A Semantic Proposition

Posted on September 4, 2010


Mystic Monk Coffee

I would like to propose a change in our “default” reference to the upcoming translation changes to the Roman Missal.

At the moment there are three camps:  There is the “It’s About Time” camp (of which I am a card-carrying member) and there is the “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Seeking to Undermine the Glorious Empowering Liturgical Reforms of the Last Forty Years” camp, of which I am not.  I suspect that each of these camps represent about 10% of Catholics.  In between, there are 80% who currently belong to the “What New Translation?” camp.  In political circles, these are called “swing voters.”

We are currently referring to the upcoming translations as “new.”  While accurate, this reference is also editorially neutral.  As most people don’t know there is anything wrong with the current translations, their default position will likely be “why hassle me with a change where none is needed?”  They might also conclude that the original prayers were simply re-written by Pope Benedict to reflect his conservative agenda.  Then we are put in a defensive position from square one.

I suggest our default reference be “corrected translation” or “new corrected translation.”  By adding the word “corrected” to all references, we teach that the original translations were defective and that this was a repair, not the promotion of an agenda.  We communicate the the real reasons for the change from the outset, not in defense against those on the left who ARE promoting an agenda.

(Fr. Z, I’ll even buy a new mug!)