Friday, March 16, 2007

Translating from German to Italian to Latin and finally to English...

I have had a devil of a time getting onto this post, referred to by Amy Welborn a day or two ago. Apparently it went into meltdown because so many people were trying to access it. The source is Fr. John Zuhlsdorf on his blogsite "What does the prayer really say". The gist of it is that whereas the english translation of Sacramentum Caritatis at paragraph 62 says in regard to large-scale international liturgies that "with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin." The problem is with the "could be", which in latin is "aequum est" (lit. "it is fitting that"). Most other languages have something along the lines of "it is good to". English has "could". Fr Z. asks "What gives?"

In my blog below, I note that there are more than 180 directives in this 31,000 word document. These directives are worded in a huge variety of ways, including "I ask that", "it is imperitive that", "shall", "must", "needs to be", "should", "may", "could be", "we cannot", "are obliged to", etc. etc. How is one to judge the relative degree of importance of each direction? AND, given Fr Z.'s revelations, how are we to be sure that there is any consistency in the terms of direction used? A mine field for liturgists and canon lawyers of a legalistic frame of mind.

[Reader: Is there any other sort?
Schütz: Point taken.]

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