Criticism of the new translation

Criticism of the new missal translation from these two women:

Our Rita Ferrone in The Washington Post, “Who benefits from new Mass translation?”:

The bishops had approved an earlier version, in 1998, which was much more readable. But Rome rejected the 1998 translation, and insisted on beginning the whole process over again, from scratch. What we have as a result is far more rigidly faithful to the Latin, and much less beautiful as English prose.

And Regina Brett in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, New missal an uncomfortable fit for many Catholics:

It sounds like Mass confusion. We wait 41 years for progress, and the Church takes a giant step backward.

73 comments

  1. No surprise that Rita doesn’t bother to give her readers the text whence the prayer she’s talking about (advent preface 1) is translated. As the critics always do, she practically begs readers to judge the two prayers as composition . But the question is not which text is better, but which is a more faithful translation of “Qui, primo advéntu in humilitáte carnis assúmptae, dispositiónis antíquae munus implévit, nobísque salútis perpétuae trámitem reserávit: ut, cum secúndo vénerit in suae glória maiestátis, manifésto demum múnere capiámus, quod vigilántes nunc audémus exspectáre promíssum.” It’s not hard to see why the critics seek an alternative battleground; it’s not clear that they prevail on the argument they prefer, but they certainly can’t win on the argument that’s relevant.

    And in any event, even if the question was composition, our liturgy should not be limited by Rita’s preferences and vocabulary; sad that “a native English speaker with a theological degree, who has studied the liturgy for thirty years” doesn’t realize how awkwardly she has hoisted herself by her own petard.

    Who benefits? Actually, we all do.

    1. But the question is not which text is better, but which is a more faithful translation of “Qui, primo advéntu. . .” It’s not hard to see why the critics seek an alternative battleground; it’s not clear that they prevail on the argument they prefer, but they certainly can’t win on the argument that’s relevant.

      This criticism completely begs the question of which argument is relevant, not to mention what one means by “faithful.” Why shouldn’t the relevant question be which is the better text? Why should formal equivalence be the criterion of fidelity in translation? I guess the response to both questions is “because Liturgiam authenticam says so, though I’d like to think a better answer could be had than that.

      1. Because we are translating a text not composing one. If we can’t or won’t do that, we should stick with the Latin, because the alternative–the disintegration of the Roman Rite into as many roughly-similar-but-different texts as there are languages–is quite obviously unacceptable. The unity of the rite would evaporate, and that was without any doubt not what the Council intended or what anyone (or rather, any Catholic) should want.

        If a faithful translation is ugly, celebrate in latin or seek to change the underlying prayer. Don’t just distort it through mistranslation!

      2. RF – honestly lays out the ’73 and follows it up with the new; then assumes, voila, that everyone, like she, will quite naturally see how silly is the new and how normative is the old. Actually, I have heaped excoriation upon the ’73 so often that I have come to feel sorry for it, and, even, to appreciate it on its own merits. But!: this does not blind me to its utter inadequacy as a representation of its Latin progenitor and of the Roman rite. Further: in appreciating it somewhat, I do not at all apprehend the new to be nearly as awful as she would suggest. To be honest, though even I could and would perhaps improve upon the new here and there, I (and countless others) do not find it the negative experience which she would make it out to be. Perhaps we can all recognise that when something with which we strongly identify is changed, we have not a clear and unbiased attitude to what has taken its place.

        FB -perhaps formal equivalency is not the only solution. Still, a very undynamic equivalency has proven not to be the primrose path. What we need, maybe, is a poetic genius who is steeped in tradition and Latin scholarship, but who also has a gift for the very finest of modern speech and an eye to the future with a language meant to be sung.

        Lastly – I fail to see why so many here champion the 1998. It is hardly more than a crude doctoring up of the ’73, one which goes out of its way with the silliest of constructions to avoid pronouns that might be offensive to a radical feminist. Gloria is not repaired – it is even worse. Ditto Sanctus and the prayers and collects.

      3. It should be noted that the Byzantine Rite does not have any problems with having local translations of their texts — every national grouping using that Rite, and often each Bishop within a grouping can (and often does) approve a text to be used in their jurisdiction. This in practice does not exclude the use of a translation from another jurisdiction, if the book of the local jurisdiction is not ‘at hand/available’ for a particular celebration of the Divine Liturgy, even for an extended period of time. There are many ‘interesting local variants’ in these translations. [The insistence in the West of ‘exact sameness’ of texts comes into force with the invention of printing — now photocopying (?) — the ‘orthodoxy’ of the theology in the translations is not usually questioned. In any case that is seen as part of the ‘oversight’ of the ‘overseer of the diocese/the local Bishop’.]

