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Mass translation?

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 Contents - Sep 2004AD2000 September 2004 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: 2004 Fighting Fund launched - Michael Gilchrist
Morwell: Vatican decision backs parish priests who uphold Church teachings - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Pulp Fiction: Religious illiteracy and 'The Da Vinci Code' - Fr Martin Tierney
Books: Exposing 'The Da Vinci Code' fraud - James Hitchcock
Iraqi bishop: positive developments despite the violence and bloodshed - Bishop Rabban Al-Qas
Terrorist attacks on Iraqi Christians - Catholic World News
Mass Attendance: Where have all the worshippers gone? - Fr Martin Durham
Sydney Catholic Adult Education Centre courses prove popular - Peter Holmes
Mission: Sydney seminary's evangelisation program revitalises parish - Bishop Julian Porteous
Events: Carnivale Christi Melbourne to celebrate Graham Greene's centenary - Liam Houlihan
Why not a little Latin in the liturgy? - Angus Sibley
Adult education: Latin language course in Melbourne
Letters: Thank you from East Timor (letter) - Fr Marcos de Oliviera SDB
Letters: Mass translation? - Philip Holberton
Letters: NRSV Bible - Mrs M.A. Ross
Letters: Liturgy abuses - Peter Lynch
Letters: 'King Arthur' an anti-Catholic movie - Fr Brian Harrison
Letters: Permissiveness - Ena Makaus
Letters: State Aid - George Caruana JP
Letters: Maronite Church - L.L. Booth
Letters: Support given - Barry O'Brien
Letters: The Power of One - Carola Morgan
Letters: AIDS in the Philippines - Christopher Rule
Letters: Freedom to be Born pro-life march - George F. Simpson
Letters: Moral relativism - Tim Coyle
Books: The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, by Philip Jenkins - John Barich (reviewer)
Books: The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America, by David Carlin - Fr James Schall SJ (reviewer)
Books: Interrupted Journeys: Young Refugees from Hitler's Reich, by Alan Gill - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: Catholic Family Catechism: 2004 Disciples Edition with 50 Questions and Answers - Fr Peter Murphy
Books: More new titles from AD Books
Reflection: Why the priesthood is absolutely necessary - Fr John O'Neill

I read your article in the July AD2000 almost with disbelief: the quotations you give with approval from the "new" translation are almost the same as the "crib" in my wife's 1952 (pre-Vatican II) Latin missal, apart from updating "thy" to "your", "on earth peace to men of goodwill", "sins of the world", "I believe" for the opening of the Creed, and "my sacrifice and yours" at the Orate Fratres.

It has, at the Consecration, "his venerable hands" and further on, "behold" the Lamb of God, and "come under my roof". (This last may keep the Scriptural echoes, but it suggests that I am not good enough to take the Host to my home in a pyx: the present version makes it clear that I am unworthy to receive Our Lord in Communion.)

Why, after 50 years, is the Church going back to the past? Why are we being taken back to an English which is no longer current? Who now says "grievous", "of your bounty", "deigned"? "Venerable" now implies that Christ was an old man at the time of the Last Supper.

The document Liturgiam Authenticam (27) says: "The principles set forth in this Instruction will contribute to the gradual development, in each vernacular, of a sacred style that will come to be recognised as proper to liturgical language". But if you want a special liturgical language, why not go back to Latin?

I agree with you that steering through the reforms will be a major challenge. There must be many like me who hoped and believed that "vernacular" meant "the colloquial or distinctive speech of a people or community" as the Oxford English Dictionary has it, so that we could address God (our Father, Abba) in the liturgy in our ordinary everyday speech, not in some special, remote and "somewhat obsolete" (Liturgiam Authenticam's own words!) version of English.

Willawarrin, NSW

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 17 No 8 (September 2004), p. 14

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