“new translation” or “corrected translation”? WDTPRS POLL!


I found this note about the new translation of the Roman Missal at SERVIAM.  My emphases and comments:

I would like to propose a change in our “default” reference to the upcoming translation changes to the Roman Missal.

At the moment there are three camps[1] There is the “It’s About Time” camp (of which I am a card-carrying member) and there is [2] the “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Seeking to Undermine the Glorious Empowering Liturgical Reforms of the Last Forty Years” camp, of which I am not.  I suspect that each of these camps represent about 10% of Catholics.  In between, there are 80% who currently belong to [3] the “What New Translation?” camp.  In political circles, these are called “swing voters.

We are currently referring to the upcoming translations as “new.”  While accurate, this reference is also editorially neutral. [Interesting.]  As most people don’t know there is anything wrong with the current translations, their default position will likely be “why hassle me with a change where none is needed?”  They might also conclude that the original prayers were simply re-written by Pope Benedict to reflect his conservative agenda.  Then we are put in a defensive position from square one.

I suggest our default reference be “corrected translation” or “new corrected translation.”  By adding the word “corrected” to all references, we teach that the original translations were defective and that this was a repair, not the promotion of an agenda.  We communicate the the real reasons for the change from the outset, not in defense against those on the left who ARE promoting an agenda.



Let’s have your thoughts.

Please respond to this WDTPRS POLL and give your reasons for your answer in the combox, below.


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  1. MattW says:

    Serviam is right (in every sense of the word). Language not only reflects what we think but how we think. Those who are unfamiliar with the new, corrected and improved translation (I would say that his estimate of 80% of Catholics in the “What translation” camp is low) can very subtly be reminded that not all translations are equal! I’ll wait for the new mug before buying one for my pastor and his parochial vicar.

  2. smcollinsus says:

    Wow! Difficult choice! I agree that many problematic words and phrases have been corrected. But that could have much more easily accomplished by reverting to, or at least allowing the translation we first used in the 1960s. That translation is also VERY close to the Anglican Use Rite I, the traditional “Elizabethan” Anglican translation which now IS a part of the Church. So, this translation is, for purposes of institution, “new”. All other translations are for nought, and may not be used. (Thankfully, the entire Anglican Use will soon be fortified by shear numbers, and extend worldwide!) All dead composers’ families will no longer receive royalties from their now verbotten works. All living composer, now retired, will have their incomes minimized. Only active contemporary composers, especially those having contracts with “Catholic” publishing companies will financially benefit from the new translation. It will be copyrighted, so some group will benefit from every copy distributed. (The Book of Common Prayers has never been copyrighted.) While this is a better tranlsation, it is more a works project than anything else.

  3. A. J. D. S. says:

    Just as referring to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass exclusively as the “Latin Mass” reveals and engenders the incorrect notion that the New Mass can’t be celebrated in Latin, so does the way we talk about the new—ahem, corrected—translation both reveal and influence how we, and those around us, think about it.

    A great point, and well-taken.

  4. doanli says:

    I can feel my grandparents rejoicing in Heaven.

  5. Frank H says:

    Over at PrayTell, and Gotta Sing Gotta Pray, (both pretty much in Serviam’s camp #2 “vast right wing conspiracy”) much of the discussion in recent weeks has been on the recently released further revisions, following the recognitio in 2008, to the ordinary of the Mass. I’m curious as to why this issue has not been tackled on WDTPRS?

  6. Tom in NY says:

    “New and improved” has an association away from the sacred, but the terms fit. The translation is recently reviewed and completed. It also closes the “meaning gap” Latine:hiatus between the Latin original and the translation of 40 years ago. Clerics are well advised to understand and promote the improvement. For English, I’ll take “corrected”.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  7. gloriainexcelsis says:

    I agree with MattW about the percentage of Catholics is probably more than 90%! The Novus Ordo people I have been in contact with haven’t even heard of the Summorum Pontificum or that the Mass they attend is referred to as the Novus Ordo!

  8. worm says:

    I agree 100% with the observation. However, I don’t particular care for the term “corrected.” It brings its own set of questions. What do you mean by correct? Does that mean the old Masses weren’t really Masses? How did the Church allow the publication and use of an incorrect missal for so many years? Legitimate questions to be sure, but I’d rather focus on the new. This is why I’ve been calling it the improved translation ever since I heard about it.

