Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New Translation

Yes, yes, it's completely exciting that we're getting a New (and unlike New Coke, improved) Mass in English, which will make catechizing the little pagans much easier, and which I'll post about in more detail later. In the meantime, get ready for whining from the pews and desks about having to, like, learn new stuff, y'know?

Just to show ya how old this Anglophone complaint is, let's look at the Preface to the 1611 King James Bible, which followed hot on the heels of the Douai-Rheims Bible, which was the English translation done under the auspices of the Catholic Church. In trying to stay faithful to the source text (St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate), the D-R translators borrowed some Latin words (some of which had first been borrowed from Greek) into their English Bible. The KJV translators, however, objected to putting such scholarly, unfamiliar words into a book which the common man should be able to understand, and said as much.

First, unlike the Puritans, they aren't gonna fiddle with what already works:

"Lastly, we have on the one side avoided the scrupulosity of the Puritans, who leave the old Ecclesiastical words, and betake them to other, as when they put WASHING for BAPTISM, and CONGREGATION instead of CHURCH..."

That is, Greek words such as 'Baptism' βαπτίζω are ok when everybody already knows them, and there's no point in replacing them with plain Anglo-Saxon stock such as 'Washing.' Which makes me wonder about those Puritans: 'washing' wouldn't translate 'baptize' all that well for the full-immersion-no-sprinkling crowd. And sturdy Anglo-Saxon 'Church' beats the Latin-sourced 'Congregation' any day. English people are familiar with Baptism and Church...leave well enough alone. (I wonder why they didn't try to translate Shakespeare into English? That's a little joke.)

Nor will they get hoity-toity like the Catholics across the Channel:

"....as also on the other side we have shunned the obscurity of the Papists, in their AZIMES, TUNIKE, RATIONAL, HOLOCAUSTS, PRAEPUCE, PASCHE, and a number of such like, whereof their late Translation is full, and that of purpose to darken the sense, that since they must needs translate the Bible, yet by the language thereof, it may be kept from being understood. But we desire that the Scripture may speak like itself, as in the language of Canaan, that it may be understood even of the very vulgar."

And to some extent they are right: who knows what azimes are? But then again, tunic, rational, and holocausts have been regular English words for a long time now, and thank ya Douai-Rheims for them; I suppose the KJV translators roll over in their graves every time an Englishman says "rational." Even Paschal is standard Church vocabulary on both sides of the Atlantic. Regarding praepuce...well, this isn't a blog about plumbing, and even to mention it is to say too much.

So the little effort it'll take to get acquainted with the new Mass in English should be worth it, and I can already assure you, neither azimes nor praepuce makes an appearance, thank goodness. We sure don't need no stinkin' azimes: if English was good enough for Jesus it's good enough for me.

This article has also been posted at Amazing Catechists.

15 comments:

Renee said...

I'm one of the whiners. HOW are we going to learn new responses when none of us use missalettes? Heck, some parishes don't even have them in their pews.
One of my favorite parts of Mass (outside of Consecration) is "Lord, I am not worth to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed" ... now it's going to be something about entering a house.... Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed......
it's going to be many years before I am not saying it the way I've said it for 4 decades

kkollwitz said...

Yeah...none of my family uses the Missalette either. We'll just have to pick it up again long enough to get the hang of the changes.

That's my favorite line as well.

evanscove said...

How much change is in the works regarding the mass?

I've taken to using the D-R version, as opposed to the New American Bible, which I suspect borders on paraphrase at times--not to mention that the language falls flat compared to the D-R, or even the KJV.

Evan

kkollwitz said...

Evan, my impression is that the new Mass is changed everywhere, but only in detail. Most people will wonder why the Church bothered.

Yes, I like the RSV-CE, the D-R and the KJV as well, and do use them in class in small doses. But the standard is the NAB, partly for its fine notes, and also because it's what the kids hear at Mass.

Colleen said...

Great post. Thanks.

RAnn said...

Your post is funny. As far as how we are going to learn them, my guess is that in my parish they'll be on the front wall via Powerpoint, like our hymns are. I'm sure most parishes will call the changes to people's attention and either pass out flyers or recommend use of missallettes. From what I've read it sound like the old is new again. For a short while after the mass was no longer in Latin, the prayers were more like what I've been reading they will be.

Renee said...

they'll be on the front wall via Powerpoint, like our hymns are................WOW, seriously Ruth???? I have never seen that in a Catholic church. It was quite common in the Protestant congregations in military chapel

Renee said...

http://www.usccb.org/romanmissal/ Click on Sample Texts to see what is being changed

kkollwitz said...

Our pastor is already discussing the new translation from the pulpit. By the time Novemeber 2011 rolls around, we'll be ready.

Barb Schoeneberger said...

Those who whine about this should put themselves in the place of those of us who had the beautiful Traditional Mass ripped from us in 1964. Even the English translations back then were far superior to what ICEL imposed on us. The responses of the people that are changed will be much more true to the Latin of the Missal and to sacred scripture as well. I am looking forward to it for those times when I attend the Novus Ordo. Just wish we didn't have to wait until 2011. Words do matter.

kkollwitz said...

"those of us who had the beautiful Traditional Mass ripped from us in 1964"

You must be about my age.

Kathleen@so much to say, so little time said...

The changes are really pretty minor from the pews, except for the Gloria (which I'll admit is a big shift. I still have to rewrite the Gloria setting I wrote years ago, so people can keep using it. Eek.). LIke "And with your spirit" instead of "And also with you." I've heard a lot of whining already about this, but I think it'll be fine, it'll just take a little time.

Kathleen@so much to say, so little time said...

BTW, if you have a pastor already doing catechesis, hallelujah!

kkollwitz said...

"a pastor already doing catechesis"

It's a pretty gung-ho parish.

Nod said...

Ha ha! Nice!