It occurs to me that liberal Jew and pop-culture touchstone Steven Spielberg might be a better guide to translation than the hierarchy.
When the American industrialist and secret Nazi, Donovan, and the comely Dr. Elsa Schneider enter the knight’s Grail chamber, they choose poorly: a bejeweled chalice. When Indiana Jones is forced to choose, he chooses a humble “cup of a carpenter” and it turns out to be the true Grail.
Imagine a gaggle of Catholic bishops finding their way into Spielberg’s Grail Knight’s chamber. Would there be anyone left alive by the end?
Wow! What a thoughtful comment to make! Angry, are we? Too bad you didn’t follow Peter Nixon’s tact and offer some constructive criticism.
All things considered, our first run with the new translation went fine. I did find it necessary to use the missalette and knowing my memory, will need to continue this well into 2012.
It sounds more formal and our priest admitted that while he had practiced a lot, he was still a bit nervous, but he did fine.
After mass, shaking hands outside where we (the KC guys) were selling Christmas cards, and the Mexican vendors selling fresh (warm) churros and corn on the cob, most folks congratulated Father on how he handled the new wording.
I liked the readings and the Gospel, and how the priest tied everything together.
Overall, the new translation sounds nice and in our parish anyway, it is well received.
I’m baaack. I thought the changes went over well at my parish. They warranted only a brief mention during the homily before Fr. moved on to the readings. The world did not end.
Hilarious, Eduardo! Thanks for the laugh! You’ve said a lot in only two sentences.
The use of the word ‘chalice’ to translate ‘calicem’ is a classic example of ‘a false friend’ translation — which all learners of a new language are warned against. To plead that ‘it reflects the Latin closely’ is not really true — nor does it reflect the Greek ‘original text’. Various ‘antique cups’ claimed to be associated with the Last Supper, for example, the agate stone cup in the metropolitan Church at Valencia, Spain; the so-called Antioch Chalice shown at the Metropolitan Museum in New York is metal cup. Both of these cups though antique have been ”dressed up” with handles and gold or silver work which ‘ennobles’ the simple cup. On 9 July in 2006 Pope Benedict used this Valencia “Holy Grail” in his celebration of Mass outside before the crowds.
It’s one thing to have a liturgy crammed with words that call attention to themselves, but it’s even more disorienting when — on the first Sunday of Advent — the married deacon is clothed in a flaming purple/red, decorated chasuble. After that sight, one hears hardly anything. Escape is the only option.
We “practiced” before mass. After the greeting our pastor confessed his nervousness which drew laughter and put us at ease.
Wise Jesuits know how to select the appropriate penitential rite.
Eucharistic prayer went well. Our pastor who had clearly practiced before hand had difficulty with the convoluted translation.
A good start!
“I think I’m going to go grab a chalice of scotch.”
That fits in well with a reaction I got from an older woman after mass yesterday. When I asked her opinion, she said: “And with your many spirits – but not all.”
Scotch is a pretty good spirit my book, but I don’t keep it under my roof nonetheless. But I’m willing to be open-minded and consubstantial about the idea.
Eduardo: You reflect my own sentiments. If I were still in Ithaca, I’d join you!
Read and (1) weep, (2) laugh, or (3) wretch – choose from the many, not all:
Breaking down along partisan lines, sadly. I’ll grant that the new translation may be swinging the pendulum a bit far in the direction of word-for-word rendering. But I really don’t see how those concerns can outweigh the substantial body of language that was simply left out in the previous translation, esp. of the propers, prefaces, etc. This is all the more persuasive when you realize how many Scriptural references were occluded – Vatican II made big dramatic changes towards more Scripture in the liturgy; it makes no sense to invoke its spirit in favor of a translation that was far less redolent of Scripture. As for implementation, at our parish this has been a really nice opportunity to pay some extra attention to the words of the liturgy. No, this won’t last forever, but by the same token what is now awkward will become routine with time.
Ours is a parish with a large Hispanic population, and this actually makes the English liturgy closer to the Spanish in many respects. I find it highly condescending to assume that your ordinary Catholic can’t comprehend and use some language that is a little more removed, in vocabulary and syntax, from the lowest common denominator. Most people have to deal with legal language and the syntax of board resolutions and the like, at some point in their lives. These are unusual in syntax and vocabulary, and in the case of the latter, explicitly mirror Latin syntax in the way people now find objectionable in the liturgy – extended sentences full of relative clauses, for example. If people can gain from this kind of ceremonial language in civic contexts, why do they suddenly become linguistic incompetents as soon as they get into the pews? And if the Church could go through the switch from pre- to post-Vatican II in the liturgy, as dramatic as that was, then surely the switch from “and also with you” to “and with your spirit” is something the People of God can handle!
