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Chorus of Whiners

First, it’s the American theologians who are whining over Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Now it’s the turn of the liturgical translators to whine over the intervention of the Congregation for Divine Worship. I’m tired of all this whining against the Vatican, which has become the favorite whipping-boy of all malcontents. Now Bishop Donald Trautman joins the chorus of whiners by trying to defend the shoddy and protracted translation work of the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (Rome and ICEL, 3/4). For many years I said Mass in Italian and English while stationed in Europe. The Italian and French texts were wondrously musical and poetic, deeply theological, reverent and faithful to the original. And these translations came out decades ago! Why, in God’s heavenafter all these yearscan’t we get a similarly beautiful translation of the liturgical texts for the English-speaking people of the world? Frankly, I think ICEL’s hubris and ideological bias have brought about this liturgical debacle, making us the laughingstock of the world. I’m glad Cardinal Jorge Medina has taken the bull by the horns. Maybe with a restructured ICEL, the long-suffering men and women in the pews will, at long last, get the beautiful English translations they so richly deserve.

Gino Dalpiaz, C.S.

Italian Cultural Center

Stone Park, Ill.

 

Cannot Perdure

Your editorial on Priests With AIDS was outstanding (2/26). On the issue of gay clergy, right now we have an uncomfortable juxtaposition of intrinsically disordered teaching, a significant percentage of gay clergy and an unofficial don’t ask, don’t tell protocol. This cannot continue. Probably the most certain to continue is the significant percentage of gay clergy. The future of the teaching and the protocol is more in doubt. Reality will have its way. The gay clergy are real; the other two are abstractions.

Kenneth Smits, O.F.M.Cap.

Madison, Wis.

 

Don’t Forget Lust

In your editorial Priests With AIDS (2/26) you make a major point that unfortunately our church defines homosexuality as intrinsically disordered.’ My reading of the Catechism of the Catholic Church suggests that the church takes a more compassionate and sensitive position on homosexuality.

The reference to intrinsically disordered is reserved for homosexual acts, not persons as your editorial implies. Further, the catechism does not single out intrinsically disordered terminology for only homosexual acts. For example, it labels masturbation as intrinsically and gravely disordered.

Since the church teaches that we are all called to chastity, it should not be a surprise that similar, harsh terminology is also applied to lust, fornication, pornography adultery and so on.

Al Starosciak

Concord, Calif.

 

With Us For a Time

In Of Many Things (2/26) James Martin, S.J., wonders ...how anyone can raise a child and not be consumed with worry. As the father of seven children and, now, five grandchildren, I have learned that we must not dwell on the worry and struggles and sorrows, as tempting as it is to wallow in them. We must celebrate the wonder of our life and the lives of those around us. The children we call ours are really the Lord’s, and we have the honor of having them live with us for a time while they form and learn and become themselves...and what a wonderful joy it is! It is an act of faith on our part that the Lord truly will provide. As for us, who needs all that lost sleep anyhow?

Art Maurer

Penfield, N.Y.

Spiritual Balance

One of the recent letters (Dry and Humorless, 2/12) complained of America having become primarily oriented toward social justice, without enough spiritual balance. That note reminded me of my comments to nieces and nephews to whom I had sent the America sampler. I called America a head type of magazine, as opposed to those which are basically heart types. Both are needed. Since it is impossible in a 32-page periodical to handle adequately several orientations, additional sources need to be added to our reading lists. My upbringing had a minimum emphasis on social justice, and I have found America to have been a big help in raising my awareness.

Bob Volz

Houston, Tex.

 

Pelagianism and Baptism

Congratulations on publishing the wonderful article by Robert K. Hudnut (2/26). The easily understood and clearly presented theology of the gratuitousness of the gift of faith provides a superb foundation for infant baptism homiletics. And as many of these baptisms are witnessed to by assemblages of mixed denominations, it will be delightful to refer to a Presbyterian minister published in a Jesuit magazine.

