USCCB: “Dick and Jane” translation theory again triumphs for a day – Eerie!

I am caught in a dilemma. 

I am simultaneously filled with admiration of those bishops who know how to manipulate the rules of order for the Conference of Bishops, the "process", in order to delay something they don’t like (such as approval of the draft translation for the Proper of Seasons), … (hghghh!)

… over and against my desire to rain invective down on them for holding up the whole English speaking world and the use of a new translation of the Missal …. (hghghh!)

…all because a few of them think you are too stupid to understand the hard words or long sentences.

So perhaps the way to cope is to honor them with this piece from the Curt Jester.

By now I am sure that you have heard that the US bishops rejected the proposed translation of Roman Missal.  I do have an exclusive thought.  The bishops have sent along some guidance to the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL) as to what would be acceptable. The following are some actual example pages shown.

Dick and Jane Agnus Dei

Along with some rubrics for the GIRM.

Dick and Jane play with Holy Water Font

Bishop Trautman called the sample changes "Great for both John and Mary Catholic and Dick and Jane Catholic."

Catholic blogger Father Z called these proposals ineffable and that he would rather be strung up on a gibbet than use this translation for Mass.

Darn right! 

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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28 Responses to USCCB: “Dick and Jane” translation theory again triumphs for a day – Eerie!

  1. Ignatius says:

    uh, what does this mean? i dont unnerstand

  2. Matt says:

    1/3rd of the country’s bishops is more than a few isn’t it? It’s not like the bishops have the ability to filibuster. You don’t need ‘cloture’ for a vote. It seems like the comments made about this are more out of frustration that not all the world’s (or the United States’) bishops see things the same way as some do.

    It all goes back to the spirit of governance given to the bishop of a diocese. He has an obligation to protect the prayerlife of his flock.

    This does not seem like something to be all that frustrated about.

  3. Ron says:

    Wait. What’s a “font”? Is that like a tub or bucket? Why the fancy word? I thought it was text on my computer. Sheesh.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  4. Jason says:

    The big words make my head hurt…

  5. Chris Molter says:

    I had too asc my preest 2 tipe the anti spam wurd 4 me becuz im just a dum laypeepl

  6. Ron says:

    LOL @ Chris. Hilarious.

    Pax Christi tecum.

  7. TJM says:

    If there’s a good techy here, perhaps this can be forwarded to Bishop Traumman for his consideration. Tom

  8. John Womack says:

    I ug ree wif kris. we shud lern tu spel.

  9. Ron says:

    Good think they don’t have Chris and John doing the new translations for the Propers. *gasp* Then we’d really have common language…

    Pax Christi tecum.

  10. Patrick says:

    Dear Father Zuhlsdorf,

    Earlier today when I read that the relicts from “The Reform” had scuppered the translations I was ready to vent in a most un Christian manner.

    However, this last posting from the Jester, and your comments have put things in perspective. Their days are numbered, and The Lord will have his will done.

    I will pray and watch.

    Thank you Father.

  11. PNP, OP says:

    We must be patient for the Chronological Solution to sort this out….ticktockticktock….Fr. Philip, OP

  12. Margie says:

    I can remember as a young girl hearing the words “infamous gibbet” used in the St.Alphonsus Liguori “Stations of the Cross”. I wouldn’t have been able to give you a Webster’s definition at that point, but I knew what they meant. What is more important is that at 51 I can still recall them. Powerful words create powerful images.

  13. Matt says:

    wait a second…I’m still confused. How can 1/3rd of the country’s bishops be ‘relics’?

    Again, this is not an example of 3 bishops holding up a process…at LEAST 1/3rd of them said this translation was deficient for one reason or another.

    And exactly why is it ok to refer to any success of the apostles with such disdain?

  14. Jim says:

    “any success of the apostles”

    Brilliant typo…..There’s no success here Matt, only failure. Failure to minister and failure to support.

    Now can we, in the other English-speaking countries have the AGREED translation, agreed by the Yanks?

    Or do you want another Fourth of July?

    Roll-on a Vatican correction so that we can be rid of the cant we hear at every Mass.

  15. joy says:

    My husband pointed out two errors in the pics above.

    1. EVERYONE knows that it should be Jane and Dick, not Dick and Jane.
    2. There should be sand in the holy water bucket, not holy water.

    Get with the program, people!

  16. Josiah Ross says:

    This is really very sad. At my age, I’m already used to sacral English. I grew up on it. words like “Deign” , and “Vouchsafe”, and “Gracious” have long been in my vocabulary. (Oops, sorry. I useded too manys big words.) No matter what people say, it still sounds like these bishops think that we;re all to ignorant to be taught what these words mean.Do they think people don’t take English Lit. classes anymore? We learned what those words meant in ninth grade.

