Friday, June 16, 2006

Keeping coffee in the cup

Amy links to the talk of Bishop Arthur Roach of Leeds (UK), chairman of ICEL, given to the USCCB. It is a fantastic address! I just read it over twice -- there's so much packed in there! [Incidentally, Bishop Roach gave one of our catecheses during WYD 2002 in Toronto. He was simply fantastic, and connected really well with the young people, while, in my recollection, getting them excited about following Christ. He rocks!] Some things that struck me. 1) The English translations have an importance that transcends their use in English speaking countries.
Also in many countries where English is not much spoken, the English version of liturgical texts plays an important function, because it is used as a guide to translating the Latin. There are, of course, some languages with speakers or scholars fluent in Latin. For instance, in New Zealand earlier this year I met a scholar who is translating the Mass from Latin directly into Fijian. In Maynooth, Ireland, a team is at work translating Latin texts directly into Gaelic. But in Norway and many parts of Africa and Asia, for instance, the translators rely heavily on the English version.
2) Dynamic equivalence is dead.
Dynamic equivalence has become an outmoded idea: even its originator, Eugene Nida, ceased to use it in his later writings. Over the last thirty years specialists in language have become more aware that the form we choose for an utterance is itself expressive of our purpose in speaking.
And finally, keeping coffee in the cup.
There was an urgent feeling in the early 1970s that the liturgy should be made available to the people as soon as possible, and the work was rushed. The revisiting of this was delayed for practical reasons, but also for ideological ones that caused many bishops grave concern, and that is sometimes forgotten. The chief preoccupation in many minds was, of course, that the liturgy be brought closer to the people. This aim could, and sometimes did, obscure the other aim, which was to preserve and transmit our inherited liturgical tradition and bring our people closer to that. During the initial stages of consultation on the third edition of the Missale Romanum, two theologians wrote to me, quite independently, and shared with me their belief that the Mass texts we currently use had severely diminished our appreciation of the richness of Eucharistic theology. This is clearly something to which we, as bishops, should be sensitive. The Holy Father said something similar during the course of last year’s Synod of Bishops. Of course, if you try to carry a cup of coffee across a room too quickly, much of the contents may spill. This time, we have tried to keep the coffee in the cup.
Thank you Bishop Roach!

Anyway. The new translations have been approved. I'm waiting to see a full consolidated list of these. (Here's a partial list. Rocco also has a more detailed story with background. More background on ICEL and the whole translation stuff here as well.) The implementation will occur after the final approval of the Holy See.

:: UPDATE :: Rocco links to an interview with Bp. Trautman that we won't see any of these changes for at least two years. Talk about glacial paces ... he's been quite pugnaciously opposed to any of this. But, his fellow Bishops elected him as the head of the Liturgy committee ... plus ça change ... ?
So, in the spirit of things.

The Lord be with you. And with your spirit! :-D


pritcher said...

two years? ack.

guess there's no point pracitcing now, is there?

Gashwin said...

Well, I certainly hope that Bp. Trautmann is wrong and it's not two years ... However, best not to practice until we some some official texts ... :)

St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

One imagines cringes in some circles as folks contemplate Haugen at his keyboard re-composing the Mass of Creation setting.

(Which I think our Padre sings quite well, and it is his authenticity in praying/singing this prayer that is actually one of the highlights of the Easter vigil for me.)

PS: Easiest to read verfication letters I've ever seen on Blogger. I'll never see that again....