Lost in Translation

Well, Mass today was one of the last times I’ll get to experience Catholic Mass as I’ve come to know it for my 39 years.  In their infinite wisdom, the Catholic hierarchy has decided that the words to the Mass are too easy to straightforward and that we need to revert to more archaic language.  That will bring us, if not closer to God, closer to other Catholics also using more archaic translations to their own languages.  Or something like that.  Via the Post:

English-speaking Catholics are bracing for the biggest changes to their Mass since the 1960s, a shift some leaders warn could cause “ritual whiplash.”

The overhaul, which will become mandatory Nov. 27, is aimed at unifying the more than 1 billion Catholics worldwide with a translation that is as close as possible to the original Latin version. It allows for less independence and diversity of interpretation in a church that in recent decades has tried to retain more control over how Catholicism is defined.

One Bishop’s response summed up my thoughts quite well:

Erie, Pa., Bishop Donald Trautman says that such words as “consubstantial” and “chalice” and a Jesus “born ineffably of the inviolate Virgin” won’t help Catholics get closer to God.

And as for changes such as:

Other changes emphasize the difference between common English and Latin: “When supper was ended, He took the cup” becomes: “In a similar way, when supper was ended, He took this precious chalice in His holy and venerable hands.”

I just kind of roll my eyes at language like that.  Maybe that makes me a bad Catholic.  Not that this will stop me from going to Mass most weeks, but just more reason for me to feel like the Catholic hierarchy doesn’t get it.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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