Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jesuit Lost, In Translation

Pope John Paul II announced the new missal in 2000 and it was first published in Latin in 2002. It's the first significant change in the English translation since the Mass was first celebrated in English after Vatican II in the 1960s, said the Rev. Thomas Reese of the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. "It will impact every Catholic in every parish because they will have to learn new responses in place of the ones they have been using since Vatican II," Reese said. "I believe that the new translations are a step backwards and confusing to the people in the pews." 
Link (here) to read the full article at The Washington Post


Anthony Emmel said...


Respectfully to the good father, but what could possibly be confusing? The changes are minimal at worst and follow the directives of the Holy See TO WHICH ALL CATHOLICS OWE OBEDIENCE.

The changes are necessary to bring the English liturgy in line with official Catholic doctrine and teaching, that is, the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church.

Rob Carter said...

The new translations are are more accurate rendering of what the Latin text actually says.


P: Dominus vobiscum.
R: Et cum spiritu tuo.

Old ICEL translation:
P: The Lord is with you.
R: And also with you.

Revised ICEL translation:
P: The Lord is with you.
R: And with your spirit.

You don't have to be a Latin scholar to realize the "spiritu" refers to "spirit", language that is missing in the "Old" translation.

Catholics have a right, yes a right, to a correct English translation of the Latin text.

I would also note the ICEL entirely omitted the "apis mater" section of the Exultet.

This is a beautiful stanza that reads: "Alitur enim liquántibus ceris, quas in substántiam pretiósæ huius lámpadis apis mater edúxit."

Translation: For it is fed by the melting wax, which the mother bee brought forth to make this precious candle.

ICEL simply omitted the text. It is not therefore, a translation, but rather an interpretation on the text that is unfaithful to the original.

Fr. Reese frets about complex words like "consubstantial," "inviolate," "oblation," "ignominy" and "suffused". A great teaching order like the Society of Jesus should not fret over believers learning some new vocabulary.

TonyD said...

OK. I admit that I had to look these up using Google:

Describes the relationship among the Divine persons of the Christian Trinity and connotes that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are "of one being" in that the Son is "generated" ("born" or "begotten") "before all ages" or "eternally" of the Father's own being, from which the Spirit also eternally "proceeds."

An solemn offering or presentation to God. It is thus applied to certain parts of the Eucharistic service. There are two oblations: the lesser oblation, generally known as the offertory, in which the bread and wine yet unconsecrated are presented, and the greater oblation, the oblation proper, forming the latter part of the prayer of consecration, when the Body and Blood are ceremonially presented.

Great dishonor, shame, or humiliation.

Not violated; free from violation or hurt of any kind; secure against violation or impairment.

Example of use:
"Would it be an inviolate ignominy if my consubstantial oblation were suffused?" -- example by Fr. Scott Hurd

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Rob Carter, for your (motivating) comment.

"...And with your spirit" ("..y con tu espiritu") is how it's been expressed in Spanish throughout Latin America as far back as I can remember.

I agree with Mr. Carter that Catholics certainly have a right to a correct translation from Latin. Anything else would be yet another obstacle to all of us getting on the same page.

Regrettably, I've noticed that in Spanish masses in the U.S. priests sometimes improvise. For example, one U.S. born priest in South Florida translated the Nicene creed's reference to the resurrection as "resurrection of the spirit" whereas the Apostolic creed in Spanish (as in Latin) speaks of the resurrection of the flesh."

The Nicene creed in Spanish, English and Latin expresses it as the resurrection of the 'dead'.

Neither the Nicene or the Apostolic creeds express it as this priest did, that is, as the resurrection of the 'spirit'. That would logically exclude a corporeal resurrection of any nature. Yet gospel accounts rule out ghosts and repeatedly have Jesus appearing in various visible and tangible corporeal forms.

Thus, translations can have a decisive impact on the faith that s being shared and communicated to the faithful, the young and thereby to future generations. Priests should remain true to the gospel or not be allowed to speak.

TonyD said...

Those who argue that the new language is beyond the common man are correct. And those who argue that the previous translations are flawed are correct. And those who argue that the new translations are flawed are correct. And those who argue that this is an important issue are correct. And those who argue that these translations are unimportant in the bigger scheme are correct.

So an individual's position tells you more about the individual than about the issue.

This begs the question: How might a Catholic respond to this issue?

TonyD said...

The answer to the above question is that we should not, as Catholics, take any position.

I realize that most people would find that to be unreasonable. But our experience here is about soul transformation, not worldly transformation.

As a worldly issue, there are numerous considerations.

Judgment is required. We should first look for harm. Each option does have a degree of harm associated with it – whether harm to the image of the Church, confusion in the laity, confusion in the priesthood, misguided spiritual emphasis, or disagreement fostered. There are many others to consider. And the “golden rule” should always be a companion – with the associated willingness in yourself to submit to the “values of your neighbor”.

This outlines the most basic considerations – and a lifetime of work for most of us.