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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