Comme Le Prevoit 14-15

We’ll just cover the first point and save the others for a future post:

14. The accuracy and value of a translation can only be assessed in terms of the purpose of the communication. To serve the particular congregations who will use it, the following points should be observed in translating.

15. a. The language chosen should be that in “common” usage, that is, suited to the greater number of the faithful who speak it in everyday use, even “children and persons of small education” (Paul VI in the allocution cited). However, the language should not be “common” in the bad sense, but “worthy of expressing the highest realities” (ibid.). Moreover, the correct biblical or Christian meaning of certain words and ideas will always need explanation and instruction. Nevertheless no special literary training should be required of the people; liturgical texts should normally be intelligible to all, even to the less educated. For example, temptation as a translation of tentatio in the Lord’s Prayer is inaccurate and can only be misleading to people who are not biblical scholars. Similarly, scandal in the ordinary English sense of gossip is a misleading translation of the scriptural scandalum. Besides, liturgical texts must sometimes possess a truly poetic quality, but this does not imply the use of specifically “poetic diction.”

This means striking a careful balance. But I can think of examples of “common” usage covering various education levels that need not touch upon the “bad sense,” presumably of slang and other constructions the internet hyper-Catholics seem ready to attribute to Bishop Trautman and others.

The poetry of e.e. cummings comes to mind immediately as an example of what the Consilium seems to be aiming at.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Comme Le Prevoit, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Comme Le Prevoit 14-15

  1. Liam says:

    Well, if there’s one thing that’s true, the American bishops will made very clear they will countenance the customary English Catholic wording of the Our Father changing “temptation” or any other word in it; that’s a good example of how even the provisions of Comme le Prevoit were not followed in a consistent way.

  2. Liam says:

    Correction due to backspace error: will NOT countenance…

  3. Rob F. says:

    CLP#15 starts out well, but the concrete examples it gives seem poor. It’s hard to see how the choice of the phrase “lead us not into temptation” can be much improved in English. I’ve heard it rendered “put us not to the test”, but this hardly seems adequate; most people today think of a test as an examination. In many contexts, Latin “tentatio” litterally means an attack, but in the context of the Lord’s Prayer, I’m not sure this is the best word to use. When you get right down to it, English “temptation” in this context is almost an exact equivalent to Latin “tentatio”, or at least as close an equivalent as we are likely to find.

    And keep in mind that we are supposed to be making a though-for-thought translation, and not a word-for-word. “Lead us not into temptation” captures the thought here quite admirably. I’d say there is a good reason this has become our customary version of the Lord’s prayer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s