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January 12, 2007

Comments

Old Zhou

Skipping the endless translation arguments...

My real question is about this:

...he contended that the new translations do not adequately meet the liturgical needs of the average Catholic...
What is "the average Catholic?"

Tim Ferguson

The euphemisms for dissent and reaction used by folks like Bishop Trautman are laughable. In what universe does "being prophetic" mean stamping one's angry little feet when asked to use a word that's more than two syllables long? How does "being courageous in questioning" not also encompass being humble in accepting the answers to one's questions?

On another, and perhaps more profound level, the whole concept of betraying the intentions of Vatican II by doing precisely what Vatican II called for is absurd, but it brings up a good question. At what point is it going to be safe to say, "Yes, Vatican II was very important in the history of the Church. Yes, as the most recent Council it is very important for us to refer to and continue to plumb for understanding. However, rather than constantly asking ourselves how we're doing in light of Vatican II, we're going to go back to an earlier model and try assessing how we're doing in light of the Gospel. Insofar as the conciliar documents assist us in doing so, we are deeply endebted to the Fathers, yet we will not let Vatican II become an idol, or replace the Lord as our reference point."

After all, Vatican II was over 40 years ago (yes, I know, a drop in the bucket in Church-time). We now have our first pope to have been ordained a bishop after Vatican II. Chances are good that our next pope will have been ordained a priest after Vatican II. Let's not ignore it, but let's let it have its proper historical context.

Richard Jizba

If we mean that Christ’s blood was shed for all, what's wrong with being clear about that? The fact the more literal way is to say "for many" doesn't mean it's better.

Does anyone really think that changing "for all" to "for many" isn't going to cause more problems? I hate to see us get into a position where we have to tell people, "don't listen to what we say, because it's not really what we mean."

I also think "I am not worthy to receive you" has a lot more meaning and depth than the "more accurate" biblical quote. Generally speaking, we don't take the body of Christ home, we consume it in Church at mass. So while there is an allusion to the Gospel text, there is also a much greater sense of immediacy to the current wording. I also think there is considerably more room for personal reflection about all the different ways we receive Christ. I think we should keep the current wording because it leaves room for more reflection and prayer.

Richard Jizba

mark j

If we mean that Christ’s blood was shed for all, what's wrong with being clear about that? The fact the more literal way is to say "for many" doesn't mean it's better.

But the point is that the vernacular should be an accurate translation of the Latin. If the phrase "for all" is theologically superior to "for many", then first the Latin text should be changed to "pro omnis", and subsequently all the vernacular translations should be changed accordingly. Letting ICEL play fast and loose with English translations because they think they know more theology than the Vatican is not how the game works.

Does anyone really think that changing "for all" to "for many" isn't going to cause more problems? I hate to see us get into a position where we have to tell people, "don't listen to what we say, because it's not really what we mean."

Not sure what kind of problems you envision. Do you think people are going to leave the Church because they hear "for many" at mass? I kind of doubt that will happen. At any rate, it seems that both "for all" and "for many" can be misinterpreted as meaning something contrary to Catholic doctrine. It seems like the best solution is to just explain what the Church teaches, then we wouldn't need to have these fights about which phrase will 'confuse' the faithful more. I mean it's not that complicated of a concept, one homily is surely enough time.

Christopher Fotos

His Excellency is also worried that the people will not understand theological terms such as "consubstantial," which will replace "one in being with" in the Creed...

I agree with much of Esolen (and others) here, but as noted in past discussions, some of us find "consubstantial" to be a distractingly ugly word in English, conveying all the awe and power of a public hearing on a zoning variance. (Also I thought we were going to avoid that term). Many other changes don't have this problem, indeed moving in the opposite direction: "from the rising of the sun to its setting," has been flattened down to "from east to west"; returning to the former restores not only the earlier langauge (if I follow correctly) but the power of its restrained poetry.

Having a preference for sound English words when reciting the Creed in English isn't dumb.

F C Bauerschmidt

I also think "I am not worthy to receive you" has a lot more meaning and depth than the "more accurate" biblical quote.

