Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Translation Thursday: 10,000 Changes, "Click, Click, Click . . ."

Thursday has dawned with rain and 93% humidity here in Chicago. Perhaps this "pea soup" kind of humidity is appropriate for this edition of "New Translation Thursday."

Yesterday, on the excellent Pray Tell blog, Father Anthony Ruff, OSB, reported this:
"A reliable source (no, not Msgr. Moroney), citing a most reliable source, reports that some 10,000 changes were made by the Roman authorities to the missal text submitted to them. Many of the changes make the English text unfaithful to the Latin of the Missale Romanum."
Father Ruff goes on to say:
"This is getting curiouser and curiouser."

After reading this, I decided to contact my most reliable source, a friend who has been closely associated with the entire translation process. I have never used our friendship to try to find any inside scoop or information. I just simple asked this person what was going on and if we would ever see the Missal.

He told me that this "10,000 changes by the Roman authorities business" is what he has been saying publicly and that he has a very strong feeling that the number is not far off.

He went on to say: "The missal is going to happen. My own personal guess is that we'll have the text finalized by the end of this month because the Vatican will not want it languishing over the August break. If we don't have it by the end of July, then it's anybody's guess."

Then this: "ICEL is very much in the dark. So are the conferences of bishops. We all wish we had more info."

Talk about "curiouser and curiouser." On this New Translation Thursday, my friends, I am tempted to not comment at all about these latest strange happenings and, instead, share with you my favorite risotto recipe (shrimp and Italian sausage make wonderful companions, especially when a bit of porcini mushrooms come along for the ride—or the stir—as the case may be. Let me know the next time you are in Chicago, and I'll make you up a batch!)

Seriously, think about the implications if we do not "get" the text by the end of July. And think about what it means when the situation at hand implies that the conferences of bishops are very much in the dark. I am left wondering, "What kind of Church is this?" Aren't we all called to try to be on the same page? Aren't there transparent processes in place so that, following them, we all have a sense that the conclusions reached are ones that have been the fruit of scholarly dialogue and sound pastoral debate?

And this is not to mention the predicament that publishers might find themselves in very soon. The clock is ticking. Right now, this Roman Catholic publisher is beginning to see deadlines on the horizon. These are deadlines for submitting the texts for our worship resources to the BCDW, ICEL, and CCD for what we plan to publish in 2012. We must work this far out in order to complete all of the proofing and permissions processes. This has not yet become a nightmare, but as the days slip by, my own nights are beginning to become more sleepless.

I feel so caught here. We are committed to serving the needs of the singing and praying Church, yet that very same Church is making it more and more difficult for us to provide that service. As a Catholic businessman, I am dedicated to ensuring that my own employees here are justly compensated for their fine work and dedication. These are people with mortgages, with kids who need shoes, with aging parents that need care and support. Imagine trying to conduct business when promises are taken back and established definitions of terms like "recognitio' are compromised. I remain a hopeful guy here, and a committed Catholic, but this is getting to be a serious issue for those of us committed to serving the needs of the singing and praying Church.

10,000 changes? A few weeks ago I was feeling like I was on that final turn before pulling into the final slowdown on that roller coaster. Now I feel like this particular coaster we are on has bypassed the disembarkation area and that we are slowly climbing that first huge hill again: can you hear the "click, click, click" as we climb?

Hold onto your hats and stomachs, kids; the ride ain't over yet. It may just be starting again.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Anonymous said...

Sigh...on a parish level, the uncertainty of the implementation of the new translation is wreaking havoc with how we need/want to catechize. I can't even begin to imagine how this is affecting the publishing community!
Say, what's that risotto recipe? Do you have a good wine pairing to go with?

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Thank you for asking about the risotto. Beringer Founders Estate Shiraz is a good choice, especially given the hearty peasant flavor the porcini adds to the rice.

Recipe: First, take the editio typica tertia of the Missale Romanum, then add layers and layers of scholarly research to arrive at a first tasting. Then stir in the thousands and thousands of adustments to the recipe submitted by many English-speaking bishops conferences around the world. Add just a pinch of a fine claret called "Vox Clara," then add more recommendations from the conferences, and another few pinches of the claret. Then, at a grand ceremony in a Vatican garden, have the head chef, the "Chef Maximus" taste the final version. Watch as everyone waits with bated breath for his reaction. He smiles, and gives his stamp of approval, his own "recognitio." Everyone goes home, happy and sated. Then you find out that there was apparently something wrong with many of the ingredients; perhaps the recipe wasn't followed exactly; perhaps there was too much claret added. "Ah," you say, after waiting all this time to taste it yourself, "looks like I'll have to wait for the adjusted recipe." C'est la vie!

Charles Culbreth said...

I don't know if you have the time, but you might find great benefit by reading this article from (gasp)the recent ADOREMUS BULLETIN:

Charles said...

"He told me that this "10,000 changes by the Roman authorities business" is what he has been saying publicly and that he has a very strong feeling that the number is not far off."

So in other words it is just someone speaking loosely, not a specific datum of information to be relied upon. Rumors are just rumors and should be taken with a grain of salt. I can understand the frustration of publishers. I can't understand the prejudiced jumping to conclusions seen in some quarters that everything the Vatican does is malign in this process before we have even seen the text. Personally, I trust the judgment of Cardinals Pell and George and Archbishop Prendergast (who has a great blog by the way) of Vox Clara, so I don't think they would let things get too out of hand, and if taking their time would lead to a better balance of good English style and accuracy of translation, then it will be time well spent.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Charles, I am not saying that everything the Vatican does is malign. I share your hope that what we end up with is good English style balanced with accurate translation. At this point, I am wondering if this is an achievable result?

Joe said...

Is it possible that what we are talking about is, as a professor of mine once quoted a Vatican official, a "biblical 10,000"?

Luke said...

As you know, Jerry, my main qualms with the new translation have had to do with the clunky, stilted, semi-"artificial" sound of much of the extant sample of the revised Order of Mass. I share your and Charles' hope that these changes give us a translation that, while it may take some getting used to, still respects the modern English language by using proper grammar and a natural cadence, something I feel the "White Book" translation currently available is sorely lacking.

Why Rome waited this long to make the changes, whatever they are, is beyond all of us. Kyrie, eleison.

Dom in LA said...

Hello, Jerry,
Dominic MacAller here, from Padre Serra Parish, Camarillo, CA. Dan Houze sent me a link to your blog, and voila, now it is bookmarked. I so appreciate the title of it. At the end of the day, it's what we've got and it's who we are. Your comments a couple of Tuesdays ago ("What if we just said no") were very thought provoking and caused me to meditate on what it really is to be one, holy, catholic, apostolic. . .

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Yes, Charles, I read it yesterday.