Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, a blogger with Newsweek/WaPo, has the amazing penchant for being wrong.
You might remember some of his other accomplishments along these lines, for example, his ululation when Bp. Martino of Scranton resigned. Or his agreement with Planned Parenthood.
This time he is wrong about the passing of the blocks of the new translation by the USCCB in their plenary session.
His hero? None other than His Excellency Most Rev. Donald W. "Ineffable" Trautman, Bishop of Erie and perennial jihadist against the new translation.
Let’s have fatiguing look at how Mr. Stevens-Arroyo get’s it wrong this time with my emphases and comments.
‘Latinese’ when plain English will do
Note: U.S. Catholic bishops gave final approval Tuesday to an English translation of the Roman Missal that has been in development for years. After the Vatican gives its final authorization, the new translation will be adopted by parishes nationwide, possibly next year.
Sometime soon, Catholic America will be asked to "unlearn" our cherished prayers at Mass. [Cherished? Let’s quiz people leaving Mass on a Sunday morning and ask them if they can recite, for example, the Gloria, on their own without a body of people around them. Also, note that he wants you to accept a premise: people really like the present translation. You must: Compared to what other translation?] As a result of a command to retranslate [perhaps better "translate for the first time"] the Roman Missal, we are on schedule to be reprogrammed [Oooooo!] when praying at Mass. I am usually in favor of change in order to further the work of the Church, but in this case I wonder why we are trading in English for Latinese. [What he leaves aside is that the present translation is inaccurate and banal.]
The word "Latinese" is my invention; but as a professor of many years, I know Latinese when I see it. It is a made-up language that is technically English, but which sounds like Latin. [Ummm… what did that mean? If it is English, it is English, right? How is it made up? But watch this next anti-intellectual cheap shot.] Some students think that big words make you into an intellectual so they avoid plain English. I am not the only professor to prefer plain English, however, and I wish that the Vatican bureaucrats pushing Latinese would agree. [Two things here. First, this is the sort of condescending sneer you get from an academic elitist. "I’m a professor! Look at those over-reaching students." Next, liberals paradoxically create a false dichotomy between intellectual and "pastoral". This is a very common technique. But it is paradoxical in that it is okay for them to be recognized as intellectuals, whereas no conservative can be. Liberals can be intellectuals, but they know how – through some gnosis of their own – how to mask their brilliance and be folksy, pastoral. In this case the writer is smearing the new translation and the norms behind it with, first, the primer of condescension, and then the drab coat of a false dichotomy. Furthermore, in churchy circles liberals will generally bludgeon anything they disapprove of as not being "pastoral" even if it isn’t profoundly intellectual. Tune your inner ear as you read for these subtle frequencies of condescension and gnosis.]
I am not against Latin-derived words; [Laus Deo!] they are irrevocable parts of the English language. I only oppose using Latinese when it gets in the way of clarity. For example, [watch this move] we have grown used to professing our faith saying that Jesus "was born of the Virgin Mary:" We will now speak in Latinese and say he was "made incarnate of the Virgin Mary." Get used to other Latinese words like "consubstantial," "’ignominy," "ineffable," "gibbet" [Latinate? Not sure.] and "unvanquished." [Did you get that? Our being used to something is what makes it clear to us. Brilliant reasoning. Aside from the obvious fact that we will have time to get used to the important changes even before the new translation goes into effect (through catechesis, etc.) people will probably have the change to get used to them after the new translation goes into force… just as they got used to the lame-duck version now in force. And the new translation with be more accurate. In the case cited by the gnostic writer, the Latin in the Creed is "et incarnatus est… ex Maria Virgine". Would a first year Latin student translate that as "born of the Virgin Mary"? To be born and to incarnate are different ideas, no?]
I took four years of Latin at St. Joe’s Prep in Philadelphia, and earned 90’s every semester. I got to the point of sight-reading the Aeneid and still have no difficulty with the original Latin of St. Thomas’ Summa, [And… what about the content?] but that’s not the experience of most people in the pews.
