An exceptional young Latin scholar (in college at the age of 16) has written a critique of the New Translation — posted on NCR.com — that is receiving a lot of response. I can’t respond to his Latin issues, having studied Latin for all or 3 weeks before switching to German (a decision I regret to this day), but I am impressed with his passion for the mass itself. He is angry with Rome for messing with something that is important to him.

I feel that one good thing that might come out of the backwards trend of Catholic liturgical “development” is a growing discomfort, among practicing Catholics like Erik, with this recurrent assumption in the post(anti)-Vatican II era that God’s truth, and thus Catholic doctrine, found its greatest, highest, most accurate, most pure formulations in the medieval church and in the Latin language. Why does Rome assume that? Why is Trent still the benchmark of God’s truth? And why is Latin the sacred language, not Greek, not Aramaic, not Hebrew? Why couldn’t Vatican II be understood as the most current doctrinal benchmark? In fact, shouldn’t it be? Shouldn’t the most recent council be assumed to be the most current expression of the Truth that God wishes us to follow, through the guidance of God’s Spirit in the Church? Or did that end with Trent and with the Latin mass?  Had God’s Spirit stopped guiding the Church since we dropped the Latin? Is she pouting?

Perhaps the translation is just another manifestation of the desire for control, power, separation of clergy and laity, lay submission to authority?  And how are those in authority expressing their spirituality these days? How are they communicating the guidance of the Holy Spirit?  Apparently the Holy Spirit is concerned with preserving property and reputation, and rewarding those who protect both rather than protecting children. (Anyone read the reports of Cardinal Law’s big birthday bash in Rome?)

It is time for pew Catholics to rebel, and maybe this translation will be the last straw for some. And that would be good. Perhaps the only good that could come out of this translation.

Latin whiz, 16, finds new liturgy language lacking

…Ultimately, the whole affair just begs the question of why the Latin Mass has any particular spiritual significance. It’s certainly not Scripture, and it’s often just an amalgamation of various communal prayers used throughout Europe for several centuries. In fact, many early bishops would write their own Masses or translations to best fit their community’s needs. And that’s the essence of Mass.

The reason why we come to Mass in the first place rather than just praying by ourselves is the interaction with others that has spiritual importance. In the Mass the people become the Body of Christ, conceived as the organic whole Paul
writes about in the famous passage from 1 Corinthians: “for the body is not one member, but many.”  …

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