Welcome to the June Ezine from Redemptorist Communications
To Begin With - Something to Reflect On!
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suﬀering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
“Glimpses of Reality”
In his June editorial, Fr Gerard Moloney reflects if the new Mass text has been LOST IN TRANSLATION.
“Just over six months ago, on the First Sunday of Advent 2011, the new prayers and responses at Mass came into eﬀect. It was a signiﬁcant day for the English-speaking church throughout the world. When you are so accustomed to a set of words that they have become part of you, letting go of them is diﬃcult. There is a feeling of loss.
While regular church goers have learned to live with the changes, tolerating rather than embracing them, many remain uneasy about the manner in which the new translation was introduced, the language it contains, and the theology that underpins it.
The process by which the translation came about was one which resolutely ignored the needs of the English-speaking church. After Vatican II, the bishops throughout the English-speaking world set up a body called the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) to translate the liturgy into English from the original Latin. ICEL’s ﬁrst translation of the Mass was approved by Rome in 1973. Translators were given the freedom to translate the text from the Latin in such a way that its meaning would be clear and simple.
In 1998 ICEL completed a new translation of the liturgy in response to a request from the bishops for a richer text that would be closer to the Latin without sacriﬁcing clarity. This translation was approved by all the English-speaking bishops conferences, but Rome rejected it.
Instead, the Vatican issued a new instruction for translation called Liturgiam authenticam, which called for a strict, literal translation of every Latin word and a more elevated tone. A small group of bishops was set up to oversee the process. ICEL was disbanded and then recreated with new members, who would answer to Rome and not to the local bishops’ conferences.
Another translation was started from scratch. This is the one we are using now.
So not only were ordinary Catholics not consulted about the new missal, even the bishops were ignored. It was a top-down process that didn’t take the concerns of local churches into account.
Another problem with the new translation is its language. Much of it is stilted and convoluted. Because it is translated literally from the Latin, it is ﬁlled with prayers that are complex, hard for the priest to say, and for listeners to understand.
It contains uncommon words - like ineffable, prevenient, consubstantial, oblation - and pompous expressions: “profit our conversion,” “the sacrifice of conciliation,” “an oblation pleasing to your almighty power.”
Some sentences are extremely long. Many make little sense. This is all because of the canonization of Latin. It is considered more important to be rigidly faithful to the Latin than to have a text that everyone, young and old, can understand without eﬀort. The result has been frustration for priests and people alike.
The inclusion of exclusive language is inexcusable also. Using sexist language in the 1973 translation might have been understandable. Times were diﬀerent then. That is not the case now.
The third unfortunate aspect of the new translation is its theology, how it presents God. The God we now worship is not so much a loving God as a distant, forbidding emperor. We are addressing God in the way an old Roman emperor might expect to be addressed, rather than as the personal, loving Father that Jesus spoke about.
In the 1973 translation God is great and we are sinful, but the relationship is one of love. God is a loving parent who cares for us. Not anymore. Now we come before God as a lowly supplicant before a mighty king, with ﬂattery and beating our breasts.
Because we are sinners, we must ingratiate ourselves with God. And so the text is littered with words like ‘humbly’, ‘graciously’, ‘implore,’ while the word ‘love’ is scarcely to be found. The emphasis throughout is on our sinfulness – and not on the fact that we are redeemed sinners.
While a new translation presents an opportunity for a deeper understanding of what we celebrate when we gather to worship, unfortunately, six months after its introduction, many people remain unconvinced of the value and merit of this particular wording. To them, it seems like a clumsy imposition that will do nothing to increase attendance at Mass or arrest the decline in the numbers going to church.
After six months of being tested on the ground, it’s time the bishops’ conferences asked Rome for this particular translation to be revisited.”
Also in the June issue of Reality:
VACANT SEES: WHAT KIND OF BISHOP DO WE NEED?
New bishops will be appointed soon to seven vacant dioceses in Ireland, but what qualities should they possess?
BRING A FRIEND TO CHRIST
The Cursillo movement has brought thousands of people back to God
THE ARCHBISHOP’S LETTER
It was the archbishop’s 75th birthday, so he had to write that letter
DIALOGUE IS THE KEY TO REFORM
Give lay people a real voice
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING MARY
Four Marys on being called Mary
Sr Wendy Beckett may be best known as an art historian but her spiritual journey has much to teach us
CLONARD AND THE 1932 EUCHARIST CONGRESS
A remarkable act of faith
MOTHERHOOD AND THE EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS
Mothers can teach us a lot about Eucharist and communion
A SHINING MOMENT
The story of the 1932 Eucharistic Congress
CRACKERS FOR KRAKOW
Krakow in Poland is one of the six cities hosting UEFA EURO 2012. It also scores highly on the list of top European hotspots
Plus lots, lots more!
Click here to order your copy of Reality or to subscribe for the year. You can also subscribe to a download version of Reality – only €15 for the year.
Attending the Eucharistic Congress? Make sure you visit the Redemptorist exhibition stand!
Are you attending the Eucharistic Congress in June? Redemptorist Communications will be there. Stop by and say hello and browse our display of books. We are located in the exhibit hall at the Cultural Space.
Looking forward to seeing you there!
Visits to the Blessed Sacrament for the 21st Century
Nearly three hundred years ago St Alphonsus published his book of Visits to the Blessed Sacrament - a classic of devotional writing. This new book by Fr Richard Tobin CSsR continues with the spirit of that great work. Containing 28 visits – reﬂections and prayers – that draw us ever deeper into the mystery of God and God’s love for humanity.
A wonderful companion for Eucharistic Devotion, for those who like to make the occasional visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and as a preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in June 2012.
€5 (plus postage)
Generous discounts for multiple copies
T: 00353 (1) 4922488
A devotional gem you will treasure for years!
To End With!
“Take the ﬁrst step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the ﬁrst step.”
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.