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A Striking Contrast

Three additional thoughts in what is already a rich, although very depressing, discussion about the new English translation of the Roman missal.First, I have read, very carefully, the many examples quoted in MWO'Reilly's post below, of prayers from the new translation. I have declaimed them in my mind, extending the pauses as necessary and emphasizing words to make the meaning clear and even give some power and beauty to overall Latinate construction.I think it can be done. I think Bob Imbelli will be able to do it. So will any other presider with a very good voice, unusual reading and speaking talent, and perhaps a Shakespearean sense of rhythm. And how many of these are there in most of our parishes for most of our Masses? I am old enough to remember the way most priests handled the Latin of yore. It was atrocious.Second, I have read the Anthony Esolen's article about the new translation at the First Things website, which someone who likes the translation recommended in an earlier thread on this topic. Esolen's article is based on a simple premise: If the first post-Vatican II translation was bad, the new one must be good. But decades ago there was a very broad consensus that the first translation was seriously wanting. The bishops and ICEL were hard at work on a new translation that captured much of what the first one had lost and was motivated by at least many of the concerns Esolen reflects. The effort was suddenly ripped out of their hands. Any fair comparison has to compare examples of their effort to those of the new translation.Finally, what is very striking about Esolens article is the contrast between his own genuinely English prose and the Latinized English of the prayers. His prose: short sentences, varied rhythms, colorful and vernacular vocabulary. His explanations of the prayers are forcefull and accessible. The prayers themselves are at best ok; they certainly need those explanations. I am not proposing Esolens prose as a model for the Mass. But the contrast is telling.

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Given that the average kid in catechism has no freaking idea why there are three purple and one pink candles in the Advent wreath (I had to explain this to my kids girlfriend who was received a similarly abysmal Catholic education through CCD in a nearby rural parish), much less knows what the parousia is or what theologoumena means, Im skeptical. ----Hi, Jean. I remember when the Advent wreath was a new fad (for American Catholics). Late 1940s. The nuns in grade school urged us to get our parents to put one up. Mine didn't, and I didn't care. I saw an article the other day, maybe in Saveur, where the editors discussed what they ate in their childhood homes on Christmas Eve. One said, I have no idea why we ate oyster stew, but we always did. I was amazed that an editor of a food magazine wouldn't know that Christmas Eve was a fast day. (We ate that, too, when I was a child. Loved it.) With the narrowing of topics of interest to priests/bishops, our culture is going going gone.

Gerelyn,The Greek in Mt is peri pollon. I mentioned hoi polloi, the many, because the concept of "many" borrowed the Greek hoi polloi which came to mean the rabble. The 99%. Words have a long history that should not be ignored in translation. That is why it is hard to discuss single words or even phrases. Stuey's complaint about "sanctae" is so out of context, it is hard to judge. Is sancte used so often that it is devalued, and it was eliminated in places where it was not needed? That is what happened to the sign of the Cross ib the revision of the missal.There is a scene in Tea with Mussolini or Up at the Villa where Joan Plowright is taking dictation from an Italian merchant. He goes on for a while, obviously ecstatic over the cloth in front of him, mentioning Marco Polo, etc. Ms Plowright translates thoughtfully, "The fabric you sent was adequate." English is less flowery than Italian, and Latin, and translation needs to understand that.

The Lord's Prayer is an excellent example of the spare style with no word wasted, a style which the Lord seems to recommend. Would that one could say the same of the style of some of the prayers in the Roman Missal.

"Hearing Church instead of holy Church is a loss of one datum of our shared wisdom."In this day and age using "holy" in concert with "Church, i.e., Catholic Church" is getting to be quite a stretch for many people, both within and outside of said church.I like Wright's version of the Lord's Prayer, but I would substitute "dominion" for "kingdom" myself. Not many of us live in or have an appreciation for "kingdoms" these days.

A lot of things are going to feel like a stretch, beginning tomorrow. That's because we haven't heard quite a few of our rightful theologoumena, ever, in English. How does the song go? The times, they are a-changin.

