Monday, May 17, 2010

Some recent interesting comments on the "New Translations"

As a follow-up post to yesterday's, is today's.

There was a recent article by Fr. Robert Johansen here, "The New Missal: Disaster or Opportunity?", which argues that resistance to the corrected translations is more "ideological", i.e., more power-oriented, than theological, and notably less from "ordinary Catholics" [Fr. Johansen did 3 ad hoc polls with actual parishioners] than from "official" Catholics, i.e., priests and religious, who responded to the changes with purple prose and extreme emotionalism at another site. In passing, I will say that I believe that such latter sorts of individuals are the constituent members of what Joseph Ratzinger has called the "liturgical guild" elsewhere. Fr. Johanson's article is well worth a careful reading by anyone genuinely interested in reactions from ordinary Catholics who don't wage campaigns, or sign many liturgical petitions.

In the combox there were some comments from knowledgeable readers:

"Didn't know a thing about this new translation and welcome it heartily. I have really missed the Latin translation (sic) of the Mass and will be so glad if this new translation has some lofty language. The one we read and follow at Mass is so mundane and plain that you could forget you are are addressing and worshiping God and not a common person. I majored in English Literature and taught it and frankly miss the King James language and if this takes us back to more beautiful language as we worship together than more power to it. Good article!" -- by Irene French, May 14th, 2010 | 6:12am

Prof. Tony Esolen from Providence College [May 14th, 2010 | 9:46am]: "I am amazed that it has taken the bishops this long to implement the new translation -- or, I should say, a genuine translation, because what we have been given since about 1970 is in many instances not a translation at all, but a paraphrase." He goes on to mention that the current texts and practices with which we are familiar were not something asked for by any lay people; they were imposed from "on high", which is absolutely true. Finally, "Giving the ballgame away: no one who objects to the new translation dares to claim that the old translation was more accurate, or indeed (in some cases) that it was a translation at all."

Finally, Fr. Johansen sums it up by saying: "91 percent of respondents identified that they would find it 'easy' to adapt to this text if it were used regularly."

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