His Hermeneuticalness on the upcoming new ICEL translation

WDTPRS has had something to do with the issue of liturgical translations.  But we do like to see the good observations made by others. 

His Hermeneuticalness has posted a good entry over at his place.

Many of us will be profoundly grateful once the new ICEL translations are allowed to be used for the celebration of Mass. (Have a look at this post to see why.) It will be a blessing to be able to say the prayers of the Mass using a reasonably accurate translation instead of the poor version that I have had to use since my ordination 25 years ago.

It has been slightly puzzling therefore, [indeed] to see so many official sources speaking of the need for catechesis and training before these translations are brought into use. The very wording of the new ICEL will itself be a great catechetical improvement on the poverty of language that we have been forced to put up with for so long. [What if we get out of the way and just say the black words and do the red words?]  Let me once again quote my favourite example:

Latin text
accipens et hunc praeclarum calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas

Old ICEL
he took the cup

New ICEL
he took this precious chalice into his holy and venerable hands,

So what is the training for? Do some people [priests] perhaps need to be taught how to pronounce "them fancy words" like gibbet or wrought? 

The other day I was speaking to someone who had been to a training day and had come back with the impression that ICEL has written a collection of new texts and virtually composed a new Missal. [wellll…… ] Since this might well become a widespread misunderstanding, here are some points for catechesis:

1. The original text of the Missale Romanum of Pope Paul VI is written in the Latin language. [Sadly, people need to be reminded of this.] This is the "typical edition", that is to say, the edition which Missals in the other languages are supposed to reflect accurately.

2. The ICEL translation that we have been using for so many years is unsatisfactory. [there’s a word for it] It does not accurately translate the Latin text and therefore the Holy See has insisted that a better translation be provided.

3. The new ICEL translation is a much better translation and at last we will be able to hear the richness of the Church’s liturgical prayers when Mass is celebrated in English.

Training or catechesis that does not get across these essential points risks misleading the People of God.

 

Good work Fr. Finigan!

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40 Responses to His Hermeneuticalness on the upcoming new ICEL translation

  1. A Random Friar says:

    I will point out that the translations to the Spanish, while not perfect, are far closer, and superior in poetry, IMHO, to the English. Lots of words that are “too hard” in English, apparently. Of course, not all other languages are translated well, and while Romance languages may have some natural affinity to Latin, there is still enough difference to necessitate some serious and beautiful work. There has to be an intentionality to retain the beauty of the Latin, not just “come up with something close and valid.”

    The Spanish for the text above from EP I, btw: “tomó este cáliz glorioso en sus santas y venerables manos”

  2. Is there any reason to think that we will see this within the next year or couple of years? I noticed on Father Finigan’s first blog about the new ICEL was posted April 13, 2007 and he thought it would be installed by Advent that year. Obviously that didn’t happen and why didn’t it? I’m very excited about this and I want to see it happen soon!

  3. Mila says:

    “The Spanish, while not perfect is far closer, and superior in poetry, IMHO, to the English.” Exactly. That has always been my impression, reinforced by the fact that I’m a translator by trade. How I long to hear the new translation!

  4. Justin K. says:

    Now, someone tell that to my Bishop, who has said it’s a transliteration, not a translation, and is “impossible” to say.

    Better yet, just pray for him.

  5. ssoldie says:

    Change the words, so why not use the Liturgy of the 1962 Roman Missal “Gregorian Rite”? Is just changing the words, in the N.O.M. mean that what happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries,and replaced it-as in a manufacturing process-with a fabrication,a banal on the spot product, going to make it otherwise?

  6. TJM says:

    Ineffable! Father Finigan is so right and his one simple example shows what we have been deprived of in the English language. Tom

  7. The Astronomer says:

    Is the new translation of the Roman Canon (EP1) available online to read? When is the projected implementation date for the USA?

  8. Peggy says:

    I could only hope that my pastor will bother to check with the new translations. He’ll probably continue saying what he’s saying.

    HOPE & CHANGE, eh?

  9. RichR says:

    Read the black. Love the red…..commentary. Thanks for a chuckle, Fr.Z.

  10. There are still going to be cryers when the new translation does come out. There will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Mediocrity still has its partisans.

  11. ED says:

    Again this is all nonsense, making work for beauracrats. These men should be out in the world saving souls not playing liturgy. All you need to do is to eliminate the Novus Ordo, put the ExtraOrdinary Rite in the vernacular as well as the Latin. All the rubrics, reverence and prayers are already set.

