Lest We Forget: Of surveys, liturgical translations and whining

It has been brought to my attention that there is a survey about how priests in these USA are accepting – or not – the new, corrected ICEL translation of the Roman Missal.

STILL?  Are they still grizzling on about THIS?

The survey was conducted and now publicized by the usual über-liberal suspects.

Just guess what results they obtained?  You’ll be shocked to learn that the majority of those surveyed do not like new translation?  Are you not shocked?

Two points.

First, if you don’t like the new translation, brothers, just use Latin.   It is, after all, the liturgical language of the Church you belong to.   People can bring or refer to whichsoever translation they prefer.

Second, shall we review for a moment the differences between the Latin original, the obsolete 1973 version and newer 2011?   Just for kicks.   Remember, contrary to which naysayers claim, the 2011 version is not a slavishly literal version.  It does not follow the Latin word for word.

Here is, just as an example, the Collect for the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time.  No translation is perfect, but summon back to your minds where we were before.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
qui abundantia pietatis tuae
et merita supplicum excedis et vota,
effunde super nos misericordiam tuam,
ut dimittas quae conscientia metuit,
et adicias quod oratio non praesumit.

SLAVISHLY LITERAL VERSION:
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the abundance of Your goodness
surpass both the merits and the prayerful vows of suppliants,
pour forth Your mercy upon us,
so that You set aside those things which our conscience fears,
and apply what our prayer dares not.

CURRENT ICEL (2011):
Almighty ever-living God,
who in the abundance of your kindness
surpass the merits and the desires of those who entreat you,
pour out your mercy upon us
to pardon what conscience dreads
and to give what prayer does not dare to ask.

OBSOLETE ICEL (1973):
Father,
your love for us
surpasses all our hopes and desires.
Forgive our failings,
keep us in your peace
and lead us in the way of salvation.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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53 Responses to Lest We Forget: Of surveys, liturgical translations and whining

  1. Joe in Canada says:

    As far as I can tell the survey neglected to analyze the data by age of respondent. Not only would that be significant, but the absolute numbers of respondents in various age groups would possibly be revealing. If say (to hypothesize) there were a larger number of older priests in the survey, and they tended to be more negative about the new translation than the relatively fewer younger priests, that would indicate a higher level of negativity that we could have expected, given other phenomena we can observe (liturgical “practice”, etc).

  2. Joe in Canada says:

    ps I would also add that most of the text, including all of the prayers, is intended for God’s hearing. Was His voice heard in the polling?

  3. Patrick-K says:

    I don’t understand how it can be justified to essentially just delete or alter large sections of the original prayer. By this logic, the following “translation” would seem to be acceptable:

    “Hey God, you’re neat.
    Sorry for all the bad stuff I did.
    I hope we can still be friends.
    Please be cool.”

    It’s contemporary, right? Or would that really be going too far?

  4. Wade says:

    Those that complain about the 2011 translation aren’t really complaining about the translation from Latin into English, because the 2011 translation is clearly a more precise translation than the 1973 version was.
    They are complaining about the underlying prayers themselves. Words and phrases like “Almighty every-living,” “mercy,” “pardon” and “conscience,” and anything that hints that we might somehow be less than God.

  5. cyriss01 says:

    If I were a priest and I absolutely had to say the English. And I mean absolutely had to. I would go with the SLAVISHLY LITERAL VERSION (Its AWESOME) That is just my little opinion. Though the CURRENT ICEL (2011) is the one in the book and I am all for “say the black,do the red”. Makes me wonder who is doing the survey and what kind of priests they surveying. Especially since its the über-liberal suspects publishing the findings. Hmm???

  6. cyriss01 says:

    @Patrick-K. If I heard that prayer at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The next thing you would hear is my head hitting the top of the pew in front of me.

  7. Phil_NL says:

    Frankly, the only thing I could do upon reading the 1973 version (I won’t call it a translation) was… laugh. Long and loudly.

