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 PiousPius said...

This is pretty silly, since we have no idea of how the Ordo is going to evolve in the next few months.

Benedict has always defended drastic changes to the Novus Ordo. This whole discussion may be null and void by late 2006.

5/8/05 09:21  
Blogger Gotpraecht said...

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

Yes, but it doesn't make it any less
true. "Two wrongs don't make a right" and all that kind of thing.

In terms of liturgical time, forty years
is the blink of an eye, and the existing ICEL texts haven't really had a chance to bed down.

Besides which, whatever the infelicities of the translation now in use, the draft leaked last year
by the Tablet looked, as one UK commentator put it, like a bad fourth- form (10th grade) tranlation of Caesar's Gallic Wars. Certainly my Latin master would have thwacked me across the head with Lewis and Short for such

This revanchist traditionalism owes less to genuine tradition or conservatism than it does to an historically-bereft theme-parkery.

5/8/05 09:43  
Blogger Jeff said...

There are some real beauties in the present ICEL translation. My favorite is the beginning of the Preface, with its lovely Anglo-Saxonisms and its fabulous rhythmic cadences: "All-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everwhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord."

On the other hand, there are some maddening uglinesses, such as the reduction of careful invocations in the Gloria--my bete noir is the change from "We give you thanks for your great Glory" to "We praise you for your glory"--quite a different thing.

The old ICEL translation is not as bad as some say, but it does tend to take extreme liberties sometime and flatten out subtleties in an attempt to be "user-friendly."

Msgr. Harbert the ICEL 'chief' lives at my parish, Old St. Mary's, the Tridentine parish in Washington DC and is a well-spoken and decent man who thinks and speaks carefully and says a beautiful New Mass using the present ICEL translations. I think the first draft is simply an attempt to "get it right"--to start with simply putting what's there into English. Things will be changed and the Bishops will be a part of that. But there's no reason why a decent translation can't be made that will satisfy everyone. And after we've lived with it and prayed it for a few decades, it will become ours as the present ICEL translation for all its problems has.

I am optimistic that we will come out of this with something that everyone will complain about a bit but will serve us well in the end. The bishops should be a big part of the project and I'm sure their corrections and suggestions are being taken seriously.

That said, it doesn't inspire confidence to have Bishops Trautman using wretchedly bad English like, "infelicitous to English spoken in the United States."

It would be interesting, Gotpraecht, to see an example of what you thought were bad translations. I saw many passages that seemed a bit awkward and others that seemed flat, but I didn't catch any bad translations as such. What about it? I'm curious.

The whole discussion benefits from specificity--let's point out what we like and don't like rather than simply saying, "Yuck!" or "Cool!"

5/8/05 10:45  
Blogger Papabile said...

Knowing St. Mary's well, I have always been surprised when Father Harbart offers the Pian Rite and seems to recite the Last Gospel by heart, without looking at the altar card.....

In any case, he also says a very nice Pauline Rite of the mass. I used to atend both when I lived in DC.....

In any case, we are likely to have some major changes in liturgy, but not with this first encyclical. I'm hearing that will be based more on the "Does Europe Hate Itself?" piece that Ratzinger did a few years ago.

In terms of internals, Benedict will focus on liturgy as one of his top three issues. Another major one will be Bishops.

ICEL is not really fully as relevant as it once was. The line by line draft that leaked last year was vetted, line by line, by Vox Clara to address theology, dogma, and conciliar canons (spanning all the dogmatic canons from previous councils).

Note, that line by line analysis never leaked. Vox Clara is tight. It's too bad Trautman got rid of one of the members of Vox Clara. Maroney is still sitting there though. What happens remains to be seen.

5/8/05 12:19  
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 Gotpraecht said...

You've caught me short, Jeff, because I bestowed a big run of Tablet issues to the library here recently, and short of a trot over there, I can't retrieve the draft text.

Two irritating examples that stick in my mind however:

dignum et iustum est

currently: "it is right to give Him thanks and praise."

proposed: "it is right and just"

OK. So the present ICEL text is an exceptionally liberal rendering rather than a translation -- especially when compared to the French cela est juste et bon

But how on earth does "it is right and just" represent an improvement? If we're after something aesthetically pleasing and archaic, Cranmer's "it is meet and right" is a far better translation. A better literal translation in modern English would be either "it is fitting and right" or "it is right and fitting," because the cadence is more natural. Translating iustus as "just" in this context is the kind of thing we got blipped for in secondary school Latin classes.

