Saturday, 26 November 2011

"Is it the Latin text, its translation or its communication that you dislike?"

A friend who likes the new text asked me this question, when he had read my early reflections on the translation.  Whether the pinch points in the revised liturgy actually arise from the Latin text or from the translation is neither here nor there to me: the effect matters. To my friend conformity to the Latin is his overriding concern, "not for its own sake but because it represents unity, where the words are the same the world over and they transcend time much like the Mass itself."

We agreed that the information given us had dodged important questions, such as about the process that led to the text (at what points did the English speaking Bishops give assent to the texts? - I'd just like to know). Above all we agreed that the communication of the text, and some of the recommended reading about the text was simply patronising assuming a childish, not childlike, faith among the laity. For example, "They do it this way in Italy" did not seem a good reason for justifying some of the text to me, having been there in a church around 2001 where only women communicated, and men turned up for the Blessed Sacrament procession once a year. (The feast of the Assumption in Catania was fantastic, though.... procession, celebration, and so many fireworks... all let off at once.)

Does change have to come via a centralised Latin text, or can we have some scope to respond to the Spirit in our regions and cultures of the world, if with guidelines and frameworks? That implies faith in the Spirit, and a decentralisation of power that is not seemingly in mind in the Vatican Curia.

I don't know how to put "God's love and life fill every nucleus and force in nature, every galaxy and every person", into Latin.  Nor can I say in Latin "May God forgive my sins against people, myself, the planet and its climate."   I just want to hear something like this said in the Mass - now.

So, is it the Latin text, its translation or its comunication that I dislike? Yes.

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