John Allen today (http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=i8t49xbab&et=1108669062995&s=832&e=0010XUY...) in his usual attempt to put the best possible spin on B16's actions and words, paints a rosy picture of how Benedict relates to Africa. If the future growth of the church is to be in Africa as Allen avers, then what will happen if the continued imposition of Eurocentric liturgies and Latin language where spiritually speaking, Africa is a superpower -- both the world's largest manufacturer and consumer of religion? How long will the future church growth in non-European or European-derived cultures be subject to, or tolerate, such imposition from a part of the world in which the church is in rapid and quite probably long-term decline? Why should museum trappings control and constrain areas in which natural exuberance and joy are an essential part of their lifestyle and worship styles? European Catholicism is, at best, tentatively entrenched in Africa, with split-offs, clerical non-celibacy (Archbishop Milingo and his clerical followers, anyone?) and out-and-out defections are apparently quite common. All of this current Titanic deck chair rearrangement with which we are currently obsessed in the English-speaking world certainly can be of little to no concern in the African churches.

"I was amazed that an editor of a food magazine wouldnt know that Christmas Eve was a fast day. (We ate that, too, when I was a child. Loved it.)"I'm glad you liked your oysters, but my post was to try to point out what I see as a widening gulf between liturgists and those who know enough to correct their Latin declensions, and we bottom-feeders whose faith formation and that of their children is in our own hands b/c the parish ignores it or makes it a joyless burden. I am looking through these conversations (and other resources on line) in vain to find practical ways I can try to help my kid and his purple-haired girlfriend understand these changes better. But I sense this is not the conversation folks here are really looking to have.

SB -- What you call "translation" is available from Google Translate. Every word of the original goes in, and each word is translated in the output. After decades of extraordinary effort on machines, a simultaneous, thorough understanding of two cultures (including religion) and the differing processes for communicating used by Latin speakers of long ago and English speakers and listeners of today remains the province of honorable humans practicing the translational art. Words are symbols. Meanings of which they remind us are the objects of interest unless one is worshipping scratches on an old scroll. That is why a sage rule of practice today is never to depend on Google-lke translations like the one for which you look if anything really important is at stake. Meaning as understood by the originator and recipient matters most in the transfer between languages. Yesterday, I enjoyed being in a small group of cradle Catholics, ages 18 to 75, happily gathered to give serious thanks. All are educated, including in Catholicism, and are very fluent in modern English. The same number of advanced degrees appeared around the table as Jesus faced at the last Supper. They all seem normal with the possible exception of a couple of candidates for the anonymous, never-recognized sainthood of which one hears. Inspired by them, I repeat Jean Raber's comments (11/25 8:57am) wondering about effects of the new liturgy and priorities displayed in the fractionated Body of Christ. If any of that group go to Mass on Sunday, what sort of teaching and sanctifying will they benefit from because of introduction of the new translation? To the elders, it looks pretty much like the same old words from a half century ago, which evidently convinced a Church Council of the need for significant change. Is this it? If not now, when?

Jean, there is a great set of videos produced by LifeTeen.e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue4GaotluU4

Probably, Studebaker, your outrage is fueled by Professor Esolen's tendentious account, to which you are vulnerable simply because you don't really know very much about Latin and you now suspect you've been had. That's a very uncomfortable feeling. I do not think it is justified, however.Let me try to explain in a different way. It's not that I or anyone else wants to edit the Latin to be less wordy. Latin actually uses very few words to say a lot. English often requires several words for what Latin packs into one word. So what is concise in Latin gets verbose in English. The point is THE LATIN ISN'T GUSHY. THE LATIN ISN'T VERBOSE. The Latin is, quite often, a miracle of concision. What comes across as flowery and meandering in English is often quite stern and vigorous in Latin. So, anyone who wants an elegant, spare text in English is actually searching for a better equivalent to the Latin -- in its rhetorical effect. Now, if you are in the grip of the conviction that someone has cheated you for forty years, you will be unable to view the choices dispassionately. But with more calm examination of the facts, all of them, I think you would probably reach the same conclusion that most people who have studied this have reached: that the 1973 translation included both strengths and weak points. It was not an act of vandalism, ever. In some areas, it still far surpasses the translation we are about to receive. I say this having been a critic of the 1973 texts. I thought the 1998 version addressed very many, though not all, of the problems. I think the 2008 and 2010 versions are atrocious by comparison, and that what they gain by including more detail they lose in the syntactical morass they've created.

"To the elders, it looks pretty much like the same old words from a half century ago, which evidently convinced a Church Council of the need for significant change."Jack --Right. "You take a step right, And you take a step left, And you do-si-doe . . .'Same ole dance.

