Friday, October 7, 2011

The New Translation: "A Rough Ride"

Friday greetings.

Last night I did the first of two presentations in my own parish focused on the new translation. Of the many presentations I have done, this one had the most interaction. The choir members, as well as some other liturgical ministers present, wrangled with the new translation. There were some who thought the new texts were more beautiful and they could see how more faithful to the original Latin they appeared. There was a large number that objected to the new translation. Some said that they thought that the principles from The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy from the Second Vatican Council (I always begin my presentations with pertinent sections from this document) were not being enfleshed by the new translation; they said that they thought the new "sacral vernacular" actually discourages fully conscious and active participation. They said that the new translation is not readily understood and thereby makes the liturgy more difficult to understand and to pray, which is in direct contradiction to the main point of the Constitution.

Those in attendance are my "peeps." These are the people with whom I worship every week. They are thoughtful, dedicated, and love the parish and the Catholic Church. I have to say that their remarks have some resonance in my own heart and mind. But, as you know, I am reserving judgment about the new translation until I have had the chance (in the next few months and years) actually to pray and to experience these texts.

An elderly choir member was the most vehement opponent. She said that she watches EWTN every day and from her viewing has learned that the Catholic Church is working toward unity and wants all Christians to come to the Catholic Church. She said that she thought that this change would prohibit that from happening.

Her final comment to me was this: "It's going to be a rough ride."

I have another presentation to a larger group at my parish on Sunday afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes.

I hope you have a pleasant weekend.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


jdonliturgy said...

I have a feeling this may be the prophet in his own country syndrome. They are not afraid to tell you what they are thinking!

I am wondering what I will encounter in my parish. We are viewing an introductory video at all Masses this weekend, followed by a 3-night parish-mission format I will do with my pastor, starting week after next. Bulletin articles have been ongoing since June, but I suspect the reaction will also be mixed.

Nobody said this would be easy.

Anonymous said...


You might educate people on what Actuosa Participatio truly means.

Ben Dunlap said...

Regarding the objection on ecumenical grounds, which appears in various forms quite a bit:

It seems to me that any changes that bring our liturgy into more visible (audible?) continuity with Roman-Rite tradition, as this one will, can only improve our relations with the Eastern Orthodox.

And there's no Christian group to whom we're closer in faith and practice -- nor any schism that's older. So even if the new translation hurts some Protestant ears, perhaps that's a worthwhile trade-off for better relations with the Orthodox.