      4. Yes, Simon. When the Latin text was first written, Jesus appeared before a group of people and said “Copy these words that I will now give to you for your liturgy, never to be changed or veered from in any way, for all eternity.”

      5. Sean, you’re confusing the issue of the missal and its composition, with the issue of translating the missal. I don’t think many people would agree with Gamber that the Holy See lacks the authority to change the liturgy. But I don’t think many people would find attractive the principle that you’re really getting at: That those charged with translating the missal have the authority to make up a new liturgy that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the Mass approved by the Holy See.

    2. Why does Father Ruff even allow these regressive, reactionary comments on his blog? What is the benefit to allowing people to spread administration propaganda here? People like this need to be silenced, just like they are trying to silence the voices of people like Rita.

      1. Sandi,

        I think Fr. Anthony has been very generous in allowing people with opinions from all sides (I hate that word) to freely express their opinions.

        When a blog moderator eliminates postings simply because they express a difference from the moderators’s opinion, even if those postings have a negative tone, the blog stops being a discussion and becomes a mutual admiration group.

    3. Just wondering, Mr Dodd whether you have any familiarity with a second or third language and if you have, whether you have ever translated in either direction.

      One of the golden rules of translation is that languages have different syntax structures – even cognate languages. Retaining or reproducing the syntax structure of the source language in the language of destination is usually the kind of error which beginners students make. And here we have this phenomenon, foisted upon us and celebrated, as if it deserved it. As another comment put it “delusional.”

      1. Exactly. For example, if I were to translate Rilke from German into English following the principles set out in LA, the result would hardly be poetry, and would not sound at all like Rilke–more like Yoda.

  2. Well said, both Rita and Regina! I wish both of you could have been among the “thousands” of consultants who contributed to the work of Vox Clara. Oh but I guess that would assume that women were permitted to contribute. It would be hard to imagine any woman buying into LA’ and RT’s causual and wholesale dismissal of gender inclusive language.

    With regard to the “men” who are responsbile for the VC2010 text; I wonder what their god is like?

    1. Ditto on congrats to the two ladies. Their views express what many feel, and I’m sure what many oppose. I just wonder which groups is bigger, and whether it will ultimately matter.

    2. Regina gets at the heart of the problem:

      Some say it sounds richer and more reverent, more poetic and sacred, that it elevates the language to a noble tone. But does it take us closer to experiencing God?

      Monsignor C. Eugene Morris, director of Sacred Liturgy for the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, told USA Today: “God merits elegant language, not ‘Hey, God, it’s me.’ “

      That depends on what kind of God you believe in.
      It also depends on where you land in life.

      “Hey, God, it’s me,” is closer to how most people pray when they’ve lost their jobs, their spouses, their health. They don’t look for lofty words; they just open their hearts and cry in whatever words come out, and God listens.

      When I was a child, my best friend and I built play altars and played “priest and altar boy” as we learned our Latin for being servers.

      Although I knew I could not say Mass, I was convinced that there must be some way that I could pray more worthily that would bring me closer to God. So I began to compose “ceremonies” from existing prayers. It is interesting that many of those (Magnificat, TeDeum, etc) were from the Divine Office though I did not know anything about it. One day looking for more prayers for my “ceremonies” I came across the Short Breviary. Reading the introduction I realized I had found what I wanted and could cease reinventing the Divine Office.

      As a senior in high school, I took the first money that I ever earned, a prize in a regional science fair, and bought a gold bound copy of the four volume Divine Office in English. The language of those volumes was archaic “thou” etc. but I always prayed my own natural English, “you” etc.

      Finding God in ritual, Scripture, and the traditional prayers of the Church was very natural, but not in archaic English and Latin sentence structures.

      In essentials unity; let’s not impose “thou” and “Hey, God” upon one another.

  3. Father Jim, that’s quite a paternal attitude you have–“It would be hard to imagine any woman buying into LA’ and RT’s causual and wholesale dismissal of gender inclusive language.” Some don’t, some do. Try talking to some actual women, including some of the many who don’t share Rita and Regina’s liberalism.