Another was the new translation of the verb dignor as in qui humanitatis nostrae fieri dignatus est from the prayer during the mixing of the water and wine.

Currently: humbled himself...

Proposed: deigned

I know that dignor is the etymological ancestor of "deign," but "deign" has subsequently acquired connotations of haughty condescension. The phrase dignare, Domine can be translated "deign, o Lord" as I think I recall the new draft doing in some of the Eucharistic prayers, but this is just cringeworthy and I don't see what theological clarity it offers.
If the antique effect was what they were after, again, they'd have been better to stick with Cranmers, "vouchsafe, o Lord" or even "grant us, Lord" or the present simple imperatives, which it's clear from context aren't attempting to give the Lord his marching orders.

Reading Clayton's comment on the "We do well always..." makes me realise just how difficult it may be to get a translation that is transparent to all English speakers. The intended meaning is not a self-congratulatory, "we're always doing well, aren't we good!" but, "to praise you is what you designed us to do" - fecisti nos ad te sort of thing. In UK/Australasian English, "you do well to..." or, more commonly, "you'd do well to..." means "you'd achieve success when you..." And, of course, although we may not do it much, to praise God is our chief end.

In light of this, however, it looks
as though "it is right and fitting that we should..." might be less opaque.

5/8/05 13:34  
Blogger Laura Gonzalez said...

Two irritating examples that stick in my mind however:

dignum et iustum est

currently: "it is right to give Him thanks and praise."

proposed: "it is right and just"

In the Spanish Mass: "es justo y necesario."

How about that?

Laura Gonzalez

5/8/05 15:21  
Blogger Jeff said...


I think the sense of "We do well always and everywhere to give him thanks" is "It is right and proper, a good thing indeed, for us to give him thanks always and everywhere." There is a subjunctive or hortatory character to this phrase in certain circumstances, such that "We do well" and "We would do well" are virtually identical in significance. So I don't agree that the implication is that IN FACT everyone in every place and time is doing what they should. The cadence and "Englishness" of the phrase is what I particularly love: all powerful and everliving instead of omnipotend and eternal. I'll be sad when it goes!


I think I agree about "humbled himself" and "deigned", at least in the contexts you have mentioned. But I wouldn't consider a disagreement on the matter out of bounds. So, while I might be Gotpraechtian on this issue, I wouldn't reject someone who disagreed with contempt. I wouldn't give "deign" a failing grade on an examination, as you seem to say you would. Overstatement? (N.B., I read somewhere recently that ICEL had already agreed not to use the word 'deign' at all in the new translation.)

On the "dignum et justum est" issue, I disagree. The new translation seems a bit flat, but the old ICEL has this maddening "explanatory" quality which in a textbook exam translation can be virtuous, but not in a liturgical translation. I can see "it is right and just SO TO DO." The extra words are implied in the Latin already and the English sounds awkward without having something else there explicitly.

"But it is right to give him thanks AND PRAISE" is really a gloss on the text, adding someone's idea of what an extended or broadened idea of the meaning is. I find that maddening and I don't think it's just a matter of taste. "It is right and proper to thank him", "Indeed we must thank him", something vaguely like that maybe, since thanks is the referent. Thanks and praise just aren't the same and to flatten them together is devastating for the translation. Perhaps it's a nice idea to put praise in there, but it's not in the text. This is the same confusion/conflation that there is between "We give you thanks for your great glory" and "We praise you for your glory" in the Gloria. It just devastates the meaning: The greatest gift you give us, God, is your own overwhelming majesty and we are GRATEFUL and THANK YOU for that before any other gifts.

In the end, if I had to choose between the new and the old ICEL on this one, I'd choose the new one in a flash. Pedestrian and overly literal, but not a failed exam grade, just not the best that could be done.

But please, please, please, lets keep things like the triple, interlocking formulae of the Gloria and let's not pretend there's no difference between thanks and praise.


Yes, a fine place, St. Mary's. And Father Harbert is a wonderful example of dignified liturgy in either rite. Not a very clubbable person, but I don't really care about that. And a fine confessor, too! I'm glad he's overseeing the translation and I feel for him--there must be a lot of pressure.

