June 24, 2006

A translation "boo-boo" I haven't noticed yet in any of the media, Catholic or otherwise.

One liturgical text that is badly "translated" with the result that a major element of its theological content is voided is the Trinitarian ending of the opening prayer at Mass.

The Latin original:
Per Dominum nostrum Iesus Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritu Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

A correct translation of that:
[We ask this] Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you IN THE UNITY of the Holy Spirit, O God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Our present English usage omits "in the unity of"-- and replaces it with "and".

The use of "and" does not introduce anything false or erroneous.

However, it deletes entire universes of "Holy Spirit theology", Trinitarian theology, Christological theology, sacramental theology, liturgical theology, the theology of grace and the theology of prayer.

By the way, I've noticed for some years now that the Bishop of San Diego says "in the unity of" instead of "and"-- to which I say both "Amen" and "Deo gratias!"


4 Comments:

Anonymous CaesarMagnus said...

Really, ICEL messed up most of the prayer endings in the Sacramentary. Not sure if that will change with the new translations.

Since the endings to the prayers for the collect always have one of three possibilities and the same for the Super Oblata and Post-Communionem.

Yet, I notice in the English the ending is translated in all sorts of various ways.

The Collect always ends with "Through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, [one] God, for ever and ever. Amen
or
He Who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, [one] God, for ever and ever. Amen.
or
He Who lives and reigns with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, [one] God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For the Super Oblata and the Post Communionem it is either:
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
or
He Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
or
You Who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

You might notice that for Corpus Christi, the word "reigns" appears as usual in the Latin, but does not appear in the English translation.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Norman said...

how about "ages of ages" for "saecula saeculorum"?

1:19 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

For a few centuries now, "ever and ever" has been the accepted English translation for "saecula saeculorum".

Catholics were always familiar with that, especially in praying the Rosary with the repeated "Glory be to the Father" that ends in Latin with "in saecula saeculorum"-- traditionally rendered "for ever and ever".

Nonetheless, "ages of ages" would be a correct translation. So would "centuries of centuries".

6:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former sixth-generation Episcopalian who fled the lunacy on the other side of the Tiber, I have the "old" Book of Common Prayer (1928) engraved permanently in my memory banks.

I can't help but notice how closely a literal translation of the Latin Eucharistic Prayer hews to the 1928 BCP version. In fact, it is often largely word for word, allowing for a certain amount of 17th century archaism.

If adjustments were made to some of the deliberate Protestantizing of the liturgy here and there, I think the ICEL could cut to the chase . . . and perhaps we might get some good out of the wreckage of the Episcopal church after all . . .

7:03 AM  

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