Latin, having been used during the centuries when, from apostolic origins, continuing in the traditions of the Roman Church and the experiences of holy men and women of Christendom whenever the identification of theological preciseness being constantly required in the articulation of the faith, while being fostered and preserved through the use of gender and temporality designates, is preferred.
The sentence above is Latinese. At 59 words, it is shorter than one sentence in the new missal for the Preface of the Feast of Christ the King that has 88 words spread out over 13 lines. [Here is another brilliant bit of reasoning. His complaint is the length. You would think that his complaint might be that this is a periodic sentence, with various clauses which force the reader/listener to pay attention and think, to hold concepts in the air, so to speak, until the whole is resolved at the end. But no, the gnostic writer focuses on length.] And this Latinese is better than other places where sentences roll on without verbs! [Weren’t there verbs in that? Readers? Were there any verbs in that?] I suggest interested readers consult the comments of [wait for it…] Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, who also said at the Catholic University in Washington:
"The Latin text is not inspired. It is a human text, reflecting a certain mindset, theology and worldview. … [Indeed. A Roman Catholic worldview consistent for many centuries.] Because of literal translation in the new missal, complicated Latin wording has become complicated English wording." [Can’t have complexity! After all, people are stooopid.]
The reasons given in favor of the retranslation are laudable: [AGH! Latinese! Why couldn’t he just say… good. Two fewer syllables and geared for his view of people in the pew! But no… he is not writing for people in the pew, is he. He is writing for his fellow gnostics so that they can feel good about themselves as they sneer at the conservative ideals behind the norms for the new translation. That is the reason for most of the entries on the WaPo/Newsweek religion blog: make liberals feel good about themselves as they look down on the simple people.] a single English text for all English speakers in the world, from Pakistan to Peoria and conformity with a central Latin version. I suppose a case can be made for such issues, but I am less receptive to the notion voiced by some Vatican bureaucrats that speaking to God in prayer in plain everyday language lacks "transcendence." It is a non sequitur (real Latin!) that unintelligibility makes you holy. [Dear Professor, did banal make us holy? Does inaccuracy sanctify?]
Moreover, when the new translation was "tested," the reactions were mostly negative. [I think this needs some support. Am I wrong?] In the end, most churchgoers will go along with the changes because we love the Church, [There’s a sneer at the Holy See and the bishops for ya!] even if we don’t always understand its administrative decision. [Remember: When reading the writing of liberals, always look for how they contrast X, whatever that may be, with "pastoral".] But what about the younger generations of Catholics who have never attended a Latin Mass in their lives? [I say "Bring ’em on!" Then in a few years let’s ask them to compare the old with the new and see what they say. But watch for this next cliche:] They will never have nostalgic feelings about the transcendence of Latin. And this new Latinese is at a distinct disadvantage against Facebook and MP3 downloads. [And here is on of Bp. Trautman’s talking points:] Aren’t we making worship more remote? [Remember, for Bp. Trautman, our sacred liturgy shouldn’t have sacred language. Rather, it should be everyday speech, adjusted to the immediate styles of the time and the audience (who are pretty stooopid after all.] I am against taking pastoral concern [TA DA!] for liturgical celebrations away from Catholic America and giving it to unseen Vatican bureaucrats. [BOOO!] The prayer of the Church belong to all of us! [Indeed? How egalitarian. Then it belongs to all of us, indeed. Except anyone with traditional inclinations.]
In the end, I wouldn’t be surprised to see bishops start giving special permission for Mass in the rite we have now. [That’s what he wants, of course. He wants people to request not to have to use the new translation. This is a Lefebvrism of the left, as Card. George once put it.] After all, the Church allows the original Latin Mass for [cliche alert!] old-timers [He perpetuates the canard that the emancipation of the older form of Mass is just for old people. But wait… that is also a sneer at old people, then, isn’t it?] and an Anglican ritual for Anglican converts: shouldn’t Catholic America get equal treatment? Happily, I have an escape until that happens because Bishop Trautman says the Spanish translation is better than the English one. Sí, Padrecito. [Actually, he might find even more solace in an liberal Episcopalian community that uses the updated alternative services rather than the older Book of Common Prayer. That might be a good match, actually. The bishops are weak. They never have to deal with Rome or Popery or Latin.]
