Friday, June 16, 2006

Daring Dew Would Be Derring-Do

Or, so think the US Bishops who voted that the word "dew" would stay out of the lines invoking the Holy Spirit. Rocco has the scoop.

This is one of the many proposed "adaptations" that were made to the newly accepted translation of the Order of the Mass. For those of us who need help with translating complicated terms, like "substance" and, er, "dew," apparently: the term "adaptation" seems to be a variously-connotative one which might mean anything from a meaningful change taking into account the needs of the flock to a useless dumbing-down of liturgical wording.

The adaptation of the word "dew" comes despite a specific reference by the ICEL Chairman, Bishop Roche, during his comments yesterday morning:
It has been objected that this translation ‘does not resonate or communicate with contemporary Christians’. But surely, dew still exists. I noticed an advert on the street yesterday for a drink called Mountain Dew! Dew has a unique set of natural and scriptural associations: it speaks of freshness, new beginning, water (and hence life), beauty, descent from above (and hence divine blessing), and manna (Exodus 16:13-14) (and hence Eucharist). It still appears on the ground in the morning as it did in the time of Moses on the journey through the desert. American people know what dew is - rather better, I suspect, than Europeans, since so many of you get out of bed earlier than we do!
Apparently, his witticisms were lost upon the conference, who nixed the rich reference from the text they'll be sending to Rome.

One wonders, why the deletion? Did the reference interfere with the communication of some doctrine? Would people begin attributing a role of "Divine Sprinkler" to the Third Person of the Trinity?

No, I imagine instead that it has something to do with the general depravation in our culture of meaningful expression. I'm not accusing the Bishops of being culprits in this action, per se; rather, they are put in a tough position by a trend that is perhaps beyond their control.

Consider recent years' publications of Shakespeare in "common language." Pardon me, but I thought Shakespeare was already considered as writing in modern English?

But apparently, there's no good in saying "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks" when you can just as easily get your point accross by saying "Hey, I think Julie's light is on!"

But since when has liturgy been primarily about getting a point accross? Did David spare the Lord the best poetry when writing the psalms for fear that advanced generations might not "get it?" Did Palestrina and Tallis decide that two part harmony might be better, considering you can't hear the words as well when you layer eight voices atop one another?

No, thank God. And as for the extraneousness of the word "dew" - I hope the Holy See has still a soft spot for poetry like I do...

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Despite the need to be more and more transparent (humble/holy)as a Church, and certainly as leaders, should we keep re-defining the virtue of obedience...or just follow it? Your reference's referral to Bishop Trautman as "fishperson" reminds one of several Gallilean fishermen who were in need of the Holy Spirit as much as any of us. Peace -- Ged.

6/16/06, 9:24 PM  
Blogger Joey G. said...

I don't necessarily agree with all of the politics, let alone the tactics, of everyone to whom I link. I personally try to avoid name-calling, esp. in the public forum, of anyone - particularly priests. But, my references are still valuable sources for information and I stand by my choice to provide links to them. Just please do understand that I don't necessarily endorse everything written by the people on my blogroll, but value the information chain that they provide.

That having been said, I'm not sure if the virtue of obedience is the particular one lacking in the case pointed out. That would be for those people who inser their own words if they are unhappy with what the Bishops have approved. But I don't think it disobedient to have hoped for something different. A certain lack of charity in the name-calling, yes. But suppose the name-calling hadn't been done, and the person simply maintained a negative opinion of the Bishop in question. I don't know that that's anything inherently wrong - as long as they obey. Right?

6/18/06, 9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Joe;
I certainly did not want to question your methods nor your link's methods as regards the virtue of obedience. I was expressing, however poorly, my exasperation with debate over an "issue" of translators and translation, while those of us "in the field" will simply have to put our energies into more immediate concerns -- such as, "how do I help a parent deal with their A-student child's victimization on the internet?" Where is the dew there? I believe the job of words is very important, but the job of administering the words seems even moreso. Peace -- Ged. And thanks for your blog and responses.

6/19/06, 12:33 PM  
Blogger Joey G. said...

Thanks Ged,
As always I appreciate your comments and your readership.

I agree that in the issues of translation and the catechesis that goes with it, one of the most important phrases that we need to capture the meaning and spirit of is "ite, missa est."

6/19/06, 1:07 PM  

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