  9. maskaggs says:

    I’d like to echo what worm said. I don’t think the word “corrected” is too fussy, but I do think it introduces a considerable difficulty in promoting the coming translation – if those in favor of the new translation want to show those opposed why it is a superior translation of the Latin editio typica, implicitly calling the “incumbent” translation “incorrect” will gain no followers (and probably drive even more people away, for whatever reason). That isn’t a pleasant thought, but I think it’s the reality of the situation. Perhaps, ultimately, terminology depends on context and to whom one is speaking.

  10. Servant of the Liturgy says:

    I never would have thought of this. It is exactly what has been in my head, but could never have articulated it so wonderfully. I will begin immediately referring to it as the “corrected” translation.

    Also, RE: Pope Benedict re-writing the prayers to promote his “agenda”
    I think we may need to stress that it was John Paul II (whom I love) that issued Liturgiam Authenticam.

  11. Mary Pat says:

    I voted for “corrected.” While I appreciate that it will cause a new set of questions, as Worm suggests, I prefer the question about “why it needed to be corrected” as opposed to “why do we have a ‘new’ translation.”

  12. Pater OSB says:

    I think the term ‘corrected’ would only cause trouble as it is a misnomer. The lame-duck translation is of a different typical edition, and it was done in accord with the translating m.o. at its time… like it or not, it was correct for its time [even if it the new one is better in almost every regard]. I look forward to celebrating Mass with the fresh, clear, accurate and beautiful translation of the current Missale Romanum.

  13. Gail F says:

    I like this idea, whether one calls it the “improved” translation or the “corrected” translation or the “better” translation or the “more accurate” translation — pick one. The recent piece about the pope’s visit to Britain in the Scottish Herald, for instance, says that the Pope will say parts of the mass “in a Latin translation of the modern English liturgy,” which is entirely backward! But that is how a lot of people think — that the Latin is a translation of the current English words, and that the new English words will be “changes” to the old ones, rather than a better translation. Speaking about it from the beginning as an improvement, rather than just as a different translation, should help a lot.

  14. Andrew says:

    I voted for “corrected” but I would prefer the term “amended”.

  15. B.C.M. says:

    Response three is ambiguous. What if I think that ANY translation is a disaster? I would choose this option. But so would Reverend Fatheress Margaret Mary Relevant choose it.

    I’m voting for disaster. ‘better than’ doesn’t cut it in my book.

  16. thereseb says:

    Why not throw the cat among the polyester pigeons and call it “updated”?

  17. j says:

    What about




    added bonus that it sets the stage for arguments. For and against improvement or refining

  18. anj says:

    False choices in my view.

    “They might also conclude that the original prayers were simply re-written by Pope Benedict to reflect his conservative agenda.”

    And this would be bad? Folks, the new/improved/better/corrected translation is only a baby step towards the reform of the reform.

    Hopefully in the foreseeable future we will have at least (1) universal ad orientem celebration, and (2) a traditional offertory. There could be lots more, but one step at a time.

  19. Robert says:

    It seems to me that “revised” is the best word.

  20. Joan M says:

    I have recently asked why there is need for a new translation. I told those who asked that it was because the currently used translation from Latin is not a completely accurate translation and cite such things as “And also with you” instead of “And with your spirit”, and also that Credo means “I believe” and not “We believe”. In each case, the person accepted this a being reasonable. Of course, some may very well not be satisfied with any reason for an updating of the current translation.

  21. momoften says:

    If we used corrected as the word, we would be saying that what we were doing before was wrong (although I believe it was so wrong to dumb it down and water the meaning down so much it lost its real meaning and beauty of words) I think another word should be used instead of “new” translation. It would be a teaching moment for the congregation if we used different words. What they are, not sure…maybe using the words “proper GIRM translation”…..I am not sure that if the word corrected was used it may be more divisive than unifying or teaching.

  22. Jordanes says:

    Not only should we start calling the revised text the “corrected translation,” but we should refer to it as “the first-ever official English translation of the Roman Missal.” The lameduck version is so horrendous that it doesn’t even merit the name “translation.” I refer to it as “the non-translation that we’ve had to endure.”

    “Dynamic Equivalence” is NOT a method of translation. It’s a method of non-translation, of intentional mistranslation.

