Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Tuesday." Well, as you can see by the continuing comments on last Monday's post, things have really heated up.
Not being a Latin scholar, it is difficult for me to meander through the various comments, but I have come away sensing once again that what has been going on with the so-called "2008 text" and the revised so-called "2010 text" has caused more and more people to get more and more disenchanted.
Folks, I am perhaps still too wide-eyed and naive a churchman, but I find myself caught in the midst of a sense of demoralization over all of this. I remember when the rejected 1997 ICEL translation was in process; I was in the midst of my doctoral studies. One particular professor of mine was part of the translation process and had spent a good deal of his life dedicated to producing a new English translation. I remember the days when the bishops were voting on the new translation and the joy and sparkle that I saw in his eyes as the process moved to its conclusion. When the Vatican rejected the ICEL translation, I saw that joy and sparkle dim, not only in his eyes, but in the eyes of so many others who had spent so much of their time and energy on a good translation. The shake-up at ICEL itself I saw as having an evil tinge to it. Bishop Maurice Taylor's widely circulated chapter has confirmed that sentiment for me. When Liturgiam Authenticam was released, it was obvious that the Vatican was reining in more control over the translation process itself. All of this was completely consistent with the erosion of the principle of subsidiarity, which had marked the pontificate of John Paul II. Yet, I still held out hope. If there were, indeed, errors and omissions in the our current English translation, then a new translation could help us pray better and more fully; I held out hope that this was the case.
Then we all watched the nearly decade-long process of translation and approval and corrections; we watched the amendments and arguments and counter-arguments and conversation and some liberal-bashing and some conservative-bashing. Those of us who love the liturgy so much struggled through all of this, forming and reforming our opinions.
Finally, we received the recognitio for the Order of Mass a little over two years ago. And what we thought was the final text of the new translation of the Missale Romanum was given its recognitio several months ago. I found myself—now that it was all finalized—finally able to move forward; to make the best of what is clearly a more challenging text for bishops and priests to proclaim. I have been inviting people into a stance of hope as the new translation looms. I have not sugar-coated any of this. I have just invited Catholics to be Catholic; to be honest and humble in the face of new texts that have been approved by our English-speaking bishops around the world. I have urged Catholics, when they have had an extended period of experience singing, praying, and listening to the new texts, to talk to their pastors about whether or not the new texts are helping them to pray better and more fully. I believe this is a right and duty we have by reason of our baptism (as echoed in Sacrosanctum Concilium).
Now, the 2008 text approved by our bishops has been altered. Some have used the terms "derailed" and "hijacked" to describe this development. Highjackings and derailments often end in catastrophe. The Vatican has every right to do what it wants with the text. How are English-speaking bishops feeling right now? All those hours of meetings; all those hours of reading draft after draft; all those hours of consulting with people in their dioceses; all those hours of agonizing over words. Have they just thrown their hands up in the air over all of this?
I still hold out a glimmer of hope that this will not end in catastrophe but I must be honest and say that I believe that this is within the realm of possibility.
Please feel free to comment.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.