Liturgiam Authenticam 59

A long sections gives us some food for thought on the oral proclamation of the texts of the liturgy:

59. Since liturgical texts by their very nature are intended to be proclaimed orally and to be heard in the liturgical celebration, they are characterized by a certain manner of expression that differs from that found in everyday speech or in texts intended be read silently. Examples of this include recurring and recognizable patterns of syntax and style, a solemn or exalted tone, alliteration and assonance, concrete and vivid images, repetition, parallelism and contrast, a certain rhythm, and at times, the lyric of poetic compositions. If it is sometimes not possible to employ in the translation the same stylistic elements as in the original text (as often happens, for example, in the case of alliteration or assonance), even so, the translator should seek to ascertain the intended effect of such elements in the mind of the hearer as regards thematic content, the expression of contrast between elements, emphasis, and so forth. Then he should employ the full possibilities of the vernacular language skillfully in order to achieve as integrally as possible the same effect as regards not only the conceptual content itself, but the other aspects as well. In poetic texts, greater flexibility will be needed in translation in order to provide for the role played by the literary form itself in expressing the content of the texts. Even so, expressions that have a particular doctrinal or spiritual importance or those that are more widely known are, insofar as possible, to be translated literally.

The oral communication of the liturgy is paramount. Even for those who follow a text in their seats, the oral dimension provides a vital layer of the full communication picture.

This is one of the better passages in this document. It recognizes the importance of the oral proclamation of texts. It does give a nod to the more poetic forms of the liturgy, however. That begs the question as to why the new Grail Psalter got that 341-piece revision. One wonders if the CDWDS, Vox Clara, and their traveling executives are familiar with their own documents.

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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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