The new missal translation at BBC

Available only till Sunday – Catherine Pepinster of The Tablet and Martin Foster, acting secretary of the liturgy office of England and Wales, on the new missal. Go to 16:35.

16 comments

  1. I have just listened to the section about the new translation. Without being too biased, I think Catherine Pepinster’s argument seemed stronger to me.
    What struck me is that at one point when Martin Foster was asked a question he did not answer it directly.

  2. When Foster says “we’ve been working on this for thirty years” he makes it sound as if we are now getting is the fruit of what was begun thirty years ago and obscures the reality that the process was hijacked ten years ago.

    1. I’m a bit disappointed some of the more egregious examples of weird sentence construction from the missal’s Propers never entered the conversation.

  3. I was a bit disappointed that questions about the creed were reduced to a trade-off between clunkiness and closeness to the Latin. ‘We believe’ and ‘of one being’ are in the present text because of the Greek of which the Latin is itself a translation; and they seem to me theologically superior to ‘I believe’ and ‘consubstantial’. One of the most impossible catechetical tasks we have facing us is explaining that the ‘I’ in ‘I believe’ is the Church as one ecclesial person. Given the pervasive individualism in much Anglophone culture, this task seems to me hopeless: people are going to hear the shift as a challenge really to mean what we would otherwise just say. Not necessarily a bad thing–but not expressive of what the creed actually is. LA’s insistence on this point is a blatant example of verbal closeness leading to substantive infidelity.

    1. ‘We believe’ [is] in the present text because of the Greek of which the Latin is itself a translation

      But the Greek Creed used in Divine Liturgies (e.g. of John Chrys.) uses the first person singular.

    2. “LA’s insistence on this point is a blatant example of verbal closeness leading to substantive infidelity.”

      If that’s really true, then why does the Latin text of the Creed not read Credemus?

      In any case, believing is just as much individual as it is corporate. With the now defunct translation of the Creed (in the UK, at least), it is easy to distance oneself from the belief professed, precisely because of this rather anonymous “we”. We might believe this, but that doesn’t automatically imply that I do.

      Example: We Catholics believe that contraception is a moral evil. Regardless, there are plenty of Catholics who do not believe that.

      My point here is nothing at all to do with contraception: it is to do with the fact that “we”, in this sort of context, can be used in a very official kind of way, that expresses what, corporately, people believe (or, at least, should believe), without necessarily implying that the belief of individuals within that community is identical (or even similar).

      With “I believe”, the Creed becomes much more personal and intimate: I really do believe this faith that I profess, this faith that, though I am an individual, I profess together with my fellow brethren, in one body.

      I think that trying to frame the “I” as “the Church as one ecclesial person” is perhaps the wrong way of framing this. Within the liturgy, I don’t think Credo can be read as “we believe” before it is read as “I believe”. Credo, not Credemus, has to be our starting point: similar to how, in Ps. 24[25], the psalmist first speaks about himself, then in vv. 8-14, 22 applies his prayers and desires to the wider community.

      1. That is exactly why it should have been left (and I will keep saying it) in the plural. A church operates by guiding the community. It is unconscionable to try to dictate to the individual what his or her individual thoughts and feeling should be.

      2. “why does the Latin text of the Creed not read Credemus?”

        Because, among other reasons, credemus would mean “we will believe” – as opposed to credimus, “we believe”.

      3. M.H.
        A few suggestions:

        1. Do a basic course in Latin grammar.

        2. Learn to distinguish between faith and belief.

        3. Skip the opportunity to let us know that contraception is a mast you wish to nail your colours to.

        The contraception analogy is irrelevant nonsense.
        Credo in, as used in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is used in the sense of belief in, not belief that. In fact, one of the faults of the current translation of the Creed which has not been rectified in the new interlinear translation is that a correct translation should read “I/we believe in one God, in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit.” BUT “I believe one holy catholic and apostolic church etc.” (Incidentally we Catholics do not believe that contraception is a moral evil and the majority of RCs do not believe that ‘artificial’ contraception is a moral evil either.)

