Thursday, May 23, 2013

WHAT GOOD IS IT TO WHINE AND HAVE A BLEEDING HEART ABOUT SILLY THINGS LIKE STEWING OVER THE WONDERFUL NEW ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF THE MASS? AREN'T THERE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS IN LIFE?


In parish ministry it is hard to have a hothouse mentality about academic Catholicism, the sort of thing Pope Francis decries. For example there was a rather dubious survey of priests from an institution which has continuously whined, cried, bemoaned and regurgitated its dislike of the new and much improved English translation of the Mass. Their survey is skewed because it appeals to their groupies. They whine over authority issues and castigate those in authority who took their bogus authority away from them. They whine that priests, priests, priests, at least some of them, especially their groupies, don't like it. And they whine that bishops don't listen to their priests and bend to their every need. Talk about arrested academic development.

Once again we turn to the wisdom of our new Pope Francis who gets it, because he is a pastor and he knows these whining intellectuals, academics and want to be's are the problem not the solution to the Church's crisis of faith and arrogance. This is what he has said:

Speaking to a congregation of employees of the Vatican printing press and newspaper, Pope Francis commented on the day's reading from the Gospel of John (6:52-59), in which learned Jews listening to Jesus argue among themselves, asking: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

"They are the great ideologues," the pope said, according to a report by Vatican Radio. "These ideologues cut off the road of love, and also that of beauty."

"All a matter of intellect!" he said. "When ideology enters into the church, when ideology enters into our understanding of the Gospel, we understand nothing."

"Ideologues falsify the Gospel," the pope said. "Every ideological interpretation, wherever it comes from -- from one side or the other -- is a falsification of the Gospel. And these ideologues --we have seen them in the history of the Church -- end up being intellectuals without talent, ethicists without goodness. And let's not even speak of beauty, because they understand nothing of that."

"The path of love, the way of the Gospel, is simple," he said. "It is the road that the Saints understood: ... the road of conversion, the way of humility, of love, of the heart, the way of beauty."

Pope Francis concluded by praying that God might free the church "from any ideological interpretation, and open the heart of the church, our mother church, to the simple Gospel, to that pure Gospel that speaks to us of love, which brings love, and is so beautiful. It also makes us beautiful, with the beauty of holiness."


My final comment:

Since November we've had 30 funerals in the parish, others are gravely sick and some dying and families are grieving and moving from crisis to crisis. The poor are hungry, the naked need clothing and the faith must be lived and taught as parents work multiple jobs to pay for an expensive Catholic education.

I think most lay people would be scandalized by the ongoing whining of professional academics and clerics in the Church who have nothing greater to worry about than authority issues surrounding our wonderful new English translation of the Mass and how some priests and even fewer laity just can't pray with it. So sad, but not on the level they think.

Hey, you laity out there, how disturbed, befuddled and in crisis are you over the new, wonderful English translation of the Mass that we've had now for almost 2 years? Shall violins be playing for you, a dirge? Are you in need of therapy over what the bishops have foisted upon you in terms of the improved English translation of the Mass.

Let us know!

41 comments:

Perplexed in Poughkeepsie said...

Fr. McDonald, could you explain why "... we pray..." shows up in many, many of the English translations of the prayers, but neither the Latin "quaesumus" nor any other word or phrase that would translate to "we pray" is found in the original Latin?

My understanding is that Liturgiam Authenticam explicitly does not allow the addition or deletion of words when the translations are being made? Why would "we pray" be added so many, many times when it is not in the Latin? Are these translators naïve, or do they have evil intentions?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I personally don't know how the sausage of an English translation is made and how in the name of God and all that is holy you would have a committee doing it. I would think it should be very controlled, leave it up to one or two experts and someone to supervise and then the bishops make the decisions, not the translators. I found the 1973 translation vapid and once I realized how vapid not only in the economy of words but error in doctrine and spirituality at worst and truncating of our devotional life at best, I can live with the addition of "we pray" as it hasn't disturbed me and not having it wouldn't disturb me, I have more important things in the parish to worry about. My bottom line, to many experts and prima donnas involved in this translation process and liturgists are some of the more egregious in the area of hypersensitivity and also being control freaks.

