Friday, August 05, 2005

Liturgy Wars, Part 18,346

From the superlative Robert Mickens, The Tablet's man in Rome, another round of USCCB-ICEL-Rome war games comes to light:

THE UNITED STATES bishops’ committee on the liturgy (BCL) says there are “real difficulties with the translation” of the most recent English draft of the Ordo Missae (Order of Mass), following the rejection of nearly half of its proposed changes to the original text by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) – the group overseeing the translation.

Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, who is the BCL’s chairman, sent all the American bishops a copy of the newest English translation of the Ordo a month ago and invited them to make line-by-line suggestions to improve it. In a letter accompanying the text, seen by The Tablet, Bishop Trautman said the BCL was “convinced … that the translation of the Order of Mass is one of the most important matters to have ever come before” the bishops’ conference. He said the revised text was “much improved over the first draft” (which was completed in early 2004) but he expressed concern that there were still “problematic passages … phrases [that] were seen as infelicitous to English spoken in the United States”. He also said there were questions about “the intelligibility of some words”....

Substantial word and syntax changes in the Gloria, the Sanctus, and in the various Eucharistic Prayers have been retained in the latest translation of the Order of Mass and it is unclear how much power the bishops’ conferences will have in altering the final draft, which is expected to be completed early next year.

Bottom line: I was talking with an American bishop for my last Tablet piece, and he gave his mindset to me straight -- "Our people have been misinformed, misformed, and it's time to straighten it out." Across the aisle, there's the Egan approach of "We can't keep changing this piecemeal and keep confusing our people. It has to stop."

What say you, gentle snowflakes?



Blogger CDE said...

I will never forget something Cardinal Mahony once said when expressing his concern about these changes to the liturgical texts:

"Following the (clerical sex abuse) scandal," he said, "the last thing our people need is to now disrupt the liturgy, which has been a source of nourishment and strength during this difficult journey."

See the whole article here.

Disrupt the liturgy?! Now there is the pot calling the kettle black.

5/8/05 08:41  
Blogger CDE said...

We do well always and everwhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord

This often struck me as a strange sentiment of praise. As a kid, before I even cared much about the Church, it struck me as particularly false to my experience: I don't do well always and everywhere...

Something like it is right and just or it is fitting would seem more congruent with human experience.

5/8/05 12:43  
Blogger CDE said...


I know you're right about what the Church is praying here -- because of hearing how the text is translated in Spanish etc. -- but the most important use of words is to communicate, not simply to make beautiful cadences. And I am saying that, as a teenager, these words failed to communicate effectively with me. The use of the subjunctive was ambiguous enough to lead me to see the prayer as something very odd... that wasn't calling for a value response on my part, but expressing something that sounded almost Pharisaical. And I think that's a problem... unless, of course, I was the only one who didn't understand the meaning. Which I grant is possible. I've always been a bit slow on the uptake...

6/8/05 04:09  
Blogger Der Tommissar said...

Why don't we save all the trouble and go back to the Latin for everything but the readings and Homily?

That was my first reaction, but then it hit me...even if we go back to saying the Mass in Latin (beautiful daydream) who will be doing the translations for the missals?

Who did them back in the day?

11/8/05 18:57  

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