(The deacon in this picture looks a lot like our Deacon Don Coates. I wonder if he is moonlighting in someone else's parish! Caught on camera!)
Last night our home-based faith groups which have been meeting during Lent and studying the new English translation of the Mass, concluded with a wonderful dinner and catechesis by me on the last chapter of Father Paul Turner's booklet, "Understanding the Revised Mass Texts."
Each group leader had the "Leader's Edition" to help their faith group navigate through their weekly studies.
My presentation last night summarized the two styles of translating the Mass texts from the original Latin into English, the current one a rather lose translation based upon "dynamic equivalency" although I would prefer to use the term "dynamited equivalency" since most of the current translation of the Mass really blew apart the meaning of the original Latin and has almost no resemblance to it whatsoever, except some remnant pieces.
The newer ten year old mandate from the Vatican required a literal translation of the original Latin prayers not only in sentence structure but also maintaining the Latin prayer's Catholic spirituality, piety and doctrine. Much of that had been lost in the older translation as unbelievable as that is, but true nonetheless.
One of the more lively comments last night had to do with the current English translation's neutering of the pronouns that refer to Church. The Church is always referred to as "it."
The Latin always had maintained the pronoun references to the Church in the feminine; she or her. The reason for that is our Catholic belief that the Church is the Bride of Christ and the Mother of the Faithful. The last time we all checked brides and mothers are always shes and hers, never its.
Someone made the most astute observation regarding the gender neutering of the Church in the older translation. When this translation was taking place, bishops, priests and laity thought that Vatican II had placed all Catholic beliefs on the table for discussion, change and renewal, even the nature of the Church as Bride of Christ and Holy Mother. A less paternalistic, patriarchal and maternalistic Church would have to be developed according to the "spirit" of Vatican II. What better way to begin this development than by praying in a less than Catholic way, bereft of piety, doctrine and female imagery for the Church?
Is it possible that the translators of the 1960's envisioned a very much changed Church in the future and a changed sacramental system?
If one neuterizes the Church, then one can neuterize two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony. If Bridegroom to Bride no longer requires a male and a female, than any combination of pairing would do. They detected not only a heretical theological provocation on the part of the translators but a political agenda in these earlier translators. Who knows? It could be possible!
Just look at the Anglican Communion to see where this all goes.
The new translation will keep the Church feminine, Christ masculine and the Church as the Bride of Christ and Holy Mother of the faithful. What else should Catholics expect?
We had almost 100 participating last night. Every household in my parish, though, received Fr. Paul Turner's booklet the week before Lent began.
Everyone wants to implement this new and improved English translation yesterday. The old one is such a lame duck in so many ways that people really want their Beijing Duck and they want it now!
But I always remind them by word and example that patience is a virtue!