  8. maskaggs says:

    Without denigrating the value of introspection on the new translation, I think the survey itself was deeply flawed. Parts of it were taken directly from the survey taken in the UK _Tablet_, and all news outlets have a self-selected audience; ditto for the origin of the present survey. Furthermore, the survey sampled an incredibly small amount of US priests – 42.5% of priests out of 32 dioceses responded – meaning that this is a poor basis for the sweeping claims made by some of the men quoted at PrayTell.

  9. Bob B. says:

    Maybe the audience of the ’73 version was the reason for mistranslation? After all, some of the words are big words (two syllables or more) and they didn’t want to make anyone feel bad. Maybe the drums from the band, or was that the choir, had something to do with it and it was just transcribed wrong? Or maybe it was translated that way to make it more inclusive for visitors, so Mass could be more ecumenical? Or perhaps the translations were made by those who were forgetting the Latin they learned and thought it was “close enough”?

  10. Andrew says:

    From an author explaining “dynamic equivalence in translation”:

    A translation of dynamic equivalence aims at complete naturalness of expression, and tries to relate the receptor to modes of behavior relevant within the context of his own culture; it does not insist that he understand the cultural patterns of the source-language context in order to comprehend the message. Of course, there are varying degrees of such dynamic-equivalence translations. One of the modern English translations which, perhaps more than any other, seeks for equivalent effect is J.B. Phillips’ rendering of the New Testament. In Romans 16:16 he quite naturally translates “greet one another with a holy kiss” as “give one another a hearty handshake all around.”

    This has to do with the thorny question of “culture” and “multiculturalism” and with the question of what exactly is meant by “the substantial unity of the roman rite” in sentences such as “… welcoming where necessary cultural values which are compatible with the true and authentic spirit of the liturgy, always respecting the substantial unity of the Roman rite … (4th instr. for the right implementation of the Const. on the Sacr. Liturgy of the 2nd Vat. Council).

  11. Dave N. says:

    Thank you for not sending undue Internet traffic to the usual suspects.

  12. Robbie says:

    I think the unhappiness some priests continue to show for the new translation has to do with their fears this may well have been a forerunner to the return of Latin, or at least a greater use of it. I’m sure some of it also has to with the liberal priests of the 1970′s who see VCII as the great moment in their lives. If Latin, is some form returns, their great moment could be in danger.

    I would also like to think the younger priests were the ones who had little problem with the new translation. It seems the new breed are much more aligned with the past traditions of the Church and that, along with SP, is why the TLM is starting to pop up more often. I could be wrong about that though.

    Regardless, I think as older priests who cut their teeth in the 1970′s leave, it’s likely we’ll see unhappiness with these types of issues diminish.

  13. UncleBlobb says:

    In the spirit of the Knox translation of the Holy Bible, I can dream about a Zuhlsdorf edition of the Missale Romanum. Sigh.

  14. APX says:

    “Hey God, you’re neat.
    Sorry for all the bad stuff I did.
    I hope we can still be friends.
    Please be cool.”

    This type of language is far too archaic for the young people. They’ll never understand it. Lemme help you out.

    “sup hommie gee? ur the shizz-dizzle.
    allz the bad schtick i did? my bad
    hope wer still bros
    keep it real gee
    peace out man”

    We have to use the language of the people. If you keep using archaic words like “please” and “sorry” the young people won’t understand and we’ll lose them to the Pentecostals. They need to feel welcome in our worship environment.

  15. papaefidelis says:

    I eagerly await the foundation of the Presiders Association of Pope Paul VI (PAP6), which will promote the use of the 1975 Missal using ONLY the pre-2011 ICEL translation. Of course, we should not confuse PAP6 with the Priests’ Association of Pope Paul VI (PAPPVI), which promotes the use of the 1967 Missal and the translation then in use.

