Liberals who don’t like the new translation either don’t like the clearer theology of the prayers or the sound of the prayers.
The usual tack they take is people are too stupid to understand the new texts. This has been the mantra for a long time now, since long before the new translation was approved by the bishops conferences and then by Rome and then emended by Rome.
I think people will take to the new translation pretty well. Yes, there will be a period of adjustment. It’ll be okay.
As far as being too dumb… well… when I was seven years old my grandmother, who had been in her long life a school teacher, gave me sets of LP records of Shakespeare plays. At first I didn’t understand them at first, but I was fascinated by the sound of it and in time I got them just fine, thank you very much. I was changed by them.
I am not saying that the new translation is anything like Shakespeare. Not at all. I have read the Eucharistic Prayers aloud in PODCAzTs. During Lent I have include the corrected versions of Collects in LENTCAzTs. They are not Shakespeare, folks. They are in some respects more challenging and awkward to read than many of my own slavishly literal versions I worked up for the sake of prying the Latin originals open, versions I never intended to be anything like liturgical, blunt instruments for the sake of study.
When I read them and heard them read aloud, the new, corrected translations do sound like translations. But I have gotten to the point, as I have said before, it is often okay for a translation to sound like a translation.
Ehem… they are translations. Latin is our liturgical language, not English.
With that as a prelude, there is a good post at CMR about the different sound of the language of the new, corrected English translation of Mass.
My emphases and comments.
The New Mass Translation – The Power of Fancy
by Pat Archbold Tuesday,
I may be weird, but I am looking forward to the new translation of the Mass.
It’s not that I am secretly a Latin scholar who has for years lamented improper translations. I am not. I don’t know my e pluribus unum from my ad nauseum. But I like the idea that the language will be fancier. I like fancy language. Fancy makes things seem special. [He is on the right track here.]
Fancy can take the the otherwise mundane and elevate it and make it memorable. [the lame-duck texts are so indecorous, any new translation would have meant an elevation.]
Do you remember those Merchant Ivory films from twenty years ago? They were all the rage back then. They won all kinds of awards and stuff. One I remember in particular, Remains of the Day.
Remains of the Day starred Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Hopkins plays a stuffy, emotionally repressed butler who never gets up the nerve to ask the maid out until it’s too late. This plot isn’t just mundane, this plot is mundane’s older but even more boring brother, humdrum. I would rather read Brecht while listening to Zamfir on the pan flute than watch this movie.
You throw in some fancy tuxedos, fancy language and some fancy British accents and Bam!! Eight academy award nominations. Fancy did that.
And I remember it twenty years later. Fancy did that, too.
I have been convinced for years that if men started wearing bowler hats again, workplace productivity would go up 20%. It’s the power of fancy. [What he is really dealing with here is called decorum theory. He is talking about the effect of our contact with and pursuit of the aptum and pulchrum.]
Who among us, after watching a Shakespeare play, does not feel as if their IQ went up 20 points? I like to watch Shakespeare movies for no other reason than to look down on the people coming out of the Matt Damon movie in the next theater. [He lost me with the second part, even though I am sure he is making a funny, but that first part is surely right. Especially in this day of horrific English, which makes us stupider day by day, hearing Shakespeare does make us smarter.]
Let’s look at this another way. What happens if you take away the fancy? Would the prom still be the prom if everyone wore shorts and flip flops? No, then it would be like a regular summer Mass. But I digress… [Has the big question occurred to you yet?]
Fancy matters because fancy helps us remember that what is going on is special. And what is more special than the Mass? If a little elevated language can remind us how special the Mass really is, isn’t that a good thing? If a few thees and thous and a consubstantial can remind us to lift up our hearts, to lift them up to the Lord, I say all the better.
So while some may lament that the new translation is too, for lack of a better word, fancy, I say bring it on. Bring on the fancy. Sursum corda and all, whatever that means? But it sure sounds fancy.
His scriptis, do you want fancy? Want elevated language?
Just. Use. Latin.
Why is this so hard for the Latin Church to remember?