Since His Excellency thinks "John and Mary Catholic" are not smart enough to understand the real content of the Latin prayers in accurate translation, he believes the prayers should be reduced to everyday speech, the lowest denominator, and I do mean "common". I referred to this in another entry as "mashed carrots and goop.
Reacting to this JS writes via e-mail:
Ahhhhh! The gerberization (as in Gerber’s baby food) of the literature of the Church. Well at least the consumer can be fairly certain that the pablum for infants that is available at the local grocer is wholesome. The Erie bishop must suffer from the delusion that the intellects, the souls, and the vocabularies of his flock must be in a state of perpetual infantilism, or worse.
Once upon a time in a WDTPRS article, I wrote:
To grow into serious committed Catholics capable of making an impact on society, we need all that the Church desires to give us. We adults could if necessary get by on baby food alone. We could, if necessary, survive on milk and some nearly predigested veggies, but we would not thrive. Would we be able to do our work well? Could we respond with zeal and vigor to God’s will in our lives, having been fed only on such pabulum? A new translation is in preparation. More satisfying nourishment will come, God willing, through our beautiful prayers in a new translation, which will increase our yearning for the perfect food, containing in Itself all delight.
What is at stake here?
Let’s consider what you will be hearing in church at the end of Mass on the, say, the Vigil of the Solemnity of St. John the Baptist, which is coming up soon.
POST COMMUNIONEM (ad Missam in Vigilia):
Sacris dapibus satiatos,
beati Ioannis Baptistae nos, Domine,
praeclara comitetur oratio,
et, quem Agnum nostra ablaturum crimina nuntiavit,
ipsum Filium tuum poscat nobis fore placatum.
This is an interesting and tricky prayer. It is addressed to God the Father, but the subject is the Baptist’s words, his “prayer” in John 1:29,36: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” A daps is “a solemn feast for religious purposes, a sacrificial feast (before beginning to till the ground; the Greek proêrosia, made in honor of some divinity, in memory of departed friends)”. That odd looking ablaturum (esse) is the future active “participle” from aufero, abstuli, ablatum, auferre, “to take or bear off or away, to carry off, withdraw, remove”. The fore is a shortened form of futurum esse.
The fact that the Baptist’s speech is the grammatical subject of the action of the prayer points to the interior meaning. The real actor or subject is the Lamb of God. As St. Augustine put it, John is the Voice, the vox, but Christ is the Word, the verbum. This conceptual paring is present in the Post Communion.
The Baptist is so in harmony with the Lamb that the ecstatic declaration which bursts forth from him at the sight of Jesus reveals John’s inward disposition. John’s whole being is directed to Jesus. His outward words and deeds aim at Him. By asking the Father that John’s prayer accompany us we use a spiritually poetic expression to beg the Baptist’s intercession that we may attain the salvation Jesus won with His Blood. The prayer also underscores how our words and deeds both must and do reveal who we are inside.
O Lord, may the excellent prayer of blessed John the Baptist
accompany us, filled to satiety with the sacred sacrificial meal,
and may it urge that Your Son Himself,
whom it declared was the Lamb about to take away our offenses,
will be appeased in our regard.
Keep in mind in follows that I am not making this up:
ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):
may the prayers of John the Baptist
lead us to the Lamb of God.
May this eucharist bring us the mercy of Christ.
In another WDTPRS article I ended with this:
We need what our prayers really say. They are the bones of our daily lives. Our Mass should give us thick red steak and cabernet not pureed carrot and formula for baby teeth. I want meat not goop. I want you to thrive through our Mass not just survive. Mass is succulent, not ordinary. The content of our prayers will reach through to us when we have accurate translations of the Latin. Then with the help of preachers we can crack them open with adult teeth, chew their marrow.
H.E. "The Chair" objects to accurate translations convey the content of the Latin. He wants the translations to be simple, immediately understandable by everyone in every pew. However, this is what Liturgiam authenticam says (my emphases):
25. So that the content of the original texts may be evident and comprehensible even to the faithful who lack any special intellectual formation, the translations should be characterized by a kind of language which is easily understandable, yet which at the same time preserves these texts’ dignity, beauty, and doctrinal precision. By means of words of praise and adoration that foster reverence and gratitude in the face of God’s majesty, his power, his mercy and his transcendent nature, the translations will respond to the hunger and thirst for the living God that is experienced by the people of our own time, while contributing also to the dignity and beauty of the liturgical celebration itself.
At the same time LA says:
28. The Sacred Liturgy engages not only man’s intellect, but the whole person, who is the “subject” of full and conscious participation in the liturgical celebration. Translators should therefore allow the signs and images of the texts, as well as the ritual actions, to speak for themselves; they should not attempt to render too explicit that which is implicit in the original texts. For the same reason, the addition of explanatory texts not contained in the editio typica is to be prudently avoided. Consideration should also be given to including in the vernacular editions at least some texts in the Latin language, especially those from the priceless treasury of Gregorian chant, which the Church recognizes as proper to the Roman Liturgy, and which, all other things being equal, is to be given pride of place in liturgical celebrations. Such chant, indeed, has a great power to lift the human spirit to heavenly realities.
29. It is the task of the homily and of catechesis to set forth the meaning of the liturgical texts,…
Friends, the answer to His Excellency’s objection, which in justice corresponds to LA 25, must lie in LA 28 and 29.
Preaching and catechesis are the answer to Bp. Trautman’s concerns, not another disastrous dumbing-down of our liturgical prayer.