Carol H. said...

I like the new translation because it better expresses what we believe. IMHO, the whiners are upset at the new translation because they see it as a setback to their attempt to change doctrine. Maybe they have a hard time praying with the new translation because the god they worship is not the same God that the Church worships and serves.

Anne Ominous said...

Not to change the subject, but, speaking of those who whine over authority issues and castigate those in authority, there is a letter in the latest Southern Cross expressing outrage that the bishop is transferring so many pastors in June.

We need to support Bishop Hartmayer, especially in this early stage of his service to the diocese. He has spent a year and a half studying the needs of the diocese and he saw a need to shake things up and spread the talent around. Good for him and good for all of us. Let's stop whining and if any of us "groupies" are too attached to one particular priest, let us remember that we are not Protestants. When we receive the sacraments, they all come from one High Priest, Jesus Christ.

Mary Jane said...

This is right on the money, Father. Thanks.

Mary Jane said...

This is right on the money. Thanks, Father.

PAUL D Byrne said...

Allan i havent posted in a while - seems some think that cos I live in Ireland that somehow makes my point of view less relevant. However I agree wholeheartedly with your post. In my relatively small parish I have an average of 60 funerals per year. 10 per cent are usually suicides. The day to day issues our beloved faithful face are about hope vis a vis hopelessness, etc etc. Translating Truth and mercy, forgiveness and salvation are what crosses the hearts and minds of the vast majprity of people in ALL our communities. whatever translation we use may we always translate God's Word, God's Truth, God's Love and God's mercy May we have the courage to always call people to conversion. May we always being that call with ourselves. May we have the courage to be as naked before God as Jesus was on the cross so as to be humble before HIm. May God's will be done in all things, in all languages and in all translations.

Flummoxed in Finland said...

Fr. McDonald, could you explain why there are SO SO many dependent clauses in these new translations and why the subject and the verb in many sentences is separated by SO SO many clauses?

Pater Ignotus said...

Anne - This happens every time there is a change in assignments. (You can be sure there were some sent to him saying, "Thank You!")

If you like you can write the bishop directly to thank him for his minstry to us. He'd appreciate it I am sure.

ytc said...

How else would one translate quaesumus?

Perplexed in Poughkeepsie said...

But Father, Liturgiam Authenticam SAYS: "While it is permissible to arrange the wording, the syntax and the style in such a way as to prepare a flowing vernacular text suitable to the rhythm of popular prayer, the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses."

NOTE: Without omissions or ADDITIONS.

How can the translators, then, justify the ADDITION of "we pray" when there is no corresponding word or phrase in the original Latin text? How can the Church authorities expect that priests who use the text will abide by the rules for USING the texts when the translators IGNORED the rules when translating the texts.

"Quaesumus" doesn't appear in many of the Latin texts; yet "we pray" shows up in the English versions.

This is an ADDITION made by the translator and approved by the bishops and pope. But such ADDITIONS are forbidden.

I am perplexed and my faith is shaken . . .

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Of course we are not Biblical fundamentalists urging strict literal compliance. Why are you such with a much lesser document and the finished product approved by National conferences and the Pope? I'm not opposed to any improvements I just think those who are fundamentalists with following mere guidelines could accomplish their goals with honey rather than vinager . At any rate I accept the new translation warts and all, like I accept my friends and have moved on to real Catholicism.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Paul why are there so many suicides there, how tragic.

John Nolan said...

A year or two ago I attended a talk given by Mgr Harbert about the pitfalls of translation, and it was illuminating. We translate 'Sursum corda' as 'Lift up your hearts' because this is how Cranmer rendered it; but it could also mean 'Let our hearts be on high'; indeed, in the context this is more likely what is meant. The bishops were anxious not to make too many changes in the people's parts, so in the Confiteor we still have the clumsy old formula rather than the more accurate and elegant 'in thought, word, deed and omission'.

