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The discussion

posted by awelborn

Do go read the transcript of the US bishops’ discussion on the liturgy translation from June. It’s quite interesting.

There was some confusion at the beginning as to what was being discussed and voted on, and after the "consubstantial" discussion – (with Cardinal George, Archbishop DiNardo, Archbishop Lipscomb, Bishop Vigneron and Archbishop Meyers rising in support of Archbishop Hughes’ amendment for the technical term – the final vote was 109/no – 81/yes. ) – Bishop Finn had this rather dry-sounding yet penetrating question:

I’m relatively new to the conference so I was just curious, if in most cases it is the practice that we would receive these booklets of amendments accepted and rejected a few moments before we are asked to go through them; to vote in favor. It creates a difficulty to give them any serious consideration one way or the other. Just a question.

What a thoughtful process…

(If anyone can illuminate what the discussion about "anxiety" and "distress" refers to, I’d be grateful.)

Finally, from Cardinal George:

There is in our debates always on liturgy, a shadow from the past. And that necessarily affects all of us. But the texts that we have now everyone admits —including old ICEL as well as new ICEL and the Holy See — are not adequate expressions of the Faith.

Quite deliberately — and it’s documented — there was an attempt to delete sacrificial language; the theology of grace and merit was excised when it could have been included. So we have inadequate texts right now. And beyond that they’re also the translation of the first edition of the Pauline Missal after the Council.

We have to use the third edition of the Pauline Missal, and that’s the translation that we’re doing now. In between we had the translation of the second edition. And that was a very fine piece of work. Particularly, we were involved in this through the guidance of Archbishop Pilarczyk, who had my job on ICEL although he was also chair. He also had Bishop Roche’s job. He did a very fine job and all of us have reason to be grateful to him and to the ICEL of those days.

What sunk the second edition, I think, and certainly what elicited a lot of criticism, was the changes in the people’s part in the second edition, which deleted personal pronouns for God, and therefore used vertical inclusive language, not just horizontal language. That, among a few other things — and I know that’s a controversial statement — nonetheless, there was enough controversy around it, that the Holy See just refused to accept any ICEL text.

In the context of what Bishop Fiorenza said you have to break the impasse, do what you have to do.

Well, the Holy See broke the impasse, and many people suffered in that. They reorganized the mixed commission, ICEL, and they gave us new rules of translation, Liturgiam authenticam. The reorganization is, of course, always debatable. That’s a constitutional issue. But I do believe, and I say that as a bishop, that Liturgiam authenticam is a really superior understanding of how to translate.

And while any particular translation can be disputed, nonetheless, what it has given us, I believe, is a language that is a good vehicle for the expression of our Catholic Faith in prayer. And in the end, its not only comprehensibility and its not only fidelity, it is the Faith itself and the language of faith that we’re talking about here. I think these changes are not just something that we have to put up with, but rather they’re a definite change for the better. I think they are balanced. I think you can dispute one or the other item, and we’ll continue to have these debates as we go through — especially into the Collects, which aren’t as well translated at this point.

Thanks to the Adoremus Bulletin for making this available.



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Fr. Rob Johansen

posted July 25, 2006 at 1:47 am


Amy asked:
(If anyone can illuminate what the discussion about “anxiety” and “distress” refers to, I’d be grateful.)
Your wish is my command!
They’re referring to the end of the Libera nos…: the prayer of the priest following the “Our Father”.
The Latin:
et a peccato simus semper liberi
et ab omni perturbatione securi:
expectantes beatam spem
et adventum Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi.

Currently rendered as:
…in your mercy keep us free from sin
and protect us from all anxiety
as we wait in joyful hope for the
coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
The bishops were debating a possible change from the current translation of perturbatione as “anxiety”, to rendering it as “distress”. Which in my opinion, would have more accurately conveyed the meaning of the Latin.
What I’d like to know is if the new translation restores the quaesumus, “we beseech”, propitius, “graciously”, and ope…adiuti, “aided by the power”. A translation that kept these words, rather than leaving them out or flattening them, as the current ICEL does, would read something like this:
Deliver us, we beseech you, O Lord, from every evil;
graciously grant us peace in our days, so that,
aided by the power of your mercy,
we may always be free from sin,
and safe from every distress:
as we await the blessed hope
and coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.



