A Petition to Freeze the Translations of the Mass for 150 years.
  • Isn't it time?

    Composers of quality continue to bail out.

    Freeze the Scripture and Ordinary of the Mass.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,806
    noel

    are you keeping track?
  • It is so frustrating, Noel. I’ve recently switched translations for my psalm settings (going forward; not actively revising). It’s so dumb. The fact that the translations aren’t CC or free to use makes it all the worse.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,806
    I only compose in Latin... decided that years ago. Never regretted that choice.
  • I'd settle for 30, which is about all I'll need.

    But perhaps, instead of the translation, we need to freeze the theological/philosophical/political machinations of the episcopate.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,026
    I'd settle for just freezing the clergy in general; they'd do less damage, and it would act as a preservative.
  • What's new this time?
    Thanked by 1Jeffrey Quick
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,006
    Stability of texts intended for singing makes good sense, pastorally and liturgically as well as musically. [[purple]]Perhaps that's why the antiphons were frozen in Latin from before the Vulgate was adopted. And why the CofE kept the Coverdale psalms after the KJV was adopted. [[/purple]]
    But orations and lections do not need stability, or even uniformity. Why not have a variety of authorised bible versions? No one English translation is capable of conveying the meaning of scripture precisely. For a start, Hebrew (and Greek) verbs are structured differently from English (and Latin), and that is just the most obvious difficulty.
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 435
    Could it be that we in the Anglosphere may finally be in for a pax gloriosa in our translations? It occurs to me that in the last 50-60 years, we have had several things occur that can never happen again. In chronological order:

    1. A world war and genocide that forced Christianity to reconsider its relationship to Judaism, and the entire world order to be permanently altered, with the final end of Christian Europe, the introduction of atomic weapons, the rise of America, etc.
    2. The global introduction of vernacular worship; the first time this was really the case for Roman Catholics in more than a millennium and of course the first try wasn’t perfect.
    3. In light of #1, the idea that we are complex Modern Men in unprecedented times, but also simple, uncatechised dolts in need of simple language that did not fully reflect the Latin NOM.
    4. Uncertainty about who decides on vernacular translations and what are the criteria for a good translation; the national bishops’ conferences vs. the Curia….?
    5. The Spirit of a Council and the Spirit of ‘68 leading to unintended practices, in a way hitherto impossible before mass media.
    6. A demonstrably unfaithful translation in light of the above.
    7. A pope reacting to the above and finally decreeing clear criteria for translation.
    8. A new translation in 2011 for the Missal, and the other texts according to the same principles coming later this year.

    All that can’t be repeated. I think we will always have problems in America as long as we keep trying to fix the deeply-flawed NAB and Grail projects, now in their ???th revisions, but I think the other liturgical texts will persist for a good while.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 279
    FWIW the Anglosphere outside of North America has been much less changeable with its liturgical texts. The only change since the 1970s I can note is the 2010 retranslation of the missal. The psalter, lectionary and divine office haven't changed in that time
  • The NAB and, to a lesser extent, the NRSV would be far from my choice for a "stable" translation of the Lectionary, especially for singing. The original RSV or NKJV would be much better in that respect, if a modern-language translation is desired.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Gambia,

    That's an interesting list.

    forced Christianity to reconsider its relationship to Judaism,
    If I understand correctly, the origins of this "reconsideration" have nothing whatsoever to do with the Second World War, except in the sense of never letting a good crisis go to waste.

    permanently altered


    ....reminds me of Pope Francis' declaration that the liturgical reform of the Council (and his add-on) is irreversible, or Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's claim about an impregnable fortress.
    In light of #1, the idea that we are complex Modern Men in unprecedented times, but also simple, uncatechised dolts in need of simple language that did not fully reflect the Latin NOM.


    Did you ghost write the Gift of Traditionis Custodes? I think you've put your finger on something valuable here, but I can't quite figure out what.

