Soliloquy in an International Cloister

Watch your step as Brother Lawrence takes you inside the monastery walls of a five hundred year-old international order. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you had ignored your hormones and joined the monastery.

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Location: Rome, Italy

12 December 2011

Organizational cheerleading

The Roman Catholic Church in the United States is now in the third week of using the new translation of the Roman Missal. In Australia, they started using it earlier so I was able to practice the new responses when I visited Down Under in November. Many people had called for a new missal to correct some of the former translation's deficiencies, but along the way someone in the Vatican decided that the translators could no longer use the tried and true "dynamic equivalence" style of translation, but had to adhere to a slavishly literal translation of the Latin original. Thus "Et cum spiritu tuo", which the old missal translated as "And also with you", is now "And with your spirit". Even Fr. Reginald Foster, formerly the Vatican's chief Latinist, was somewhat annoyed by the literalness of the new translation.

Somewhat off topic, but I am old enough to have attended Mass when it was still said in Latin. I remember hearing "Et cum spiritu tuo" and thinking that it must have been God's phone number. Now back to the topic at hand.

I am not a huge fan of the new translation, but as a part of the organization, I feel I need to defend, or at least not detract, publicly from the organization's decisions. So I have developed the following set of responses to use when people ask me what I think of the new translation:

1. It's Latin-icious!
2. It's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
3. I only notice the difference when I am paying attention, which is not often.
4. It's better than nothing.
5. If you don't like it, join the Episcopalians. And take your spirit with you.
6. Whatever.

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Blogger heartinsanfrancisco said...

Your list is better than most of Letterman's. I especially like #5, which, however, cries out for Latin.

I suppose they are trying for relevance and accessibility, but it's sad to see beauty diminished. (Of course, as a non-Catholic, I don't have the right to an opinion, which I offer gratis.)

17 December, 2011 05:52  
Blogger BroLo said...

They would have done well to be more concerned about relevance and accessibility. It seems the only concern was for conformity to the Latin, but since English is not a Latinate language it comes off as stilted and confused.

25 December, 2011 18:09  
Anonymous Mara said...

Why the Episcopalians are joining us! The pope is continuing to encourage – not only Episcopalian priests and their wives as before, but now, bring the entire parish with you! It is confusing to be a Catholic. I became a Catholic when they were just taking all the Latin out and English was beginning to be introduced at mass. I liked that. I studied Latin and Greek in college to supplement my studies in languages. It all makes more sense using French, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, et cetera, but not English. All I know for certain is that my spirit knows that God is bigger than it all. That is the only thing that keeps me sane as a Catholic. Happy New Year!

03 January, 2012 17:01  

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