6/8/05 01:03  
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  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The present mass doesn't communicate to me at all. It is wooden, mundane and clumsy. It sounds like a 7th grade English composition. With a grade of about a D+ on the top.

It has some weird phrases like "and also with you." What the heck is that? It's not something I would say to someone; it's not a faithful translation of anything. So, why is it there!?

The one that always makes me go tilt is "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again" right in front of the just consecrated Eucharist. I always feel like jumping up and saying "WAIT, there He is now!" It's no wonder so many people don't believe in the substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

The "Holy, Holy, Holy" doesn't usually sound holy at all, but its level of ambiguity varies from church to church. It ranges from incongrous to bump-and-grind. I don't know what it is anymore and I don't think anyone else does either. It's a major contributor to the loss of reverence in the mass.

"We always do well...." is a flat out lie. Lying to God is a bad thing, and not very successful. He's all-knowing, after all.

Phrases like "Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation" are flat and understated. They're another reason why reverence is lacking in the mass. Flattened out in an attempt to mimic modern English, they stil don't resemble anything you should be saying to the guy next to you on the bus OR God, for that matter.

"...which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life. " NO, Panera is the bread of (natural) life. Can we be more specific??? It becomes the Body of Christ, the bread of eternal life.

And there's always the unintentionally funny line at the end: "Thanks be to God (I can get out of here now)." There really has to be a better way to convey the essence of what is supposed to be meant there because this means clearly something else to most of the people within hearing range.... =)

Add the raucous mess that most contemporary liturgical "music" contributes and PHEW. No wonder we have problems.

6/8/05 08:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But what's really funny about all this is that the very people complaining that change would be deleterious to the layman in the pews had absolutely no problem with the huge and damaging changes right after Vatican 2. Indeed, they were heartless and vicious in their mad rush for change, yanking the rosaries out of old ladies' hands, belittling all comers as stupid and uninformed, and acting like revolutionaries for years. People still get accused of being nostalgic with a horrible perjorative connotation, even though most catholics now cannot even remember before the council. Gotta keep that name-calling alive!!!! It's the only way to keep momentum going, eh?

Give me a break.

6/8/05 09:41  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...


Thank you for "igniting" one of the most interesting and - unintentionally, I am sure, FUNNY - strings of Loggia's entire career.

Can everyone see what is going on here?

We're all complaining about "the old ICEL" (prepared 1968-1974) version of the Order of Mass, and commenting on "the new ICEL" version that was leaked last summer, and then what?

We all take a turn at translating one of the MOST BRIEF TEXTS in the whole rite:

Dignum et iustum est.

And look what we come up with! A gazillion different ways we think it should be translated and why we think it should be translated this way and not that way!

Imagine what the ICEL Commission (old and new!) had to cope with / is now coping with in producing, not simply one line, but the whole Order of Mass - not to mention the 2000 or so Collects, Prayers over the Gifts and Postcommunions!

Some thoughts on the previous post however.

"Et cum spiritu tuo" is not as simple as we might at first think. Anyone who thinks it's simply a question of saying "and with your spirit" might want to look at Joseph A. Jungmann, S.J.'s magisterial work "The Mass of the Roman Rite" (2 vols. 1953, but now Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, reprint 1992) - Missarum Sollemnia is its original title, and Cardinal Ratzinger refers to it several times in The Spirit of the Liturgy. Jungmann has no fewer than six references to this phrase across two volumes, and refers to it as a "classic Hebraism" - where "spiritus" means "the entire person." He says: "We render its full meaning by saying simply, 'And with you too.'" One is struck by the fact that the great Biblical translator, Ronald Knox, in translating the Order of Mass for Burns & Oates (Sheed and Ward) HOLY WEEK BOOK in 1955 rendered it, "and with you, his minister." Which is not to say that "and with your spirit" isn't a nice, pleasant-sounding, "traditional-sounding" translation. The point is that, translations-wise, some things are not as simple as they at first appear, and if we try to make them so, we may end up appearing more simple-minded than we wish.