    Forgive me, but it’s hard to escape the sense that the criticism and carping reflects less a mature judgment on the merits than the carping of a few liturgists who are watching their life’s work undone as increasingly orthodox generations repudiate the liturgical errors of the postconciliar era. I don’t believe in karma, but perhaps now, with a little empathy and some encouragement, those folks will now come to understand just a little of the hurt that they caused so many others in the last five decades?

    1. Really? Where are these hoards of increasingly orthodox generations? Have you studied the demographics of the Catholic Church in the U.S. over the past forty years? The pope’s wish for a smaller, purer church is coming true faster than could have been imagined.

      Last one out, turn off the lights.

      1. OK, Jeffrey, the Pope wants a larger, purer church. He can definitely control whether it’s, in his view, purer. Whether it becomes larger is something that he has no direct control over.

        We’ll have to wait and see whether the purification brings more people in or drives more people away.

      2. I think the Pope wants what all Christians should want (and, if I may be so bold, what God wants): a holier Church. Otherwise, the “universal call to holiness” is reduced to a buzzword that looks good on banners.*

        I am perturbed and distressed by the amount of division the implementation of the new translation has caused in the Church. PrayTell is a microcosm of this, I am sure, and that distresses me even more because of the vitriol, stinging sarcasm, hurling of insults, bullying, and all-around bad manners of most of the people commenting. Surely this cannot be what God desires for His Church, particularly concerning her liturgical life.

        I think I can understand the anger of people on all sides (pace Chris) of the translation issue. But from the looks of things here, it’s as if we are unable to make a point, positive or negative, without finding at least one person to demean in doing so. I am rather embarrassed by the conduct of many of those who support the new translation: it certainly would not win me over if I felt the opposite way.

        So this will be my last comment, for all of Advent, I think.

        * I would personally recommend (re-)reading Lumen Gentium 39-42, if not the whole darn thing.

    1. Old territory. Rita replied quite rightly that the ICEL1974 was hardly a mistranslation. Nor for that matter was the ICEL1998. And the argument about the VC2010 is not that it is technically a mistranslation but that is is a pastoral disaster.

      1. Let’s suppose for sake of argument that ICEL1974 was a valid translation. What has been its effect? What have been the prevailing trends in “the demographics of the Catholic Church in the U.S. over the past forty years?” It seems to me that the trend goes like this: The faithful have left by the millions. Some have left externally, others have left internally while lacking the self-awareness to recognize that they’re out the door. “Pastoral disaster”? Yes, that’s one way to put the experience of the postconciliar Church. It’s hard to see how a translation that finally reflects what the ritus modernus (to use Gamber’s preferred term; thinking about it, it seems wrong to refer to the “novus ordo” when talking about the preface and propers) actually says could do worse. And again, if it’s awkward, celebrate in latin, which is my preferred option in any event. There’s no good reason why the ordinary should ever be recited in English; the translation only exists for those who insist on living in the past.

        (That last line’s somewhat tongue in cheek–see, it doesn’t feel so nice being on the receiving end, hmm?)

      2. No, Simon, it is a pastoral disaster as Jim says. Enjoy all the empty churches that you and your friends have helped create. (If you need us for anything, we’ll all be down at the Congregation or Lutheran church, worshiping in relevant, pronounceable language that is not the spawn of a malevolent hierarchy!)

      3. The Latin itself is often ‘awkward’ both in vocabulary and grammar. It comes from a rather lengthy span of time in the use and abuse of the Latin language, and also suffers from ‘inserted glosses’ and scribal errors which were incorporated in the first printed editions. That is part of what lies behind the ‘translations questions’. It is just that being in Latin — few, if any, people noticed the now obvious ‘problems’.

      4. Sandi, anyone who would “leave the Church” over this already left the Church in their hearts a long time ago. If you regard the Catholic and Lutheran Churches as fungible, to be chosen between based on your liturgical preferences, if you regard the Church as a “malevolent hierarchy,” you have already left in everything but body.

      5. Mr Dodd, Sandi is not talking about leaving the church. She is simply speaking about reducing full communion with the RCC.

    2. Wrong comparison. The benchmark should not be the 1974 translation, but the improved translation that should have been prepared instead, one that speaks using principles of English poetry and rhetoric, and not the compulsive-neurotic garble of Latin cognates (“chalice” instead of “cup”, for example) and syntax we have now.

