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 Post subject: "New" Mass translation: two non-changes
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 12:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 1:45 pm
Posts: 6699
Location: Boston (Roslindale), MA
Religion: Catholic
We have had the new English translation of the Roman Missal (Ordinary Form) and have been using it since the start of Advent (end of November 2011) here in the USA. Before and immediately after the switch there was much discussion of some of the translation changes. I would now like to comment upon (OK, maybe even criticize!) two non-changes, i.e. things which were in the older translation and are still in the current one, but which I do not understand why they were not changed, given the announced rationale for the new translation.

After completing the reading of the first pre-Gospel scriptural reading (and also the second pre-Gospel one on Sundays and Solemnities) the reader acclaims "Verbum Domini" (English translation: "The Word of the Lord") and the congregation responds "Deo Gratias" (English translation: "Thanks be to God"). There is no problem with these.

1. But what most people don't know (unless they go to the effort of looking at the Latin original or hear a Mass on EWTN radio or television) is that the deacon or priest who reads the liturgical Gospel reading is supposed to acclaim the same "Verbum Domini" as after the pre-Gospel reading(s). However, the called-for English translation is different; it is "The Gospel of the Lord"! This acclamation is not wrong; it was a reading from one of those four books we call Gospels which was just completed. But is it a "proper" translation of the Latin? If the writers of the Latin Missal had wanted that English acclamation, would not the original Latin have been "Evangelium Domini"?

2. The Latin Missal response to the end-of-Gospel-reading acclamation is "Laus tibi, Christe" for which the straightforward English translation would be "Praise to you, Christ". However, the official English translation was (in the older translation) and still is (in our current one) given as "Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ"! I clearly have no theological problem with the word-triad "Lord Jesus Christ" (I better not have, since that phrase is used many times in the New Testament and subsequent Christian tradition). But is it not a very expanded "translation" of the simple Latin "Christe"?

I repeat that I am not finding theological problems with the above translations. I probably would not be as critical about these two "non-changed" (from the older Mass translation) points, if there had not been so-much emphasis on how much more faithful the new translation is to the original Latin.

Edward Pothier


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