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Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Robert Miller

How nice of Bishop Trautman.

Forty-some years ago no one asked us Johns and Marys how we felt about having our centuries-old liturgical language and ritual stripped from our lives overnight. We literally had the tables turned on us! If anyone dared express a qualm to Rome, he was (at best) ignored, (at worst) branded as a heretic or schismatic.

Would that we had had such "pastoral" shepherds (inciters) in the 1960s.

Deacon Harold

Boy, where to start . . . I'll just make a few comments.

His Excellency laments that liturgists with "degrees and experience" as well as the "voice of the laity" were not consulted about the new translation. It was many of these folks who, for years, have taken far too many liberties with the language and rubrics of the Mass, following the lead of the pre-Liturgiam Authenticam ICEL. I, for one, am glad to see that more emphasis will be placed on the Mass as sacrifice rather than meal.

For example, compare the words that are said after the Agnus Dei. The current translation is "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper." The new translation not only emphasizes sacrifice but is more faithful to Scripture: "The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) "Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb." (Revelation 19:9) The word "Behold" rather than "This" clearly focuses us on Christ at the moment before we receive Him body and blood, soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist. In those precious moments before we unite our bodies with His, the last thing we should hear is language that draws us deeply into the mystery of covenant love (which is what Revelation does) rather than language I can use at McDonald's ("happy", "supper"). Even "supper of the Lamb" (as in the Latin) would be an improvement over "supper" alone.

We are also a catholic church, hence, the ICEL translations are for English speaking Catholics throughout the world, not just for American Catholics.

Bishop Trautman also has issues with the phrase, "What you have charged us to believe will taste sweet to the heart" and asks, "Does the heart 'taste?'" I surmise that he word "heart" as it is being used here is not the organ that resides in the chest but, rather, has the Jewish sense of "heart" as the seat of consciousness where the will resides. For example, Psalm 119:10-11 [Grail translation] says, "I have sought you with all my heart; let me not stray from your commands. I treasure your promise in my heart lest I sin against you." John and Mary Catholic reading these verses would not think that the heart is a GPS that can locate people or a storage container for God's promises. A reasonable person hearing this passage from Scripture can figure out what "heart" means.

I eagerly await the new English translation of the Mass that will truly capture that elusive "spirit" of Vatican II!

dan sheehan

"What you have charged us to believe will taste sweet to the heart"...

...A man who does not regard this as pure poetry has no business lecturing anyone on language.


I suggest you go to the Erie diocesan website - Here, Bishop Trautman's article is reprinted with his request that we contact several people regarding our opinion on the new translation. The new translation is not only far more accurate technically, it is also more beautiful, in part because some expressions are not "common", but poetic. It seems to me that Bishop Trautman favors "utility" over beauty...To that, I respond with the lyrics of one of my own favorite songs:
Sit with me and tell me once again
Of the story that's been told us
Of the power that will hold us
Of the beauty, of the beauty
Why it matters
Speak to me until I understand
Why our thinking and creating
And why our efforts of narrating
About the beauty, of the beauty
Why it matters
Like a statue in the park
Of this war torn town
And its protest of the darkness
And this chaos all around
With its beauty, how it matters
How it matters
Show me a love that never fails
Some compassion and attention
Midst confusion and dissention
Like small ramparts for the soul
How it matters
Like a single cup of water
How it matters.
("Why it Matters" - Sara Groves)

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