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lost in translation

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 29, 2006

On this day when we celebrate the bond of communion between the See of Peter and the bishops throughout the world, it's edifying to see how Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, reports to the faithful about the new Mass translation approved by the US bishops' conference.

Why this new translation? Because it was made necessary to meet the requirements of an action of the Holy See regarding the principles of translation.

Um, well, OK. But why did the Holy See take action? And why wasn't an earlier English translation approved for use? That question is answered earlier in the bishop's column:

The translation was rejected by the Holy See because between its passage and its approval by the Vatican, new principles of translation were forthcoming which insisted on a slavish, strict translation of the Latin text.

Ah, yes. Nasty old Holy See, wanting things slavish and strict. But what about this new translation, anyway?

The text is highly anglicized (that is to say, replete with words more likely heard spoken in England than the United States), somewhat wordy when compared to common parlance in the US, and also occasionally inconsistent in the application of the principles of translation.

Well, we wouldn't want that, would we? But a skeptical reader, mindful of the bishop's evident hostility toward the Vatican, might wonder if he is being completely objective.

Come to think of it, that reader might also wonder whether someone who uses the phrase "somewhat wordy when compared to common parlance in the US" is a good judge of what constitutes "wordy" prose. Or he might stagger through this sentence:

But in answer to the question where will this text be used, the answer would not be inappropriate to say throughout the English-speaking world.

... and wonder how the author dares to set himself up as an arbiter of graceful English usage.

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Show 18 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Jul. 02, 2006 12:22 PM ET USA

    AB, VCII was a legitimate council fully binding on the Church. You are right that the writings produced were sometimes poorly written and loosely constructed. What I said was intended to convey the thought that liberals saw this and deflected the intent of theCouncil to a different course of action.Regarding "Preserve" it means keep safe from injury or harm or destruction;protect;to keep alive,intact; to keep up and reserve for special use. That would include the Mass.It's time to correct errors

  • Posted by: - Jul. 01, 2006 9:26 AM ET USA

    Sparch, it isnn't just the Lectionary. Yesterday the priest changed Canon IV from "He became a man like us" to "a human being like us". I said to the priest afterward, "So Our Lord was two beings then, one divine and the other human?" "Oh, no!" he said. "He had two natures." "I know" I said, and quickly moved on to allow other attendees to chat with him. Political correctness is a devilish master. Seems to me he fell into Nestorianism just to be nice. Oh well, its just language. Isn't it?

  • Posted by: pakx - Jul. 01, 2006 4:52 AM ET USA

    Charles: LOL!

  • Posted by: - Jun. 30, 2006 6:07 PM ET USA

    Bishop Lynch's biography can be found on the St.Petersburg website. This bishop has what might be considered the minimal education for a Roman Catholic priest. He was "given" a Masters of Divinity degree rather than earning a Masters of Theology. In the same way, he was given a "Doctor of Divinity" degree when he was made a bishop rathen than earning a doctorate in a relevant discipline. His comments reflect his lack of scholarship.

  • Posted by: sparch - Jun. 30, 2006 1:43 PM ET USA

    I have to laugh every time I hear or read from the current lectionary all the acrobatics used to make it gender inclusive while when Jesus gives us the "Our Father" it is still in the King James form, with the thees and thys. The American translators are truly in a world of their own.

  • Posted by: Charles134 - Jun. 30, 2006 1:05 PM ET USA

    "The text is highly anglicized (that is to say, replete with words more likely heard spoken in England than the United States)..." As an ignorant American, I must ask, "Does 'replete with' mean 'full of'?" I think the bishop is replete with it.

  • Posted by: Gino - Jun. 29, 2006 7:40 PM ET USA

    I am sick and tired reading about the weak bishops who populate our Church. The indictments against them are legion; lack of instruction in our formerly good Parochial Schools, lack of defense of Church morals, lack of allegiance to our Holy Father, gutless reaction to our "Catholic" politicos who flaunt their pro abortion records etc When will we finally be rid of these useless "leaders"? God help us all.