And it is worth mentioning that the "biblical quote" is not really a biblical quote but a paraphrase -- actually, not even a paraphrase, since it changes the meaning of the biblical text. The Vulgate reads, "Domine non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur puer meus," while the Missal reads "Domine non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea." There might be good reasons for translating the missal text more literally, but "fidelity to Scripture" isn't one of them, since the missal text itself plays pretty loose with Scripture.

I'll say whatever they tell me to say, but, like Richard, if it were up to me I would keep our current wording. I think it very immediate and powerful in a way that the new, more literal, wording is not. Of course I might feel differently ten years from now once I am used to the change.

Julia

Most exalted and eloquent language has allusions - to classics, to mythology, to poetry, to catch phrases of the day, etc. etc. Eliminating them for clarity denudes the language of its connection to history and contexts. Even little kids understand that.

Shakespeare is loaded with allusions. It's what makes him so great. The gospels are full of allusions as are the epistles. These things are shorthand for entire stories or connections between things. The Illiad and the Bible started as oral tales passed down and they are awash in this kind of thing.

Watering our liturgy down to simple declarative sentences of Anglo Saxon words impoverishes the experience and is BORING. The priest is not giving directions on how to get to the train station!!!

Poetry elevates the mundane. Our liturgical words should match or try to match to elevated and other-wordly nature of what is happening at Mass.

Kids love puns and the joyful use of language. I think they are more likely to be attracted to gorgeous, meaty language than to what sounds like laundry lists. Afater all, some of the best rock songs have allusions to things like "The Lord of the Rings" and the Beatles used Lewis Carol for source material and references. People aren't dumb.

Rant off.

caine

from the rising of the sun to its setting," has been flattened down to "from east to west"; returning to the former restores not only the earlier langauge (if I follow correctly) but the power of its restrained poetry.

That's a good point. "From the rising of the sun..." moves the image back from geographic to one of time. The sacrifice is to made acceptable from Creation to the end of time - Genesis to Revelation - not just from California to New York.

Old Zhou

As I have mentioned several times, it is the Episcopaleans in San Francisco that have the beautiful cathedral (just ignore the labrynth), while the Catholics have "the washing machine agitator" for a cathedral.

Similarly, the Episcopaleans, in their "Book of Common Prayer," have "for many" in both of their Rites for Eucharist where the Catholics have "for all."

In regard to the "Non sum dignus," the Episcopaleans have a more elaborate, and very literary prayer:

We do not presume to come to this thy Table,
O merciful Lord,
trusting in our own righteousness,
but in thy manifold and great mercies.
We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table.
But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy.
Grant us therefore, gracious Lord,
so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ,
and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.

Note the "We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table" from Matthew 15.

Does Bp. Troutman think that Episcopaleans can't understand their Book of Common Prayer? Maybe he should get together with Episcopalean Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and share notes about the dullness of "the average Catholic" in America.

Chris Molter

For Pete's sake, even the Episcopal BCP '78 has the translation as "for many". You don't see them in a rush to change it for "inclusiveness" purposes, although we know that's a huge buzzword for the Episcopalian hierarchy right now.

Loudon is a Fool

Uhhhh, because they're Christ's words? And because we really do mean "for many."

The "pro multis" controversy is just one more example of many (here I mean many as "many" and not as "all") priests and Bishops woefully failing the faithful. Not so much because of the inaccuracy of the original translation (in charity I will hope that the ICEL did not implement this change because they are universalists, but, not unlike the hope that all will be saved, it's only a hope), but in the failure to correct the original translation in any of the many years following the error. At this point the incompetence of many (still "many") of our Bishops (the most charitable view one can have of the US conference) is so open and notorious that no scandal can be caused by pointing it out.

Therefore, the Holy See should as a general rule correct many (here meaning "all") actions they take in the hope that many (here expressing the hope for "all") Bishops and priests might eventually be properly catechized.

Tim Ferguson

FC,

The Missal changes one word from the Scriptural text, in order to apply the Scriptural phrase to the action at hand. That's hardly "playing fast and loose." If the ICEL texts that we have only varied from the Latin texts by one word here and there, I doubt that many would have difficulty with it.

The problem is the wholesale, and obviously agenda-driven, reinvention of texts that make Disney's version of the Hunchback of Notre Dame look like a faithful adaption.

Chris

Quoth Tim Ferguson: "How does 'being courageous in questioning' not also encompass being humble in accepting the answers to one's questions?"

It depends what your purpose in questioning is. If you're asking a question because you actually want an answer, being humble in accepting the answer is part of the deal. If you're asking questions in order to find reasons to reject whatever answer you get, humility has nothing to do with it.

Quoth Richard Jizba: "Does anyone really think that changing 'for all' to 'for many' isn't going to cause more problems?"

Not the kind of problems Bishop Trautman envisions.

Peace,
chris

caine

And isn't pro multis more accurate, theologically? Salvation is available to all, but was not predestined to be ACCEPTED by all. Thus Paul speaks in Collossians 1:24 of the place each person's free will plays,

...in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church

It's the modernist mentality that pastorally opens the doors for all to salvation without requiring anyone to do even so much as get up and walk through.

Christ did not lie to the Apostles and we should not lie to ourselves. Pro multis is the reality.

Henry

There might be good reasons for translating the missal text more literally, but "fidelity to Scripture" isn't one of them, since the missal text itself plays pretty loose with Scripture.

On reason is that Liturgiam authenticam calls for the Latin missal to be translated accurately into the vernacular. It does not call for literal adherence to the bible. As Cardinal Ratzinger has said, the Latin missal is an independent source, and indeed it (not the bible) is the primary source in this instance.

The Vulgate reads, "Domine non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur puer meus," while the Missal reads "Domine non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea."

The missal language "then my soul will be healed" is an allusion to, not a transcription of, the bible language "then my servant will be healed". To think of this beautiful biblical allusion as "playing loose with scripture" is just about the best example I've seen recently of the kind of wooden-headed approach to language that destroyed the beauty of our vernacular liturgy in the first place.

RP Burke

caine,

But the theological point is that Christ died for all. It's up to each one of us to accept it.

Some of us still remember that we used to call our separated brethren and sistern "heretics and schismatics." And we also get the old joke about the tour of heaven where the punch line is "Oh, the Catholics. They think they're the only ones here."

Pes

Anthony Esolen is a pro translator. Ergo, he's a snob, doesn't understand the average person, and therefore should be ignored.

/sarc

The Bishop's address was entitle, "When Should Liturgists Be Prophetic?"

Sorry, but our returning to "pro multis" doesn't mean we're suddenly cows of Bashan in need of a good cattle-prodding by some latter-day Amos in a cowboy outfit from the 1970's.

In my opinion.

Loudon is a Fool

RP,

Clearly the harder teaching is that Christ's sacrfice, while sufficient for all, is efficacious only for many. It's up to each one of us to accept it.

paul zummo

I think it's important to keep in mind what Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote in his book, God Is With Us:

Both formulations, "for all" and "for many", are found in Scripture and in tradition. Each expresses one aspect of the matter: on one hand, the all-embracing salvation inherent in the death of Christ, which he suffered for all men; on the other hand, the freedom to refuse, as settting a limit to salvation. Neither of the two formulae can express the whole of this; each needs correct interpretation, which sets it in the context of the Christian gospel as a whole. I leave open the question of whether it was sensible to choose the translation "for all" here and, thus, to confuse translation with interpretation, at a point at which the process of interpretation remains in any case indispensable."

"For many" is a theoligically appropriate rendering, as is "for all." "For many" has the added bonus of being faithful to both the Latin Missal and the Bible.

c matt

I don't understand why the Bishop would be concerend about changing the wording to refelct accuracte translations. At our parish, just about every week, the response to the petitions (the "Lord, hear our prayer" part) is completely changed to pick up a snippet, with about two seconds notice. SO why worry about change now?

caine

RP

I realize its sometimes hard for people that exist within time to tackle the supposed paradox of free will and predestination. Just as it is hard to unpack the concept of "outside the Church, no salvation." A superficial attempt to explain either of those issues is the easy - and erroneous way to proceed. But we have the Catechism, the documents of the Council, umm... lots and lots of other stuff. Dominus Iesus was swell! Why shirk from the hard stuff? People need to grow in their faith!

Anyway, if a person thinks pro multis applies just to Catholics, there's another teachable moment, right?

