

    While we enjoy and learn from these discussions, and they are stimulating – the average catholic in our parish simply does not care… they are more passionately concerned about other things. These are the things I believe that most in our communities are hoping for the Church to address and provide guidance.. NOT whether or not, for example we sing the propers or not….

    Basta. Enough. End of Rant.. OK, come after me..

  19. Paul Boman :David, how utterly rational of you. Thanks for the insight, and the critique.

    To be utterly rational, an underlying question must be answered, “What is the purpose of liturgy?”

    If we do not know what is the purpose, how can we decide whether anything we do in liturgy is helpful or not?

    After we know our purpose, then we can discuss means.

    I would like to see a discussion here that would stay on that topic until we have a list of answers.

    I think that such a list would divide into two groups. One group would amount to what individuals want to get out of liturgy, and would be very diverse with various incompatibilities.

    Another group would be what liturgical theologians claim are the purposes of liturgy, and would be more inter-related. Obviously, from the way I state this, you can see in which group I expect to find my opinions.

    1. Following David Haas’ comment, Tom Poelker asks, “What is the purpose of liturgy?”
      “After we know our purpose, then we can discuss means.
      I would like to see a discussion here that would stay on that topic until we have a list of answers.”

      I like this suggestion. I’ve been thinking about four items that might be added to this list, two under “what individuals want [or need] to get out of liturgy” and two in the other group. . . .

  20. It is quite true that no one factor can be assigned to the decline of the Church. In the United States, we know for a fact that the Church, meaning both the institutional Church and the “family” Church was quite strong well into the early 1960’s. There were hospitals, schools, and other social service ministries abounding as well as “Catholic Action” for the laity. Large families, (because Catholics still took traditional Catholic teachings on sex and contraception seriously) an abundance of vocations as a result of strong and large Catholic families flourished. Mass attendance was more than 80%. Authority was respected, especially the authority of God that was not co-opted by personal feelings about “if it feels right, just do it.”
    A very authoritative Council, Vatican II and very authoritative subsequent teachings on the Liturgy, the Church and the reform of both through post-Vatican II legislation as well as the authoritative teaching Humanae Vitae, were all met with two polarized reactions that mimicked what was going on society at the time (1960’s & 70’s). There was either reckless abandon of tradition, authority and common sense or hand ringing about the Church and the world going to hell in a handbag.
    The whole theology of dissent promoted by liberal theologians is now backfiring on them as a large traditional contingency of the Church now dissents against Vatican II and subsequent reforms. Liberals decry Humanae Vitae and encourage dissent but hypocritically are astounded that traditionalists would dare dissent against a Council and subsequent papal teachings.
    In the middle are those who are flexible, favor the Council and its teachings as well as Humane Vitae and other subsequent decrees from the Holy See and the popes. The errors (apart from an extremely poor translation of the vernacular Mass, now being rectified) are not with the council or subsequent decrees, but how these were co-opted, poorly implemented and reinterpreted by progressive theologians, bishops and priests. Thus a loss of priestly and “religious” identity had led to the loss of Catholic identity and the cohesiveness (Catholic unity) that that once strong Catholic identity brought to the Church. It was and is the perfect storm.

    1. Perhaps it was the loss of family identity, precipitated by clerical intrusion into the most intimate part of that life, that led to a loss of a cohesive Church identity and thus undermined priestly and religious identity? That makes more sense to me, since it actually has something to do with the lives of most Catholics, while the loss of priestly and religious identity is unimportant except to priests and religious.

      Besides, I’d hate to jump on the ‘blame the priest’ bandwagon you are offering.

  21. Fr Allan, in Ireland the Council failed through not being implemented, not through any extreme liberalism. Humanae Vitae was a non-starter in Ireland as everywhere – it is absurd to call the embrace of HV a moderate, middle of the road position; it is a dead letter. The current liturgy translation has not been blamed for church decline, even though its collects etc. are sawdust and its English does not sing; there was an excellent literal translation of the Roman Canon used in 1966 that really did sing; the new translations are too awful to count as remedying the defects real or alleged of the current ones.

    1. It’s a perfect storm which has multiple causes, and yes, what I was saying is that Council was not implemented, the “spirit” of the council was and this was a progressive thing, at least in the USA.
      I think rebellion against authority, secular or religious was more pronounced in the US than in Ireland in the 1960’s and 70’s.

    2. There are many moderate Catholics who embrace the theology of HV and its authority while at the same time making accommodations in the secret of their conscience concerning it and still bringing their “failures” in that regard to confession. The same is true with fornication, adultery and the more extreme aspects of sexual sins, not to mention arguing and fighting with spouses, children and searing at them and callousness towards the poor.