  16. AvantiBev says:

    Reading that 1973 version ICEL (or ICK!) of the Collect, I remember the more than 20 years I wandered in the liturgical desert prior to finding and joining St. John Cantius parish in Chicago.
    I have now been a parishioner there for 20 years which insulated me from Send in the Clown liturgical fluff. However, everytime I traveled and could not find a Latin Mass, I was reminded of how incredibly pedestrian the English language was in the Novus Ordo.

    I remember as a 17 year old back in 1973 wondering WHY had I studied so hard, took advanced courses and had been reading 3 to 4 grade levels ahead of my class back in grade school when I had to come to Sunday Mass and engage in insipid language to worship God. Surely the Omniscient One was capable of grasping multisyllabic Latin and English! As an acting student I was handling Shakespearian iambic pentameter at a Saturday night performance and then Sunday morning descending to the language level lower than a sitcom.

  17. APX says:

    I eagerly await the foundation of the Presiders Association of Pope Paul VI (PAP6), which will promote the use of the 1975 Missal using ONLY the pre-2011 ICEL translation.

    I don’t. I predict disunity over what type of tambourine should be used during the Gospel Acclamation. I just know someone will insist on using a traditional tambourine with a drum head, and Sister Pantsuit will insist that that’s not Vatican II and Pope Paul VI wouldn’t have wanted that because tambourine drum heads are too much pomp. Then there will be a schism and they’ll break off into the Presiders Association of Pope Paul VI Of the Strict Non-Observance.

  18. friarpark says:

    We have a situation where a lot of the old translation is still used. And a lot of messing with what is used of the new, and of course ‘all’ instead of ‘many’. I am of the impression (by what Fr. has told me in private) that he is doing this for pastoral reasons. That doesn’t quite explain his blessing at the end of Mass “May Almighty God Bless us all, instead ‘May Almighty God Bless you… which has been doing all the while he has been here. The parish at large seems to like these things, doesn’t see a problem except for a few who know what the words are supposed to be. There has been a “meal more than a sacrifice” mindset in this parish ever since Vatican II. While we do still belong to this parish we do go to Mass quite often to a parish who, in the words of my youngest, “do things right.”

  19. BobP says:

    >First, if you don’t like the new translation, brothers, just use Latin.<

    Even if you do like the new translation, use the Latin. Who knows when it will be retranslated again.

  20. Robbie says:

    I don’t often leave comments, but when I do it mainly has to do with the past traditions of the Church and the TLM. So it’s with that in mind that I tell a story that somewhat relates to Fr. Z’s initial comments.

    I happened to speak with my oldest aunt, a very conservative woman, and told her I had been attending the TLM. Her response was one of complete incredulity. She couldn’t understand why I would do such a thing.

    She’s a woman who attends Mass daily and attends a Bible school class as well, yet she wants nothing to do with the TLM. For that matter, she told me how dumb it was to change the words of the Mass in December of 2011.

    I suppose it’s just the mindset of those who came of age in the late 1960′s and early 1970′s.

  21. Athelstan says:

    “I suppose it’s just the mindset of those who came of age in the late 1960?s and early 1970?s.”

    As a wise man of my acquaintance once put it about such priests: These were “one change men.” They had one change in them, and they used it up in the 60′s. Now they’re invested in it. Its rejection risks a repudiation of their entire adult lives in the Church, in their view.

    And that said, I don’t doubt that there are a goodly number of priests, especially those of a certain age, who do not like this new translation. In some dioceses (most of us can think of a few), it might well be a majority. But this survey has all kinds of bias problems, because its limited to less than fifth of all dioceses (even if that was by the dioceses’ choosing), and response to it was entirely voluntary. And because it provides no demographic or other other background data of the respondents, it’s impossible to know just how representative these results really are of the presbyterate in the United States.

