CNA: Draft of English translation of Missal … completed?

This just in.  The headline is interesting, but the body of the article is vague.

Draft of English translation of Missal completed
.- The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) is releasing the draft of the English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal to bishops in English-speaking countries today.

Known as a "Green Book" for the color of its cover, the draft translates the Latin version of the Missal that was published in 2002.  The Missal is the official book used by priests to celebrate the Mass.

In a letter announcing the release, Bishop of Leeds Arthur Roche, chairman of the ICEL commission, mentioned that he had solicited comments from bishops of the various bishops’ conferences, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments and their advisers.

Emphasizing the importance of the consultation process, Bishop Roche expressed gratitude towards those who had commented:  "A wide range of issues, both theological and linguistic, have been brought to the attention of the Commission, who in response have sought to shape texts that will meet the needs of the worldwide English-speaking Catholic community," he said.

ICEL’s eleven member conferences include Australia, Canada, England and Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Scotland, South Africa and the United States of America.
 
Bishop Roche said the introduction of the new translation will be an opportunity for renewed catechesis.

The final version of the Missal is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

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19 Responses to CNA: Draft of English translation of Missal … completed?

  1. Mark Curley says:

    It’s disconcerting, but not unexpected, that the emphasis is on the consultations used to “Shape” the text, rather than what should be the ultimate goal – Faithfulness to the translation.

    As Chesterton said: “I’ve searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees”

  2. John Fannon says:

    I do hope (without much expectation) that the committee will provide a grown up version of the Beatitudes which (for example) formed part of yesterday’s Gospel for All Saints.

    I was brought up with ‘Blessed are …’ as in ‘Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted’

    The current version says amongst other inanities
    ‘Happy are they that mourn…’ a nonsense

    Happiness (to me anyway) is a transient state of being – and rather neutral. It’s difficult to say I am happy – but easier to say I was happy, when…

    Blessedness is a different state of being altogether i.e. being in the presence of God

    If nothing changes I suggest that the Beatitudes be retitled the ‘Happitudes’
    and that Blessed John XXIII be referred to as Happy John XXIII

  3. Garrett says:

    I agree with Mark. Why should it matter at all what the Bishops think of the translation? As long as it is as accurate sa possible, it shouldn’t matter whether they love it or hate it. Same old BS as always…

    Hopefully, with the rise of the Traditional Rites, there will be no need for vernacular liturgies at all (well, here’s hoping).

  4. michigancatholic says:

    I agree. Since when do the bishops have the right to pass judgment on the Vatican? (I know, I know, I’ve been asking this for years.) But it’s still the big question.

    In scripture, when the apostles got to fighting over who was first, Christ reminded them of the importance of the faith, and the importance of humility. So why do the bishops not know this? What do they think they are doing, anyway?

  5. Cosmos says:

    “I agree with Mark. Why should it matter at all what the Bishops think of the translation? As long as it is as accurate sa possible, it shouldn’t matter whether they love it or hate it. Same old BS as always…”

    Garrett and Mark, I do not think it is quite that easy, though I share your sentiment. Translation, like many things, is part art and part science.

    First off, there is a gap between the literal translation of words and the meaning those words seek to communicate. A good translation strikes the best balance possible between conveying the words at hand, and conveying the message that those words were intended to communicate in a clear and artful way. This “wiggle room” is not a big problem when everyone is working in good faith, but it does allow wiggle room for bad faith actors.

    Moreover, because of the immense amount of information available to researchers these days, the “best” translations of a word or phrase often changes. This is part of the reason (the other part is money), that there are so many translations out there. If the concept is, “just the facts,” we will have a new Bible every 10 years or so. People have forgotten the importance of having ONE standard translation, so we can assimilate the words and phrases into our culture.

    That said, many Western languages are based on Latin, and almost all Western cultures were highly influenced by the thoughts and concepts of the Greco-Roman world, and the Catholic Church. The difficulty in conveying meanings is overstated when dealing with Latin. And even where there are Latin/Greek/Aramaic words and phrases that are not readily comprehensible in English, what is so bad about assimilating them? {ie. letting those languages have a little more influence on the vernacular.)

    Anyway, I agree with you both in spirit.

  6. Dob says:

    The fact that Bishop Roche has mentioned “renewed catechesis” is interesting.

  7. Jordan Potter says:

    CNS has their story about this here:

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0706224.htm

  8. This re-translation matters a great deal, and it should matter to devotees of the traditional Mass. It will introduce the idea of “courtly” or “sacred” language, to the great majority of Catholics in the English-speaking world, many of whom have had the very idea bludgeoned out of their existence of worship. Once that is accomplished (and there will really be no getting around it, as any approved worship aid will have to conform to this, including those dog-eared missalettes in the pews), they will be one step closer to the recovery of the sacred in Catholic worship.