(Deacon) Greg Moore

Ontario, Calif.

 

Express Gratitude

It was a great shock for me to read that Richard A. McCormick, S.J., died on Feb. 12 (Signs of the Times, 2/26). For several years I had intended to write and thank him for his help when I was faced with an end-of-life decision concerning my oldest son, Joel, who was rendered comatose and remained in a persistent vegetative state for over a dozen years.

In the early 1990’s, America printed a series of articles on medical ethics. One of them, by Father McCormick, made so much sense to me, it enabled me to release my son from the prison of his suspended life without feeling that I was the criminal, responsible for his being in that state in the first place. Father McCormick was unaware of this. I am so sorry I never thanked him while he was alive. I do it now, and urge your readers not to procrastinate; let people who played a significant role in important areas of your life know you are grateful.

Marion Ragsdale

New York, N.Y.

 

Eucharist in Action

Having just read Msgr. Gerald Martin’s insightful article Changing Elements or People? (3/4), I must concur. Having grown up in one church (the 1950’s and early 60’s) and serving in another as priest (the 90’s and 2000), I too am struck by the clashes over the tabernacle placement. It amazes me that people will watch Jesus in the tabernacle or the monstrance...but they are totally against become like himfor whatever reason. Eucharist is, as Msgr. Martin put it, an action, not a thing. We are to become like Christ through eating and drinking his body and blood. Even the eucharistic prayer states that very fact: that we may become [there’s that action again!] one body, one Spirit in Christ. It’s very difficult to become someone when you just stare at him or her. We all need to get out and be Christ for one another.

(Rev.) Bill Lugger

Lansing, Mich.

 

Tale of Two Cities

In his review of the book A Star Called Henry (2/19), John Breslin, S.J., states: Easter 1916 finds Henry (minus Victor, dead of T.B.) barricaded in London’s General Post Office with Pearce and Connolly and the rest. They would have to have been very smart rebels indeed to have performed this feat, seeing that they were at the very same time fighting in Dublin’s General Post Office. Padraig Pearse was there with the rest, but I never heard of a Pearce being there.

Eamonn O’Murchu

Thousand Oaks, Calif.

 

Oppressive Structures

While reading the article Religion and Politics in India (2/19), it was gratifying to find that the church, through educational and awareness-raising activities, is offering the lower-caste peoples some hope. This mass appeal by the church for a much more egalitarian social order has also resulted in the conversion of many of the oppressed to the Christian faith.

The church is championing this change in social structure within civil structures. But when will Rome look within and realize the bureaucracy, power and status of her own hierarchy are equally oppressive to her own people, and foster not only the loss of religious vocations but the rejection of the faith itself?

Jo Ann Jarmusz

Buffalo, N.Y.

Comments

Edward Hagman, O.F.M.Cap. | 1/19/2007 - 12:45pm
I hope these reflections on two of the letters on the ICEL affair won’t consign me to the Rev. Gino Dalpiaz’s chorus of whiners (3/18). Like him, I’ve had occasion to use the Italian and French texts for extended periods of time and find them generally beautiful. But are they really more “faithful” to the original than the ICEL translations? Consider the French version of the Suscipiat (“May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands...”), which says, quite literally, “For the glory of God and the salvation of the world.” And what about the alternate opening prayers for Sundays in the Italian missal? They are, I believe, rich in theology and imagery. They are also original compositions.

If I understand George Sheehan correctly (4/29), he has had 50 years of experience translating legal documents for lawyers and patent attorneys. Does this qualify him to translate liturgical texts? Surely every professional translator knows that attention must be paid to the genre of the text he or she is translating. He rightly says that translation is an art and uses the response Et cum spiritu tuo as an example. Any first year Latin student can probably tell us that this means, literally, “And with your spirit.” But who can tell us what “And with your spirit” means?

