Monday, March 3, 2014


You can read Praytell's ongoing ideological drivel concerning the marvelous new and improved English translation of the Roman Missal. In an obsession with Vox Clara and its authority under papal mandate and evidently as a vendetta against them and papal authority, this on-going saga is very sad for Praytell and its ideologues. You can read their repetitive drivel in this particular post by pressing HERE. 

But the agenda there is a progressivist, democratization of the Church to the detriment of the Deposit of Faith and the Magisterium of the Church (two terms that are absolutely despised and denigrated by a Benedictine who posts there and who should know better and who should be reprimanded for it given Pope Francis consistent call to fidelity to both) . The Praytell Blog is filled with posts and comments so immature in terms of unresolved childhood authority issues that it has become a caricature of such.

Previously  Praytell sent a survey through Diocesan Offices to comment on the new and glorious English translation of the Mass. I received one and returned it via email. Its results were so skewed that Praytell was rightfully skewed for it much to their well deserved embarrassment.

Now they have commissioned a more professional survey of priests on the new and glorious translation that will be released soon with a Praytell commentary on it. Nothing like beating a dead horse! It will be more of the same, yawn!

Now don't get me wrong. I've been advocating and praying for change in the OF Mass to make it more like the EF Mass, even when completely in the vernacular. But I have no illusions that I will be successful or that there will be any major changes while I am alive, if ever. So the second best option is to do the best with what the Church gives us. I believed that under the older, miserable English translation of the Mass and I am grateful for the new and improved one, vastly superior over what was given to us. Would I like the even better translation that the Anglican Ordinariate will have using old English? Sure, you bet, but I doubt that will happen. But it does give me hope that the normal Latin Rite's Ordinary Form might get some of the other good things the Anglican Ordinariate has gotten as an option in the appendix of their missal, a marvelous compromise that could easily be given to us normal, poor and deprived regular Latin Rite Catholics. And it is this: Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, EF Offertory Prayers, Last Gospel, clear option for ad orientem and kneeling for Holy Communion.

I presume the manner in which the Anglican Ordinariate is instructed to receive Holy Communion in the hand is the current discipline of the Anglican Church, which is truer to tradition that our own silly and unfortunate method.

But I digress. I am not opposed to the wonderful new English translation of the Mass being refined for the parts of the Mass the priest prays. I do not advocate nor do I think it is pastorally wise to change any of the people's parts or the Eucharistic Prayers. These are great as they are and should not experience a modification unless to the Old English of the Anglican Ordinariate.

What can use some tweaking and refining are some of the collects and other orations including some of the Prefaces. We do not need to go back to another failed translation of 1998 that was resounding rejected by the Magisterium. We simply need to tweak the current translation with small modifications.

For example, yesterday's Prayer over the Offerings was a bit confusing in how it is presented in English (8th Sunday in Ordinary Time):

O God, who provide gifts to be offered to your name and count our oblations as signs of our desire to serve you with devotion, we ask of your mercy that what you grant as the source of merit may also help us to attain merit's reward...

I'm not sure I completely understand what I am praying for on behalf of all the baptized. Of course this might be a good opportunity for the priest during the homily to explain the word "oblation" since it is not a word must of us know or use. (Oblation, meaning an offering (Late Latin oblatio, from offerre, oblatum, to offer), is a term used, particularly in ecclesiastical usage, for a solemn offering or presentation to God.). So the word "oblation" isn't the problem but not teaching it or explaining it is and making sure it is a word in our Catholic vocabulary.

The other confusion is the way merit is used in its clearest theological or doctrinal context. Jeffry Pinion on Praytell comment box makes it more understandable:

“… that what you grant as the source of merit
may also help us to attain merit’s reward.”

 “Source of merit” is referring to Eucharist, which God enables us to offer in the first place. Thus, may (our offering of) the Eucharist bring us its reward, eternal life.

But even with that clarification, I suspect this prayer could be rephrased in English to help all of us to understand it better. I would not be opposed to tweaking it.

We don't need to go back to anything else but keep what we have and using its template improve any blemishes in the translation. That would be easy and would cause little or no consternation amongst the vast, vast majority of laity.


Who am I to judge?! said...

Praytell and its readers really do resort to some feeble arguments here, in particular the notion that the new translation uses 'unintelligible language' and cannot be understood even by priests! Why do they assume that congregations are made up of neanderthals: it's so patronising, and so far from the truth. And the idea that Cardinal Pell isn't bright enough to write his own speeches is just pathetic! So is the idea that he's finally finding his metier after years of supposed failure in a pastoral role. Grrgh!

