Better Novus Ordo translation satisfies Trads?

Better Novus Ordo translation satisfies Trads?

Yet more rumors. John Allen reports a conversation with the executive director of ICEL, the body in charge of translating the Mass into English, who says the new translation being prepared by the body, under the watchful eye of the Vox Clara commission, could satisfy many Traditionalists who have wanted the Tridentine Mass restored. Hmm, is he being naive or is there a more radical reform of the Novus Ordo being done than we’ve been led to believe.

Some Traditionalist will be satisfied with nothing less than a return of the 1962 Missal, unaltered and unchanged. That’s not going to happen. Others would like to see the work of reform start again with the 1962 Missal and proceed organically, using the principles outlined in Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium. Virtually none of the Traditionalists I know will be satisfied with a better English translation of the Novus Ordo.

Fr. Bruce Harbert may be thinking of Traditionalists in his native Britain, but I don’t think a better Novus Ordo translation will have a wide appeal.

In an Oct. 23 telephone interview from Manchester, England, Harbert said that the attraction of the older, pre-Vatican II Mass for some Catholics has to do with a perceived lack of reverence in the way the post-Vatican II Mass is at times celebrated.

“Sometimes the music, or a perceived informality on the part of the celebrant, is what turns people off,” he said. In that light, he said, a translation closer to the spirit of the Latin original, with a more formal and “sacred” tone, could help.

I think that’s an overly simplistic analysis. While I support and hope for a better translation closer to the Latin original (since I don’t know of any priests willing to do the Latin Novus Ordo on a regular basis), I can’t picture it having the same effect that a universal Indult would.
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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
2 comments
  • I find it interesting that those Catholics who desire a reform of a reform want to graft elements of the Traditional Rite onto the Novus Ordo. If you are going to use Latin, face ad orientam, use chant etc., then why not just use what we had in the first place?

    I don’t think of Latin, ad orientem, and chant as old-rite elements grafted on to the Pauline Mass.  All are permitted now, according to the books.  They’re generally neglected, but choosing the traditional options is not a case of importing practices excluded by the current Missal. 

    But to get back to Msgr. Harbert, a new translation is a step toward to the recovery of the sacred, and more will be needed. 

    Already the generation of priests who did so much liturgical harm is retiring; it can’t come soon enough.

  • You’re quibbling over semantics. Norms means that the rubrics present them as what should be normal. That it isn’t done is not the fault of the Missal as it stands now.

    The fact is that your accusation that these things are accretions onto the Novus Ordo is wrong, as is your claim that “Catholics who desire a reform of a
    reform want to graft elements of the Traditional
    Rite onto the Novus Ordo.”

    What people who want reform of the reform want is an authentic and organic development of the Liturgy as it should have happened. The Tridentine has its problems that needed to be addressed. It is not the end all and be all of Liturgy for all time unchanged forever and ever.

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