Art of Translation
Bishop Trautman, in his article, Rome and ICEL (3/4), makes no mention of the widespread dissatisfaction expressed by so many with the quality of ICEL’s work, which is no doubt the reason underlying Rome’s intervention. I think the trouble is that ICEL, from the very outset to the present time, has had no practical knowledge of the art of translation. Et cum spiritu tuo is not translated And also with you. Whatever that is, it is not a translation. I am a professional translator with 50 years of experience, still serving lawyers and patent attorneys, and if I translated German patent applications (my specialty) the way the ICEL did the liturgical and scriptural texts, I would not now be swamped as I am with business. I translate literally into perfectly readable English. ICEL could have done the same, but they spurned my offer of help.
(Deacon) George D. Sheehan
Thanks to Bishop Donald Trautman for putting the current ICEL controversy in historical perspective. His thoughtful and honest questions in the essay, Rome and ICEL (3/4), were most helpful!
Judith M. Kubicki, C.S.S.F.
East Aurora, N.Y.
Thanks for the excellent article by Bishop Donald Trautman, Rome and ICEL (3/4). It is a measured and reasonable response to recent actions of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship.
For new English translations of the sacred liturgy, I place my trust in English-speaking bishops like Donald Trautman and his colleagues in other English-speaking countries. Thanks, Bishop Trautman, for being a rare American bishop in speaking out publicly about a Vatican action. It’s hardly whining, as Gino Dalpiaz says in his letter (3/18). It’s a dialogue in the tradition of the Acts of the Apostles.
(Rev.) Donald W. McIlvane
I received with joy the March 4 issue on liturgy and wish, with several others who have already done so, to congratulate you on it. I have experienced in my lifetime the whole span of liturgical reform begun early in the centuryactually years before Vatican II. As a child I participated in the Demonstration Mass with its efforts toward congregational participation, knowledge and appreciation of Gregorian Chant and so on. Often this and much subsequent education in liturgy has been a source of pain for me as I see principles violated or misunderstood.
I had hoped that the directive concerning the consecrated bread distributed at Mass would at some point be addressed in the issue. Perhaps I attach too much importance to it, but I find it difficult to understand why, at almost every Eucharist in which I participate, especially during the week, I am given a host consecrated at a previous celebration. How would a person who had been invited to share a meal feel if given the leftovers (I intend no disrespect here) after the host/hostess had consumed the freshly prepared food. While the directive about this in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that it is most desirable that the faithful receive the Lord’s body from hosts consecrated at the same Mass (and I can certainly understand that there are times when it would be necessary to breach this directive), I find it difficult to understand why it has been, in my experience, more often ignored than observed.
Thank you, again, for providing such an informative and inspiring weekly.
Mary T. Legge, S.S.J.
What Children Know
Your March 4 issue was a gem. From back to front (the way I have come to read it), each article was better than the last. Each was a message I need to share with a friend or colleague.
Thank you for sharing your gifts of writing, as well as for gathering the best of varied views and topics. I look forward to receiving it every week. Even my children announce its arrival, knowing I will want it secure in my work bag, for the ride in to work, home again and as a frequent lunch companion.
Forest Lake, Minn.
Your March 4 issue arrived unusually early in Kampala. It was passed on to me as I was leaving to take a sabbath day on the shores of Lake Victoria. I always go to the letters first. The responses to the Rev. Richard P. McBrien’s mandatum article expressed the kind of intelligent challenges that I have come to expect from America’s readers. More letters, please! I noticed those few recently calling for more feeding of faith...good for you.
Then I went to the book reviews and there I found superb summaries and evaluations by Richard Hauser, S.J., of the recent books on Mertonanother dose of good news revealed in this American monk with his humanity showing, as well as God and his life-grounded prayera call to all of us to keep growing and not fear the questions.
Rome and ICEL by Bishop Donald Trautman speaks with clarity, vigor and intelligence to a recently unfocused attack on ICEL and the episcopates with which it has been collaborating for the last 30 years. We are not voiceless after all. We have not been abandoned to secret manipulations and back-door policymaking.
Finally, I almost passed over Descend on Us in Fire by Paul Mariani. How happy I am I did not. Here is the Good News in pure form. The message of life becomes the message of the Gospel.