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Maureen

posted July 25, 2006 at 4:26 am


Re: Father Rob’s explanation
Wow. Once again, it’s so much prettier and deeper when the translation actually says what the Latin does.
Re: Bishop Finn
Separated at birth from you, Amy. Just sayin’. :)
It’s pretty disturbing that Bishop Trautman says that’s, in fact, the usual practice for what gets out of committee. Eek! Not even overnight, not even an hour or two ahead of time, but right before! Apparently, only those in a specific committee are given real time to consider such things.
You know I love you, bishops, but that sounds a lot like the train whisties and track-clacking going on down the hill from me: which is to say, railroad. Seems silly having a meeting of all the bishops if, in practice, only some of the bishops get to consider a lot of the stuff they’re voting about.
However, it is almost certain that this practice is the product of poor convention planning and communication rather than purposeful manipulation. If so, then the bishops only need to start getting the information out sooner. There are many conferences which provide overnight or evening news updates to attendees. (Heck, some fannish convention attendees still put out fanzines which are written, produced, and distributed during the convention.)
Whoever was taking notes had to have had a list of amendments, and was almost certainly taking notes on a computer. So it really would have been a matter of printing out the final version of the amendments from his notes, going down to the hotel copier in the business center, and running off one copy per bishop. If the committee meeting ended at nine PM, you’d be done by ten PM max. (9:15 if you were really efficient, but we’re assuming someone who’s had a long day.) Then whoever’s running the USCCB’s meeting takes out his list of who’s staying where, slips envelopes under doors, and bam! The bishops have their bedtime or breakfast reading.
Heh, maybe the bishops do need more lay involvement….



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Marie

posted July 25, 2006 at 7:42 am


EWTN’s “The World Over” program broadcasted video (not live) of the bishop’s discussion. I was a little disappointed that they kept talking about using language that people were accustomed to or could understand, or “dynamic” language (whatever that is). I thought it was a bit patronizing. I’m no Latin scholar or theologian, but I can look up words like consubstantial in a dictionary, and when I attend a Spanish language Mass I can tell some things are very different from the English we use now. Would it really hurt to get people to THINK about what’s going on, rather than just “going through the motions” like so many people do? And I think “dew of the Holy Spirit” is more beautiful and poetic than “outpouring of the Holy Spirit” – and maybe better describes what happens during the consecration. Oh, well.



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Jane M

posted July 25, 2006 at 8:18 am


I’m fascinated by this anxiety/distress discussion — because Saint Francis de Sales said that anxiety was the worst thing that could happen to you except for sin. So ever since I read that I’ve thought that must be what this prayer was about. Otherwise, I used to wonder why anxiety was so terrible that it had to be prayed about there.
“This unresting anxiety is the greatest evil which can happen to the soul, sin only excepted. Just as internal commotions and seditions ruin a commonwealth, and make it incapable of resisting its foreign enemies, so if our heart be disturbed and anxious, it loses power to retain such graces as it has, as well as strength to resist the temptations of the Evil One, who is all the more ready to fish (according to an old proverb) in troubled waters.
Anxiety arises from an unregulated desire to be delivered from any pressing evil, or to obtain some hoped-for good. ” Chapter 11, Intro to the DL
Went and found the quote and it uses the word distess just above!



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marco frisbee

posted July 25, 2006 at 8:23 am


However, it is almost certain that this practice is the product of poor convention planning and communication rather than purposeful manipulation.
Maureen, you’ve found the Bishops’ achilles’ heel. As faithful and dedicated as our shepherds are, the USCCB is limited in terms of time and money, and therefore the Conference deliberates such things – such valuable things – on the cheap.
One look at the tasks listed on the USCCB website would give many who work in nonprofit organizations a fit. It’s as byzantine as the Basilica down the street from their offices. Yes, the Bishops have been discussing a huge reorganization of its many efforts, and not a moment too soon. But nothing’s come of it as yet.
An efficient organization can do anything well. The USCCB isn’t quite there, and it shows. Otherwise, EWTN would have had “official” competition on television a long time ago.



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RP Burke

posted July 25, 2006 at 8:23 am


1. Among the many things that an authoritarian like Bishop Finn doesn’t understand is the committee process. You have to trust the committee’s work, or else there’s no point in having a committee.
2. Cardinal George is right on the button when he says:
But the texts that we have now everyone admits — including old ICEL as well as new ICEL and the Holy See — are not adequate expressions of the Faith.
However, the argument that the cure for this is to create a pseudo-English that follows Latin grammar and Latin rhetoric — the literal ablative absolute in the penitential rite, “sins having been forgiven,” is a particular joke to anyone who took Latin beyond the first year — is specious.
The standard instead should have been to create artistic, idiomatic English that carries all the concepts of, for example, sacrifice and grace and merit.



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Stacey

posted July 25, 2006 at 8:44 am


Among the many things that an authoritarian like Bishop Finn doesn’t understand is the committee process. You have to trust the committee’s work, or else there’s no point in having a committee.
Gimme a break. This has nothing to do with “trusting the committee.” He’s simply saying that if you want someone to sign off on something, you need to give them time to read what they’re being asked to sign off on. If a salesman tried to pressure you into signing a contract before you’d even had a chance to read it, you’d be rightly suspicious, but if Bishop Finn would like to actually read the amendments before voting, he doesn’t trust the committee? Riiiiight.



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Richard

posted July 25, 2006 at 8:47 am


Hello RP,
1. Among the many things that an authoritarian like Bishop Finn doesn’t understand is the committee process.
Of course, some might say that the USCCB – relevant portions of it, at any rate – has been run by authoritarians of a different stripe who perhaps understand the committee process all too well.
Either way, I am curious how an expressed desire for expanded flow of information and input amounts to “authoritarianism.” But perhaps you are merely referring to Finn’s management style in Kansas City.
You have to trust the committee’s work, or else there’s no point in having a committee.
Or at least in its current form.
The standard instead should have been to create artistic, idiomatic English that carries all the concepts of, for example, sacrifice and grace and merit.
That would be ideal.
The current translation, alas, neither coveys this concepts, nor is artistic, idiomatic English.
The worst of both worlds.



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Tim Ferguson

posted July 25, 2006 at 9:20 am


So, RP, what you’re saying is that a non-authoritarian, like you, I presume, has no problem with committees and bureaucracy handling the tasks with which its entrusted? That’s great! I always thought you were one of those people who fomented endlessly about the corridors of power in the Vatican, and how things are handled there without what they see as appropriate consultation – now I see you embrace that concept.
Those darn authoritarians! – demanding to know what it is they’re agreeing to before they agree to it. Who is Bishop Finn to think he should have time to reflect and read through something before he gives his assent?
…or, perhaps, what Bishop Finn understands that many others do not understand is that the ministry of a bishop – of the college of bishops, is something not best exercised using traditional, corporate-minded committee structures. Despite the fact that they meet in swanky hotels and look, for all intents and purposes, like a gathering of CEO’s, the bishops are actually shepherds, and called to be men of prayer and reflection and servant leadership: not something that assimilates corporate culture too well. Perhaps one of the things that’s served the bishops of this country worst is their adaption of corporate structures like committees and bureaucracies (who can forget the huge amount of damage done by “Art and Environment in Catholic Worship,” a product of the bureaucracy they built).



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James Stroud

posted July 25, 2006 at 9:23 am


My favorite question had to be:

Bishop Robert Finn (Kansas City-St. Joseph): My question is: Are we allowed to vote on the ICEL translation as submitted, without the amendments, since that was the first of the possibilities?

To which Bishop Trautman said no because the Committee has ruled otherwise. Imagine that. The bishops as a collective body could not vote on the whole text as presented by ICEL without the amendments and other ridiculous adjustments because of the committee’s and conference’s rule. Talk about needing to dismantle this bureaucracy.
How very sad to think that several other english-speaking bishop conferences voted on the text as is and did not offer amendments to the text.

Archbishop Hughes said Vox Clara spent a significant amount of time on the translation approved in June by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops because it was the only conference to have approved the text with amendments and adaptations.)

Who knew the USCCB was so special???!??!?!?!?
How very sad indeed.



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Boko

posted July 25, 2006 at 9:29 am


“There is in our debates always on liturgy, a shadow from the past.” Sounds like something out of LOTR. If I remember, The Shadow of the Past, or some such, was the 2nd (?) chapter of the book, in which Gandalf explains to Frodo that the ring Bilbo left him is probably the Ring.
Also from Cdl. George: “Quite deliberately — and it’s documented — there was an attempt to delete sacrificial language; the theology of grace and merit was excised when it could have been included. So we have inadequate texts right now.” It’s also been documented that the original Latin texts of the NO have been stripped of sacrificial and supernatural language that was present in the previous missal.



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Sam Schmitt

posted July 25, 2006 at 9:32 am


RP Burke,
I’m just wondering – where is this holy grail of an English that is idiomatic, beautiful, faithful, proclaimable, and agreeable to 2/3 of the world’s English speaking bishops and the Holy See? (and consistent with Liturgicam authenticam? If the last provision is the real problem, your complaint is with the Holy See, not with anyone here.)
OK, we all agree that the “old” (i.e. current) ICEL translation is pretty much the pits, but I’m afraid I’ve never seen any examples of what you’re talking about that might satisfy you. I guess I would agree with you that the new translation is not ideal – but then what would look the ideal look like? I’m interested in examples, not simply descriptions.
I ask this sincerely, as it is difficult to disagree with you that the new translation should be all of the things you describe (at least in principle).



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RP Burke

posted July 25, 2006 at 9:50 am


Sam, I wish I knew where that holy grail was too. But it’s as plain as day that we don’t have it yet. What we have looks like something that would get a C in second-year Latin at the Boston Latin School (one of my almae matrae).
James, if the bishops wanted to have the ICEL text as is, they could simply vote down all the amendments. But rule #1 of any parliamentary system is that you vote on amendments first, then on the main motion.
Richard, Finn shows authoritarian behavior even here. The boys above him want the language to be a certain way and, good hierarch that he is, he wants to simply make the rest of us below him do what he tells us, which is what he was told by those above him. But yes, it was a comment on the fact that Finn’s management style is authoritarian and anything resembling a vote on what he should do — even by his peers in other dioceses — is foreign to authoritarianism.



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Tim Ferguson

posted July 25, 2006 at 10:11 am


As a graduate of Boston Latin, I’m sure you meant “almae matres,” rather than an obscure medieval spelling of the singular locative paired with either a genitive singular or nominative plural substantive adjective.
How do you know that the “boys above him” want things a certain way – and precisely who are those “boys”? It would seem that his only superiors are the Roman Pontiff (who exercises his executive authority through the offices of the Holy See) and the Trinity. If those “boys above him” want this, then Amen! He’s right to tell us (or at least those in his purview) what to do.
Like it or not, the Church established by Christ is a hierarchy, not a committee.



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RP Burke

posted July 25, 2006 at 10:17 am


Tim,
My error in haste. Matres it is. Thank you.
But the “boys” are Arinze and his pals — and the EWTN/Adoremus types who have his ear. They are very clear about what they want. The logic of the argument is flawed: the current texts misstate theological principles so therefore something that looks and smells like Latin is better? It is asserted rather than demonstrated, and I for one cannot check my brains and education at the church door to mindlessly do what some hierarch says when I know it’s illogical and wrong.



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Marc

posted July 25, 2006 at 10:28 am


Among the many things that an authoritarian like Bishop Finn doesn’t understand is the committee process. You have to trust the committee’s work, or else there’s no point in having a committee.
That’s exactly right and it reminds me of how Bp Trautman was nominated and elected to be the chair of this particular committee. So, the question is, what do you do if you trust the committee process in general, but not with this particular committee?



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Tim Ferguson

posted July 25, 2006 at 10:36 am


I guess I don’t see the illogic here – the current texts alter some of the theological statements in the original Latin, and so to correct them by rendering translations closer to the original Latin, we have fewer theological inaccuracies.
I also think it’s quite presumptive of you to intimate that Bishop Finn is a pawn of people like Arinze and Adoremus, rather than someone who simply agrees with them (or with whom they agree).



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Maureen O'Brien

posted July 25, 2006 at 10:43 am


“You have to trust the committee’s work, or else there’s no point in having a committee.”
But neither the House nor Senate usually gives an automatic yes vote to the bills which the committees bring them. That is not a bug, but a feature.
The job of a committee is to argue, fuss, and fight — exactly as the larger body would, but in smaller size. The committee narrows down the possibilities and comes up with something.
But then the larger body is allowed to question the committee, and to vote its work up or down. This work of the larger body, it seems to me, is exactly what Bishop Finn was assisting.
Furthermore, it does seem to me that a really reasonable procedure would have included an option to go with the original, unamended translation. That wouldn’t show distrust of the committee or its work; you need someone to work at amendments to see whether or not they’re going to work. “We think it works better without the extras” is always a valid way to go.



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RP Burke

posted July 25, 2006 at 10:46 am


Maureen, Bishop Finn wanted to IGNORE the committee’s work and get an immediate up-or-down vote on the text from ICEL, without wading through the committee’s suggested emendations. And the option to go with the original unamended translation WAS available, by the simple task of voting down all the amendments.



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Rich Leonardi

posted July 25, 2006 at 10:46 am


the current texts misstate theological principles so therefore something that looks and smells like Latin is better?
Not a translation that “looks and smells like Latin” but one that accurately reflects the text (which you agree is needed) and conveys the majesty of the language of the Missal (which perhaps you don’t). About the latter, why not have somewhat “higher,” inspirational language in worship? I can get “idiom” in line at the nearest coffee shop.



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Marc

posted July 25, 2006 at 10:56 am


RP,
If the committee does not provide the option that a member of the larger body would like to have, is it improper for him to request that option? I don’t see how that is “ignoring” its work. To me, that is examining their work and thinking the original language was better. When you see this in light of all of the other English speaking countries approving that text and in light of Trautman’s historical desire for certain styles of translating, I don’t see why that is controversial.