  12. EJ says:

    The Spanish translation is far from perfect.. yes, it is far superior to the current English translation..but then the NEW English translation will be FAR superior to the Spanish one when it comes out. The Spanish translation has its areas where agenda driven liberties were also taken… it does not employ an accurate translation of the pro-multis, though the Vatican ordered ALL erroneous translations of it corrected (not just for English).. and I am praying that Liturgiam Authenticam’s call to correct EVERY erroneous translations found in ANY and all missals in any language – be soon heeded everywhere. I have not heard one shred of news from either Spain or CELAM to begin doing this for the Spanish language missals in use.

  13. EJ says:

    To “The Astronomer” and any others interested, here is a link to the USCCB page with the new English-language Missal translations. It’s all public now.

    http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/missalformation/index.shtml

  14. Joseph says:

    From what I’ve seen of the way my new pastor operates, we will get a thorough explanation of what’s going on. However, the concepts involved will be so unfamiliar to everybody that I doubt they will even notice. Most people are simply going to appreciate the “new words.”

  15. Is there any reason to think that we will see this within the next year or couple of years?

    Laurinda,

    The new ICEL translation has been “a year or 2 away” for something like 5 or 6 years now. The bishops have been dragging their collective feet on this. Some of them cannot seem to stand the idea that we might be exposed to accurate translations of what the prayers really say. But, it does seem like progress is actually being made now. It is probably only a year of 2 away ;-)

    I’m excited about it too.

  16. chloesmom says:

    Our pastor will probably ignore it. As he has said himself: “Whenever anythnig comes from Rome, we close our eyes”. (That is true, because I was there when he said it!)

  17. I half-heartedly look forward to the new translation. Frankly, I’d prefer a more literal rendering (ex. Abraham “our patriarch” rather than “our father in the faith” in the canon. Even if the English sounded Latinesque ala the Douai-Rheims Bible, I think that would be a good thing. It would thereby create a sort of liturgical English. And this would have good precedant in tradition. For example, how many Hebraisms have passed into Koine Greek? And how many Hebraisms (ex. ter sanctus) and Graeicisms have passed into Latin?

  18. Gail F says:

    The way I heard it (from someone in my archbishop’s staff), the current translation is one of “dynamic equivalence,” which was in vogue at the time. So people who prefer that approach are not going to like it. And as Father Z said, some people don’t realize that our wording is a translation from the Latin, which is the “real” wording. So they are not going to understand or care that the new one is a better translation. I do think that catechesis is going to be important for those who want to know WHY things happen, and of course will give everyone a crash course in what they are goign to say before they say it. But why anyone would need training in it is beyond me… except that some people like to have training for everything they do.

  19. Charles says:

    According to the most recent schedule, final texts approved by USCCB should be submitted ROme by November of this year (2009), so an approved text should probably be available sometime in 2010. The latest schedule is set forth at the USCCB Liturgy newsletter:

    http://www.usccb.org/liturgy/innews/2009-02.pdf

  20. stigmatized says:

    why is it taking so long?

  21. Mitchell NY says:

    “Why is it taking so long?” That should tell you how bad the old translation was and how many inaccuracies there are. The timeline to undo the damage should speak volumes for itself..

  22. Ann says:

    I am impatient for the new translation to become REQUIRED. I think that there will be some rebellion in the parish I attend because some people dislike change even for the better. But once the usual upset is done if all the parishes are using the new translation it will be very good.

    I find myself longing for greater reverence and depth in the NO I attend.

  23. It could be worse. At least you have one translation. We don’t. Instead, every jurisdiction has its own translation, ranging from the sublime poetic English of the Antiochians (modeled after the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the KJV) to the truly horrendous English of the Greek Archdiocese. Then, if we did have only one English translation, it would more likely be something awful like the Greeks use.

  24. chironomo says:

    According to the most recent schedule, final texts approved by USCCB should be submitted ROme by November of this year (2009), so an approved text should probably be available sometime in 2010.

    Charles et al…

    This timetable was updated fromt the previous at the last meeting of the USCCB committee, however it doesn’t seem that the work schedule itself was updated. While it’s possible that the final drafts could be presented for vote this November, that would require an immense effort between now and then. I’m staying with the release date of Advent 2011 for now unless things develop quickly this Summer and Fall. And then there’s the issue of the catechetical programs and “training sessions”….in many Dioceses not even brought up in meetings yet. Much work to be done still.

