Bp. Donald “Ineffable” Trautman’s jihad against the new translation [Fr. Z POLL]

This entry also includes a little project for you readers and a POLL at the end.

His Excellency Most Rev. Donald W. Trautman, aided and abetted by the ultra-liberal anti-Roman National Catholic Reporter, continues his perennial jihad.  The aging imam of inclusive language is lobbying his brother bishops to reject the new translation of the Roman Missal to be sent to Rome for approval.  He is fighting an ineffable war of delaying.  Cunctando regitur mundus.

In the piece below we read that Bp. Trautman

"believes that the only way to address major flaws in the already approved texts is to reject one of the final texts as a statement of principle and get Rome to reconsider some of the underlying issues throughout the new translation."

Sound good to you?

From the same ultra-liberal NCR comes this with my emphases and comments.

Last-ditch effort to dump Mass translations
Nov. 06, 2009
By Jerry Filteau

WASHINGTON — Bishop Donald W. Trautman is calling for a last-minute measure by the U.S. bishops this month to save American Catholics from new Mass prayers full of grammatical errors and unproclaimable texts.

The bishops are set to approve the last four segments of a new U.S. English translation of the Roman Missal at their annual fall meeting Nov. 16-19.

Trautman, the bishop of Erie, Pa., is urging the bishops to reject at least one of these segments, he told NCR Oct. 30.  [A rejection of one segment is a victory in his war of delaying.]

Trautman said he thinks the only procedural way the bishops can halt the process and gain a new review of texts they have already approved (including Vatican reversals of many of their amendments to earlier texts) is to vote down at least one of the final segments up for review and form a committee to go to Rome and consult with the Vatican on what he considers the questionable texts approved by the Holy See[In the meantime, the whole world is waiting.]

[Okay… read the next part and, since it is not a direct quote from Bp. Trautman, ask yourself if this is news reporting or if it is a hit job by the NCR in support of Bp. Trautman’s efforts…] There’s simply no doubt that the bad grammar he declaims is there in prayers already approved by the U.S. bishops, or subsequently modified by Rome, which the priest or people are expected to pray during Mass. Which start, like this sentence, with a relative pronoun, making the entire sentence a subordinate clause. Which, he says, is no way to try to make people pray. And entire sentences, like this one, with no subject or verb.  [cute]

The three non-sentences in the preceding paragraph exemplify what Trautman, a former scripture professor, finds typical of one of the most disturbing issues in the new missal translation facing English-speaking Catholics around the world: a lack of plain, everyday English grammar in liturgical prayers with which Catholics are supposed to express their worship of God.  [How was this passed by the English? Or the rest of the anglophone world?]

In many cases, he said, even when U.S. bishops introduced amendments to the proposed English texts to correct blatantly ungrammatical usages, Rome has turned around and reinstated the bad grammar in order to follow the Latin text more literally[And soooo… he hasn’t gotten the hint?]

Trautman has been an outspoken opponent of the more literal translation of the Latin texts decreed by 2001 Vatican norms. At the bishops’ meeting last June, after he strongly criticized language problems in one segment — containing the texts of Masses and prayers for various intentions — it barely received the two-thirds vote needed for approval.

Trautman’s latest challenge to the translations came Oct. 22 when he delivered the third annual Msgr. Frederick R. McManus lecture [2]at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

[…  [Here the writer recycles what Bp. Trautman said at that lecture.  He will do this below as well.] ]

“For example, in the Preface of Christ the King there are 13 lines and 88 words in one sentence. How will this promote intelligible and meaningful prayer?” he asked.  [He is asking us simply to accept his claim that it won’t with no evidence in support of his claim.]


Trautman cited a number of grammar problems in a telephone interview Oct. 30. “A clear example of that was when the American bishops voted in 2006 to put in the creed ‘I believe’ four times,” he said. “It was taken out in Rome. So the amendment failed. There’s a lot of examples like that.”  ["There’s a lot of examples…" … ?  And he is complaining about bad grammar?  Okay… okay… speaking off the cuff is not the same as writing a text.  Okay.]

The result is several “sentences” in the Vatican-approved English version of the Nicene Creed for U.S. (and other English-speaking) Catholic congregations that are not really sentences, omitting the subject and verb, “I believe”:

    * “In our lord and savior Jesus Christ, who …”
    * “And in the Holy Spirit, the lord and giver of life …”
    * “And one, holy, catholic and apostolic church …”

[The word Credo is found only at the beginning of the Creed.]

