Friday, June 23, 2006

Brilliant Analysis of the Language Debates of Two Weeks Past

While we still don't have a report from the Bishops Committee on the Liturgy as to what exactly was approved at the meeting in Los Angeles two weeks ago, Father "Z", Minnesota's ambassador to Rome, via St Agnes, has found and annotated a wonderful analysis of what the arguments were all about in the Wall Street Journal.

Father "Z,s" comments are in red.

Last week the U.S. Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved changes to the wording of the Mass that will significantly affect how Roman Catholics pray. Instead of an expected split vote, the bishops deliberated for only 20 minutes before deciding 173-23 in favor of a new English translation of the Latin Order of the Mass.

The bishops’ decision follows decades of displeasure with the current English translation. Drafted in 1970 by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy and in use ever since, the translation has been criticized as banal, uninspiring and inaccurate (one fastidious Latinist counted over 400 errors in the ordinary parts of the Mass alone). A rather straightforward response such as "and with your spirit" (et cum spiritu tuo) was rendered, "and also with you," while entire phrases were omitted or even inserted. In the Roman canon, for example, "a pure Victim . . . a spotless Victim" was ignored and "We come to you Father with praise and thanksgiving" added, the effect being that even the holiest part of the Mass seems more focused on us than on the Sacrifice. (TELL IT BROTHER!!)

It is difficult to believe that these errors were not intentional (no other translation–Spanish, German, Italian–has had such extensive problems), and indeed, according to some insiders, the committee’s decisions were ideologically driven. The Rev. Stephen Somerville, one of the original members of ICEL’s Advisory Board, apologized in 2002 for "the bold mistranslations" that "weaken[ed] the Latin Catholic liturgy." (QUAERITUR: What should the penance be for that?) [snip] Read the Rest

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