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Bishop offers strong critique of current missal translation

Catholic World News - March 02, 2011

Praising the forthcoming revised translation of the Roman Missal, an Australian bishop has offered a strong critique of the translation in use for the last four decades.

The current translation, said Auxiliary Bishop Peter Elliott of Melbourne, “is not good enough because it is not particularly good – and ‘good enough’ is not the way to describe the language we should use in the worship of God. The time has come to change because what we are using is not only often inaccurate as a translation, but the style of English is rather dull, banal, lacking in the dignity of language for worship, more like the language of a homily than a prayer.”

“A paraphrase can fail to give us, not only what the Latin original means, which is bordering on telling lies, but paraphrase often eliminates poetic beauty in the original, particularly scriptural language that runs through the prayers of the Roman Rite of Mass,” he added. “Questions of doctrinal content also emerge here – and this is a serious matter because it raises the ethical question of telling lies and distorting Catholic truth. When we examine the specific content of the ICEL collects we currently use we find a more serious result of ruthless paraphrase and précis - the virtual elimination of a key Christian word, ‘grace.’”

“Striking examples of inaccuracy are evident if Latin references to Our Lady in the Missale Romanum are checked against the current ICEL texts,” he added. “Here, we find an amazing failure to comprehend a basic principle of Christology and Mariology … ‘Dynamic equivalence’ becomes more destructive when Marian phrases which convey doctrinal truths taught by the Church are simply removed.”

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: mamato085337 - Mar. 04, 2011 7:26 AM ET USA

    WISH WE COULD BRING THAT BISHOP HERE!

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 03, 2011 4:04 PM ET USA

    I came at it from the other way around. I was thirteen when the new liturgy was introduced, and after all the excitement that was circulating, I was bitterly disappointed. I thought it sounded more like the Harvard Business Review. Having now read the HVR, the HVR is better. Thank God for the 3rd Edition of the Missale Romanum.

  • Posted by: TheGillerans6870 - Mar. 02, 2011 9:04 PM ET USA

    When I started attending the Latin Mass, I was astonished at how much of the beauty of the liturgy was lost in the change to the Novus Ordo -- and theology, too: only by the language of the "old" missal did I learn the meaning of transubstantiation. And the notion that the Latin Mass neglected the Old Testament was balderdash, too. Everything Bishop Elliott says is absolutey true and I'm grateful to him for saying it.

  • Posted by: Wolf of Gubbio - Mar. 02, 2011 6:29 PM ET USA

    Kudos to the good bishop!

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