Bishops approve new translation

Bishops approve new translation

The US bishops’ conference approved the new translations of the Mass proposed by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), something that bishops in the rest of the English-speaking world had already done, but the US bishops also included a number of adaptations and amendments that will need to be scrutinized by the Vatican. Nevertheless the bulk of the changes required by the Liturgiam Authenticam and other Vatican directives have been approved.

The vote was 173-29 for the translation itself, and 184-8 for the adaptations for use in the United States. A 2/3 majority of 168 votes had been needed. Contrary to some predictions, the vote was not “thisclose”. Nor did the debate take more than the allotted one hour, which the same person also predicted. In fact, it took about 45 minutes.

From the coverage in the New York Times, you’d think the bishops had just voted to translate the Mass into Elizabethan English.

Some of the changes they did adopt are minor, but in other cases Catholics will have to learn longer and more awkward versions of familiar prayers. For example, instead of saying, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,” in the prayer before Communion, they will say, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.”

How is that awkward? Then it says traditionalists “longed for” an English version more true to the Tridentine Mass’s Latin. Actually traditionalist long for the Tridentine Mass’s Latin itself. What advocates of the new translation want is a translation that is faithful to the actual normative texts. To be honest, I think the “upset Catholics who have committed the current prayer book to heart and to memory and who take comfort in its more conversational cadences” is a figment of someone’s imagination because, while I’m sure a few must exist somewhere, I doubt there are very many people who will pine for the pre-2006, post-Vatican II Mass.

You also once again have the standard New York Times tactic of quoting on conservative and a whole raft of liberals on an issue. Leon Suprenant of Catholics United for the Faith is the token conservative, while the lineup for the other team includes Father Lawrence Madden of the Georgetown Center for Liturgy, Father Thomas Reese formerly of America, and Father Robert Silva of the National Federation of Priests Councils. Also note that clericalism works in the other direction, too.

I’m just so amused at all the “progressives” who have suddenly become conservatives, standing athwart the liturgy and yelling “Stop.” Where were all their concerns about stripping people of a Mass to which they had become accustomed 30-40 years ago when they stripped the people of the Tridentine Mass and gave them the Novus Ordo? Ah, but now it’s different, isn’t it? It always is when the shoe’s on the other foot.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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