  • Posted by: Janet Baker - Jun. 29, 2006 7:04 PM ET USA

    Altar boy and Novak, no he did not remain silent about Terri's death. He openly stated it was "up to Michael". And yes indeed, he did skip town, and that being over Holy Week, when a bishop is obliged under Canon Law to remain at home. But of course, we don't want him being "slavish" when it comes to obedience now, do we?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2006 4:54 PM ET USA

    No one hijacked VCII or the reform (sic) that followed. We’re in this position because the council’s documents were so loosely written that the liberal clerics took easy advantage. To wit: What does it mean to “preserve” Latin? It sure doesn’t mean “use it.” Where is the “suitable place” for the vernacular? (I say it’s only the readings and sermon.) And what is “rigid uniformity”? Something is either uniform or it’s not. No, no hijacking here, we got exactly what the council asked for--chaos.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2006 4:42 PM ET USA

    Some people do not seem to understand that the vast majority of persons in the "English-speaking" world DO NOT SPEAK AMERICANESE ! Liturgy in authentic English would be a great teacher for those who have been subjected to the repulsive dialect ! (Oh, yes, i am a U.S. citizen.)

  • Posted by: opraem - Jun. 29, 2006 4:19 PM ET USA

    didn't bishop lynch pay his former male lover $100,000 out of diocesan funds to settle a sexual harassment suit against the bishop? didn't he counsel the defenders of terri schiavo's life to stop interfering and let her go? where does it say a catholic bishop should be in communion with the bishop of rome on faith and morals? why is this man still on the job?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2006 1:36 PM ET USA

    Yes, our good Bishop did as much for Terri as the pharisee did for the good samaritan. (song: "Walk-On-By" plays in background) . This does not mean that the is afraid to take a stand. He has taken a firm stand - against Adoration! As for catechesis? "More later. " I have written a letter to the editor rebutting him but don't look for it to be published. Just wait for the next Bishop's Pastorial Appeal. I will respond, "More later."

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2006 1:13 PM ET USA

    The bishop does not seem to remember that what was said in the liturgy since the 500's is still quite appropriate. Whereas, the innovation supplied in 1970 is woefully lacking. VII approved version 1n 1969 was hijacked and replaced what we got foisted upon us. Latin was specified for the parts of the liturgy that is constant. Seems that bishops are notoriously know for not following the rules. The bishop should remember he is part of the ROMAN Catholic Church. Be respectful of the Pope.

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jun. 29, 2006 12:02 PM ET USA

    Uncle Di, You have hit upon a hitherto unknown way to jettison half the miscreant clerics in the US seminary visitation without firing a shot; administer a sentence diagramming exam to the clods. If they flunk? Back to the penal grammar school monastery on some obscure island off the coast of France to experience the rejuvenating spirit of the cloister and the object of the infinitive while objectively worshipping the infinite. Beauty. Throw in a little Shakespearean Grammar too.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2006 11:55 AM ET USA

    The silliness seemingly will never end. There are still some who can read Latin. Why can't we have a Latin (only) Missal/Lectionary so that we can participate more fully in the Mass, rather than being constantly harrassed with dumbed down English. Fr. Rutler once said something like "I haven't heard English in the Mass since I converted." He was an Anglican.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2006 11:37 AM ET USA

    Di: Lynch, I believe, is the fellow that remained silent (and even ran out of the country to hide) while Terri Schiavo, one of his flock, was starved to death by her adulterous husband. If my memory serves, Lynch also allowed one of his presbyters to witness the murdering husband’s marriage to the woman he was shacking up with while his disabled wife was confined to bed in a small room, mistreated, and often denied Holy Communion.

  • Posted by: Lucius - Jun. 29, 2006 10:32 AM ET USA

    Wow isn't this from the man who ran from Terri Schiavo? He failed in his obligation as a bishop on moral matters and now he is failing on matters liturgical not to mention disrespect towards the Holy See.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 29, 2006 10:26 AM ET USA

    Is this the good bishop's attempt at "catechesis," to prepare the faithful for what is to come? Do you suppose the bad guys in the Vatican have access to the internet and might just get a taste of the bishop's sour grapes?

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