I’m no apologist for ICEL. Along with what I think are beautiful and enduring translations (some of the eucharistic prayers), they have also produced a fair amount of banality (many of the opening prayers). That said, I don’t see how Cardinal Medina’s (5/13) “taking the bull by the horns” will remedy matters. As one whose mother tongue is English, I would never feel qualified to critique the Italian or French texts, even though I have a decent knowledge of both languages. What kind of critique of our English texts can we expect from non-native speakers? Apparently there is enough hubris to go around. Until the ideology and power politics are set aside by everyone, I’m afraid the chorus of whiners will continue to grow.

(Rev.) Donald W. McIlvane | 1/19/2007 - 10:17am
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.

Michael J. Marigliano, O.F.M.Cap. | 1/19/2007 - 10:02am
In his letter (3/18), Gino Dalpiaz, C.S., expresses his impatience with the “whining” of both theologians and liturgical translators in their lament over recent Roman treatment. As one who “said Mass in Italian and French” in Europe for many years, Dalpiaz deems the efforts of ICEL to be self-evidently deficient in terms of poetic beauty and prayerful impact. I’d suggest that even the most wondrous of translations will do little to aid “the longsuffering men and women in the pews,” so long as these texts remain the preserve of a priest who “says Mass.” The divide between ICEL and Dalpiaz is not that of the literary—rather an entire theology of celebration would appear to be at stake here. I hope that “chorus of whiners” continues to sing with all its might.

Edward Hagman, O.F.M.Cap. | 1/19/2007 - 12:45pm
I hope these reflections on two of the letters on the ICEL affair won’t consign me to the Rev. Gino Dalpiaz’s chorus of whiners (3/18). Like him, I’ve had occasion to use the Italian and French texts for extended periods of time and find them generally beautiful. But are they really more “faithful” to the original than the ICEL translations? Consider the French version of the Suscipiat (“May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands...”), which says, quite literally, “For the glory of God and the salvation of the world.” And what about the alternate opening prayers for Sundays in the Italian missal? They are, I believe, rich in theology and imagery. They are also original compositions.

If I understand George Sheehan correctly (4/29), he has had 50 years of experience translating legal documents for lawyers and patent attorneys. Does this qualify him to translate liturgical texts? Surely every professional translator knows that attention must be paid to the genre of the text he or she is translating. He rightly says that translation is an art and uses the response Et cum spiritu tuo as an example. Any first year Latin student can probably tell us that this means, literally, “And with your spirit.” But who can tell us what “And with your spirit” means?

I’m no apologist for ICEL. Along with what I think are beautiful and enduring translations (some of the eucharistic prayers), they have also produced a fair amount of banality (many of the opening prayers). That said, I don’t see how Cardinal Medina’s (5/13) “taking the bull by the horns” will remedy matters. As one whose mother tongue is English, I would never feel qualified to critique the Italian or French texts, even though I have a decent knowledge of both languages. What kind of critique of our English texts can we expect from non-native speakers? Apparently there is enough hubris to go around. Until the ideology and power politics are set aside by everyone, I’m afraid the chorus of whiners will continue to grow.

(Rev.) Donald W. McIlvane | 1/19/2007 - 10:17am
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.

Michael J. Marigliano, O.F.M.Cap. | 1/19/2007 - 10:02am
In his letter (3/18), Gino Dalpiaz, C.S., expresses his impatience with the “whining” of both theologians and liturgical translators in their lament over recent Roman treatment. As one who “said Mass in Italian and French” in Europe for many years, Dalpiaz deems the efforts of ICEL to be self-evidently deficient in terms of poetic beauty and prayerful impact. I’d suggest that even the most wondrous of translations will do little to aid “the longsuffering men and women in the pews,” so long as these texts remain the preserve of a priest who “says Mass.” The divide between ICEL and Dalpiaz is not that of the literary—rather an entire theology of celebration would appear to be at stake here. I hope that “chorus of whiners” continues to sing with all its might.

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