Vox Clara Cleans Up

English Mass translations got their final review last week in Rome. Let’s hope they avoided the snarling of the Ambrosian Lectionary (tip from PrayTell). Now that the discussions on particulars and on translation philosophy are concluded, what’s the process for plain ol’ dumb mistakes. A curious example from Father Anthony Ward of the CDWDS:

For instance, he said, the same Latin prayer may be used in two different Masses and may have been translated slightly differently during the bishops’ approval process.

Clearly, there’s more than one path to slavish accuracy.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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7 Responses to Vox Clara Cleans Up

  1. The post is a bit light on nuance. Vox clara is not “cleaning up” – they have advocated some of the modifications to the post Vatican II missal. Then, with respect to the Ambrosian lectinary, some of the criticism may be valid, while other observations from the Chiesa.it article are ideologically driven.


  2. Dreaming… Please read at least the translations of the 4 eucharistic prayers, posted on the USCCB website… A pastoral and theological disaster looms, and the Church will be an uglier place for all.

  3. There are three separate issues on which one appears to be confused. There is the issue of directly translating the prayers form Latin to English; then there is the process by which this is debated and approved by the episcopal conference; then there is the process by which the Holy See approves the texts.

    To lay blame with those who want “slavish accuracy” misses the point that a lot of people were upset with a translation that prioritized idiomatic usage over theological consistency (not accuracy). And that is not say there is something wrong with an idiomatic translation. However, it cannot be so vernacularized that the original intent is obfuscated.

  4. Todd says:

    clericus, I would actually be in an unnamed camp: those who prize artistic expression in something (the liturgy) that is a bit more of a work of art than a catechetical audiobook.

  5. the same Latin prayer may be used in two different Masses and may have been translated slightly differently during the bishops’ approval process.

    That’s found in the present translation of the Missal as well, something which came to my attention on Christmas Day. The Collect that morning is essentially the exact same prayer as that said during the mingling of the water and wine during the Offertory in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass; half (or so) of that Offertory prayer has been retained in the Ordinary Form.

    What caught my attention was that the English translation of the latter half of the Collect (“Your Son shared our weakness:
    may we share his glory”) sounded so different from the corresponding text of that Offertory prayer (“may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity”).

  6. Jeffrey:

    Good catch. Thanks for the example


    “those who prize artistic expression…”

    Well, I think we’re all realizing how difficult it is to translate a liturgical text.

    Here’s something we haven’t considered – the music. The “gloria” we have become accustomed to in its various mass settings will have to be re-set to completely new music, as the wording has changed, the meter (and therefore the whole music) has to change as well.

    I dont know why they dont take meter into account in the translations.

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