  23. Tim Ferguson says:

    I’ve been referring to them as the “Accurate Translations” in opposition to the “Transitional Texts.” This seems to get across the notion that these have a certain permanence to them – and are not likely to be redone every twenty years or so (God forfend!). It also draws attention to the fact that the texts currently in use are not accurate.

  24. Martial Artist says:

    Words express ideas and concepts, both in denotation and in connotation. Ideas and concepts have consequences. The person(s) with control over the terms to be used in the debate has an unmerited advantage in the debate. The accurate representation of why the existing translation needed to be replaced was to correct inaccurate and/or imprecise renderings therein.

    Therefore, contra Bp. Trautman and the Very Rev. Michael G. Ryan (Pastor of St. James Cathedral, Seattle), I think it important, in the interest of being truthful, that it should be referred to as corrected, accurate, faithful or some combination of those terms. In the interests of conciseness, corrected seems like a good starting point.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  25. Microtouch says:

    I attend Latin Mass so I am sure to have the correct unt-ranslated version. That being said, I am pleased that the vernacular Mass will now be closer to the Latin.

    Latin, the original and still the best!

  26. Luke says:

    FIRST and most importantly, we cannot forget that Father Z just had mugs printed up. If we begin referring to the New Translation as the New Corrected Translation we might cause him some extra expense or work. We wouldn’t want to do that, I’m sure. . .

    Now, of those 80% that Serviam was referring to, we need to consider their other beliefs and ask ourselves a question: “Are they truly Catholic, or Catholic in name only?”.

    A majority of us voted for our current. . . well, you know who he is. . . the Peace Prize Guy. . . And yet another large group of-so-called-Catholics believes that we can choose our own religion, or have abortions, or contracept. So, do those 80% count? Not in my book. Then, as the liberal dissenters go, they like to advertise their heretical views in the public square. Do they get counted in such a vote? They shouldn’t. As far as I can see, God is still working through a remnant.

    Of those who claim that people (what “people” I’m not certain) desired the changes that occurred after the Second Vatican Council, they neglect the truth that many of those changes were not in line with the VII documents. As for my own vote, I vote in favor of this New Translation of the RM and see it as the translation from the Latin that we deserved from the beginning.

  27. Microtouch says:

    Ooopsie. I meant “un-translated”. Apologies please.

  28. tzard says:

    Is this a debate that we wish to continue? By calling these “corrected”, we point to that there was something wrong with the old ones. While true, the focus now should not be on what was wrong, but whith what is right.

    I’m thinking about catechesis of the vast middle there – what’s more effective? Saying “the previous translation is wrong” or saying “This is good because it emphasizes this…”

    While a side effect of saying a “new” translation is the spin some might do to attribute false intentions of our Holy Father (easily refuted btw), a possibly worse side effect of saying the previous translation is wrong is people will mistakenly extend that to THEY were wrong – which is nonesense. Certain liturgists, pastors, and bishops have much to answer for, but not the laity.

  29. AnnAsher says:

    I voted for “Corrected Translation” because, indeed, the translation has been corrected to some degree. However, I also think there is much left to be sought– therefore, I stand ready to adopt the term ” New Corrected Translation” should it become available in my lifetime.
    What’s more, though, I have concerns about all these revisions of a revision and do wonder if it would be better for the Church Universal to have simply straightforwardly and completely translated the TLM into English according to the 1962 Missale and be done with it– no banter, no discussion.

  30. David Collins says:

    I voted for “the translation is a disaster” just to be a smart aleck.

  31. ejcmartin says:

    I agree we should call them “corrected”, but take it a step further. Call them corrected so they more reflect the “Spirit of Vatican II” than the present. Steal the thunder, so to speak.
    I received an email from the Canadian CCB (http://www.cccb.ca/site/eng/statements/2840-update-on-the-new-english-language-translation-of-the-roman-missal-for-use-in-canada) that the new translation will not necessarily be taking effect by Advent 2011. They will not move forward until new Missals are published. In the meanwhile they await word on some requested changes. Looks like my parish priest (in favour of the changes) was right.

  32. chironomo says:

    I’ve been calling it the “improved translation”. I agree with some above posts that “corrected” might be somewhat inaccurate since they are not the same edition of the Missal. Also, there is more going on than what might commonly fall under the term “corrections”, which most would consider to be such things as spelling, punctuation, grammatical errors, etc. Whether we agree or not, the old translation was mostly “correct” given the guiding document (comme le prevoit). The guiding document changed (LA) and so the new translation has been produced according to its provisions.

