Saturday, June 14, 2008

Language-Challenged Bishops

John Allen relates the non-results.

Heading into the U.S. bishops’ spring meeting in Orlando, it didn’t seem likely that a proposed new translation of the Proper of Seasons, part of the prayers and other texts for the Catholic Mass, would stir up much dust

...All that changed this morning, however, when Bishop Victor Galeone of Saint Augustine, Florida, rose to oppose the proposed text

...Among other things, Galeone cited the text’s use of the phrase “the gibbet of the Cross.”
“The last time I heard that word was back in 1949, during Stations of the Cross in Lent,” Galeone said

Really, Excellency? That phrase happens to be the standard translation of a portion of the Lamentations used EVERY GOOD FRIDAY until the revolution of 1965.

Come, now, Excellency. Who are you trying to kid?

The Bishop then proclaimed his confusion:

“I challenge anyone to proclaim what’s given here at Mass,” he said. “It’s very difficult.”

All you are asked to do is pray the Mass. "Proclamations" are for other occasions.

But it turns out that this Bishop has other, more serious problems, too.

Galeone added that with “all due respect” to the recent ruling from Pope Benedict XVI authorizing wider celebration of the old Latin Mass, he hasn’t celebrated the old rite since 1970. If he were asked to do so today, he said, he would instead celebrate the new rite of the Mass in Latin.

So, Excellency: if you were asked for a loaf, would you hand over a stone? If you ask your laity for $500.00, would you be happy when they turned over a penny for you?

These are the guys who expect obedience?

Now comes Milwaukee's own cross-to-bear, Richard Sklba, who wants to be known for his Biblical scholarship (which would imply some ability with languages, no?)

Auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba of Milwaukee, for example, said, “If I have trouble understanding the text when I read it, I wonder how it’s going to be possible to pray with it in the context of worship.”

Of course, Bp. Sklba is a Trautman-ite, as we explained below, in the combox. More from the Sage of Racine:

Sklba warned that if the proposed text were adopted, “our priests and our people” will press the bishops to come back to it “again and again” to remedy perceived defects. “This is not yet mature,” he said

That's not true, of course. Perhaps "our priests" would be "pressing." And likely only a few of them--we call them "the usual suspects."

No translation-reform discussion would be complete without Bp Traut-person's pettifoggery.

Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, a longtime critic of the new translations, said the texts contain a number of “archaic and obscure” terms, pointing to words such as “wrought,” “ineffable,” and “gibbet.” He also said that the text’s preference for mimicking the sentence structure of Latin, featuring long sentences with a large number of dependent clauses, impedes understanding in English. Trautman cited one prayer in the new Proper of Seasons presented as a single 12-line sentence with three separate clauses

The Bishop favors newspaper-style sentences. You know--the ones which guarantee that a 6th-grader can understand them. The question is "cui bono"?--that is, is that for the sake of the Bishop, or of the laity? I have my answer.

One surprise from Allen's report was Bp Lipscomb's comment.

Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, the retired archbishop of Mobile who sits on the Vox Clara Commission that advises the Vatican on liturgical translation, said that he doesn’t find the new texts “unacceptable or unproclaimable.” ...Further, he said, the average Catholic will receive the new texts “with the eyes of faith,” rather than focusing on its problems “like an English teacher or a Latin teacher.”

Yup. That's a remarkable insight, Excellency, insofar as you made it quite clear that...ahhhh...some non-laity may have a deficiency of Faith, something which we've observed more than a few times, ourselves.

They held a vote, and no one came:

The rules of the conference require that the text be approved by two-thirds of its members, not just those physically present. Since there are 250 Latin Rite bishops in the United States, 166 “yes” votes are required to approve it, while 83 “no” votes are necessary to reject it.

As it turns out, the Orlando meeting was sparsely attended – one headcount yesterday found just 178 voting members

Which is very interesting all by itself.

Then the foot-stamping and fist-waving began:

...if the text does have to go back to the drawing board, the bishops decided not to send it to the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, a translation agency which is a joint project of 11 English-speaking bishops’ conferences, for comment. Since ICEL was restructured under Vatican pressure several years ago, some bishops feel the agency has not been receptive to proposed changes to its texts.

Both ears plugged: "I can't hear you, I can't hear you, I can't hear you..."

Contrast that to the reaction of actual Apostles on Pentecost.

1 comment:

Al said...

"The question is "cui bono"?--that is, is that for the sake of the Bishop, or of the laity? I have my answer"

So do I. & if the answer is what I think it is, then it raises other questions, like "How in the theological place of eternal damnation did they ever pass Theology 101 in seminary? (Although at the time they were in it they may not have had to.)

& do these Bishops who oppose the new translation realize how stupid they are making themselves look?