You may have heard that there is an initiative underway to “review” or “study” vernacular translations of the texts of Mass and the norms according to which they are to be prepared as given in Liturgiam authenticam. This would be nuts, of course, and, hence, I think they will do it. Tinkeritis is rampant these days. This is one reason why the older, traditional form of the Roman Rite must be expanded as much as humanly possible.
I suspect that, while this “study” initiative is an attack on the norms of LA and the translations it has already produced, it’s really an attack on Pope Benedict’s determination that all vernacular translations of the consecration for the Precious Blood had to say “for many” for Latin pro multis.
We Catholics ought to believe that, while Christ died for all, not all will be saved. Some will not be saved. Apart from that, pro multis in Latin means “for many” and not “for all”. Spectacular and risible philological fan dances have been done in the past to force “multis” to mean something that it has never meant in the history of the Latin language. This will return in spades now. If the attack on LA goes forward, and I think it will, it may result not in a total overturning of the present translation. Rather, even more options will be introduced: alternative translations, the option to say “for all” rather than “for many”. As you have already figured out, this will produce even more confusion and disunity than there is now… among Catholics, that is.
It might make what liberal priests do more promote unity with the teachings you hear in Protestant churches, although they might express them better.
Over at Mutual Enrichment, Fr. John Hunwicke has rightly invoked the name of the great scholar Christine Mohrmann. She demonstrated that the Latin used for liturgical worship in the early Church was not the lowest common denominator speech of the man on the street. Rather, it is stylized and elevated.
For 12 years I wrote a weekly column for The Wanderer in which I drilled into the translations of the orations of Holy Mass both before and after the introduction of the current ICEL version. Week after week I showed how the Latin reflected technical terminology and specialized vocabulary (i.e., military, agricultural, mercantile) and concepts from Neo-Platonic and Stoic philosophy. The man in the street would have had to stretch for the content, much as these days Joe Bagofdonuts would have to work hard to follow the first scenes of a play by Shakespeare. Mind you, Shakespeare is not out of reach! Most people these days must stretch. However, the unaccustomed ear eventually adjusts to the Shakespearean sound, especially when the novice is at the play and not just listening to a recording. With repetition, it becomes easier and you become – let it be said – smarter. The same applies to liturgical language: it must not be pedestrian. Our faith is shaped by how we pray.
We must resist every effort to make our faith ambiguous, indifferent and dumb.
Fr Hunwicke has a good post. Check it out HERE.