Liturgiam Authenticam 2

For those convinced that Vatican II was hijacked in some wholesale way, the Church instead views the Council as a beginning of liturgical reform, not a legislative end:

2. Thereupon there began, under the care of the Supreme Pontiffs, the great work of renewal of the liturgical books of the Roman Rite, a work which included their translation* into vernacular languages, with the purpose of bringing about in the most diligent way that renewal of the sacred Liturgy which was one of the foremost intentions of the Council.

And here’s the footnote, more than twice as long as the actual section itself:

*The notion of the act of rendering a given text into another language is often expressed in Latin by the words versio, conversio, interpretatio, redditio, and even mutatio, transductio or similar words. Such is also the case in the Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium and many other recent documents of the Holy See. Nevertheless, the sense often attributed to these terms in modern languages involves some variation or discrepancy from the original text and its meaning. For the purpose of excluding any ambiguity in this Instruction, which treats explicitly of the same theme, the word translatio, with its cognates, has been preferred. Even if their use presents some difficulty as regards Latin style or is redolent of a “neologism”, such terms nevertheless have a certain international character and are able to communicate the present intent of the Apostolic See, as they are able to be employed in many languages without the danger of error.

Here we arrive at what might be the first problem in LA: how to understand and translate “the act of rendering a given text into another language.” Does it serve the Church to “prefer” translatio exclusively or primarily? Apparently some in Rome don’t think so, otherwise, we would have seen less interpretatio in the most recent stage (2008-2011) of promulgating MR3. And, of course, the question: does Latin retain a certain international character spoken of here?

And a third question: does an accurate human translation absolutely remove the “danger of error”? In other words, does it take the guardianship of the truth away from the Holy Spirit? Or even away from the actions of liturgical leaders? Too much reliance on the translated word to maintain our Roman identity? I don’t have answers to that, but I’m interested in what the commentators here might have to say.

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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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3 Responses to Liturgiam Authenticam 2

  1. Even if their use presents some difficulty as regards Latin style or is redolent of a “neologism”, such terms nevertheless have a certain international character and are able to communicate the present intent of the Apostolic See….

    And, of course, the question: does Latin retain a certain international character spoken of here?

    Todd, for clarification’s sake, “international character” is mentioned in the footnote, number one. And, I’m not sure that the footnote explanation is actually advancing the notion that Latin, per se, has that certain “international character” as stated.
    What’s your take?

  2. Todd says:

    I suspect that Latin is seen as an ideal in many quarters, and whatever helps that boat to float will be utilized. Even at the expense of a long Roman tradition of borrowing from other cultures what is needed to get the core message across.

  3. Copernicus says:

    There’s an enormous irony in that footnote: the authors of LA don’t like any of the Latin words meaning ‘translation’, so instead they borrow the English word and chisel it into a Latin shape. International character is shorthand for “we know what it means in English”.

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