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mizznicole

posted July 25, 2006 at 11:08 am


I see nothing wrong with “higher” language, but I do see a problem with wooden translations into English from the Latin. One of the top 10 style rules drilled into my head in college was: “Write in Anglo-Saxon.” The truth is it takes an army of poets as well as theologians (and not petty bureaucrats) to come up with a good translation of sacred texts into English (cf the King James Bible). It would be nice if Catholics could eventually match the Anglicans (or the great Protestant hymn writers) for beautiful liturgical speech in English. You’d think the language of Shakespeare would be up to the task…



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James Isabella

posted July 25, 2006 at 11:19 am


RP Burke wrote:
“Sam, I wish I knew where that holy grail was too. But it’s as plain as day that we don’t have it yet. What we have looks like something that would get a C in second-year Latin at the Boston Latin School”
RP Burke, do you see in any of the eastern Catholic or Orthodox liturgies a style of liturgical English that you’d like to see, something that the Latin translators could have modeled?
While I would also agree with your principals, I just don’t know if it’s possible to produce such a ‘holy grail’.



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midwestmom

posted July 25, 2006 at 11:22 am


“That’s exactly right and it reminds me of how Bp Trautman was nominated and elected to be the chair of this particular committee.”
Marc,
How dare you question the infamous fiasco with the electronic vote tabulator! Never mind that it was working fine for the votes immediately preceeding and following the Trautman vote.
No, the USCCB lay bureacracy is in no way stacked with dissenters. Not a chance. (wink, wink)



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RP Burke

posted July 25, 2006 at 11:57 am


Rich, I don’t see any inherent conflict between “idiomatic” and ” ‘higher,’ inspirational language”. Poetry in English is one form of English idiom, for instance.
But using Latin as the model is not using English idiom. What we need is better writers working on this, in the same way that we need someone more like Ralph Vaughan Williams — editor a century ago of the great English Hymnal — rather than Marty Haugen writing our music.



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RP Burke

posted July 25, 2006 at 11:58 am


Marc, the option existed to approve the ICEL text as submitted, simply by voting down all the amendments.



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Roz

posted July 25, 2006 at 12:11 pm


To get back to the “consubstantial” vs. “one in being” question:
Personally, I think “consubstantial” is cumbersome and obscure, but should be preempted if and only if an alternative can be found that adequately communicates the true meaning.
So . . . what would be wrong with “one in substance”?



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Old Zhou

posted July 25, 2006 at 12:22 pm


Learn Latin.
Learn the liturgy in Latin.
Leave the bishops to play their vernacular politics, and humbly and graciously obey their requirements for what words are to be used publicly. It is only a translation.
Latin is the language of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Roman liturgy.
Every translation is defective by nature, even an “approved” translation.



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Eric the Read

posted July 25, 2006 at 12:51 pm


Old Zhou:
No. I might, because I like dead languages, and have a weakness for Latin in particular (the legacy of a misspent youth in too many church choirs), but my mother will never learn it, and nor should she. Nor would the vast majority of people in my Parish, many of whom barely have enough time as it is to do all they do now, without you adding silly additional requirements upon them.
Faith does not depend on knowing Latin; neither does salvation. It can, if one is interested and motivated, lend an extra dimension to one’s intellectual and spiritual life, but to say, “Learn Latin” without any qualifiers is silly.



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Peter

posted July 25, 2006 at 1:03 pm


Roz,
Personally, I think “consubstantial” is cumbersome and obscure
I have this funny personal theory that words that are cumbersome and obscure are probably useful in describing subjects also cumbersome and obscure, or perhaps, mysterious. Sometimes there is a particular utility in stretching the vocabulary of the ordinary person beyond flexing ones cranial muscle
Part of the reason, after all, that Shakespeare still captures imagination is because it is, although English, a form of it no longer used. The fact that Ecclesiastical Latin and Classical Latin differ would suggest that perhaps Ecclesiastical English and Classical English should differ as well. People adapt to new words easy, and in this culture we’re inventing words faster than ever. Who ever heard of a “blog” five or ten years ago?



