the roman menace, revisited

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 16, 2006

The pure sweet springs of the English language -- the tongue of Shakespeare, Dryden, and Sr. Joan Chittister -- are being contaminated by Vatican pollutants, and the Woodstock Center is protesting.

"This is another example of Rome taking authority away from bishops and bishops' conferences. Basically, it's saying that people in Rome -- including people for whom Spanish and German is their first language -- know how to translate the Mass into English better than the American bishops and the other English-speaking bishops do," said the Rev. Thomas Reese, senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington, D.C.
Dear Father Reese,

This Congregation thanks you for your valuable comments regarding the peril of submitting English translations of Latin liturgical texts to the judgment of non-English speakers. Your cautions are duly noted. Perhaps it is opportune to point out that, in the quotation above, the word "taking" should not be understood as a participle modifying "Rome"; it is, rather, the gerund. Therefore, conformity to the rules of English grammar requires the correction to "This is another example of Rome's taking authority away ..."

Wishing you, and your spirit, every blessing, I am,

faithfully dynamically equivalently yours,

Akpan Udo Okon
Dept of Anglophone Patronisation
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

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  • Posted by: - Jun. 17, 2006 10:51 AM ET USA

    If I never again see or hear the names Thomas Reese and Joan Chittister, it will be fine with me. In reference to them, I can only quote Shakespeare: "much ado about nothing". It's unspeakable that anyone takes them seriously; in general, the Bard is a much safer bet. He never pretended to "teach religion".

  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2006 9:19 PM ET USA

    I think "subwoofer" has it right. Fr. Reese has bought in to Bp. Trautman's notion that "precious" merely refers to the outward decoration of the chalice. I think, rather, that "precious" here strongly alludes to the chalice as a symbol of the blessed Mother, and, especially, to her womb. You can't make sense of Christian history without this connection. This chalice is precious indeed, and this connection is one that we could not expect in a Biblical narration of the Last Supper.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2006 4:38 PM ET USA

    Rev Reese, SJ I note, in passing, that Iesus Christus/os did not speak English as his first language here on Earth either. Perhaps the reason that the Western Church preserved things in inflected Ecclesiastical Latin (and the same for the Eastern Church and Greek) is to demonstrate the rhetorical impoverishment of the tropes and schemes of Ecclesiastical toddlers and n'er do wells. I'll take Lincoln's 2nd inaugural over a Woodstock era/error ridden polemic any day of the week.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2006 3:41 PM ET USA

    "Woodstock Center?" - groovy. If he were a spokesman for the "St.Jerome Center", I *might* be impressed. If he objects to "Rome taking authority", he is - by self proclamation - a protestant. b.t.w. How sensitive to womyn is this guy? How dare he suggest that he is a part of a non-inclusive group? Entry Word: fellow Function: noun ... 3) an adult male human being ...

  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2006 1:56 PM ET USA

    I can only imagine how wonderfully sacred and lofty would be Reese's or Trautman's translation of Latin to English. Fr. Reese must have been swayed by Bishop Trautman's keen observation that "precious" refers to a chalice's decoration rather than its content. Reese's blather suggests his ignorance of ecclesiology. Trautman's rantings suggest his ignorance of liturgical theology. I have parishioners better educated than either of these "spoke-persons."

  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2006 12:55 PM ET USA

    Fr. Reese got it exactly correct.Rome knows how to translate the Mass into English better thanAmerican bishops. If the current form had been done properly, a revision would not have been necessary.From high paper advisor to editor of America has been a giant leap for Fr. Reese. Do we detect a continued expression challenge to authority? American bishops must bow to authority - metonymy, if you wish, Rome. Certainly, all loyal Catholics recognize that Rome means Pope Benedict XVI.

  • Posted by: Vincit omnia amor - Jun. 16, 2006 11:56 AM ET USA

    Dear Fr. Reese, How do you translate the Latin "histrinicus" into English?

  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2006 11:30 AM ET USA

    National bishops' conferences have no real authority over matters of doctrine, faith and morals. Since liturgy is a critical to the teaching and passing on of all three it seems that the only authority the conference has it what it is delegated. Delegated authority can be withdrawn, particularly if those delegated fail in their task. The scandal is not the interaction of the Vatican with the USCCB, rather, it is the failure of the USCCB bishops to competently fulfill their responsibilities.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 16, 2006 10:59 AM ET USA

    Is this Father Reese any relation to the peanut butter cup fortune? They always seemed a bit cloying to me and the peanut butter is not, I believe, organic.