29 November 2017

Oh dear. They want some more Liturgy Wars. UPDATE

The liturgical destroyers within the Church Militant ... at least, the Anglophone among them ... have maintained a relentless detestation of the current English translation of the Roman Rite. What they have campaigned for is the 1998 feminist draft translation; which was thrown out by Rome (unauthorised, unpublished) because ... it was feminist.

[It also, in accordance with the fashion of the day, added new brilliantly clever English euchological confections as 'alternatives' to the translated Latin texts.] 

These grieving groups were given new hope recently by the motu proprio Magnum principium. They claimed that this document reopened the entire question of English Liturgy, and gave them grounds to hope that they could burn all the current English liturgical books, and spend large amounts of parochial money buying new ones. Back to 1998!! [They failed to mention that Magnum principium gives no permission to anybody to add their own clever compositions to the texts translated from the Third Edition of the Roman Missal.]

The recent meeting of the CBCEW revealed that the CDW had been asked whether this claim was right; and had replied that Magnum principium was not retroactive. No to 1998!!!! Sad days for Tablet readers! Disaster for ACTA!!

A secretary to the Conference announced this to the Press in these words: "There has been a significant amount of information and correspondence received about the 1998 translation of the Missal, unfortunately Magnum Principium does not allow us to go back to that [1998] translation of the Missal; we have the 2010 translation of the Missal which is our standard edition now and we are looking forward to the translation of the new liturgical books".*

Yes ... he said "unfortunately".

Well, we all misspeak. My wife tells me that I do it most of the time. What a shame the clergyman concerned isn't lucky enough to have a wife to keep him on the straight and narrow. He looks and sounds the sort of thoroughly pleasant and sensible bloke that any girl would be glad to have. I'm sure all the poor chap really meant was a kindly "I'm sorry to have to tell the Tablet and ACTA that the answer to their dearest hopes is No".

On the other hand, we are surely entitled occasionally to wonder whether such sweet little slips might possibly sometimes be revealing. One can never be totally sure that one isn't being given a peep into the subconscious assumptions of the bureaucrats who serve Episcopal Conferences throughout the world. 

I remain convinced that Joseph Ratzinger, and more recently Gerhard Mueller, were right to emphasise the very strictly limited competences of Episcopal Conferences and the dangers lurking in their already overpowerful bureaucracies. In my humble opinion, those two Eminences are not often wrong about anything. 

And if they are, my own settled preference is generally to accompany them in their edifying errors.

*UPDATE: Fr Thomas tells me that "The use of the word "unfortunately" was meant not in respect of the bishops not being able to go back to the 1998 translation, but in the fact that the desire of the correspondents with me would not be met. The context therefore of the "unfortunately" is that it is linked to the misinterpretation of the motu proprio and those who had wanted the return to the 1998 translation of the Missal." I am glad to present this clarification to readers, and to have added to my blog posting a fuller citation (supra) of Father's words.


Tony V said...

The 1998 translation retains those defects of the 1970 translations that I find so annoying: 'We' believe for Credo, 'And also with you', etc. (see http://liturgy.co.nz/failed-1998-english-missal-translation).

As a layman (are we allowed to use the word 'man'?) I tend to focus on the people's bits. I don't like being made to say deliberate mistranslations.

I suspect a lot of 'progressives' who are jumping on the 1998 Ruffian bandwagon have not bothered to compare the available translations to the original Latin text.

Steve said...

Why do they worry so. Most N.O. priests make up their own words in the Mass anyway.

E sapelion said...

The 1998 was huge, and no doubt contains many flaws. I do not want it adopted as it stands BUT - The translated 'collects', by which I mean the opening Prayer and the 'Prayer over the gifts' the 'Prayer after communion' and the 'Prayer over the people', are good translations, and in better English than those we now have. Since the congregation only get one chance to hear them, they need to be understood not just to university educated Englishmen, but in the backstreets of Manchester, Milwaukee, and Manila. A slim volume of approved alternative prayers, just one copy for the priest, would answer much of the objection to the present OF Missal. But please no changes to the peoples' parts for at least another decade.

vetusta ecclesia said...

The only retrospective change I should like to see is the replacement of "in a similar way" with the proper English "likewise".

vetusta ecclesia said...

The only retrospective change I should like to see is the replacement of "in a similar way" with the proper English "likewise".

Randolph Crane said...

BTW, the NOM may also be celebrated in Latin - not only Mass, but everything the Liturgy has to offer!

@E sapelion

I understand your criticism, but it is still the Liturgy, and not some smut you find in a book store for .99 ct. Even if the vernacular translation can never meet the greatness of the Latin original, it still needs to be written in a high form of the language to express dignity, and solemnity. Liturgy doesn't need to be understood, since it's not a talk show, but intimate communication with God. I know, the NOM is all about the congregation, but Liturgy really isn't (the NOM, if celebrated according to the rubrics is actually pretty theocentric).

Over 2,000 years "people in the backstreets of Manchester" have been pious Catholics, although they didn't understand Latin, and probably weren't educated enough to understand it if they had a pew missal. Or do you really want the Eucharistic Prayer beginning with "Yeah, the ol' lad up ther' is good 'n' all, y'know?"

"Collect" is the proper name of the daily oration with the great conclusion. The others are just "orations".

Also, I think we really don't need more alternative prayers. We have so many already. The liturgical abuses won't stop if you give the priests even more freedom for their misguided creativity.

The only thing that would help us, or anyone, would be a faithful translation of the Latin original using the highest and best form of the language it has to offer. It would help people to understand that they are not on the market or in the line for fish and chips, but that they have left the secular world, and entered the heavenly Jerusalem (which is the Church).

Why is good poetry so famous? Not because it's standard everyday English (or any vernacular language for that matter), but because it lifts up the spirit, and has an inherent nobility in its use of language.

ccc said...

I, taking the lead of Waugh, refuse to say any of the prayers in the vulgar - though I do tend to say them silently in the latin on the rare occasion I attend the NO.

Tony V said...

I say them in Latin when I want to embarass my kids. Which is pretty often.
Now I understand my parents so much more...

E sapelion said...

@Randolph Crane
I want elegant, dignified and euphonious language that is as easy to understand as possible given the need to be theologically rich and precise.
I think this, 1998 :

Almighty God,
strengthen the resolve of your faithful people
to prepare for the coming of your Christ
by works of justice and mercy,
so that when we go forth to meet him
he may call us to sit at his right hand
and possess the kingdom of heaven.

flows better than, 2012:

Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom.

Removing the work to overcome the stop-start nature of the 2012 leaves people free to absorb the meaning. Sub-clauses don't usually work well in English, and confuse the uneducated. In this case (Collect 1st Sunday in Advent) just ignoring the commas works well enough, if the priest has the wit to do that.
The problem is less important in the fixed parts of the liturgy, because these are absorbed by repetition.

TLMWx said...

The problem as always is orientation. The prayers are addressed to God. It is how the Church addresses Him that matters. Whether uneducated Billy understands the prayers or not is not really the issue surely. God allows for all states of intellectual abilities when he dispenses His graces. E sapelion, yes its flows better but in a banal way. I can plainly see, hear, and know that 2012 is more dignified in its expression and more punchy.

Paul Hellyer said...

The traditional Latin Mass was understood by everybody. All classes were before God worshiping Him. Now we hardly ever see the poor, the uneducated. Only the middle class and those educated enough to realise that the NO is still the Mass still attend.
But due to arrogance of the clergy reformers those poor uneducated people no longer come to Mass. What huge damage has been done to the Church!how many souls are lost to the Catholic church as a result?