Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

That whole ICEL thing

Unless you have been in a cryogenic chamber, by now you know all about the changes to the Mass voted upon by the USCCB and the arguments in favor of this and against that. This is not what I'm addressing.

While a lot of reports (most? all?) stress is that, says the Vatican, the English translation of the Mass should conform closely to Latin. But what nobody is saying is the reason for this goal is not because Latin is somehow "magical." The idea is for the English version to be like every single solitary other language in Christendom's. As someone who attends Mass in Spanish and English, the differences are stark and jarring.

I agree with the Wall Street Journal's take on this: a translation this abysmal cannot happen by accident. Something this awful is only done on purpose. Its awfulness is manifest in two primary ways:

1- It weakens the sense of universality; when EVERY SINGLE OTHER TRANSLATION has X but English has Y, this cannot possibly enhance the sense of universality.

2- It waters down the catechetical nature of the Mass. (To say nothing of dumbing it down.)

There. Now you have my views on the matter.