The New Mass Translation

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In several place around St. Blogs, most notably here and here (blogspot is boing its usual wonderful thing with regard to direct linking) there has been concern expressed with regard to the new ICEL Mass translations. In one location it goes beyond concern to suggest that a possibility is further schism of the SSPX variety--if for example we were to return to the Latin (Tridentine) Mass.

While I agree with the spirit of some comments (for example return to simple literal translation is indeed simple. To move from :

"The Lord be with you"
"And also with you."


"The Lord be with you."
"And with your spirit."

is awkward and doesn't really express the intent of the what is being said. We want the Lord only to be with a person's spirit and not there as a bodily protector in times of trial. We want the Lord to be present to the spirit but not to the mind and body? The spirit is somehow seperate and not part of the full being? The translation implies this.

But let's face it, while awkward and not true to the spirit of what's being said, this isn't the Mount Everest of translation difficulties. I might not favor it, but I would have no trouble saying it after I got used to it again.)

But I am disturbed by some responses that suggest that all faiths are equally valid. While all Christian faiths partake of salvation, they do so through the font of grace and salvation, God's established Church on Earth. So, too, in some mysteriously different way, those of other faiths who enter into the kingdom do so through the aegis of the Catholic Church.

In other words, in the Catholic Church resides the fullness of faith and the fullness of the truth of God that we can experience here on Earth. With the possible exception of the Orthodox Churches (I am not theologically adept enough to address this) that is untrue of any other Church. It is insufficient to say "Well, there's always the [place a denomination here] Church down the street."

John of Disputations made this point several days ago. Too often we are not interested in seeking the truth. We have bought into the post-modernist lie that truth is relative. It is not. The Truth, in the person of Jesus Christ, is absolute. And the Truth was established on Earth as the Church of Jesus Christ, the mystical body of Christ. Just because a few of the neurons in the body go haywire and start producing garbled speech is no reason to consider abandoning the body.

Now, to give all due credit, I don't believe the person who wrote about this suggested that the ICEL retranslation would bring about such a crisis. If I understood correctly, he was suggesting a reversion to the Tridentine Mass might cause such difficulties. Of this I cannot say; however, I can say that no matter what the language or the translation or lack thereof, so long as the core stays the same--the words of institution are valid and are a reasonable translation of those used by Jesus, Himself, everything else is table decoration. I don't much care if it's Latin, Urdu, Swahili, French, Spoken Sanskrit, Etruscan, or what--the real presence of Jesus Christ at the banquet of the Eucharist is the only thing that matters. I can tolerate a great deal of nonsense and things I don't particularly care for to be close to My Lord and My God in the real presence. Outside of the Catholic (and perhaps Orthodox Churches) where else can this be true?

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Nice post, Steven. I used to get all wrapped up in these kinds of debates. Like you, I have let it go and focused my attention on our Lord in the Eucharist. I do occasionally find myself reverting back to these kinds of debates, but as I get older, I learn to to let it go quicker each time.

Excellent reminder of two things: we should seek the Truth and it can be found in the Catholic Church.

I enjoy the blog!

God bless,


I tend to be a Henry Ford type of person in this: any language is fine as long as it is Latin.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 27, 2004 7:51 AM.

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