The Tablet is aiding and abetting.
They have published a piece by His Excellency Donald W. Trautman, "the Chair". He heads the USCCB’s Committee on Liturgy (BCL). "The Chair" is the perennial foe of hard words and the Holy See’s norms for translation of liturgical texts. He often speaks publically against the Holy See’s norms and against the work of the reincarnated ICEL. I have often reported his speeches in these blogish pages and in the print edition of The Wanderer. What The Tablet published must be the speech H.E. gave in at the liturgists meeting in Toronto a while back.
Before reading ahead, please know that I think His Excellency "The Chair" of the BCL has every right to express his desires for liturgical translations. I wish he would put his considerable energy and clout into pushing better opinions. In any event, H.E. is taking a public stand and so is WDTPRS.
"The Chair"’s warmed-up Toronto speech in The Tablet with my emphasis and comments:
3 February 2007
A pastoral deficit
Donald Trautman[This begs the question: How pastoral are the lame-duck translations? NOTA BENE: Very often when you hear the BZZZ-word "pastoral", the user is setting up a contrast between "unchallenging" and "intelligent".]
Whether the faith needs of the people are being met in the Eucharist; whether the liturgical rituals are understandable; and whether the liturgy touches the ordinary members of the congregation are all questions about the pastoral function of liturgy. The proposed new English translation of the Order of Mass, as presented by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, needs to be assessed in these terms. How truly pastoral is it?
In evaluating the translations we need to consider whether the texts are both understandable and proclaimable, and whether they use a word order, vocabulary and idiom of the mainstream of English – speaking people ["Have they been dumbed-down enough"]. If these texts are to be the prayers of the people, are they owned by them and expressed in their language? [Wait a moment: They are NOT the "prayers of the people" of St. Ipsidipsy in Tall Tree Circle. They are the prayers of the People of God the UNIVERSAL Church! Nobody "owns" them in the sense that I can "own my car" and buy it without any options or even repaint it if I want.] The texts include new words of the Creed, such as "consubstantial to the Father" [After "pro multis" this is the point I have been hammering. The fact that "the Chair" mentions it probably means he lost another round.] and "incarnate of the Virgin Mary", while words in the various new Collects include "sullied", "unfeigned", "ineffable", "gibbet", "wrought", thwart" [OMG! OMG! OMG! Those words are sooo harrrd!!!]. Do these translated texts communicate in the living language of the worshipping assembly? Will God’s people understand the fourth paragraph of the proposed Blessing of Baptismal Water, which has 56 words or 11 lines in one sentence? Let me treat in particular the new demand for a sacred vocabulary in liturgical texts. The instruction Liturgiam Authenticam (norm 27) of 2001 advocates [Nooo…. "orders"…. a simple word] "a sacred style that will come to be recognised [In other words, it doesn’t have to produce immediate clarity] as proper to liturgical language". But scholars have pointed out that the celebration of the Eucharist always followed the language of the people. There was no such thing in East or West as a sacred language. [Yes, but there were nevertheless still both intelligent language and lousy language of the lowest common demoninator. And I think there probably is even now. I think if you say "Vouchsafe, O Waiter, we beseech Thee…" he’ll wonder why you are praying to him.]
Some would contend [Behold a perfect use of the Episcopal Subjunctive! "I would say that perhaps it might maybe …" ] that this new approach by the Vatican derives from a decided loss of a sense of awe, mystery and transcendence in the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council. Yet, while no one should be opposed to the transcendent dimension in liturgical translation, an exaggerated attention to the sacred distorts the balance between transcendence and immanence. [Yah… I’d say that eliminating the transcendent entirely really helped achieve that balance.]
Scripture presents God under a twofold image: king and neighbour, [Puhleeez…] transcendence and immanence. At times God shows himself as an awesome and powerful presence, a mighty monarch controlling the universe who prompts awe in his people. We see an example of this in the Old Testament when God appears to Moses at the burning bush. Moses takes off his sandals because he is on holy ground and he bows his head. In the New Testament, Christ is transfigured before his apostles. He appears radiant; his divinity shines through his humanity. In the Pauline Epistles, Jesus is the transcendent Lord, the Risen One, exalted on high, who knocks Paul to the ground on the road to Damascus. But at other times Scripture reveals God like a neighbour: friendly, close to his people, [wearing a cardigan] personal, human in appearance, and inspiring love, intimacy and fervour. This is the immanent image of God. Both transcendence and immanence are necessary for [a beautiful day in the neighborhood] a proper understanding of the revealed God. Both are equal revelations of God. Balance is needed, and the delicate balance between transcendence and immanence must be maintained in our liturgy. I would suggest [when?] strongly that there is today an imbalance between transcendence and immanence in our liturgical language.
While people need an understanding of the transcendence of God, the use of expressions not prevalent in the speech of the assembly and the use of archaic ["harrrrrd"] words defeat that purpose and make God remote. The new formalism [Don’t forget! Eschew "-isms"!] in liturgical translation will stifle authentic worship [which is certainly what we have had for the last 30 years]. For Christ’s message can only be heard in the culture of the hearer [which one should never attempt to elevate]. Liturgy does not take place in a cultural vacuum. If the liturgy of the Church is not celebrated in terms that resonate with the assembly, it will not be heard. [Wait… I thought that to "hear" Mass was not active participation! So, I guess I can go back to "reading Mass" now.]