The poster also says that the (current) ICEL text renders the beginning of the Preface: "We always do well" and notes that this is "a flat out lie." Sorry, but the translation doesn't say that at all! It says: "We do well always and everywhere to give you thanks" NOT "We always do well". Now, it's a horrible translation (in MY opinion!). They're trying to communicate: dignum, iustum, aequum and salutare: it behooves us big time, folks! As in a very formal admonition "You would do well always to have your reading assignments done in advance of class". It may have been Canada that in pre-ICEL standardized English days rendered the people's preceding response (Dignum et iustum est) as: "It is worthy and right." The priest then began the Preface by inverting that: "Right and worthy it is, our saving duty and our delight, always and everywhere to give you thanks . . ." (again trying to capture the sense of worship's being not only an obligation but a grace-filled one).

"Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation" is just the modern English equivalent of the Jewish berakah, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe." A pity though they (the Latin originators) didn't go with the first proposal (C. Braga, Preparazione delle Doni) from the Didache (over the bread): "As the bread which we break was sown as grain on the hillsides and has been gathered to form but one bread, so from the ends of the earth, let your Church be gathered into your Kingdom." The proposed text for the setting-apart of the chalice was from Wisdom 9: "Wisdom has built herself a house, she has prepared her table and brought forth her wine." Of course the Tridentine prayers were rejected as anticipating the Canon: in fact, at the point in the old rite where the priest said "Receive this spotless Host" - it was not yet a Host (i.e. a Victim), but only a piece of bread; spotless, one hopes! but no Victim!

As for the problem with "Bread of Life" - don't blame ICEL for that one. The culprit there is Jesus: John 6:48.

And after a whole string of people complaining that the present ICEL isn't LITERAL and ACCURATE enough, we conclude by complaining about the literal translation of DEO GRATIAS. It's "Thanks be to God" no matter how you cut it - anything else would be (gasp!) - paraphrase, interpretation, expansion according to the translator's insights/feelings/biases.

And we can't have that anymore!

If nothing else, this whole exchange does show just how difficult it can be to translate liturgical texts not only accurately but meaningfully - and that what Msgr. Ronald Knox said 60 years ago is just as true today: Translators often face the dilemma - shall my translation be literal or literary? It isn't easy to come up with one translation that is both.

Nor do all those who make it on to official commissions always come to the table with the requisite technical skills! Remember, these are not the same as the requisite ecclesiastical connections. One member of the current Vox Clara commission, for instance, once provided the headline for his diocesan newspaper when the new bishop was appointed. Thinking to imitate "Habemus Papam", the paper's giant headline screamed "Habemus Episcopam" - those first and second declension exceptions will get you every time! :-)

One thing we can be sure of about the forthcoming ICEL text: it will contain something to displease everyone!

But beware of those "literal" translations:

Beati immaculati in via:

Blessed are the pure . . . in a way!

6/8/05 10:23  
Blogger Un Séminariste said...

The one that always makes me go tilt is "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again" right in front of the just consecrated Eucharist. I always feel like jumping up and saying "WAIT, there He is now!" It's no wonder so many people don't believe in the substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist.


In Latin, it is Mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine, et tuam resurrectionem confitemur, donec venias... "We announce your death, O Lord, and we confess your resurrection, until you come [again]."

"Christ has died, Christ is risen..." strikes me as nothing but a paraphrase of the Latin. So, would you say the same thing about the Latin?

With a proper understanding, I think that "Christ has died..." is no less appropriate or accurate than the Latin original. I would only disagree with "Christ has died..." inasmuch as it is not in the original text but is in fact an ICEL composition.

6/8/05 13:11  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...


"yanking the rosaries out of old ladies' hands" ... !!! Oh, really!

When's the last time you looked around at a mass where a large portion of the attendees is elderly? (oops, that's not hard to find at all, any more, is it?)

I think you exaggerate more than necessary, assuming exaggeration is necessary at all.

My parish has a group that prays the rosary in front of the "Lady Statue" each Sunday before the main mass. No one sneers; no catcalls; no sniggering. Not too many people join in, but those who do seem to be accepted by the rest. Some of them are "old ladies" of both genders and some aren't.

6/8/05 17:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Et cum spiritu tuo" is literally "and with your spirit." And that's what should be there...not some vague weirdness like "and also with you." It is meant to address the priest qua priest. It's not a street greeting--like anyone needs to be told that. When was the last time you said that to anyone on the bus?