An object lesson in how to be wrong all the time.
Father: the Bold appears to be locked on for the rest of the blog from the end of this post on. Feel free to delete this entry if it is in error or corrected.
In the English Church the Creed states ‘became incarnate of the Virgin Mary’, therefore, whilst the word ‘made’ replaces became, I dont see the problem. Incarnate is a word we use, is a word we are happy to say.
[Yes! I have noticed this when I have celebrated Holy Mass in parishes in England. The big question is: How on earth did anyone get used to THAT!]
I have read the new translation that was granted recognito, I love it, it uses Sacred Language, and surely thats what we want in the Liturgy.
I am dealing with this issue now already. I have folks, all stirred up, thanks to reading such articles as this one or similar ones in NCReporter et al. The writers seem to be trying to make their prophecy of a “disastrous” translation a self-fulfilling one (convince the people it’s bad beforehand, and they will think it’s bad).
This is going to take a lot of patient education to counter. Thank you for your clarity!
Nope? I tried.
Anyway, there are so many things wrong with the article and Fr. Z already fisked it. My opinion is that I am 33, my wife is 29, my kids are 8,6,5, and 4. We all love going to “the Latin Mass” and are overjoyed that we are getting a new translation. The author’s assertion that only the elderly from the generation that this baby boomer and his ilk hate are the ones who like the EF is totally false.
My take on this?
Pope Benedict wrote and spoke before becoming our Pontiff that a crucial problem in the revised Mass was that the emphasis (in its abuses) became the community facing one another, I believe he even used the word “worshiping” one another in complete contrast to the former rite of Mass which everyone was facing “ad Deum”.
This is, I believe, where this very corrupting influence finds its source; the language of worship should not challenge anyone, it should be totally accessible, and it should not be different than our everyday language. Because, we just think nice things about God and are “community” with one another…if we do not begin to have a sacral language, idolatry and paganism will continue to enter into the sanctuary.
Maybe the use of “Latinese” could be a proximate preparation for the use of the ordinary language of the Roman rite! “Linguae latinae usus, salvo particulari iure, in Ritibus latinis servetur.” Sacrosanctum concilium,36.
Is it okay with this accomplished student of Latin, now a prof, if his students make up their own words for their reports, a la “Latinese”? Can students say “okay” in their research papers? The point he misses here–not to say it’s his only flaw–is that “big words” are often appropriate. Sure, youngsters throw in words to impress without thinking of the context. Is that what he’s implying about the new translations? Then, yes, let the Church make an impression on the faithful with this use of higher language.
Why is a liberal elitist being so anti-intellectual? I thought that was the role of us rubes in the Red States. [Whoops, I’m in a Blue state, but in the Red southern part.]
My favourite part of the article comes where he says the following:
“The reasons given in favor of the retranslation are laudable: a single English text for all English speakers in the world, from Pakistan to Peoria and conformity with a central Latin version. I suppose a case can be made for such issues, but I am less receptive to the notion voiced by some Vatican bureaucrats that speaking to God in prayer in plain everyday language lacks “transcendence.”
He then follows up this “universal view” of looking at the Church by then making the reader to appear to be not as smart as the rest of the world, and certainly not as smart as the writer of the article, when he then says:
“I am against taking pastoral concern for liturgical celebrations away from Catholic America and giving it to unseen Vatican bureaucrats. The prayer of the Church belong to all of us!”