Jack Barry, thank you for bringing up google translate. That is the reductio ad absurdam of the current situation. You have made the point well: "After decades of extraordinary effort on machines, a simultaneous, thorough understanding of two cultures (including religion) and the differing processes for communicating used by Latin speakers of long ago and English speakers and listeners of today remains the province of honorable humans practicing the translational art."

Another wonderful thing about the new translation is that it doesn't include the "alternate" collects, of highly dubious origins, with even more highly dubious theology.Any theologians want to take a swing at the many concerns raised by the system of the world suggested by this pious-sounding but theologically bankrupt expression? "Touched by your hand, our world is holy."

Oops, that should be absurdum.(My spelling is awful!)

I would take a swing, but there are no concerns to address, just a quote.

See all the trouble the vernacular caused? When this stuff was snowballing, back in the early days post-Council, was there any serious opposition, or was everyone so enthusiastic about mass participation in the mass that it just seemed a no-brainer?You know, learning another language is really not hard. If all you need is a passing familiarity with the vocabulary and a rudimentary sense of the grammar, Latin could be learned in a few months. Translate everything, as a pony, but leave the liturgy in Latin. No big deal. No deceit involved; no translation necessary; universal Catholic identity assured.One big plus would be that stuff sounds better in Latin, since it's a vowel-rich/consonant-poor language very good for vocalizing.Up the counter-reformation!

Rita: Actually, I had a few years of Latin in high school and college. In college, my professor called me aside to say that I was such a natural at Latin that I should change my major. While I regretfully haven't kept up the skill sufficient to read the Aeneid, etc., I remember enough to know that leaving out the word "sanctae" is incompetent. Latin actually uses very few words to say a lot. English often requires several words for what Latin packs into one word. So what is concise in Latin gets verbose in English.So in the space of one thread, you've argued that Latin is both more "prolix" than English and more "concise" than English. But you still haven't come up with an excuse for anyone to leave out "sanctae" in the Suscipiat.

Kathy, thanks for the link.The Boy's verdict was that the info was interesting, but that the sullen teenager was insulting and the host was condescending (despite his hip thong necklace and jeans). But he did watch the first segment through, did not walk away and roll his eyes, and said he thought the Centurion example was "helpful."One of the things I learned from watching this segment with him is how little CCD (and the $450 it has cost over the years) has helped him understand that echoes of Scripture are present in the Mass. I suggested that, since he'll have to pay more attention at Mass as a result of the new language, he might try spotting other places in the liturgy that echo Bible stories.In any case, I await Raber's report Sunday on how the new language goes over. I celebrate certain Sundays in Lent and Advent in our old Episcopal parish.

Sir,Nowhere does Rita Ferrone say that Latin is more prolix than English.At this point one stares at the "submit" button and says, "What good will it do?" Not the first lost cause I've been involved in. So, I'll press it.

No, Studebaker, what I said in my first comment was that the English can become prolix.

After reading countless comments, posts, and articles on the new missal translation, I am struck by the fact that no one is talking about what I consider the real problem we face on the first Sunday of Advent. In my opinion, all of the controversy over the translation masks the real issue, i.e. the right has finally won. They have inundated the Vatican with letters and complaints since V II and they have waited for the papacies that would accommodate them. They have succeeded where the VII generation has failed. It may be an accident of history. The problem with the first Sunday of Advent is not "and with your spirt" it is with the defeat of VII Catholics to press their case with Rome. Why is no one writing about the elephant in the room?

I thought Studebaker was referring to the assertion that English, if it translates Latin word-for-word, becomes prolix. "The decision to render every sancte as holy, as well as every other Latin adjective with an English cognate, can and does result in prolix English."Is there a way to understand this without suggesting that Latin uses more words than English to say the same thing? I don't see it easily.