Jim Egan, S.J.
Real Needs Met
While moralists pontificate and legalists adjudicate, they do not come forward to help the woman in distress. I am grateful for the response of the Sisters of Life (detailed by George Anderson, S.J., 4/1), who are trying to meet the real needs of women with and without faith who find themselves in crisis pregnancies. It is interesting that even in New York City there are only 12 spots to house women with this need.
Ever since Roe v. Wade the political harangue has continued, and money from the righteous for the cause has poured into the coffers of the politicians, but so little has been done on a daily basis for actual women that it is a constant embarrassment.
Also, it would help if clergy spoke out more clearly on the sins of the abandoning men. Most people seem to focus all their energy on the sinning women.
Martina Nicholson, M.D.
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Could it be a coincidence that simultaneously not only did I receive my annual financial request to continue as an America Associate, but also I received the April 1 issue that appeared mostly dedicated to pro-life issues. In the past my two letters to the editor concerning such topics, especially when I scolded pro-choice Catholic politicians, have ended in America’s trashbin. Congratulations to the authors of this issue, but one still must wonder whether this was a last-ditch effort of the editorial staff to appeal to the R.W.S.O.A. (Right Wing Supporters of America), or was this just an April fool joke, since this issue was published on April 1?
Harry D. Carrozza, M.D.
Figure It Out
The movie The Cider House Rules has certainly resurrected the discussion on abortion (4/1). Abortion is legal. What more do pro-choice advocates want - approval? Making abortion legal doesn’t make it moral, just safer and free from prosecution. It would have to be intrinsically good, for all involved, to be moral. Just because we can do something, the ethical question is still valid: Should we?
My take on the movie was that in that time and place Dr. Larch did what he was trained to do for women who were unwilling to give life to their babies. In healing, in helping, the doctor is actually saying you are a worthwhile human being in spite of your sins, and I choose to love you rather than judge you. By his attitude and service, he forgives the past unfortunate choices. In other words, the person is greater than the sin. And for those children who were given life and then abandoned, Dr. Larch and two nurses provided heartfelt love and care for the orphaned children.
You can’t apply today’s knowledge to 1940 situations. I was a teenage Minnesota farm girl in 1940, and I know now how much I didn’t know then. Sixty years have passed since Cider House. We have come a long way - or have we? Abortions should be few with what we know now. As women of equality we have control over our own bodies, right?
1. Women are now free to say no.
2. We have advanced methods of birth control.
3. We have better sex education.
4. There is less pressure to keep pregnancies secret.
5. We have adoption as a healthy option.
So why 1.4 million abortions each year? Come on ladies, figure it out. Since this is primarily a women’s issue, I suggest that we be the ones who should take the greater responsibility that can result in a greater freedom than abortion can give us.
Fraught With Consequences
I saw The Cider House Rules differently from Paul W. McNellis, S.J. (4/1). It is a highly moral movie. Every decision and action is fraught with consequences. Dr. Larch’s life was one of isolation and opposition without honor or support from the larger community. Irresponsible parenthood led to the shame and pain of St. Cloud, a place where no one goes willingly. The young couple who secured an abortion of convenience apparently lived out their lives childless. Mr. Rose and his daughter paid a terrible price for the sin of incest. In the lives of the orphans it pictures sin punished to the third and fourth generation. Even Homer Wells can expect no future other than that of his mentor. In The Cider House Rules God does not need to reward or punish; life does it very well all by itself.
It is more than a moral movie; it is a Christian movie as well. In creating characters we understand and care about, it gave us a glimpse into the mind and heart of the One who deplores the pain and suffering that follows inexorably in the train of sin, but loves and cares for the sinner. For two hours our viewpoint is that of the Prodigal Father. Does not the Gospel put a greater emphasis on loving the sinner than on hating the sin?
West Bloomfield, Mich.
The teaching moment in The Cider House Rules, treated by Paul W. McNellis, S.J. (4/1), is learning, once again, that original sin is operative in our world. Thankfully, there is a sacramental moment in which we confront our failure to follow God’s rulereconciliation.
Lisa Ann Green
College Station, Tex.