WDTPRS and Diocese of Knoxville

A tip of the biretta is owed to frequent participant Henry    o{]:¬)   for the news that WDTPRS is quoted on the site of the Diocese of Knoxville, where His Excellency Bishop Joseph E. Kurtz is laboring in the Lord’s vineyard.  There is an article of 10 Sept called "Lost in translation" by Ginger Hutton which provides contrasting examples of the lame-duck 1973 ICEL version of a prayer and one of our very literal versions from WDTPRS.  The writer states about the ICEL versions now in use:

Obviously this example is an abysmal translation, but it’s not an isolated one. I studied dozens of prayers while preparing this column and found the phenomenon is all too common. Repeatedly our current translations choose words that de-emphasize God’s power, our dependence on him, and his role as active giver of grace. At the same time they overemphasize our own role and power. Reading these prayers back to back, one forms a picture of a God who is more like our personal assistant than “God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.”

This is not just bad translation. It’s a failure to faithfully transmit through the liturgy what we actually believe. This is why the coming change in translations, disruptive as it may seem in the short term, is absolutely critical to the defense of the faith.


That doesn’t need any translation.  She got it quite right. 

This issue of translations of Mass texts is very important.  Without good translations we do not hear what the Church truly desires to pray.  As a result we are all greatly impoverished.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. amy welborn says:

    Off-topic, Father, but the newly-appointed Superintendant of Schools for the Knoxville Diocese is a graduate of Christendom College- Press Release here. Unimaginable 10 years ago…

  2. Henry Edwards says:

    I might mention that he is actually diocesan Director of Religious Education, which includes parish RE programs as well. But, indeed, good things are happening in our diocese.

    For another straw in our wind, a traditional Latin Mass devotee – one with pretty high standards, both liturgically and musically – attended a local (normative) parish Mass this past Sunday and reported “It was very beautiful. Incense filled the air. … It was very nice. The music wasn’t half bad either (as good as you could expect when using the Oregon Press hymnals).

  3. Ginger Hutton says:

    Thank you, Father, for your translation which allowed me to make my point so clearly. Since I didn’t actually ask your permission to use it, I’m especially glad – relieved perhaps!- that you were pleased with the results.

  4. A says:

    Father, would you kindly post a short refresher of sorts about the translation work you’re doing here? Your schedule, your goals, etc?

    I ask this partly because I’m working on handouts for Friday Mass (2002 Missal) with chant settings from the Kyriale and the Gregorian Missal from Solesmes. The latter has translations from what appears to be ICEL. For some texts, the translations are okay. For others, there appear to be serious reductions of content which become obvious when you display the texts side by side in a handout.

    Is it possible for me to ask my bishop for permission to use your “slavishly accurate translations” in these handouts, when the ICEL translation is clearly… um, “lacking a certain level of detail”? Or should I be patient and wait for the translation of the Missale into English?

    BTW, I see you’re reading Trollope. Great book.

  5. A: I love Trollope\’s insight into social interaction and his sparkling prose.

    Back in 2000 I wrote an introduction explaining what I intended to do with the WDTPRS weekly series. you can read it here.

    What I am aiming at is to help people know and love the content of the Church\’s wonderful prayers. Of course the true and deepest content of our prayers is really a Divine Person, Christ. Christ speaks to us through the voice of the Church in these prayers. We need what the Church desires to express. The prayers shape us and guide us in this difficult pilgrimage of life. Therefore, I wanted to inspire people to learn more about our liturgical prayer in all its aspects, because I am convinced that when people know more, they will love the content and desire ever more to explore what the Church has to give us in ever sense. Also, I wanted to create a patient and respectful way to put head pressure on those who were making decisions about liturgical translations. A great deal has come to pass since the first article appeared in 2000. We have a new edition of the Missal and also Liturgiam authenticam and a shining new ICEL. We have a new Pope. WDTPRS has indeed had some concrete effects in the halls of power, as I have been told. So, we will keep the project going.

    What I write is not intended to be definitive. I humbly sumbit it to whomever chooses to read it. It is a work of love on my part and an ongoing exploration of what the Church really is offering to us for our life of public prayer.

    Fr. Z

  6. Pes says:

    Father Z,

    I can’t express this in prose sparkling enough, but I want to say THANK YOU for all you’ve done, are doing, and plan to do. You have certainly inspired me in exactly the way you’ve intended. God bless you.

  7. Pes says:

    Woops, Father, “A” and “Pes” are the same person. Darn those computer cookies.

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