  25. Frank H. says:

    I’m with Gail F. What is all the concern with “training”? There is plenty of material on the USCCB site. List it in the bulletins. Then, two or three Sundays worth of homilies leading up to the debut of the new translation, and we’re good to go! Bring it on!

  26. bryan says:

    Two observations:

    1. We have to get this translation right. That’s why it’s taking a long time. Being peripherally involved (as a proofreader of a number of sections of the corrected version of the English translation of the Catechism which was submitted to Rome to correct the mistakes of the first translation…the whole sorry mess was described in Msgr Michael Wrenn (RIP) and Kenneth Whitehead’s book whose name escapes me right now…) in the effort in the early 90s to get the proper translation of the Catechism done, I can state that there are all sorts of hidden agendas (words mean something…and every one that is there is there for a reason…) and cross-currents at work. It’s not pretty. As a matter of fact, the bland statements mask what is, at times, a very contentious and messy argument, I’m sure. But, somehow, we all know that.

    2. There is an embedded cabal with a vested interest in maintaining the direction that is the logical follow on (or development of) the current status quo (however that is defined…and they want to be the ones to define it…) and resisting the new translations. Mostly the hold-overs from the first time (those who the ravages of time have not winnowed yet, that is…). They’re all interlinked (the catechetic bureaucracy, the liturgical cartel, etc).

    Two thoughts:

    1. The imposition of the current Mass was done without any thought of catechesis, sensitivity, education, sensitivity or anything else in the 69-73 timeframe. It was imposed by fiat. I find it amusing that, looking back at the leading “lights” of that disruption (or the ones who drank from the same kool-aid drum) are the ones who are counseling ‘caution’ and ‘sensitivity’ now (I wonder what Abp Weakland is thinking about a return to a more sacral language…but do I really care?). In the Trenton NJ diocese, it was imposed on the last possible date: Easter Vigil 1973. The only notice we had was a blurb in the bulletin on Palm Sunday that there would be a new order of Mass the following Sunday and to give it a chance. Bishop Ahr (RIP) was no foaming-at-the-mouth progressive, and resisted imposing the NO until he had no choice. We live and learn.

    2. I’m SURE the entrenched bureaucracies (remember, it’s the staff that, in the end, implements any changes. They can either make or break a Bishop, or subvert what may be his honest desire to do something…) have a dog in this fight…in some dioceses it may be for a return to a sense of the transcendence of the mystery, in others, it may be to keep the tie-dyed vestments and bauhaus burlap banners around for a little longer. If you’re in the former, you are lucky…the latter…offer up your white martyrdom for the sake of His Kingdom…

    Two hopes:

    1. The currents of time are relentless. Some day, we’ll look back on this and explain to our grandkids (well, those of you who will have them…) what it was like to live in a time when the inmates ruled the asylum and attempted to subvert the Bride of Christ, but, in the end, was proven yet again that the gates of hell would not prevail.

    2. That Benedict XVI enjoy many many more years as Peter’s successor, and all come to know and appreciate the most incredible gift the Holy Spirit gave His Church in the selection of this gentle and humble servant. He’s set many wheels in motion. Pray for him every day. One Pater, One Ave, One Gloria. That’s all it takes.

  27. ignatiangroupie says:

    In my parish we have begun to learn new mass parts in the choir in anticipation of the new translation.

  28. Rob Cartusciello says:

    My biggest gripe – bees. I want the bees back in the Exultet!

    Translate >all< of the black.

  29. Alex says:

    My thougts:

    Let’s pray the new translation comes about quickly, much more quickly than planned. Let’s thank Almighty God for this reform of the reform. I think, unfortunately, that we will have to endure “preparation” for the use of the new translation. Why? Because the inital reform which was just dropped into our laps was chaotic. Once burned, twice shy. I am just glad that if the Good Lord leads me to ordination, I will be able to pray the new translation and the EF Mass.

  30. I’m sure the good Father could do a better job of explaining this, which is why I’m attempting only the SHORT version.

    Keep in mind that the process of translation is a complicated one. There are dozens of texts to review in the “ordinary of the Mass” alone, never mind the propers of the Saints and of the Seasons, which number in the hundreds, or more. This is done in a painstaking line-by-line process, one which involves the bishops and bishops conferences of all English-speaking countries. (I’ve seen the review books myself. You don’t wanna know…) Each “round” must be approved by Rome before they can proceed. Keep in mind also, that this process actually began in the early 1980s, with an iconoclastic agenda, before finally being scuttled in the mid-1990s, by a few orthodox bishops, and a few good priests with back-door access in Rome. There followed, largely at the urging of the man once known as Cardinal Ratzinger, a revision of the requirements for translation (including taking a new Latin editio typica into account), and a complete overhaul of ICEL. Then the process began anew.

    Besides the Order of Mass and the Roman Missal, the Roman Ritual and Roman Pontifical must also be revised, as well as the Roman Gradual. A complete retranslation of all texts of the Roman Rite could be finished by 2015 or 2020. That’s just my personal estimate. Don’t take it to the bank.

    On the practical level (and this is the part you really wanted to know), the way Mass is celebrated in your parish will change noticably in the next three to five years, toward the use of more sacred language that accurately reflects the Latin text — all this, whether some liturgy committee or pastoral associate with an attitude problem likes it or not. The fact that the texts themselves are being discussed at any length in the general Catholic press, indicates that the process is nearing a close.

    Add to all this, that it will take publishers roughly a year to prepare and disseminate the texts for pastoral use. This includes any and all musical settings. The Gloria for virtually all of them will have to go back to the drawing board.

    If you want to keep an eye on things, ICEL, after years of having no online presence at all, finally got a website: http://www.icelweb.org/index.htm

  31. michigancatholic says:

    Looking at ICEL’s website (thanks for the link), I see that they’re putting together chants for the parts of the mass that happen each time (I’m no liturgical expert, as you can tell). And I have questions:
    1) There is some talk about unaccompanied singing by the laypeople. Will it indeed be unaccompanied? (I hope!)
    2) The singing is supposed to be chant. IS this really true?
    3) Will all this be required?
    4) If hymns are used, I assume they will be “extra,” yes? Will there be any control on the number, the quality and so on?

    I like this already.

  32. Mike M says:

    Couldn’t some Catechesis be helpful, though? Having grown up with the Novus Ordo Mass, I know that I simply didn’t know much of the meaning behind The Mass until pretty recently when I fell into the discovery of how little I know about my own faith and set about teaching myself. I was an altar server, went to Catholic School, etc., too, so I’d imagine that a good chunk of the Catholics out there don’t understand the Mass.

    The release of the new translation might actually provide a good platform to reintroduce Catholics to the basic truths of the Mass. And, hopefully the new words will better reflect these truths.

  33. Michael J says:

    David,

    When the Vatican Secretary of State announced that the 1970 propers could be used in the EF, Baronius press (I think) published them in its 1962 missal within one month.

    So, I am not sure if I can agree with your observation “that it will take publishers roughly a year to prepare and disseminate the texts for pastoral use.”

  34. Henry Edwards says:

    When the Vatican Secretary of State announced that the 1970 propers could be used in the EF

    Can anyone provide verification that this is true?

    Baronius press (I think) published them in its 1962 missal within one month.

    Can anyone provide verification that this is true?

    “that it will take publishers roughly a year to prepare and disseminate the texts for pastoral use.”

    On the basis of much publishing experience, I’ll be very happy if it’s done within a year. Especially since I can hardly wait.

    But I understand the printing of the 2002 Latin Missale Romanum was delayed for over a year just for the printer to get the chant notation right.

  35. Henry Edwards says:

    Incidentally, in addition to the usual observations — e.g., “for many” and all that — it’s nice to see the three options of the acclamation after the Consecration.

    And the people continue, acclaiming:

    We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.
    Or:
    When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.
    Or:
    Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.

    That’s it. The universal “folk song” crowd-pleaser is nowhere to be seen.

  36. Michael J says:

    After reading Henry’s response, I did a search. I could find nothing to back up what I said, so I retract the comment. This will teach me to rely on my memory.

  37. mpm says:

    Comment by michigancatholic — 11 June 2009 @ 9:05 pm

    MC,

    You could find out a lot by looking at what Jeffrey Tucker has been publishing
    at the New Liturgical Movement website. They have a search function for the
    site.

    He’s really in the forefront of the kind of questions you are asking.

  38. Henry Edwards says:

    Michael: Perhaps you were thinking of the PCED approval of use of the 1970 Prefaces in the EF. A dozen or so of these were in short order included in the Ignatius Press EF missalette.

