Here is another defense of the new translation that is so tepid it almost counts as an attack. http://paulturner.org/pdf_files/dewfall.pdf
“The case for the revised translation has been difficult to sell, but having watched it at the table over the past few years, I’ve become convinced there really is a good case. “
The product must be problematic indeed if we are still at the stage of making out a case for it.
“If making the translation more contemporary means making it more colloquial, then no, that is not happening, but if it means making it more suitable to the spiritual needs and capabilities of the people of God in the light of the Second Vatican Council, then yes, it is a very contemporary translation. It has to be. It can’t not be. It is the work of the Church today.”
“It can’t not be!” Is this an appeal to blind faith or a cry of desperation? If the new translation were indeed a work of the Church today, rather than of a clique who are trapped in yesterday, there would be some grounds for the author’s faith (or his “hope against hope”). But in reality the voice of the Church today is increasingly loud in its rejection of the new translation.
“Some are saying it is being handed to us from on high, and I suppose so, but I’m not convinced those who are “on high” are by definition inconsiderate of those below.”
What a tepid defense! No one say that they are inconsiderate “by definition.” Rather their de facto inconsideration of the faithful in this particular situation is what is in question.
“ We are living through a period in which the liturgy is adapting to its surroundings once again, and people will be encountering the eucharist in a different way that calls for good catechesis to prepare them for a fruitful reception.”
This is “langue de bois” and question-begging. Is the liturgy adapting to its surroundings in the new translation or is it rather steadfastly refusing anything that smells of adaptation (of inculturation)? – the answer is obvious.
“There are plenty of examples where the revised translation has improved the present one, such as the conclusion of the preface dialogue, where “It is right and just” will flow more smoothly into the first line of the preface, “It is truly right and just,” and where we now pray that God will bring the departed into the light of his presence, we will now pray that God will welcome them into the light of his face.”
If these are improvements, one shudder to think of the disimprovements!
“However, there are other examples where, I admit, the revised translation will cause some people to cock their heads, raise their eyes, and look perplexed. Here are three words that will require catechesis to facilitate the reception of Eucharistic Prayer II because they may otherwise be misunderstood.”
“I admit” here sounds close to “j’accuse”! And the phrase “catechesis will be required” is beginning to sound suspiciously like “you’ve got some explaining to do”!
“One is the word “merit”. Today we ask God to “make us worthy to share eternal life,” but the revised translation asks God that “we may merit to be co-heirs to eternal life.” The question is how best to translate mereamur… The word is troublesome because it smacks of the Pelagian heresy, as if we can earn our own salvation by our deeds. We believe that Christ alone has merited our salvation, and we share the benefit of his merits. So to pray that we may merit to be co-heirs to eternal life has to be understood not in the sense of earning, but in sharing what Christ has earned. It’s a difficult line, and we will have some ‘splaining to do.”
Boy, he actually used that phrase! I don’t think the word “merit” raises serious theological problems; but I find the phrase “we may merit to be co-heirs to eternal life” opaque and unbeautiful. I cannot agree with what the author adds: “What saves this line for me is the word “co-heirs” – we are beneficiaries, not earners, of salvation.” With whom are we co-heirs? With Christ, in his humanity? It does not make much sense and will be an irritating puzzle to massgoers, like so many other phrases in this new translation.
“Of course now, during the consecration at every mass, people who hear the word “many” are going to think “few” because they are used to hearing “all”. This will require catechesis. The whole controversy could have been avoided by the insertion of the word “the” – “poured out for you and for the many,” but to be honest, that word is not in the New Testament; Greek has a word for “the”; it ain’t in there in Matthew and it ain’t in there in Mark.. The word “many” is defensible from the biblical tradition, but it will be misunderstood, and its proper reception is going to require patient and hope-filled catechesis.”
Here again the “you’ll need catechesis” masks a serious reservation. The word “hope-filled” recalls the cryptic reply of John Paul II when asked by the President of Maynooth what he thought of the scruffy seminarians who has mobbed him (after singing “He’s got the whole world in his hands”): “They are our hope.” This hope seems closely akin to despair.
“The new rules want all the Latin words represented in English, so “dewfall” has fallen in… Dew, unfortunately, does not fall. It condenses. However, one theory on the etymology of that word is that it is related to a word like “nightfall” – that is, it has more to do with the time of day than with the method of producing moisture.”
And the faithful are supposed to be bothered with such obscure matters when they celebrate the Eucharist?
“There is scant evidence of any preparation of the people for liturgical change ever in the history of the Church. We have more catechetical abilities now than we did in the past, so our preparation for this translation is vaster and deeper than has ever happened before. But above all, texts catechize. For the most part, the revised translation will do this very well, sharpening up the theology of what we believe.”
Is it really sharpening up that we need? Is it not rather opening up, in a more imaginative and world-open and deeply scriptural celebration of the Lord’s Supper. I recall Eugen Drewermann’s devasting diagnosis, to the effect that the way we currently celebrate the Eucharist has nothing to do with what Christ intended.
“A translation has to do with forming people, not just informing people… You can study the words of a prayer, critique the words, teach the words and say the words, but if you’re not looking you may miss out on something more important than all these things: those words are studying you, they are learning you, teaching you and forming you. “
And mediocre words have a malforming, deforming effect on the soul. Soul-destroying language and soul-destroying music make the liturgy an ordeal rather than a joy.