Saturday, July 26, 2008

Vatican approves new English translation for Mass

( - The Vatican has given formal approval to a new English translation of the central prayers of the Mass for use in the United States and I presume the rest of the English speaking world.

In a June 23 letter of Bishop Arthur Serratelli, the chairman of the US bishops' liturgy committee, the Congregation for Divine Worship announces its recognitio for the translation, which had already won the approval of the US bishops' conference, despite strong protests from some liberal prelates.

The new translation adheres more closely to the Latin of the Roman Missal. Since the 2001 publication of Liturgiam Authenticam, the instruction on the proper translation of liturgical texts, the Vatican has pressed for more faithful translations of the official Latin texts.

Alluding gently to the fierce debates over English-language liturgical translations in the past decade, the Congregation for Divine Worship reports "no little satisfaction in arriving at this juncture." The letter from the Vatican is signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze and Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith, the prefect and secretary, respectively, of the Congregation.

The Vatican's binding approval covers only a portion of the entire Roman Missal. The entire process of translating the Roman Missal is expected to take at least until 2010. However, the prayers given the Vatican recognitio are the most common texts for the Order of the Mass.
The Vatican approval comes just after the US bishops' conference voted against approval of another installment in the series of translations that will be required to complete the overall project.

The new translation is not to be used immediately, the Vatican letter indicates. Instead the US bishops are directed to begin "pastoral preparation" for the changes in the language of the Mass. During this same period, the Congregation for Divine Worship notes, some musical settings for the text could be prepared.

Among the noteworthy changes that Catholics will notice when the new translation goes into effect are:

At the Consecration, the priest will refer to Christ's blood which is "poured out for you and for many"-- an accurate translation of pro multis-- rather than "for all" in the current translation.

In the Nicene Creed the opening word, Credo, will be correctly translated as "I believe" rather than "we believe."

When the priest says, "The Lord be with you," the faithful respond, "And with your spirit," rather than simply, "And also with you."

In the Eucharistic prayer, references to the Church will use the pronouns "she" and "her" rather than "it."

In the Agnus Dei, the text cites the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world," rather than using the singular word "sin."

In the preferred form of the penitential rite, the faithful will acknowledge that they have sinned "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault."

[The Gloria has been translated differently and the structure is different from the present text

In the Preface dialogue the translation of “Dignum et justum est” is “It is right and just”

The first line of the Sanctus now reads “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts”

The response of the people at the Ecce Agnus Dei is “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”]

Throughout the translation of the Offertory and Eucharistic Prayer, the traditional phrases of supplication are restored, and the Church is identified as "holy"-- in each case, matching the Latin original of the Roman Missal.


JARay said...

The bit that I dislike is the changing of the words of the Creed from the correct "For us men and for our salvation" into "For us and for our salvation" as the translation of "qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem".

Unknown said...

This is closer to the Mass of my childhood. I never liked the English translation of Vatican II.

Anonymous said...

"Homines" is unmarked for gender, while "men" is not.

"And with your spirit" is correctly rendered in the German liturgy as "und mit deinem Geiste" and in Slovene as "in z duhom tvojim".

Why not in English?

Dilly said...

I remember most of these phrases from the early 70s when the N.O. got going. I also remember later in the decade, being lectured by a smug sandalista priest from the pulpit on how "selfish" it was to say "I believe", rather than "we believe", because "people would feel left out"( when they introduced the rocky-horror version of the "Nicene" creed over the "Apostles'" creed).

I still say "right and fitting" and "... the resurrection of the body" - at first through habit, then through cussedness.

I do hope that we are no longer asked to "look for the resurrection of the dead" - as if was a set of lost car keys under the sofa). Also - "ex Maria Virgine" might translate literally as "from the Virgin Mary", but looks clumsier than "of the Virgin Mary" in English, - our separated brethren have no trouble understanding "man that is born of woman hath but a short time to live....", without being overly graphical about the process involved.

Anonymous said...

It seems closer to the Anglican translations which I always thought were better English and more accurate.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful news! but surely we don't need 'pastoral preparation' for the 'new' translations? As dillydaydream says many of us remember the first translations and even after all this time I know I shall slip easily into what will be a far more accurate rendering of the original.

I don't actually remember being 'prepared' for the big change over when it came, but I do remember the overwhelming sadness I felt at the time as if a rug had been pulled out from under my feet. Why, Oh why, did all these important phrases deviate from the original?

michael petek - interesting to see that the Germans and Slovenes were allowed to keep the correct translation of 'et cum spirito tuo'. The French as well retained this as they did with 'pour nous les hommes' in the Creed - no political correctness here - 'Je crois en Dieu': 'J'attends la resurrection' etc etc. Even the 'pro multis' is 'pour la multitude' so why was the final English so different?