    3. To blame the English language Mass for the fall in attendance ignores that Mass attendance has fallen in countries using other translations as well. The argument could be made that the change from Latin into any other language is the cause for the fall-off. However, I believe that what we are seeing is the result not of disgust with the vernacular, but with disgust with the hierarchy. For example, it is well documented that the words of Humanae Vitae were inspired more by a desire to maintain the illusion of papal infallibility in all things than by the actual morality of contraception. We have a papacy that rewards those who hid child molesters while punishing those who support woman’s ordination. In our parishes, we have too many priests who make up rules to suit themselves without consulting with the people of the parish.
      If anything, I submit that for many, it is because they understand and respect the words of the Mass they can no longer attend Mass.

  4. Remember that the 1998 translation was based on the concept of dynamic equivalence which allowed for paraphrasing and Lumen Gentium introduced the concept of formal equivalance which calls for the faithful translation of the Latin without any paraphrasing allowed. Also -since I live in Cleveland- I’m familiar with Regina Brett- and she makes one factual error- going 41 years backward- guess what? What was true doctrine and practice in Pre-Vatican II times is still true today. I’m referring to what was true about the Roman Rite prior to Vatican II is still true today. Our associate pastor talked about the concept of constancy in relation to the liturgy- the liturgy is an example of what can be changed -because liturgy is a matter of practice- and the sacraments and other doctrines cannot be changed that is part of the faith the GIRM refers to in the section of the Introduction ‘ A witness to unbroken Tradition.” There are two contexts of the word tradition.Tradition with a capital T which refers to the doctrine of the church and a lower case t which refers to the customs and practices of the Church. The customs and practices CAN be changed, and that includes the words, gestures and postures of the Mass, but the theology of the Body and the other doctrines contained in the Mass cannot be changed. My associate pastor who leads our catechism group pointed that out on a few occasions.

  5. Simon Dodd :

    Let’s suppose for sake of argument that ICEL1974 was a valid translation. What has been its effect? What have been the prevailing trends in “the demographics of the Catholic Church in the U.S. over the past forty years?” It seems to me that the trend goes like this: The faithful have left by the millions. Some have left externally, others have left internally while lacking the self-awareness to recognize that they’re out the door. “Pastoral disaster”? Yes, that’s one way to put the experience of the postconciliar Church. It’s hard to see how a translation that finally reflects what the ritus modernus (to use Gamber’s preferred term; thinking about it, it seems wrong to refer to the “novus ordo” when talking about the preface and propers) actually says could do worse. And again, if it’s awkward, celebrate in latin, which is my preferred option in any event. There’s no good reason why the ordinary should ever be recited in English; the translation only exists for those who insist on living in the past.
    (That last line’s somewhat tongue in cheek–see, it doesn’t feel so nice being on the receiving end, hmm?)

    So you flat out make this into a competition. The ol traditionalists win this round eh? Puhlease. And to blame the decline in attendance at Mass on the translation? HA! Keep grasping at those straws though.

    1. No Sean, that’s not the case at all. I was trying to help those who bewail these changes see why the sympathy they get is rather muted.

      “You” (if I may make you the figurehead for the modernist movement for rhetorical purposes) are bewailing the loss of an ugly and incorrect pseudo-translation that you imposed on us for a few decades, complaining that it was “imposed” in a top-down process. But when you imposed the novus ordo and ICEL1973 on the Church in a top-down process (a point conveniently forgotten), you caused incalculable hurt to Catholics around the world, and when they bewailed the loss of the Mass as it had been celebrated not only in their lives, but in the lives of every generation for centuries, did they receive sympathy from the reformers? They did not. They were treated like pariahs and told to get with the times. You had no sympathy at all when your top-down imposition was causing hurt and scandal, and now… And now…

      First they came for the traditionalists, Sean, and you cheered them on. And now that change has come that you don’t like, you ask for the sympathy you refused to give others. What would Christ say about that? You did unto others, Sean, and it’s the refusal of the critics to recognize that fact, to recognize how well their complaints today apply to their own imposition of the novus ordo, that gives the debate its surreality.

      If we could fix the damage that was done without those who did the damage getting their feelings hurt, that would be great. That that is not possible is not a commentary on those who are trying to fix things, but on the scale of the task created by those who did the damage.

