Thursday, 26 June 2008

News from the Arroyosphere

Taken from Raymond Arroyo's Blog at EWTN:

Since the broadcast of this week's World Over, my mail box has runneth over with correspondents outraged over the Bishop's Conference inability to come up with a clean, faithful, lyrical English translation of the Mass prayers and readings. Many wrote of their desire to hear language at Mass that "uplifts" and "challenges." One woman said, "It shouldn't sound like the conversation we have over coffee after Mass. We are there to seek God, not each other. The prayers should sound different." I am inclined to agree.

A good number of our correspondents suggested that we simply scrap the endless translating and simply celebrate the new Mass in latin. But presumably you would still need a standardized English translation of the scripture for reading from the pulpit.

One of the funniest reflections on the translations of prayers currently used in the Mass came from a pastor who wrote: "As a priest I sometimes scratch my head wondering if even God can figure out what we're asking. A couple of examples: The Collect for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time asks God to "help us seek the values that will give us lasting joy in this changing world" and one of the Collects in Advent asks God to "open our hearts in welcome."

I think a good many hearts would welcome a standardized Catholic Bible that actually contained the readings of the Gospel heard at Mass. This, it seems to me, would be a good place to begin. With time tested Bibles like the Douay and the Catholic Revised Standard Edition already in print, couldn't we just use one of those versions and spare ourselves the expense and anguish of endless Scripture translations?

As for the canard that Catholics yearn to "pray in contemporary language at Mass," lets look at the Hail Mary. For centuries English speaking Catholics have prayed, "...the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women..." My grand parents said it. My parents said it. And my children say it today. There is a musicality and rhythm in the old language that adheres it to the memory and the heart. Translators would do well to remember this as they go about their business. Catholics like things that last, even audible things. And while I realize this might put the "Liturgical Translator Industry" quickly out of business, some things are more important than staying in business. Transcendent worship of God would certainly qualify.

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