Rorate & Le Figaro on SSPX and Benedict

The wonderful blog Rorate Caeli has informed us about an article in the French daily Le Figaro about the possibility that Pope Benedict could lift the excommunication incurred by the bishops of the SSPX. Rorate gives a translation of part of this Le Figaro article.

The condition? That they ask the Pope to lift the excommunication.

I hope this is true.

However, we need to make a little correction to the translation Rorate provided. It is a small thing, but important. Rorate wrote (my emphasis):

The Superior of this Fraternity, founded by Marcel Lefebvre in 1970, has in effect announced to Le Figaro his intention of sending a mail letter to Benedict XVI containing this request as well as a demand (en faire la demande) for the liberalization of the Mass according to the Tridentine Rite (Mass in Latin). "This letter, which is also a letter of support for the Pope in face of current and future adversities, should be sent before the end of the month," he [Fellay] assured.

 

We must be a little careful of what we called "false friends" when translating, cognate words which look really similar and are related etymologically to English words. In this case "demander" looks like "demand" and, in French, I can mean that sometimes. In this case, however, it really means the much gentler "make a request".

These false friends can result in real hilarity. I remember a very funny moment when a friend of mine whose command of Italian was less than perfect, amazed some Italians with the statement that he did not like to have condoms in his food. That caused everyone to stop chewing and stare, I can tell you. In Italian, English "preservatives" are "conservanti", in Italian "condoms are "preservativi". Everyone does this from time to time with other languages.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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11 Responses to Rorate & Le Figaro on SSPX and Benedict

  1. New Catholic says:

    Thanks for the correction, father, but I can assure you that we here are aware of the false cognates, and we take them well into consideration. But, as you know, our main intention is to get this joyous information out as soon and as accurately as possible.

    In the specific case you mention, I believe it is not the case of a false cognate, but of a variation in the semantical spectrum of possible translations — and quite irrelevant within the whole.

    Nonetheless, the only truth regarding translations, unfortunately, is that there will always be a better translation… What is important is to consider if the texts to be translated are worth one’s effort — some of them will be consigned to the dustbin of history, and translating them is a great waste of time and resources.

  2. JPSonnen says:

    Speaking of languages, Fr. Foster just held his annual first meeting of the year at the Gregoriana. With great sadness, he let us know that he was just fired by the Jesuits on Saturday. So, I hope to put a blog post on the meeting today so as to alert the Catholic world.

  3. Al says:

    “These false friends can result in real hilarity. I remember a very funny moment when a friend of mine whose command of Italian was less than perfect, amazed some Italians with the statement that he did not like to have condoms in his food. That caused everyone to stop chewing and stare, I can tell you. In Italian, English “preservatives” are “conservanti”, in Italian “condoms are “preservativi”. Everyone does this from time to time with other languages.”

    Thanks FrZ. I now enjoy the opportunity to clean the screen..That was hilarious…

  4. Henry Edwards says:

    Father Z: Surely the SSPX’s coming in from the cold doesn’t depend on the state of Latin studies in Rome, but I wonder whether you see any larger significance to the Jesuits’ dismissal of Fr. Reginald Foster from his teaching duties at the Gregorian University.

  5. Argent says:

    Henry, I did not hear that bit of news about Fr. Foster. When did this happen and do you have a link by any chance?

    Thanks.

  6. Henry Edwards says:

    Argent: J. P. Sonnen, who mentioned Fr. Foster’s dismissal a couple of posts up, has a account of the event at his blog

    http://www.orbiscatholicus.blogspot.com

    Probably not relevant, but interesting description of his recent visit to Notre Dame University:

    cornell-catholic-circle.blogspot.com/2006/08/notre-dame-warmly-welcomed-foster.html

  7. Sorry to go off topic, but regarding Fr. Foster, maybe more good will come of this than is first apparent. He might have more time to do Latin things for the Vatican. I just remember that Fr. Mitch Pacwa was pressured out of University of Dallas (a sad say for my alma mater), and now he is have a much bigger influence on EWTN!

    As far as the SSPX goes, while I want them come back or be brought back into communion with Rome, what about all the other doctrinal issues they have with the Church? People act as though the Mass is the only issue. What about the other documents of Vatican II which they take issue with?

  8. Jeff says:

    Likely no one will remember, but I have been repeatedly predicting for about a year–on Rorate Coeli, on Amy Welborn, on the New Liturgical Movement–that the Pope would solve the SSPX problem by liberalizing the old mass and simply lifting the excommunications without quid pro quo.

    That has the effect of placing the burden on the SSPX which has had the fun of critiquing from the outside while claiming all the while to be inside. Far better that the doctrinal questions be settled from inside and let the true schismatics truly and openly disassociate themselves. At least the SSPX guys will provide some balance, nuts on the right and nuts on the left, like ballast well-distributed, to keep the Barque of Peter sailing smoothly on.

  9. Interesting point I never considered.
    My only issue with that is that the “nuts on the left” don’t follow doctrine well either, but aside from some obvious excommunications with women wanting to be ordained, most of the them are still “Catholics in good standing.” Maybe the balance will help, but I don’t any but the most extreme fringe groups willingly leaving.
    Guess we’ll see. I am just tired of hearing all these rumors in the Vatican, but not seing much come to pass.

  10. Henry Edwards says:

    that the Pope would solve the SSPX problem by liberalizing the old mass and simply lifting the excommunications without quid pro quo.

    Jeff: An interesting irony here is that the Pope may be using the SSPX problem as a pretext for proceeding with a solution to the TLM problem, but with the TLM solution not bothering to resolve completely the SSPX problem. My guess is that Pope Benedict sees the SSPX problem as having a certain public “traction”, but himself regards the liberation of the TLM as being more important.

  11. As Tancredi says in Il gattopardo, “Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga come e, bisogna che tutto cambi. … If we want everything to remain as it is now, then everything will have to change.” It will perhaps be good for there to be a change in the marvelous Latin program Fr. Foster offers. It surely will nto be as convenient for many to have to make the trek to the Teresianum (if that is where it will be). Still, it would be worth the effort.

    In various institutes in Rome propedeutic years have been introduced to make sure that students entering for graduate level theology have the necessary basic skills in Latin and other languages so they are not wasting their time in frustration. Study of Latin is probably on the rise in Rome, to tell the truth. Still, I can say from many years of personal experience and friendship with Fr. Foster, that his approach and classes are unparalleled.