USCCB amendments to ICEL translation of the Missal

USCCB amendments to ICEL translation of the Missal

Gerald has the text of the amendments approved by the US bishops for the new translation of the Roman Missal. Many of them are minor changes in word order or selection or words that have the same literal meaning from the Latin. Others, however, are changes from the literal that, I think, stray from the literal. For example, there’s this change in Eucharistic Prayer I:

Two changes were introduced to the translation of the Proper forms of the Communicantes (OM, no. 86), changing the final lines of the forms for the Nativity of the Lord and throughout the Octave, the Epiphany of the Lord, the Mass of the Paschal Vigil until the Second Sunday of Easter, the Ascension of the Lord, and Pentecost
ICEL: Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ
USCCB: Mother of God and our Lord, Jesus Christ

I think the USCCB rendering makes it seem like she’s Mother of God and Mother of our Lord, Jesus Christ, as if we’re talking about two separate people. Other amendments were reversals of the new translation back to the way it is now. For example:

Eucharistic Prayer III
Only one amendment was made to the translation of the third Eucharistic Prayer (OM, no. 113):
ICEL: Look, we pray, upon your Church’s offering
USCCB: Look, with favor on your Church’s offering

Few, if any, of the amendments are earthshaking, although I am in agreement with others that some of the objections that precipitated the amendments miss the point. Some very qualified commentators, for instance, have pointed out that the use of “dew” in Eucharistic Prayer II has a solid connection to Eucharistic theology and a Scriptural connection the manna in the desert in Exodus.

ICEL: Therefore, make holy these gifts, we pray,
by the dew of your Spirit,
USCCB: Therefore, make holy these gifts, we pray,
by the outpouring of your Spirit,

It will be interesting to see what the Vatican makes of these amendments.

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  • The Holy See (through the correspondence of Cardinal Arinze, among others) has been quite clear regarding fidelity to the Latin text, and to the matter of theological clarity. It is safe to assume that, within the walls of the Vatican, there are people whose command of the English language is impeccable. Some of them work for Vox Clara. The smart money says that the “amendments” will all be put under a microscope, and will be corrected as necessary—whether the American bishops like it or not.

  • ICEL: Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ
    USCCB: Mother of God and our Lord, Jesus Christ

    The only advantage to the USCCB is that “our Lord” sounds a little smoother than “our God”. We could achieve the smoothness by going with “Mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ”.

    The USCCB has a weird Nestorian flavor to it as though the Theotokos were the mother of two distinct persons (fraternal twins?).

    What could possibly be wrong with “dew” for the Holy Spirit? After all, a typical Catholic will hear the Eucharistic prayers over two thousand times in his life. Furthermore, the eucharistic prayers are directed to the Father. They are a proclamation in at most a secondary sense. We should not expect them to be instantly comprehensible by people with a secular mentality.