Sunday, December 18, 2011

Four weeks in and all is well

Happy Fourth Week of Advent! While that is enough to celebrate in and of itself (well, mostly because it means Christmas is nearly here), this year there is extra reason to rejoice (ok, maybe this would have been more appropriate last Sunday... lol). Today marks the fourth Sunday that the new translation of the Roman Missal has been used throughout the English-speaking Catholic world.

I have been excited about the new translation for over a year and a half after attending a workshop for musicians. As someone who has studied Latin (not that much, but enough to know the Mass parts) and also knows the Mass in Hungarian along with understanding enough Spanish, French, Italian, and German to follow along some what, it was easy to see how great of a gift these translations would be for our Church. Compared to the languages listed, the English one was hardly an accurate translation of the Latin. "And also with you" does not translate to "Et cum spiritu tuo" like "Es a te lelkeddel" or "Und mit deinem Geiste" or "E con il tuo spirito." Conversely, "And with your spirit" as in the new translation is a perfect fit. I don't know a word of Tagalog but just looking at the text for the Confiteor shows that "sa aking salà, sa aking
salà, sa aking pinakamalakíng salà" shows that "through my fault" is repeated thrice and with an additional word the third time. (All of the translations, except the Hungarian, are from "The Traveler's Mass" page on http://www.angilella.it/missa/ )

Another big advantage with the revised translation is the uniformity throughout the English speaking Catholic world. In the past, there have been different translations (albeit with only small differences, but differences nonetheless) in different countries. This became interesting with a group of Catholics from different English speaking countries like the English Mass community that I was part of in Hungary. The new translation solves that problem.

I know that many people were unhappy about the revision. The use of more sacramental vocabulary was off-putting to those who want the Mass to be as common as possible. They argued that it was foolish to "go back 40 years" and have to relearn something "so ingrained." "Bah Humbug!" say I! The Mass is not something common. It is a miracle. An amazing gift that we could never fully comprehend. So why should the language used be anything less? And as for relearning... go to daily Mass for a few weeks. I can't guarantee that you'll get it perfect right away but the extra grace will benefit you in more than just remembering to say "and with your spirit!"

Finally, a very clever parody as to why this is such a good thing. Just like sacramental language sounds funny in this setting, so is "kitchen English" ridiculous for the most sacred ritual on Earth. I doubled over laughing as I read this out loud to my family after a friend posted it on facebook.