Saturday, June 24, 2006

On the Liturgy

In an interview with the Catholic Standard & Times here in Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali speaks at length on The Vote and what happens next.

As you liturgy junkies know, the insights are especially worth looking at as the cardinal is a member of Vox Clara commission, which will advise the Congregation for Divine Worship on the recognitio for the USCCB's approved texts. Vox Clara meets again in mid-July.
“The job [of the immediate post-Conciliar translation] had to be done in a short period of time,” Cardinal Rigali said. “The difficulty was that not every translation is pleasing to everybody. They did the best they could. Little by little, these texts were approved by the bishops of the individual nations.”

And so it was that the first edition of the Roman Missal in English was produced, and Americans began to worship in English for the first time in the history of the Church.

But the translation wasn’t perfect. Twenty-five years later, Pope John Paul II issued a document called, “The Twenty-fifth Year” ["Venticesimus Quintus Annus"]. In it, the pope recounted how Vatican II had authorized the translation of the Mass and sacraments, and how grateful the Church was for the work that had been done in this area.

“However, no one ever claimed the translations were perfect or as good as they should be, because they were done under great pressure,” Cardinal Rigali said. “It could have taken decades [to do this work] because of the amount of text [but it did not].”

Now, said Pope John Paul II, the time had come for the Church to look at those translations and try to improve them, to make them more faithful to the original, dignified texts — texts that can be proclaimed effectively.

“He never suggested these texts had to be translated slavishly,” the Cardinal said. “But they had to be more than just a paraphrase. They had to be faithful, pleasing, artistic.”....

“[The new translation] was to be faithful, taking into account all the words, not just the ideas,” Cardinal Rigali said. “It was not to be a slavish translation, but it had to account for all the words — not a ‘dynamic equivalent.’ In many cases, we are translating the Word of God so we have to do more than paraphrase.”