Trautman noted that the Vatican-approved Mexican translation into Spanish of the Latin Roman Missal — approved for use in Spanish-language liturgies in the United States — uses “Creo” (“I believe”) all four times in the creed.  [The Mexican Spanish translation is not at issue.]

So in U.S. parishes that have Masses in both Spanish and English, worshipers at Spanish Masses will be able to pray the creed in grammatically correct language, while those at English Masses will be forced to use a series of ungrammatical quasi sentences to express the most fundamental Christian beliefs, he said.  [And if you had Holy Mass in Latin, they could all pray the correct text together while each person held a translation that suited them.]

“Isn’t that inconsistent?” he asked. “It all happens in the same churches: Where you have a parish that is Anglo-Hispanic, the people at the Spanish Mass will say the creed in Spanish saying, ‘I believe’ four times — ‘Creo’ four times — [and] you go to the English Mass, you say it once. It’s a great inconsistency. It’s the same text — it doesn’t make any sense to me.”  [Isn’t it inconsistent that we are not using Latin, or that His Excellency is not pushing also for greater use of Latin?  After all, the Second Vatican Council he cites in regard to the vernacular says that LATIN must be retained and that the vernacular is permitted in some situations.]

He said his struggle for a more coherent and proclaimable text is sometimes a “lonely” battle, [ahhhhh…. sniff….] but he is encouraged by the number of people, especially pastors, who ask him to keep at it. Within days after the first report on his talk appeared on NCRonline.org, he said, he received about 50 to 60 e-mails expressing support and only a handful objecting to the talk.  [WOW!  50-60 e-mails?   I suspect that after posting this I will get twice that in support of what I am writing.  Folks, drop me a note with this in the subject line: "In support of APPROVAL". That is, the Bishops should vote to approve the translations during their meeting.]

He said the few who objected focused on his criticism of arcane or archaic words, which is a much smaller issue than his main concern — the liturgical use of bad grammar and convoluted, unproclaimable sentences.

The new English translation of the Roman Missal has many good aspects, but “there is much more that still needs improvement to make the text grammatical and accessible to the people,” Trautman said in his Oct. 22 lecture.

“The present text still contains improper syntax, incomplete sentences, archaic and obscure words and idioms, lengthy and incomprehensible sentences, and fails to respect the natural rhythm and cadences of the English language,” he said.

He also criticized Rome’s decision to try to create a “sacred language” for worship, [Sacred Liturgy should not have a sacred language, right?] so that in the new version of the Nicene Creed, “born of the Virgin Mary” becomes “incarnate of the Virgin Mary” and “one in being with the Father” becomes “consubstantial with the Father.”

[… [more recylcing] ]

After a bishops’ conference approves a translation, the Holy See must confirm that text before it can be published for use in that country. Over the last three years, the U.S. bishops have approved 12 segments of the prayers used in the course of the liturgical year, on the feasts of saints and for various other occasions.

While he has found no major flaws in the final four segments coming up for a vote, the bishop said, [READ THIS CLOSELY! …] he believes that the only way to address major flaws in the already approved texts is to reject one of the final texts as a statement of principle and get Rome to reconsider some of the underlying issues throughout the new translation[See what he is doing?]

On the imposition of a new “sacred vocabulary” in the new missal texts, he cited several examples, including the passage in Eucharistic Prayer I: “When supper was done, he took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands.” The text currently being used says, “… he took a cup …”

“Did Jesus at the Last Supper use a precious chalice or a cup?” Trautman asked. “The Gospels clearly say cup. The Greek uses the word poterion which is a drinking vessel or cup.”

[… [recycling] ]


He said scripture “presents God under a twofold image: king and neighbor, transcendence and immanence,” and “an exaggerated attention to the sacred distorts the balance.”

“Our liturgy needs not a ‘sacred language’ but a pastoral language that will fulfill the mandate of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy for full, conscious and active participation,” Trautman said. “The noble simplicity recommended by the Council Fathers needs to be emphasized.”  [The Constitution is not a cafeteria line.  Nor are the norms for translation in Liturgiam authenticam.]

He said amendments made by the U.S. bishops to the new translations done by the Vatican-approved scholars of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy have resulted in a text that “is vastly improved but not mature at this point for the worship life of the church.” And, as he noted by phone later, in the texts so far approved by the Vatican, it has overturned many of the U.S. amendments, changing the text back to the commission’s original version.

At its present stage the new translation “does not have a pastoral style” that would lead American Catholics to “own the prayer text, its vocabulary, its style, its idiom, its cadence,” he said.