    Their version of common prayers:
    OUR DAD, who is in the sky-place.
    your name is holy.
    Your kingdom come.
    Do the things that you want, here on earth, and where you live.
    Give us food to eat today.
    And we’re really sorry for the times we maded mistakes, so don’t be mad, just like we aren’t made when Susie is mean to us.
    Help us not to do bad things.
    and keep bad things from us. A-Men.

  17. Jordanes says:

    Matt said: 1/3rd of the country’s bishops is more than a few isn’t it?

    Not much more than a few.

    It’s not like the bishops have the ability to filibuster.

    No, but that’s effectively what Bishop Trautman and his allies have managed to do to the Proper of Seasons. Not that it will do them any good, because Rome gets the final say here, and Liturgiam Authenticam remains the law of the Church no matter how much Bishop Trautman whines about it.

    It seems like the comments made about this are more out of frustration that not all the world’s (or the United States’) bishops see things the same way as some do.

    Sure there’s frustration — and impatience, and appropriate contempt and mockery of the embarrassing arguments that Bishop Trautman and his allies have deployed against the translation. It shouldn’t take this long to translate the Roman Missal. One reason it’s taking so long is because of Bishop Trautman’s delaying tactics. As I said, it’s not like he and his allies will succeed in their attempts to prevent the first-ever approved translation of the Roman Missal into English. They know they don’t have any ability to prevent the U.S. Church from following the law, but I guess you have to admire their persistence and perseverance in fighting what they know is a lost cause, even though they’re fighting for an inaccurate and inferior translation methodology.

    It all goes back to the spirit of governance given to the bishop of a diocese. He has an obligation to protect the prayerlife of his flock.

    Then there shouldn’t be any objection to Liturgiam Authenticam — and he also has an obligation to obey and implement Liturgiam Authenticam.

    This does not seem like something to be all that frustrated about.

    Perhaps not — after all, most likely this delaying action will have been in vain. It will take longer for the new translation to be approved, but it will still be approved in spite of Bishop Trautman’s machinations and maneuverings.

    wait a second…I’m still confused. How can 1/3rd of the country’s bishops be ‘relics’?

    Actually he said “relicts” (widows), not “relics,” but I suppose you’re right that he meant “relics.” Your question, however, indicates that you think he meant a whole third of U.S. bishops are “relics” of the botched liturgical reform of the late 1960s. On the contrary, he merely said that the “relics” scuppered the approval of the translation. He didn’t say that every “no” vote came from one of those “relics.”

    Again, this is not an example of 3 bishops holding up a process…at LEAST 1/3rd of them said this translation was deficient for one reason or another.

    You really don’t know how the USCCB works (or rather, doesn’t work), do you. Do you really think the debate just spontaneously sprang up and turned in Bishop Trautman’s direction?

    And exactly why is it ok to refer to any success (sic) of the apostles with such disdain?

    Because when successors of the apostles engage in futile footdragging rather than assent to the implementation of Church law, and when they show silly, patronising, and condescending attitudes towards the faithful, they make themselves proper objects of criticism and even mockery.

  18. Golly gosh gee whiz Father. You shouldn’t use such big words in your posts. You might confuse Dick and Jane Catholic. And Bishop Trautman.

  19. Matthew G. Hysell, M.A., M.Th. (Cand.) says:

    Geez…can’t you be charitable? Why does every “conservative v. liberal” exchange have to be so caustic?

    In any case I’m proud that our Metropolitan, +George Niederauer, defended the translation.

    But the Roman Canon still has “Byzantine-isms” that have been suppressed. We need to lose our Latin prejudice against our Greek heritage.

    MGH

  20. Cathguy says:

    Matt:

    You seem to ask “why is it okay to criticize the bishops?”

    Have you been living under a rock? Does being a faithful Catholic mean we check our brains at the door?

    Does being a faithful Catholic mean turning a blind eye to all sorts of abuses? We have liturgical deformations, abortions at Catholic hospitals (texas), abortions at Catholic Charities, a refusal to preach on Humane Vitae, all going on right now. All of it, ultimately, the responsibility of the Bishops.

    Need I remind you that 2/3rds of the U.S. Episcopacy was either directly or indirectly involved in CRIMINAL ACTIVITY recently?

    Have you been living under a rock?

  21. Matt says:

    Wait a second…

    First, criticism is fine….but the comments in these forums often goes beyond what is reasonable and gets heavy handed and unnecessary.