      1. I agree that definitions of sin have become more fluid generally – but I think that while some unease of conscience still widely attaches to sexual irregularities, the use of condoms and contraceptives per se does not instill such guilt feelings – probably because it is lived as a responsible, ethically motivated behavior, rather than a self-indulgence. Do confessors regularly encounter it?

      2. Fr. Anthony, it would only be anecdotal evidence from my personal ministry and the young couples I have prepared for marriage that have gone to natural family planning workshops to implement it in their married lives and the young couples who organize and teach these. I probably should have said there are a “remnant” of Catholics who are quite comfortable with HV even though they fail to embrace all of it in their lives. That too would be anecdotal evidence from Confession. And yes in my parish it takes two priests more than one hour each Saturday to hear confessions and thus the sample survey that is far from statistical. We’ve had Presbyterians and others who are not Catholic who go through our Natural Family course not so much because of moral concerns, but because it’s natural. They don’t won’t the artificial stuff out of concern for their bodies/health.

      3. Fr. Allan – there you go again with your “alternative church” history….nothing you say is documented by serious historians. Just love your phrasing: “…because Catholics still took traditional Catholic teachings on sex and contraception seriously)”. Actually, prior to and during VII, the bishops learned, listened, and confirmed a better, enhanced view of both the human family, moral theology, and the church. And yes, this did impact the church – not necessarily in a negative way unless, like you, your view of the church of 1950 is static and unchanging.

        Was just with classmates at a charity golf tournament and we were reminded of a final quote from one of our moral theology teachers – he was dying and was asked: “What do you really think aboout Vatican II (he was a periti for the Chicago cardinal). It is said that he took a breath and said – “It is a nice idea; let’s try it”

      4. In their book The Truth about Conservative Christians 2006 Greeley and Hout point out that the “sexual revolution” was largely due to the development of convenient forms of fertility control and the greater ease of divorce. These changed behavior in all denominations, although Conservative Christians changed more slowly.

        Although most members of other denominations have come to accept premarital sex (75% vs. 50% of conservatives) all denominations reject premarital sex for 14-16 years by about 75%. In fact since 1988 the rejection of teen age premarital sex has been rising.

        Most members of all denominations reject extramarital sex (75% or more). This percentage has been rising steadily since 1972!

        Sexual attitudes have become more “liberal” in regard to homosexuality There has been a steady increase in acceptance since 1988 among Conservative Protestants as well as Mainline Protestants and Catholics (both were more accepting to begin with).

        Since most people reject extramarital sex, and few practice it, where is the “sexual revolution?” Greeley and Hout say the real sexual revolution was the rise of “regular sexual partners.” People have them before marriage and acquire them after divorce. These are similar to marriages in terms of exclusivity, and are widely accepted. They don’t make people as happy as marriages do, but they make people happier than sleeping around or not having a regular partner.

        Greeley and Hout point out that these relationships were traditionally defined as “living in sin” but there is little evidence that Conservative religious leaders preach against them. 80% of unmarried Conservative Protestants report having sexual relations in the last year. 4/5ths of these have regular partners.

        America is not a swinging society. People engage in regular sexual relationships with exclusive partners. The availability of contraceptives and divorce no longer limit these partnerships to marriage.

      5. Many religious leaders and people think beliefs and values affect behavior far more than we social scientists see in our data. More often we see the opposite relationship, people change their behavior and then more slowly change their beliefs to accord with their behavior. Or even in some cases continue to affirm their beliefs in one situation (church) while behaving differently in another situation.

        I have no doubt that many Catholics who go to confession confess things like contraception and living in sin although they know they are unlikely to change their behavior and might even say that these things are “ok” to other people in other situations.

        It really is not very different from the many religious leaders who are aware that their people do not practice what the religious leaders are supposed to preach, and so they don’t preach very much about contraception or living in sin.

        Greeley and Hout like myself see the “sexual revolution” and the “feminist revolution” as being greatly exaggerated. They did not come from major changes in beliefs and values. Rather some technological changes occurred such as contraceptives, no fault divorce, and more women in college that allowed people to change their behavior somewhat. Then a lot of overblown propaganda occurred that helped people slightly change their minds to catch up with their behavior.

      6. I suspect that most thinking Catholics who aren’t blind or living in caves suspect that Fr. McDonald portrays the current moral situation pretty accurately. Though it’s pretty obvious that those lacking his pastoral experience may have different opinions, perhaps based more on ideology than observation.

