Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rome Conference Day 3: the talks, Day 3

This is all taking me longer to get round to writing up than I imagined. On the third day we had two talks. However the day had to be re-arranged in that we were supposed to be having EF Vespers in the church of St Stephan of the Abyssinians in the Vatican but since it was discovered that the Abyssinian church was closed with the Epiphany being a holiday in the Vatican, Vespers were re-scheduled to be in the FSSP church of Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini which I had wanted to see any way. This meant that Fr Lang`s talk on the new translation of the OF missal had to be moved to after dinner. Fr Lang works for the Congregation for Divine Worship.

So the first talk of the day was given by Mgr Guido Marini, the Pope`s Master of Ceremonies. Monsignor does not speak English well enough to give talks in it so he spoke in Italian. However he spoke so clearly and calmly that this listener whose Italian is rather rusty was able to understand almost everything. An English translation of the talk had been prepared the day before and copies were available for people to follow. Much has already been written on the internet about this talk which was entitled Introduction to the Spirit of the Liturgy. It is available here. This talk was the highlight of the conference for me and I`m sure for many others. It was wonderful to hear about the ideas for the `reform of the reform` from one so close to the Holy Father. Many of the conference members had commented how the morning`s Mass with the Pope in St Peter`s had shown how far things had come in quite a short time in improving the qualilty of papal Masses. At the end of the session the conference gave Mgr Marini a standing ovation. I`m hoping to share some of the ideas from his talk with the parish to introduce some of the principles governing modern liturgical thought.

After dinner we had Fr Lang`s rescheduled talk. This was the most intellectually demanding talk of the week and as it did not start until after 9pm some of the Fathers were beginning to wilt after a long day. Fr Lang`s talk was entitled Liturgy and language: The "Sacral Vernacular" (Liturgiam authenticam 47) of the new English Translation of the Roman Missal. Father began by demonstrating the nature of sacral language in the Roman Rite, referring to the work of Christine Mohrmann. In the second part of the talk, Father took us through the new translation of the first half of the Roman canon explaining each section. The text has been available on the internet for quite a while now. It will be wonderful to use a translation which is close to the original instead of the current version. Talking to many priests there is some reluctance to embrace the new translation but then religions tend to be conservative. At seminary I lost count of the number of times we were quoted Newman`s saying about to live is to change! Any liturgical change always arouses opposition but surely it is better to have a translation of the Mass which is accurate and captures the spirit of the original rather than our current version which used the now discarded notion of `dynamic equivalence`

Father Lang was unable to say exactly when the new translation will come into use. It was hoped that it would be ready by 2010 but it looks as if it will now be Advent 2011. That at least gives time for preparations to be made to introduce it to the clergy and faithful. In the question session one priest voiced my thoughts when he said how much training does there need to be for someone to read a text? It is hard to see what the training for using the new missal will involve: not all priests will have the linguistic background to enable them to appreciate what has happened and there is no question of the new translation being the subject of debate as it is definitely going to happen. However it will be useful to have an opportunity for things to be explained as far as they can given the level of anxiety there appears to be about it all.


Piece eater said...

"To live is to change", eh! Try that on the disgruntled parishioners.

Do you mean the English Mass has een changed? Well if it's closer to the original that's all to the good. Have they got rid of the nauseating "peace be with you" bit?

Fr Michael Brown said...

Yes the English Mass has been translated again. `Peace be with you` is only said by a bishop and is still in but it is the response `And with your spirit` which seems to have got people worked up. (At the minute it is `And with you` but the new one is translating `Et cum spiritu tuo` more literally to make us aware of the Semitic style of the original.)

berenike said...

thank you for these posts, they are very interesting :)

Piece-eater said...

I meant the shaking hands with one another in the pews, actually. i suppose that's not really a traslation point; it's just sort of there. I wouldn't like it any more even if it were in Latin.

BJR said...

Has the situation been resolved in South Africa where the new translations were not favourably received, to say the least?

I understand many parishes have returned to the former ICEL version.

Fr Michael Brown said...

BJR, I understand that South Africa jumped the gun somewhat and has gone back to the ICEL because they are not yet supposed to be using the new ones.

I`m not too hopeful about aspects of this in that already many settings of the Gloria and Sanctus etc ignore the old ICEL text and use paraphrases so I imagine that will continue to happen and we`ll still be stuck with such masterpieces as the `clapping Gloria`.

Augustinus said...

Thank you for providing these very interesting and useful commentaries, Father.

Do you happen to know if Fr Lang's talk is available anywhere?

Thomas More said...

Fr B,

Can you explain please how "Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life" is an 'accurate translation' or 'close to the original' of "Ite missa est"?

Fr Michael Brown said...

It isn`t a translation.

Glad you are back TM: no post on this blog is complete without a negative comment from you!

Thomas More said...

Fr B,

Thank you for your 'glad you are back'. I often worry that there is no place for the intelligent layman on Planet Ratzinger.

I don't think it is a negative comment to seek clarification relating to a florid vernacular dismissal that is not a translation of anything either in the TLM or in the Novus Ordo of Paul VI.

Where has it come from? You yourself say it is not a translation. Is it an invented vernacular flourish?

Fr Michael Brown said...

Augustinus, I heard someone say in passing during the conference that the talks will be published but there was no announcement about it that I heard.

Fr Michael Brown said...

`TM` yes I`d get worried if you weren`t here with one complaint or another. Nice to know that you think anyone who follows the Church`s teaching isn`t intelligent.

Those other forms of the dismissal I seem to remember were created last year for the OF.

Pat said...

Please don't waste yur time answering the painful little whinings of "Thomas More" (strange online name for someone who is "coping with..difficult positions of the magisterium!)He is clearly not open to change. I personally am in favour of any change that faithfully returns the liturgy to its original meaning or indeed adds to its beauty. I happen to like "Go in peace glorifying the Lord by your life" It's a wonderful reminder of why we have been at Mass.

1569 Rising said...

I gather that there are new ground rukes being laid down for this blog.
Apparently Sir Thomas feels that the opinions of "intelligent" people are only worthy of consideration, and then only if they agree with him.

So, in future, academic qualifications should be shown on any blog that Sir Thomas feels moved to comment on.

On second thoughts, maybe Sir Thomas should keep his "intelligent" comments for a more suitable place, where his elitist intellectual snobbery will be more appreciated - such as the Guardian letters page. I am sure Polly Toynbee will be able to find a space for him.

1569 Rising said...

I must apologise. I have been much too harsh on Sir Thomas - fancy me accusing him of being a Guardian reader and a friend of Polly Toynbee!

I withdraw that libel, M'Lud.

Fr said...

2011.....please, NO!!

Fr said...

25 years (almost) of saying day in, day out (for I say Mass daily) things like:

"east to west",
"wherever they may be",
"took the cup" in the Roman Canon
"God you are nice, help us to be nice" (dynamic equivalence of many ICEL prayers), well, actually more like: "Father, we are nice, without you we wouldn't be as nice."

I'm not a Latin scholar, but even I can tell that we are saying inn English isn't what the Church gives us.

Sorry, Father.
Thanks for your posts on the conference.