|The things which create a barrier to immediate, word-by-word comprehension are the same|
things that create a sense of awe in the liturgy.
Never one to wait before jumping on such a bandwagon, Mgr Basil Loftus has this weekend weighed in, to explain that the 2011 translation was a conspiracy by traditionalists. Yes, really. (The Catholic Times, 20 March 2015.)
The present English translation was sired by a Roman Curia Divine Worship Congregation which in all but name was a Trojan Horse for the infiltration of the Tridentine-rite Mass into the wider Church. At that time you had more chance of finding a needle in a haystack than of identifying one of its senior officials who celebrated Mass in any other rite.
There were no priests who only said the EF at the Congregration at that time. This is just a paranoid swipe at Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, its then Prefect, and its secretaries Cardinal Ranjith (until 2005) and Archbishop di Noia (from 2005), each of whom say the EF occasionally.
Loftus goes on to explain their motivation.
Like the Gestapo in the Channel Islands during the last war who had to admit that they couldn't make everyone speak German, but forced them to drive on the right-hand side of the road, that Congregation had, regretfully, to admit that it could no longer make everyone worship in Latin, but by means of an unintelligible translation it would force them to conform to an alien culture in order to demonstrate its own superiority.
I'm not sure this paragraph actually makes sense. But comparing Cardinal Cañizares to the Gespapo does not, at any rate, appear to be an example of treating prelates with the respect due to their office. Loftus has the gall to claim, in this column, in parenthesis:
I do listen to my critics, at least the polite ones!
I suppose he's not expecting anyone to listen to him. But there is some point in asking why he has to come up with such a strange and incoherent explanation for the 2011 translation. He cannot bear to confront the fact that it was, in response to the 2001 Instruction Liturgiam authenticam, an attempt to use a language whose dignity and beauty made it appropriate for use in the sacred liturgy.
It is impossible, really, to deny that beauty and dignity should have anything to do with it. The idea that the Mass should be said in words appropriate to teaching small children to read created something in the 1973 ICEL translation which did nothing to stop the massive lapsation of adult Catholics in the English-speaking world in that decade, and has done nothing to stop young people leaving the church since. It was embarassingly banal. But it gave the translators the power to impose their theology on the rest of us: leaving out key words and phrases, with tendentious translations of others. The Holy See had to act, and so, in its characteristic way, it did: 25 years later it rejected a 'more of the same' version and, 12 years after that, it approved a genuine improvement.
But the argument about beauty and dignity is not one Loftus wants to have, because it opens up too much. Taken to its logical conclusion, we'd just use Latin: the most beautiful, particularly as it allows us to use the Church's patrimony of Sacred Music; the most dignified; the most closely associated with the liturgy.
Loftus spends a lot of his column banging on yet again about how Pope Benedict XVI was wrong to insist on 'for many' as a translation of 'pro multis'; I have addressed that here.
See also the Position Paper on Latin as a Liturgical Language, and, on the question of translation, on the Vulgate.
|St Edmund's College, Ware|
Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.