Other changes have profound theological implications. The Pope announced recently that in the new Missal the words prayed over the cup [and the plate] will be changed. Now we pray: "This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant; it will be shed for you and for all". These words will be changed to "for you and for many". [Sweet is Truth’s victory.] It is the clear, certain teaching of the Catholic Church that Christ died for all. So what is behind the change? [Ummmm…. it’s the right thing to do?] The reason given is that "for many" represents a more accurate translation of the Latin phrase pro multis. [As the Marines sing "… and that’s good enough for me!"]
In support of the translation "for all", on the other hand, scholars [wrongly] point to the Aramaic texts that underlie the biblical and liturgical texts of the Eucharistic Institution narrative. It can be demonstrated [wrongly] that the Aramaic texts are clearly inclusive and there are also many other Scripture passages documenting Jesus’ universal salvific will.
[Remember: this is all based on a conjecture (oopps… "guess") about what the Lord might have said in Aramaic – which we don’t know. This sets up a conflict between the "guess" and the Greek text of the New Testament. In other words, people who make this claim are creating their own text by which they judge the veracity of the New Testament accounts of the Last Supper. Neat, huh? NOTE: I demolished the passe argument that follows in a four part WDTPRS series. In that series I show the sandy foundations the following arguments rest upon. Also, kindly note that when you translate liturgical texts you are not translating Scripture. The Pope agrees.]
In Matthew 26: 28 and following, we read: "For this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins." The reference to the "many" is certainly drawn from Isaiah 53: 11, where we read: "Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many and their guilt he shall bear."
In this passage the term "many" is a Hebrew word that means "for everyone", since there was no Hebrew word "for all". The term was originally inclusive and signified "everybody". The Jesuit scholar Max Zerwick’s Philological Analysis of the Greek New Testament is still an unsurpassed authority [Except that in this case he was wrong. And he got it from Joachim Jeremias, who was wrong.]. On Matthew 26: 28 Zerwick explains that polloi, the Greek for "the many", translates a Semitic expression that can signify a multitude and at the same time a totality. It means "all (who are many)".
This was strongly affirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship in 1970 when the Congregation commissioned Zerwick to research and write an article on the meaning of pro multis. That article was published in the official organ of that Congregation (Notitiae) in May 1970 (pages 138-140). It states: "According to exegetes, the Aramaic word which in Latin is translated ‘pro multis’ means ‘pro omnibus’: the multitude for whom Christ died is unbounded, which is the same as saying: Christ died for all. St Augustine will help recall this: ‘You see what He hath given; find out then what He bought. The Blood of Christ was the price. What is equal to this? What, but the whole world? What, but all nations?’ " [And shall we quote St. Augustine on his opinion that very few people actually come to be saved?]
In 1970 the Congregation for Divine Worship made a definitive judgement and published it in its official organ. What reasons now compel the Holy See to reverse itself? [It was wrong?] The English word "many" is normally taken to exclude some. The Pope’s decision to revert to this literal translation does not seem to express in English the true meaning of the phrase. "Many" does not mean everyone. [RIGHT! But there is a problem here. The Holy See said that the translation had to reflect accurately what the Latin liturgical text actually says. It did not specify that it had to say "for many". It could be "for the many", which sounds far more inclusive. The French say "for the multitude".] On a pastoral level we must have from the Vatican a better rationale [And from all others better obedience] for this major change than what has been given. With full respect and love for the Holy See, we need a pastoral explanation for the people. [Then give one!] Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, concedes that "for many" does not convey at face value the Lord’s universal salvific intent, [I think that misreads Card. Arinze’s letter] but that this belongs to catechesis. [YES! Finally!] Is not the liturgy the best form of catechesis? The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: "The liturgy is the privileged place for catechising the people of God" (Paragraph 1074). [And…. it’s a fumble on the 5 yards line! This is a problem with the post-Conciliar view of many liturgists. The Church’s liturgy is NOT a "didactic moment". Ooops… did it again… "teaching moment". Yes, people can learn and priests have the sermon to teach. But Mass is not primarily about teaching. It is about worship and sanctification.]
We need to be able to explain and defend this major liturgical change. We need biblical scholars to study this matter and give us a rationale that we can give our people. We need a pastoral approach. How many people in the pews will hear a universal inclusive meaning in "for many"? [MOST… If only some bishop would make the effort to explain it!]
We must hope that the work of liturgical pioneers and leaders of the liturgical movement will continue to develop and that their vision will not be in vain. [Imagine, all those lost decades!] Cardinal Suenens once remarked: "Happy are those who dream dreams of full, conscious and active participation in the liturgy and are ready to pay the price to make that come true." [Yes… for example, to set aside one’s personal tastes for the sake of obedience to the mandates of the Council, the rubrics, the norms from the Holy See…] These are brave and challenging words from a Father of the Second Vatican Council.