Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Collects of the Roman Missal compared...

The Tablet has been re-vamped and re-designed and it now contains a new weekly article by Dom Daniel McCarthy, OSB, called 'Listen to the Word', which is a study of the Sunday Collect (Opening Prayer) in the Roman Missal, using the Latin version of the editio typica. This Latin prayer is compared with the current I.C.E.L. translation of it. In my opinion, this is one of the more interesting articles in the magazine as it highlights the paucity of the English translation that we use in the Liturgy, as well as the shift in theological nuance, and the crying need for a more elevated and faithful translation of the beautiful Latin prayers. For example, Dom McCarthy noted today that the subject of the prayer for Laetare Sunday is God in the Latin prayer but in the English version, "we" are the subject.

Even without this study though, those among us who are fortunate to use the translation of the Liturgy of the Hours, approved by the English Bishops' Conference (and others) will notice that in Lent and Advent and on Sundays per annum, the translation of the Concluding prayer in the Office, which is a translation of the Latin Collect from the Mass of the day, is rather different from the I.C.E.L. translation of the same Latin Collect which is found in the Missal. This is because a special commission based in Leeds translated the Collects for the English Breviary but the I.C.E.L. version was foisted into the Missal and the American Breviaries. Even a cursory glance at these will reveal the notable difference in tone, nuance and theology between the I.C.E.L. and Leeds Commission versions.

In this season of Lent, it is particularly noteworthy that the while the Leeds Commission would translate the word 'gratia' as 'grace', the I.C.E.L. would translate it as 'help'...

Anyway, it seems The Tablet wishes to highlight these discrepancies to their readership and I applaud them for it! Sadly the articles by Dom McCarthy are not available online, so you'll have to buy or borrow a copy or have it photocopied and sent to you!

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