      7. Jack, you’ve written in a sociological way what I’ve been writing from anecdotal evidence. What moral teachings of the Church do most of us actually embrace completely. Let’s talk about social justice, how many of us justify our negligence towards the poor and marginalized in a variety of ways despite clear teachings from Councils, popes and bishops’ conferences. What about war and peace or life issues, abortion and capital punishment? What about anger in the home, revenge in the workplace, disrespectful language and actions towards one another, not to mention petty larceny, grand larceny and all the other things we humans are tempted to do. In all of these there are dissenting Catholics, some of whom make dissent an art form, others who have some sense of guilt and respect for the teaching authority of Scripture, Tradition and the living Magisterium of the Church, not just some bygone expression of it.

      8. Fr Allan is a fully involved pastor, so his anecdotes carry weight. However, my understanding is that dissent from HV is not, generally, an “art” of theologians or ideologists, but fundamentally a visceral reaction of “huh?” from married folk — very many of them — from the very start.

  22. The spirit of the Council was not implemented in Ireland thanks to the reactionary entrenchment of some priests. Parish councils, for example, were virtually nonexistent. I wish I could see a perfect storm in American or Irish Catholicism – all I see is a quiet drifting away.

      1. I’d say the “pedophilia”, along with the Ryan Report, have produced a perfect storm; all the more devastating in that the church business had been chronically failing before it broke.

    1. Henry – not to disparage Fr. Allan’s pastoral experience but his explanation smacks more of “ideology” than pastoral experience. Would agree completely with how Jack has expressed it.

      IMO, react to some of these “characterizations” because they are not based on good historical evidence; they reflect a narrow vision of the church; and feels like they miss the point of Vatican II’s direction and ecclesiology. My issue is that the whole focus on things like EF; etc.; “orthodoxy”, result in a church that excludes in defining itself rather than enfleshing the Good Samaritan that church and world impact and influence and change each other. What you call drifting away is a lack of leadership to embrace the challenges and realize that only by embracing the world (secularism) can one suffer and convert. Constructing and withdrawing to your own little, secure remnant is running away from the gospel message and the direction of Vatican II.
      Henry Edwards – let’s just say that I choose to agree to disagree with your characterizations of ecclesiology, Fr. Allan’s pastoral experience as he describes it, etc.

  23. Fr. McDonald has made his opinions of the post-Conciliar Church quite clear. But these are opinions and nothing more. Many of us on this blog and elsewhere (in my experience) don’t share them.

      1. With all due respect, I would suggest that your opinions are well known to the people around you. I suspect that those who disagree with you stay away or stay silent out of politeness. As a result, what you encounter is a mirror of your own attitudes. It’s a hazard for all of us, especially on blogs.

    1. No, no, that is not the text at all — it is horrible, full of “therefores” and “deigns”. The Irish text is genuinely beautiful though perfectly literal.

      1. Placid Murray’s fustian translation has nothing to do with the 1966 translation I recommended.

    2. I have a copy of a 1965 (issued in 1964) altar missal. It is approved by the American bishops for use in the USA at that time. However, all of the quiet parts of the priest, including the Roman Canon are still in Latin and not translated officially. Everything else, including the collect, secret, post communion prayers and prefaces are in English. Maybe Ireland allowed for an English canon before the USA. However, the English version the US was allowed to use around 1967 is basically the 1970 translation we have now.

  24. I wrote to “shane” just now urging him to send the pdf to Fr Ruff — it was apparently approved for public use at the time (probably beginning in 1967) — as a seminarian at the time I must have heard the Roman Canon in English many times, but alas have no recollection of it.

      1. No, Dom Placid Murray’s translation, with its rash of “deigns,” is not what is needed; it is the 1966 translation distributed by the Irish bishops that I recommended.

    1. The five year period between 1964 and Advent of 1969 was a very unusual time and things kept coming out in bits and pieces. The 1965 missal clearly has, “and with your spirit” as well as a more literal translation of the Gloria and Credo, that change in 1969, but some of that filtered down even before 1969. The 1965 missal is the Tridentine Missal. But the order of the Mass gradually changed and not all at once even before the 1970 missal was published. I can remember be completely befuddled by the new shortened English Gloria, the change in the Credo to what we have now and the change from And with your spirit to And also with you–many Catholics (anecdotal again) were not pleased with the “dumbing down” of the English Mass which occurred in a brief four year period.

