Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jesuit Reflects On The New Mass Translation

On November 17 the USCCB approved the final segments of a new English version of the Roman Missal. A few have already criticized the Vox Clara translation as “slavishly literal” (here) and disrespectful of the “natural rhythm and cadences of the English language” (here). On purely grammatical and stylistic grounds, I am actually inclined to agree with these criticisms. However, a recent rereading of Liturgical Latin, Christine Mohrmann’s slim classic from 1957, has reminded me that slavish literalism and barbarous constructions have always been a hallmark of Christian liturgical language.

Link (here) to Jesuit Scholastic Aaron Pidel's in depth analysis.
Photo is of Christine Mohrmann.


Suz said...

"The vast majority of God's people in the assembly are not familiar with words of the new missal like 'ineffable,' 'consubstantial,' 'incarnate,' 'inviolate,' 'oblation,' 'ignominy,' 'precursor,' 'suffused' and 'unvanquished.' The vocabulary is not readily understandable by the average Catholic," Trautman said.

...ummm ... These are not hard words. A vocabulary list in the bulletin for a few months will likely be all the education necessary to make this language readily understandable to the average Catholic.

Anonymous said...

When you think of the unfamiliarity of English in the liturgy when the Mass was translated from Latin in the Sixties, the forthcoming translation will be small beer. And think, too, of the extraordinary language of Catholic hymnody which people sang without batting an eyelid from the nineteenth century onwards. It was full of flowery words that had little to do with common speech but most people came to understand and enjoy them.