Our dear ultra-progressivist America magazine, run by Jesuits for the left, have an article on the pro multis controversy. At least this is still a controversy to the author: on planets that spin in the normal direction this is a done deal. Anyway, here is the piece, with my emphases and comments.
The Good Word
A Blog on Scripture and Preaching (contributors)
Posted At : June 6, 2007 10:46 AM
Related Categories: Chris Chatteris
Well, is it ‘for many’ or ‘for all’? Even here on the Southern tip of Africa, where the number of Catholic mother tongue English speakers is minuscule, it’s also a hot topic. Our local Catholic paper has been running a muscular correspondence between prelates, liturgists and pew-sitters. Here too a core issue is the alleged Latinisation of English.
Might Italians also react badly if some Anglo-Saxons tried to anglicise their lovely Romance tongue? Or even Celts: consider the Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly’s tale about how he’s walking happily down a street in his native Glasgow, feeling quite at home, when he’s approached by men in saffron robes with shaven heads chanting ‘Hare Krishna’. ‘And they try to tell me that I’ve got a problem!’ expostulates Connolly. [What a stupid analogy.]
Vox Clara seems to suggest unclear voices. No translation is perfect, but is it implied that a transcendental expression of Catholic truth exists, and that it happens to be in Latin? [I think this fellow is doubly confused. First, the norms were established by the Congregation for Divine Worship in the document Liturgiam authenticam. Vox Clara is a committee established as a liaison between the CDW and ICEL and conferences of bishops. Second, the norms don’t aim at a "transcendental" approach, only an accurate approach.]
Apart from the philosophical and theological objections to this, it’s rather a patronising way to deal with a language which has been a vessel and conduit for Christianity for quite some time now, and which today delivers vastly more theological discourse, and liturgical prayer than Latin. How many people think or pray in Latin these days? [So what? Being the texts are originally in Latin and we need to have what the texts express.]
I imagine we’ve been here before. As koine Greek gave way to vulgar Latin, for the sake of the wider mission of the Church, Latin is now giving way to English and Spanish for the same reason. I wonder if some Greek speakers wanted to Hellenise the Latin as the Latinists now feel the need to Latinise English. ‘My dear fellow; how can you possibly adequately translate the word logos into anything except, well, logos?!’
Can we ask the Latinisers to take English a little more seriously? Perhaps. During the apartheid era I visited a ‘coloured’ Catholic diocese where the mother tongue is Afrikaans, ‘the language of the oppressor’, a sentiment I then shared. When I attended the Eucharist in Afrikaans, my negative perception collapsed dramatically. Here was clear Catholic faith and piety, intense, prayerful, and faithful, ‘sanctifying’ a despised language. [Again, so what?]
What further evidence beyond the Incarnation and Pentecost do we need to be convinced that in Christ all languages are sacred and therefore to be trusted? [It isn’t a matter of trust. No one is saying that we can’t pray in English. We are going to be asked, however, to pray what the prayer really says for a change. And another thing: English isn’t made up exclusively of words with Anglo-Saxon roots.]
Chris Chatteris, S.J.