Rich Leonardi

Sorry, but our returning to "pro multis" doesn't mean we're suddenly cows of Bashan in need of a good cattle-prodding by some latter-day Amos in a cowboy outfit from the 1970's.

In my opinion.

Today's "cover your keyboard" moment.

And we also get the old joke about the tour of heaven where the punch line is "Oh, the Catholics. They think they're the only ones here."

Since the Church is the sacrament of salvation (CCC 780), the "only ones here," i.e., in heaven, are Catholic, whether or not they knew it while on earth.

Old Zhou

Following cmatt:

I think that maybe once in eight years I've been to a Mass where the priest did not change something, somewhere, on the fly, trying to make the words of the liturgy more relevant to the particular readings, or homily, or event, or whatever. The one priest that actually prayed what was written was a foreign priest who was not fluent in English.

So, yeah, I never know what to expect out of the priest's mouth anyway. And this does not seem to bother the bishops (so I don't worry about it either). Little changes to the prefaces, to the Eucharist prayer, to the Lamb of God, all over.

There is a reason that the pew-taters don't have missals or missalettes--because then they would know just how often father is improvising (for good pastoral reasons, no doubt).

Even "the people's parts" change from parish to parish to chapel. Some have "gender neutral" versions like, "for the good of all God's church" (instead of "his church").

So, there is currently no stable text, in practice.

Why all the clucking and fussing about a few "official" changes?

Tom Piatak

Why would anyone ever pay attention to a professional "liturgist?" Under their guidance, weekly Mass attendance has plummeted throughout the Western world, to the single digits in some places.

Pseudo-Thomas

Question:

This discussion seems still focused on the merits or demerits of specific interpretive approaches.

Isn't the unseemly nature of this little speech another cause for concern? Bishops Temper-Trautman basically threw mud in the Holy Father's eye. Isn't that worth some criticism?

austin

I have sometimes wondered if the liturgical translators who defend the current bland liturgical translation read too much Hemingway and not enough poetry. Since the 1960s, we 've had bland looking churches, bland translations, bland new hymns....is there something offensive about beauty to the 'spirit of Vatican 2' that I don't know about?

Jerry

I'd love to take some of these liturgical experts to a Byzantine Liturgy, which has mercifully avoided most liturgists' attentions. There you will see the use of "consubstantial" and a boatload of other theological terms, and somehow Slavic and Greek peasants got it.

I think someone at the New Liturgical Movement blog mentioned that a while ago, everyone "knew" that Americans couldn't appreciate real coffee (or wine, for that matter), but lo and behold, some people didn't just assume that, and once people tasted the real thing, they demanded it.

If we can do so with luxuries like coffee and wine, why can't we do so with religion?

Tim J.

"Isn't the unseemly nature of this little speech another cause for concern? "

Absolutely. There is nothing courageous about insisting on getting things your own way. That's the default mode of fallen human nature.

F C Bauerschmidt

To think of this beautiful biblical allusion as "playing loose with scripture" is just about the best example I've seen recently of the kind of wooden-headed approach to language that destroyed the beauty of our vernacular liturgy in the first place.

Why thank you; I had not yet been called stupid today, and my day is just not complete without it. And I'm glad to know that I have, through my stupidity, had some small part to play in the destruction of liturgical beauty.

What I find truly incredible is the idea that all of those who did not recognize the words of the centurion when they were saying "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you" will suddenly have a light bulb go of when they start saying "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof." The reason people do not recognize the reference is because they do not know scripture, not because the translation misleads them. Anyone who knows the story from Matthew will recognize the words. My son, when he was seven, knew where this line in the Mass came from simply from reading his children's bible (which, incidentally, had the "roof" language). I suspect that with the new translation if you polled people asking them what "roof" referred to, they'd say it was the roof of their mouth. Not because they are stupid, but simply because, ignorant or forgetful of the story, it is what makes the most sense to them in the context of communion.

FR RP

eptymology lesson (ironically that's probably spelled wrong); prophet comes from the greek word meaning 'spokesman'. In other words, the prophet is speaking in the words and on behalf of another person. In the OT, prophets relayed to the people the words of God. One would assume that this would be the basic definition. This being said, on whose behalf is the our friend speaking on behalf?

Just a question. :-)

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