JBS said...

I can't believe anyone anywhere is still discussing the revised English translation of the Missal.

As for the collects, I admit that they sometimes cause me to slow down and pronounce them very carefully. However, I'm afraid I don't see anything confusing about yesterday's collect. If people don't understand that we're offering gifts from God's earth, cultivated by human hands, that become the Lamb of Sacrifice, then they don't know what the Holy Mass is. The problem isn't with the translation, but with their ignorance of the Faith.

JBS said...

By the way, this is now the only weblog I read daily. This is in part due to my time constraints, but mainly because S.O. is so clear, current and Catholic.

Pater Ignotus said...

It's not denigration, it's disagreement. Translation is not a doctrinal matter, let alone a dogmatic matter, so disagreement 1)is to be expected and 2) can be very helpful.

As to the charge of "democratization," did you ever wonder why the Jerusalem Bible lists 27 "principal collaborators" and notes that listing ALL of those who helped in the translation would be an impossibly long list?

Because, in translating, many, many minds are needed. If this is a "democracy" you don't fancy, then you know nothing at all about translation.

Gene said...

What is going on at Fisher More College in Ft. Worth?
The Bishop there has forbidden the school to continue offering the TLM as it has been doing. Is this a sign of things to come from this Papacy?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Don't have any inside knowledge but reading between the lines it appears this lay person has been bringing in priests on his own initiative and without the bishop's approval or faculties given them or certified "virtues" trained! These could have been suspended SSPX priests. The bishop did the right thing!

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus, with all due respect, you don't know much about translation yourself if you think it needs "many, many, minds". The translation of Shakespeare into German, which has resulted in his being the most frequently performed dramatist on the German stage, was largely the work of one man, the romantic poet August Wilhelm Schlegel (1767-1845). Nor did St Jerome have an army of collaborators, as far as we are aware.

Of course translation is a doctrinal matter. A poor translation can gloss over or distort doctrine. The old ICEL 'dynamic equivalence' paraphrase did both, which is why it had to be replaced. Even so, the new translation, though a great improvement, shows some of the defects that arise from having 'too many cooks'.

Pater Ignotus said...

John - No, translations require many, many minds, especially when ancient languages are involved. That is why the translations of Sacred Scripture today involve dozens of professionals.

It is dangerous to say to one person, "Here you go, have at it" because what you end up with is going to be a highly idiosyncratic translation. The weaknesses of that one translator will be magnified, and, without the necessary filter of various minds, it will be impossible to counteract those weaknesses.

Translation is not a doctrinal matter. The CONTENT of the text being translated may be doctrinal/dogmatic, but the process of translation is neither doctrinal nor dogmatic. The rules laid down by LA are not a matter of Tradition and, therefore, cannot be doctrinal.

Henry said...

I doubt that the dissatisfaction evidenced at PrayTell stems primarily with actual disagreement with the new English translation in itself, nor solely from translation issues per se.

In reply to a question there at the time when the new translation had just been finalized, the PT moderator admitted as much, and said that the passion of many of their participants instead resulted in large part from issues regarding authority in the Church and with doctrinal differences.

In regard to the latter, another prominent PT leader said that now that the new translation had revealed what the Latin collects really said--and the extent of their variances with prevailing beliefs of English-speaking Catholics in the pews--it might be best to abandon the ancient collects altogether, and have fresh new ones composed by modern experts, conforming to the actual beliefs of modern men and women. Indeed, it often appears that criticisms of the quality of the translation are smokescreens for deeper underlying personal differences with the magisterial Church.

In regard to quality of translation, I regard the best English translation I have recently seen to be the revised Grail translation of the psalms that has won virtually universal approval. And I was told by a Benedictine from Conception Abbey that this widely acclaimed translation was largely the work there by a single individual.

And I've read that, in the Eastern Church with its much greater experience with successful vernacular translations, the standard practice is to choose for a given liturgical translation project a single holy and respected monk to do it. His work is then accepted or rejected in toto, with no revision by or resolution of differences with committees of experts or bishops.

My own best inference from modern Catholic experience is that the larger the number of cooks in the kitchen, and the more review and amendment in increasingly large circles of experts and authorities, the more certain the guarantee of an inferior lowest common denominator translation.

John Nolan said...

PI, who mentioned LA? It's a set of guidelines which is by no means perfect, but has to be seen in the context of what it was trying to correct. If you read the CDW's reasons for rejecting ICEL 1998, which includes a critique of the original 'dynamic equivalence' translation, you certainly find disagreement, but the main concern was that the method of translation produced a text which on doctrinal grounds was questionable. No-one is suggesting that the process itself is doctrinal.