'Quaesumus' means 'we beseech' which can stand on its own in Latin, but requires a direct object in English, so 'we pray' is better.

As for the person who complains about subordinate clauses, it must be a shock to encounter grown-up literate English after decades of baby-language. At age seven I had no difficulty with "Pour forth, we beseech Thee O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may be brought by His Passion and Cross to the glory of His Resurrection". In the OF this is the Collect for Advent 4, and look what a mess was made of it in 1973. (And it's far from being the worst example).

If you like praying in bullet points or the language of the street corner, then by all means do so in your private devotions, but liturgy is public worship and deserves better.

Gene said...

John Nolan, They should practice for grown-up, literate English by reading Dickens (my favorite author) or , if they really want a work out, Henry James. LOL!

Perplexed in Poughkeepsie said...

Fr. McDonald, you have been a great leader in the Reform of the Reform, regularly pointing out the errors - some of them serious, most of them trivial - in the behavior of your brother priests and bishops. You even refer to them as imbeciles!

In the case of Pope Francis' vesture, you are the presbyteral Androcles to the papal Lion!

I don't understand how you can, with such impressive inconsistency, now "give a pass" the egregious errors of the translators of the Roman Missal!

Why do you turn a blind eye to the fact that they DID NOT FOLLOW THE RULES. Don't you often trump the famous "Do the red, say the black" mantra? How do you justify retreating from the battle now?

My faith, oh my faith, is shaken....

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PP, you'll have to point out where I called anyone an imbecile and in what context as I honestly do not recall, I do use the term inimical and perhaps if I spelled that wrong, spell-checked changed it to imbecile?
I give no one a pass, and I would call the translators errors, not egregious, but mistakes that can be rectified later, maybe five years from now, maybe 10, who knows, honey rather than vinegar and hysterics are needed in this case. But let us recall, that the bishops of this country and other English speaking countries approved of their "egregious" errors as did the pope. I will add again that the rules of translation are not on the same level as the Bible, the 10 Commandments, the GIRM, the Rubrics or even a papal homily at a daily Mass. And yes, the Holy Father, if I like it or not can don (not dawn) whatever vestment he wants at whatever time, proven now in two pontificates, the emeritus one and the current one, but in different ways. I respect that even if my tastes and preferences are different.

Perplexed in Poughkeepsie said...

Father McDonald - Pater Ignotus posted a direct quote of your use of the word IMBECILE in a recent post. As I recall, you were taken to task for that usage on the Pray Tell blog, and you promptly turned tail and took the post down from this blog, recognizing your error.

However, someone wisely saved the post before you could remove it.

That the pope and bishops have approved a translation that does not follow the very rules that the pope and bishops established in Liturgiam Authenticam doesn't alter the fact that it is an error. You regularly trumpet your disdain for the "imbeciles," as you term them, who do not follow the rules. But when the error is one with which you agree or in which you find comfort, you say "Oh well, we'll take care of that in a decade or two."

Convenient, that.

John Nolan said...

I think PinP might adumbrate the errors (as he puts it) in the new translation. Surely the previous one was egregiously erroneous, passim. Or else insist on only hearing the Novus Ordo in Latin, which I have done, with a large degree of success, for the past 40 years. We can all nitpick, but most people who claim to find errors in the new translation are merely advertising their own ignorance of English syntax.

Liturgiam Authenticam laid down guidelines (there are no 'rules' in translation) which replaced the assumptions of Comme le Prevoit which was never an official document in the first place. Again, if you don't like it, stick to Latin - you can't go wrong there.

WSquared said...

John Nolan, hear hear!

When the new translation came out, there were a few who complained about the word "consubstantial," saying that it sounded funny, weird, or just sounded clumsy.

But isn't that what a dictionary is for? con = with. Consubstantial = of the same substance = not. hard.