I wonder why it is problematic to be reminded that the liturgy, though very much a present reality, is not something we just cooked up ex tempore on Sunday morning, but has an historical continuity and life. Of course it has changed, but it is something with a history.
I’m truly baffled why this is the occasion of so much rancor on this blog, at least as far as the substance of the translation is concerned. Again, I concede that “chalice” for “cup” is arguably overreaching for the literal. But take the example from Sunday:
“May these mysteries, O Lord,
in which we have participated,
profit us, we pray,
for even now, as we walk amid passing things,
you teach us by them to love the things of heaven
and hold fast to what endures.”
may our communion
teach us to love heaven.
May its promise and hope
guide our way on earth.”
I’m borrowing this point from Anthony Esolen at (*gasp*) First Things, but notice that the first brings to mind phrases from Scripture that are part of our (peculiarly English) linguistic history – “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (KJV) Also Ecclesiastes, and the parable of the talents which we had as the Sunday Gospel recently. More broadly, the new translation of this prayer simply says a lot more about the relationship between the things of heaven and the things of earth: the relationship is spelled out with more richness and attention to complexity. Why should we just lose all of that, especially since Vatican II wanted us to get closer to Scripture in the liturgy?
Were you at my parish by any chance? I wore a purple dalmatic, though I don’t think it was flaming.
And is celibacy now a requirement for wearing liturgical vestments?
Joseph that happens to be a notoriously bad example, and Esolen’s failure to catch the obvious mistake in translation does no credit to him. See this:
FYI, calix can be translated as cup or chalice. Chalice is not more literal.
Sorry, I duplicated something Phil Sandstrom already said above. But Joseph seemed not to have noted it.
Rita, is it a “glaring howler”, or just an ambiguous antecedent?
They started to jump on poor Eduardo, but many understand the point he made!
Imoprove the language? Who will listen (see e.g. chalice)?
Imrove the faith of the faithful?
By taking THEM seriouisly , not a cabal that “highjacked” the translation!
Jim, darling, when they spend years going over this with a fine tooth comb, it’s a howler. Where were the 7,000 experts when we needed them? Too many cooks?
You don’t like “chalice?” Well, I didn’t like “and also with you.” So we’re even. Let’s talk in 50 years.
Now that you mention “and also with you”: the mere phrase “and with you” would have sufficed for a mistranslation, if a mistranslation was all that was needed. Why be redundant too?
Joseph, how do you see “prosint’ as an allusion to Mark, 8:36? — “quid enim proderit homini si lucretur mundum totum et detrimentum faciat animae suae”? It seems a bit far-fetched to me. (You will have to help me with Ecclesiastes.)
With a concordance to the Vulgate in one hand and a concordance to the Missale in the other, one can claim to “find” Scripture allusions in every other line of the liturgical texts. Scripture allusions should certainly be accounted for, but surely some method is needed in searching for them. The same with regard to patristic allusions in the prayers.
I suggest “goblet” as a compromise.
Catherine: the term “flaming” has a certain homophilic ring to it. Be careful how you use it.
The Bishop of Covington decrees that the prayers be read precisely as written, not a jot or tittle altered. He then goes on to prescribe new rubrics for the Our Father!
Sorry, I got it wrong about the Our Father. The holding of hands is an importation from Protestant liturgies, due to Catholics’ longing for a more vital and human liturgy, which our clerical bureaucrats have long denied them.
Protestant importation or not, I am not big on the hand holding for the Lord’s Prayer. I will do it if forced, but my preference is to save the flesh-pressing for the sign of peace handshake.
I am also not a both-hands-and-arms-upraised or a happy-clapping to the song type. I leave those dramatics to others who apparently are more extroverted. There is nothing wrong with all that; it is just not my style.
I simply like to go to mass, try to commune with my Maker, try to listen to the priest and learn something, and ask forgiveness for my sins.
Somewhat off-topic here, but virtually every parish I’ve attended has one or more older parishioners (mostly women) who effectively (or ineffectively?) concelebrate the Mass. During the Eucharistic Prayer, they’ve got their hands extended and they’re quietly muttering the prayer along with the celebrant. It’s so common that now, when I’m visiting a new parish, I look around to see who the lay”concelebrants” are. Almost invariably, I find at least one.
I don’t know what it means—other than the fact that there’s a lot more going on at a typical Sunday Mass than many bishops, theologians and priests are aware of.
Your succinct observation made me laugh until tears ran down my cheeks! Thank you! It was a much needed moment of levity in the midst of this terrible transition.