Saturday, October 08, 2011

Surplices in a knot

Ordinary people sometimes get their knickers in a knot. The very serious liberal liturgists at PrayTell --yes, I relapsed and read a page-- have their surplices in a knot. Which they always do, but this time it is over two phrases in retranslated liturgy.

In one of the Eucharistic Prayers, the phrase a solis ortu usque ad occasum occurs. Literally, from the rising of the sun unto its setting. It's a quote from the prophet Malachi 1.11 about sacrifice. The phrase can also be interpreted as from east to west, which is what the lame-duck text says. The vast majority of Bibles in English and other languages choose the temporal rather than spatial interpretation. The PrayTell crowd are expending a lot of energy on the change. They sound like conservatives who hate change because it's, well, change.

And in the common prayers before communion, the Latin says Domine non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum sed tantum dic verbo et sanabitur anima mea. Literally, Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. It's quote from the Gospels, when a Roman centurion humbly declines Jesus' offer to go to the man's house to heal his sick servant. The soon to be replaced 1973 translation extracted the metaphor and simply said, Lord I am not worthy to receive you... The experts are afraid that "the people" --whom they want to empower but evidently also deem to be idiots-- will think it means the roof of their mouth.

Supposed the 1973 version had kept the biblical quote intact and the new one wanted to simplify it to "receive you"? Can't you hear the very same people yelling that Rome was suppressing the scriptural voice? Babies.

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