Not only do I love the smugness of his tone, but he insults his own readership in the same breath. Not even he, as an intellectual elitist, could be bothered with the new translation. Even if it had a gravitational effect on…hmmm….I don’t know….maybe the intelligence quotient of our children (and a fair number of adults for that matter), who having been neutered and made to think that thinking out of the box is only for the really smart people, that it’s better to stay in the box of “conventional wisdom” so everyone is safe, warm, and fuzzy.
I’m never a fan of these snobbish types who try and make the world think that their prep-school education makes them more qualified to understand things better than others. And if he actually cared about raising the standard of those who would care to read his most excellent thought on a much more erudite topic such as, “The breaking point of Polly-O string cheese within the context of Global Warming”. I’m sure he’s turned those readers off by his patronizing tone.
So, how does he, along with fellow liberal elitists feel about the USCCB supporting handing over control over our medical care to “unseen [Federal] bureaucrats”?
Why do these (Catholic) liberals reject the authority of the Church, decry what they call a lack of freedom, but are the first to urge us to let the U.S. government run our lives? Such a disconnect in logic.
I’d encourage you not even to bother with this idiot any more–I’m from the DC area, so I habitually check Wapo and I haven’t bothered to read “on Faith” recently as this jackass is so predictable (almost down to the gold standard of James Carroll in the Boston Globe). If we all ignore him, maybe he’ll eventually go away. It doesn’t help my blood pressure either.
Gibbet is of germanic origin, nothing to do with Latin at all.
Isn’t the argument now that people will be leaving their comfort zones and having to do something new exactly the opposite of what happened back in 1969 – when people were told to prepare to be uncomfortable?
Truth be told, in the great suburban parish scene in America, things change all the time – when to kneel, when to stand, when to hold hands, Eucharistic Prayers – that this shouldn’t be such a big deal in this day and age.
Oh, and I can say the Gloria from memory, as can most of my family. Whether they are particularly “cherished” – I don’t think so. It’s just what we’re used to.
Can anyone parse the sample “Latinese” sentence he provided?
The gist is “Latin … is preferred”, but the inner portions are a jumble to me.
Perhaps he could have produced an ACTUAL sentence of the new translation, instead of presenting a strawman
I had a hard time following his reasoning until I came to a part in the last paragraph, it says;
“because Bishop Trautman says”
OK, got it.
It’s interesting that almost all of the criticism from Bishop Trautman and his fellow travelers is now on the “proclaim-ability” of the English language Propers, instead of what most laypeople know–the Ordinaries (sorry, I know that’s a TLM term).
In the current translation, how many of the Faithful come out of Holy Mass remembering the content of prefaces or collects? How many of the collects in the current translation are even close approxmations of their Latin origins? It seems to me that these objections are largely tempests in teapots–the real catechetical work with the new translation will be with the Gloria, Credo, and Sanctus, as well as “et cum spiritu tuo.”
Every time I hear the anti-new translation complaints, I remember how the current liturgical establishment gave us the NAB, so we could hear the oh-so-elegant “They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace” reading from Isaias at Christmas, which really is “un-proclaimable” to converts accustomed to the hearing the King James Version’s “Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (of course, to Handel’s music.)
Sometime soon, Catholic America will be asked to “unlearn” our cherished prayers at Mass.
Begging the quote from Master Yoda: “You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Good call, Fr. Z. Gibbet’s origins, from the free dictionary:
Middle English gibet, from Old French, diminutive of gibe, staff, probably from Frankish *gibb, forked stick.]
Hasn’t got as much Latinese as Spam, Spam, tomato, and Spam!
Well, geeze, you know we are so dopey, us in da pews caint possibly understand nuttin’ new!
Mr. Arroyo will be much happier elsewhere than to have to be stuck in the pews with the likes of us.
I’m really tired of being thought of and talked about as being a lump and just going through the motions. We really are capable of learning and of being fully engaged in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I’m ready to be raised up both spiritually and intellectually. Lead us and teach us and guide us, Holy Spirit and Holy Mother Church.