“If the Roman Missal does not speak to our culture, the church in the United States will suffer,” he said.

Jerry Filteau is NCR Washington correspondent.

REMEMBER: send me an e-mail with this in the subject line: "In support of APPROVAL"  (PLEASE: that subject line and ONLY THAT subject line so I can count you easily.)

Bp. Trautman says he got 50-60 in favor of his message.  How many will WDTPRS get?

Let’s have a little WDTPRS POLL:




The results so far seem fairly convincing.

I hope the supporters of Bp. Trautman’s initiative feel free to vote.  You don’t have to be registered for this blog to vote, after all.

UPDATE 9 Nov 1539 GMT

Over 260 e-mails now.

How many did Bp. Trautman say he received?


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in New Translation, POLLS, SESSIUNCULA, The Drill, WDTPRS and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. biberin says:

    In the October issue of Readers’ Digest the Word Power vocabulary quiz is all about words used by Edgar Allan Poe, who is probably read by most US high schoolers, right? Word #13 is ineffable.

  2. Remember: Bp. Trautman’s concern is about more than vocabulary.

  3. I posted this 17 minutes ago and 56 people have voted already. And it is a Saturday, when traffic is lower.


    "I want the Bishops to approve the translation.  I am tired of the modernist dinosaurs. But it does seem they are in the final contortions of their demise."

    "I mean seriously, in what sense can “Et cum spiritu tuo” be possibly translated as “And also with you”?"

    "While generally, I am a proponent of clear and concise use of language (for example in journalism and in legal writing), there is a place for the use of a poetic, elegant style of writing. The language of the Mass, which should take us beyond the material, beyond ourselves, and help us experience the sacred, is such a place."

    "I trust the English bishops (for all their faults) to recognise ungrammatical English better than (with all due respect to you) their American cousins. We need a more accurate translation of the Roman Missal without undue delay."

  5. Mitchell NY says:

    Bishop Trautman, PLEASE Stop…In part of the Missal that you feel are faulty, default to Latin in your parishes and teach lay people the Ordinary. This was also demanded of you in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy from the same Second Vatican Council that you cite. And this, from a lay person who knows very little about the goings on of Bishops Conferences and such. I listen to our Holy Father and the true message of the Council. Enough already, most of the world is waiting for this translation, and your messing with the timing is only going to rally more people against you…Your disobedience to Rome only teaches us lay people it is OK to do the same and that trickles down to respect for your office as well. You will reap what you sow.

  6. cheyan says:

    biberin: I find it amazing that after the bishop criticized that word in particular, we’ve had so many opportunities to see so many secular writers – not academics, either – using the word in a totally casual manner, as if it’s *not* part of the Incomprehensible Vocabulary of Cthulhu, or something!

  7. mpm says:

    AUTHOR: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) QUOTATION: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. ATTRIBUTION: Essays. First Series. Self-Reliance. (Source: Bartleby.com)

  8. Joseph says:

    Really, though, what justification is there for the bad English grammar/syntax?

  9. Frank H says:

    The situation he describes in the Creed could, I believe, be easily solved by revising the typography. Strategic indentations might make it more evident that the “I believe” also refers to the three other instances where we currently say “We believe”.

  10. mpm says:


    “Bad” grammar/syntax is a function of the literary form. The real question here is whether the literary form of the Latin Liturgy in the English language (the other Catholic liturgies have already settled this issue decades or centuries ago) is the same as the one you experience in reading the sports page of your newspaper.

    It’s not a matter of justifying a bad grammar/syntax, but of Bishop Trautman trying to justify why the language of liturgy should be as flat as newsprint.

  11. wmeyer says:

    “…a lack of plain, everyday English grammar in liturgical prayers with which Catholics are supposed to express their worship of God.”

    Given the widespread ignorance of English grammar in the population at large, should we be surprised that our bishops might also be infected with this malaise?

    Commonplace usage offers many examples which grate on my ears: “comprised of” and “very unique” leap to mind. Confusion of number is epidemic, even among college graduates.

    If we must have English, then let us not prefer commonplace usage to correct usage.

  12. 1 hour… 235 votes…
    1 hour… 39 e-mails

  13. eulogos says:

    On the subject of grammar, your red letter comment ought to be “While each person held a translation that suited him” rather than “that suited them.” Each or each person is singular, so the pronoun which refers to it should also be singular. Using “them” in this situation is a concession to the academic feminist takeover of the English language!
    Susan Peterson

  14. 300 votes
    just hit 50 e-mails

  15. Salvatore_Giuseppe says:

    He complains about “Incarnate of the Virgin Mary” and “Consubstantial with the Father”

    And yet, Incarnate conveys something entirely different than born. Born simply states that he came forth from Mary, but Incarnate explains how he became flesh through Mary.

