Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Translation Tuesday: Moments for Milwaukee Catechesis

Another "New Translation Tuesday" has arrived. Welcome.

On Friday and Saturday of this week, I will travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to give presentations on the new translation—the final text of which has still not yet been released . . . soon perhaps? The audiences at these presentations will be a mix of people; clergy, liturgical ministers, and people in the pews. The good people in the Archdiocese have asked me to focus on a few areas: "They request that you give us an overview of the translation process, with an explanation of why the changes are being made. The other thing this group would like to include is a look at some of the peoples' parts of the Mass that are changing."

I've decided to give them pertinent sections from The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Comme le Prevoit, and Liturgicam Authenticam. This may seem a bit deep for the average parishioner, but I think it is necessary to have people see the actual texts that have driven the liturgical renewal, as well as the renewal of the translation process.

Here is a sample from each of the texts I am handing out to the participants:

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy:
1. In this restoration, both texts and rites should be drawn up so that they express more clearly the holy things which they signify; the Christian people, so far as possible, should be enabled to understand them with ease and to take part in them fully, actively, and as befits a community.

Comme le Prevoit (January 25, 1969)

6. To achieve this end, it is not sufficient that a liturgical translation merely reproduce the expressions and ideas of the original text. Rather it must faithfully communicate to a given people, and in their own language, that which the Church by means of this given text originally intended to communicate to another people in another time. A faithful translation, therefore, cannot be judged on the basis of individual words: the total context of this specific act of communication must be kept in mind, as well as the literary form proper to the respective language.

15. a. The language chosen should be that in "common" usage, that is, suited to the greater number of the faithful who speak it in everyday use, even "children and persons of small education" (Paul VI in the allocution cited). However, the language should not be "common" in the bad sense, but "worthy of expressing the highest realities" (ibid.). Moreover, the correct biblical or Christian meaning of certain words and ideas will always need explanation and instruction. Nevertheless no special literary training should be required of the people; liturgical texts should normally be intelligible to all, even to the less educated.

Liturgiam Authenticam (March 28, 2001)
20. The Latin liturgical texts of the Roman Rite, while drawing on centuries of ecclesial experience in transmitting the faith of the Church received from the Fathers, are themselves the fruit of the liturgical renewal, just recently brought forth. In order that such a rich patrimony may be preserved and passed on through the centuries, it is to be kept in mind from the beginning that the translation of the liturgical texts of the Roman Liturgy is not so much a work of creative innovation as it is of rendering the original texts faithfully and accurately into the vernacular language. While it is permissible to arrange the wording, the syntax and the style in such a way as to prepare a flowing vernacular text suitable to the rhythm of popular prayer, the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses. Any adaptation to the characteristics or the nature of the various vernacular languages is to be sober and discreet.
27 . . . Indeed, it will be seen that the observance of the principles set forth in this Instruction will contribute to the gradual development, in each vernacular, of a sacred style that will come to be recognized as proper to liturgical language. Thus it may happen that a certain manner of speech which has come to be considered somewhat obsolete in daily usage may continue to be maintained in the liturgical context.
47 . . . Consequently it should cause no surprise that such language differs somewhat from ordinary speech. Liturgical translation that takes due account of the authority and integral content of the original texts will facilitate the development of a sacral vernacular, characterized by a vocabulary, syntax and grammar that are proper to divine worship, even though it is not to be excluded that it may exercise an influence even on everyday speech, as has occurred in the languages of peoples evangelized long ago.
I expect that people will be keenly interested in all of this (I was just told that parish leaders expect 200 at Friday night's session). They will have questions; some people will be quite happy with all of it; others will be upset by it; others may experience ambivalence. 
Please say a prayer for me if you get the chance in the next few days. These presentations can sometimes have that "sheep among the wolves" sense about them!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Anonymous said...

Dear Jerry,
Thank you very much for posting these descriptions. One of the big questions that I still have (I have been searching for an answer to explain this to others) is the reason for Liturgiam Authentican. Why was the translation standard changed to this? I think that it would help with your explanations if you could provide a good reason for which the standard was changed.

JonoShea1 said...

Could you explain your statement that the final text has not been received? Do you mean that all the texts have not yet been received by the bishops? Or that the bishops have not forwarded all the texts to you? Would it be proper to ask what you have received thus far (just the Order of Mass, perhaps)?

According to my previous understanding, Order of Mass I and the US Adaptations have both been received by the bishops. Are we still awaiting the Propers, Commons, etc.?

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Hello JonoShea1,
Thanks for visiting the blog. We found out today that some minor corrections are still in process. The bishops have received the text, but are still working on some minor things like punctuation and capitalization. So, in truth, the publishers still do not have the texts. Keep in mind that publishers also publish the entrance songs, collects, prayers over the offerings, communion songs, postcommunion prayers in our worship resources. We have seen none of these as of yet.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks for visiting the blog.
Liturgiam Authenticam itself gives the rationale:
"6. Ever since the promulgation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the work of the translation of the liturgical texts into vernacular languages, as promoted by the Apostolic See, has involved the publication of norms and the communication to the Bishops of advice on the matter. Nevertheless, it has been noted that translations of liturgical texts in various localities stand in need of improvement through correction or through a new draft.[11] The omissions or errors which affect certain existing vernacular translations – especially in the case of certain languages – have impeded the progress of the inculturation that actually should have taken place. Consequently, the Church has been prevented from laying the foundation for a fuller, healthier and more authentic renewal."

So, the Holy See names "the omissions or errors which affect certain existing vernacular translations" as the rationale. This is the part that is hard to swallow for many Catholics. We are led to believe that "a fuller, healthier and more authentic renewal" has been prevented because of errors and omissions in our existing translation, which very well may be true. I am holding on to hope that the renewal will indeed be rich and fuller because of the new translation. Experience and time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Regarding your response to JonoShea1's inquiry, are you expected changes to also be required to entrance songs and communion song, or are you just referring to the antiphons? My understanding was that any suitable liturgical song approved by the Conference of Bishops or Diocesan Bishop could be used for these (for example, the way that your parish used All are Welcome this week). I wanted to see what you meant by this comment.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Hello Anonymous,
I am referring to the new translation of the official texts of the "antiphons" for entrance and communion from The Roman Missal.

Anonymous said...

Jerry, I wish you luck. While I consider Milwaukee like my second hometown, the church there remains in liturgical disarray, having not yet recovered from the ill effects of the Abp. Weakland years. I imagine you might encounter some rough moments in your presentations. I will offer additional prayers for you, and will be eager how it goes!

JonoShea1 said...

Thank you for the information and clarification. You're in my prayers with this task before you. While I am waiting in eager anticipation for the new translation, I hope that the way is smoothed for you. It's always a pleasure to visit here, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Chironomo said...

20. The Latin liturgical texts of the Roman Rite, while drawing on centuries of ecclesial experience in transmitting the faith of the Church received from the Fathers, are themselves the fruit of the liturgical renewal, just recently brought forth...

This has always raised a question in my mind. The Latin texts of the Missal are NEW TEXTS themselves...that is, they are contemporary texts, although they are in Latin. So why is it necessary to "update them" or make them relevant to our own time as Comme le prevoit seems to say? They were written in our own time, and are wholly modern texts themselves?