Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Let's get ready to rummmmmmmmmmmble! [UPDATED][AGAIN!]

Many people, especially at the uniformly excellent The New Liturgical Movement blog, have been batting around the will he/won't he/when of the Motu Proprio of the Holy Father as re. the liberalization of the Traditional (i.e. "Tridentine") Mass. Many are worried the motu proprio (literally "of his own motivation" but effectively "Because I'm the Pope and I say so.") is not going to come to pass and, given the attitudes of bishops like Roger Cardinal Mahony, there is much worry and concern.

However, I ran across what I humbly consider to be the money quote from The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis of His Holiness Benedict XVI:

"Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant ... (Sacramentum Caritatis, 62)"

My guesstimate is the Holy Father is seeking to blunt any criticism (unwarranted though it may be) that to liberalize the Traditional Latin Liturgy is equivalent to pretending Vatican II never happened. [In fact, it's actually pretending everyone actually properly read the documents, but never mind my cynical asides.]

Of course, I am shocked -- SHOCKED, I tell you! -- that the English translation is, um, not in full synchrony with the Latin text. I know! I was surprised my own bad self, but it seems true. Check it out:

Here you have the Latin:
"...exceptis lectionibus, homilia et oratione fidelium, aequum est ut huiusmodi celebrationes fiant lingua Latina."

which is properly translated in Spanish:
"...exceptuadas las lecturas, la homilía y la oración de los fieles, sería bueno que dichas celebraciones fueran en Latín."

and stands in contrast to the English:
"...that, with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin."

The rub is that the "could be" woulda been more accurately translated as "would be better" or "it would be better/best/good if..." If it were not Lent and I had not given up being cynical, I'd say someone at the Vatican is providing ICEL-like air cover for those who desire wiggle room as their main place of residence.

[UPDATE] It seems I'm not the only one to have had this idea. (Go read the VERY estimable Fr. Zuhlsdorf's. Now.) I'd hate to think my cynicism towards the output of whoever is doing the Latin-to-English translating over at the Vatican is contagious. But it sure seems that way. After having to do a bit of research on what the GIRM really says about Ad Orientem, my own personal weaknesses have led me to look upon the English version of Whateverum Documentum with, er, a gimlet eye. It's one of the blessings of being fluent in a couple of languages and conversant in a few more.

Anyway, the question naturally arises: "Why is the English translation so clearly off-kilter?" The fact its off-kilterness is so pellucidly clear and obvious, to me, indicates reasonable cause for worry as stated above. Absent any further information, I believe this was no accident or innocent mistake. Perhaps someone is trying to prevent Bp. Trautman's hypertension from flaring up, perhaps its something more nefarious. Either way, it makes the little alarm bells in my head go ringy-dingy.

Of course, the next two questions are: "What can be done about this?" and "How long will it take the Usual Suspects to trot out the 'could'?"

[UPDATE #2]

Interestingly, we have another interesting translation, afforded us by some wacky funster:

(§62, 183) In English: "nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant."

In Spanish: "se procurará que los mismos fieles conozcan las oraciones más comunes en latín y que canten en gregoriano algunas partes de la liturgia."

In the original Latin: "neque neglegatur copia ipsis fidelibus facienda ut notiores in lingua Latina preces ac pariter quarundam liturgiae partium in cantu Gregoriano cantus cognoscant."

Notice, if you'd be ever so kind, that the English rendering of this tidbit is equally concessive. "Yeah, sure, you can, if you really want to, teach the faithful..." as opposed to "it will be made sure the faithful will know..." or "do not neglect to..." In this case the English is at even greater variance with the Latin and all other translations. Again, why a discrepancy so large and so at variance to everything else that it beggars belief to assume it was accidental?

In sum, though, I think the Holy Father is moving in a very deliberate, but inexorable fashion. I know many of my fellow travelers are, um, less than pleased with the rate of change under His Holiness, but I am of the opinion that B16 is a man who likes to move in such a way as to make these sorts of decisions hermetic.

AMDG,

-J.

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