      4. “1. Do a basic course in Latin grammar.”

        Well, I’m sorry for making a mistake: I was in a bit of a rush, and didn’t have time to double-check my post. Thank you for your charity, though…!

        “3. Skip the opportunity to let us know that contraception is a mast you wish to nail your colours to.”

        I thought it was clear that it was an analogy. In fact, I did say that my point had nothing to do with the issue of contraception per se. I suppose it was too much to hope for that someone wouldn’t get all high and mighty about it…

        “Credo in, as used in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is used in the sense of belief in, not belief that.”

        I’m not sure I understand your point. For example, belief in God is belief that He exists. I’m not sure your division between “in” and “that” holds, really.

        (And again, the contraception analogy was just that – an analogy.)

      5. I believe in you. (faith)
        I believe that you exist. (belief)

        The former implies the latter. But not vice versa.

    3. ‘I believe’ is the creed learned for baptism. ‘We believe’ is the collective expression of the bishops at Nicea. Baptism is the consequence of hearing the Word and basis for the Eucharist, not episcopal teaching, or so I would interpret the change.

      I am not sure how this will affect the joint recitation by which the creed is given to the elect before they are baptized.

    4. Everyone seems to be forgetting that there is ONE “Credo” in the Latin text of the Missal.

      Vox Clara added three more!

      One before “And in one Lord Jesus Christ”.

      One before “And in the Holy Spirit.”

      And one before “And one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church,” which last one, by the way, is an error that Saint Thomas Aquinas devotes a whole response to in his Summa: why we do NOT say “I believe in the Church”.

      So for all the ranting and raving about how the old ICEL’s “We believe” did not FAITHFULLY translate “Credo,” we hear nothing from all the Vox Clara cheerleaders on this blog – or a word from Fr Z or Helen Hull Hitchcock over at Adoremus on the infidelity of the new Vox Clara-Pell-Moroney-Ward Missal.

      They can’t defend the indefensible, and the “liberty” their heroes at Vox Clara took with the Latin doesn’t support their “at last a faithful translation” mantra. What a sad lack of honesty.

      1. I suppose I would count as someone who is a “cheerleader” for the new translation… However, I have said on many occasions in comments on this site that the new translation is not perfect and that yes, 2008 would have been better to have. I’m not that happy with the insertion of “I believe” three more times in the new translation – but on the whole, I consider it a vast improvement on 1973/1998.

        With that said… it is still true to say that “we believe” is not an accurate translation of Credo, a verb in the first person singular.

        “They can’t defend the indefensible, and the “liberty” their heroes at Vox Clara took with the Latin doesn’t support their “at last a faithful translation” mantra. What a sad lack of honesty.”

        Lack of honesty? I haven’t seen anyone going round pretending that the translation is perfect, or “defending the indefensible”; I think we can all be honest about the flaws and mistranslations that still exist. But, on the whole, the new translation is, I think, faithful to the Latin – certainly a lot more so than 1973/1998.

      2. You haven’t noticed a deafening silence on this “Credo” business from the sources I’ve mentioned? Come on.

        And that old “at least it’s better” … what happened to the Holy See’s “in the most exact manner” (LA, 51)? Aren’t you scandalized and appalled that, apparently Pell and Moroney and whoever else made the final changes – some of them mistranslations, some of them grammatical embarrassments, all of them violations of LA – betrayed the Holy See’s confidence? Aren’t you amazed that the Congregation for Divine Worship was either too incompetent, too lazy, or too arrogant to heed the specific warnings (even of heresy) in the “Areas of Difficulty” (the understatedly respectful title given) urgently sent them last Summer/Fall when there was plenty of time to correct the hundreds of errors and “infelicities”?

        The old priest used to say the difference between Saints and the rest of us is that where the Saints say “If only …” the rest of us settle for “at least …”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *