Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Translation Tuesday: "The Water's Fine: Just Jump Right In"

Welcome to this installment of "New Translation Tuesday."

I am sitting here at the airport in Philadelphia, awaiting my flight back to Chicago.

Today was a good day. I was the presenter at the annual staff day for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

My presentation on the new translation was part of a comprehensive plan here in the Archdiocese as they prepare for the reception of the Missal. They have been in full swing here for quite some time with respect to catechesis on the new translation. I know there are other (arch)dioceses out there that have put together a plan for implementation, but I must say that Philadelphia is a real model.

I am becoming more and more convinced that the reception of the new translation is less about words and more about our sacramental and liturgical life. We began the day with a short session I led on the importance of recovering a solid baptismal spirituality. We then moved into a prayer service that included a ritual of baptism remembrance. I began with this because of Sacrosanctum Concilium's paragraph 14; that full conscious and active participation in the liturgy is our right and duty because of our baptism.

I then launched into a direct comparison between the principles in Comme le Prevoit (the previous guidelines for translating the Latin into the vernacular) and the principles in Liturgiam Authenticam (the current guidelines). People not only notice sharp distinctions between these documents with respect to guidelines for translation, they also gain an appreciation for why the Vatican (under Pope John Paul II) saw the need for such a change in approach.

No one likes to hear Liturgiam Authenticam's suggestion that "errors and omissions" have occurred in the process of translation into "some" vernacular languages. People naturally express their dismay that the Vatican is saying that there is something somehow defective in the current translation. The sentiment is real and needs to be listened to and addressed.

Folks, I guess,  at this point in my own journey with the new translation, that I am seeing this whole development as much more organic. The only way that the new translation is really going to take root here in the United States is if we give people solid information; solid knowledge directly from the sources. We need to lay it all out for people. We need to show them that there are significant differences between the way the Latin was translated into English and the way the Latin was translated into many of the world's languages.

One young woman at today's session, a Byzantine Catholic who told me that her liturgical language mirrors the language of the new translation, had this to say to me: "What I want to tell Roman Catholics is this: 'The water's fine. Just jump right in.'"

I hope that I am not being naive as I see the Catholic faithful, clergy, vowed religious, lay leaders, and pew Catholics really begin to see the possibilities to deepen their appropriation of the meaning of the paschal mystery through the new translation. Again, I have to caution myself that we do not yet have a direct experience of praying and singing these newly translated texts. It will take years to determine if and how the new translation will or will not deepen the power of the liturgy. I remain hopeful, especially after my days in Milwaukee over the weekend and my day today here in Philadelphia.

Please feel free to add your own voice to this conversation. Please challenge or affirm what I have said today. You can comment by clicking the comments tab below. You can also comment directly on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook Gotta Sing Gotta Pray logo at the top right hand of this page. I am always open to your direct e-mails to me as well: galipeauj@jspaluch.com.

Thanks for listening.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

1 comment:

Kate S said...

Like you, Jerry, I hope I'm not being naive. I believe that the words we pray affect us. I also believe that the attitude we bring affects the way we pray. If we come with right hearts, wanting to worship, praise, thank and petition God and to do this in community, I think our hearts affect the prayer itself. Prayer is organic. It's not just words.