Liturgical Latin since prechristian times favors pleonasm, which often come across as prolix and insincere in English, e.g. haec dona, haec munera, haec sancta sacrificia illibata, "these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices" -- some will find an antique charm in this translation, but how durable is that charm? The pleonasm seems to me to ring hollow in English, even giving an aura of insincerity to the priestly protestations. Apart from inspired examples like Johnson's "Let Observation with extensive View/Survey Mankind from China to Peru" cumulative pleonasm sits ill with English.The opening of the Roman Canon has a nice rhythm just now, and the new version is turgid. "Make humble prayer and petition through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord: that you accept"... The "that" is a huge syntactical jerk, bearing little relation to English as normally used. Similarly, the Preface for next Sunday ends with: "we acclaim: Holy, Holy, Holy" -- this use of "acclaim" is incorrect English. I suspect that these little details are just the kind of English one does NOT get used to.Also the indirection of much of the new language seems to me to be incompatible with a lasting, reliable, prayable text:Welcome into your kingdom our departed brothers and sisters and all who have left this world in your friendship. (EP3)This now becomes:To our departed brothers and sisters and to all who are pleasing to you at their passing from this life, give kind admittance to your kingdom.The current translation of the Eucharaistic Prayers may be too broken-up in places, and generally the collects, secrets and postcommunions suffer dreadfully from this defect (though the new ones suffer from much more dreadful defects). But the standard response of the new translation is to string along relative clauses with no concern with the shape, rhythm or prayability of the resultant sentence. One Irish priest has produced a lightly edited version of the four EPs that cuts some of these long wormy sentences in two, making a clear improvement.Here is the 1973 Preface of Christ the King:You anointed Jesus Christ, Your only Son, with the oil of gladness, as the eternal priest and universal king. As priest He offered His life on the altar of the cross and redeemed the human race by this one perfect sacrifice of peace. As king He claims dominion over all creation, that He may present to You, His almighty Father, an eternal and universal kingdom: a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace.Here is the new version:For you anointed your Only Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, with the oil of gladness as eternal Priest and King of all creation, so that, by offering himself on the altar of the Cross as a spotless sacrifice to bring us peace, he might accomplish the mysteries of human redemption and, making all created things subject to his rule, he might present to the immensity of your majesty an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace.To me this sounds more like a hymn to Latin syntax than to the divine majesty. What message does it send to Filipinos, Nigerians, etc.? Whatever became of inculturation? ("praeclarae maiestati tuae" is a dative in Latin, "to your supreme majesty" -- could the translators have mistaken it for a genitive?)Latin syntax can be pleasingly rhythmical in English, as in "Pour forth we beseech thee..." in the Angelus. But this effect is not brought off in the new translations.

Alan, the right have won, to be sure. I think it will prove a Pyrrhic victory.But that is not the primary issue just now. The primary issue is that the worship of millions is being ruined and that in all likelihood we will be hearing the rustle of departing feet more than ever before.

(Thanks, Jim MdK.)----Imho, a word-for-word translation is not a problem. E.g., those who say the new translation is like the old one found in daily missals are right. It made learning Latin easy for kids in the good old days.At my parochial school we used Chants for the Church at morning Mass. Another great aid for learning Latin.http://www.musicasacra.com/pdf/chantsofchurch.pdfThe interlinear translations are word for word. If an additional word (like "the") was needed to make a sentence better in English, it was placed in parentheses. As to the video of the man talking about the very best translation? Maybe, but if it's necessary to say "under my roof" (which I like, because it refers to a specific and touching incident in the gospel), why is it okay to say "my soul" instead of "my servant"?

Fr. O'Leary,Sorry, the issue is not the worship of millions. It is the defeat of Vatican II which will effect the worship of million. That is what will cause the "rustle of departing feet." But is leaving the church over a matter of words worth it? That is my existential dilemma. I feel that I am Catholic in spite of their efforts to tell me otherwise. Must I participate in the Mass in silence? Wow, what an oxymoron.

During the Council of Trent, which was called to counter the reformation, the leaders of the council suggested that the Mass be done in the Vernacular. It was rejected on the sole grounds that this would be giving in to the Protesants who were already doing it.

The reason people stop going to church is that they get nothing out of the liturgy.

Alan,I would offer a nuanced version of your perception. To me, it's not so much that the right has won. It is more that the left, despite all odds, and despite all apparent momentum, has not been successful.

Rita: You said: The decision to render every sancte as holy, as well as every other Latin adjective with an English cognate, can and does result in prolix English. If translating every Latin word into English results in prolix English, this would mean that Latin uses more words than is fitting in English, and hence Latin is more prolix than English. If that wasn't what you meant, then what were you trying to say? In any event, you haven't managed to come up with a reason for leaving out "sancte" when supposedly translating the Suscipiat. So far, you've said that Latin uses more adjectives than English, and it doesn't do to translate all of them. But "sancte" is the only adjective in that prayer, and saying "holy Church" isn't prolix in the slightest. You've also said that "what is concise in Latin gets verbose in English," but "sancte" does not in any way become "verbose" when translated as "holy." Any other ideas?

