You will know of Eamon Duffy as the brilliant historian who overturned received notions of the English Reformation and showed how deeply the Catholic piety of the populace was disrespected by the reformers. And, more important to the purpose of this blog, as the relentless critic of ICEL translators dumbing-down and distorting the sense of Latin liturgical texts. His “The Theological Implications of Translation” in 2000 (in Stratford Caldecott, Beyond the Prosaic) was a tour-de-force assertion of the need for accurate and beautiful and memorable English translations.
And then came the new ICEL, and Vox Clara, and the 2011 missal.
Duffy’s appraisal of the new missal? His recent Table article “Style is Not Enough” is mostly about how great Pope Francis’s change in style is, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll get the needed change in church structure. Which would affect how translations get approved. In Duffy’s words:
In any case, it is not self-evident that Francis actually wants a radically decentralized papacy. Take the single issue of the appointment of bishops. Since the late nineteenth century, almost all bishops have been appointed by the Vatican. One direct consequence has been the internalized subjugation, or, if you prefer, the disabling deference of the world’s bishops to managerial papacy. Cardinal Schönborn’s admission of the pusilanimity of the Austrian episcopate is a case in point, as is the craven acquiescence of the English-speaking conferences in the ghastly translation of the Missal which now afflicts us.