Catholic Culture News
Catholic Culture News

translation shock: faithful to flee full churches

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 10, 2007

Vox Clara, the Roman commission assisting in the preparation of a new English translation of the Mass in conformity with the instruction Liturgiam authenticam, received two crushing body-blows this week, delivered by internationally recognized experts in the field of pastoral liturgy, both of whom were scathingly critical of the return to "sacral" language. The first blast was dealt by Bishop Donald Trautman, Bishop of Erie and chair of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, in the course of an address to the Catholic Academy of Liturgy in Toronto. The NCR's John Allen gives the gist (tip to Bill Cork):

According to a press release issued by a member of the academy's Executive Committee, Jesuit Fr. Keith Pecklers of Rome's Gregorian University, Trautman "contended that the new translations do not adequately meet the liturgical needs of the average Catholic," and he "expressed fears that the significant changes in the texts no longer reflect understandable English usage."

"Trautman argued that the proposed changes of the people's parts during the Mass will confuse the faithful, and predicted that the new texts will contribute to a greater number of departures from the Catholic Church," the release stated.

Trautman also challenged a recent ruling from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments that the Latin phrase pro multis in the formula for the consecration of the Precious Blood should be rendered as "for many" rather than the current English phrase "for all."

Comparably devastating to the new translation endeavor were the remarks of Dr. A.J.P. Funicello, Director of the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Marcoux Professor of Christodramatics at Cal State Fullerton.[See note below] Off The Record was able to conduct a telephone interview with Funicello at her office.

OTR: Professor, what do you feel the impact of the revised translation will be on the lay faithful?

AJF: Well uncle di we here at livermore believe that language like is a dynamic and not a static reality so when you try to make it sacred or sacral it doesn't speak to my own experience as a mature educated adult and a person of gender

OTR: And you think this linguistic disconne --

AJF: in a fully renewed like faith community we celebrate being who we are as ourselves and talking about god as something like out there makes you feel small and funny inside and this new liturgy thing will contribute to departures I mean I and my stepdaughter don't do the church thing but if we did I mean the language well it's not how I talk and it would make us feel pain and hurt and it would make us like depart if we hadn't departed already

OTR: If we consider for a momen --

AJF: and take the example of for many uncle di I mean that makes me feel left out because all means all and many doesn't and besides in my habilitationsschrift Beach Blanket Benefice tübingen 1967 I like demonstrate that the aramaic vorlage of pro multis really means like we're a people gathered faithfully together and when I listened to the proposed translation on all things considered I cried

OTR: Then if I understand you correc --

AJF: and when I hear and with your spirit I freak I mean I suppose people said that to each other every day back in the fifties but today we say like see you next week

Vox Clara chairman Cardinal George Pell was unavailable for comment.

NOTE: The senior communications officer at Cal State Fullerton has sent CWN the following request:

The item at the above link under the heading "translation shock: faithful to flee full churches" includes remarks from A.J.P. Funicello, who is identified as Director of the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Marcoux Professor of Christodramatics at Cal State Fullerton.

Cal State Fullerton has no such professorship or individual by this name serving on the faculty or staff.

Also, the website for the center at the Livermore lab lists another individual as director:

Is this intended to be a humorous item? In any case, a corrected posting would be appreciated.

We note that in fact Annette Funicello is not a member of the faculty at Cal State Fullerton. Nor is she an employee of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The U.S. Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy is, of course, wholly imaginary.

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