Tuesday, October 24, 2017

NOW THAT TRANSLATIONS ARE LOCAL, WILL THE LATIN WORDS, DOMINUS VOBISCUM, BE TRANSLATED, GOOD MORNING CHURCH WITH THE RESPONSE, GOOD MORNING FATHER? OH! PRIESTS ARE ALREADY FOLLOWING THE POPE'S NEW RULES PROMOTED BY LITURGISTS IN THE 1970'S

I was able to listen to this interview live on XM Radio's Catholic Channel yesterday. It was very interesting. The transcribed version is below copied from Crux:

The following are excerpts from Hilgartner’s interview with “The Crux of the Matter,” which was conducted by John Allen and Inés San Martín.
Crux: What’s the background to the Pope’s letter on Sunday? Why is the question of who calls the shots in liturgical translation important?
Hilgartner: The question of translation always involves a delicate balance, and let’s remember that the Church is still relatively new at translating texts from Latin and the other source languages into the vernacular languages for use in the liturgy.
Monsignor Richard Hilgartner. (Credit: Screen capture.)
In other arenas one might say, hey, we’ve been doing this for fifty years now, we should have it figured out. But when you’re talking about Church history, this really just started yesterday, right?
Very much so. It’s always a delicate balance, but the ultimate issue here is how much do you slavishly and formally translate word-for-word, versus getting the best possible sense of something understandable? There’s always going to be a judgment call in that, about whether you sacrifice flow and comprehensibility for exactness in literal rendering, which sometimes can lead to a text that’s a little bit more cumbersome.
There’s still debate about the new Roman Missal, for instance, and where it landed in all of that …
By that you mean the collection of prayers and other texts for the Mass, which, in English, got a reboot six years ago with a new translation, the most familiar element of which to most people probably is moving from “And also with you” when the priest says, “The Lord be with you,” to saying, “And with your spirit,” right?
Yes, along with words such as ‘consubtantial’ in the Creed to describe the nature of the relationship between the Father and the Son. There are still lots of questions whirling around that, but we’re six years into it, and the dust seemed to have settled, more or less.
Would it be fair to say that in the years right after Vatican II, those judgment calls were made mostly at the local level, and then, beginning in the 1990s, the tide began to shift toward a stronger role for the Vatican? Now, Pope Francis seems to be moving back in the direction of local control. Is that a fair summary?
I think it’s a fair summary.
It’s important to note, though, that the Code of Canon Law always gave the primary responsibility for producing the translations to the conferences of bishops, meaning the local level, or for us, the national level, where the best judgment of how people understand English and how texts can be prepared that are accessible to the people can be made. Even the guidelines for translation produced in 2001, Liturgiam Authenticam, which is really part of what’s at play in this conversation, still recognized the role of the conferences of bishops in that judgment about producing a text that’s understandable and accessible to the faithful.
The final judgment, though, has rested with the Holy See, essentially with the Vatican and the Congregation for Divine Worship. The Code of Canon Law has always recognized that, that the Congregation for Divine Worship has the final say in offering what was known for a long time as the recognitio, meaning the official recognition before a liturgical text can be published and put into use.
What’s shifted now is what the Holy See’s role really is. In Pope Francis’s motu proprio back in September, that role shifted from granting the recognitio to what’s now called a confirmatio, which didn’t really have a whole lot of other equivalent in the law. It’s somewhat new. The pope’s document emphasizes the role of the conference of bishops as being the best judge of determining the fidelity of a translation that’s usable and understandable for the people who would be using it and praying it.
Were you surprised that the pope chose to answer Sarah like this? What do you think it means?
I think what’s surprising is how public his response was. The letter was dated Oct. 15, so it was a week ago, and in the letter itself is an explicit instruction that the Holy Father’s response to Cardinal Sarah’s comments needed to be publicized with the same web sites and blogs.
What’s most surprising, pleasantly surprising, is that clearly, the Holy Father understands the nature of social media, both the power and sometimes the danger of it. We see it in all walks of life, its ability to influence the conversation. Rather than the traditional private conversation, this became very public using the same instruments that were fanning the flames in the first place.
Does the fact the pope chose to respond so quickly and so publicly, when in other cases of criticism or competing spin of his decisions he’s kept silent, suggest that to him, something really important is on the line?
There absolutely is something important on the line. The Second Vatican Council teaches us that the liturgy is the ‘source and the summit of the Christian life.’ As pastors, we know that our primary contact with our faithful in our parishes is on Sunday at Mass. What happens at Sunday Mass is important on a day-to-day basis for the faithful. For most of the faithful, the liturgy is their primary contact with the Church. I think the Holy Father understands that, and takes this seriously.
I think one challenge going forward is the clear indication that there seems to be differing opinion between the Holy Father and, essentially, a member of his cabinet. That difference of opinion suddenly is getting aired in social media and the blogosphere, and that could become toxic quickly.
In the Donald Trump era, maybe there’s nothing especially unique about that! But on the question of what the Pope sees as on the line here, it’s not just the importance of the liturgy, is it? Isn’t it also his reading of Vatican II, which he seems to view as having intended a greater decentralization in the Church and a higher ‘trust level’ in Rome about the ability of local churches to work things out for themselves?
That’s absolutely part of it, and I think one thing that’s helpful to recognize in terms of Francis’s perspective is that he’s the first pope who was ordained a priest after the council. He was ordained in 1969, on the verge of the implementation of the Missal of Pope Paul VI, meaning the official version of the reformed liturgy after Vatican II. He was basically ordained already celebrating the provisional versions of that.
His whole priesthood has been shaped by the post-conciliar time, and his rootedness in living in not only the spirit but the letter of the council is clear. When he spoke to an Italian conference earlier this year regarding Vatican II and the definitive reforms of the liturgy, he didn’t say anything earth-shattering, but he was certainly reinforcing that the liturgy is the way it is because the Second Vatican Council saw in its wisdom to undertake a liturgical reform, and those reforms are here to stay.
Would you agree that for American Catholics, the pope’s moves won’t mean much in the short term for the Mass itself, because most American bishops don’t want to revisit the battles of the 1990s and 2000s?
I’d agree with that.
We’ve only been doing this six years, and while there a few awkward moments in there, there are some things that are a little bit obtuse perhaps, but by and large, it’s a vast improvement of what we’d been using for forty years. To pull the rug out from under that after only six years would be more disruptive, creating the impression that everything can be the whims of the day, that every five years the winds could blow in a different direction and we could shift it again. These are texts that we need to live with for a long time.
So where might American Catholics feel the implications of this decision?
I think moving forward, there a number of projects before the bishops now that clearly could be impacted. I don’t think it’s that the bishops would have to go back and redo any of the work that they’ve been doing on, say, the Liturgy of the Hours, or they’re beginning to look right now at the rites for the baptism of children and also the RCIA, the rite of Christian initiation for adults. Those texts are in various stages of drafting and consultation leading, probably, to presentation for a vote and approval within the next year or so.
I don’t know that they’d change the principles with which they translate, but they can certainly enter into that process with a greater degree of confidence that their work will be respected, as is. In the past five to ten years, certainly over the period of the Roman Missal, what was seen was that everything was still subject to final editing, final recommendations, and approval by the Holy See. I think they can approach this with a greater sense of confidence. Certainly, the spirit the Holy Father is setting up is that the work of conferences of bishops is where the action happens.
One way to read what the pope’s doing here is as a settling of historical scores, going back to debates that were hot twenty years ago and reversing the outcome. Is that how you see it, or do you think there’s something more going on?
I think there’s something more. It can’t just be that the pendulum swings back and forth. I don’t think the Church would be able to survive if every papacy were just a swinging in one direction or the other.
I’d like to think this is a maturing of what we’ve experienced over the last fifty years since the Second Vatican Council. Since then, the pendulum has swung in both directions, some would say, and maybe this is an attempt to integrate and really balance everything. Maybe it’s a way to recognize that yes, the Holy See does have an essential role, especially in a global Church. Even in the letter to Cardinal Sarah, there’s an acknowledgment there are certain essential formula that the Holy See has a greater responsibility to oversee. They’re the essential sacramental formula, which belong to the Holy Father himself to be able to approve.
There’s also, however, a recognition that we’ve learned a great deal over the last fifty years about how language works, and how people communicate. I think this is an attempt to capture some of the best of it. We’ve not completely jettisoned the principles for translation. There’s still a call for a faithful translation. The question is simply, who’s best positioned to make the right judgment about that?