    Meanwhile, “one in being with” is hardly a typical English formation, and took me a long while to understand, while “consubstantial” should be understandable to anyone who knows “transubstantiation”, and what that means theologically.

    Not to mention the benefits of if a person says consubstantial in English, they will surely understand “consubstantiálem” if they ever go to a Mass in latin.

  16. TNCath says:

    The bad grammar can and should be addressed after approval of the text, but this should not preclude an inaccurate translation. Methinks this is more about grammar and vocabulary: it’s about a return to a more formal style of worship, which threatens the “celebration style” of Bishop Trautman, other bishops, and many priests, who take advantage of the current directive “in these or similar words” on a regular basis at various points of the Mass.

  17. TNCath says:

    Correction: “Methinks this is more THAN about grammar and vocabulary.”

  18. An American Mother says:


    It’s not bad grammar, except in the most hypertechnical sense. For example, if you look at the Nicene Creed in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (which – setting aside deliberate distortions by certain Edwardine and Elizabethan persons with a political agenda – is still what I consider the best translation) you’ll find that the supposed sentence fragments are separated not by a full stop or period, but by a colon or semicolon. In other words, the first full paragraph of the Nicene Creed is one sentence, broken down into sections for ease of comprehension. Whether one does this with a full stop or a semicolon is fairly irrelevant, especially for the purpose of reading aloud.

    More importantly, what Mrs. Frisby told us in 8th grade English grammar class (and what Bp. Trautman is telling us now) is a case of “simple rules for simple minds”. The supposed rules about fragmentary sentences, relative pronouns, etc. were guides for young students learning to write — not for adults and professionals. We can all give endless examples of ‘violations’ of the ‘rules’ by the Bible, Shakespeare, or just about any other outstanding English work. This very point was made in a seminar for professional writers that I attended some years back, taught by a prof. at Emory Law School that I truly respect.

    MOST importantly, this is not supposed to be “everyday language” (whatever that is). This is extraordinary language for the most extraordinary event in the universe. And it is truly unfortunate that Bishop Trautman either does not understand that, or thinks it is irrelevant to his concerns.

    Having suffered through a plague of political bishops (and the horrible consequences) when I was an Episcopalian, I have very little tolerance for prelates who seem to feel that their deliberations are the equivalent of Question Time in the House of Commons.

  19. pelerin says:

    Tried to send e-mail but does not seem to work from Britain!

    I seem to remember the first English translation in Britain contained both the word ‘incarnate’ and ‘consubstantial’ in the Creed. And we all knew what it meant.

  20. jt83 says:

    It’s early and I must have not been fully awake when voting in the poll. I meant to vote NO: Bishop Trautman is wrong. May God bless and guide the efforts to engage in the true reform of the Liturgy under our pastor, Pope Benedict XVI

  21. mpm says:

    The belligerent bishop of Erie
    Complains of language of which he is leery
    His motion gainsaid,
    “Sit down, Don”, they said
    Thus satisfying his query. (Pasquino)

  22. Oh, so first he’s okay with “Credo” being translated as _WE_ believe.

    He’s okay with me instinctively believing the Church over my lying Latin conjugation table, which is why I got my lowest Latin test grade ever. (Yeah, I haven’t forgotten that.)

    But now, now he’s so fine with “Credo” being translated properly as _I_ believe, that he wants it translated that way FOUR TIMES!???

    Any stick to beat the flock with — is that it, Erio Grammaticus?

    Oh, and let’s not even begin with the grammar comments, which any professional linguist would find ridiculous. Indeed, I’m afraid they probably will, although I won’t be forwarding this article to them. I hope fervently that it will not come under the eye of Language Log, because I have no love for watching Christian leaders show their ignorance before the pagans. As an encore, do be sure to opine that the earth is a cube held up by turtles. It will be closer to the truth.

    Please stick to faith and morals, Bishop Trautman. Please. Please. Please.

  23. LawrenceK says:

    I think there are some awkward phrasings in the new translation, and that the extremely long sentences should be broken up. My Latin teacher always said, “Good Latin should be translated into good English.” It is possible to have a translation whose English is grammatically correct, elegant in style, and faithful to the Latin meaning.

    Unfortunately, Bishop Trautman and his allies did not care about the grammar issue until they lost on the primary substantive issue. As the many propers posted on WDTPRS have shown over the years, the current English translation is not faithful to the Latin meaning.

    If the issue hadn’t become so contentious, then perhaps some reasonable folks in the “middle” would have said, Okay, it’s inevitable that we will have a faithful translation. It’s inevitable that it won’t sound like something a hip and laid-back teenager in the 1970s would have said. So let’s accept that, and address any minor problems. Since that didn’t happen, what we got was excessive literalism.

    The Creed contains a “sentence” that reads, “Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.” It has no verb, but that’s okay, because it’s in the accusative, so it obviously must be the direct object of an unspecified verb, which must be the last verb used (credo). In English we have no declensions, and therefore supplying “I believe” is a good translation — in fact, it’s even a literal translation, by any reasonable definition of the word liberal.

    Fixing little problems like this would be good. But it won’t happen, because most of those who support Liturgiam Authenticam suspect (with justification) that Bishop Trautman doesn’t really care about grammar: he just wants to re-open the central issue, which has been settled.

  24. youngcatholicstl says:

    Fr. Z –

    I wish you had a third option up there for “Bp. T is wrong, but I also wish the new translation would be reviewed by Rome.”

    I think Bp. T is fighting against the new translation for the wrong reasons (i.e., he is just using it as a cover b/c he doesn’t want any change from his liberal translation). However, the prayers should be accurate and gramatically correct, which I fear isn’t happening. So I wish Rome would review everything before issuing the new translation.

  25. Gail F says:

    * “In our lord and savior Jesus Christ, who …”
    * “And in the Holy Spirit, the lord and giver of life …”
    * “And one, holy, catholic and apostolic church …”

    These are examples of unproclaimable bad grammar? Is he kidding? It’s a LIST!!!

    “We believe in God, the almighty Father, maker of the heavens and the earth, and in Jesus Christ his only son, Our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, and who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified and was buried…” That is how the Apostle’s Creed goes in one musical setting, and it’s a big long list. I have no idea how it’s punctuated because I just sing it from memory, but instead of commas I could put periods in there and make “sentence fragments.” Same words, no harder to understand. Oops, that last was an ungrammatical sentence!

    Give me a break.

  26. Gail F says:

    “The present text still contains improper syntax, incomplete sentences, archaic and obscure words and idioms, lengthy and incomprehensible sentences, and fails to respect the natural rhythm and cadences of the English language.” What do all those big words mean? I can’t follow Bishop Trautman, I am just a poor everyday Catholic…

    “Our liturgy needs not a ‘sacred language’ but a pastoral language that will fulfill the mandate of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy for full, conscious and active participation.” This is a red herring; there’s no reason that sacred language cannot also be pastoral.

    Bishop Trautman likes the translation the way it is, because he thinks that it accomplishes what he thinks it should accomplish. That was once a fairly popular opinion, and so I do feel sorry for him. He must feel very strongly that this is a bad idea. I don’t agree with him, though.

  27. Henry Edwards says:

    So I wish Rome would review everything before issuing the new translation.

    I think you can be confident that this is being done in minute detail by the Congregation for Divine Worship with the assistance of the Vox Clara commission appointed to advise it on this translation.

  28. asacjack says:

    Maybe what we should do, just to make sure everybody is on the same page, is to have everything in Latin except for the Epistle and Gospel. That way the entire universal Church prays universally. Plus, think of how much time it would save all these national bishop’s conferences so they could get down to some real work.

  29. Wow!

    I was vote 691, what does the NCR and the Bishop of Erie think of that!

    As an English-speaking Canadian, I am fed up with this bishop and the NCR and his ilk delaying this. It is an insult to my intelligence and that of “John and Mary Catholic.”

    I’ve sent the email and asked my entire address book to do the same!

    Oh, Bishop Trautman, how are your vocations going?

  30. Hey, I just googled “ineffable” and 2,250,000 plus entries came up!

  31. TNCath says:

    Henry Edwards raises an excellent point. The English speaking members of the CDW and Vox Clara are not going to let a sloppy translation be released.

    The more I think about this, the more I’m wondering if Bishop Trautman is saying this now because there is already a back room deal brewing. Bishop Trautman isn’t one to just say something out of the blue without having some support from his brother bishops. This is going to be a very interesting November meeting of the USCCB.

  32. Warren says:

    Nothing like a good fish fry. To dinner let us invite the trout-man.

    Honestly, is this bishop ever going to retire? I suppose his efforts may produce some fruit. Though, perhaps not the fruit he desires. If anyone get’s her knickers in twist once the new translation is introduced, one could simply point her to Bishop Trautman’s objections and say that those concerns were addressed, rejected and now it’s time to join the Benedictine renewal.

    We can be sure that, after all the fuss, the Vatican will nod and say “yes, yes” and simply ignore the ranting of a bishop who has marginalized himself by promoting an agenda founded on a low view of human intelligence.

  33. TNCath says:

    Sorry, one more thing and I’ll stop.

    At the end of the article, Bishop Trautman says, “If the Roman Missal does not speak to our culture, the church in the United States will suffer.”

    If the current translation of the Roman Missal in use in our parishes today DOES INDEED “speak to our culture,” then look at the current state of our culture and the Church in the United States. What does that say about how effective the current translation is?

    Perhaps it’s time for the Church in the United States to start listening to the Roman Missal as it was originally intended to be spoken and not the way our culture would prefer it be heard?

  34. An American Mother says:


    The earliest version of the BCP (1549) uses “beeyng of one substaunce with the father” which of course is the language which survived until the hideous 1979 revision. Earlier English translations such as the Sarum Missal did not include the Nicene Creed.

    A bit more unwieldy than “consubstantial”, but consistent with the intention of Abp. Cranmer to prefer English words rather than more Latinate language.

  35. emily13 says:

    “Honestly, is this bishop ever going to retire?”

    Bishop Trautman will be 73 and half on December 24th….so we still have a little while before his retirement.

  36. The Astronomer says:

    Bishop Trautmann’s underlying message to the Pope of Unity with his liturgical translation antics…NON SERVIAM

  37. trad catholic mom says:

    I vote the non existent option C: just get rid of the vernacular already and stick with the Latin.

  38. Isn’t it thrilling to be able to attend the Second Vatican Council as we come up to the end of the year 2009? Those silly history books which say the Council ended in 1965 are all wrong! It is still going on and will be for years. If Benedict wanted to pull a real coup, he would arrange with the Archbishop of Canterbury for all dissident Catholics to be allowed to become Anglicans. There would not have to be any modifications of protocols or beliefs as these millions of “Catholics” have been Protestant for decades. By bringing back the Tridentine Mass, and more importantly the Tridentine RELIGION, all this quarreling has been obviated. Most non-Catholic catholics (sic) will continue to attend the Protestant liturgies at the Protestant table presented by a Presider in lieu of a sacerdotal priest and they will be happy, and we Catholics with our Apostolic Succession, the Eucharist and our sacerdotal priesthood with the charisms to confect the Eucharist will be happy and blessed as well.

  39. Uchhh! Will this never end? It’s worse than a school yard brawl…Just approve the new translations and let us get on with it!

  40. JosephMary says:

    ‘Bishop Trautman says, “If the Roman Missal does not speak to our culture, the church in the United States will suffer.” ‘

    You mean more than it already has???

  41. Andy F. says:

    I don’t think His Excellency was being pastoral when he used the word “incomprehensible.” I didn’t know what he meant.

  42. JustDave says:

    Interestingly enough, today I attended an ordination Mass for one of our seminarians as a deacon. Bishop LeVoir used the word ineffable in a prayer and no one ran from the church with their ears on fire.

  43. RosaMystica says:

    I feel a little offended and left out by Bishop Trautman… can’t he call himself “Bishop Trautperson?”

    Mary Catholic

  44. Timbot2000 says:

    “And entire sentences, like this one, with no subject or verb.”
    And so God created the colon and semicolon, and saw that they were good. And the people of the land did feast on the sloths, and the orangutans, and the fruit bats……..

  45. BLC says:

    Sent you an email, Fr Z! Not sure what number I am though…

  46. Melody says:

    I think one huge problem here is that people are not getting that the liturgy is not prose, but poetry.

    In any case, if the leaked version of the new liturgy is accurate, it’s very little different from the translation most of us used to pray along with the priest at the Latin Novus Ordo, which is obviously quite usable.

  47. FYI…. I have 233 emails now.

    A few more from 50-60?

  48. JCP says:

    If Bishop Trautman is to take issue with anything, why not the “Our Father,” with its stilted “old” English, and words that most Americans are unlikely to relate to and truly take ownership of. Talk about suppressing intelligible and meaningful prayer.

    Or is it perhaps that he agrees more with Cardinal George than he might think: “The liturgical reform was treated too much as a program and a movement for change, without enough thought being given to what happens to a community when its symbol system is disrupted.” [Sacred Music, vol. 130, no. 4 (Winter 2003): 26.]

  49. Some comments from my (250+) e-mails about Bp. Trautman’s efforts to derail the new translation of the Roman Missal.


    “We’ve had too many years of watered down pastoral language. The situation reminds me of the word lists once suggested for children’s book writers: don’t write beyond your reader or you’ll lose him–a preposterous idea. How best to stretch the imagination and the mind at Mass? Use words reflecting the solemnity and reverence of the liturgy. Children should know that reading is hard work; so is praying! Efforts are always rewarded. ”

    “Just to say I really like the new translation, a much less banal and more spiritual translation. Further, as a student of Latin, I’m aware of how terrible the current English translations are – Bishop Trautmann is fighting a rearguard action against the reform of the reform, I suspect. ”

    “I support the approval of the new translation of the Roman Missal, which while remaining faithful to the original Latin is nevertheless clear and consise English, in order that the liturgy may be a more fitting expression of our worship of God. ”

    “Roman Catholics deserve a better translation. If Bishop Trautman thinks that Roman Catholics are not smart enough to understand the proposed translation of the Creed, he must think Eastern Catholics are smarter, because they’ve been using a much more literal translation for as long as they have used English, without any complaint.”

    “As an English-speaking Canadian, I am offended that this one bishop and the heretical NCR continues to try to roadblock this desperately needed new Roman Missal!”

  50. Oleksander says:

    What an absolute insult to our intelligence. How offensive. I really do not understand the iconoclasm (in this case iconoclasm of language) of the liberals ahem “progressives” that is. Why dont you want poetry and beauty?

    And have these people ever looked at an English bible? Particularly the Amreican version? Very hard to understand, they should change all the grammar and words and sentences, rewrite entire paragraphs to common English, so “we”, the stupid uneducated catholic masses whom after working all day at our simplistic jobs, can read and understand. (btw what is the bible called? “good news” version? It is probably more literal translation than the current ICEL mass translation)

  51. diezba says:

    In reading these comments, I noted that several of them were directed toward His Excellency, the Bishop of Erie. Since I seriously doubt that the good Bishop reads this blog, however, I decided that instead of posting a comment directed to him, I would send him an email.

    A short Google search led me to BishopOfc@erieRCD.org, which is the closest thing I could find to His Excellency’s email address. I jotted down this note, and sent it north:

    “Your Excellency,

    “I have lately read accounts in the National Catholic Reporter that you are proposing that your brother bishops delay approval of the US English translations of the Edtio Typica Tertia of the Roman Missal at the Bishops’ Meeting this month.

    “I recognize that you must act as you believe you are called to, but as a layman, and as a convert from the Episcopal Church, I want to respectfully and strongly encourage you to reconsider your view that the texts from the ICEL are unproclaimable. While I have finally felt as though I have “come home” since I was confirmed and received into the Church this past Easter, I have felt some nostalgia for the beautiful language of the Elizabethan Book of Common Prayer that I left behind.

    “I would agree that such language is generally not appropriate for US Catholic congregations today, and I do not recommend a return to the “thee” and “thou” and “-est” archaisms used by Anglicans. I have, however, read the proposed translations, and I have compared them to the Latin text (which, as you of course are aware, is the norm for Catholic liturgy). I have found that what is actually there in the Latin of our current Missal is even more beautiful than the Anglican Prayerbooks of my past.

    “I give thanks to God for your commitment to making the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass accessible to US English-speakers, and I am grateful for your obvious love of the Mass. At the same time, I hope that your love for the Mass will lead you to reconsider your position and agree with the Australian and English bishops who have already approved the ICEL texts and avoid unduly delaying the new translation.”

    I hope you’ll pardon my poor grammar (if present).

    And I also hope you’ll consider sending His Excellency a respectful email registering your thoughts — but in doing so, remember to be charitable: this man, too, is an Apostle of Jesus Christ.

  52. BLC says:

    From http://www.detroitlatinmass.org/jospht/doc.htm via the Pertinacious Papist:

    “The Holy Trinity should not be addressed with dumbed-down banalities. God deserves better than that. Even if one supports the use of more modern English, it is hard to justify adapting the essential meaning of the prayers. Excessively casual wording of prayers is a slippery slope that arguably leads to inappropriate liturgical art and music, simplistic vestments and architecture, and an overall lax attitude towards our Catholic faith. After all, lex orándi, lex credéndi: The law of prayer is law of belief.”

  53. Ernesto Gonzalez says:

    Just when did his Excellency become so concerned about the inconsistencies between the English and Spanish translation of the Mass? The Spanish translation has been around for quite some time, and the inconsistencies have been glaring at the hispanics that participate in both languages. Also, what exactly is his Excellency implying about the intelligence of Juan and María Católico?

    For that matter, ¿where did his Excellency get the idea that the Spanish Mass was grammatically correct prose?

  54. robtbrown says:

    I have to wonder whether Bishop Trautman is waiting for a leisure suit designed for clerics.

    Has this man ever read JRatinger’s Spirit of the Liturgy?

  55. Melody says:

    Ernesto: I agree, the mention of the Spanish mass is out of place. I’m no expert, but their translation is obviously much closer to the Latin. Therefore, Spanish speakers would find a literal translation of the mass in English to be more comprehensible.

    I was overjoyed by this when I attended mass in Spanish recently. Compare these examples with the Latin:

    “Y con tu espirito.”

    “Sen?or, no soy digno de que entres en mi casa, pero una palabra tuya bastara? para sanarme.”

    I think this is why the Spanish speaking people in my area are much better Catholics!

  56. tired student says:

    I don’t understand Bp. Trautman’s concept of “proclamability”. Save for the lesson, epistle, and gospel, certain propers of the Mass belong to the priest. I am participate at Mass (EF) insofar as I immerse myself in the words of the Sacrifice, but the words are not directed at me. I don’t feel “left out” or disadvantaged because the prayers of the priest aren’t directed at me instead.

    Bp. Trautman’s contention that the texts of Mass contain great didactic import makes me wonder if the Canon itself is supposed to be proclaimed to the people as if they somehow are active participants in the Sacrifice. It is my understanding that the priest alone offers the Son to the Father. While the laity receive the grace of the Sacrifice, the presence or assent of the laity is not required for the sacrificial act. So why sould Bp. Trautman care if “calix” means cup of chalice? Must the laity understand every word of the priest’s sacrificial dialogue to reap the benefits of Holy Mass? I don’t think so, and I wonder what theological underpinnings necessitate such a heavy emphasis on hearing every word uttered by the alter Chrisus towards our Lord. I do not want to accuse the Bishop of heterodoxy, but I find the hyper-didactic emphasis unsettling.

    Maybe Fr. Z could jump in on this one — hope I got my theology right.

  57. David2 says:

    This seems to me to be an extraordinarily arrogant approach by His Excellency – both in its approach to the American laity, and also, with its apparrant contempt for other English-speaking Catholics.

    Speaking as an Australian, I find it astounding that an American Bishop would suggest our our Bishops (and remember that Cardinal Pell is the President of Vox Clara)would approve a translation that has so many apparrent gramatical defects. Ditto the English and Welsh, the South African Bishops etc etc. Really some Americans need to understand that the Enlish-speaking would does not begin at Ellis Island and end at the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s really a very parochial, and dare I say it, un-Catholic world view.

    Meanwhile, His Excellency appears to be advocating a merely tactical vote, to disapprove of something he doesn’t really disapprove of that much so he can re-visit votes he has already lost. Dare I say that this has shades of “let us do evil, that good may come” (condemned in the Ep to the Romans, Chapter 12, verse 8, if memory serves).

    The problem is that the rest of the English-speaking world, poor dumb fools that we are, have already approved this stuff, and as far as I know, don’t have a problem with it.

    And we all have to wait while the Bishop of Eirie plays politics with the liturgy.

  58. How many e-mails did Bp. Trautman get?

    I have over 260 now.

  59. I didn’t read the comments here, so pardon me if I restate something. I am all for the new translations, but it won’t matter around where I live because the priests don’t say the confiteor, don’t say the creed and never use the Roman Canon (Eucharistic prayer #1) during Sunday Mass. That’s one of many reasons why we drive two hours to a TLM.

  60. Frank H says:

    The comments are now visible on the NCR page with this article. Good Lord! Where do these folks come from?

  61. irishgirl says:

    Why doesn’t Trautman just ‘zip his lips’ so we can get on with it?

    As Mitchell in NY said-enough already!

  62. catholicmidwest says:

    You know, you have to feel sorry for somebody who doesn’t even have the wits to be ashamed of himself like Trautman ought to. What a poor sad loser!

    Okay, his 30 seconds of abject pity (which is more than he deserves) are up. Let’s have the translations now and put Trautman in a straight jacket and muzzle and relegate him to the shadows where he belongs.

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