Vatican II wasn't the problem. We can thank the missing altar rails, flower pots used as chalice and patten, and hidden Tabernacles on wacky folks here in America and elsewhere in the English-speaking world.
The Gospel According to NewsweekFolks who should have known better apparently forgot that op-ed columns in The New York Times, Newsweek, and the Sydney Morning Herald don't carry the same authority as the Magisterium.
That was then, this is now.
A new Roman Missal, English translation, goes into effect in Advent this year. We've been going through a sort of familiarization course during Mass in the parish church. We're celebrating Mass the way we're supposed to, using the 36-year-old format: and learning about what's coming.
And why we'll be using a less-bollixed-up translation.
Why Can't the Vatican Use English, Like Everybody Else?The official language of the Catholic Church is Latin. Two thousand years ago, in the parts of the world where Christianity started, Latin was one of the languages folks used, if they wanted to communicate with someone who didn't live in their area. English serves the same function today, but the language I grew up with wouldn't exist for more than a dozen centuries - and the Catholic Church couldn't wait that long.
Once Latin - and Greek - and Hebrew - were established as languages used in documentation, the Catholic Church kept using the same language. That's not being 'old fashioned' or 'stubborn.' It's common sense.
'Lost in Translation'Translation from one language to another is fairly straightforward. As long as the statements are fairly simple. Like "yes," "no," or "you're stranding on my foot." When more complicated ideas are involved: that's when a message can get garbled in translation.
Here's an example of what can happen:
- Original (American English)
- You should never stand in for a stranger.
- Translation to Spanish:
- Usted nunca debe sustituir a un extraño.
- Translation back into English:
- You should never replace a stranger.
The point is that there's much less chance for someone changing a message, if the message is left in its original language. Which for the Catholic Church, is generally Latin.
I don't think it helps that English is a Germanic language, without the ties to Latin that Romance languages like Italian, Spanish, and French have. And that's almost another topic.
I BelieveHere's a 'before' and 'after' example from the Roman Missal. The corrected translation is, I'm told, closer to what the original Latin says. This is the Nicene Creed:
|Current translation||Corrected translation|
|We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.|
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
|I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. |
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds
from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
"CREDO," Not "Credimus"Why change from the nice, relatively impersonal, 'I'm just one of the crowd' "we believe?" We've been using the 'me to' translation for three dozen years now, it's sort of a tradition: and it's good to be 'traditional,' right?
Besides, that "I believe" seems to be focusing rather uncomfortably on what I believe - and may be held accountable for.
There's a pretty good reason for having us say "I believe." That's pretty much what we're supposed to say:
"Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipoténtem, Factorem cæli et terræ, visibílium ómnium et invisibilium Et in unum Dóminum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei unigénitum et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sǽcula: Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lúmine, Deum verum de Deo vero, génitum, non factum, consubstantiálem Patri: per quem ómnia facta sunt; qui propter nos hómines et propter nostram salútem, descéndit de cælis, et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto ex Maria Víirgine et homo factus est, crucifíxus étiam pro nobis sub Póntio Piláto, passus et sepúltus est, et resurréxit tértia die secúndum Scriptúras, et ascéndit in cælum, sedet ad déxteram Patris, et íterum ventúrus est cum glória, iudicáre vivos et mórtuos, cuius regni non erit finis...."It's "credo," not credimus!"
(Symbolum Nicænum Costantinopolitanum, "Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church")
As for what sort of authority the Catholic Church has, telling me what I should believe - that's another topic.
- "Another Autocrat Gone; Roman Missal, Third Edition, Coming"
(October 23, 2011)
- "New Missal Coming: This is Going to be Interesting"
(November 22, 2010)
- "Mass, Liturgy, Nostalgia, and being Catholic in America"
(November 19, 2010)
- "Catholic Vestment Colors: Symbols of Our Beliefs"
(July 23, 2010)
- "Miracles, Mass, Bread and Wine"
(June 7, 2010)
- The Creeds
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 185-197)
- The Niceno-Constantinopolitan or Nicene Creed
- The Niceno-Constantinopolitan or Nicene Creed
- "Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church"
Libreria Editrice Vaticana (2005)
- "In the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, why has 'one in being with the Father' been changed to 'consubstantial with the Father?' "
FAQ, Welcoming the Roman Missal, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops