On the site of the National Catholic Fishwrap, Eugene Kennedy, ex-priest and humanistic psychologist, attacks the "reform of the reform". He is actually attacking the new translation of the Roman Missal.
His piece is so turgid that it is hard to know just what he is driving at.
I caught in the first part that he thinks that those who created and issued the new translation were reacting to a perceived ill in the Church which, in Kennedy’s opinion, doesn’t actually exist. The new translation is being peddled as snake oil.
In any event, what are we to make of this. Read it slowly:
"Joseph Campbell termed this massive tear in the fabric of life as "Mythic Dissociation." When this occurs we find ourselves in what poet T.S. Eliot describes as The Waste Land. This basic estrangement from any feeling for the mystical energy of the church as the Sacramentum Mundi, the mystical mirror in which the beleaguered world can see a reflection of its profound longings and strivings, can be observed in the way the sacraments are almost exclusively discussed. They are spoken of as static objects to be regulated rather than living symbols to be celebrated."
Mystical energy? What would that be?
Do we really want to turn to Joseph Campbell in this matter?
Beyond the fact that this is sheer gobbledygook, note that Kennedy’s notion of liturgy and liturgy language closes us in on ourselves. It is entirely immanent.
Don’t be distracted by the sprinkling of "mystical" in there. The Beatles did that too, in 1967. I think Kennedy’s thought is more closely aligned with that than with The Waste Land.
There is absolutely NOTHING transcendent about Kennedy’s view. His liturgical vision is a a reflection of the world’s "strivings". For Kennedy, the rites must be constantly adapted to our needs. Fellow travelers, such as His Excellency Bp. Trautman, believe that liturgical language should be constantly adapted to common parlance and be made immediately comprehensible. Their approach makes our rites into reflections of ourselves, self-enclosed gazing at ourselves.
There is no salvation in me or in you.
Kennedy criticizes the new translation.
"The new texts, in effect, split our everyday experience of struggling to work and to love from their sacramental symbolization in the renewed liturgy of Vatican II."
No surprise there. What does surprise is that, at the same time, he is really defending the old, lame-duck texts.
Over and against the new text, Kennedy would retain the lame-duck translation which includes such sparkling gems as this, which appears on the 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time. We need the Latin first.
LATIN (2002 Missale Romanum):
Ecclesiae tuae, Domine, munera placatus assume,
quae et misericors offerenda tribuisti,
et in nostrae salutis potenter efficis transire mysterium.
Now, in offering next a literal version I am not saying that we should pray this way! Read this for content, not the clunky style of a …
SLAVISH and CLUNKY LITERAL TRANSLATION:
O Lord, having been appeased take unto yourself the gifts of your Church
which you both mercifully bestowed as things to be offered as sacrifices
and you mightily are causing to transform into the mysterious sacrament of our salvation.
Now look at the …
God of power,
giver of the gifts we bring,
accept the offering of your Church
and make it the sacrament of our salvation.
This isn’t just bad translation. This is insidious distortion.
Again, it isn’t that the people at ICEL back in the day didn’t know how to translate the Latin correctly. They didn’t want to translate the Latin correctly. They understood the Latin content and they rejected it.
They eliminated the concept of sacrifice entirely. They didn’t like the idea of an God to be appeased, which is at the heart of what Sacrifice is for. Mystery is banished Mercy is ignored. The gifts are all about us.
You take away from the ICEL version that we actually deserve something from our partner-God, who will do her part after we do ours.
The Latin, however, tells you something very different.
This, friends, is why Liturgiam authenticam was issued.
19. The words of the Sacred Scriptures, as well as the other words spoken in liturgical celebrations, especially in the celebration of the Sacraments, are not intended primarily to be a sort of mirror of the interior dispositions of the faithful; rather, they express truths that transcend the limits of time and space. Indeed, by means of these words God speaks continually with the Spouse of his beloved Son, …
20. The Latin liturgical texts of the Roman Rite, while drawing on centuries of ecclesial experience in transmitting the faith of the Church received from the Fathers, are themselves the fruit of the liturgical renewal, just recently brought forth. In order that such a rich patrimony may be preserved and passed on through the centuries, it is to be kept in mind from the beginning that the translation of the liturgical texts of the Roman Liturgy is not so much a work of creative innovation as it is of rendering the original texts faithfully and accurately into the vernacular language. While it is permissible to arrange the wording, the syntax and the style in such a way as to prepare a flowing vernacular text suitable to the rhythm of popular prayer, the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses. Any adaptation to the characteristics or the nature of the various vernacular languages is to be sober and discreet.
Kennedy wants us to look into our own little pond and see ourselves reflected.
The Latin prayer wants to bring us to an understanding of pardon, propitiation, Sacrifice, mystery outside ourselves.