... stilt somebody upside the metaphorical head by insulting them in a stiffly dignfied or formal way, with a big dash of pomposity tossed in (with an elegant and impractical flourish, of course) for good measure.
Here's what I'm referring to:
• Pastoral Associate Christine Wagberg of St. Mary Catholic Church in Royal Oak calls some of the new words in the Roman Missal “a bit funky” but says all Catholics around the world will now be "on the same page." But lifelong Catholic Carmen Gudan, 63, of Dearborn calls it a "giant step backward." "It's stilted," she told the Detroit Free Press. "I can't stand it. It's just repulsive." (Source)
Ms. Gudan doesn't seem to notice, however, that the word "repulsive" is from the Medieval Latin word, repulsivus, and is therefore designated strictly and objectively as stilted. Her anger stinks of hypocrisy (the word "hypocrisy", you'll note, has Greek, not Latin, origins).
• A decade in the making, the new Mass is a more precise translation from Latin than the current version, peppered with more theological words and Biblical images. Supporters say it will bring a more reverent, solemn tone to services, while detractors think the new language is too obscure or stilted. (Source)
Which leads me to conclude that the new language is still less obscure than the identities of its detractors.
• But Monica Malpezzi thinks the new language is stilted and confusing and will only create a barrier between people and God. "If we have to scramble for understanding in what our prayer life is, I think that will make it harder for us to feel that God is right there with us." (Source)
Make note to self: the Church's liturgy is about Ms. Malpezzi's feelings. We can only pray—together, of course—that God can bridge the dizzying chasm between her inarticulate longings and His omniscience. She can take some consolation in this stitled passage from the Douay-Rheims translation of St. Paul's epistle to the Romans: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings." (Rom. 8:26)
• The church hierarchy says the new translation — The Roman Missal, Third Edition — is more accurate, authentic and reverential. Catholics critical of the shift say it is a step backward to less-inclusive, more archaic and stilted language. (Source)
• Meanwhile, some Catholics are unsure of the new text. “I think they’re going back to something very conservative, and I find the language very stilted,” John Lee says. (Source)
I think what these folks mean to say (and here I am stealing from Jorge Luis Borges) is they are upset that the Latin original has been found unfaithful to their preferred, stiltless English translation.
• For critics, like Trautman, the changes produce prayers that sound stilted, archaic and too often obscure. “Again and again proclaimablility and comprehension are sacrificed for the sake of maintaining the Latin single-sentence structure,” he wrote in U.S. Catholic magazine last year. (Source)
I hereby move that the lame and sorry creature known by the name Proclaimablility be slaughtered, drawn, quartered, and grilled over open flame, then served after uttering a short prayer offered in thanks for the Latin single-sentence structure. Domino Optimo Maximo!
• The Rev. Jan Michael Joncas, associate professor of Catholic studies at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, has written about the new translation and traveled across the country to talk about the changes. "The pastor in me says we are receiving these texts from the church, and our task is to learn how to pray them ourselves as priests and then how to help our people pray them," Joncas said. But as a scholar, Joncas believes the new translation is problematic. Not only are some passages awkward and stilted, but sentences are meandering and the phrasing is not always clear.
"It's closer to the underlying Latin but also makes a reference ... of a scriptural story where a Roman centurion tells Jesus, 'I'm not worthy to have you come under the roof of my house,'" Joncas said. "If you don't know that scripture passage ... and if you think the roof here doesn't mean the reference to the centurion and the roof of his home, but rather the roof of your mouth because you're going to be receiving a communion wafer, that can be a real mess."(Source)
Translation: Most Catholics are semi-literate dullards. And most Catholic scholars who disdain the new translation are semi-dull literates who are apparently incapable of explaining why the Mass contains blatant references purposefully and meaningfully taken from Scripture, including narratives and statements from the life of Jesus Christ.
• Despite the tendency of the church to pull together in times of trouble some are said to be "quietly seething" at the change. One senior theologian said: "The process managed to offend everybody involved who has any intellectual or moral integrity." To its supporters the new Mass is a richer text, truer to its Latin origins. Opponents say the new translation – although needed in some form – shifts too far away from the plain English style of the earlier version. They argue it is flowerier, often drawing on imperial court language and sounding stilted and artificial to modern ears. (Source)
In other words, while many Catholics still labor under the impression that pride and arrogance are serious sins and vices, dissenting theologians and disgruntled liturgists are demonstrating, in word and deed, that pride and arrogance have pride of place in the morose cubicles that line the plain, dull, shabby sanctuary of the "spirit of Vatican II".
On a personal note, let me say that no one at our parish stumbled at all on Sunday when singing the response, "And with your spiriit" to the priest. Of course, that's been the English translation in the Byzantine Catholic Churches for quite some time. Oddly enough, in all my years at Nativity of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church, I've never heard the adjective "stilted" used to describe the Divine Liturgy. Admittedly, as far as I know, the parish has never been visited by a professor of Catholic studies (not to be confused with professors of Catholic theology; Fr. Mitch Pacwa gave a talk at the parish years ago). Truly a pity, as the parish has a lovely roof (the one overhead, you dullards; not the one in your head).
• "The Roman Catholic Mass is undergoing a major overhaul." (Nov. 10, 2011)