Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Magister: Not All Bishops Are of Good Will

From Sandro Magister today, Vatican Diary / Not All Bishops Are of Good Will: "The Italians are at the front of the line in disobeying Rome, with regard to the translation of the words of consecration. The Germans and Austrians are bringing up the rear. And even in the translations of the Our Father and of the Gloria, there is disagreement "

VATICAN CITY, October 4, 2011 – At the present time, all of the parishes and churches of the United States are receiving the new English version of the Roman Missal, which will be used starting on the first Sunday of Advent, this November 27.

The variations with respect to the previous version are numerous, and hotly debated. But the change that has prompted the greatest dispute is certainly the one that concerns the words of the consecration of the wine, where it says in the Latin version: "Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei [...] qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur." The "pro multis" of this formula has generally been translated, in the vernacular translations of the postcouncil, as "for all": a translation that not only does not respect the letter of the original Latin, which in turn is derived from the Gospel texts, but has also generated a subtle but lively theological debate.

In order to resolve this problem, in October of 2006 the presidents of the episcopal conferences all over the world were sent a letter, under the "guidance" of Benedict XVI, from the congregation for divine worship, headed at the time by Cardinal Francis Arinze. It asked that "pro multis" be translated as "for many." This was done by the episcopates of Hungary (from "mindenkiért" to "sokakért) and of various countries in Latin America (from "por todos" to "por muchos"). The Spanish episcopate is preparing to do so, and the change has already been made, not without very lively discussions even among the bishops, by the episcopate of the United States (from "for all" to "for many"). As for the episcopates of Germany and Austria, they are showing strong resistance to the change from fur alle" to "fur viele."

As for Italy, the issue was addressed by the bishops during the plenary assembly of the episcopal conference held in Assisi in November of 2010, during the examination of the material of the third Italian edition of the Roman Missal.

On that occasion, the Italian bishops showed tremendous reluctance to introduce "per molti." During the sessions, in fact, it was insisted that the episcopal conferences of the individual regions were already "unanimous" in choosing the version "per tutti." And when the bishops of all of Italy were called to vote on this specific point of the Missal, the result was the following: out of 187 voters, in addition to one blank ballot, there were 171 votes in favor of keeping "per tutti," 4 for the introduction of the version "per la moltitudine" (taken from "pour la multitude," used in the French Missal), and just 11 for the "per molti" requested by the Holy See in 2006.

At the same meeting, the Italian bishops also voted in favor of two changes to the Our Father and the Gloria.

For the Our Father, in a two-part vote, the bishops first rejected the idea of keeping the phrase "non ci indurre in tentazione [do not lead us into temptation]"; this phrase, in fact, received only 24 votes out of 84, fewer than the two others that were then voted on: "non abbandonarci alla tentazione [do not abandon us to temptation]" (87 votes) and "non abbandonarci nella tentazione [do not abandon us in temptation]" (62 votes). Of these two, the largest number of votes went to the first, with 111 against 68.

As for the Gloria, out of 187 voters, 151 approved the variation "Gloria a Dio nell’alto dei cieli e pace in terra agli uomini che egli ama [glory to God in the heights of heaven and peace on earth to the men whom he loves," in the place of the phrase currently in use, "Gloria a Dio nell’alto dei cieli e pace in terra agli uomini di buona volontà [glory to God in the heights of heaven and peace on earth to men of good will," which obtained 36 votes.

Regarding these same texts, the bishops of the United States preferred not to touch the Our Father, leaving unaltered the phrase "and lead us not into temptation," linguistically more faithful to the Latin "et ne nos inducas in tentationem."

But with regard to the Gloria, they decided to change the words "and peace to his people on earth" to "and on earth peace to people of good will," also in this case following literally the original Latin, "et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis."

On a somewhat related note, a priest recently shared with me a copy of the proposed (and Roman-rejected) adaptations to the "new" GIRM submittted by one nation'sl hierarchy. Very interesting to see what didn't pass muster, as well as to consider the liturgical trends that could be seen within those proposed adaptations.

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