Friday, January 23, 2004

World: New Mass translation said to 'elegant,' closer to the Latin:

"Fr. Mark Francis, superior of the Viatorian fathers and a former professor of liturgy at the Catholic Theological Union, told NCR the draft he saw is in parts 'impossible to pray.'

"Francis was referring to the draft prior to the January editing.

"'We just don't speak this way in formal English rhetoric,' Francis said. 'In places this reads like a schoolboy's translation of Caesar's Gallic Wars, where everything in the Latin is accounted for.'

"Harbert said, however, there had been 'constant concern' to public proclamation. The ICEL bishops, he said, had repeatedly read the texts aloud.

"Harbert told NCR that the secretaries of the liturgy commissions for English-speaking bishops' conferences will meet Feb. 8-10 in Spain, and among the topics for discussion is how people can be educated for the transition to more formal modes of speech implied in the new translation.

"Finally, Francis warned that the use of 'man' for 'human being' will cause priests not to use the prayers, judging them unsuitable for their congregations."

I pronounce on the suitability of texts in "formal English rhetoric", but end my sentences with prepositions when being interviewed for newspaper articles.

Also, you'd think he'd point out that it is not within those priests' competency to decide whether the prayers of the Mass are suitable for their congregations. The documents of Vatican II are quite clear on this point.

So is there any question still remaining about why I'm not joining any religious order that sends its seminarians to study at Catholic Theological Union?

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