The New (“Corrected”) Translation

It was interesting on Saturday night to experience for the first time the new translation of the ordinary (though, not the propers) of the Roman Missal.  I have no doubts that it is an improvement.  My PP doesn’t like it; or, rather, he says he doesn’t like the way it was arrived at and thinks some of it too literal.  Well, I take that point, I think especially with the Roman Canon which is so very Latin and so very ancient and we have been used to such minimalism for years and years.  It now sounds odd to hear “Abel the Just” and the exhortation of the host “these gifts, these offerings, these holy and unblemished sacrifices” or later “a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim” etc.  Nevertheless, this is what the Roman Canon says – so why not translate it?  In choosing not to translate these phrases – whether we like it or not – a decision has been made not he basis of some question of history (for example, ICEL dropped the “holy sacrifice, spotless victim” because they were considered a ‘gloss’) or belief that English is unable to bear this or that Latinate style or to a particular view of English (for example, in 1970, that “spouse” had become obsolete).  So, it was good to hear a translation which was actually just that, and not an ‘interpretation’, even if some of the translation choices are a little jarring (e.g. “simili modo” goes to “In a similar way” but better would be “Likewise” or “In like manner”).

Unfortunately, people find it difficult to change.  Everyone insisted on saying “and also with you”.  For me, it seemed pretty natural to go back to saying “and with your spirit” (the 1984 Prayerbook of the Church in Wales, which I grew up with, uses that response!).  I also like the introduction to the Lord’s prayer “we dare to say”; yes, we dare because Jesus is our brother (and saviour) and God the Father is our father too.  Next week, we are going to hear Eucharistic Prayer II.  Personally, I would happily hear the Roman Canon every week (along with all the saints); but, in this life we cannot have everything we would like!


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Filed under Liturgy, Translation

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