"Latin could be learned in a few months."Why? How many countries in this world speak Latin? What can possibly be gained in learning Latin? How about Sanskrit? Aramaic?Latin may have interesting academic applications and provide jobs for a handful of teachers, but in the real world where the vast majority of us reside and worship, it is simply a relic of the past and a tool of control for the churchianity recidivists.

Kathy,Well I guess we agree that it had been about power rather than truth.

Read: it has been about power rather than it had been.

Well, I guess that's where we disagree. In my view, it had been about the Church moving to the left. It had been about rhetoric and groupthink. It's not anymore. It's about sources, and truth, and beauty--that kind of thing now.I really didn't think I'd live to see the day. I wouldn't have thought that kind of momentum could be withstood. It's a remarkable thing.Next stop, moral theology.

Kathy,If that is what you really think, then you are stuck in the '70's and have not been following what has happened in the Church since JP II was elected pope. It is hardly about sources and truth. It is all about power. If it were about sources we would be looking at a different liturgy for this coming Sunday. That is what ressourcement was all about. No, this is all about power and who gets to control the narrative.

Alan,That is what I really think, and I have been paying attention pretty closely. I don't mean to be gloating, but I am celebrating, and I'm awestruck by the very fact of the shift. I wouldn't have thought it was possible, especially in the liturgy, and I'm very grateful.

Kathy,You can have your smaller, purer Church, but it will not be the peaceful Church you anticipate. The liberal faction you detest may walk away, but you will be left with the extremists who will make your life miserable. And, no, you have not been paying close attention to what has been happening; you have had your head in the sand, hoping that you will not have to come up for air.

You guys are all great. Tireless. Your passion about this question actually lifts my spirits (and also with yours), which is badly needed. But I'm worried that Studebaker will go to his grave asking about the disappearance of "sanctae" from the Suscipiat. Here's my Sherlock Holmes explanation and it's elementary. Unfortunately it raises an issue with the potential of provoking at least 200 more comments. That is the issue of gender and language. Frankly I am happier with the new translation of the "Suscipiat" than the one in the 1998 version. Not because a word has been purloined but because it sounds and prays better to me. This contradicts my view that generally the 1998 translation was much better. But nothing is 100 percent, nothing on this earth is perfect, nothing could not be improved; and the 1998 translation was still a work in progress. However, that's the opinion of someone who prays the current translation's "for the praise and glory of HIS name," while all around me, even close by, some others are praying "for the praise and glory of GOD'S name." This same someone, in a spirit of compromise, usually prays what follows as "for the good of all THE Church" instead of the current translation's "HIS Church." One of the guiding principles of the 1998 translation was that contemporary English was consistently minimizing language that seemed "discriminatory." I don't know everything about this in regard to other national hierarchies and ICEL -- others who know more can expand and correct me here -- but the American bishops articulated a policy of retaining masculine terms for God like Father and Son and masculine pronouns for the godhead while seeking gender-neutral language for people, etc. And they seemed to concur in the idea that masculine pronouns for the godhead, too, might also be minimized where they were not strictly demanded by the Latin. In the Suscipiat, as James Englert pointed out way, way above, in Latin the grammatical gender of the words at issue is determined by the nouns they modify. So here is my guess as to what happened -- others please correct me if I'm wrong. Applying this principle the 1998 translation changed the neuter genitive "sui" that would be translated as the masculine "his" to its gender neutral antecedent "God's" and dropped the feminine genitive "suae" that would again be translated as the masculine "his." That move, however, makes "for the good of all the holy Church" sound both awkward and misleading. As others have note, are we only talking about the good of some holy church as distinguished from the church plain and simple? So the holy was dropped as well.Now there is something ideological or theological or pastoral going on here. (Again, all you more knowledgeable folks, please correct me.) But it isn't any antagonism toward calling the Church "holy." It is the guiding principle of miniimizing "discriminatory" language. And there's nothing sneaky about it. The guiding principle was spelled out, along with others. So we have two questions: Is that a good application of what is only a guideline to be used with discretion, not an absolute rule? Is that a good guideline in the first place? My answer to the first is no. The result is unfortunate. My answer to the second is yes. We are living through a world-historical change in the role of women. Not just in the West but globally and certainly in English-speaking societies It is reflected in what language becomes standard and what becomes an obstacle. I think that both adjustment and continuity are required. Which requires pastoral intelligence and sensitivity. I suspect that not everyone agrees! Enjoy.