The difference between the "old" ICEL's efforts and our efforts (and hopefully Vox Clara's efforts) is that the old ICEL's intent was malicious and the new is not, we hope. There was a large contingent in the church which wished to change the church from the inside--update it--because they were ASHAMED of it. Bull. They had every right to be ashamed of themselves but they should not project it onto the church. We are not ashamed of her.

Ok, the whole phrase is "We do well always and everywhere to give you thanks." This is a lame statement because it's directed at God, who doesn't need to be told this. AND it's mundane and we don't do anything well always and everywhere.....much less give God thanks. It's hokey.

If "Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation," means "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe" then we'd ought to say that instead of the mealymouthed watered-down version we have.

The whole memorial thing "Christ has died, etc." is an ICEL addition anyway. It shouldn't even be there.....

And Gyro, I'm aware that Deo Gratias comes down literally as "Thanks be to God." But I still think it's funny.

6/8/05 21:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask older ladies, Jimmy, and see if they say that they were forced to put the rosaries away.... And see if they say they were castigated--even made fun of--and made to feel that rosaries were inappropriate in church.

Catholics who are traditional have been abused in the worst way verbally. I've been abused verbally by progressives. I don't take it anymore. No one has to take that kind of browbeating. Not for politics, not for power, not for the progressives' pride. That's not what Catholicism is about.

And of course I mean the female kind when I say "old ladies." You are confused.

6/8/05 21:25  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...


RE: et cum spiritu tuo. Congratulations on completely bypassing any reference whatsoever to anything Jungmann had to say. The issue is NOT to whom it is addressed (your "priest qua priest") but what the text means, and there is a sufficient amount of scholarship that sees the text as a Semitism referring to the WHOLE PERSON and not to the spirit vs. the flesh. "And with your spirit," is - indeed - a more pleasant sounding translation (in my opinion) but it is NOT necessarily more accurate or correct in light of the extensive research that has been done. Just be humble enough to say that IT'S YOUR OPINION that THAT is what should be there. Don't dismiss the alternative as obvious nonsense when to people who know a lot more than you do, it's not that obvious. Then again, I suppose, never let scholarship or facts get in the way of a good old-fashioned rant . . . and go for the simple, even when the question you're dealing with is obviously complex. Just be aware that this often shows the advocate of the simple answer to be, in fact, simple-minded.

And re: "We do well always and everywhere to give you thanks" - the problem wasn't that you omitted the whole phrase, the problem was that YOU GOT THE INITIAL PHRASE WRONG ("We always do well"), branded YOUR MISQUOTE a "FLAT OUT LIE", and then proceeded to construct your rant around YOUR MISTAKEN QUOTE! For God's sake, just be honest. You screwed up by misquoting something and then ranting about it - your whole subsquent argument was based on your screw-up.

And then: SINISTER FORCES are at work in the old ICEL! And your sources are? Conspiracy theories! Did you know, michigancatholic, that that bad old ICEL crowd were found to be in possession of the bullet that killed both Kennedys and Martin Luther King, Jr., before it circled the planet for over 10 years and hit the Pope in St Peter's Square in 1981? And the final edition of the old ICEL Sacramentary was dropped off by UFO!

RE: "Christ has died." The 1969 ICEL addition was added because the provisions of the translation guidelines then in effect, Comme le prevoit, as well as the Praenotanda of the various rites issued between 1969 and 1974 INVITED Bishops' Conferences to suggest ADDITIONAL COMPOSITIONS - so your statement that "it shouldn't have been there to begin with" is flat-out wrong. Don't judge the old ICEL, working under Comme le prevoit, by the criteria governing the work of the new ICEL, working under Liturgiam authenticam. Again, doing so makes for a simple argument, but it's simple-minded.

And literal translations are OK - indeed necessary - except when they strike you as funny?

Please tell me YOU are NOT on Vox Clara - or anything else more official than Whispers in the Loggia. Before passing down definitive pontifications it would help to know what you're talking about.

7/8/05 01:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

News for you, Gyro. "Et cum spiritu tuo" means literally word-for-word "and with your spirit," and for your information, that was the literal translation before Vatican II. Whatever possessed ICEL to change it I don't know. I can only guess, but it wasn't good.

