Sunday, January 23, 2011
COMPARING LITURGICAL TRANSLATIONS AND COMPARING JUST TO WHOM THESE PRAYERS ARE DIRECTED!
Prayer that "looks" like it is directed to God:
Prayer that "looks" like it is directed to the congregation:
By now you know that our current English translation of the Mass is a lame-duck. Actually it is paralyzed. It will be completely replaced the First Sunday of Advent which begins Saturday evening of November 26th.
I read other liturgical blogs. There is one blog where a good number of those who comment think that the new translation is clunky, too literal to the original Latin and will destroy the Catholic Church. In other words they think it is a disaster in the making and gives them the opportunity to bash the authority of the Church, that authority's secrecy and so on and so forth. So much for hyperbole. People that love the liturgy can be rather like cranks sometimes. They suffer from a psychological malady called hysteria. But I digress.
Please note the difference in the revised Collect for the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time. Realize that another translator could have translated the prayer in a more eloquent way, but the third prayer below is the one we're getting. What do you think of it when compared with what we now have?
Father Z's SUPER LITERAL TRANSLATION of the original Latin prayer:
Almighty eternal God,
direct our actions in your gracious purpose,
so that in the name of Thy beloved Son,
we may merit to abound with good works.
Paralyzed 1973 Translation (current one):
All-powerful and ever-living God,
direct your love that is within us,
that our efforts in the name of your Son
may bring mankind to unity and peace.
Very soon to be cured and walking upright revised translation:
Almighty ever-living God,
direct our actions according to your good pleasure,
that in the name of your beloved Son
we may abound in good works.
One of the complaints that I read on other blogs is that people won't like or understand the new translation and that the translators could have done a better job given the sacred nature of their mission.
I think the fact that so many people were involved in the re-translating process and that there were probably too many chefs that had to be pleased that our new translation won't be as beautiful in some places of the missal as it could have been. I suspect if the Church had hired a committee of five translating experts, gave them the Liturgiam authenticam and locked them in a room until they gave us a good, beautiful English translation, that we would have had an exquisite translation. But since almost 7000 people had their finger in the pudding, we're getting what we get which is better than the old but not as good as it might have been if the number of people working on the translation had been much, much fewer.
So all I can say is the new translation will be wonderful compared to the old, but compared to what might have been it might be mediocre. Someone has described the new translation like an 8th grader trying to write Shakespeare! Yikes!
Finally, though, isn't prayer directed to God the Father from the people (clergy and laity) through Jesus Christ, the One Mediator, and by the power of the Holy Spirit? If so, isn't this prayer directed to God and not to us?
Yes, we want to give God our best and the best we have now is the current translation and the best we will have is the revised translation that only Rome has the ultimate authority to approve after a rather lenghty and arduous consultative process. But it is prayer directed to God, not directed to us. Does anyone misunderstand this or worse, have an erroneous understanding of this?
Yes, many Catholics and in high places either misunderstand or have an erroneous understanding of this because for over 40 years the prayers of the Church have been read and directed toward the congregation. That's a big problem and hopefully it will be resolved one day too by the only person that can really resolve it, the Holy Father, the pope.