    Now, this idea that we have one bishop starting a roadblock with a minimum of 85 of his friends doesn’t make any sense. Remember that it was Bishop Trautman who was chair of the BCL when the order of mass was approved and sent to Rome for recognito.

    Now, it is still the job of an episcopal conference to approve of texts for use in their jurisdiction. They didn’t approve this ONE translation. It’s one part of a huge process and it may pass again when a handful of words or sentence structures are changed.

    And lastly, this constant ‘swiftboating’ of the bishops is funny to me…”Bishop Trautman thinks you have a limited vocabulary…..call Bishop Trautman and tell him you can understand words with two syllables”. Gimme a break people…

  22. Coletta says:

    Apply this to the translation and those who want to use street language in the Mass.
    taken from
    http://www.sanctamissa.org/en/spirituality/restoring-beauty-in-the-liturgy.pdf

    Sadly in our own times, the banal and vulgar have invaded our sanctuaries, following
    “a misguided sense of creativity.”4

    Nothing, therefore, is more important today than
    the restoration of the beauty of the Sacred Liturgy, the restoration of the sacred.

    Hans Urs von Balthasar, the 20th century’s most notable writer on the theology of
    beauty, said: “We can be sure that whoever sneers at Beauty’s name…can no longer
    pray and soon will no longer be able to love.”5

    In order celebrate the Sacred Liturgy with due reverence and beauty, the Church must
    be able to “distinguish between the sacred and the profane.”6
    When false types of “inculturation” pollute liturgical worship we must be mindful
    that “all is not valid; all is not licit; all is not good.”7

    The secular, the cheap, the inferior and the inartistic “are
    not meant to cross the threshold of God’s temple.”8

    In order to “restore the sacred” we must, first and foremost, contemplate the beauty
    of Christ in the Sacred Liturgy – “a sacred action surpassing all others.”9

    RESTORING BEAUTY IN THE LITURGY
    Rev. Scott A. Haynes, S.J.C.
    The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius

    (Hi Joy!- tell your husband that was very funny! I like the Novus Ordo 2.0 as my new screensaver at work :)

  23. Ricardo Aleixo says:

    Today, when the vast majority of the population in English speaking countries has at a least high school education, if not a college education the Bishops perceive their flocks unable of understanding new translations of texts and “fancy” words, instead it seems they all what us to worship and read at a grade two level. Insulting!

  24. Coletta says:

    Ricardo, I agree. If they insist we are all on a grade two reading level…
    It is all the more necessary we have beautiful stained glass windows since we can’t read, not these ugly, manic marble collages we are saurrounded with.Since we can’t read, we need Churches that contain lovely statues, we need music that elevates the heart and teaches the truths of the faith, we need to show our faith by our posture during Mass…. things like that.

    Litanies…. more litanies….short sentences and all that.

  25. johnny says:

    See Spot run. When you see inclusive language, run Spot, run! When you see the word swiftboat used as a verb, run! When you are given politically correct translations instead of WTPRS’s, run, run, run! :)

    Lighten up Matt, a little gentle gibe is good for the soul, even for their Graces the bishops of the USCCB.

    Cheers.

  26. Clayton says:

    Really, if I was one of the bishops I would not have voted in favor of the new translation. While it may be committed to literalism, it is not committed to enough deep thought as to the MEANING of the prayer, just like the ICEL translation was not committed enough to actually representing the originals. I see, therefore, two problems with the way the discussion is proceeding:
    1) the assumption that we MUST have an adequate English translation (I see no reason why this must be a given) and
    2) the assumption that the problem is with translation. You see, I think that the problem is the comportment of Catholic liturgical/scholarly society in making the translations. The Latin prayers have already been translated and put into the vocabulary of English worshippers through the work of the (heretical) Archbishop Cranmer. Any translation running contrary to this tradition really grinds against the self-image of the English-speaking worshipper. Hence, of course, it runs contrary to any notion of dignity or civility in our liturgical celebrations. In its place is a sort of soupy, overly emotional view which, in a concealed way, encourages banality on the part of the liturgical planners.

    This means two things. (A)We should be the FIRST of the cultures to encourage the continual use of Latin for the Latin collects and Canon and (B) we should be willing to appropriate the language of the Collects from the Book of Common Prayer. We might even decide to EXCLUSIVELY use those collects, even in their updated form, except where the two do not coincide. When they do not coincide, a new prayer, of suitable dignity and following the same manner of composition could be created.

