Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why we need the new English translation of the Missal

There are many reasons why the upcoming new English translation of the Roman Missal is so sorely needed. The new translation will take effect in Advent of this year. I think the most compelling reason is that it will unlock for us many profound theological treasures that are present in the original Latin and are simply obscured or ignored by the present translation. Many of these prayers go back to the 4th and 5th centuries. Fr. Zuhlsdorf, of the wdtprs blog, points out a very good example. The Post Communion prayer for the 3rd Sunday of Lent in the Ordinary Form, according to the translation presently in use, is this:
in sharing this sacrament
may we receive your forgiveness
and be brought together in unity and peace.
The original Latin for the prayer is this:
Sumentes pignus caelestis arcani,
et in terra positi iam superno pane satiati,
te, Domine, supplices deprecamur,
ut, quod in nobis mysterio geritur, opere impleatur.
The new English translation, which will be in effect starting in Advent of this year, renders the Latin this way:
As we receive the pledge
of things yet hidden in heaven
and are nourished while still on earth
with the Bread that comes from on high,
we humbly entreat you, O Lord,
that what is being brought about in us in mystery
may come to true completion.
There is simply NO COMPARISON here. The translation currently in use bears little-to-no resemblance to the beauty and truth preserved in the Latin. While it is true that some of the prayers may sound clumsy in English at first (no translation can ever be perfect; we are human beings, after all), I am convinced that what we will hear in terms of content and theological truth will benefit us immensely.


Related Posts with Thumbnails