Sensible words from Roche of ICEL to the USCCB

The speech of H.E. Arthur Roche Bishop of Leeds and chairman of ICEL has been posted.

There were sensible things in the speech. 

In the WDTPRS articles I have spoken of "courtly" language.  Here is what bishop Roche said:


This might be called the ‘courtesy’ of the Missal. Liturgiam authenticam, insisting that translators respect the forms of expression found in the Liturgy, encourages us to speak humbly and courteously to God. But forms of courtesy vary from region to region: you know, for instance, how bishops are addressed differently in different countries. Courteous requests are often made in the form of questions like would you turn on the light? which do not seem appropriate for the Liturgy, since while Hebrew prayers often ask questions of God, Latin ones do not. In consequence, deprecatory language, which is necessary for a faithful translation of the Liturgy, does not come readily to hand. Translators have found that they need to stay close to the Latin in order to remain faithful to it, and users of these texts will be learning a new language of liturgical prayerful courtesy.


What about thie idea that the translations should get the "gist" of the prayer in whatever modern idiom is being used at the time?


Dynamic equivalence has become an outmoded idea: even its originator, Eugene Nida, ceased to use it in his later writings. Over the last thirty years specialists in language have become more aware that the form we choose for an utterance is itself expressive of our purpose in speaking. This is particularly important when we make requests. It is one thing for me to say turn on the light and another for me to say would you turn on the light? Both utterances convey the information that I want the light to be turned on by you. But we speak not only to inform, but also to persuade.




Finally, let me consider with you the translation of et cum spiritu tuo. As you know, the translation of this as and with your spirit is required by Liturgiam authenticam. However, this translation cannot be understood without reference to St Paul, who will often address a person, for example Timothy, by referring to your spirit rather than simply to you. What is the significance of this? Well, he is addressing someone close to God who has God’s spirit. So when we reply and with your spirit we are indicating that we are part of a spiritual community, it is God’s spirit that has gathered us together. A further point that I would like to make with you, which resonates with many of the interventions at the recent Synod of Bishops, is that scriptural catechesis is central to liturgical catechesis. It was said of St Bernard that he knew the Sacred Scriptures so well that his language was biblical – he began to, as our young people would say today, ‘speak bible.’ My point is that in using a translation that is more faithful to Sacred Scripture we are teaching ourselves and our people to speak bible! Lex orandi, lex credendi. 


 I would say this is a good start.

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  1. Jon says:


    As I’m sure you’ll know before even reading this; IT’S DONE!

    You’re lucky I don’t have your phone number. So it’s 3am in Rome at the moment, big deal. I hope your phone’s ringing off the hook. What’s a little sleep when it’s time to celebrate?

    For all you’ve done to make this day possible, Father, you have my most humble and sincere thanks. I know you’ll point the finger elsewhere, but surely you’ve played no small part in educating our American shepherds. Your reward, I pray, will be great.

  2. Gloria in excelsis Deo !

  3. Anonymous says:

    Needing 168 votes to pass, the translation has passed

    Believe it or not, it took no more than five minutes to debate the translation proper.

    Word is that “no more than a handful” of objections were raised, most of which were eventually withdrawn… Everything was handled in 45 minutes, word is that it was relatively easy, and not a single adaptation was contested.

  4. Catholic Lady says:

    oops I was so excited I forgot to add my name to the previous post

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