On the other hand, there were a lot of people who were all fired up and ready to go, excited about getting all the responses right, especially the "and with your spirit"! I think we'll find that most people are used to "and with your spirit" now such that "and also with you" is what sounds alien.

Anne Ominous, every time I hear whining about how it's "not right" that the Bishop moved a favorite priest to another parish, and how the laity needs "more power," I'm reminded of how the Lord took our Monsignor from us just before Christmas. He'd been battling cancer, and the Lord called him home. He was serene right up to the very last. A priest is primarily there to give us the sacraments, without whom we wouldn't be truly Church, anyway.

So while homiletics are very important, how "dynamic" Father's homilies are is not of primary importance. Unless he's a flaming heretic whose cup of drivel runneth over from the pulpit, a solid priest is a solid priest, and witness is about more than preaching. The priest at my EF parish is not the most "dynamic" homilist in the world, and is rather reserved. But he gives us the straight dope as per what the Church actually teaches, firmly and gently.

Your comment reminds me of how we seem to expect "preachers" and "pastors" in our culture, and not priests and witnesses, and indeed priests who are meant to witness.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PIP what I removed from one person who comments on Praytell was more about demonic influence not being imbeciles. And now with Pope Francis egging me on, I'm wondering if I shouldn't revisit that post and revised it back to what I wrote in the first place before I graciously sanitized it!

And as a follow-up to John Nolan, the translation rules as you call them are no such thing, these are guidelines for which the finished product that followed them as guidelines not rigid rules as your straw man equates were approved, approved, approved by the only ones who have a right to approve or disapprove, the bishops conferences of the various English speaking nations and ultimately the Successor of Saint Peter. The approval is Magisterial, from the authentic authority of the Church, not some bogus group claiming to have the same authority or whining that they weren't consulted or what they wanted wasn't approved.
Get behind Pope Francis and his call to obedience to the Magisterium of the Church in the areas of faith, morals and discipline.

Gene said...

There is nothing wrong with the word "imbecile." It describes a large number of politicians, theologians, humanists, and some of the detritus over at Pray for Tail. I think it should probably be used more often, but someone got all warm and sticky wet about feel-good, PC, hypocrisy and convinced people that it was a "bad word." Traditionally, it describes an IQ level below moron and above idiot. Proper use in a sentence: "I always thought Sam was a moron but, when he voted for Obama twice, I realized that he was an imbecile."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Yes, Gene, but I do try to avoid name calling and imbecile has a very derogatory connotation apart from the clinical use of the word.

Perplexed in Poughkeepsie said...

OK - Let's see if I got this . . . Rules ain't really rules, or if they are, they're not meant to be understood in their plain sense. Even if they are very clear, such as LA's "...without omissions or additions in terms of their content..." they still might not mean what they plainly say.

So when we read, "In celebrating the sacraments the liturgical books approved by competent authority are to be observed faithfully; accordingly, no one is to add, omit, or alter anything in them on one’s own authority" we can safely assume that "...no one is to add, omit, or alter anything in them on one’s own authority" doesn't really mean that no one can add, omit, or alter anything in them.

Got it!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PIP, I knew you could do it and come around, congrats!

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene, Wouldn’t voting for Obama twice be illegal? =)

John Nolan said...

The point being made is that when the official translation is approved by the bishops and given the Recognitio of the Holy See, no-one can alter it on his own authority. This applies also to the Latin text - for example substituting 'pro omnibus' for 'pro multis'.

Many priests disliked the former 'translation' but faithfully used it. My parish priest in the 1970s would not use the ICET Gloria (introduced in 1975) but rather than continue with the older translation, which would have been disobedient, simply reverted to the original Latin. He also refused to celebrate versus populum or to discard maniple or biretta, which are perfectly legitimate options.

Gene said...

Anon 2, apparently not...lots of people did it.

Perplexed in Poughkeepsie said...

John - The point being made is if one is free to decide which rules or guidelines are to be followed according to their plain and unconfusing language and which are not, then we are in a free-for-all.

If one can say that "...the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content..." really doesn't mean "without omissions or additions..." ("we pray" in many Roman Missal prayer texts is an addition), then why do we have this guideline?

If one can say that that guildeine isn't to be followed - and the translators whose work has the approval of popes and bishops didn't follow the guideline - then why can't we say the same of the guildeline regarding changing words of the approved texts for the sacramemnts? Or why can't we say the same about the guidelines of Summorum Pontificum?

And THEN there is the whole matter of the mantra "If it's not infallibly defined, I don't have to agree with it or follow it."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

But PIP, the bishops of the English speaking countries and then the pope approved it, warts and all, they didn't send it back for a revision. Ultimately the Holy Father has that right, just as Pope Francis casting aside liturgical norms and rubrics on Holy Thursday did and once again with the Liturgy of the Word that he celebrated with the Italian Hierarchy when he did not vest properly for a liturgy where he, the Holy Father, was the only one not liturgically vested. Odd, but I think allowed. I won't whine about it although I wish he would follow the norms, but who am I but a little PIP squeak!

John Nolan said...

PiP, there is an example of a redundant "we pray" in tomorrow's Collect. Fr Z picks up on this and surmises that someone must have been on autopilot. However, a glance through my CTS missal has turned up other examples. I know that the original translations were tweaked at the last minute by Vox Clara and it is possible that someone felt that if God was to be addressed in the imperative mood it might be polite to add the equivalent of 'please', even when the Latin omits it!

However, I really don't know, and I don't have access to the originals. Fr Z or Fr Ruff might be able to enlighten you. It's hardly a material alteration or addition, and most priests are unlikely to notice since the Latin and English altar missals are published separately.

Perplexed in Poughkeepsie said...

Father Pipsqueak - An error "approved" by pope and/or bishops remains an error. That approval does not alter that fact.

John Nolan - The addition of words not found in the original Latin texts is a material addition. This is a direct violation of the guildelines for translation found in LA.

Deciding to add a "please" or anything else in the translation of the texts is expressly forbidden.

Why, oh why are we subjected to these abuses? The faith is made to suffer.

John Nolan said...

Oh dear. All my life I have been praying "Hail Holy Queen" and the Latin says simply "Salve Regina". I shall have to start calling myself Muddled in Milton Keynes.

Gene said...

Dear Pickyourfeet in Poughkeepsie, Methinks you don't give a hoot about the Faith suffering and you are merely here to troll and be a rectum.

Perplexed in Poughkeepsie said...

Gene - And what you think isn't worth a tinker's damn to anyone other than yourself.

John Nolan - I don't think that the translation of the Salve Regina to which you refer was translated under the guidelines of LA.

Gene said...

Pickyourfeet, The same for what you think...if you think. Nothing you have said thus far indicates that you do...

Perplexed in Poughkeepsie said...

Gene - I did not "think" the additions into the new translation. They are there and they were placed there in DIRECT violation of the very clear guidelines given in LA.

Marc said...

All translation problems disappear with the use of Latin. I presume, therefore, that PiP is suggesting the Church revert to her universal and venerable custom of using her Sacred Language.

If they used all efforts previously spent to make guides for translation and forming these useless committees and then selling the new translation to the people to simply catechize about the use of Latin, perhaps the situation would be better.

Gene said...

I agree with Marc. Latin removes all difficulty. Is that what you meant Pickyourfeet?

Perplexed in Poughkeepsie said...

Gene - No. The question at hand is not the use of Latin, but the disregard exhibited by the translators of the Roman Missal for the explicit guidelines set forth in LA.

When the very highest authorities of the Church approve such violations, how can the faith survive? I am deeply depressed and tempted to become Wiccan as a result of their gross disobedience and their treasonous actions.

"Omnis traductor traditor" seems never to have been more accurate.

Gene said...

I thought, perhaps, you were already a Wiccan...