A good Latin or Greek scholar is perfectly capable of making an accurate translation of, say, Horace or Sophocles. If he has to make a personal decision in the case of ambiguity, or if modern English does not have a precise equivalent, he will explain this in a footnote. He might well consult a colleague and ask for critical advice and comments, but the argument that accuracy in translation is in proportion to the number of people involved in it is difficult to sustain.

I happen to believe that the translation we now use was better in most (not all) respects before it was 'filtered', to use your expression, by the Vox Clara committee.

Pater Ignotus said...

Henry - A recipe is easy to follow. Most recipes have a restricted number of ingredients, some of which must be prepared appropriately.

The translation of an ancient text is, I would say, vastly more complex than cooking, say, Coq au Vin or Mama's Baba Ghanoush.

The "authority" question is certainly one that has raised hackles. We know that the current translation process side-stepped and violated a number of the processes and procedures that had been established in advance.

(I found the descriptions of the process tedious, mainly because I could never keep clear in my mind which was the Blue Book, The Grey Book, The Yellow Book, or the Green Book - each being a different stage in the translation process.)

John - We agree that the process of translation is not a doctrinal matter. LA, or any translation guidelines, does not fall within the realm of revealed matter.

Richard M. Sawicki said...

I spent only the briefest time reading and commenting at PrayTell during a few months last year and found them to be the biggest group of whiny, petulant, childish, snotty brats that have ever pretended to present themselves as scholars of ANY subject, church liturgy or otherwise.

I mean they really would lower them selves to the point of the kind of childish insults and retorts that I last heard in the schoolyard during the 5th grade.

I don't let it bother me too much as I am convinced they are on the wrong side of history, and as I like to say about folks who have grossly misunderstood the trends in the church since the pontificate of JPII, "'Tis the dying wasp that stings most angrily!"

Gaudete in Domino Semper!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

You nailed it Richard! The unfairness and lack of balance toward orthodox well-adjusted commenters is astounding .
Praytell spells Church dysfunction.

John Nolan said...

Henry: You are surely correct. One of reasons why the PrayTellers think the rejected 1998 Sacramentary was the bees knees is that it envisaged a move away from translation to new composition, as recommended in Comme le Prevoit.

PI: When the first vernacular translations of the Mass Ordinary appeared in 1964, the texts varied considerably from country to country. To produce a standard version for the entire English-speaking world that would satisfy the various episcopal conferences and the Holy See was bound to be a tortuous and time-consuming process, particularly as even the unreformed ICEL had long accepted that the 1973 redactions had been too much of a 'rushed job'. Also, the bishops wanted as little change as possible in the people's parts (in the Confiteor, for example, 'that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, deed and omission' is far more accurate, elegant and economical than the clumsy and verbose formula that was carried over from the previous version. There are other examples where familiarity was allowed to trump accuracy.

A small but revealing detail; the Americans wanted 'cena' rendered as 'banquet', but to English ears this smacks of antiquated grandiosity, so 'supper' was retained. In fact, the sentence structure of the whole translation, especially the Eucharistic Prayers, reflects an educated and literary style of English which owes less to LA than it does to the intellectual background and cultural assumptions of the translators.

Anonymous said...

Father, I agree that the English translation of the Latin Mass is much improved but are you able to shed any light on why there is a difference in the words of consecration between the EF Mass and the OF Mass where the word "effundetur" has been changed in the OF of the Mass to "Effundtur". The first translates as "shed" and the second translates as "poured".

Checking the definitions I found Shed: to cause (blood) to flow by cutting or wounding

Whereas Pour: to cause (something) to flow in a steady stream from or into a container or place

To me that is a completely unnecessary change in the consecration and tends to render the Mass more as a meal than a sacrifice.


John Nolan said...

Jan, no. Both OF and EF have 'effundetur' (future indicative passive) meaning "will be poured out". 'Effunditur' is present indicative passive - "is poured out". Same verb, different tense. The NO also adopts the future tense when it adds for the consecration of the Host "quod pro vobis tradetur" (not 'traditur') Some Protestant institution narratives use the present tense, but neither form of the Roman rite does so.

JBS said...

John Nolan,

I'm glad you clarified that. I couldn't figure out what Anonymous was talking about.

Pater Ignotus said...

Since the More/Fisher College issue was raised, there's updates at Fr. Z's website for anyone interested.

