Thursday, June 17, 2010

So, what do teens think of the new translation?

Just read the interesting post by Father Anthony Ruff, OSB, of Pray Tell, on his informal survey of youth regarding the current translation, the 1997 translation and the new translation of some of the orations of the Mass.  Although this is far from scientific, it is worth noting that teens found the new translation difficult to understand.

These kids, who are almost all from practicing Catholic families, which makes them even more connected to church than the average American teen, mostly found the new translation difficult. Here are their comments from Father Ruff's post:

"Too complicated. Too wordy. The language flows nicely. Too many words that are not absolutely necessary. Words get confusing. Got bored – sounds too much like a huge compound sentence. Too long and really big words. Too difficult to relax and pray. Hard! The way it is worded sounds weird. More feeling. Too many big words. Easy to follow. I don’t know what some words mean. Thoughtful. Confusing. “Grant, we pray…” gets confusing. More imagery, very poetic. It is real, people can relate to it. Has words I would never use. It beats around the bush. Way too complicated and wordy. I stopped listening half way through. A bit wordy, but still understandable. Just too long. Very confusing. Does not sound like it is from the heart. A little too hard to follow. I don’t think everybody can connect to these words. Seems kind of scholarly."

Sounds as if only a few found anything positive to say.  More evidence that we have a lot of catechetical work to do in response to the upcoming implementation of the new Roman Missal.

So, publishers, where are the catechetical materials for children and youth?  Already most of the major liturgical catechetical publishers have put out materials to help adults. Although Liturgy Training Publications in Chicago is apparently in process on some workshops for catechists of children, materials for use in the classroom by catechists are definitely going to be needed.  Major catechetical textbook publishers are promising reprints or downloadable supplements with the corrections for the Mass responses, but will this include catechesis on their meaning? And if the celebrant's prayers, such as those used in Father Ruff's experiment, are too difficult for most teens to understand, how are we going to help them with those?  Will Mass just become an increasingly adult experience which alienates and bores children and teens? More food for thought.

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