  33. Rich says:

    The author has a pretty good point, however, it needs to be qualified by pointing out that though this may be the initial reaction of 80% of Catholics, it will probably only last for a couple of weeks, after which this 80% won’t care anymore about there being a “new” or even “corrected” translation.

  34. msproule says:

    I think “corrected” is appropriate. In fact, the English translation of Liturgiam Authenticam uses the same terminology:

    6. Ever since the promulgation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the work of the translation of the liturgical texts into vernacular languages, as promoted by the Apostolic See, has involved the publication of norms and the communication to the Bishops of advice on the matter. Nevertheless, it has been noted that translations of liturgical texts in various localities stand in need of improvement through CORRECTION or through a new draft. The omissions or errors which affect certain existing vernacular translations – especially in the case of certain languages – have impeded the progress of the inculturation that actually should have taken place. Consequently, the Church has been prevented from laying the foundation for a fuller, healthier and more authentic renewal.

  35. Deacon Nathan Allen says:

    I’ve been referring to it all along as the new, much more accurate translation. Then, if the conversation turns toward what the flaws were in the lame-duck ICEL translation, I point out my two current favourites (out of so many): 1) the dropping of the pronoun tibi in EP III so that “unite to yourself all your children” becomes the can’t-we-all-get-along? prayer we hear so often; 2) the fact that “he took the cup” is not a translation of “accipiens et hunc praeclarum calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas”.

  36. At the risk of sounding perilously similar to H.E. Bishop Trautman, I did not vote for any of the choices. Why?
    Because most Catholics have no idea that Latin is STILL the base language of the universal church; they
    believe that the translation they know in their particular vernacular was written from scratch in that
    language. They’ve little to no realization that the vernacular versions were based upon a Latin original.

    I say ditch any reference to “translation” along with any adjectives such as “new” “improved” “authentic” and
    call it 2010 edition.

    I leave it to our priests and catechetical instructors to step up and explain the details behind the changes.
    I know some of us have been waiting decades, but if they don’t the press will. I’ve already read enough
    disparaging articles giving plenty of whine time to the usual suspects.

  37. Rob in Maine says:

    When I talk to people about it, I refer to it as a more accurate translation.

  38. Jerry says:

    @Cathy of Alex:

    Wouldn’t it be better to correct their ignorance rather than to play along with it?

  39. Dan G. says:

    I always say “retranslation,” myself.

  40. ipadre says:

    Whatever you want to call it is fine with me. I really excited for Advent 2011. We have to spread this excitement and help everyone else to be excited before someone tries to give them a negative attitude toward it.

    Here is a podcast (homily) I did on the new translation. Lent in my parish is going to be focused on the change and on the Mass as a whole. http://www.ipadre.net/2010/08/29/ipadre-203-the-new-translation-1/

  41. WaywardSailor says:

    How about simply “Correct Translation”?

  42. Charivari Rob says:

    Of the three narrow choices given, “new” is probably the most correct, as in “We’re going to be hearing and saying some things in the Mass (in English) which we have not previously.” Therefore, it is quite correct to refer to it as “new”. It is a matter of perspective, of semantics – acknowledging the condition of something being new without judging the content.

    “Corrected” and “Disaster” are judgments of the content, so they’re really a separate question. (Judgments which 99.9% of us don’t have sufficient data to make yet, by the way)

    One other choice that Serviam failed to discuss is that “new” is incorrect – because what’s coming our way in 14+ months is not a translation of the same work! It is a translation of the most recent edition of the Roman Missal.

  43. Henry Edwards says:

    Actually, all of the suggested choices are factually incorrect, because they use the word “translation”.

    The 1973 ICEL English version, using the protocols of “dynamic equivalence”, was a paraphrase rather a translation. Thus it was neither a good nor a bad translation.

    Therefore, an accurate description of this new version is “the first English translation” of the Latin Missale Romanum.

    However, I suspect this much accuracy might muddy the water with most ordinary pew-sitters.

  44. Sid says:

    1. The erstwhile Marxist, now something of an Old Liberal in his old age, and interlocutor with Pope Benedict, Jurgen Habermas has argued that rational discourse presupposes, among other things, agreement in terms used, or the discourse cannot go forward.

