“The Missal’s Image of God”

A few months ago a friend sent me this video link of the most recent (Sept 2009) Godfrey Diekmann lecture at St John’s University. It features Msgr Bruce Harbert of ICEL presenting on the new translation with a response from Rev. Carl P. Daw. The presentation is lengthy, but it’s neat to see the ICEL head guy speaking with gentleness and tenacity, explaining in detail why ICEL has done as it has.

Msgr Harbert gives many examples, but moves full-speed ahead on starting first with the words of English and Latin that are similar or share a common family. He doesn’t seem to show much regard for the evolution of English since the Norman conquest or its Germanic roots as his respondent does.

Rev. Daw’s response begins about 51 minutes in. But don’t skip to it–stay for all of Msgr Harbert’s address. His point at about 1:22 is excellent: that Liturgiam Authenticam’s insistence on elevated language for liturgical objects (cup/chalice, vestments, vessels, etc.) has a potential unintended effect of eliminating our watch for God’s action in the ordinary.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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4 Responses to “The Missal’s Image of God”

  1. Gavin says:

    “starting first with the words of English and Latin that are similar or share a common family.”

    This is what troubles me most about the new translation (which I overall am in support of). Cognates do not NECESSARILY share the same meaning, and especially not connotation, in the other language. Not to mention it’s just lazy – again, resorting to “consubstantial” when the Anglicans figured out long ago to use “of one substance”. Some parts of the translation look like they just ran it through Babelfish and didn’t bother to proofread.

    Again: a vast improvement and definitely suitable for church use. I just wish they didn’t employ such a lazy attitude towards the texts as using cognates.

  2. Liam says:

    Gavin

    I agree about cognates (being someone whom Fowler would classify in the “Saxonist” camp of English word choice), and then there is the more serious issue of replication of syntax, which I think is the signal weakness of the current translation approach (along with what is absent, as was absent in the current translation, namely, the privileging of beauty in musicality in translation).

  3. Tony says:

    His point at about 1:22 is excellent: that Liturgiam Authenticam’s insistence on elevated language for liturgical objects (cup/chalice, vestments, vessels, etc.) has a potential unintended effect of eliminating our watch for God’s action in the ordinary.

    Todd, are you claiming that the Holy Mass is “ordinary”?

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