As a Catholic youth, who, for some reason or another, knows a great number of other Catholic youth of the English-speaking variety from various countries, I quote confidently assert that Mr. Stevens-Arroyo hasn’t got a clue about the youth. (Please forgive my non-Latinate grammar in the preceding sentence.)
My response to the passing of these translations by the USCCB starts “Gloria in excelsis Deo.”
He’s not very good at prose, is he? Maybe the article would have worked better as blank verse.
When you think about it, the current translation undermines the Church’s pro-life teachings. Jesus didn’t become “incarnate” when He was born of the Virgin Mary. The Son became incarnate at the Annunciation, when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she conceived. Surely “incarnate” is a great deal clearer about this? The current translation rather implies that there were nine months in Jesus’ life when the Son was not incarnate, which is adoptionism. “Natalism”, perhaps.
Of course, the bishops’ power to bind and loose has had the power to make the current translation okey-doke in this matter; but “incarnate” is clearly better catechesis, more technically correct, and of course closer to the Latin.
When you’re out of garbage, throw the can.
Oh, my blood pressure. I am going to teach my 1st grade CCD kids the Sign of the Cross in *Latinese* tonight and the tough word of the day will be “incarnate”. So there. Fight stupidity with prayer, good liturgy, and good catechesis.
Hrrumph. He’s wrong. Just plain old wrong.
If there is any validity in comparing a potential American rite with the pre-existence of the centuries-old Anglican rite, it could be pointed out that the American rite has actually been forced upon Americans for 40 years now, and it’s dying out. Hopefully, the new translation will help give it a little shove into the grave.
The author, upon reading his various comments doesn’t, even upon further investigation, seem to be quite, or moreso even at all, the “faithful” Catholic, whatever that term might mean, given his penchance for coining terms throughout this and other, perhaps even less so worthy articles, that he claims to be as a basis for this, a most erudite if not incomprehensible, article.
I’m a professor, too. In my experience, students rise to challenging, engaging material. The only challenge in the current translation is to our patience with its vapidity and banal language (oh, sorry; that’s Latinese). By making beauty within the grasp of everyone, the Church is really non-elitist, isn’t She?
This guy’s a real bird.
“[Yes! I have noticed this when I have celebrated Holy Mass in parishes in England. The big question is: How on earth did anyone get used to THAT!]”
Very true, maybe the Bishop wants us to use very simple language because he somehow thinks we dont have the knowledge or intellect to learn. If I see a word I dont understand I look it up but for the most part its obvious what it means from its context. Moreover, this is a great chance to give Catholics lessons in Doctrine.
Jeffrey Pinyan…regarding the author’s straw man sentence.
Your intuition is right. He is attempting to produce a confusing clause-ridden sentence but ends up confusing himself and gets it wrong. The split-gerrand “when continuing” has no resolution and ends up dangling mysteriously when the final verb “is preferred” appears.
A solution would be to insert the words “assured its prominence” after the word “faith” before the comma. Surprised he didn’t cathch that since he is obviously the smartest man in whichever room he occupies…
Chironimo, you’ve got a dangling modifier there…hehehe…
Rocco Palmo — who performed a valuable service with his minute by minute coverage at whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com of the meeting, given the pathetic fiasco that the USCCB staff’s alternative to the dreaded (by them) specter of orthodox commentary on EWTN turned out to be — says that “[Bp.] Trautman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ann Rodgers that he’s ‘mulling’ going to the Signatura on the antiphons”.
For all we can know, his learned excellency may be so embued with the spirit of Vatican II that he actually thinks he has a case. But the rest of can surely enjoy a delicious vision of the moment when this stinker hits Archbishop Burke’s desk.
Padrecito? Come on!
So far as my memory goes, the Catholic Church in Halifax, Yorkshire, England, stands in Gibbet Street. The street is so named because that is where the gibbet used to stand when it was in operation!
“Some students think that big words make you into an intellectual so they avoid plain English. I am not the only professor to prefer plain English[.]”
Hmmm. Well, this is true after a fashion. On the whole my students have been so poorly educated that to use anything other than plain language causes added difficulties in class. And they know that they have been inadequately educated, the brighter ones at least. The other day in a discussion with some of my students before class, I quoted the old proverb that “Discretion is the better part of valor.” Well, there were two problems with my doing that:
(1) Not one of the nearly the 20 of them come early to class had ever heard it before.
(B) NONE of them knew what either ‘discretion’ or ‘valor’ means.
These are my bright students. So yes, I use plain language with them, but they are eager to learn more. THAT is why they use “big words”; they are trying to learn more than they are taught, perforce on their own. Their professors, instead of being role models of erudition as they were in my day, are all too often role models of intentional ignorance in all but the narrowest of subjects.
“‘gibbet’ [Latinate? Not sure.]”
As others have pointed out: No. It doesn’t even sound Latinate.
The author and/or article are either both, or, slanted, misleading, malicious, probably without just cause on many points selected, argumentative, combative, insulting, offensive, UnCatholic, pathetic, disruptive, disobedient, judgemental, harsh, critical, snide, downright nasty at times, malinformed, somewhat sanctimonious, repugnant, disrespectful, worthless, full of cheap shots, opinionated, inflexible, almost scandalous, one sided, unqualified, thoughtless, petty, mean spirited, perhaps well intentioned, and that is a big perhaps, but in the end a dismal display of one man’s hatred for an authentic translation of the Roman Missal, be it Latinese or not………………..I think I beat the record for the longest sentence, albeit not the best structure but a sentence to convey my thoughts. 90 words, and I bet no one thought of that when they read it. You simply read it and that’s what we are going to do with the 88 word sentence that WILL be in the new Missal Edition. Thanks Be to God.
Is the word ‘snark’ translated from Latinese, or translated into Latinese? Heh.
If I were asked, upon leaving the church after the Most Holy Sacrifice, if I could recite either the Creed or the Gloria both prayers would easily be rendered in Latin, but for the life of me, I have never been able to remember them in the ICEL English.
Also, according to the definition of “Latinese” proposed, I got the very distinct impression that the Bishops have approved a new translation into Pig Latin.
I am against taking pastoral concern for liturgical celebrations away from Catholic America and giving it to unseen Vatican bureaucrats.
Just because we’re American doesn’t mean the Vatican is not allowed to have any oversight. This new translation is not just for us, everyone has to use it. Myth of American exceptionalism, much? Paging Archbishop Ireland.
Also, the Spanish liturgy is closer to the Latin than the English is. It probably flows better because Spanish is a Romance language while English is Germanic. You can’t compare the two.
On the one hand, I can sympathize. If his “test Latinese” sentence is correct, then sitting in the pew and hearing these complex sentences may be an issue for some people, especially since it would be a stretch for a priest to actually practice the prayers in the first place. An hour of practice, and a priest would know how to “flow” through these sentences, such that the parishioners can follow.
But more than that, this essay strikes me as intellectually dishonest, in light of my recent work in translating Ephesians from the Greek. Those sentences span several lines of Scripture, and require the same amount of focus and intelligence to make sense of them. And yet, I don’t see this guy advocating that we stop reading the Bible, or simplistic translations. The fact is, if we want to understand the theology behind the prayers, we must engage the prayers, and exegete them properly. People, surprisingly for this fellow perhaps, are smart enough to do it.
And this comes from a Yale graduate student.
This guy has too much ‘intellectual cholesterol’ in his brain-sheesh!
Thanks for giving him a smackdown, Fr. Z!
Why does every lefty intellectual have the opinion that things need to be “dumbed down” for the masses? (by this I mean “people”, not the Mass) Before Vatican II, the entire Mass was in Latin, and people seemed to understand it perfectly. It’s not that people are stupider now, it’s that less is expected of us. It’s good to learn new words. After people say the word “incarnate” afew times, they will remember what it means, and be able to use it properly in a sentence. This is a good thing! People need more intellectual challenge, not less!