      You know, the Soviets demolished the Cathedral of Christ our Savior. For years the site housed a swimming pool; imagine the hurt and upset among swimmers, the lack of pastoral care for those who were used to the pool, shown by the decision to rebuild the Cathedral! What were those rebuilders thinking?

  6. Lots of rage against Rita and Regina because they got their message into the mainstream media.

    The horrible composition of the translation is shown even in the use of “so”:

    and SO fulfilled the design you formed long ago,

    and opened for us the way to eternal salvation,

    SO that when he comes again in glory and majesty

    and all is at last made manifest,

    we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise

    in which we now dare to hope.

    1. JO’L –
      Soooo??? as thus??? What’s so amiss with so?
      Your quotations above make perfect sense:
      so, thank you for sharing them and brightening our day!

      1. I find a stylistic infelicity — of course literal translationists care nothing for style — probably think it’s not a manly concept.

  7. Interesting that people who probably have no knowledge of Latin tell us that translations are a mere concession to second-class Catholics who cannot pray in Latin (with the implication that the more meaningless the translation is the more they will be forced to go back to Latin).

  8. Joe O’Leary :
    I find a stylistic infelicity — of course literal translationists care nothing for style — probably think it’s not a manly concept.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    JO’L –
    To what stylistic infelicity do you refer?? (I hope that that word ‘infelicity’ isn’t in the new translation – I can just imagine the negative clamour it would cause from people who would pretend that they didn’t know what it meant.) And, do, in fact, literal translationists care nothing for style? Surely this is an error in judgment? Style is indeed a manly concept and is pertinent whether one’s translation preferences are equivalent, formal, literal, or… Basic, for me, is an equal concern for the style, heft, culture, idiom and poetic genie of the original to be put into an appropriate and highly literate English idiom. All the named factors (and there could be more) are necessary for a real, genuine, translation to have been made. Failing this, the real Frenchness or Latinness have not been communicated – these things are part and parcel of the translation. Dynamic equivalency doesn’t begin to do this.
    Our new translation tries and gets a portion of laud for that – but, unfortunately it isn’t masterful, so has a portion of laud subtracted. But equivalency? It gets no portion at all of laud.

    1. Perhaps your incorrect use, M. J. O. of the word “fulsome” is an example of an infelicity and at the same time an example of the false friend scenario when translating, to which Vox clara is prone.

      1. MB – what a good friend you are! For missing the boat on ‘fulsome’ I deserve a little ribbing. It’s such a nice word and ought to mean what I meant it to mean. I think I knew better but used it anyway. A nice day to you!

  9. A lot of this stems from the belief that the original Latin text is something that we should never veer from.

    Come on, people. Those words (the majority of them) are something that were composed by people. I’m not saying that they don’t reflect the truth, but they are still words that people put together by putting ink to paper. They’re not divine dictation.

    The fact they were used for thousands of years does not mean that they are inalterable. Polygamy and slavery were also practiced for thousands of years, but I don’t see the church promoting those practices.

  10. A lot of this stems from the belief that the original Latin missal text is something that we should never ever veer from.

    Come on, people. The words of the missal, in Latin, (the majority of them) are something that were composed by people. Even the direct quotations cannot be absolutely verified as being the exact verbatim words that came out of people’s mouths. Nobody was at the Last Supper with a recording device so we can’t say whether Jesus said “Do this in memory of me.” or “Do this in my memory”, not to mention the fact that he wouldn’t have said it English or Latin. Languages don’t translate literally, all of the time.

    I’m not saying that the Latin missal doesn’t reflect true meaning of Jesus’ message, but the words of the liturgy are still words that people put together by putting ink to paper. They’re not divine dictation.

    The fact they were used for thousands of years does not mean that they are inalterable. Polygamy and slavery were also practiced by humans for thousands of years, but I don’t see the church promoting those practices.

    Ultimately, I wonder what the net change will be in the number of regular churchgoers will be. Some may appreciate a smaller number of whom they view as true Catholics. Others weep at their alienation. Of course, Rome will claim that they’re alienating themselves. That only shows how detached the hierarchy is from the people in the pews.

    To some, the differences are so small, and to others they make all the difference in the world.

  11. To quote Simon:

    And again, if it’s awkward, celebrate in latin, which is my preferred option in any event. There’s no good reason why the ordinary should ever be recited in English; the translation only exists for those who insist on living in the past.
    (That last line’s somewhat tongue in cheek–see, it doesn’t feel so nice being on the receiving end, hmm?)

