October 3, 2011

The New Translation: What of the Hours?

The new translation is afoot. At the parish where I celebrated Mass yesterday the new Gloria was sung. Here in the States we are now allowed to have to the books, and who knows how many are in the mail. Very soon sacred ministers and seminarians, sacristans and liturgy coordinators will be perusing and inspecting the new missal with delight or disgust, depending on what they have decided upon for themselves.

As I've looked forward to all of this myself, a question keeps bugging me. What of the Liturgy of the Hours? On both rubrical and theological grounds, one might presume that more general changes like and with your spirit will flow to the whole of the liturgy as it is celebrated in English. But what of, for example, the collects? Eight weeks from now, when the first Sunday of Advent arrives, we will pray the Opening Prayer for Mass in the new translation. But we will still have the 1975 American English Liturgy of the Hours on that day, in which we will find printed the old version of the same prayer. So will it happen that the American-English speaking Church will pray, on that day, the new version of the prayer once (at Mass) and the old version for the other five times it is to be prayed on that liturgical day? (I.e. Evening Prayer I, Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer II)

Sundays are, of course, the most glaring case with regard to this problem, but the same question arises for almost every day outside of ferias of Ordinary Time--and even on those days the collect for the Sunday of the week is presented as the ordinary option to conclude the Office of Readings.

In the end, this presents a fine opportunity for a new edition of the Liturgy of the Hours in English, which would be a chance to fix and update some other things as well. It could also be a moment to follow the lead of the new English missal and let go of the division between Commonwealth and American English.

So, if you pray the Divine Office with the American English Liturgy of the Hours, what will you do on the first Sunday of Advent?

10 comments:

Judy Kallmeyer said...

I can't say that I'm a big fan of the liturgical language changes. All of this attachment to Latin as the standard for prayer bugs me. What makes Latin the "sacred cow?" I feel that some of the reversions to a literal translation of the Latin miss the mark as to the reality of what is being expressed in the prayer. Just my opinion! However, I would welcome a revision of the Liturgy of the Hours, not of its language, although inclusive language in the prayers (not the Scripture readings) would be good. I also look forward to the inclusion of some of the newer Saints and Blesseds, Blessed John Paul II a case in point, and others such as Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha. Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto, St. Gemma Galgani, St. Maria Faustina, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, Blessed John XXIII also come to mind.

carl said...

Msgr Moroney, of the Diocese of Worcester and of Vox Clara, gave a presentation on the new translation at our seminary last spring, and said it was licit and laudable to import the new translations of the collects into the LotH.

Brother Charles said...

Mmm...licit, laudable, and right from Vox Clara!

Thom, SFO said...

What will I do? I will continue to use the prayers of the LotH, and pray for a new translation of that, as well. I'm not about to start mix-matching liturgical texts.

cuaguy said...

Hmm... I just might have to use this as an excuse to get an Editio typica tertia...

carl said...

Thom,

Given that the prayers in the LotH are the prayers of the Mass, and meant to be identical, isn't mix-matching to not utilize the new translations? Mass and LotH should correspond.

Barb, sfo said...

Until they publish a new edition of LOH, I'll use what I've got. I don't have a missal hanging around so I can find the newly-phrased prayer of the day. I'm not trying to be flip here. I know it takes time to translate all of that, and I have no idea if LOH is even on the slate to be revised. So I guess I will just stick with what I have. I would love to get the Franciscan breviary (I just have the one-volume "Christian Prayer" one) but it's still the LOH no matter how you slice it. At some point, it has to be enough that I am praying with what I have.

Anonymous said...

I‘ll stick with the LoTH as it currently is. For these prayers, I would rather maintain the continuity of the prayer than have the prayers turn into a translation exercise.

caedmon said...

For now, I will follow the text of the LotH simply because it is the text before me.

I do wish there was a new English translation in the pipeline and that a new translation would keep this issue in mind. But, I understand why the project has stalled.

Kevin F said...

Great post! I have been wondering about this for a while.


I am a lone wolf on the LOTH (since I am not a member of a community and fellow Catholics shun me), so I will just continue to read along in the text.

What is kind of funny is that I have had the phrase, "and with your spirit" stuck in my head since I first started attending Latin masses 10 years ago, so I might start changing the wording without realizing it.