Studebaker,Oh, if that one word is what you are stuck on, the answer is: I don't know. I could speculate, but offhand I really can't say why they didn't translate sancte as holy at that point in that prayer. But they had their reasons, no doubt. There was a booklet issued around the time of the first interim translations explaining some of the choices. It was posted at Pray Tell during the period when I was editor there. It may have a note on that point, but I don't remember. I tried to look for it just now but the site is down so I couldn't access the document. If I can bring it up later, and if it answers your question, I will post a link to it. I thought we were talking about more general questions concerning what factors can influence translators to drop an adjective or to opt for a more spare English style. You haven't brought up the other end of the spectrum, embellishment, so I will now. Here is a good example. In the 1973 translation the name Father was added many times where Pater does not appear in the Latin. I am told this was done for pastoral reasons, to "warm up" the texts by use of the familial and familiar name for God. "Father" is scriptural, the First Person of the Trinity was being addressed, it's the language Jesus used, etc.; no one objected. Then inclusive language came around and this began to stand out as an emphasis upon masculine language for God in a way that was problematic for some. At the time, it was thought to have been a good idea. Vandalism? To call God "Father"? No, not really. But, mark well, nobody said, "It's wrong because it's not literal." They asked "Is it true?" and "Are we praying as we believe?"Pardon me for saying so, but I think these are healthier questions when we look at a liturgical text. Are we praying as we believe? Is it true? The reason so many are exercised about the pro multis is that it appears we are not praying as we believe, and that only by standing on our head can we make it out that it's true.

No, this is all about power and who gets to control the narrative.I think that's likely the underlying dynamic here for some people. It's not that anyone really thinks that "and also with you" or leaving out "sanctae" is the best translation (no one could possibly think that). Nor is the real issue the fact that some of the newly translated prayers have sentences with too many phrases (that does seem to be the case for some prayers, but the "left" has never been that agitated about syntax before). The real issue is that someone else's team won a game and got a chance to make the rules.

Studebaker,Finally, you show yourself to be perceptive. Amazing!

Studebaker,Of course, the history has yet to be written about ho=w "some one else's team has won a game." It may turn out that the game was fixed.

There is still a roasting pot to scrub from yesterday. Before signing off, I wanted to distract people from the awful gender-and-language issue (that Rita just mentioned anyway) by this trite question about the Suscipiat. The Latin, which I memorized -- and most altarboys I knew considered this the prize tongue-twister among responses -- has us praying for our "utilitatem." That was translated in my Stedman missal as for our "advantage." I think that the literal minded can make a case that "advantage" is a better translation. If what we are talking about is our "good," I believe Latin has other words for that. Why has the new translation, like the current one, departed from the Latin in this respect? Could it be that "advantage" carries unfortunate connotations in our ecumenical and socially conscious egalitarian world? Is there theological hanky-panky going on here? I don't want anyone to go to sleep.

Peanuts used to say: "If we mean so well why don't we win any ball games." Winning and losing are really not gospel terms because Jesus turned all that around. "It is only by dying that we live...s/he who humbles herself will be exalted...the rich shall go away empty...the good news is given not to the wise of this world..." Jesus died a most shameful death, that of a criminal besides two criminals. So the Empire might have "won" this battle but since it lives by the sword it may perish......"However, we slice it it always comes down to those who are willing to die so they may live.

Kathy --Just a side-note:Yes, it has been obvious for a long time that the Vatican had seized control of the translation process (contrary to explicit orders from an Ecumenical Council). But if you think that the Church is returning to 1961, read this note from The Tablet today. Even I was surprised that things have gone so far in Europe".Archbishop praises civil partnerships25 November 2011"The Bishops of England and Wales believe civil partnerships successfully provide a legal protection for those in same-sex relationships, according to the Archbishop of Westminster. "We would want to emphasise that civil partnerships actually provide a structure in which people of the same sex who want a lifelong relationship [and] a lifelong partnership can find their place and protection and legal provision," Archbishop Vincent Nichols :said at a press conference after the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales meeting last week."http://www.thetablet.co.uk/latest-news.phpNo doubt the English bishops will hear from the Vatican about this, but this is strong evidence, especially after various statements of some German bishops, that there is a widening split between the European bishops and the retrograde Vatican.