    Nice to know that YOU have an option.

    And it sounds like you’re out for a little revenge, with your last sentence.

  12. “Criticism of the new missal translation from these two women:”

    And…two women voice their opinion against the new MIssal. And the sun came up this morning. Water is wet.
    Here’s hoping that tomorrow’s post will be.
    “Praise for the new missal…”

  13. Rita and Regina, it seems that the ones who disagree with you are making the most noise on this topic. I wish to chime in here to say that I think you 2 wrote masterful articles! Those who cannot or will not see it are just burying their heads in the sand (in the Latin??) We are an English speaking people. What has been given to us may be “English” words but it is in no way understandable as English, particularly as it whizzes by us in the proclaimed word!
    It may make some sense if we were to see the written text and have a chance to look up word meanings and diagram each sentence, thus parsing out it’s meaning. But the assembly does not have that option at Mass.

    1. What I don’t see is the logic from which their side of the argument flows. Over the last 41 years, the language of the Mass became more and more casual, so much so that there was little difference between Mass and lunch-room discussions. Meanwhile, over these last 41 years, while the language of the Mass became more and more casual, Mass attendance declines and the second leading body of believers becomes those who left the Catholic Church, as so many against the new Missal point out.
      Yet the New Missal is to be blamed for the carnage of the last 41 years?!?!?

      1. Over the last 41 years, the language of the Mass became more and more casual, so much so that there was little difference between Mass and lunch-room discussions.
        ———————————————–

        With the 1973 missal in place all these years, how has it changed to the point it is “more casual”?

      2. Dunstan, I am speaking only from my experience and observation. Clown, dance and Halloween Masses, plus the constant ad-libbing, to include gender-neutral language (such as, “In the name of the Creator, Redeemer and the Sanctifier”) – IMO, all because there was little difference between the language of worship and everyday language.
        I hold that the Mass is to be an encounter different than the every-day encounter with God (my prayer time, my interaction with others, etc…).
        And again, the exodus from the Church has occurred during the time before this new Missal. Is there no correlation?

    2. I don’t get it. I have no special training and yet I understand the Mass and new translation. The few words I did not know I looked up in all about 5 minutes. Done.

  14. Apparently many readers of this blog think that its editor should behave as does the roman curia, squashing any disagreements and lashing out at those who propose alternative possibilities. True change in the church has never been effected because of official requirements, but because ordinary people have done what is necessary. The approvals come after the changes. Until 1571 (the Missal of Pius V) language for the celebration of the eucharist was always determined by what would make most clear to the faithful what was taking place in the liturgical actions. Until this latest translation, Rome would review the texts to ensure they were theologically proper, and then confirm what the local leaders had prepared. This 2011 translation is the first time in the history of the church that the Curial offices in Rome prepared the texts that are required for use in other juristictions. Some faithfulness to the traditions of the church that is! Jack

    1. Actually- ICEL or other groups of Bishops of other language traditions prepared the texts to be submitted to the bishops conferences for approval who reworked the tradition of the local venacular and then it is brought to a vote by the full body for final approval after which it is submitted to Rome for final approval. And what needs to be remembered is that all jurisdictions are members of the universal Roman Catholic Church, therefore all Mass settings must be faithful to the Roman Rite, even though the traditions(small t, customs) of that jurisdiction are different than of that in Rome. The Tradition(capital T) in reference to the hierarchy of the Church is settled doctrine therefore it is not debatable.

  15. Sean Parker :

    OK, Jeffrey, the Pope wants a larger, purer church. He can definitely control whether it’s, in his view, purer. Whether it becomes larger is something that he has no direct control over.
    We’ll have to wait and see whether the purification brings more people in or drives more people away.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

  16. Just scrap this creature of Vox Clara and either stick with the 1973 missal, or find a suitable substitute. If it’s lofty language your looking for, you might as well go full hog and adopt the Douai/Rheims translation of the TLM Mass. It should fit your bill nicely.

    It also sends a message to Rome load and clear that not everyone is jumping ship for a leaner, smaller, and more docile “orthodox” Church.

    1. And the message is also being sent that not everyone is fighting for a looser, democratic, believe-what-you-want, there-is-no-sin-or-hell, everyone-is-saved “liberal” Church.

    2. By linking docility with obedience, you jettison humility, a virtue I see precious little of in these parts. (And I include myself in that.)