    Example to prove my point:
    (Ascension Day)

    ICEL: God our Father, make us joyful in the ascension of your Son Jesus Christ. May we follow him into the new creation, for his ascension is our glory and our hope. We ask this…etc. Amen

    BCP (ancient): Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen

    Book of Divine Worship (modern): Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    A literal translation of the collect from the 1962 Missal
    Grant, we ask you, Almighty God, that we who believe that your only-begotten, our Redeemer, ascended this day into heaven, may also in dwell in mind with him in the heavens. Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, who lives…etc. Amen.

    Do you see my point. I rather like the last translation, but does it really draw you in to the idea that you are AT Church, or that something significant is happening? Certainly not as well as the middle two. In my opinion, this is also why the RSV-CE also ought to be restored to Catholic worship, because it is within the tradition of the Authorized Version.

  27. Clayton: Really, if I was one of the bishops I would not have voted in favor of the new translation.

    Then you would, like those bishops who voted negatively, have been voting against a new translation that does, indeed, render in English the Novus Ordo Latin originals both accurately in meaning and beautifully in form.

    I believe the problem you are attempting to cite stems from those (largely 1970) Latin originals, as may be illustrated by the fact that your ICEL translation is of a different Ascension collect than the traditional one that the BCP, BDW, and 1962 Roman missal include.

    The traditional Latin missal collect for the Ascension is

    Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut, qui hodierna die Unigenitum tuum Redemptorem nostrum ad coelos ascendisse credimus, ipsi quoque mente in coelestibus habeitemus.

    The Novus Ord Latin collect for the Ascension is

    Fac nos, omnipotens Deus, sanctis exsultare gaudiis, et pia gratiarum actione laetari, quia Christi Filii tui ascensio est nostra provectio, et quo processit gloria capitis, eo spes vocatur et corporis.

    for which Father Z’s literal English translation is

    Cause us, Almighty God, to exult in holy joys and to be glad in dutiful thanksgiving, for the ascension of Christ Thy Son is our advancement, and the hope of the Body is being called to that place from whence comes forth the glory of the Head.

    as compared with 1973 ICEL translation which (as you indicate) is

    God our Father, make us joyful in the ascension of your Son Jesus Christ. May we follow him into the new creation, for his ascension is our glory and our hope.

    From the examples I’ve seen, I think we may be confident that the new English translation, when we see it in 2010 or so, will be close in meaning to Father Z’s.

    At any rate, while the banal original ICEL English translations did their damage, much of the damage to orthodox Catholic believe had — as Lauren Pristas and others have documented extensively — had been already been done in slicing, dicing, and concocting the Latin propers in the Novus Ordo Missale Romanum.

    Some may be unaware that those who constructed the Novus Ordo did not simply subsume the traditional propers, a great many of which dated back over a thousand of years in continuous use. Indeed, only a small minority of the traditional Latin propers survive unscathed in the same Masses in the Novus Ordo Latin.

    A final point may be gleaned from the fact all extant English translations of traditional Latin propers — from TCP to 1962 missal — are accurate and faithful to meaning. All of them the product of a single translator. One might conclude that only the products of committees of experts are suspect, especially when approved by committees of bishops.

  28. Clayton says:

    I was indeed a bit worried that the collects were different.

    However, my point remains the same. I feel that we should appropriate as much from the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer in any English language liturgy, prejudicially to creating a new translation of the Latin originals.

    I would have voted against the new translation precisely because it is being approached from a poor liturgical methodology, and with the assumption that a new translation is necessary (with which I disagree.)

    To that I will add the idea that a new translation of the Gloria, Creed, and Sanctus (I know…they do not pertain to the Proper) is simply unneccessary, despite the flaws of the current translations. They have been set to music in half a dozen other denominations’ worship resources which, I believe, is ultimately an evangelistic advantage which we should not spoil.

    Finally, as I said above, it should not be simply a given that ONE and ONLY ONE liturgical translation, is truly necessary to liturgy. Translation is by nature an attempt to describe the meaning of something expressed in one language in the language of another; there are no absolutely ‘right’ answers, even though there are some wrong answers. I can see where, for some, a hand missal with the ICEL translations and the NAB would be of great benefit to their prayer life and allow them to truly open up to the liturgy. I can also understand the countless laypeople who use the Anglican Breviary instead of the bland English translation of the Roman Breviary from the 1960’s. It would be better, therefore, to simply give more recognitio’s to different translations, made by churches and individuals, which could be used in the liturgy at the freedom of the priest, in those places where the vernacular was allowed. (I wish that wasn’t everywhere…)

    Ok, so no will probably read this…but I think it’s important.