Getting it wrong down under

I have now read one of the shallowest articles yet on the new, corrected translation.  It is from The Age in Australia and it written by one Barry Zwartz, a writer whose “journalistic” offerings I have had the displeasure to show you in the past.

I won’t drill into this piece here and now.  The amount of red I would use could do damage to your screens.

But get this:

On the surface, this might seem a minor matter, but to many on both the progressive and traditional sides of the divide, the words of the Mass – called the ”liturgy” – are the most important battleground in their long-standing culture wars.

This liturgy debate raises two profound and fundamental questions: to whom does the church belong, people or Pope? How much, if at all, should the church adjust itself to the modern world?

Guess which side the writer lands on.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Oh, I believed that the church is owned by HIM not the people or the Pope. Silly me!

  2. Glen M says:

    Marcus, I believe you are correct. It is Christ’s Church and the Pope is His represenative here on Earth. Progressives like this author may think differently, but they will find out the truth upon their judgement day. Eternity is a long time to be wrong.

  3. benedetta says:

    The very paradigm proposed, that it must be Pope v. people is just so tired and pathetic. And so divisive.

  4. wmeyer says:

    I don’t suppose he’d comprehend that he cannot even properly frame the question?

    Still more fodder for a series of articles I want to write on the subject of subsidiarity, what it is, what it is not, and where (diocesan implementation of the Tribunal, with no consistency) I think it has been misapplied.

  5. pelerin says:

    Sad to see the words of the Mass being described as a ‘battleground.’ I have just been reading on line a fascinating piece by a Belgian Canon – Michel Dangoisse of Namur -regarding the errors in the French translation of the Mass used in Belgium. He quotes Pope Paul VI as saying that the translations of the Mass must be different from the language normally used in the streets and in the market places. And yet this advice was not followed.

    There is another quote from Jacques Maritain stating that in the English version of the Mass there are more than 400 errors of translation from the Latin. I do hope the new translation will eradicate most if not all of these. I did not notice when the article was written but it states that ‘Rome at present is working on approving dozens of translations including Croatian, Japanese and Ouolof.’ So this would explain the time it has taken to approve the new improved English version.

  6. Christo et Ecclesiae says:

    Last time I checked the Church belonged to Christ… And I love how they consider it credible to present an opposing viewpoint on the importance of the translation from “Australian commentator and former priest.”

  7. Legisperitus says:

    Why should the words seem “a minor matter” to anyone? “Faith then cometh by hearing.” “Visus, tactus, gustus in te fallitur,/Sed auditu solo tuto creditur.”

  8. Tony Layne says:

    Has anyone seen Barney Zwartz and Paul Collins in the same room at the same time? Hmm ….

  9. AnAmericanMother says:

    “Taste and touch and vision to discern thee fail, / Faith that comes by hearing pierces through the veil.”

  10. Andrew says:

    His views are based on the erroneous principle whereby the English translation is viewed as “normative text” apart from the original Latin. This is very common these days. I’ve seen a diocesan listing of Masses, for example, where the Mass celebrated in Latin was listed along with Vietnamese, Polish, French and other non-English Masses under the heading of “other cultural groups”.
    It is also common to distinguish Latin Mass from the Novus Ordo, as if the English Novus Ordo was a normative liturgy different from the Latin Novus Ordo. I’ve seen even bishops make such comments (referring to the Latin Mass as something other than the Novus Ordo).
    The damage starts with the notion that Latin is not really a language which can be spoken, understood, written, read, socially enjoyed, whatever … Most people, and this is aided by the academia, view Latin as science: something that can only be understood if it is translated: ergo: the English liturgy is normative. Even the USCCB website having to do with the new translation treats the translation as normative. It lists many “expert” references but nowhere (as far as I can tell) does it show the normative Latin text. The English text is treated as “standing on its own” apart from anything else. Which is wrong. No matter how satisfied one might be with the latest translation, the normative text remains the Latin editio typica.

  11. disco says:

    Have any of these yahoos tried to defend the current translations themselves? It seems to me that Fr Z is the only writer of any sort who has compared the text of the new translations to the text of the old translations in any detail. The only criticisms we get seem to be vague and filled with liberal rhetoric. I’d like to see these dummies trot out some amateur latinist who thinks the new translation isn’t far better.

  12. disco: I think others have done side-by-side comparison, though no one has – to my knowledge – done so for as long and as relentlessly as I have.

  13. APX says:

    The amount of red I would use could do damage to your screens.
    The amount of idiocy in that article did damage to my brain cells.

