Friday, June 16, 2006

New ICEL Translation Passes!!

Despite the fretting of a certain Bishop (fishperson,) the new ICEL translation was approved quickly and quietly by the US Bishops, meeting in LA.

CAUTION: It is still unclear exactly WHAT passed. At this time, it appears that "dew" (below) is not approved. Apparently the rusty 'cutting-edge' of the 1960's crowd still has some effect. See this blog with AP story quotations.

Some actual thoughts on the business of translation were provided by Bp. Arthur Roche (Leeds, England), Chairman of ICEL:

...Research on regional variation in English tends to show that the common ground among the regions is far greater than differences between them. English is still a single language. One of the leading linguistic scholars of our time, David Crystal, has written this:

It is difficult to predict the shape of international English in the twenty-first century. But it seems likely that more rather than less standardization will result . . . We may, in due course, all need to be in control of two standard Englishes - the one which gives us our national and local identity, and the other which puts us in touch with the rest of the human race. In effect, we may all need to become bilingual in our own language.

Most of us are not aware of the influence of English throughout the world; the above may put it into better perspective.

Now as to the actual texts of the Mass:

...For example, in the Third Eucharistic prayer when we say so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made. The proponents of dynamic equivalence tell us that from east to west conveys the same information as from the rising of the sun to its setting’, which we now propose. And so it does, in the dry language of the cartographer. But the meaning of this phrase is richer: it has a temporal dimension as well as a spatial one.

We could have made both meanings explicit by saying from east to west and from dawn to dusk, but I would claim that by staying closer to the form of expression that we find in Malachi 1:11, and I quote:

See, from the rising of the sun to its setting all the nations revere my Name and everywhere incense is offered to my Name as well as a pure offering.

- we have produced a richer and more evocative version, bringing to the mind of the worshipper the beauties of the sunrise and sunset and the closeness of these texts to Sacred Scripture.

(On the difference between "wine"--the current translation, and "fruit of the vine"--the new one:)

...Moreover, though the two expressions refer to the same substance, they do so in an entirely different way. The difference between the single word and the richer phrase is the difference between reading the label on the bottle and actually enjoying a glass-full of the wine itself. Furthermore this phrase has a powerful salvific resonance because of the symbolic value accorded to the vine plant and the vineyard in scripture, as recalled by Jesus’ elaboration in John 15 of the image of Himself as the true vine, His Father as the vinedresser, and ourselves as the branches. This picks up on an even earlier usage in Isaiah 5 – the famous “Song of the Vineyard” - and the Lord’s lament at the degeneracy of his once choice vine in Jeremiah 2. Of course, the word wine connects with this scriptural patrimony, but it does so less evidently, less directly than does the phrase fruit of the vine which, upon each hearing, encourages us in our imaginations to see the particular Eucharistic event as part of the unfolding of God’s universal plan within history to rescue us from the destruction and chaos occasioned by our sinfulness and bring us into communion with Himself and with each other in Christ.

His "in general" observation:

...the more I go through this process the clearer it is to me that very many of us need to revisit the theological reasoning behind the various parts and components of the Mass, as well as considering the theological sources from which the texts of the Mass have been culled. In the main, these are the Sacred Scriptures and the Fathers of the Church.

As opposed, we suppose, to the "sources" such as Mgr Bugnini, RG Weakland, and Jos. Bernardin, along with assorted Jesuits...

In a not-too-subtle slap at Bp. Trautman (fishperson) and his allies who maintain that 'the laity is a bunch of knuckledragging, ignorant, yahoos who Just Don't Get It!!' (gee, does that sound familiar??), the English prelate relates:

...Let me take one example, the use of the word dew in the Epiclesis of the Second Eucharistic Prayer:

Therefore, make holy these gifts, we pray,by the dew of your Spirit . . .

It has been objected that this translation ‘does not resonate or communicate with contemporary Christians’. But surely, dew still exists. I noticed an advert on the street yesterday for a drink called Mountain Dew! Dew has a unique set of natural and scriptural associations: it speaks of freshness, new beginning, water (and hence life), beauty, descent from above (and hence divine blessing), and manna (Exodus 16:13-14) (and hence Eucharist). It still appears on the ground in the morning as it did in the time of Moses on the journey through the desert.

Contemporary Christians are not puzzled when they hear at Mass these words from the Book of Exodus: In the morning a dew lay all about the camp (Ex 16:13)

Or when they hear Isaac say to Jacob in Genesis: May God give to you of the dew of the heavens (Gn 27:28)

Or when they hear Elijah prophesy: during these years there shall be no dew or rain except at my word (1 Kgs 17:1)

We do not scratch our heads when in the Liturgy of the Hours we make our own the words of Moses: (May) my discourse permeate like the dew (Deut 32:2)

Or when with the Psalmist we compare unity to the dew of Hermon coming down upon the mountains of Zion (Ps 133:3).

[examples from] the New American Bible, from which I have taken all these examples, the word ‘dew’ occurs 41 times, all of them in the Old Testament.

And perhaps the best-known (and reviled) short phrase, now mercifully histoire:

Finally, let me consider with you the translation of et cum spiritu tuo. As you know, the translation of this as "and with your spirit" is required by Liturgiam authenticam. However, this translation cannot be understood without reference to St Paul, who will often address a person, for example Timothy, by referring to your spirit rather than simply to you. What is the significance of this? Well, he is addressing someone close to God who has God’s spirit. So when we reply and with your spirit we are indicating that we are part of a spiritual community, it is God’s spirit that has gathered us together. A further point that I would like to make with you, which resonates with many of the interventions at the recent Synod of Bishops, is that scriptural catechesis is central to liturgical catechesis. It was said of St Bernard that he knew the Sacred Scriptures so well that his language was biblical – he began to, as our young people would say today, 'speak bible.' My point is that in using a translation that is more faithful to Sacred Scripture we are teaching ourselves and our people to speak bible!

Lex orandi, lex credendi.

We could add that this "spiritual community" concept put forth by the good Bishop is a direct slap at the "horizontalism" now common in the Mass--the "Sunday Breakfast & Social" cult which Catholics encounter--

These genuine THOUGHTS reflect what Cardinal Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has emphasized in his writings on the liturgy, and are likely a precursor to much more serious "reform of the Reform" about to come.

Gratias a Deo!! Oremus!!

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