'Leaked' Vatican Document on New Mass Translations
Robert Mickens sent us this tip about a new report that he says has "produced extensive evidence that last-minute changes were made to the English translation of the Roman Missal without the knowledge or approval of the competent bishops’ conferences and in violation of the Vatican’s own translation rules. The anonymous report, circulated to all the English speaking Bishops’ Conferences, highlights that changes were made to the new English translation of the Missal, just before it was approved and presented to Pope Benedict XVI." Mickens, the Tablet's Rome correspondent, was referring to a link on the liturgical website "PrayTell," posted by Anthony Ruff, OSB. (Btw, it is rather shocking to see a Vatican document ending up on Wikileaks, better known for sharing leaked documents about the Iraq War). Ruff writes:
The bombshell fell October 31, 2010, 8:31 am (Collegeville time). I suppose some might make the connection to Martin Luther’s 95 Theses on October 31, but in all honesty I didn’t have that in mind. I said a brief prayer, made the Sign of the Cross, and hit PUBLISH. Then my heart started pounding, and I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary. I had in mind serving the Church by bringing the truth to light. More truth and light were to follow – NCR published reports here and here on the “missal mess” and the internal report “Areas of Difficulty in the Received Text of the Missal.”
Ruff moves beyond the question of "Who leaked it?" to what he sees as the more important issue: "The Roman Missal, English edition, got hijacked in a case of bad judgment, abuse of power, and incompetence."
Here is the main part of the document, entitled "Areas of Difficulty in the Received Text of the Missal," which appears to be a presentation of ICEL (International Committee on English in the Liturgy) to the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship.
There are thirteen areas of difficulty which have been identified in the light of Liturgiam authenticam [LA] or the Ratio translationis [RT]. Examples have been taken from the Order of Mass and the Proper of Time, but the observations also apply to other texts.
It is presumed that technical difficulties (consistency in textual repetitions, capitalization, punctuation, grammar) can be resolved without explicit permission from the Congregation for Divine Worship. In addition to consistency in textual repetitions, capitalization, and punctuation, this would include Areas of Difficulty nos. 9, 11, and possibly no. 2 in cases in which the revision is obviously a mistake rather than a deliberate change. The communication of other problems is left to the discretion of the member Conferences. An exhaustive analysis of the entire received text can be completed should this be useful to ICEL’s member Conferences.
- change of meaning from the Latin original (RT 41)
- mistranslation of the Latin (RT 20)
- limiting of the vocabulary (LA 49/51; RT 20, 46-50)
- additions of an element not found in the Latin (LA 20)
- omission of an element found in the Latin (RT 44)
- weakening of Scriptural allusion (RT 6, 36)
- loss of intensity of original (RT 50/62)
- introduction of a theological problem (RT 102)
- difficulty with English grammar or usage (LA 44/74)
- adoption of Neo-Vulgate when an antiphon uses the Vulgate (LA 37/38; RT 37/107)
- capitalization of LORD when it renders YHWH. (LA 41c; RT 81/116)
- suppression of a rhetorical device (LA 57a/58/59)
- translations of ‘unigenitum’ (RT 81)
James Martin, SJ