Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stupid ICEL-Lovers

Apparently old fogies are all sad that the present bad paraphrase of the Mass is to be soon done away with. They make all manner of dumb complaints about the upcoming new, accurate translation.  Well, I have before me a handy little booklet giving the Ordinary of the Mass in both the original Latin, and in the present French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English, German and Polish versions.  While some of these languages I cannot honestly understand, others are fairly clear.  Consider, then, how the English compares to the Latin and to other modern tongues, using three examples.

First, consider what the Anglicans since 1549, and all Catholic prayer-books prior to the liturgical reforms, rendered as "And with thy spirit":

Et cum spiritu tuo.  (Latin original)

Et avec votre esprit.  (French)
E con il tuo spirito.  (Italian)
Y con tu espíritu.  (Spanish)
Und mit deinem Geiste.  (German)

It would appear, then, that for the new English to say no longer "And also with you" but "And with your spirit" would accord with the majority of the main modern language versions.  (Weirdly enough, the Portuguese is even worse than the English: Ele está no meio de nós means something like "He's amongst us", which misses the whole point.  I don't know enough Polish to be sure, but it appears that the Polish I z duchem twoim is the same as the present English version.)

A second case, in the Confiteor, the famous, proverbial threefold cry:

mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa (Latin original)

per mia colpa, mia colpa, mia grandissima colpa (Italian - gotta love that grandissima!)
por mi culpa, por mi culpa, por mi gran culpa (Spanish)
por minha culpa, minha tão grande culpa (Portuguese - twofold only)
durch meine Schuld, durch meine Schuld, durch meine große Schuld (German)
moja wina, moja wina, moja bardzo wielka wina (Polish)

Surprise, surprise, most of these other common languages faithfully render this - so  away with ICEL's once only "through my fault".  The French (which here and in other places almost outdoes the English) renders this simply as oui, j'ai vraiment péché (yes, I really have sinned!)

Thirdly and finally for now, the Gloria in excelsis: notoriously, the English at present is a mere paraphrase (the more than four centuries' old Anglican version is a perfectly simple and correct one, why on earth didn't we just copy it?), while a quick glance at the other languages' versions shews that they parallel the Latin far more closely, rendering all the phrases, not eliding and simplifying as ICEL did so rudely.  (To save space and time, I won't give the eight versions here, but be assured what I say is true...)


Scott said...

Actually, I z duchem twoim is Polish for "And with thy spirit." "Duchem" is "spirit." Which strengthens your point. Thanks for this post.

Anonymous said...

I do wish ICEL would have the guts to get rid of the Revised Gender-Inclusive Grail Psalter (is that it's proper name, I forget which edition they have put forward). It's silly that they have decided to continue with that translation as it obviously still continues in that 60/70s tradition that the new Missal is breaking out of.

Rob A