Mass translation?

Mass translation?

Philip Holberton

I read your article in the July AD2000 almost with disbelief: the quotations you give with approval from the "new" translation are almost the same as the "crib" in my wife's 1952 (pre-Vatican II) Latin missal, apart from updating "thy" to "your", "on earth peace to men of goodwill", "sins of the world", "I believe" for the opening of the Creed, and "my sacrifice and yours" at the Orate Fratres.

It has, at the Consecration, "his venerable hands" and further on, "behold" the Lamb of God, and "come under my roof". (This last may keep the Scriptural echoes, but it suggests that I am not good enough to take the Host to my home in a pyx: the present version makes it clear that I am unworthy to receive Our Lord in Communion.)

Why, after 50 years, is the Church going back to the past? Why are we being taken back to an English which is no longer current? Who now says "grievous", "of your bounty", "deigned"? "Venerable" now implies that Christ was an old man at the time of the Last Supper.

The document Liturgiam Authenticam (27) says: "The principles set forth in this Instruction will contribute to the gradual development, in each vernacular, of a sacred style that will come to be recognised as proper to liturgical language". But if you want a special liturgical language, why not go back to Latin?

I agree with you that steering through the reforms will be a major challenge. There must be many like me who hoped and believed that "vernacular" meant "the colloquial or distinctive speech of a people or community" as the Oxford English Dictionary has it, so that we could address God (our Father, Abba) in the liturgy in our ordinary everyday speech, not in some special, remote and "somewhat obsolete" (Liturgiam Authenticam's own words!) version of English.

Willawarrin, NSW

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