"A priest friend forwarded information from HIS priest friend in Dallas. Thus, I will edit a great deal and use bullet points. These things either happened or they didn’t and can be verified one way or another:
◾In May a prof of FMC (Fisher More College) gave a talk and denied aspects of Vatican II
◾The FSSP priests withdrew their services at FMC some time ago.
◾Taylor Marshall, married with several children, resigned his job at FMC without another job.
◾At Thanksgiving, 2013, Fr. Nicholas Gruner, the suspended Fatima Priest, said Mass at FMC.
◾These things took place when the Diocese of Fort Worth was vacant.
◾“This is NOT about hatred for the TLM.”

The plot thickens...

Gene said...

RE: Fisher More. So, somebody was misbehaving. Fair enough.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan, yes, I checked again and you are correct that the word "Effundetur" has not been changed in the wording of the consecration of the OF Mass. Therefore, the word should be translated as "shed" not "poured".

If you look at the English translations of the EF 1962 missal and the OF Mass before the most recent changes effundetur was correctly translated as "shed" not "poured".

So what I am asking is why the word "poured" is used instead of "shed"?

The subtle change of that word renders more of a meal than a sacrifice. That is the problem. Why are the words of consecration not rendered correctly in English?

Even Google translate renders effundetur as "shed". "poured" translates as "effudit".


Anonymous said...

Just to add to my last comment. The Douay-Rheims Luke 22:20:

"In like manner the chalice also, after he had supped, saying: This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you."

Our Lord here is saying that His blood will be shed for us.

The thing is you may "pour" out a cup of coffee but you can't "shed" a cup of coffee do you?

We have waited almost 40 years for a correct English translation of the consecration and we still haven't got it. Being sloppy with the words of consecration is what puts me off the Novus Ordo Mass in English.


John Nolan said...

Jan, the third conjugation verb 'effundo, effundere, effudi, effusum' (to give its principal parts) can be translated as 'to pour out' or 'to shed', although 'pour out' is a more literal rendering of the Latin. The matching noun 'effusio' means an outpouring - in English we talk about an effusion of blood, or of grief. 'Effundetur' (third person singular, future indicative passive) means '[it] will be poured out' or, if you prefer, '[it] will be shed'.

'Effudit' is the same verb, but in a different tense and a different voice (third person singular, perfect indicative active), meaning '[he/she/it] poured out [something]', or if you prefer, 'shed [something]' The perfect tense can also mean 'has poured out' or 'has shed'.

When one is talking of blood or tears, then 'effundere' can be translated as 'to shed', but 'shed' has another meaning in English; it can mean to discard, which in Latin would not be 'effundere', but something like 'repudiare' or 'eiicere'.

Anonymous said...

John Nolan, I am not doubting what you say but, nevertheless, the earlier translation, plus the EF Mass, plus the Duoay Rheims, plus Google translate (for what that is worth) all render "Effundetur" as "shed". This has been specifically changed in the new translation when there was no need to change the word at all.

If you put the word "poured" along with the word "chalice" - then you get a meal - as in pouring from a chalice. I've made the point that you cannot shed blood from a chalice. Our Lord was saying "my blood which shall be shed for you" Obviously what the earlier translations sought was to avoid lessening the meaning of the sacrificial nature of the Mass.

Also the Duoay Rheims is taken from the Latin Vulgate and uses the word "shed". Strictly speaking, that is what the translation should be so as to avoid ambiguity. Our Lord said he would shed His blood for us.

I have already given the ordinary translations for "pour" and "shed". I think there is an important distinction and it is a great pity that once more the English translation of the Mass is incorrect. I believe that it is only the English translation of the Roman Missal that has been so problematic.

You don't get the problem if you attend the OF Mass in Latin but you do if you attend the OF Mass in English.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone actually care about Pray Tell blog? It's always the same people writing, the same tiny group of over-educated, elitist, mostly white American liturgists who claim to be in touch with the hoi polloi but are really not. And they'll quickly turn on "the people" if they disagree with their agenda. I know some of these bliggers--they're all of a certain age and mindset and argue from emotion, anecdotal evidence and straw men arguments. It's amazing given the education of some if them. They're really not worth it especially if you realize that the blog is made of a small number of people who live in an echo chamber. I quit going there when on an Easter Sunday there was a seemingly endless list of whiny, negative posts instead of celebration of the Resurrection of The Lord. St Psul advised us to avoid such people- not good for your spiritual life. I pray that they may have peace, though it seems to me that these bloggers will never be happy even if they get everything they want.