• GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    This is something I've been wondering since my visits to an Orthodox church, and has more to do with Catholicism than music, hence the forum.

    Why do we have an official translation? Everyone on this board knows ICEL is trash. So why should we be forced to follow the work of people who were either idiots, sinister, or both? As far as I can tell, the Orthodox use whatever translation they like for their divine liturgy, the one I attended was in English. Why couldn't we just do that in Catholicism?

    Obviously many people will say "Well if we allow that, think how many priests would destroy the liturgy!" I have 2 rebuttals for that:

    1. Would they? If there were no ICEL and the only other instances of English liturgy were the protestant examples, would priests really have been emboldened to fake or dumb down the translations? I should think not, as we can plainly see how ICEL destroys any reverence for the Mass among priests. I mean when the collect for a Sunday in Epiphany says "Father, look on your people in love and show us the way to peace in the world," why NOT ad-lib and gender neutralize everything?

    2. A free market principle, even if there were bad translations out there, would keep most Catholics safe. Yeah, a few priests would say "This isn't my Body...", but they'd probably be reprimanded by the bishop. Divergent translations could be banned. And meanwhile most priests would probably use a beautiful translation, either by choice or peer pressure (see point 1). Even if 25% of priests used a faithful translation, isn't that better than the 100% using ICEL that we have now?

    To put it frankly, and this plays into Francis's continued theme about publishers, the modern "use the official translation and nothing else" attitude seems to me a way to line ICEL/USCCB's pockets with ill-gotten cash.

    And if you'd like to have this have something to do with liturgical music, let me make the final point: how many of you who use English propers use a dumbed-down version of such (besides ICEL's translations for recitation)? Anyone? See my point - the market system eliminates serious divergences.
  • Jeffrey TuckerJeffrey Tucker
    Posts: 3,624
    Yes, when the Vatican permitted vernacularization, they probably didn't anticipate how this would create translation cartels. It is a VERY serious problem. They should have either produced public domain translations themselves or just allowed the free market to prevail.
  • I think that, in those days, “public domain” didn’t mean “easily accessible” the way it increasingly does now.

    Having a single translation is like having a single Latin text, ISTM. So, we are in continuity with established (post-Tridentine) practice. And as hairy as the ICEL/ICET translation may seem to some, I imagine there are those who would have done far worse but whose work may have achieved popularity, to the detriment of the liturgy. And of course, the benefits of everyone knowing the same text etc.

    I disagree pretty strongly with items #2 above. Too tired, though, to elaborate, except to say that the bishops don’t want to police their clergy, and I think the music publishers would have made tons of new translations themselves in musical pieces.