25 comments:

Gene said...

I think they should just quit fooling around and go ahead and change the Creed..."crucified, dead, and buried. On the third day, everybody got self-realized and began writing existential theology books." We could change "Christ is risen" to "Christ is nice" and use the Oreo cookie song as a liturgical hymn. This can easily be played on a fifty dollar guitar in the key of C by any pimply-faced adolescent, and can be sung falsetto through the nose. Ripple and Wonder Bread for everyone.

Tom Makin said...

I lament this train of thought. The Roman Catholic Church has remained a rock because the "rock of Peter" on which the church was founded, has always manifested itself, more or less over time, in a strong central authority; the Roman Pontiff. Decentralization as seen since the reformation in various Protestant sects, has done NOTHING to strengthen those respective faith traditions. Francis is clinging to a notion that as a Jesuit, he would like. "Hands off Rome, we know better". Some might say that in decentralizing, Francis is exercising supreme authority. The problem with this, if in fact this is how it is viewed, is that the schismatics in Germany, Latin America and elsewhere, will run wild. The horse will be out of the barn and Francis' strategic lack of response to the "Dubia" posed by Cardinal Burke and others, will be brought into the light of day. Sacraments for Divorced and re-married Catholics and same sex marriages....I believe this is the real intent of Francis. I pray this will pass soon and we can return to a coherent voice in the "Successor of Peter".

rcg said...

Articles like this are why I have an Otterbox for my iPhone.

Anonymous said...

The translation of liturgical texts, as noted previously, is something relatively novel. We simply didn't translate them for centuries.

So the idea that history supports the idea that translation is an essential element of a "strong central authority" of the Petrine Office is a somewhat questionable matter.

The same could be said about the selection of bishops. For centuries bishops were chosen (nominated) at the local level and the selection was ratified by Rome.



TJM said...

Anonymous,

The Holy See has historically taken a centralized approach to the Liturgy, i.e. the 1570 Missal promulgated by Pius V. With a few exceptions, the 1570 Missal was the Missal for the Universal Church, so simply because Vatican Disaster II made the vernacular permissive, it's a huge leap of logic to say that translations should be a local affair, since the Vatican has historically taken a centralized approach to the Mass of the Latin Rite.

TJM said...

By the way, 1570 was just one example. I recall the Celtic Rite used in Britain and Ireland was abolished in the 12th Century and replaced by the Roman Rite.

Anonymous said...

What translations into the vernacular were part of the 1570 Missal promulgation?

None.

We could (and should) learn a lesson in collegiality, even synodality, from our Orthodox brothers and sisters. For nearly 1000 years, that was, largely, how the Church functioned.

John Nolan said...

TJM

Actually, you are incorrect. 1570 was a new departure, brought about by the proliferation of protestant 'liturgies' in the 16th century, and the availability of printed books. The Sacred Congregation of Rites was not set up until 1588.

Before that, you will look in vain for papal or conciliar directives on the liturgy. There were many local Uses of the Roman Rite. There were also other rites, such as the Ambrosian, which were not affected, and the Mozarabic, which had been fostered by Cardinal Ximenez earlier in the century in Toledo and elsewhere.

Paul VI used the logic of Quo Primum to impose an entirely new and fabricated rite on the Western Church. As Ratzinger pointed out in 'The Spirit of the Liturgy' he almost certainly acted 'ultra vires'.

Given the number of languages and dialects in which Paul's Mass is celebrated, translation has to be on a local level. But we don't have these problems with the Roman Rite, which is always and everywhere in Latin, and even the Novus Ordo has Latin as its definitive and authentic expression.










Anonymous said...

Tom, the Eastern Orthodox are decentralized, yet you don't hear them often debating whether abortion is OK or whether women should be ordained as priests and bishops. Orthodox note that the splits over doctrinal disputes---and the accompanying sects and schisms---occurred in the West, not the East. In their view, the first schism was in 1054, not 1517. And of course each side to this day (Catholic and Orthodox) insist they are the one true Church...which probably explains why dialogue between the two has accomplished little in the past 50 years.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

It has always been my understanding when missionaries were sent from Rome and found local Rites, such as the Celtic, the directive was to use the Latin Rite as utilized in Rome. Also recall the Jesuits attempted to create local Rites in China and Japan and Rome forbad that. I may be mistaken, but I don't think I am.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Because nothing says One, Holy, Catholic Church like (eventually) thousands and thousands of differently worded liturgical texts...

Why, if I didn't know better, I would think Rome is trying to shatter the Church into a million pieces.... :-)

God bless.
Bee

Gene said...

The Church is already fragmented into a million pieces. Vatican II was a specifically protestantizing event. It opened the Liturgy to Priestly innovation and multiple interpretations and expressions. People used to go to Mass (per-Vat II) and they knew exactly what to expect. There was uniformity, predictability, and consistency. Now, you go to an OF and you get anything from a dignified and reverential Mass such as Fr. MacDonald celebrates, to a Mass so casual and perfunctory that the Priest may as well pull up a chair and prop his feet on the altar table.

John Nolan said...

TJM

It's a bit more complicated than that. The issue with the Celtic church was not liturgical, but hinged on the calculation of the date of Easter and different monastic practices. It was resolved at the Synod of Whitby in 664.

The tendency in the first millennium was to look to Rome for 'authenticity' in liturgical practice. It is well-known that Charlemagne ordered the Roman books to be used in Gaul, but what happened was a cross-fertilization, and the adoption in Rome of many Gallican practices. What we now know as Gregorian chant is a fusion of Old Roman and Gallican chant.

Late medieval England had the Use of Sarum with a number of local variants. Similarities with the Rouen use suggest that it may have been introduced by he Normans after 1066. However, the Dominicans had their own rite after 1256 and the Franciscans chose to adopt the Roman Rite (as used in Rome). So on the eve of the Reformation the nearest thing to the Tridentine Mass would have been encountered in a Franciscan church.

Interestingly, the Dominican Rite was drawn up by a commission under Humbert of Romains. It was approved by the Chapter of the order without requiring papal fiat, and in 1267 Clement IV praised Humbert for his work.

The suppression of 'Chinese rites' took place in the 17th century, when the idea of centralized control had become established. Even here, the rationale was doctrinal rather than liturgical - it was felt that there were too many concessions to Confucianism.

Gene said...

Confucious say: "Kavanaugh remind me of Paul Revere's ride...a little light in the belfry."

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Thanks for your response. I had totally forgotten about Charlemagne and his historic role. The impetus then for Latin and a Roman style liturgy, was from the laity outside of Rome. Perhaps history is repeating itself from what I can see with groups like the FSSP, etc.

John Nolan said...

TJM

There was no need for an impetus for Latin, since the Celtic church, the Anglo-Saxon church, the Norman church and so on, had a Latin liturgy. Nowhere in northern Europe was there a Greek liturgy, let alone a vernacular one. Even Latin had to borrow from Greek for certain theological concepts, and the barbarian languages were not developed enough to express these concepts.