    This amounted only to the insertion of a single block of contiguous material in the back. But the newly translated propers — opening prayers, prayers over the gifts, prayers after communion, entrance and communion antiphons, etc. — will add up to hundreds or even thousands of individual prayers to be inserted in separate spots in the missal.

  39. Michael J says:

    So…
    I got the approving authority wrong, the publisher wrong and the name of the prayers wrong. Sigh. I’m going home.

  40. Matt Q says:

    Is everyone else’s Missal being revised? Why is it the English stuff gets screwed with all the time? I can see it now. With the new translation, these priests will all the more be using that as an excuse to further ad-lib the Mass.

    =====

    Justin K wrote:

    “Now, someone tell that to my Bishop, who has said it’s a transliteration, not a translation, and is “impossible” to say.

    Better yet, just pray for him.”

    )(

    The bishop is prayed for by name daily in countless Masses throughout his diocese. We have to pay to get that. How much more do these bishops deserve? “This is what the Catechism says. Teach it!” Oh, but that’s so hard for a bishop. Anyway, yeah, pray.

    =====

    SSoldie wrote:

    “Change the words, so why not use the Liturgy of the 1962 Roman Missal “Gregorian Rite?” Is just changing the words, in the N.O.M. mean that what happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries, and replaced it–as in a manufacturing process-with a fabrication, a banal on the spot product, going to make it otherwise?”

    )(

    Yes, Ssoldie, it was!! It is something entirely different after the Council. It was manufactured, a banal on-the-spot product. That’s why the translations from the Tridentine Missal weren’t used because the liberals won out in the Council and they wanted to change the entire ideology and theological definitions of the Church. Regarding the Novus Ordo, something needing revision three times in forty years obviously makes its own statement, but like the dense who think government bail-outs are the answer…

    =====

    Peggy wrote:

    “I could only hope that my pastor will bother to check with the new translations. He’ll probably continue saying what he’s saying.”

    HOPE & CHANGE, eh?

    )(

    Your lips to God’s ears.

    =====

    ED wrote:

    “Again this is all nonsense, making work for beauracrats. These men should be out in the world saving souls not playing liturgy. All you need to do is to eliminate the Novus Ordo, put the ExtraOrdinary Rite in the vernacular as well as the Latin. All the rubrics, reverence and prayers are already set.”

    )(

    ED, as I replied to Peggy, our lips to God’s ears. Unfortunately the Church’s desperate grip on Vatican II just won’t allow for true dictates and housecleaning. Add to that, this absolute fear or unwillingness to correct these bad bishops and clergy is unconscionable. IMO.

    =====

    Joseph wrote:

    “From what I’ve seen of the way my new pastor operates, we will get a thorough explanation of what’s going on. However, the concepts involved will be so unfamiliar to everybody that I doubt they will even notice. Most people are simply going to appreciate the “new words.”

    )(

    Well, Joseph, however dubious with your congregation, that’s actually a good start. I’m glad your pastor is that willing to give it a go. You should see what it’s like here in Los Angeles. Not one word of it has even been mentioned since the new translations were promulgated. It’s FORBIDDEN! Oh, well. Mahony will be gone soon. Thank you, Lord, from my lips to your ears.

    =====

    Gail F wrote:

    “The way I heard it (from someone in my archbishop’s staff), the current translation is one of “dynamic equivalence,” which was in vogue at the time. So people who prefer that approach are not going to like it. And as Father Z said, some people don’t realize that our wording is a translation from the Latin, which is the “real” wording. So they are not going to understand or care that the new one is a better translation. I do think that catechesis is going to be important for those who want to know WHY things happen, and of course will give everyone a crash course in what they are going to say before they say it. But why anyone would need training in it is beyond me… except some people like to have training for everything they do.”

    )(

    Gail, at least your parish is going to get a course in the new translations. My parish, unfortunately, is going to fall flat on its face. This sounds almost sinful, but a few friends and I are BETTING the deadline will come and go and our diocese will still be saying Mass in the present blabbage.

    =====

    Charles wrote:

    “According to the most recent schedule, final texts approved by USCCB should be submitted Rome by November of this year (2009), so an approved text should probably be available sometime in 2010.”

    )(

    It’s been stated in various places, catechesis is to begin after Easter, 2010, and be in use at Advent same. Things being what they are, we’ll see.