About a gazillion people have written me e-mails with the story that the USCCB put out a news story about progress on the new translation of the Roman Missal. I have received scores of e-mails with links to various sites where people are jumping up and down about this.
"Great!", say I.
"But Father! But Father!", I can hear some of you saying, puzzled at my seeming lack of enthusiasm. "Isn’t this what you have been talking about for years? Isn’t your blog about all this translation stuff? Why let all these other people scoop you and put stories up before you do? Don’t you care anymore? Are you just going to keep writing about Fellay and Kung and wymynpriests and forget your roots?"
Yes, I care.
I am also grateful for all the e-mails. Sometimes I get pretty busy and miss things in the press. So keep your mail coming in, even if I don’t answer.
And now that the story is out and wide spread I have a few comments.
First, there isn’t much new in the reports that have come out, as far as this blog is concerned. We have written about these changes, and the schedule before.
Second, the only real news is that the Vatican gave approval to the Ordinary.
Third, I knew about this a couple weeks ago and promised not to say anything about it.
You might remember that not long ago, the Prefect of the Cong. for Divine Worship, Card. Arinze, joined a group of priests I belong to for a annual conference. During the days he spent with us, I had the chance to speak with him about various issues, including obviously the translation. We got into some interesting points.
However, on our way in from the airport, I told him that I had taken off my "journalist" cap during his stay, so that he could relax and not worry about everything he said and did winding up on the internet somewhere, unless he said I could print it or blog it.
Subsequently, when we were talking about the recognitio, I asked him if I could write about it and he told me that he preferred that Bishop’s Conferences not learn about it from the blogosphere before the Holy See had a chance to write to them.
So, when this story came out, I kept silent so that everyone else could pick it up long before I wrote about it, just to be sure.
However, now that I have explained why I went black on this story, and I am just writing now, let’s consider together the really interesting point in the news coverage.
Various internet news agencies put out stories, all with lists of some changes to common parts of the translation which will affect people directly.
Whereas CWN, for example, reported that in the words of consecration of the Most Precious Blood the priest will say, "poured out for you and for many (pro multis)", which is the single most important change in the English translation, CNS was entirely silent about it!
The left-leaning news agency of the USCCB was silent about the change to the words of consecration.
No one can believe they missed that part.
You will recall that since Paul VI made this decision, the Pope reserves to himself the tranlation of sacramental forms. Benedict XVI determined that a correct translation of pro multis must be included in all the vernacular versions and told Card. Arinze to write to that effect to all the Conferences of Bishops: the form had to be something like "for many", "for the many", "for the multitude" (French has "pour la multitude"), for example.
WDTPRS has four lengthy articles on the pro multis issue. I am happy to report that they played a role in the deliberations about what to do with pro multis. Also, in my recent PODCAzT I included an an answer to a question put to me in voicemail about this controversial point.
That said, I observe that the news report said "for many".
While I am glad that we will have a more accurate translation, I think that the better form would be the more precise "for the many", rather than the less precise "for many".
First, "the many" seems, to my ears, larger.
Second, "the many" sets it off as a group.
Third, "the many" has more of an eschatological direction to it, making the group sound like the body of the Chosen before the throne of God in heaven.
Either way will be an improvement.
However, I will continue gently to lobby in a happy sort of way until the Missal is ready for publication.