John Allen reports from the Synod on Evangelization today that Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, Indonesia made a plea for flexibility in liturgical translations.
“When the priest addresses the people, ‘Dominus vobiscum‘, the people are to reply, ‘Et cum spiritu tuo‘,” he said. (In English, that’s “the Lord be with you,” followed by “and with your spirit” in the new translation.) Yet, Suharyo said, the word “spirit” as translated into his local language comes out as “roh,” which often connotes an evil spirit.
Thus his punch line: A literal translation of “ ‘et cum spiritu tuo‘ means some communities find themselves saying, ‘With your evil spirit!’ ”
“My wish — I hope that I am not alone — is that the translation of liturgical texts ought not always to be done literally, rather seriously take into account the diversity of the cultural background,” he said. “Could the principle of subsidiarity be applied in the task of translation and even in other areas of the life of the local church?”
Subsidiarity, Suharyo said, is “the spirit of Vatican II.”
“In this way, the local church will become more communicative and expressive,” he said, “and as a result the faith of the people will be more energized and more relevant to their Catholic lives and engagement both in the Church and in the world.”
h/t Ann Olivier