Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Tidbit of News

It has largely gone unnoticed, but the USCCB is moving forward with getting a new translation of the Mass approved and in place. At their November meeting, the bishops approved the next part of the Mass which they had not approved just five months ago in June. Who knew what five months would do.

Well, sure, there were some minor changes, and the politics issues were probably more on the forefront of their mind, and perhaps they were encouraged with the Vatican supplying the recognitio of the first part which they had approved some time ago.

Alas, sooner or later, we will have a new translation for our most prized possession.

P.S. You might also notice (from the link above to the USCCB website) that they approved a new translation of the Psalms. This is interesting, for three reasons. First, the translation is quite a bit better (more literal) than the current NAB version that we're using in the Mass. Second, it is quite a bit better (more singable) than the current NAB version we're using. Third, this version of the Grail is altogether new. It's neither the 1963 nor the 1993 version. How different will it be from the 1963 version that is used in the breviary (the Liturgy of the Hours) that priests and religious in the U.S. use? Will it be "gender-inclusivized" like the 1993 version, or not?

In this last regard, a 2001 document from the Vatican entitled Liturgiam Authenticam ("Authentic Liturgy") requires the following for the proper implementation of Vatican II's Sacrosanctum Concilium:

29. It is the task of the homily and of catechesis to set forth the meaning of the liturgical texts,[29] illuminating with precision the Church’s understanding regarding the members of particular Churches or ecclesial communities separated from full communion with the Catholic Church and those of Jewish communities, as well as adherents of other religions – and likewise, her understanding of the dignity and equality of all men.[30] Similarly, it is the task of catechists or of the homilist to transmit that right interpretation of the texts that excludes any prejudice or unjust discrimination on the basis of persons, gender, social condition, race or other criteria, which has no foundation at all in the texts of the Sacred Liturgy. Although considerations such as these may sometimes help one in choosing among various translations of a certain expression, they are not to be considered reasons for altering either a biblical text or a liturgical text that has been duly promulgated.

30. In many languages there exist nouns and pronouns denoting both genders, masculine and feminine, together in a single term. The insistence that such a usage should be changed is not necessarily to be regarded as the effect or the manifestation of an authentic development of the language as such. Even if it may be necessary by means of catechesis to ensure that such words continue to be understood in the “inclusive” sense just described, it may not be possible to employ different words in the translations themselves without detriment to the precise intended meaning of the text, the correlation of its various words or expressions, or its aesthetic qualities. When the original text, for example, employs a single term in expressing the interplay between the individual and the universality and unity of the human family or community (such as the Hebrew word ’adam, the Greek anthropos, or the Latin homo), this property of the language of the original text should be maintained in the translation. Just as has occurred at other times in history, the Church herself must freely decide upon the system of language that will serve her doctrinal mission most effectively, and should not be subject to externally imposed linguistic norms that are detrimental to that mission.

31. In particular: to be avoided is the systematic resort to imprudent solutions such as a mechanical substitution of words, the transition from the singular to the plural, the splitting of a unitary collective term into masculine and feminine parts, or the introduction of impersonal or abstract words, all of which may impede the communication of the true and integral sense of a word or an expression in the original text. Such measures introduce theological and anthropological problems into the translation. Some particular norms are the following:

a) In referring to almighty God or the individual persons of the Most Holy Trinity, the truth of tradition as well as the established gender usage of each respective language are to be maintained.

b) Particular care is to be taken to ensure that the fixed expression “Son of Man” be rendered faithfully and exactly. The great Christological and typological significance of this expression requires that there should also be employed throughout the translation a rule of language that will ensure that the fixed expression remain comprehensible in the context of the whole translation.

c) The term “fathers”, found in many biblical passages and liturgical texts of ecclesiastical composition, is to be rendered by the corresponding masculine word into vernacular languages insofar as it may be seen to refer to the Patriarchs or the kings of the chosen people in the Old Testament, or to the Fathers of the Church.

d) Insofar as possible in a given vernacular language, the use of the feminine pronoun, rather than the neuter, is to be maintained in referring to the Church.

e) Words which express consanguinity or other important types of relationship, such as “brother”, “sister”, etc., which are clearly masculine or feminine by virtue of the context, are to be maintained as such in the translation.

f) The grammatical gender of angels, demons, and pagan gods or goddesses, according to the original texts, is to be maintained in the vernacular language insofar as possible.

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