Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bishop Trautman Criticizes New Mass Translation ...Bishop Donald Trautman, former chairman of the bishops' committee for the liturgy, says the priests now have to recite some sentences that are 90 words long. He also dislikes the formal tone. For example, in one funeral Mass, the priest implores God to give the departed "kind admittance to Your kingdom."

"If your mother or father or brother or sister died," Trautman says, "would we want one of us to say, 'Welcome into Your kingdom?' Or do we want to say, 'Give kind admittance into Your kingdom?' I have [an image] of someone being a ticket-taker at the door giving out tickets to enter, giving kind admittance."

A Power Play?

Trautman says sometimes the new translation is not faithful to the Bible. For example, it has Jesus, a poor carpenter, sipping from a precious chalice during the Last Supper.

"Any Greek dictionary will tell you, it's a drinking cup," Trautman says, "It's a vessel. It's not a chalice."

Trautman says even Indiana Jones got that one right; the rugged historian selected a rough cup as the Holy Grail.

But Trautman's concerns also go beyond vocabulary to theology. He cites where the new translation says Jesus died "for you and for many."

"In preaching, we will hear that Jesus died for all people, but at the altar we will hear it Jesus died for many," he notes. "For whom did he not die?"

The Rev. Michael Ryan, the pastor of St. James Cathedral in Seattle, has similar reservations. "It seems that the Latin is more important than the theology; that's a pity," Ryan says.

"The Second Vatican Council talked about language that would exhibit 'noble simplicity,' " Ryan says. "This is anything but that. No, it's a total move away from the teaching of the Second Vatican Council."

"We're dealing with a power play on the part of certain people in Rome who wanted to make changes in order, I think, to bring under greater control people in the English-speaking world."

Jeffrey Tucker, a musical director in Auburn, Ala., and managing editor of the magazine Sacred Music, thinks the changes are for the better.

"There's a kind of paranoia about all of this," Tucker says. " 'Oh, look! We don't want to go back to pre-Vatican II days with nuns that hit us with rulers and priests [who] are fussing at us for our sins all the time or whatever.' All we're really saying here is that we want church to feel and sound like church."

Tucker says the new words and music are an overdue adjustment from a liturgy that is too "chatty."

Monsignor Rick Hilgartner, who is overseeing the change in liturgy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, agrees. And he asks: Just how accessible does the liturgy have to be? "People might say, 'Well, what about children?' So do we then say that the whole liturgy has to be at a third-grade reading level? How long would that sustain adults in the faith?..."

h/t to Fr. R.

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