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Old Zhou

posted July 25, 2006 at 1:08 pm


Dear Eric,
This comment thread is not about what is required for Faith or Salvation.
Sure, you could have Faith or Salvation with just a few words of Hawaiian Pidgin, or Kenyan Swahili, or even poor Chinese farmers yelling across the fields in the local Kaiping dialect (which nobody in Beijing would understand, and has no real written form). Faith and Salvation can be communicated in any minimal human language, even without a written form, even American Sign Language.
But that is not what is being discussed, is it? We are not talking about the work of missionaries to illiterate and primitive cultural groups.
We are spending many, many years, hours, days, pages of paper, electrons of communication, articles in the press, commentaries abounding, gossip and chit-chat and whispers by the hour, over this:
-> how to translate the Missale Romanum, specifically now the Editio Tertia, into English.
We are not discussing how to communicate Faith or Salvation.
This is a discussion of which English words the Bishops (not us) want used in the Offical English Text Translation of the Missale Romanum.
This is, also, not a discussion of what words we will actually hear at Mass, as the words in the book and the words coming out of the mouths are very often two different things.
So, if you want to know THE WORDS of the Roman Liturgy, well, they are in Latin, right there for you, if you care, along with the entire fifteen or so centuries of development of the Roman church before 1965. Very, very little of our heritage is in English.
And, you know, that is why every educated Catholic learned enough Latin to be familiar with the Mass in Latin. That is the “grammar” of “grammar school.” You went to school to learn Latin as a kid. You learned English on the street. It won’t kill anybody to learn Latin.
But there are many older folks who feel that the American Bishops “abolished Latin” in the 1970′s, and they will have nothing to do with it, to their own detriment. That goes for the Bishops, too.



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Rich Leonardi

posted July 25, 2006 at 1:10 pm


Faith does not depend on knowing Latin; neither does salvation. It can, if one is interested and motivated, lend an extra dimension to one’s intellectual and spiritual life, but to say, “Learn Latin” without any qualifiers is silly.
Eric, Old Zhou can speak for himself, but I think his point is that learning Latin can help folks who frequent Catholic blogs — fairly serious types who take their faith seriously and who are sometimes prone to despair — add a needed, crucial dimension to their particular spiritual lives. In short, he’s not necessarily talking about your mother or the guy next to you in the pew.



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Loudon is a Fool

posted July 25, 2006 at 1:14 pm


I am awed by the unassailable power and force of the Juggernaut Bureaucracy. Anyone remotely familiar with rule by committee knows that amendments must be delivered to the full body immediately prior to the vote or the Juggernaut Bureaucracy could be thwarted (although, the appeal to expertise is always available even when the full body is fully informed). No doubt, however, that in the current case the full body was given insufficient time to consider the changes due to disorganization and any similarity the current facts bear to a situation in which rule by committee is abused to manipulate the full body into acquiescence is purely coincidental. There is nothing to see here. Ignore the large carved rock hurtling down the hill.
I also love the argument for banal texts. “The people are smart enough to understand and therefore must be given texts to provide for their proper understanding. But the people are too stupid to understood, so they must be given texts that they understand, even if that means the texts will not provide for proper understanding.” Can the people understand, or are they too stupid? If the people are too stupid to understand, clearly it is better that they be left in ignorance. Keep the Mass in Latin and provide a puppet show afterwards that hits the highlights. If the people can understand, then why would they be presented with language that seems calculated to promote misunderstanding? Only the Juggernaut knows. Or not.



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marc (un autre marc)

posted July 25, 2006 at 1:14 pm


Bravo: three cheers for Old Zhou!
RP: I agree more or less with your judgment about what a translation ought to be. But–descending from the Empyrean–I would rather have Fr Zuhlsdorf’s literal versions than the current ones: and, given the collapse of civilisation we witness daily in the West, I really am not expecting a new Shakespeare or even a new Newman, much less a committee full of them, to do any future translation. Spes contra spem, however.



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Loudon is a Fool

posted July 25, 2006 at 2:14 pm


There seems to be an odd assumption shared by RP and Old Zhou that vernacular texts are of their very nature somehow unofficial and therefore it doesn’t really matter what they say as long as they correspond in some “sufficient” manner (determined in the discretion of the Bishops) to the official texts. But is that correct?
RP suggests this in his preference for English idiom over accuracy. Zhou suggests this in his reference to the Latin text. But it strikes me as strange that (i) the form is present with respect to the Sacrament so long as words approximating the words of consecration are used, and (ii) that the point of the vernacular is for people to participate in some sort of dumbed down approximation of the Mass, It’s secrets effectively hidden in a text not for public consumption; which would seem to follow from that assumption (although I suppose (i) could be dealt with by either keeping the words of consecration in Latin or requiring accuracy in translation only with respect to those words). I don’t doubt that the Church has the authority to approve approximate translations. But should that really be the goal?
Also odd is the decision to give the SSPXers the authority to drive decisions regarding the translation. If the goal is a closer translation and “many” is closer, who cares if the SSPXers are accidentally correct in their criticism.



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RP Burke

posted July 25, 2006 at 2:35 pm


Loudon, I do not posit the false dichotomy between “English idiom” and “accuracy.” Indeed, a good translation would accomplish both ends. Supplanting something bad with something else that is bad for a different reason is hardly an improvement.



