Liturgiam Authenticam 27

How texts are worded might concede the universality of the Church’s liturgy. I can see the virtue there–to a point. There’s also no need to be overly servile to the past:

27. Even if expressions should be avoided which hinder comprehension because of their excessively unusual or awkward nature, the liturgical texts should be considered as the voice of the Church at prayer, rather than of only particular congregations or individuals; thus, they should be free of an overly servile adherence to prevailing modes of expression. If indeed, in the liturgical texts, words or expressions are sometimes employed which differ somewhat from usual and everyday speech, it is often enough by virtue of this very fact that the texts become truly memorable and capable of expressing heavenly realities. Indeed, it will be seen that the observance of the principles set forth in this Instruction will contribute to the gradual development, in each vernacular, of a sacred style that will come to be recognized as proper to liturgical language. Thus it may happen that a certain manner of speech which has come to be considered somewhat obsolete in daily usage may continue to be maintained in the liturgical context. In translating biblical passages where seemingly inelegant words or expressions are used, a hasty tendency to sanitize this characteristic is likewise to be avoided. These principles, in fact, should free the Liturgy from the necessity of frequent revisions when modes of expression may have passed out of popular usage.

This is one of the weaker sections in LA. The real discussion, at least for English, has long bypassed (indeed if it were ever there) the question about modern expressions. For the past decade, the CDWDS has avoided and deflected attention away from the more important question: are there grammatical and poetic constructions in vernacular languages that deepen comprehension of spiritual matters? I think we have to concede there are.

As for the English/Latin problem, the two languages have far different systems of comprehension. Word origins in English–no one denies that. But Latin is rather independent of word order. English relies more on the spoken nuance to communicate subtlety, as word order is vital to understanding the basics of what is said or written.

We will always have Latin scholars, I’m sure. Such persons hold an important key to the understanding of the Missale Romanum and other liturgy books. That this key be more preserved in the texts–that strikes me as a fear-driven and narcissistic approach by the curia. And when you[‘re blundering about in the virtues of communion, maybe that’s all that’s left.

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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.
This entry was posted in Liturgiam Authenticam, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Liturgiam Authenticam 27

  1. Liam says:

    It’s a rationalization pretending to be a reason.

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