    I completely agree, and the terms used also ought be those that best describe the reality denominated, however polemical they may be. Thus “liberal” and “conservative”, if they mean anything at all any more, have come to mean almost the exact opposite of what they once meant; for “Liberal” now really means Latter-Day Marxist or “Hall-Marxist”, “Neo-Conservative” means Hamiltonian Whig, and “Paleoconservative” really means … but I better haul up on that one. So I use Old Liberal for folks like Mill and Lord Acton, and Real Conservative for Burke and De Maistre – though those terms probably are just as confusing. For “conservative Catholic” I prefer the term Authentic Catholic; for “abortion”, killing children.

    So I applaud corrected translation and I welcome even more the more authentic translation. A spade’s a spade.

    2. “Dynamic Equivalence” is NOT a method of translation. It’s a method of non-translation, of intentional mistranslation.

    I usually find myself in agreement with Jordanes. Not on this one. The Hebrew for palace and temple is the same word. Should we use exclusively one term or the other, be it in a Bible translation, or a liturgical — with both the Shekinah and King David living in a “temple”? I think not. Dynamic, rather than the preferred literal, is sometimes the only way to go.

    If the literal is demanded exclusively, then let’s start using the Schocken Bible. Its translation of the Genesis 3:17:

    To the woman he said: I will multiply, multiply your pain (from) your pregnancy, with pains shall you bear children. Toward your husband will be your lust, yet he will rule over you.

    Likely as close as one can get to the Hebrew; English it ain’t.

  45. Dave N. says:

    Given some on-going problems in the coming translation (e.g., Dominus vobiscum, pro multis), I’d opt for “revised” as many have suggested.

    “Corrected” is not too fussy in my view, but the word makes it sound as though all of the problems have been fixed, which I think is very misleading–and begs the question as to whether there is ever such a thing as the ONE correct translation. A translation is never the same as the original text–a translation can only approximate. But this is not to say that some approximations are not much better than others. Correct says too much–but I do NOT think the coming translation is a disaster either.

    “Improved” is thus also accurate, but culturally, it makes it sound as though the Church is marketing Tide. “Now improved!!!!” Worse than “improved” (and arguably now inaccurate at the end of this very long process) is the word “new.” Plus “new” makes it sound as though the Latin Missal has perhaps changed substantially, and this is NOT a helpful idea.

    Cathy’s “2010 Edition” is also a nice option.

    Of course there is an easy way to avoid ALL of this translation business… :)

  46. Frank H says:

    Dave, hasn’t the “pro multis” problem been corrected in the new, improved, corrected translation?

  47. Dave N. says:

    @ Frank H–I disagree heartily with the translation, or really with the Vulgate translation of the underlying biblical text–thus my serious apprehension with the word “corrected” especially where we are working on translations of translations (Gk. > Latin > English). I don’t mean to rehash this issue; just citing some examples of things I believe are still not correct and seem fairly obvious. But it does make me wonder what else is out there–I guess we will have to wait and see how “corrected” the “new” version is.

    I’m also extremely concerned about the “new” Psalter based on the snippets that have been released, but again, we will have to wait and see and judge the work as a whole.

    If I recall correctly Fr. Z provided an excellent translation here awhile back that is both accurate and faithful to the Gk. scripture underlying “pro multis”. Sadly, ICEL did not see fit to employ Fr. Z! :( Maybe for the NEXT “revision”! :) Prayers….

    I do think we are good progress, don’t get me wrong. And it’s hard not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good–but this IS the liturgy, after all!

  48. Craig says:

    FrZ, I visited SERVIAM concerning the new/corrected Liturgical texts, adn while a great insight, I would like to point some eyes towards SERVIAMS thoughts on the “gay” marriage issue. As someone who has a great number of friends that carry the burden of SSA I can tell you he correctly points out their need for acceptance and not just tolerance. To be honest, the two posts actually speak to the same issues, the need for some to reject “old” or prejudicial thinking and, instead, formulate a sort of unthinking acceptance of whatever might be placed in front of them without having to think too hard.

    As good Catholics, we are called to not only pray for those who reject Holy Mother the Church’s liturgical teachings and traditions, but also Her moral teachings, both being based in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. It seemed very easy for some to abandon centuries of Liturgical growth, and Morality followed close in behind.

  49. Jordanes says:

    Sid said: I usually find myself in agreement with Jordanes. Not on this one. The Hebrew for palace and temple is the same word. Should we use exclusively one term or the other, be it in a Bible translation, or a liturgical—with both the Shekinah and King David living in a “temple”? I think not. Dynamic, rather than the preferred literal, is sometimes the only way to go.

    That has nothing to do with Dynamic Equivalence. You’re talking about translation judgments — not creating a rendering that is only loosely connected to the original text, made up of words that convey, or that are supposed to convey, the general idea of the original text. Rejecting the erroneous Dynamic Equivalence approach does not mean we have to opt for stylistically ugly and incomprehensible literalism.

  50. PaterAugustinus says:

    I selected the first option, though it doesn’t exactly reflect my feelings. I think the superiority of the new translation should be publicized… but, not in too sharp a way. I understand the various statements made, regarding “revised” vs. “corrected.” I think using “corrected” as a main part of the translation’s moniker does come out with guns blazing, a bit, and is likely to enforce the sense that it is part of an “agenda.” Like it or not, our culture doesn’t like the term “corrected,” because it also doesn’t much like the concept of being corrected (since it implies that one has been judged, and found lacking in something).

    But, if the prominence of the “corrected” sense can be slightly blunted, I think the message can be gotten across without seeming so heavy-handed. I think of the title page to the old King James Bibles: “Newly Translated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised.” Perhaps we could entitle the New Translation:

    “The 2011 English Edition of the Roman Missal”
    [Subtitle] “Newly and Closely Translated from the Original Latin for Improved Accuracy, with former Editions Compared and Revised.”

    Or, something like that.

    The point is still perfectly clear – this translation is more accurate, straight from the Latin, and a revised upgrade of prior editions. But, nobody had to come out and say “this is a *correct* version of the Missal; the old one was incorrect, clappy-happy blather.” That may be the case (well, that is the case!)… but, that was very plain to see. Even if one doesn’t know any Latin, a mature man can’t listen to the old ICEL translation without feeling his skin crawl; only toddlers, the effeminate and the emotionally stunted (or those who pay no attention at mass) could have endured its use without objection. No venerable text of antiquity and spiritual substance could ever be so banal and saccharine, and one doesn’t need Latin to know it. So, for those who couldn’t already perceive the grave deficiency of the ICEL translation on their own, coming out and stating the fact boldly is just a needless provocation. They’re no more likley to understand what’s wrong with it after you accuse it of badness, than they were when listening to its palpable and manifest badness every Sunday.

    Our barbaric popular culture has eroded the fundament of most people’s capacity for good taste, cultural discernment and spiritual maturity, blunting their ability to separate the wheat from the chaff in most matters; it is best to offer a softer endorsement of the new translation, to spare the feelings of embarrasment or offense that may occur in those, who are told they were using a “bad” translation, but had never noticed the fact. People face heavy odds, if they want to overcome this deficiency in modern, Western civilization, and so they deserve pity and patience, not finalized declarations of the badness of their tastes. Push the new translation as “improved” and “more” than the old, rather than “right” as opposed to “wrong and awful.” Then, after they’ve used it for a few yers or so, especially if some decent music is paired with it, their sensibilities will have been somewhat heightened. I bet if you put the old ICEL translation in front of their eyes after a few years of the new, most of them will laugh at how bad it was, and wonder why they hadn’t noticed it before.

    But, for now, making too intense a point of the need for “correction” of the old translation is likely to only cause scandal… mostly because the liberals will be fanning the fire and crying loudly about the hubris of such a “correction” (What?! Are they saying we’ve all been wrong?! What makes them so much smarter than all the rest of us?). So, it makes sense to find some way to send the message that the new edition is “more accurate” and revised, compared to the old, rather than “Bonus! Now Featuring An Actually Correct Translation!” That may be the truth of the matter, but I don’t see the value in being triumphalist about it at the sensitive, early stage of its introduction.

  51. chonak says:

    Emphasizing the third edition of the Missale Romanum does not clarify much. There is little change in it to the spoken Latin words of the Mass ordinary, so the difference in editions explains little of the change to the English text. We don’t want people to make the mistake of thinking that the Latin texts were revised drastically.

    Incidentally, most Catholics don’t call the vernacular Mass the “Novus Ordo” with good reason: the official books don’t either.

