Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pro Ecclesia...

Here is a sample of the difference(s) found in the upcoming English translation of the 2002 Missale Romanum as compared to English translation of the the MR1975. This Collect is taken from "For the Church" series A.

First the Latin:
Deus, qui regnum Christi ubíque terrárum dilatári providéntia mirábili disposuísti, et omnes hómines salutáris éffici redemptiónis partícipes, praesta, quaesumus, ut Ecclésia tua universále sit salútis sacraméntum, et cunctis homínibus revelétur exspectátio géntium et Salvátor eárum. Per Dóminum.

The same prayer as currently used in the Missale Romanum 1975:
God our Father, in your care and wisdom you extend the kingdom of Christ to embrace the world to give all men redemption. May the Catholic Church be the sign of our salvation, may it reveal for us the mystery of your love, and may that love become effective in our lives. Grant this through...

The same prayer as found in the upcoming English translation of the Missale Romanum 2002:
O God, who in your wonderful providence decreed that Christ's Kingdom should be extended throughout the earth and that all should become partakers of his saving redemption; grant, we pray, that your Church may be the universal sacrament of salvation, and that Christ may be revealed to all as the hope of the nations and their Savior. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Commentary could be (and is being) made, but briefly my eye notices the difference between employing "world" and "earth" for "terrarum". In the opening line of Genesis, "terram" is found and we readily translate it as "earth" in that "In the Beginning God created heaven and earth". Mark 2:10 also employs "terra" and again translated as "The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins". On the other hand Matthew 13:35 employs "mundi" as "since the foundation of the world".

And so what I'm writing here is far from being a thorough study of Latin employment - to do so one would need to take into consideration the entirety of the Vulgata as well as patristic texts and other liturgical sources. But a brief perusal such as this shows somewhat safely that a difference exists between "world" and "earth" in the Latin.

And spiritually we recognize that a phrase such as "embrace the world" requires some explanation and caution. Ours is a world created good and redeemed, but the fulfillment of that redemption is an act that we participate in by aligning our works/sufferings/lives/prayers with the redeeming action of Christ. In short, redemption is a work in progress.

In addition, I am glad to see that the Latin "participes" is actually brought into the upcoming English translation unlike the MR1975 cousin. Here we see that to be partakers requires some initiative and/or response from the individual believer - it actually requires us to actively strive to participate in the redemptive project which is Christ's.

I notice also that whereas the MR1975 translates "universale" as an added qualifier "Catholic" to the word "Church" the MR2002 only says "Church" and places "universale" as a qualifier for "sacrament" or mystery which is "universal". It should first be said that "ecclesia" is feminine nominative and "sacramentum" is neuter nominative as is "universale". So just the inner logic of Latin would strongly suggest that "universale" is to be applied to "sacrament" and not to "Church".

It seems that here we have a symmetrical statement. For example we could say, "The boy is tall" or "Tall is the boy".

Likewise is it, "the Universal Church is the sign of salvation" or is it "the Church is the universal sign of salvation"? MR1975 seems to have adopted the former and the MR2002 has adopted the latter use. Not only does such a translation remain faithful to the inner logic of the Latin but it also more aptly conveys right ecclesiology and the overall tenor of the Collect.

There are not two world histories. God who created time itself is as its author also the one who guides time and provides its meaning. He is both Author and Sustainer of all creation. There is only one Church, broken and scattered as it might be. The act of gathering together, the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer in John 17, is the continued work of redemption when the Church will be more fully and effectively a sign of Christ in the world. Fractured or not, only one Church exists and thus there is no need to qualify the "Church" as the "Catholic Church".

One might inquire about the Creed and its line, "Et unam, sanctam, catholicam, et apostolicam Ecclesiam". Here we have the classic four-fold characteristics of the Church's nature. Again, we see here that by the word "catholicam" the Church is universal and is intrinsically related to the characteristic of "unam" or "oneness", "unity". The difference in this qualifier compared to the MR2002's usage is that in the creed "catholicam" is a descriptor of the very nature of the Church whereas MR2002 emphasizes that salvation is meant for all, universally, which is the overall focus of the prayer itself as we earlier read in the first line: "Christ's Kingdom should be extended throughout the earth".

Just some thoughts on this July Sunday.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Fr. Wurtz,

I saw this post on Pray Tell as well. A very fine exposition on the benefits of the new translation.