    I’d like to know why it is people think us young folk will be driven away by stilted and uninclusive language? I feel slightly insulted. The young people are already being driven away, and where do they seem to come back to? The EF.

  14. Centristian says:

    The unfortunate fact of the matter is that this man is correct; the texts of the Mass are becoming something of a battleground. It’s a battle that needed to be waged, however, and won in favour of those sensitive to a better translation. Thanks to the hierarchical structure that the writer laments, however, the battle cannot be won by the malcontents and naysayers. It is Christ’s Church, the Pope is Christ’s Vicar, and we are all the members of Christ’s mystical Body.

    I work in a diocesan office and I am heartened to see the enthusiasm with which my diocese is embracing the new Roman Missal, and the great care they are taking, at the diocesan level, to prepare for the implementation of it. Seminars and conferences and other orientational meetings have been and continue to be scheduled for the clergy of the diocese. Plenty of orientational materials–books, pamphlets, DVDs–have been procured and distributed, and parishes are beginning to place pre-orders for various publishers’ editions of the Roman Missal for when they finally become available in October. The new Roman Missal has fairly consumed everyone, and there is a great deal of buzz surrounding it. All of that is good, wonderful to see, really.

    What dismays me, however, is the snarky remarks I hear so often from so many individual priests about the new Missal (they perhaps feel comfortable saying things to me that they might not say to chancery officials). The scornful attitude towards the new translation (and by extension to Pope Benedict XVI) I have come across is not altogether surprising, I suppose, but it is quite discouraging. These priests who seem so unenthralled by the new translation will have to present it to their flocks, of course. Will they present the new Missal to them in the same negative, sarcastic, and unenthusiastic light in which they, themselves, personally view the matter?

    I can only hope that, if some of these priests feel they have been handed lemons, they will decide to make lemonade. Of course, one can further hope that they will recognize that they have not, in fact, been handed lemons.

  15. Starkiller says:

    Whenever I compare the current Novus Ordo to my old 1966 daily missal, I’m astounded by
    how much of the original NO is left out, and how much has been “dumbed down” in the modern
    NO. Is “And with your spirit” REALLY so much harder to say and understand than “And also
    with you”? I’m VERY interested in comparing the corrected translation to the old one from 66.

  16. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “These priests who seem so unenthralled by the new translation will have to present it to their flocks, of course. Will they present the new Missal to them in the same negative, sarcastic, and unenthusiastic light in which they, themselves, personally view the matter?”

    Keep in mind, Centristian – more than a few priests who have those sentiments towards the new Missal will not be presenting it at all.


  17. Centristian says:

    “Keep in mind, Centristian – more than a few priests who have those sentiments towards the new Missal will not be presenting it at all.”

    That’s a sobering thought, but not one that hasn’t crossed my mind as a possibility. Then what?

    I’m confident that the vast majority of priests will be obedient and switch over to the new Missal next Advent, but will they encourage their flocks to embrace it? I hope that so many who do not seem to welcome it will resist the urge to poison the minds of their flocks against the texts of the Mass that they will be using for public worship.

    The “what if we just said ‘wait'” crowd may have lost the fight to maintain the status quo; they will have to make the switch. But what of the battle for hearts and minds?

  18. kate_rub says:

    Thanks for highlighting yet another Zwartz/Collins salvo against the Church in Australia – no 3 in a row this week!

    The article is full of outrageous claims, but perhaps the most disturbing are those from the Bishops Project Office spokesman – worrying to see Church employees undermining the work of the bishops on the implementation of the new Missal!

    But unsurprising given that the research he draws on seems to have completely ignored liturgy as a possible reason for poor mass attendance:

  19. Joseph James says:

    “…to whom does the Church belong, people or Pope?”
    After writing that, I’ll bet he slowly sat back in his chair, crossed his arms, and raised his eyebrows, silently congratulating himself for really getting to the heart of the issue just like they taught him in journalism school.

    What an utter farse.
    St. Joseph, pray for him.

  20. Trad Dad says:

    Well!!!!! Doesn`t this prove me to be so terribly wrong . I thought that nobody ever read the Zwartz regurgitations of hetrodox X ( capital X ) Priest .
    From Our Lady`s Land of the Southern Cross .
    Pax et bonum .

  21. JARay says:

    I think that it’s been already said. Zwartz and Collins, two ex-priests trying to make a living by vituperative comments about the Church they once served, but, sadly, failed. Bring Bishop Pat Power into the mix and we are listing the failures. There are others too I fear but we also have some really stalwart priests and bishops. Nil desperandum.

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