Physiocrat said...

Swedish is correct too
And with thy spirit - och med din ande.

Tack och drick härav alla. Detta är mitt blods kalk, det nya och eviga förbundets blod, som blir utgjedet för er och för de många till syndernas förlåtelse.
ie for many.

Domine, non sum dignus is
Herre, jag är icke värdig att du går in under mitt tak, men säg blott ett ord, så blir jag helad

Lord, I am not worthy that you go in under my roof but say just one word and so I become healed.

Another good reason for coming here, not to have to sit through the horrible English translation. But a literal translation from Latin into English will sound affected old fashioned. I would prefer to see the use of English in the liturgy just be allowed to fade away.

Anonymous said...

Clare says:
If a sign says 'Danger! Man-eating sharks', would women be safe? 'Man' and 'men' can be marked or not for gender according to context; and it doesn't require huge intelligence to work it out. I never felt excluded from the phrase 'for us men and for our salvation', and it does have the advantage of specifying that 'us' refers to all mankind, not some small sub-group. I shall continue to say it.

Physiocrat said...

"MAN EATING SHARKS" could mean women are safe. They probably taste different from men and sharks may prefer one to the other. After all, hard roe tastes different from soft and people have their prefences on these matters. Think about sturgeons and caviar, for instance.

I think someone should do some research about this.

Anonymous said...

I am pleased that the word 'holy' will be restored as in 'and that of all his (holy) church.' I find I have to force myself to omit the word 'holy' even after all these years and if my attention wanders I find myself automatically still saying it!

On the side of the angels said...

Oh good grief where does one start ? Yes many alterations are absolutely necessary ; but I do wish the vatican hadn't allowed ignorant and uneducated american bishops to make decisions regarding OUR translation:

'Many' is fine : but there's absolutely nothing wrong with using the exclusive conditional all in English - it doesn't and never did mean 'omnis'; not only that it's actually a good doctrinal reminder of the sacrament's intent and its intrinsic link with the forgiveness of sins.

Secondly it's the Latin which is in error regarding Credo ; the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed begins 'Pisteuomen' - We Believe.

Thirdly after the Agnus - 'Receive you' has the wondrous double-meaning of 'entering under one's roof' and being consumed . The english play on words had beautiful symbolism that only the ignorant pedant wouldn't fail to see.

Fourthly after all the grief they still haven't made the most crucial imperative change of all:
Our Lord and Saviour is NOT 'One in Being with the Father' That's not what homoousios and consubstantialem means - it means 'Of One Being' - anything else is adoptionist if not arian or even polytheistic like mormonism. sodium and chlorine in table salt are 'One in Being' but are never 'Of One Being'. One in Being does not complement or vindicate the doctrine of the Trinity.

It's still outrageous that the Vatican's english website contains 'One in Being' and the US church uses it - using 'one in substance' is even worse - a mother and her unborn child are 'one in substance' but not consubstantial ! Substance in English never , ever, had the same meaning as the Latin substantia - even when Hamlet used it!

If only Cardinal Arinze hadn't left it in the hands of ill-educated and uncaring Bishops who had little knowledge of the English language and the underlying theology ????
I e-mailed bishop Trautmann regarding my concerns and was ignored ; and ultimately when his Eminence cardinal Arinze was unavailable I e-mailed His Holiness - this is not just pedantry on my part ; it's fundamental theology !

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Spanish has the et cum spiritu tuo correct as well (y con tu espiritu)

The Domine non sum Dignus is the prayer said by the Roman Centurion (Lk 7), there is a humility that comes with this prayer and the specific of refering to the soul (anima) is very important.

What I'm looking forward to NOT hearing is the following..."thanks and praise" when the verb benedixit is used...and the prayers actually being translated instead of the excuse we have now.

MiKEY said...

The new translation is how it is in Slovak also.

The only thing that I am wondering is in the Agnus Dei

Lamb of God, YOU take away...
Shouldn't it be WHO?

palaeologos said...

Although the creed promulgated by the Ecumenical Councils does indeed begin "We believe...", the Creed as spoken in the liturgy has always been in the first-person singular. Pluralizing it was an innovation. If you have a problem with this, take it up with the authors of the Latin text; the job of a translator is to translate accurately.

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