Thursday, August 5, 2010

Liturgy Without Style and Grace: Apparently the New Translation Won't Play Well in Milwaukee

Over at Catholic Culture, this post this morning, quoting several priests from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on the Revised Roman Missal.  One priest described the translation's use of the English language as awkward:  "This reads like clunk-clunk-clunk-bang-boom.”  Apparently I'm not the only one bothered by the more than occasional lack of metrical grace in the language.

Ritual prayer should indeed be poetic as well as understandable by the entire praying community. However, as in all things unpleasant, even those of us who have higher standards for what is good English will gradually get used to it. As it has often been said, this is simply a matter of obedience. The value is fidelity to the Latin and not necessarily the comprehension of the faithful - but the essential meaning of the Mass will not change. With time and adequate catechesis (and I stress the importance of the latter) even this occasionally awkward antiquated-language version of the Mass will eventually become acceptable to most Catholics. Personally, I am simply grateful that even though it often uses long, archaic words and sentence structure more common to classical Latin than English, it does not revert to "Thee" and "Thou" to refer to God.

The related longer article from the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel is probably not particularly helpful to the faithful of the archdiocese. By publishing a negative reaction from the clergy, the press is adding fuel to the already considerable fire of outrage. Take a look and see what you think.

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