Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Translation Thursday: Divergent Opinions

"New Translation Thursday" has arrived once again.

Thanks so much for your informative comments yesterday. I spent the morning with a few doctors. Good news is that the "boot" is off and I am in shoes and walking pretty well. Bad news is that they discovered that I fractured a rib in Saturday's fall. Just doesn't end, but hopefully I am on the mend. Thanks for your prayers for healing; I'll take anything I can get!

I received an e-mail this week from a friend who has ministered in catechesis for decades. This person wrote:

I read the post regularly and find your thoughts echo my own feelings - it is hard to be a catechist and engage in liturgical catechesis with the text of this liturgy.

I was at a funeral for a priest on Shrove Tuesday - it was well attended by his fellow priests and many many people who had been influenced by this man - it was clear that the presider - a good man - was struggling with the prayers - and the assembly answered with different responses - no sense of unity.

I fear that we shall lose a large number of our Catholic people over the age of 50 - this is not an easy time in our church and although I accept that change is tough - this is not just about change - it is about words that do not engage or draw people in.

A good friend said to me, "I am not sure that I can worship here long term - it is not good for my mental well being to return to a language of my childhood - a language that oppressed me." Her words return to me often.

My own hope for Gotta Sing Gotta Pray is that this is a place where people can help one another through mutual dialogue and respect. There seems to be such polarization in the Church right now and the new translation has become somewhat of a lightning rod. But we have to find ways to address the issues raised by my friend in this e-mail. I was speaking with another person working in a diocesan office of catechesis a few months before the advent of the new translation and she expressed exactly the opposite opinion. She felt that the new translation would afford opportunities to do a much deeper liturgical catechesis, especially with children. This person saw in the new translation a much "meatier" and "weightier" theology that would assist in a fuller catechesis.

Folks, the translation is still fairly new, and I am glad that people are talking about it pretty openly. It's so interesting how divergent the opinions and approaches are.

What would you say to the "good friend" mentioned above?

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Anonymous said...

Jerry The words meatier etc leave a bad feeling in my mind. could this women explain what she means. that term is so USA.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I think the terms "meatier" and "weightier" mean richer, more substantial, greater depth. I'm pretty sure that even those who are troubled by the sometimes challenging structure of the new translations' sentences would admit that the old 1973 ICEL propers were "dumbed down". The comparisons of 1973 vs 2011 abound on various blogs.

A case in point: three or four weeks ago, the homily by our deacon actually referred to the Collect of that Mass, in addition to the readings. In forty years I don't ever remember a homilist referring to the Collect. There is no doubt that this new translation conveys richer substance.

Jerry, as to your correspondent, where is this "oppressive" language of her childhood? I just don't hear it. The similarity of the 2011 translation to the first English translation in the mid-1960s - that of my youth - resonates fondly and deeply with me.

And does your friend have any evidence yet of "people over the age of 50" - like me - leaving the Church over the new improved texts?

Simon Ho said...

I guess it comes from your own perspectives and paradigms.

I have heard elderly gentlemen and ladies relish in the new translation precisely because the words were familiar from their childhood days.

I would ask her why she felt her childhood was oppresive - a healing of memories might well be needed in such a case.

Mental models.

Anonymous said...

Go to a Mass for school children. You'll see that they've embraced the change and sound unified! It picks me up when I am struggling with the responses to hear the children!

David said...

Seems to me that people of a certain generation often, properly or not, view ecclesial matters through a lens of oppression and struggle. The quote from this "good friend" reveals more about the "friend" than it does about the revised translation.