Friday, July 30, 2010

The New Translation of the Roman Missal

The Roman Missal is not an intercontinental ballistic missile from Rome (although some treat it as if it were!), it is the red book that a priest gets the prayers for Mass out of – and it is about to be changing. In 2002 Rome released a new Missal, but, as always, it was only released in Latin. The English translation has been worked on, argued over, and just recently approved by the Vatican for publication, and it looks like it will be implemented around Advent of next year.

As with anything in the Church, some people are mad about it. There was a decision to make the English closer to the Latin (a literal translation), as opposed to the translation principle of trying to interpret the Latin and find better English words than the literally translated words.

An example might help.

In Latin, at the beginning of Mass, the priest is to say
“Dominus Vobiscum” and the people respond “et cum spiritu tuo”

Dominus Vobiscum was translated literally as “The Lord be with you.”
“et cum spiritu tuo” was translated as “and also with you”, but the literal translation is “and with your spirit.” The committee working on the translation shucked the “and also with you” and will soon be going with “and with your spirit” – a more literal translation.

People are upset with what they believe to be a turning back of the clock to the pre-Vatican II days.

Frankly, this baffles me. I can’t imagine a) who really sees this as a threat, and b) who has time to care. I just can’t see why someone would be threatened by some new translations at Mass, and who would see that as a turning back of the clock. I’ve never heard anyone say – “we need to get back to the good old days when we said “and with your spirit!” (not to mention that “and with your spirit” has NEVER been said before, so how can it be a turning back of the clock?)

Also, it strikes me as such a weird thing to get upset about – it is a couple of words – and if the Church and the Bishops decide to go in a certain direction with the translations – great – let’s get behind it. My question to people a lot is this “does Christ speak to us through His Church, or does He not?” If He does, and I think He does, worrying and getting angry about whether or not it is “and with your spirit” or “and also with you” seems petty to me. Please note – I’m not saying that the words at Mass are insignificant, I’m saying worrying about why they aren’t what you want them to be is usually a sign of a deeper mistrust of the Church and Her Magisterium.