Tuesday, August 05, 2008

New Mass Texts

The US Bishop's Conference have just issued the proposed new translations of the texts of the Mass see here.
These are substantially what will be introduced here, asnd throughout the English speaking world.
I am sure they will continue to come in for criticism, and I am sure that having introduce the idea of change into the liturgy it is only time until there is another review.
However, they are at least accurate and Catholic, and therefore I welcome them.

Parts of the Order of MassLetter Accompanying the Recognitio from Francis Cardinal ArinzePrefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Eucharistic Prayer I (Roman Canon) (PDF)
Eucharistic Prayer II (PDF)
Eucharistic Prayer III (PDF)
Eucharistic Prayer IV (PDF)


Londiniensis said...

Don't be too pessimistic about another review soon, Father. By the time these changes are fully implemented, the generation of bishops and priests whose mind-set was heavily influenced by the zeitgeist of the 60's and 70's and by the self-manufactured "spirit" of Vatican II will carry much less significance then it does now. St Peter is going to be carrying out some very interesting conversations over the next few decades. Younger priests do not carry their elders' ideological baggage and may be more mindful of the old saw that he who marries the spirit of the age becomes a widower in the next ...

Anonymous said...

At the consecration of the Precious Blood, the translation has "shed" in EPI but "poured out" in EPs II. II & IV. Some tidying up is needed here. And when will we be allowed to use them?

alban said...

Having read the newly approved texts, it is clear that they are exceptionally close to the Latin.

However, by sticking so closely to the Latin, the translation into English has emerged as clumsy and not always easy to read; at times, the prose is stilted to say the least. The Latin flows in a graceful manner, whilst the English fairs rather poorly in this respect. (The problem is far less apparent in Spanish and Italian; being Romance languages, they translate much more readily into understandable prayers.)

Rather surprisingly, I find myself on the side of the more 'liberal' element regarding the new texts. The point of any such task is not to simply adopt a slavish translation in terms of words and syntax, but to make the piece readable and understandable. As a traditionalist,I shudder to say this, but I actually prefer the 1970s ICEL version to what will now be thrust upon the English-speaking Catholic faithful.

Physiocrat said...

I am inclined to agree with those who think this archaic and affected even though it is accurate. You can't get away with this kind of thing in English. It is useful to have the translation but for study purposes, I don't see the point of it for public use, one might as well stick to the Latin and be done with it.

Styles of English are so dependent on social class, age and place of origin, with all the connotations that go with these things, that the language should not be used in the public liturgy at all. Whatever style of English is used will be divisive. I don't know why Trent rejected the use of the vernacular but I would be surprised if the reasons that applied then do not still apply now.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid I have to disagree with both alban and henry here. Is not the accuracy the important thing here? The new translation is nearer to what many of us were used to in our old missals and I would welcome it as soon as possible.

Those who wish the vernacular will have a translation closer to the original Latin, and those who wish the language to flow will hopefully one day be able to assist at Mass in Latin. And everyone then will be happy - won't they?!

gemoftheocean said...

Thanks for the posting.

Christopher said...

There are lots of things I'm not keen on in this text; some hang-overs from the grey book (or whatever colour it was) we saw last year others are new. For example "dew of your Spirit" has become "your Spirit... like the dewfall" (yuk) and, in the same EP (II) "deemed us worthy" has become "held us worthy"; "light of your countenance" has become "light of your face" there are lots more.

I agree with Henry to the extent that it is impossible to create a translation which will really suit all the English-speaking countries of the world (and the Americans) and alban as regards the lack of good rhythm (e.g. "merit to be co-heirs to eternal life" - lots more of these too).

Oh well, there are improvements, such as the new translation of the Gloria, which works pretty well (e.g. the very nice setting used at the final WYD mass) or "from the rising of the sun to its setting a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name" in EP III .

gemoftheocean said...

Pelerin, you forget that most people are NOT going to learn latin. Even if they have Latin/English translations with their missals, they do need GOOD English translations alongside.

Physiocrat said...

Accuracy is important but it is not the only thing that counts. Tone of voice can be as important as the actual words spoken. In the case of the new translation there is an archaism that sounds affected and will be a distraction from prayer as people catch hold of individual phrases and their awkwardnesses and dwell on them.

The English language has particular problems due to first to the fact that it has become a world langauge and second, that usages within Britain are divided by social and economic class, region, educational level, etc. Language has long been used as a way of separating off us and them. This is highly political. And politics and division have no place in the liturgy.

If I had the power I would stongly discourage the use of English in the liturgy, though would not go so far as an outright ban.

In other countries, the use of the vernacular gives rise to other problems and different cases need to be dealt with on their merit. Problem here is that a lot of priests and many of hte congregations can't speak the vernacular very well and some priests have heavy foreign accents that are difficult for anyone to understand.

Anonymous said...

the red 143. at the end refers to a mass involving a Bishop as a Pontifical Mass......interesting.

Anonymous said...

There still seem to be some infelicities in the translation, such as "we have greatly sinned" in the Confiteor instead of "we have sinned greatly"; also I think musicians will find it difficult to set the first section of the Gloria to any sort of decent music.

On the whole, though, the translation, particularly of the Canons, seems very much better. I doubt if the bluntness of "it is right and just" will be popular with anyone.

I do not understand, however, why there must be only one translation for English. I'm sure there is a Catalan Missal, and I am fairly sure that the Flemish use another Missal from the Dutch.

Keep up the good work: Merton seems to have been another success. Little by little.

Fr Christopher Back

Anonymous said...

Fr William - the version I've seen (which is the one linked in this post) has 'poured out' for all 4 EPs - unless I'm missing something..

alban said...

