12Aug Liturgy: Handing on a Living flame or worshipping Ashes

New English Language Lectionary

The Spring-Summer edition of “New Liturgy” from the National Secretariat for Liturgy reports on the development of a new English Language Lectionary. For some it may be good news; for others, not, on account of the terms of the work.

The first meeting of the new International Commission for the Preparation of an English Language Lectionary (ICPEL) was held in Roehampton, England in April 2006. An effort initiated in 2003, the aim of ICPEL is to produce a Lectionary based on the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV) for several English-speaking national Churches: Australia, Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Since 1966, all these countries have been using lectionaries based on the Jerusalem Bible.

ICPEL’s plan then was to have its new Lectionary ready when the new Missal translation was approved for use!

However, the report in “New Liturgy” (page 8) says that in February 2014, the Bishops’ Conference was formally notified that the ICPEL project to produce an English language Lectionary had run its course, and that the proposal to use ESV (English Standard Version) as a translation was not accepted by the Conferences. Notice has been given of the “Bede Bible Project”, an initiative of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. It is proposed that the Bede Bible would be a full-Bible revision of the Revised Standard Version, and would accord with the norms of the Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam.

“New Liturgy” also reports that the full set of liturgical texts contained in the Roman Ritual, the Roman Pontifical and the Liturgy of the Hours are due for re-translation, in accordance with the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam.

The Bishops’ Conference has agreed that the translation of the Order of Confirmation ought to confer with the texts for Catechetical formation. The fifth and sixth class programmes of “Grow in Love” are due for implementation in September 2018.

The working group on marriage of the Council for Liturgy is completing for consideration a new edition of the Order of Marriage / Ord an Phósta: “The proposal is being prepared under the Fourth and Fifth Instructions on the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, namely: Varietates Legitimae and [wait for it!] Liturgiam Authenticam”!

(The instruction Varietates Legitimae deals with Inculturation and the Roman Liturgy.)

I’m lost for words. Perhaps some words of Pope Francis in a speech given to Communion and Liberation on March 7, 2015:

The reference to the legacy that Don Giussani left you cannot be reduced to a museum of records, of decisions taken, of the rules of conduct. It certainly entails faithfulness to tradition, but faithfulness to tradition, Mahler said, ‘is not to worship the ashes but to pass on the flame’. Don Giussani would never forgive you if you lost the liberty and transformed yourselves into museum guides or worshippers of ashes.”

It may not have been Mahler that said that, but the expression speaks loud. Are we for the living flame, or for more ashes?

Pádraig McCarthy

 

4 Responses

  1. Paddy Ferry

    Why, in God’s name, has not even one priest made a comment on Padraig’s piece on the liturgy above. Are you all drowned in liturgical despair?

  2. Joe O'Leary

    Liturgical despair is indeed rife, Paddy, but very understandably so. (I did try to send a comment from my cell phone but it evaporated en route.) All efforts to argue with the suicidal policies of the Vatican agencies have got people banging their heads against the wall. It is still unclear what background arm-twisting produced the docility of the English-speaking episcopal conferences in this act of ecclesiastical suicide.

    “A Lectionary based on the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV)” might be passsable if it could finesse the insensitive use of inclusive language (as in when “what is man that thou are mindful of him” is turned into the plural and then blindly repeated in Hebrews where it can only refer to the single person of Christ) and the crass use of “slaves” for “douloi” (instead of “servants”) right through the Gospels, which must create a horrible effect when read in Church.

    It is good that “the proposal to use ESV (English Standard Version) as a translation was not accepted by the Conferences.” The proposal seems to have been in line with the Vatican’s dedication to literalism (the barbaric translation philosophy of Liturgiam Authenticam):

    “The ESV is an “essentially literal” translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. As such, its emphasis is on “word-for-word” correspondence, at the same time taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages. Thus it seeks to be transparent to the original text, letting the reader see as directly as possible the structure and meaning of the original. In contrast to the ESV, some Bible versions have followed a “thought-for-thought” rather than “word-for-word” translation philosophy, emphasizing “dynamic equivalence” rather than the “essentially literal” meaning of the original. A “thought-for-thought” translation is of necessity more inclined to reflect the interpretive opinions of the translator and the influences of contemporary culture.” http://www.esv.org/about/translation-philosophy

    The ““Bede Bible Project”, an initiative of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales…. a full-Bible revision of the Revised Standard Version,” that “would accord with the norms of the Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam” — is a formula for more disaster. You don’t just revise a Bible text in that way — you have to go back to the original tongues. And that entails a huge investment of time and collective effort of which the bishops’ conference seems unaware.

    And no self-respecting Bible translators are going to be bound by “the norms of Liturgiam Authenticam”, which have already caused so much damage to souls.

    It’s refreshing to have a Pope who alludes to Wagner and Mahler, but he seems to have signed off on the liturgical tragedy inflicted by his predecessor on the entire English-speaking world.

  3. Padraig McCarthy

    Joe @2:
    “It’s refreshing to have a Pope who alludes to Wagner and Mahler, but he seems to have signed off on the liturgical tragedy inflicted by his predecessor on the entire English-speaking world.”

    Yes, it seems he has not addressed this matter. I suspect that if he were asked, he would respond as he did to South American bishops about ordination of married men: “Come back to me with a proposal!” If only some of the English language Conferences of Bishops would use a bit of initiative about it. How long, Lord – how long?

  4. Paddy Ferry

    Thanks, Joe, for that very informative piece. It was worth waiting for !


Scroll Up