  52. JonM says:

    None of the above.

    I believe that the new translation, which are still being painfully delayed in the manner of a 7 year old stalling on homework, is a net positive move.

    With that in mind, I’m not especially excited, one way or another.

    First, the state of catechesis must change in order for there to be any meaningful affect on the lives of Catholics attending the Novus Ordo. If language is altered to a slightly (and let’s not forget this, the changes are very mild) less 1970s Saturday morning folk song, this won’t have that much impact on the ever-declining moral state.

    Moreover, the musical situation has to change. At virtually all parishes, horrible folk music reigns supreme. I can’t think of any better way to mess up minds of children and keep away anyone born after Ford took office. My prediction is a continuation of offensive tunes for the Gloria, Sanctus, and so on.

    A grave concern I have about the new translation is the addition of more ‘options.’ I dislike this for two reasons: first, if we are to accept legitimate growth in liturgy over time, constraining our worship to a pre-fixed set of optional responses is counterinuitive. Second, and more to the point in this case, a toy trunk full of ‘options’ eliminates ritual unity throughout the Latin Rite.

    In sum, I see this mostly as an attempt by those who believe “Vatican II was a good thing, but hijacked/misinterpreted/never implemented/etc.” to continue down this absurd path of Modernism and gregarious adjustment to the fallen world.

    Sadly, I predict this will be a monster of a flop with a large number of parished ignoring the new language, opting for the previous edition (which unless the Pope legislates otherwise, would seem to be acceptable since, as bad as it is, the current translation is a valid one.)

    The answer is the mystery and majesty wrapped up in the Traditional Latin Mass. A Mass by a committee will never come close in winning souls and healing the broken world.

  53. Sid says:


    Two ways to translate:

    1. word for word = literal
    2. concept for concept = dynamic

    Plain and simple. Both are needed in any translation, though I tend toward the literal — and in this we agree. Granted, “dynamic” has been misused, perversely — so we are in agreement about this also. Still the dynamic is needed on occasion for the sake of clarity, as my example of “temple” and “palace” shows — an example that you did not address.

  54. I voted for “corrected translation”…
    I am so sick of praying the OF in the present translation;
    I’m tired of it, yeah?

  55. The voting seems rather one-sided.

  56. jsing says:

    I graduated from Catholic grade school in 1963. I remember these “new” translations from back then. I asked my brother who was two years behind me and he remembers them too. I served Mass back then and there was still a lot of Latin but there was also this “new” translation back then. I don’t know if they were using something unproperly then or we were just using the English translation in the English/Latin Mass book. Does anyone else remember this?

  57. Fr. Z: “one-sided”?
    Can you esplain:<)!

  58. cmm says:

    “Language not only reflects what we think but how we think. ”
    Agreed, and as long as the translation claims that Christ died “for many”, there is no way I can approve it. Once it says “for the many” or “for the multitude” or “for all”, I can consider it. Until then, it risks misleading the next generation to think that Christ did not die for all.

    I pray that my parish priest will find an acceptable way to pray the Mass with those words — perhaps by inserting “for many, that is, for all” in the prayer? Or by prefacing the prayer every week with an explanatory sentence: “in the following prayer, when you hear me say “for many”, that will mean “for all””? Or by changing the words (but that’s risky, because in that case, where do you stop?)? Or by putting an insert every week in the bulletin explaining the meaning of that sentence? It cannot be done just once but must be repeated continuously to avoid heresy.

    That’s my primary concern. The other problems seem stylistic, but this one teaches something that’s wrong, in an essential teaching.

  59. eulogos says:

    cmm, Considering that the mass the church used for something like a thousand years said ‘pro multis’ the phrase cannot be heretical. That’s where this discussion ought to start.

    I don’t believe that ‘for many’ is in any way intended to exclude the doctrine that Christ died for all mankind. My guess is that it is meant to bring into the mind the idea of great extension, of a crowd stretching as far as the eye can see and beyond.

    I think it is true to say that while Christ died for all in the sense that the grace won by his death is offered to all men, in another sense, His death is not effective for those who refuse that grace; and of course it is known to the Father from all time who will accept and who will not.

    But I don’t think “for many” is meant to emphasize that distinction. I hope ‘for all’ was not used to promote universalism, either.

