Happy Wednesday to you all. My apologies for having missed my installment of "New Translation Tuesday" yesterday. The day simply ran away from me; packed with meeting after meeting and all that happy stuff.
So, here's a Wednesday installment of "New Translation Tuesday."
There is a lot of buzz out in the Catholic liturgical blogosphere regarding the fact that the newly translated texts of the Mass hold a copyright from the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. As a publisher of worship resources, we pay a fee to ICEL each time we publish these texts (either in "text-only" format or in formats where the text is set to music.) This practice has been a part of the Catholic publishing world for some time. There are those who insist that official prayers of the Church should not be "owned" by anyone; that ICEL has no right to hold the copyright. To be honest with you, I am surprised that this argument is coming chiefly from those who have been saying how marvelous the new translation is; how it is a treasure; how it will improve our liturgical life; how it will finally express the truths of the faith in a clear fashion. So, my question is, how do you think these newly translated texts arrived in their current form? Do people have any idea how much time, energy, and money was needed to make all of this happen? For instance, just think of the perhaps hundreds of meetings held internationally with those entrusted with the actual translation work, as well as those entrusted with shepherding this whole process for so many years. Think of the scholars that needed to be justly remunerated for their work. Think about the staff members of ICEL itself, a group of people whose continuing responsibility it is to ensure that the texts are correct and free of error. Think of their continuing work on the English translations of other liturgical texts. This is all time-consuming, very expensive work. And how is all of this paid for? By the fees that are paid to ICEL for the publication of these texts. Do I wish that we didn't have to pay copyright fees? Sure, what publisher wouldn't? But we gladly pay these fees because we know that what we are providing to Catholics are texts that have been meticulously translated and edited. We pay ICEL for that critical work. It just seems quite fair to me.
On the other hand, as for the rights for the new Grail psalms being controlled by a private family here in Illinois . . . that is a subject for another day.
Thanks for listening. Comments welcome. Be kind.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.