  22. Charles E Flynn says:

    My experience:

    A priest who, before the new translation was implemented, said he thought “the people in the Vatican have too much time on their hands” and who required a few months to unerringly say “for you and for many” rather than “for you and for all” has a look in his eyes when he says “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world” that he never had when he held the Host aloft and said, “This is Jesus.”

  23. Athelstan says:

    As an aside, Fr. Z’s inclusion of the new and old translation of the Collect for the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time really drives home a realization that’s been more and more apparent to me as I talk with opponents of the new MR3 translation.

    One such complained bitterly about “consubstantial” in the new translation of the Creed. “How am I supposed to explain that to a class of second graders?” he complained. Well: The truth is, it’s really *not* possible to fully explain the Triune God to a class of second graders. They simply aren’t intelligent or mature enough to grasp the concept, no matter how precocious they are. That’s why Catholic schools traditionally haven’t offered theology classes until the last few years of high school. Now, you can say *something* about God that they can grasp. But a full explanation of homoousious to second graders is a nugget that’s going to fly over their heads. And the fact that they don’t fully understand it doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t be saved.

    And therein lies the attitude behind the old translation that’s so deeply problematic. The Mass is not a didactic exercise. You can’t reduce every prayer in the Mass to something so simple that a second grader will immediately grasp it, and so pleasantly anodyne that it will almost never give offense to anyone. You’re going to have to leave out a lot of nuance and theological complexity to accomplish that. But that’s what the 1973 translation did.

  24. Andkaras says:

    I have regretfully never had one of such” respondents” come in to teach any of my Catechism classes to expound on even the most elementary of our beliefs about the Trinity. That being the case ,after we have reviewed the chapter on the Trinity,I pull out of my very large bookbag packed especially for this occasion, thick books of Aquinas, Agustin,and my favorite,Sheed and show them that as they grow their studies should broaden according to their age, as will their understanding .I have to wonder how many times these” respondents”,have had to engage in yet another calm discussion about ” et nunc, et semper , et in saecula saeculorum”

  25. frjim4321 says:

    I was at a very large con-celebrated mass today during which EP 1 was used. I had never been exposed to it before and I found it curious. [?!?]

    The funny thing is that I partially agree with Rev. Z. in that it’s probably better to do EP 1 in latin than to use the horribly abysmal 201o Vox Clara abortion.

    Ironically they ran out of the Precious Blood, so for me it was an invalid mass anyway.

    [The Moral: Concelebration should be safe, legal, and rare.]

  26. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    The 1973 ICEL example Fr. Z cites seems to be something one might pray, but offered as a translation, it seems so unloving to the reader/auditor (especially if one imagines it juxtaposed with the Latin text in a parallel column, where the reader might hope for something to aid in understanding the Latin: would it not then be likely to bewilder and distract, if not annoy?).

    Whatever the intention, the effect would seem hard to distinguish from condescension in the negative sense, even to the point of impudence.

    As a translation, it seems not unlike the ‘Life saver’ ProfessorWagstaff throws to the ‘college widow’overboard…

    Athelstan’s reference to “one change men” moved me to vary a famous verse: “Build thee more stately translations” – accurate and stately. How disheartening to find one not wanting that…

  27. gjp says:

    http://www.walsingham-church.org/site/Liturgical_Notes_files/LN-OT%20XXVII%20Oct%203%2010.pdf

    There is an interesting translation on the web site of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, TX. Is this the translation used by Anglican Use parishes?

  28. newyork says:

    The survey seems deficient. First, only 32 of 178 Latin Rite dioceses participated. One might ask whether that self-selection created an initial bias.

    Responses were received from all of 1,536 priests, of perhaps 41,000 total for the country – again likely self-selection of activist protestors.

    Notwithstanding, the survey claims that it shows “widespread skepticism” about the new translation, with various percentages of respondents reported as being critical as if the underlying facts warranted reliance on those numbers.

  29. Mamma B says:

    “I eagerly await the foundation of the Presiders Association of Pope Paul VI (PAP6), which will promote the use of the 1975 Missal using ONLY the pre-2011 ICEL translation.”