    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,323
    @Gamba
    An interesting list, I will add my comments,
    1. A world war and genocide that forced Christianity to reconsider its relationship to Judaism, and the entire world order to be permanently altered, with the final end of Christian Europe, the introduction of atomic weapons, the rise of America, etc.
    The genocide continues across the world, now the Godless kill those they don't like before they are born. I am waiting for anyone other than Germany to apologise for their share of the 200 million killed. The world order continues, we are still in the so called age of enlightenment! Man thinks he knows better than God, and has yet to learn the error of his ways. Until Christians can deal with the errors of the enlightenment we will continue to decline.
    2. The global introduction of vernacular worship; the first time this was really the case for Roman Catholics in more than a millennium and of course the first try wasn’t perfect.
    A stunning success, our churches are filled to the brim now we can all understand what is being said.
    3. In light of #1, the idea that we are complex Modern Men in unprecedented times, but also simple, uncatechised dolts in need of simple language that did not fully reflect the Latin NOM.
    There is nothing modern about paganism, modern man will find he has much in common with the less educated pagans of the ancient world. Modern man may think he has better eyesight than those men of the past, but since he cannot see he is standing on the shoulders of giants, he is in more need of a white stick.
    4. Uncertainty about who decides on vernacular translations and what are the criteria for a good translation; the national bishops’ conferences vs. the Curia….?
    who cares about the arrangement of the deck chairs, the iceberg is getting nearer.
    5. The Spirit of a Council and the Spirit of ‘68 leading to unintended practices, in a way hitherto impossible before mass media.
    The salt can lose its savour, the sheep can be lead astray, the branch can cease to produce fruit, and the seed can be trampled by the wayside or overcome by weeds. We have been warned and nothing is new. A faithful remnant will of course persevere.
    6. A demonstrably unfaithful translation in light of the above.
    A branch that is not producing fruit
    7. A pope reacting to the above and finally decreeing clear criteria for translation.
    Too little too late, but the Divine pruner will be action soon
    8. A new translation in 2011 for the Missal, and the other texts according to the same principles coming later this year.
    Once again this looks like more deck chair arranging, when more important issues need to be dealt with.
  • davido
    Posts: 619
    Gamba, these are great insights, and you are probably correct that most of those items will not be repeated.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,641
    I think we will always have problems in America as long as we keep trying to fix the deeply-flawed NAB and Grail projects, now in their ???th revisions, but I think the other liturgical texts will persist for a good while.


    I tend to use the RSV 2nd Catholic Edition and the Orthodox Study Bible over the NAB. I don't find that much wrong with the NAB Old Testament since more time was spent on it and it was simply done better than the New Testament. I have the Grail and have seen better. I understand it was supposed to be for singing?
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 435
    To clarify, I was listing #3 as a silly conceit, which bore its bad fruit in #6.

    CharlesW as I understand it, the Grail Psalms were indeed written to be sung, to Fr. Gelineau’s new psalm tones, which sound better musically when the text is altered to place the strong/accented word at the end of a phrase, to align with the cadence. This produced a text full of truly tortured oddities like “for King of all the earth is God”, and the text also fights attempts to sing to Gregorian tones, due to this weird trait and also the attempt to produce regular patterns of word stresses. So, the fidelity and clarity of the text took a back seat to an attempt to make English words sound tolerable when sung according to a system designed to chant words in French.

    So whenever (in an NO context) I have the Schola append verses to a communion antiphon, I always take the verses from the 1979 BCP psalms, which are pretty much straight RSV. If it’s licit to sing any old song then, I’d rather do the chant + comprehensible psalmody.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • an attempt to make English words sound tolerable when sung according to a system designed to chant words in French.


    So, is the problem that someone unskilled in the art of poetry tried to adapt a good system, or is the problem with the system itself?
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • GerardH
    Posts: 279
    the [Grail] text also fights attempts to sing to Gregorian tones

    You can say that again! I've had some successes, but some of the psalms are extremely resistant.

    That being said, I'm not sure pure prose is any better. The translations of the NT canticles in the Commonwealth Divine Office editions are not from the Grail (as far as I can tell), and they're even worse to adapt.
  • Gerard,

    You've just made the best imaginable argument for Latin in the liturgy: the texts available in English rarely (but not never) adapt well to the music of the Roman Rite.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Grail loves to end lines on one-syllable words.
  • GerardH
    Posts: 279
    Grail loves to end lines on one-syllable words.

    Which isn't usually a problem for mediations (using the abrupt form), but it's more difficult for endings
  • Exactly