Vernacularization, even more than Bugnini's deformations, has destroyed the unity of the western Church, not to mention its missionary outreach, in my lifetime. I remember saying to myself back in the 1970s: 'If it ain't Latin, it ain't liturgy'. I hold to this even more nowadays. I have attended one vernacular Mass so far this year - in German - and this was faute de mieux since I was travelling.

Anonymous said...

That "little light in the belfry" changed the world, now didn't it...?

"You know the rest. In the books you have read,
How the British Regulars fired and fled,--
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard-wall,
Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load."

Anonymous said...

CCC 813 The Church is one because of her source: "the highest exemplar and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit."259 The Church is one because of her founder: for "the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity of all in one people and one body."260 The Church is one because of her "soul": "It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church's unity."261 Unity is of the essence of the Church.

The Church is not one because we use Latin in liturgy.

CCC 815 What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity "binds everything together in perfect harmony."265 But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion:

- profession of one faith received from the Apostles;

-common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments;

- apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God's family

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Ironic given that Veterum Sapientia was issued by St. John XXIII on the eve of Vatican Disaster II. I totally agree with your sentiments.

Gene said...

Kavanaugh, LOL! Grandiose much?

A much better fit for you is the little ditty version we sang as kids:

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
He jumped in the car and stepped on the gas,
The bottom fell out and he busted his ass.

TJM said...

Gene,

Comedy Gold!!!

John Nolan said...

Anonymous (the one at 11:17) is certainly Kavanaugh-esque in that he takes as a starting point a premise which was never advanced in the first place, namely that the Church is one 'because we use Latin in the liturgy' and then quotes from the CCC to refute it (which is not difficult).

However, 'common celebration of divine worship' is certainly hindered when one is faced with a babel of tongues and a diversity of usages put forward in the name of 'inculturation' in the last half century.

It was the same anonymous who, in an earlier thread, tried to counter arguments on the limits of papal authority, as defined by the first Vatican Council, by quoting from Dei Verbum, which doesn't address the question of papal authority at all.

Anonymous said...

"...common celebration of divine worship' is certainly hindered when one is faced with a babel of tongues and a diversity of usages..."

I don't think that this is true at all. If that kind of uniformity was required for unity - and it is not - we'd all be awakened by a Catholic muezzin at the same hour, sit in churches of the same design and décor, listen to homilies recorded by some central homilist...

It is not evident - at all - that "Vernacularization, even more than Bugnini's deformations, has destroyed the unity of the western Church..."

This is mere opinion.

John Nolan said...

'I don't think that is true at all.'

'It is not evident - at all ...'

These are mere opinions.

Opinions are put forward as propositions for debate. I could propose the motion: 'This house believes that the Second Vatican Council caused more damage to the Catholic Church than did the Protestant Reformation.' I would then speak to the motion, justifying my opinion by citing evidence in support.

I would then expect the opposing speaker to make his case with equal eloquence, citing evidence as to why the proposition is wrong.

After all the speeches have been heard, the house then decides whether the motion is carried or defeated. Ideally they would vote according to the strength of the arguments advanced.

If something is factually true then there is no point at all in debating it. If no-one has an opinion on anything there can be no exchange of views, just empty silence. 'What I say is a fact; what you say is mere opinion' invites the retort 'Prove it!'

TJM said...

John Nolan,

As my sainted late Grandmother used to say: "The proof is in the pudding." The Novus Ordo with its ever declining numbers of attendees has NOT created a new Spring in the Church but a desolate winter. Old, doubleknit dinosaurs from the 1960s/70s just can't admit that what they did damaged the Church immensely. The Church is slowly rebuilding, brick by brick, with the young folks who attend the EF. I understand that in France that in the near future there will be more young priests celebrating the EF than priests celebrating the OF.