For William Young: I'm not sure what you have read, but each Eucharistic Prayer uses the expression "poured out" at the consecration. As for when the new EPs may be used, a person whom I know is involved in the process (USA) says that it will be 3 years, if not more. Sadly, this time will unlikely see an improvement in the syntax, prose and style of the archaic expressions the English translations contain.

I know that there are those who feel closeness to the Latin is paramount, but that (in my opinion) misses the point of what a translation is meant to achieve.

If I may use the Bible (surely the most sacred text we possess)by way of example. If one were to be slavishly close to the original languages, then there would be but a single English translation; yet we have several approved by Church authorities. The issues are complex: a word or expression in Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek may have more than one meaning; also, an exact translation would assuredly be difficult(if not impossible)for most people to read. This is why we have a variety of translations. Scholars, and those of us with knowledge of Greek and/or Semitic languages can read/study/browse a more exact translation if we wish, but for most people a readable text is preferable. Of paramount importance is not an exact translation, but bringing the Word of God to the people.

I suggest that, by extension, this applies to Eucharistic Prayers. What is paramount is enabling people to have a sense of being in the presence of the Divine, as well as teaching elements of what we believe. For this, we need to employ language which is not only noble but understandable to those who participate. Dare I say it - perhaps we need more than one English translation of the Eucharistic Prayers. (This principle was established when the Eucharistic Prayers for use with children were promulgated.)

I realise that my proposal may be anathema to those who (like myself) cherish our Latin heritage, but I believe it to be grounded in lives of most of God's children who are blessed to be members of the Catholic Church.

I should like to apologise for the length of this post. My students have accused me (quite accurately) of being somewhat verbose on occasion. For my part, I see it as tangential thinking :)

Christopher said...

Fr. Christopher: I couldn't agree more with your comments on there only being one, worldwide, English translation: how can this be possible since in fact there are numerous "Englishes" in use everywhere (the awful "Spirit like the dewfall" for example might sound all right to American ears, but offends my British ones terribly).

Also "It is right and just" is awfully blunt, and sounds like something is missing; the Anglicans used to translate thusly: "It is meet and right so to do" (i.e. give thanks) followed by "It is very meet, right and our bounden duty to give thanks always and everywhere..." (I have never forgotten that from being a little boy). At least we now have the proper symmetry between the people's affirmation "it is right and just" and the priest's "it is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation..." which was so lacking before with that dreadful "me-meism" translation, "we do well always and everywhere". Not any more, thank goodness.

gemoftheocean said...

Christopher, trust me on this one: ANY American, no matter of what social class, economic class, or part of the country will say "WHAT THE HELL IS *DEWFALL*??"

I don't know where these dingleberries got that one.

As to Henry's concern regards stirring up the class animosities in the UK - I grant you that may be the case in everyday speech - Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady did after all sing "an Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him, the moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him". But that said people are expecting somewhat elevated language in formal situations.

Physiocrat said...

Alban, surely the point that you are really making is that there is a need for good catechisis, in which the liturgy and its meaning is gone through with a fine-toothed comb in a leisurely way.

And surely the actual performance of the liturgy is not the time and place for such instruction, not least because people come to the public liturgy from all sorts of different situations?

There might, just, be a case for a liturgy in the vernacular for instructional use, but in my experience in European countries is that it is just becoming increasingly problematic with increasing numbers of people on the move across national and linguistic boundaries. If you are from the US, you may not appreciate this difficulty.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's terribly important for the laity to understand the words of the Mass.

The sermon is the time for instructing the unwashed masses. This of course should be done with as clear and simple language as possible.

The laity should primarily be singing along with the choir, if so inclined.

And they should be making their own silent devotions and acts of contrition, petition, or thanksgiving.

The priest is trained to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. How presumptuous for us as Joe and Jane Laity to think we should be able to follow along and understand the greatest mysteries of the universe. God certainly desires for us to lift our minds to these mysteries, but this modern desire for the laity to understand and be involved in everything degrades the Holy Mass.

Physiocrat said...

Gem, isn't just language, we in Britain cannot help pigeonholing people by the way they talk. We take in this habit with our mother's milk. If the priest has a strange (to the listener) accent, we Brits immediately start thinking about it and it sets up a barrier. We cannot help it. The public liturgy should not be in English except in special circumstances.

And Brits can't always understand English spoken by English speaking non Brits. I made the mistake of going to an English mass a few weeks ago and could not understand the readings, done in a US drawl.

gemoftheocean said...

Henry, I know about the accent hand grenade, which is why I linked the My Fair Lady song about it. But surely it's not the vocabulary that annoys? People will just have to suck it up as to what accent it's delivered with. People with the plummy accents will deliver Latin that way too.

at the risk of adding kerosene to the fire....is there pressure put to bear on seminarians possessing other than a "home counties accent" to change their accents?

Outside of Indians (from India!) are there any people that get more lit up re: caste than the British?

[ducking and covering ... let me know when it's clear...]

gemoftheocean said...

Oh, and Henry, who the heck was "Drawling?" That only applies to the US south. Where was the speaker from? Some of those people speak slower than molasses in winter.

Fr Ray Blake said...

The last comment was rejected, the person described was easily identifiable in a unflattering way.

Physiocrat said...

... which shows what a sensitive matter language is in Britain and that English should be kept out of church, or at least off the sanctuary.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

When I have the time, I'm going to go through and do analysis on the Translations.

That being said, I'm relieved that there won't be "We do well always and everywhere to give you thanks" in the Mass anymoe :)

Aulic said...

Whatever shortcomings this new translation may be said to have, it's going to be so wonderful to say good-bye to the ICEL texts!

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