    Which can only lead to…

  9. Matthew Mattingly says:

    Just so the new Mass version sounds more Roman Catholic and less like either A). everyday conversational talk., or especially B).85% the same wording as Protestant Episcopalian or Lutheran prayers would be fine with me.

  10. jaykay says:

    “renewed catechesis”

    I love it. It seems to presuppose that there has been ANY catechesis. If so I must have missed out on it over the last, oh… 30 or so years. The last catechesis I remember was in my religion class at school (at least it was sound and I’ve never forgotten it). But without being too cynical, what I suspect we’ll hear is catechesis all right… but it’ll be of the tired looney leftish variety as in “look what these dangerous right wing fanatics are doing. It’s totally against the spirit of V2. Yadda, yadda, yadda :(

  11. michigancatholic says:

    I expect to see major battles over this translation–at the USCCB or regional level. I have no idea when we will actually see it in the parishes of the American midwest. Probably, it will be significantly modified by the time we see it, sad to say.

    Even so, it will be interesting when it appears. There will be more than a few individuals, I wager, that will endeavor to keep the old translation, but legally they will not be able to do so. After all, the N.O.’s current translation dates from 1970 or something like that, which will not protect it. However, a little fact like that will not prevent them from trying, I expect.

    They may even kick up a stink about the Tridentine’s being kept when the 1970 N.O. is not kept, given the fact that the polarization of the past several decades has attempted to pit the two against each other, courtesy of the progressives. It must be understood that for progressive hermaneutic of rupture folks, it’s not just a translation but a whole interpretation issue, complete with paradigms about many parallel issues.

    Interesting times.

  12. EJ says:

    The dumbing down of language used in Divine Worship also applies to many other languages that the Roman Missal has been translated into. While the Spanish translation is better than the English, it’s not perfect by any means, as it’s also sprinkled here and there with liberties taken in translating from the orginal Latin. The French translation of the “Suscípiat Dóminus” is “dynamically rendered” as: “pour la gloire de Dieu et le salut du monde (for the Glory of God and the salvation of the world). In Portuguese, “et cum spiritu tuo” is rendered as “ele esta no meio de nos” (He is among us..or..He is in our midst)…unbelievable right? So there are translation problems, serious ones, elsewhere too…but perhaps ICEL was the most notorious in its abuses, especially bearing in mind that other countries took ICEL as their model for liturgical translation, and all of the harm and confusion that has caused. It’s my understanding that Liturgiam Authenticam addresses issues with liturgical translations for EVERY language that the Mass is translated into, not just English – so it will be interesting to see how the non-English speaking Catholic world will react to the new ICEL translations.

    Re: Pakistan…English is one of the country’s official languages, having once been a part of India, and therefore once a part of the British Empire. A large number of Pakistanis are fluent in English, especially Catholics there.

  13. Fr Martin Fox says:

    John Fannon writes, concerning the Beatitudes,
    “The current version says amongst other inanities
    ‘Happy are they that mourn…’ a nonsense…”

    I’m wondering where Mr. Fannon attends Mass, if in the U.S., someone is using the wrong translation, because the current translation for the U.S. has “blessed are….”

    In any case, bring on the new Missal!

  14. elizabeth mckernan says:

    I was interested to learn that the Church in the US has retained the word ‘Blessed’ in the Beatitudes. Here in England the word ‘happy’ was substituted in the present translation. As a widow I found it upsetting to hear the priest say ‘Happy are they that mourn’. How did they choose such a translation? I felt sorry for the priest having to read it as no doubt he realised how strange it sounded.

  15. John Fannon says:

    Dear Fr Fox
    I attend Mass in England – the land of the dumbing down it seems

    John

  16. LeonG says:

    “The final version of the Missal is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.’

    No, I can safely predict that it will not be the final version.

  17. Maria says:

    John Fannon says “Happiness (to me anyway) is a transient state of being – and rather neutral. It’s difficult to say I am happy – but easier to say I was happy, when…

    Blessedness is a different state of being altogether i.e. being in the presence of God

    If nothing changes I suggest that the Beatitudes be retitled the ‘Happitudes’
    and that Blessed John XXIII be referred to as Happy John XXIII”

    Actually in French he is: they say “Bienheureux” for “Blessed,” which means “Well-happy.” I assume this is not a recent development. Having had to write a paper on St. Thomas and beatitude recently using the word “happy”, I think that it is possible without absurdity for the word to be used in a more proper sense with the same force as “blessed”–see Pieper’s “Happiness and Contemplation”–but I agree that it doesn’t come easily to mind.

  18. Francis Brennan says:

    Fr. Z.,

    EJ’s examples of liturgical mistranslations bordering on doctrinal distortions show how problematic the entire post-conciliar vernacular experiment has been. This whole issue is beginning to weigh on me more and more.

    I had naively assumed that the Romance language translations would do more justice to the Latin and that the English rendering of the Novus Ordo was the problem child.

    How wrong I was and how right Summorum Pontificum is proving to be.