    I realize that the above is meant to be a joke, but there was actually a question/answer column in the local Catholic newspaper about whether the pre-2011 translation would be available for those who still wanted it, like the EF is now.

    http://www.catholicsentinel.org/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=73&ArticleID=21386

  30. Athelstan says:

    gjp,

    That’s the translation of the collect in the old Anglican Book of Common Prayer from 1662 – the version that remained intact into the 20th century (the Anglicans introduced a new missal with more contemporary language in 1979).

    When the Pastoral Provision was put in place by John Paul II in 1980, an Anglican Use missal (the Book of Divine Worship) was created for these Anglican Use parishes, borrowing from both the old and new BCP’s. That’s the use as seen in Rite I of the BDW, the only rite now used in the Ordinariates. There’s a new Missal coming out later this year for the Ordinariates to replace that, which will by all accounts be even more traditional in language and in structure. The result will be something not too far removed from the Tridentine Rite translated into hieratic English, using the Catholic RSV (2nd Edition) for Scripture readings rather than the NAB (thank God), and a calendar that restores many of the old seasons and special days, such as Septuagesima season, the Octave of Pentecost, Rogation and Ember Days.

    And yes, it sure would be nice if we had language this beautiful (and all the rest of that) in the MR3 translation. But if you have an Ordinariate parish near you, you might drop by for Mass to check it out.

  31. Sam Schmitt says:

    For most of the critics of the new translation, the alternative is not the 1973 version (which many agree should be scrapped) but the 1998 version, submitted to but ultimately rejected by the Vatican. I see it as kind of a “compromise” translation, keeping many of the faults of the earlier while removing most of the egregious bloopers. Here is the the collect from the 27th Sunday in that version:

    Almighty and eternal God,
    whose bounty is greater than we deserve or desire,
    pour out upon us your abundant mercy;
    forgive the things that weigh upon our consciences
    and enrich us with blessings
    for which our prayers dare not hope.

    They would argue that this version avoids the unnecessarily awkward phrasing of the 2011 version while still being substantially faithful to the Latin, but it seems evident that it still suffers from some of the faults of the 1973 translation, though not as badly.

  32. benedictgal says:

    Considering that Fr. Ruff was behind this survey, it has no real credibility. He and his cohorts had been sowing the seeds of dissension very early on in the process. I called him out on it and was banned from Pray Tell. They enjoy insulting Benedict and consider Pope Francis to be the antithesis of our beloved Supreme Pontiff Emeritus. Their editor also promotes and writes for the Commonwealth.

  33. mbabc123 says:

    Praise God for the new translation! The old translation was nothing more than a paraphrase of the holy sacrifice of the Mass, as Fr. Z’s example illustrates.

    I remember critics saying that us lay people weren’t smart enough to understand the new translation – though the CARA research says otherwise. Just like us lay people are too stupid to have Gregorian Chant (even though a CD of it is currently on the US pop charts).

  34. Athelstan says:

    Hello Sam,

    Yes, rejected 1998 ICEL translation is the beau ideal for some on the Left (especially at PTB).

    Yet if it improves on 1973 in certain respects, it is worse in others – especially in its egregious and extensive employment of inclusive language, its consistent omission of words of imploration (quaesemus, suppliciter) . It also introduced entirely new compositions – deeply problematic ones.

  35. av8er says:

    My Pastor does NOT like latin nor the EF. There is no EF in my diocese by the way. He does, however, have a great devotion to St. Benedict and regularly talks about the devil and hell and going to confession in his homilies. He did not have a problem with the new translation either probably because he does the Mass in Spanish and the changes are very similar to how the Mass is already said in Spanish.
    As a formerly “cafeteria catholic”, I would be in the same group as those who do not like the change to the new translation. Having renewed my faith years earlier, I appreciated the changes.

