VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The new English translation of the Mass is the result of a long process of international cooperation and is meant to help Catholics pray better, Pope Benedict XVI told Australia's bishops. [I wonder if the old translation is anything close to this one.]
The new translation, which most Australian dioceses began introducing in parishes on Pentecost in June, "is intended to enrich and deepen the sacrifice of praise offered to God by his people," the pope said Oct. 20. [And here in the Philippines, the third largest English speaking country in the world...we would have to wait til next year for the translation to take effect. Makes you wonder. Is it really for the proper catechetical training of the people or just plain theological agenda?]
The morning after joining the bishops for the inauguration of the Domus Australia, a pilgrim center in Rome, the pope welcomed the bishops to the apostolic palace for the main talk of the "ad limina" visits, which bishops make to report on the church in their dioceses.
Pope Benedict said the new liturgical translation was "the fruit of a remarkable cooperation of the Holy See, the bishops and experts from all over the world." [Except the one I knew of!]
He asked the bishops to help their priests appreciate the new text and help catechists and musicians do their part to make the Mass "a moment of greater grace and beauty, worthy of the Lord and spiritually enriching for everyone." [Except that some bishops take their cue from a Benedictine monk, who has a dissident liturgical agenda than the Pope, which unfortunately we see him, the monk, playing delaying tactics in CBCP. Well, except for Archbishop Soc Villegas who implemented the translation in his Archdiocese, marking the first bishop to not listen to the monk.]
Australian Cardinal George Pell [ad multos annos!] of Sydney is the chairman of the Vox Clara Commission, an international body established by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, to assist in the evaluation of English liturgical translations.
The cardinal told Catholic News Service Oct. 19, "I think a goodly percentage of the people didn't notice the difference" when he began using the new text at the Sydney cathedral. "There are pockets of dissatisfaction, [noisy and nutty ones.] but overwhelmingly the priests and people are happy and they will get used to it. The prayers are immensely richer and there's much less banality." [Well, not to those who trumpet "active participation" for the sake of banality!]
Some critics have said the new translation has archaic language, clumsy sentence structure and a lack of sensitivity to inclusive language. [Because you pray to check grammar, to feel women are empowered by saying "Glory to God in the highest and peace to God's people on earth." when the Latin original is "Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax homonibus.", and when "ineffable" is too ineffable you call it archaic, and when you want to speak the "language of the times", so you opt for "Jejemon" or "Bekimon" language, right?]
Cardinal Pell said some of the vocabulary in the new translation is a bit challenging. For example, the new translation of the creed describes Jesus as being "consubstantial with the Father." The cardinal said, "One gentleman wrote to me and said he didn't understand 'consubstantial,' and I wrote back to him and suggested that he find out." [That becomes a point where the laity begin studying their Faith! Lex orandi, lex credendi.]
"One comparison I like to make is that -- although it's a mature, adult English -- (the translation) is a tiny bit like children's literature, because in good children's literature, every couple of pages there's probably a word the children don't understand, that expands their knowledge, and they have to either gather the meaning from the context or enquire about the meaning," the cardinal said. [Beautiful analogy! Let's ask literature professors if they want a new translation of Shakespeare or Tolkien books, eh? Let's see how they rant about this one.]
In his speech to the bishops, Pope Benedict also spoke about the hurt and damage caused by the clerical sex abuse crisis and other failures of church members.
"Yours is a pastoral burden which has been made heavier by the past sins and mistakes of others, most regrettably including some clergy and religious," the pope told the bishops. "The task now falls to you to continue to repair the errors of the past with honesty and openness, in order to build, with humility and resolve, a better future for all concerned."
Pray for good bishops that they continue doing good.
Pray for lukewarm bishops that they get back to doing the job they are expected to do.
Pray for the Holy Father that he may have more years in the Chair of Peter!