Also, I understand what you are trying to tell me about "We do well always and everywhere to give you thanks." You and probably a couple of other speedreaders would like to tell me that the phrase in question says that we *would* do well always and everywhere to thank God. But that's not what is says!! The verb tense is wrong. It says "we do well always and everywhere to give God thanks" and the fact is we don't do that, we aren't doing that. Lousy grammar or lying--take your pick.

7/8/05 03:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gyro, ICEL had nothing to do with the assasination of Kennedy. =) But it was full of dissidents and more than a few sex abusers. Check out the (old) news here:

AND if you have been paying any attention to what's going on with ICEL, it was reconstituted by the Holy See a few years ago because its performance stunk. They can't get anything approved, in case you haven't noticed. Not even NAB Old Testament which is still sold in the US with sections rejected by the Holy See. Why? We don't have anything else. Sad.

And I won't even start with the inclusive language joke.

"Comme le prevoit" has been ruled illegitimate finally. It NEVER should have been allowed because, among other things, it opened the door for "original" compositions which weren't supposed to be there. ICEL's crappy "original" compositions are one of the things that finally brought the Vatican down on them. And rightly so. They tried to screw up the ordination rite.

It would help you if you weren't so verbally abusive. You progressives are mighty ready to drop names but you don't know as much as you think.

7/8/05 03:58  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

Dear Michigancatholic:

First of all, when it comes to "not knowing as much as you think", luv, I'd take it easy, since you appear to have gotten your Ph.D. at Google University with a major in Adoremus-isms. Caveat emptor! (Since you like Latin!).

As do I: and that's point #2. I'm hardly a progressive, unless you call someone a progressive who goes to a considerable amount of difficulty to be present at the Tridentine Mass daily.

Then, name-dropping. The only names I've dropped so far are the well-known radicals Josef Jungmann and Ronald Knox (both dead lo these many years!).

As for YOUR name-dropping and rather serious accusations (re: sex-abuse and ICEL) - and, surprise - your MISINFORMATION: the link you give (to Adoremus, of course, no friends they to our beloved Tridentine Mass, being primarily in favor of the Novus Ordo in Latin), names people involved in the FDLC, the USCCB, the BCL and the NFCYM - NOT ICEL! The only two ICEL names are those of a John Page and Jim Schellman, who were at a meeting where one of the accused was present. None of those named as accused in that article were part of ICEL. Like I said before, michigancatholic, you never let facts get in the way of a good rant, do you?

Furthermore, it's not "news to me" that " 'et cum spiritu tuo' means literally word-for-word 'and with your (why not THY?) spirit'". But it will come as news to you (if you bother reading any further, since you clearly skipped everything I wrote previously about Jungmann's research), that it was NOT - as you claim - "the literal translation before Vatican II." Dear - there WAS no translation (not for official use, anyway) before Vatican II. And Missals varied from version to version. One thinks of the classic (and most popular throughout the UK) Finberg-O'Connell Missal that went through innumberable printings right up until 1962 (filled with Thee-Thou English, by the way!), which translated it simply, "And with you." And - to drop a radical name again, Ronald Knox's HOLY WEEK BOOK (1955), "and with you, his minister." These folks were not trying to destroy the orthodox faith of Roman Catholicism, but they were trying to take seriously the research referred to in the several-times-now ignored by you work of Jungmann and other scholars.

All I asked you to do was acknowledge, with just a smidgin of humility, that when it comes to providing accurate and orthodox translations, it is often not simply a matter of literalism. And I told you, wild-eyed progressive that I am, that I prefer "and with your spirit" and hope that THAT will be the definitive text.

Onward with the humility-thing: you've still not acknowledged that in your first posting YOU SIMPLY GOT IT WRONG. You said "We always do well . . . is a flat out lie." All I said was: you got it wrong. And you did! But, as is the pattern with your posts, no need to let facts get in the way of a good rant!

Let me finish by clearing up just two more points of misinformation you've given us:

ICEL had nothing to do with the NAB. So sorry! That would have come to us through a committee of the United States bishops' conference.