  36. av8er says:

    Dang, hit “post” too soon:
    Poorly catechized Catholics are like an anchor weighing down the Church in the US and around the world. It is like cracks in the foundation of a house. Those either poorly or improperly catechized turn into way-out there priests and explains those who do not like the new translation.

  37. NoraLee9 says:

    Every so often, the comments to Father Z’s posts are as edifying/entertaining/instructional as the original post. Patrick K and APX, your posts made me laugh. Thanks, I needed that. APX, I think you left out the affectionate term “Dog,” which I hear so many “yoots” refer to each other as.
    As for the post itself, I second the comment about not engendering Internet traffic for the usual suspects. We all know these folks are slanted and their data collection methods wouldn’t pass muster with any doctoral candidate.
    I was born in 1959. I grew up hearing about how beautiful the Latin Mass was. (Both my parents were second generation protestants. My mother had been to many Masses with her relatives and friends). When my parents finally let me convert in 1973, think of my disappointment! It took me until 1992 to finally attend a Latin Mass at St. Agnes in New York City! I may just be young enough to have missed out on the “hippie” indoctrination. After years of being categorized as a baby-boomer, it seems that someone, somewhere has created a type of “in-between” generation for those of us who were too young to attend Woodstock.
    In sum, I stand with Fr. Z. Let’s jettison the vernacular and use the language of the church. Dumbing down the text is not legitimate pedagogy. Any good teacher will tell you that you should teach to the smartest student in the class. The rest will come up.
    (Did anyone else’s eyes cross at Fr. Jim’s post?)

  38. JonPatrick says:

    NoraLeeg I was somewhat taken aback that a priest had never been exposed to the Roman Canon, the one in use in the Church from at least the 8th century and probably before that. Another treasure of our Catholic heritage that has been taken away from us for the most part.

  39. Scott W. says:

    Percentage of sour grapes of the makers of this survey: 100%

  40. Legisperitus says:

    “Dynamic equivalence” is neither.

  41. Sam Schmitt says:

    @Athelstan: Agreed.

  42. “I was at a very large con-celebrated mass today during which EP 1 was used. I had never been exposed to it before and I found it curious.

    In the many years that I have read WDTPRS–virtually every day since the blog’s initial week–I don’t recall a more extraordinary comment here (coming as it does from an experienced priest).

    All of the Church’s approved Eucharistic prayers validly re-present the Sacrifice of the Cross, and some (e.g., EP III) are beautiful, but EPI (the Roman Canon) may be the only one whose text pretty fully exposes the meaning of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Aside from the fact that some of the Eucharistic prayers (e.g., EP II) were not intended for days Sundays and feast days having their own proper prefaces, imagine what it must be for a young newly ordained priest to celebrate Holy Mass without having been carefully instructed in its meaning.

  43. VexillaRegis says:

    Fr. Jim: “I was at a very large con-celebrated mass today during which EP 1 was used. I had never been exposed to it before and I found it curious. ” I’m baffled by your statement, but it’s good that you found EP1 curious and not terrible or so – now you can use it yourself on Sunday ;-) Our pastor uses EP1 in nearly every Mass, and I must say I’m still touched every time we hear all those saints (mostly martyrs) mentioned – they are our family in Heaven and they still witness about Christ!

  44. THREEHEARTS says:

    Is it me? Am I wrong in considering that the prelates and translators in our church think that the laity are unintelligent and that only Father knows best? How any english speaking catholic cannot grasp the words of what is slavishly correct and needs to have modern english replace words that are exactly what the original writers used so beautifully. Latin is dead that is not changed by common usage and is I claim untouched by modern conceit.

  45. Will D. says:

    The Roman Canon is used regularly at my parish, which isn’t all that conservative. Our regular substitute priest uses it exclusively, as far as I’ve seen, and during the parish mission last night (The Holy Mass: Sacrifice and Sacred Banquet) he talked about how “sacrifice” appears in the prayer 5 times and similar words like “oblation” and “offering” appear 15 times. Priests should use it more often, I think, because of that. Henry Edwards is right, it is the prayer that best expresses the meaning of the Mass.