  25. If memory serves at all, I suppose the first vernacular version of the Roman Canon I’d have heard is, as Fr Allan suggests, a version of what we have now. Still the 1966 text is a valuable reference as a model of what a literal translation can be. The tin ear of the 2008-10 translation team is what I most deplore, and I fear it reflects a decline in linguistic culture in both church and society. In 1966 Irish people were exceptionally attuned to good prose, as the staple of education in English was memorization, imitation, and emulation of classic passages in English prose (Addison, Lamb, de Quincey, Burke, Newman). The 2010 translators just do not have a clue about elegant sentence structure and musical rhythm — sentences should sing, should prople one forward, should have their depths and heights, their modulations linking one to the next, and what our translators have given us instead is take-it-or-leave-it clunky crudities, leaden, dispiriting, and dead.

  26. What I just wrote is rather harsh — I should have said that the new translations are not English at all — not deserving of criticism in terms of any pretence at being English. The are gobbledygook not composed by any human beings, but assembled by distracted bureaucrats following various prescriptions, inconsistently to boot. The operation is so weird that it might invite comparison with the composition of technical manuals, but cannot be considered a serious effort to produce a text bearing a relationship to the rhythms of human speech. And that such as text is desiged to be spoken, to be spoken in the name of a praying community, to be spoken to God! — is an irony that borders on the obscene and the blasphemous. Salus animarum suprema lex. It will be our duty as bishops, priests, and laity not to use this dreck in our worship. What does not proceed from faith is sin. The conscious choice of mediocrity is sin.

  27. And this seems to be on the topic “Gained in translation”

    “To find out more, Susy Hodges spoke to Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, known as ICEL.

    . . . .

    “When asked about the feedback they has received so far from those who have seen the new missal, he replies “the reactions have been overwhelmingly positive” although he concedes “there will be a certain apprehension as we move away from something that is familiar and accept the challenge of something which in many ways is quite different.” But despite the misigivings of some faithful, Monsignor Wadsworth remains confident that when it comes to this new translation “we shall all, once we’ve got over the initial shock (of the change), come to know it and love it.””

    1. “Monsignor Wadsworth remains confident”

      Isn’t this the bureaucrat who carried out the unjust sacking of Canon Griffiths and Father Ruff?

      Oh well, a Prelate’s gotta do what a Prelate’s gotta do . . .

  28. Wadsworth – either playing a game; sticking his head in the sand; clueless; or enjoys only listening to his own fan club. Sorry, one needs to be open and objective when involved in these types of projects. Oh yeah, a process that was not open, objective, transparent, etc.

  29. Does anyone have a link to the 2008 translation that almost everyone here seems to think is practically flawless? I only have the current translation to compare with the 2010 pdf version that’s online and frankly, I think anything will be better than the current translation in use.

    1. Flawless? Are you kidding? Perhaps you meant the 1998 translation. This is available online but at an annoying site called rapidshare, and I have not been able to download it.

    2. I think Father Z publishes a daily comparison if the 2008 translation is what he refers to as the “lame duck ICEL”. Oddly enough, I find the version he prefers to be overly wordy and vague, while the lame duck ICEl is clear and pertinent.

      1. When first the 2010 leaked, Fr Z used to have an almost daily comparison of what he calls the Lame-duck ICEL and 2008 and 2010.

        As I’ve noted elsewhere, that ended pretty quickly: the sacking of Griffiths and Ruff helped, I’m sure; he probably concluded, “Better get on board with 2010 since that’s all we’re going to get, and it’s better than what we have, and if we complain too much the whole thing will be put on hold . . . ” = then there’s birds to feed, and recipes to try, and Missals to mooch . . . and the restless pushers of the DONATE button would be none too happy with too much critique of 2010 . . .

        Well, you get the idea . . . now it’s just “Lame-duck old ICEL” and what he calls the “New Corrected ICEL”, more accurately “Vox Clara’s Pell-Moroney-Ward Hatchet Job Missal.”

        Speaking of Moroney and Co (Turner, etc.): what’s the going stipend these guys pick up for doing their sales-spin tour of all the dioceses? Must be some pretty sweet pocket change!

    1. Stephen, the link still goes to the rapidfile site. It is painful waiting for the free download. Here’s another (temporary) link.

      1998 Sacramentary: download
      (The link will be up for a week or so).

  30. Why should it be surprising that there are literal translations of liturgical texts that are beautiful and prayerful? The fact that the present gang of translators have been unable to produce any is simply an indicator that they are not very literate people. The task of translation is for people who are masters of the target language, people who, dare I suggest it?, read good literature. Manifestly the producers of the new translation are not such people.

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