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Loudon is a Fool

posted July 25, 2006 at 2:55 pm


RP,
Perhaps your criticism of idiom could be placed in better context. Given that your opinions are generally progressive, it’s not unfair that a reader might assume that your criticism of following the Latin is a criticism rooted in a desire to avoid accuracy. What are your thoughts on the Anglican Use, which is both beautiful (albiet perhaps insufficiently idiomatic depending on how narrowly you are using that word, but I don’t take you to be defending the use of “usetacould” in Masses held in east Texas) and corrects all (I think, certainly nearly all) of the current criticisms regarding accuracy.
You can find the Anglican Use Order of the Mass here:
http://perso.orange.fr/civitas.dei/anglican_use_mass.htm



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RP Burke

posted July 25, 2006 at 3:04 pm


Loudon, on the music boards I am considered quite the conservative. And it is absurd, based on what I’ve written here, to assume that I have “a desire to avoid accuracy.”
This stated for the record, I will have to look at the Anglican Use material before I comment on it. How similar is it to the Book of Common Prayer?



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F C Bauerschmidt

posted July 25, 2006 at 3:08 pm


Picking up on Mr. Burke’s last point, to translate “tout le monde” as “everybody” rather than “all the world” is no less accurate, but it is certainly more idiomatic.
It seems to me that, at least in some places, our new translation opt for non-idiomatic English in favor of the slavishly literal. I tend to think, for example, that intres sub tectum meum is simply a Latin idiom for “come into my dwelling” or some such phrase.



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F C Bauerschmidt

posted July 25, 2006 at 3:09 pm


oops. Mr. Burke slipped another comment in meanwhile. I was referring to his next-to-last post.



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Old Zhou

posted July 25, 2006 at 3:37 pm


Dear FC,
Regarding “intres sub tectum meum.”
From Cicero’s letters (to his brother Quintus in Britian):
Romam cum venissem …,
absolutum offendi in aedibus tuis tectum,
…nunc honeste vergit in tectum
inferioris porticus.
On my arrival in Rome…
I found the roof on your house finished:
…now slopes gracefully towards the roof
of the lower colonnade.
So here tectum, tecti is translated as “house roof,” which is common Latin usage.
In Spanish, this part of the ordinary is translated:
“no soy digno
de que entres en mi casa.”
No mention of “under” and “roof,”
just a more natural
“in(to) my house/home.”



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Loudon is a Fool

posted July 25, 2006 at 3:43 pm


Picking up on FC Bauerschmidt’s penultimate post, “Dudes” also is idiomatic.
I am insufficiently familiar with the Book of Common Prayer to know how similar is the Anglican Use, RP. My former heresy was Methodist, rather than Episcopalian.



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Susan Peterson

posted July 25, 2006 at 6:19 pm


The Anglican use liturgies I am familiar with uses the 1929 BCP except for the Roman Canon for the actual prayer of consecration.
I think I read somewhere that there is a Rite II version which uses the 79 BCP, which is remarkably similar to Eucharistic Prayer II with minor differences. The Novus Ordo Roman Canon would fit fairly well with that in style.
One version I saw online suddenly jumped from the Elizabethan English of the 29 (and earlier) BCP into modern English and used the current translation of the Novus Ordo
for the prayer of Consecration. This was a rather jolting jump.
But the one I have attended, in Scranton, uses the 29 BCP, with a translation of the Tridentine Mass canon which was done by Coverdale, the man who translated the psalms in the old BCP. He did this translation for study purposes (so the Protestants could point out everything which was wrong with it from their point of view) not for celebration. But it is an accurate translation of the Latin into Elizabethan English. In my opinion it is still somewhat jolting and makes for a rite without a natural and organic unity. It does have the richness of meaning which was in the Latin, but not anything like the richness of sound of the language of Cranmer. Which shows that being written in Elizabethan English doesn’t automatically make something written resoundingly well. It rather goes to prove RP Burke’s comments about literal translation. Even into this completely Elizabethan setting, the Anglican Use folks were required to use the “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith..Christ has died” etc which they haven’t tried to (chosen to, been allowed to?) rewrite into Elizabethan English. I believe the reason for requiring that is the same as the reason for not using “many” instead of “all” in the new translation. the objection of the traditionalists. This is one of the parts of the Novus Ordo most objected to by traditionalists, who say that “Mysterium Fidei” referred to the consecration, and the change somehow takes away from that. Teh powers that be don’t want to encourage them in this objection. This also takes away from the artistic, organic unity of the rite.
The Western Rite Orthodox have taken the BCP (I think they say they use the one from the Church of Scotland ?? but it is the familiar Cranmerian language) and changed it very little to make it suitable for use as an Orthodox liturgy. Even the “very little” changes they made, while necessary for orthodoxy, don’t resound like Cranmer. “that it may be for us the Body and Blood of Thy Son” [for us in this context implies that it is so for us, as we feed on Him in our hearts by faith, but wouldn't be so should an unbeliever approach] was edited to ” that it may be changed into the Body and Blood of Thy Son” Doctrinally correct but somehow I think if Cranmer believed this, he would not have written it in just those words. However, all in all, I think Western Rite Orthodoxy has done a better job adapting the BCP than has the Anglican Use. (They call it the Rite of St. Tikhon, an orthodox Bishop in Alaska who encountered some Anglicans there and began the project of adapting their liturgy for Orthodox use. ) I think they had a much freer hand with what they were allowed to do than did the Anglican Use liturgists. Incidentally Western Rite Orthodoxy also has the “Rite of St. Gregory” which is basically the Tridentine Rite, translated into English and with a strengthened Epiclesis (the invocation of the Holy Spirit over the gifts, which is not emphasized in the Tridentine rite, but which the Orthodox consider to be the most important moment of the consecratory prayer.)
Anyway, unless we can resurrect Cranmer-presumably he has been converted by his post death experiences….- we will have to live with our somewhat more accurate but not resounding new translation.
Susan Peterson