      Jeffrey is, regrettably, right in what he says above. Is it really that impossible for us to use the English translation that the Church asks us to, regardless of how we feel about it one way or the other?

      If this is the sort of division which is sowed through the use of the vernacular, perhaps it would be best if we went back to just using Latin…

  17. I’d like to echo Linda’s praise (#44) for the authors of these two articles. Both are well-reasoned and written with an eye for pastoral reality.

    How many of the original Latin texts of the Missal were composed by women, or edited by women at any stage of these texts’ evolution? Some? A few? None at all?
    [irony alert here…]

  18. Lovely articles, both, but I have to comment on Rita’s citation of “became incarnate” as a more obtuse rendering of “was born.” This is one of the few places where I believe the translators got it right, since Jesus became incarnate 9-ish months before he was born, and it is the Incarnation that is the true miracle, not so much the birth.

    1. ” it is the Incarnation that is the true miracle, not so much the birth”

      Even the Church places a greater emphasis on December 25 than March 25!

      1. Actually- March 25 should get as much emphasis since that falls within the season of Lent which is part of the Incarnation- the being betrayed, suffering, dying on the cross for our sins.

  19. Jon-Paul – can agree with your point but there are at least other considerations:
    – using “born” is simpler and more direct in english; it flows in the creed. Became incarnate disrupts the flow
    – would also suggest that folks understand what “born” means in this context; inserting “became incarnate” and your explanation is not necessary in ritual
    – your statement…..”incarnation is the true miracle, not so much the birth”….really, not sure that many parents would sympathize with this comment and not sure it even makes sense theologically; much less liturgically.

    Should we change the focus of Christmas and make the Annunciation our new Incarnational Solemnity?

    This is where, IMO, things start to get silly.

  20. Comments from a pastor in the St. Louis Archdiocese:

    “And with your spirit.
    It is going OK………………….those using the cheat sheets seems to be winning the day slowly but surely.
    I continue to practice the prayers every day. It seems necessary to sound like you know what you are praying for.

    Have heard some amusing stories….all the way from made up explanations about why we are doing it…to parishes that have done no prep of their folks………..to pastors who are not doing the new prayers at all.
    This year should be a great liturgical and rubrical adventure.”

  21. Gregory Merklin :

    Exactly. For example, if I were to translate Rilke from German into English following the principles set out in LA, the result would hardly be poetry, and would not sound at all like Rilke–more like Yoda.

    My associate pastor made a remark in his presentation on the new missal that he spent his diaconate at two parishes in Kenya- and he had problems teaching them that in receiving Communion- we give thanks and it is a sacrament of thanksgving-the Kenyan language had no word for thanks- all they say is “it is good”. So you can imagine the problems they would have if they didn’t have their own Rite of the Catholic Church, and they’d have to adhere to the new translation principles. I believe, I’m not sure, that the German language has it’s roots from Latin, so if that’s the case, there should be no problems with the traslation of their new missal to be more faithful to the Latin.

      1. Ok- that’s why I said ” I believe, I’M NOT SURE, that German has its roots from Latin. I’m not sure means I could be wrong, don’t hold me to it. Since German does not have Latin roots,that means they have a challenge when drafting/implementating the new missal like any other non-Latin based foriegn languages. BTW-AWR- where did the German Language orignate????

      2. Tim,

        If you don’t know basic things like this, what are you doing throwing your opinions into this debate?

      3. Tim also thinks that Lumen Gentium introduced a new theory of translation (see comment #33 above).

      4. Simon,

        I’m afraid I didn’t see the Phil Mathias post you are referencing, and have not gone back to look. I don’t have the time to read absolutely everything that is posted here.

  22. Re: Rita’s article – well said! For those of us who do not have a degree, or are gifted to write books or articles, how are we suppose to understand what is being prayed? I won’t…and neither will my fellow Catholics.

  23. Re: Rita’s claim not to understand a prayer that she had probably studied in depth:

    I read that prayer aloud to my 12-year-old son and asked if he understood it. He thought I must be joking, because he found it “pretty easy.”

    Moral: people who complain about the supposedly difficulty of following along are saying more about themselves than about the prayer itself. Either that or they’re putting it on.

  24. Rita said it beautifully. It’s distressing what has been done to the liturgy,
    and then the faithful are expected to choke it down, and ask for second helpings. I hope to hear more from Rita in the near future.

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