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November 09, 2009



I liked the bishop's remarks on golf. Very insightful and quite helpful to the debate.



Is this the latest?

Spirit of Vatican II

Thanks for this Evagrius; there are one or two difference between this text and the one I examine in my posting. I do not know which of them is the earlier version and which is definitive. I integrate a reference to your text in the UPDATE I have just added.

cor ad cor loquitur

The heretical text now seems to have vanished from the USCCB website. Good to see that our Lady is no longer St Joseph's mum.


Looks like you have a problem with the Roman Cannon as such. The simplification of the Rite, ordered by Vatican II, was already done by a committie before they published the first edition of the New Order of the Mass. Simplifying it even further in translation is not the place of the bishops, nor the translators. They should simply translate the Roman Cannon as the Roman Cannon, with all the elements that make it particularly Roman.

Spirit of Vatican II

Steve, the Roman Canon is a great text in Latin, and was not altered by Vatican II. It is an inculturation of the liturgy for 4th century Rome, using the pleonasms etc. characteristic of ancient Roman ritual diction. A literal translation for today is indeed problematic, which is why the ICEL, following Vatican II's demand for simplification, made the workmanlike translation that we have been using for the last 40 years.

But the new translation is not even a good literal translation, for it lacks any of the style and rhythm of the original.


I do think contemporary English lacks a certain
depth compared to its earlier incarnations.
Of course, there are some fine stylist nowadays.
Why aren't they invited for their expertise?

Considering that the Liturgy is a cultural expression,theology aside,
of a "people" and that it is a participatory act of creating beauty in language, gesture and music, shouldn't there be some "input", ( there's a word that "sucks", ( to use the common term)), from those whose vocation is the quest of creating beauty?

As an aside, I do think that Mary Lou Williams' attempts at creating a "black American" Liturgy has been ignored far too long.

Spirit of Vatican II

We make humble prayer and petition to the American bishops that they not accept the flawed new translations.

There are many good writers who would be delighted to work on a new translation of the liturgy.


Between my friend Caelius and I, we have produced a translation of a portion of the prayer that I think superior to what is presently on offer. See what you think...

Spirit of Vatican II

Sorry, Christopher, not good.


I've just read this article and the comments to it;


It seems to me that Bishop Trautman has correctly stated the problem.

It seems to me that advocating a "sacred language" is profoundly "anti-incarnational". It creates once more a gulf, a distance, between the worshipping laity and the clergy uttering the "sacred language".
While one can be intrigued by traditional religions' use of "sacred language", ( Judaism with old Hebrew, Hinduism with Vedic Sanskrit, even Islam with ancient Arabic etc;etc,), this was not the original impulse of Christianity.
The Eucharist is a symbol/metaphor/icon of the entire life, death and resurrection of Christ.
Our daily life, with its daily language, was incarnated in Christ.

The attempt to, once again, disincarnate Christ from our daily life will have disatrous consequences.

cor ad cor loquitur

I salute Bp Trautman’s courage in attacking these idiotic translations. I’m sure his persistence will win him no friends in high Vatican places.

However I think he has made two serious tactical errors.

The first was to go after words like ‘ineffable’. This opened a door for the trad-bloggers to attack him for ‘dumbing down’ the liturgy and patronising the laity. ‘Ineffable’ is rapidly becoming a shibboleth, like ‘hermeneutic of continuity’. Never mind that many of these bloggers are clueless about what words like ‘hermeneutic’ and 'ineffable' actually mean. Bp Trautman has created a stick for them to beat him with.

The second was to challenge the move to a ‘sacral language’.

A better and more focused challenge to these translations would focus on a simple problem: they aren’t English. They aren’t sacral, they aren’t more elevated, they aren’t richer. They aren’t composed in any known variety of the English language – neither modern English nor the classics, unless perhaps we’re talking about Finnegans Wake.

As I have posted elsewhere, they resemble nothing so much as schoolboy translations of Caesar:

The war of the Helvetii having been concluded, from almost all of Gaul ambassadors, princes of states, in order to congratulate Caesar assembled, saying that they were well aware that, even though for the ancient wrongs he had taken vengeance on the Helvetii in war, that circumstance had happened no less to the benefit of the land of Gaul than of the Roman people, because the Helvetii, while their affairs were most flourishing, had quitted their country with the design of making war upon the whole of Gaul, and seizing the government of it, and selecting, out of a great abundance, that spot for an abode, which they should judge to be the most convenient and most productive of all Gaul, and hold the rest of the states as tributaries.

THIS is the fundamental problem. I could live with ‘sacral’ language in the translations, even with faux-Cranmer thees and thous, if the texts were written in readable, sayable, singable English. But they aren’t.

Gene O'Grady

Can anyone tell me who wrote liturgiam authenticam, and in what language it was written?


Spirit of Vatican II

Liturgiam Authenticam is published in Latin by the Congregation for Divine Worship under John Paul II; English is here:

It bears the signature of Cardinal Medina Estevez, who was a friend of Chilean dictator Pinochet and officiated at his funeral.

cor ad cor loquitur

Is there any way of getting hold of the "1998 Missal", the last work of the old ICEL before it was restructured? I have now heard, from several sources, that its translations are better than those currently in use AND written in clear English. Yet, according to the "Lost in Translation" article, it is "somewhere on a shelf in the Vatican".

C. Wingate

Of course, moving away from the ICET texts is a major ecumenical slap in the face of all the other churches which (once) used the same texts.


What would you offer? I actually think the "final" product between Caelius and I decent and better than what the bishops offer. So let's see your hand rather than just criticism.


I note the final product is in the comments, not in the post.

Spirit of Vatican II

look upon these gifts with your peace... may they be placed before your sight...

You don't see the problem?

Asking me to produce my own translation on the spot suggests that you do not fully realize the gravity of the task, any more than did Bishop Roche of Leeds, who opined that it would be a pretty straightforward business.

It took the world's bishops 13 years to produce the 1998 tradition that the Vatican hid away. The proposed new translation is too hastily done, in addition to being based on incorrect principles of translation.

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