NCR(eporter) has a post on the "liturgy wars" and lays full blame on the battle imagery on those who called for and support a new translation.


It also lays blame for a certain level of dishonesty, duplicity and incompetence at the feet of those advocating for a new translation for the past, you know 11 years.

The editorial purports to tell the "jarring history" of the liturgy wars, but of course, neglects to tell the entire history, which is jarring indeed.

Here is what is true: "Dynamic equivalence" and locally-generated translations did define the paradigm in the post-Conciliar church, but here’s the thing: ICEL seems to have mucked it up. So, you know, they had to do it over again.

What is totally missing from this discussion is any acknowledgment of the inadequacies of the 1973 translation and an honest assessment of how it was inadequate and what motivated those inadequacies. "Dynamic equivalence" does not even come close to describing what happened here.  As the NCR editorial admits, game over…so it’s time to just move on and implement what we get, but wouldn’t it be extraordinary and generous if those who are sighing and acceding to the new translation with such great pain would take a minute and confront the ’73 translations along with the Latin original and attempt to explain how much of it is "dynamic equivalence" and not "theological strip-mining."

The NCR editorial suggests that the present "victors" have an agenda and it is, by implication, suspicious. What was the agenda of those who produced the 73 translation? Did they not have one? They were just trying to do a translation that accurately rendered the Latin into English? If, so, they were incredibly incompetent because that didn’t happen. Well, then, why didn’t it happen? Perhaps we can get a clue from examining the translation, see what was omitted and how what survived was rendered – an exercise which has been done, of course, many times. Will themes emerge? Will we be able to discern a common sensibility in this translation? An…agenda?

Someone wrote me and said that the ’73 translation fulfilled the mandate of the time. In a sense he’s correct, as I pointed out a minute ago. But what has happened is twofold: the fruit of that effort has been judged inadequate and worse. Secondly, the dominant theological paradigm of that moment has, mercifully been pushed aside, and we would do well to admit what that theological paradigm was: anti-supernatural, deeply skeptical of what some call Revelation.

Someone I know was taught in school by one of the members of the ICEL team that produced the 73 translation. The person didn’t know any Latin to speak of (which speaks to the NCR sneering at the present team’s lack of qualifications) and was quite upfront about, for example, changing the language in one part of the Mass so that it wouldn’t evoke an Old Testament passage (of which it was actually a direct quote, of course) because they hoped to disabuse folks of the idea that the Old Testament might be intepreted in the light of Christ.

Awkwardness is certainly an issue, as it always is with translation. As is, of course, an accurately rendered meaning. But no one is served by this whining that refuses to honestly confront the dominant theological agenda of the 73 translators and the fruit of their work.

Moreover, these bishops and liturgists and others better stop telling us laity how stupid we are, and soon.

Honestly, these folks like Bishop Trautman and Fr. Reese and all of the other experts quoted in these pieces are doing great violence to the post-Vatican II cry of "TREAT THE BAPTIZED LIKE ADULTS! STOP INFANTILIZING US! WE’RE THE MOST HIGHLY EDUCATED LAITY IN THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH! " The gist of their dire warnings and huffing and puffing and resigned sighs is that the American laity are pretty, pretty dumb and probably can’t understand three-syllable words and Scriptural allusions.

Get your stories straight, folks.

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