And "Comme le prevoit" was not ruled "illegitimate" - it was an official document of the Holy See, and ICEL - as did every other language-group liturgical commission - not only CHOSE to work under its provisions, it HAD to work under its provisions until further determination was made by the Holy See. "Comme le prevoit" was superceded by "Liturgiam authenticam" which reversed some of its directives, clarified others, and vastly (and helpfully)expanded the guidelines under which translators are now to work on liturgical (and to some extent) biblical texts. It's YOUR opinion that "it should never have been allowed" - just as I suppose you can feel that way about anything published by the Holy See, progressive Catholic that YOU are! But you can't say that "Original compositions . . . weren't supposed to be there." If the previous document of the Holy See asked for them, then they had every right to be there. Just as, if the Holy See NOW does NOT want any original compositions, that's the prerogative of the Holy See as well, according to us traditional Catholics anyhow!

Finally, I did not mean to be verbally abusive towards you, and rereading my post I don't think I was. I do not think it was verbal abuse to say that, in matters of liturgical legislation and translation, you don't know what you're talking about, since you've proven that with successive posts full of misinformation. And never an intimation that anyone might have a legitimate alternative point of view ("in my opinion" or "it seems to me").

But, then, you DID begin this whole thing by saying "The present mass doesn't communicate to me at all." That's TRULY the word of a progressive Catholic, since as long as the Mass is communicating with almighty God, all's well with the Church and the world, even as we wait for the better translations that are sure to come - and sure NOT to satisfy everyone!

Happens in Latin too: just get traditionalist Catholics fighting over the Vulgate vs. the Pian Psalter!

7/8/05 09:59  
Blogger Tony said...

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

8/8/05 13:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about the misunderstanding on the Adoremus article. I did misread the article. I'm sorry for the inaccurate reference there.

Explain to me, though, how come the ICEL credit occurs in the frontisplate of all the editions of the NAB. Who translated/prepared it in English?

And also do you have an explanation why ICEL is being reorganized with Vox Clara alongside? Surely, the Holy See has a reason. According to your information, what is it?

And I would like to know the passage in the documents of Vatican II where it says extended original compositions are okay to use in the Mass.

There's an interesting thing that happens when people quote documents (and names of documents) at each other (especially in comboxes). What happens is that the documents get "set in stone," and the more sensible and historical meanings associated with the original objects of the documents drop out. (Sort of like what happened with V2 in total.)

For instance, there never was a consensus that "comme le prevoit" should be used to draft large quantities of original material for liturgical use (ie. the prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours, for instance). Among some, there was the belief that in the process of translation using "comme le prevoit," because of its nature, more or less original composition would be required. However, that was nowhere the rule, since others disagreed, even only if in principle. After all, taking this to its maximum would mean rewriting every single thing, all out of whole cloth! And no precise amount imagined was ever set out in "comme le prevoit" itself, if I have read it right. Please correct me if I am wrong.

So suddenly this is a big issue and the Vatican has reversed itself? I think not. I think it has always been a controversial issue and perhaps it has just come to a head because too many liberties have clearly been taken in a situation where more restrained behavior had previously been expected.

It's a little like a fresh young man, upset about being slapped after clearly getting out of line by community standards, who says, "But she never told me I couldn't!!"

Does everyone NEED to be told exactly what they can't do? What kind of a church would that be, if so?

8/8/05 20:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Along with millions of other Catholics, I find Mass difficult at times. I go every week, because I know Mass is about worshipping God and I want to do that.

But the very poor translations, the really odd sense that people are trying to manufacture the Mass (like they manufacture a jr. school play), and the just-plain-bad music makes it difficult to concentrate, much less participate in prayer properly. Surely you can understand that. The Novus Ordo, as commonly done, is simply not reverent; indeed, often not even intended as worship, but rather as celebration (of ourselves).

We have lost the ancient distinction among quite different things: "who God is," "what God has done" and "what we are to God." We conflate them into "We are good because God loves us. Period." And that's messed up--He loves us, but only as a result of His incredible goodness and unsurpassingly bad taste. ;)

We need for the Holy See to step in and straighten things out. I'm not the only one who thinks so. They could start with the grammar; or the music; or the orientation of the priest; or all the laypeople up wandering about. I don't care where they start, but they need to begin soon. The church is a shambles and the longer they wait, the fewer people can remember or imagine how it's supposed to look....

8/8/05 21:05  
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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