I see this week`s letter page
in the Tablet carries a letter from one of our priests. It reads:
I propose a competition to find the worst translation of a prayer in the New Missal over the Christmas period. The 23 December Prayer Over the Gifts might take some beating: “May this oblation, by which divine worship in its fullness has been inaugurated for us, be our perfect reconciliation with you, O Lord, that we may celebrate with minds made pure the Nativity of our Redeemer.”(The Rev. Dr) Sean E. Hall Washington, Tyne and Wear
There is no doubt that this is not the language of the barbecue so despised by Cardinal Pell for our liturgy, but then I wonder whatlanguage it is at all. Herewith the proposed translation of the 1998 Missal. “Lord God, let the sacrifice you have given as the full expression of the Church’s worship establish us firmly in your peace, that we may celebrate with untroubled hearts the coming birth of our Saviour.” No “barbie language” this, just simple and elegant English!
I read this and smiled. I smiled even more when I read the offertory prayer yesterday:
May your people`s oblation, O Lord,
find favour with you, we pray,
that it may restore them to holiness
and obtain what they devoutly entreat.
Not too bad I suppose and not eligible for Fr Hall`s competition as it is outside Christmas time, but I`m struggling with the frequent use of `oblation`. It`s not as easy a word to pronounce as `offering`. I got distracted by this and had so lost the train of thought by the end of the prayer as I wondered what the subject of `obtain` was. I also smile at `therefore` at the minute as one priest said to me his impresssion of the new translation is that everything is `therefore`. I have heard priests say that this at times somewhat stilted English is maybe meant to make people think that we may as well just have Mass in Latin but this tends to come from those not in favour of Latin. Anyway I`m not really interetsed in the Ordinary Form in Latin: I believe it was conceived as a vernacular liturgy and hearing for example Eucharistic Prayer 4 in Latin is just very distracting.
I`ve not studied the 1998 proposed translation at all but am still very glad we have got rid of the old ICEL translation which irritated me much more than this new one ever has.
While on the subject of the Catholic press, I picked up the diocesan paper at the weekend and as usual went first to the inside back page to see if there was maybe a black and white photo of an Extraordinary Form Mass, such as the November cathedral Mass, stuck among the adverts. Finding there wasn`t I started at the beginning to see what this month`s news was and to find out what fresh triumphs of this golden age of Catholic life had occurred in the last month only to be cheered to see that not only were there two small colour pictures of the cathedral Mass with an article but also the midnight Mass here had merited a mention. In all (The Rev. Dr) Michael P. Brown got a few mentions this month. Thanks to the Northern Cross for mentioning EF activities in the diocese and our LMS rep David O`Neill who writes these reports. It`s an uphill struggle to get Summorum Pontificum seen as a regular part of diocesan life but all publicity helps.