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Adolfo Rodriguez

posted July 25, 2006 at 6:48 pm


Is there anyone who can reasonably explain to me why the USCCB wouldn’t just say, “Amen” to the Vatican when it comes to these translations? For the life of me, I just can’t understand it.



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Loudon is a Fool

posted July 25, 2006 at 8:08 pm


My link to the Anglican Use Order of the Mass differs in at least one respect from the Our Lady of Atonement website. So I would recommend the following link over the link above.
http://www.atonementonline.com/orderofmass/Rite1.html



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Mary Kay

posted July 25, 2006 at 9:37 pm


Boko, although I see a good sized discussion after your post, I didn’t get any farther than “the Shadow of the Past.”



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Colleen

posted July 25, 2006 at 10:13 pm


“Is there anyone who can reasonably explain to me why the USCCB wouldn’t just say, “Amen” to the Vatican when it comes to these translations?”
Who wants to be from the ‘Amen’ corner? ;-)
1. Justification of the existence of the USCCB (or any of the other countrys bishops boards & attached careers). Witness the ramming through of amendments barely perused by *some* bishops -although obviously *some other* bishops have had the information well in advance.
2. A real division within the ranks that has gone on for years.
3. I honestly believe that there are quite a number of bishops & priests who believe in the American Catholic Church rather than the Catholic Church in America. I believe that that mindset does not like ‘top down’ authority, regardless of the situation. Language means something and it can set you apart.
I think it’s tragic that the bishops don’t realize that most of us regular (non professional) Catholics just want a beautiful Mass that has a connection with what has gone before us. Witness the world-wide reaction to the beauty of the Funeral Mass of JP11.
Watching the snippets of the USCCB meeting on this subject was depressing. Looks like we are the only nation to reject the word ‘constubstantial’ — because some bishops think Catholics are too dumb to figure it out or go look it up or go and ask their priest what it means – cause there’s no way they will understand it! Found some bishops condescending when addressing the level of understanding from the pews.
Just my $.02



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F. C. Bauerschmidt

posted July 25, 2006 at 11:13 pm


Is there anyone who can reasonably explain to me why the USCCB wouldn’t just say, “Amen” to the Vatican when it comes to these translations?
It is not a matter of saying “Amen” to the Vatican, but to ICEL. The Vatican is not the source of the translations; ICEL is. ICEL works for the English-speaking bishops conferences. It only makes sense that they would get to sign off on their work.



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Tom Kearns

posted July 26, 2006 at 11:46 pm


I think I need help. In the face of all the wonderfully Orthodox translations of the Latin version of the New Order, no one seems to be particularly bothered by the translation of ‘pro multis’ in the consecration as ‘for all’? Am I missing something? I have yet to come across a version of scripture which translates these words as anything other than ‘for many’. I admit I cannot help but see this a another incident of ‘two steps forward, one step back’, while the train rolls steadily onwards towards its pre-determined destination, whatever that may be.



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Liam

posted July 27, 2006 at 9:08 am


Tom
I believe Cdl George addressed this issue: it was a deliberate decision by Vox Clara-ICEL, and it is believed in synch with the repeated expressions by Rome not to revisit the issue (which, btw, occurs in some vernaculars other than English) to avoid affirming the notion (which Rome has repeatedly rejected, the former Cardinal Ratzinger’s personal (not official) musings to the contrary) that Rome was in error. If Rome decides to take this up now, I would imagine a third translation approach would be preferred by it (e.g., “for the many”).



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