    As for Fr. Jim’s distaste for the translation of EP I, he has a point, even if it’s expressed in an unfortunate way. The grammar in it is tricky. My pastor inevitably gets tripped up at “Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation of our service, that of your whole family; order our days in your peace ….” He emphasizes “that of your whole family” in such a way that I believe he doesn’t see that it reinforces the universal offering but rather that only a portion of the “whole family” will be in God’s peace. It upends the whole paragraph and jars me every time. It requires a close and careful reading to understand it.

  46. Vecchio di Londra says:

    I was at a NO Mass a few weeks ago when the (very elderly Irish) celebrant – during what was supposed to be a sermon, but was more a set of disconnected reminiscences – launched into an impromptu criticism of the new English version. Referring to the Collect and Postcommunion, he said rather tetchily ‘And now some of these prayers (he was ) are so long they seem impossible to understand.’ After Mass I approached him and said that the new English versions of those prayers had to be longer as the previous English versions had been so abbreviated and altered as to be poor and inaccurate translations, reflecting neither the spirit nor the letter of the original. He was genuinely puzzled. Translations from the original what? he wanted to know. From the Latin of the Roman Missal, I replied. ‘But they’re not translations,’ he asserted: ‘We did away with the Latin years ago. Now we just have the English…’

  47. maryh says:

    Hmmm. I can see why the Vatican rejected the 1998 translation. Looking at this translation alone:

    Almighty and eternal God,
    whose bounty is greater than we deserve or desire,
    pour out upon us your abundant mercy;
    forgive the things that weigh upon our consciences
    and enrich us with blessings
    for which our prayers dare not hope.

    The whole connotation changes from:
    God, we really need your mercy, even though there’s no way we even come close to deserving it, but you are so amazingly good and kind that you give us even more than we know how to ask for
    to
    God, you’ve really got a lot. We’d like you to give it to us, even though it’s more than we deserve or want, because our conscience is bothering us.

    Honestly, I don’t see any problem with the new translation. The “awkward phrasing” just means that we don’t talk like that in everyday speech. So what? It’s not that hard to say.

    But just for fun, here’s my stab at an accurate translation that uses more modern phrasing and vocabulary:

    Almighty and eternal God,
    whose goodness and kindness is far greater than we, who beg of you, deserve or imagine;
    pour out your mercy upon us; pardon what our conscience dreads to name and grant what we do not dare to ask.

  48. Giuseppe says:

    Catholic middle school memory (nerd edition): I bragged to my 8th grade English teacher that I could diagram any sentence. Sister gave me EP 1, a dickens of a text to tackle. I had dozens of questions for her. After slogging my way through it for a week, I came away with sheer awe AND respect for its beauty and majesty. Remember, Jesus was the WORD made flesh.

  49. frjim4321 says:

    I meant EP1 was “curious” in that I don’t hear it often. I do know that it is perhaps the most theologically complete anaphora and of course I am not an enemy of theological precision. What I find curious is that I am still amazed by a process that imposed such an ugly, clumsy piece of pigeon English as our “preferred” Eucharistic Prayer. My eyes still hurt from rolling so much.

    My objection is therefore not to the theological content per se (except for the tragic all/many debacle) but the lack of beauty.

    No one seems to care that these prayers are not beautiful.

  50. maryh says:

    @frjim4321
    I’m curious myself. Could you give me an example of the ugly, clumsy pigeon English?

  51. frjim4321 says:

    Mary, I need to find a text to copy and paste.

    I won’t be snide and say “the whole thing.”

  52. Paul M. says:

    “No one seems to care that these prayers are not beautiful.”

    Father Jim, isn’t it possible that people do care about the beauty of the prayers but just happen to disagree with you?