Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And With Your (Not Thy) Spirit

The forever forthcoming new translation of the Roman Rite in English will have many positive changes, among them "And with your spirit," but you know this already. It seems that the news about the new translations will never end and the translation will never arrive - and this is mostly because of delays from the USCCB. Cardinal George seems to be pushing back the problems, and just about everyone is to the point of being fed up, as this story suggests.

Of course the translation is a huge improvement that, no matter how good, still does not erase a tragic missed opportunity for the 1970 Missal. There are yet a number of frustrations.

1) This translation seems far better (for example, it is an actual translation, unlike the current English rendering) but it is not what it should be. You can see this from the translation of "et cum spiritu tuo." "Thy" is a beautiful word and is lovely to sing and say. "Your" is not a beautiful word, and it is awkward to sing and say. This problem of cognition vs. liturgical language is pervasive.

2) I don't see any progress within ICEL over the permissions/royalty problems of selling the right to publish the Mass text.

3) In the course of doing this, the USCCB has inadvertently granted a monopoly over the Psalms to a for-profit publisher (GIA) that owns exclusive rights to the Grail, a publisher that has been responsible for some of the worst of the musical problems in the Church today, which will now have total control over the psalms and be free to force all composers and publishers in the world to cough up money to pay them forever. Don't try to discover the terms of their monopoly control: all legal agreements are secret and will not be released (unless perhaps legal pressure comes to bear).

4) The delays are preposterous. Everyone is sitting on lots of music that we cannot post because ICEL is preventing this until Rome gives final approval.

Improvement is always fantastic. Sadly, no one believes that the new translation is a stable solution for the long term.

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