Fr Tim had a good post on Wednesday about the new translation of the Missal; and – drawing on a post by Fr Z – was suggesting that there was some importance in describing not simply as the ‘New’ translation, but rather as the ‘New and Corrected’ translation.
At the same time, I would offer another very slight angle which is not really covered either by him or Fr Z – and this is no criticism, just an additional point for those who are interested.
Not only are the existing translations not really translations but – in all-too-many cases – more paraphrases; but the way they deform the original text is not even close to being the same in different languages.
Now : the primary argument for having one Missal for the whole Church is that, in that way, the whole Church celebrates the Mass – and thus (by implication) understands the Mass – in the same way – which is surely a fundamental requirement of being the Catholic (or ‘Universal’) Church.
However; if the words that we hear in different places aren’t the same, then what we understand by them must be different too.
Let me give you an example :
The response to the Orate Fratres in the editio typica of the Missale Romanum is
Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium
de manibus tuis
ad laudem et gloriam nominis Sui,
ad utilitatem quoque nostram
totiusque Ecclesiæ suæ sanctæ
the current English translation of which is .
May the Lord
accept the sacrifice at your hands
for the praise and glory
of his name, for our good,
and the good of all his Church.
- which isn’t really too bad – only one ‘and’ missing (and for our good), and the ‘holy’ before Church; but otherwise OK.
The French response, however, would be hilarious, if it wasn’t verging on being tragic :
Pour la gloire de Dieu, et le salut du monde.
Yes – that’s IT; nothing more : ‘For the glory of God, and the salvation of the world’.
Translation ? Not even close . . . scarcely even a paraphrase.
So; how can one say that the English and the French (or, to be precise, most of the English-speaking peoples, and all the French-speaking ones) understand the Mass in the same way ?
One can’t; because given such differences, they obviously don’t : in which case, are they worshipping God in the same way ?
No : in which case, how can you call it Catholic – or ‘Universal’– worship ?
You can’t : and that’s why the new, and corrected, translation is coming out in English; and in other languages, too, sooner or later . . . to make us a Catholic Church once more; just as we claim to be, and are meant to be.