More from Claire Mathieu on the new translation of the liturgy:
A defense of the new text:
Complaint: I can’t make sense of those long, fragmented sentences.
Answer: Let it speak to you… don’t analyze it. Let sentence fragments suggest images in your prayer.
Complaint: But I have an analytical mind. How can I pray with text that is syntactically wrong?
Answer: Do not apply the cold rules that legislate the writing of everyday prose. When something in the text is, in your eyes, not as it should be from the viewpoint of English syntax, think of it as poetic license. Most people are less analytical than you are, so it won’t be a problem for them.
Complaint: But it is not beautiful. It is awkward and clunky.
Answer: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. People will enjoy hearing elevated vocabulary that will help them form new images and a new understanding of God and of their relationship to Him. We hope that the refined vocabulary will promote the vertical dimension of prayer, that the faithful have a longing for.
Complaint: But the 2008 version was better! The 1998 version was better! Why are we saddled with an inferior text?
Answer: Why do you care about texts that were never published? That’s all church politics. We have better things to do with our time than follow the intricacies of fights between various committees vying for influence. In the end the result is all that matters.
Complaint: What is wrong with the 1973 text that we use now?
Answer: Besides an excessive de-emphasis of the mysterious and sacral dimension of the Mass, it is also not close enough to the Latin text.
Complaint: Why does it matter how close it is to the Latin text?
Answer: For the sake of unity. When people in different countries pray in different languages, the close similarity with Latin will ensure that the prayer of the Mass teaches the same faith, with the same nuances in belief, without emphasizing one dimension in one language and a different one in another. It will help us have a common faith.
Answer 2: In addition, the unity is not only geographical but also temporal. But staying close to the Latin, we are ensuring that the essentials of our faith remain the same over time, so that we stay united in belief with the People of God who lived in the past, and with those who will live in the future.
Complaint: but the Church’s understanding of our faith evolves and grows over time.
Answer: True, and that’s why the Latin text is regularly updated. Changes have to be done extra-carefully. That’s stuff for the Vatican experts, it’s not for us to meddle with. Doing changes in Latin first guarantees that amateurs will be kept out of it.
Complaint: But I still really, really dislike the New Missal.
Answer: Give it a try with an open mind, and let us hope that it will grow on you. In any case, down the line there might eventually be revisions taking into account the complaints of the faithful.
Complaint: What about the “for many” of the Eucharistic prayer?
Answer: You have to understand it in a special way. What it means is not what it says. It’s a misunderstanding. Your pastor should catechize you on the matter.
Complaint: That’s ridiculous.
Answer: Well, I agree with you, but let’s not let a single unwise word choice get in the way of the renewal of the Mass, shall we?
Complaint: Also, as a woman, I feel excluded by the non-inclusive wording.
Answer: “Man” means “man and woman”, “brother” means “brother and sister”. That’s the traditional meaning, as in the Latin and as it has always been. None of the men in the Vatican have any problem with it. The reason why you feel excluded is that you have been unduly influenced by feminist propaganda. You need to work on yourself to re-learn the normal meaning of “man”. Advent or Lent will be a good time for doing that.