June 16, 2006

U.S. Bishops Approve New Mass Translation

This probably has absolutely no impact on those outside Catholicism, but it reflects a movement toward unnecessary tinkering that bureaucracies, including the Catholic Church are prone to engage in from time to time. Normally, bringing translations more in line with the original text would appeal to my historical predilections, but the new iterations of some of the most familiar lines of the Catholic Mass are awkward and unnecessary:
The new translation alters the wording of key texts spoken by Catholics during worship, including the Nicene Creed, the Gloria, the Penitential Rite, the Sanctus and Communion.
. . .
Minor changes to the wording of many portions of the Mass will be obvious to Catholics. The repeated exchanges "The Lord be with you" / "And also with you" between a priest and his congregation, for example, become "The Lord be with you" / "And with your spirit" in the updated version.

The prayer said before Communion would become "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof," instead of "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you."
Dude, like, the Latin is so much more righteous and 60s chic. "And with your spirit"? Maybe the Latin text itself needs to be changed, or as is often the case, something is lost in the literal translation. (Yes, I can translate the Latin phrase et cum spiritu tuo) The latter sounds as if one is embarassed to invite God over since you still haven't cleaned up last night's kegger, or you happen to be a complete slob. Also, this apparently did not take up much time on the bishops' agenda:
Some bishops said the changes would deepen lay people's understanding of Catholicism and Scripture. They said priests could use the changes to spark a discussion of the liturgical reasoning behind them, including citing biblical stories and the Latin version.

Bishops debated for about 20 minutes on a variety of wording changes, some pitting the familiar against the new. A proposal to change the words of the Nicene Creed from "one in being" to "consubstantial," which is closer to the Latin, failed.
These appear to be nothing more than trivial changes, so it is not clear why such changes are so pressing in these times, considering all the other questions on the table (recovering from the scandals, the threat of Islam). However, the aesthetic of the previous wordings--to these ears at least--provided a clearer sense of the meaning to English ears. Wasn't that the point of Vatican II and the dispensation of the Latin Mass, to make the Mass more appealing to the various peoples within Catholicism? Personally, the Latin Mass in general sounds better than the English translation, but come on, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof"? What is this, 1660?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Change of text is usually used to change substantive meaning. When the Mass was changed to have a handshake&hug-fest immediately after the transubstantion, I gave up.

Fri Jun 16, 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the "under my roof" comment a direct quotation from the Centurion who wanted his servant healed, but who didn't think he was worthy to have Christ come all the way to his house?

Fri Jun 16, 09:34:00 PM  

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