Grail Psalter: 341 Revisions

Even the post-Resurrection apostles didn’t net that many.

GIA reports on the Revised Grail Psalter:

When the Vatican sent its recognitio for the Revised Grail Psalms to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, there were also 341 alterations to the text. The bishops are currently in dialogue with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments seeking clarification on the changes. As of the posting of this notice, GIA has not received the final text. Once we do, it will take a brief time to incorporate the agreed-upon changes and submit the final version to the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship in Washington, DC, for approval. At that point, it will be immediately available to all via digital means and, soon thereafter, in printed form. (For information on licensing the Revised Grail Psalms for print and use, go to licensing.) For more information on the Revised Grail Psalms visit www.conceptionabbey.org

Okay, I have some questions here.

First, what purpose does it serve to let GIA’s e-public know that the CDWDS made, on average, almost seven alterations to each psalm?

Second, what’s with clarification? Doesn’t the CDWDS provide reasons for what they do? Or is “clarification” really something like “negotiation,” and the US bishops are really suggesting that you can’t use a Latin construction to extend one line of a couplet to eleven run-on syllables to match its partner with four.

Third, anybody want to leak a sample comparison of the submitted and the returned texts?

Fourth, suppose the alterations seriously damage the ability to proclaim and sing these texts.

A. Would Conception Abbey release a damaged product anyway?

B. Would they pull out?

And lastly, if Conception pulled out, what would Rome and the USCCB do then? Back to square one for the psalms?

Or maybe this is all idle speculation, and that 341 changes were really minor stuff like spelling errors, misplaced commas, and easy grammatical fixes. Right?

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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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9 Responses to Grail Psalter: 341 Revisions

  1. Michael Demers says:

    Lord, have mercy! This sounds like not even the Benedictines of Conception Abbey can satisfy CDWDS. I fear that this Revised Grail Psalter will not be any better than the one currently in use.

  2. Michael Demers says:

    At least the Coverdale psalter found in the old Book of Common Prayer is still being used and sung in the Anglican Use approved for Catholics.

  3. Michael Demers says:

    You’ll find the Coverdale psalter in the link below that’s approved for the Daily Office of the Catholic Church according to the Anglican Use:

    http://bookofhours.org/

  4. Charles R. Williams says:

    Any chant system used to “sing” the psalms must be flexible enough to handle an accurate translation. The psalms are prayed and not proclaimed. They can only be understood when prayed as the prayer of Christ and the Church through all of history and in the light of the gospel. So we cannot expect the psalms to be immediately comprehensible or to relate directly to the religious sentiments of the people praying them.

    It is essential to get the psalms right. They are the heart of the LOH. The English translation should be good enough to stand the test of time and appeal to non-Catholics and people who speak English throughout the world.

    Let the Vatican take its time. We really cannot afford another disaster like the ICEL translations we use for the mass today.

  5. Todd says:

    Charles, I agree with some of what you’ve posted. Regarding:

    “The psalms are prayed and not proclaimed.”

    Both are true. Psalms are part of the inspired Word of God, and as such are part of the kerygmatic expression of Christ.

    You are right we need to take time with this. That the CDWDS would find 341 revisions to be made from a ten-year effort by Scripture scholars is curious, if not disturbing. Don’t you find that to be so?

  6. Michael Demers says:

    It’s a very messy history we have with the different psalters we use in our mass, liturgy of the hours, and the bible. See link below:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/08/breviary-psalter-variations-drilling-into-psalm-1/

  7. Sam Schmitt says:

    I think it’s a safe bet that the CDWS is employing the principles found in Liturgiam Authenticam, particularly nos. 34-45. It’s clear there that the Church’s own understanding of the Scriptures in the liturgy, not the current “consensus” of Scripture scholars, is what has the last word.

  8. Todd says:

    I have no doubt about this, Sam. I would suggest they lack the competence in liturgy, Scripture, and in the English language to do this.

    Let’s also keep in mind that there is more than Scripture scholarship happening with the Grail Psalter. Religious men and women pray the Psalter many times daily, often in song. Not only do people like Abbot Gregory have competence as scholars, but they also have the praxis of praying the Psalms. Personally, I can’t imagine why the CDWDS wouldn’t just sign off on this when they’re trumped big time on three counts: the Bible, the liturgy, and the language.

  9. Pingback: Good Enough « Catholic Sensibility

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