    If anything I say here is mistaken, would those who are more informed please correct me?
    Susan Peterson

  60. UncleBlobb says:

    Is it a bad thing Father Z. if I want to place myself in camp number 2?

  61. papaefidelis says:

    “Corrected” gives the impression of mild and insubstantial changes: restore an “and” here and a “therefore” there, replace “Lord” with “O Christ”, etc. The up-and-coming translations of the Eucharistic prayers are really “new” translations and to call them otherwise would be disingenuous. Moreover, given the lunatic-fringe-element (e.g. sedevacantists), to call the lame duck translations “incorrect”, which the term “corrected translation” insinuates, calls forth a whole can of Cromwellian/Edwardian worms which I don’t think we really wish to open.

  62. Ygnacia says:

    Even my 14 year old, 2nd. year Latin student son knows that ‘Et cum spiritu tuo’ means ‘and with your spirit’ – so ‘correct translation’ it should be…unless I missed that ‘correct’ and ‘new’ are synonyms now…

  63. cmm says:

    eulogos, I think you’re right about “pro multis”. In Latin, the phrase is surely fine. But in English, it does not work. For example, when you tell your students: “I’m going to take many of you on an outing to Disneyland”, they will immediately protest: “Why not all of us?” In contemporary English there is an implicit understanding that “many” implies “not all”. I’m not sure that this was true a few generations ago, but in 21st century English it’s clearly the case, and in that sense the translation is wrong and it’s a serious mistake. How the phrase was intended and how it comes across are different, and I think that it encourages heresy.

    You’re also right, of course, about people having to accept the grace offered, and that not all will accept it, but we agree that that’s not the point expressed in that prayer. (But with the new translation, people might also try to put that meaning into it, twisting the prayer in a new, unintended direction.)

  64. Gail F says:

    PaterAugustinus said: “a mature man can’t listen to the old ICEL translation without feeling his skin crawl; only toddlers, the effeminate and the emotionally stunted (or those who pay no attention at mass) could have endured its use without objection. No venerable text of antiquity and spiritual substance could ever be so banal and saccharine, and one doesn’t need Latin to know it.”

    Ha ha, Pater, tell us how you REALLY feel!

  65. MikeM says:

    I like improved. I think it’s a mistake to give people the idea that the old texts were wrong, exactly… bad as the outgoing translations are, they’re still valid Masses.

    And, cmm, I would also prefer for “the many,” but most English language translations of the Bible use ” for many.”

  66. Panterina says:

    I voted for #2–as a professional translator myself, I’m compelled to in charity towards my colleagues :-).

    I agree with other posters that “corrected” can imply that the current translation is somewhat “wrong”–which is arguable.
    Both “corrected” and “improved” are rather subjective judgments, whereas “new” and “revised” are objective statements of fact.

    @Jordanes: Dynamic equivalence is a recognized approach to translation. Whether it was an appropriate approach for the current English translation of the Roman Missal, well, that’s “another pair of sleeves” as the Italians say (dynamic equivalent=”another story”). To ICEL’s defense, Liturgiam Authenticam was not published until much later. Without instructions to the contrary, I guess they chose dynamic equivalence over formal equivalence when translating some prayers. Once the new translation comes out, we’ll inevitably hear complaints about the choice of formal equivalence vs. dynamic. My stance will be to focus on the mysteries that our words are trying to describe, fully knowing that words can take us only so far into the understanding of these awesome mysteries, and the rest has to come from our heart and soul.

  67. Catherine says:

    None of the above….
    I agree with what Momoften said:
    “If we used corrected as the word, we would be saying that what we were doing before was wrong (although I believe it was so wrong to dumb it down and water the meaning down so much it lost its real meaning and beauty of words) I think another word should be used instead of “new” translation.”

    I would call it the Revised English Translation 2010 and teach the people that the Traditional Latin Mass/Extraordinary Form is still the original Mass. “Corrected translation” would be a bit too divisive IMHO. “New translation” sounds like a complete overhaul.

  68. “New” is subject to less conjecture or speculation than “corrected,” as is evidenced by this very discussion. Just sayin’…

  69. Jayna says:

    I think that calling the translations “corrected” is more accurate, but how many lefty loonies you think are going to yell and stamp their feet about how insulting that is? Not that I really care, but I can just see it now.

    Though, as some said above, “revised” is perhaps a better word for it. A little less pejorative.

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