In accord with my practice for the minimum use of Eucharistic Prayer I, I've been praying the Roman Canon through this whole week of the Christmas Octave. This has given me further opportunity to pray through and reflect upon the new translation.
One thing that strikes me with some intensity is the restoration of the triad at the end of the Unde et memores: offered to God is the hostiam puram, hostiam, sanctam, hostiam immaculatam.
The new translation renders this as it is in the Latin: this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim.
The old translation did away with the structure of the triad, replacing it with this holy and perfect sacrifice.
On the one hand, I like the restoration of the normative structure of the prayer. Now I just have to let go of the interior urge to make the signs of the cross that accompany this moment in the Extraordinary Form! On the other hand, I see the translation problem. In our time and place, victimhood and victimization have such a connotation of meaninglessness injustice. Jesus' victimhood was certainly an injustice, but one that was, in the paradox of the cross, superabundant in meaning. Can we hear this over and above our common connotations of 'victim'?
Even though hostia and victima may have been somewhat interchangeable in late antiquity when the Roman Canon came together, the meaning-history of hostia, with its general sense of sacrificial victim and technical use as such in ancient religion would seem to be lost to the average pray-er speaking it as 'victim' in twenty-first century English.
So it goes to some basic questions regarding liturgical translation. For example, what is the value of trying to bring out the sense of terms in our best guesses as to their original connotation and intent? On other hand, one of the values embedded in the new translation, and to which I consent easily, is that sacral language, such as that of the liturgy, is not supposed to be the same as or beholden to common speech.
So what do you think? Is it an o.k., good, or not-so-good thing to translate the hostia in hostiam puram, hostiam sanctam, hostiam immaculatam as 'victim'?