However, thats the opinion of someone who prays the current translations for the praise and glory of HIS name, while all around me, even close by, some others are praying for the praise and glory of GODS name. This same someone, in a spirit of compromise, usually prays what follows as for the good of all THE Church instead of the current translations HIS Church.That was exactly the same for me until a few weeks ago - I liked the words just the way they were-, but now I've started trying to say "God's name" along with my neighbors, in the spirit of preparing for the new missal. I've got to get used to tweaking the words every now and then, and this is practice!

Jimmy Mac 11/25/2011 - 9:08 pm subscriberLatin could be learned in a few months.Why? How many countries in this world speak Latin? What can possibly be gained in learning Latin? How about Sanskrit? Aramaic?

It's your church, your religion, your community, perhaps the most important thing in your life. It's the language that ties you to a billion other Catholics throughout the world. Why should a Jewish child learn some Hebrew? Why should so many Muslims learn Arabic? Not worth a few months of your time? How much time would you have children spend learning the catechism?Of course, it's all priorities. Children spend years learning modern languages (after a fashion), only to throw away that learning. Isn't the reference language of your religion worth a few months?But if it's not used in the liturgy, it hardly matters. And it looks as though the vernaculars - enormously costly and confusing approximations - is what we'll have to puzzle over from now on. Progress is filled with mistakes, but there's usually no going back.

I guess this will hit 200 posts.Words, words -yes words are important, but faith is not built by the propaganda about how beautiful, more reverent, or theologically deep and meaningful this liturgy will be.Instead it's more divide."The right has won." Correct, but the NCR editorial says if all we have is abattle, then that's the real loss - keep slogging along.I'll just say the real dynamic is about roles/power and "distinctiveness/"I think those all drive people away, not the putative"beauty" of what starts today.

I'd like to hear from some dirty English-speaking grunts in a miserable valley in Afghanistan who are praying to their depths that the field in which they stand is not God-forsaken. The job of the altar-people (M & F) in helmets is to hold down the altar cloth so it doesn't blow away. A priest with unquestionable courage and commitment is leading them in whatever Mass they can manage. No pewsitters since there are no pews. Beauty is whatever Nature provides. Ask them what matters most in the Mass.

Thanks, Mr. Steinfels - picking up on your last comment: "Is there theological hanky-panky going on here?" Here is an excellent and current legal analysis of the document that created these arguments about translation methods, phrases, words, etc. by a Canadian bishop who is a canon law expert:http://www.praytellblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Vernacular-Transl... key points:Liturgiam authenticam marks a much more activist approach for the Roman curia in the preparation of translations of liturgical texts than has been the rule since Vatican II. The Council had entrusted this task to the conferences of bishops (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36, 4), but now the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments has made abundantly clear its intention to become directly involved itself in the details of translation, particularly for the major vernacular languages such as English, French, and Spanish. In spite of this more activist approach, conferences of bishops still have the legitimate right to approve texts of translation, after which they are presented to the Apostolic See for recognitio.As we reflect on the teaching and legislation associated with this topic, one might acknowledge a kind of organic growth since Vatican II. This growth describes the development that has taken place since Vatican II: a movement from territorial bodies of bishops to national conferences of bishops; a movement from a variety of terms describing the role of the Holy See, e.g., approval, confirmation, review, to the consistent use of the term recognitio; a movement from the approval of a text by theconference of bishops to the approval of a text that might include some minor changes that have been incorporated by the Holy See. Ultimately, the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments does not have the authority to impose a new translation upon a country. This can occur only if the conference freely approves the translation or if the Congregation receives a papal mandate with legislative authority to legislate the text for a country. This latter procedure would blatantly contradict the teaching and legislation of the Church since Vatican II. As one reviews the documents connected with this topic, one can appreciate that a real and legitimate growth has taken place in this issue of the role of conferences of bishops in the translation of liturgical texts.In the end, this entire discussion needs to be rooted in the fundamental provision connected with the liturgy since Vatican II: In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy the full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else, for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit (SC, no. 14).Brian Dunn, JCD, MA (Liturgical Studies)Bishop of Antigonish, Nova Scotia

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About the Author

Peter Steinfels, co-founder of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture and a former editor of Commonweal, is the author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America.