Missal translation stoush looming for French-speakers

The French-speaking Catholic world is heading for a tug-of-war over the translation of the Roman Missal.

The Vatican is insisting on a precise translation from the Latin text approved in 2002, as it did for the translation into English.

The planned new translation will be for French-speaking parts of Europe, Canada, Africa and the Caribbean.

It will replace the first translation made after the Second Vatican Council.

A first draft of a new translation from bishops in the French-speaking world was rejected by the Vatican in 2007.

Several francophone bishops’ conferences, especially in Belgium, Canada and Switzerland, have raised objections to the latest text.

Bishops from these conferences say that they find the latest text pompous and unnatural, the French daily La Croix reported.

The French bishops are less critical, but still have reservations.

But Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told the French magazine Famille Chrétienne that Pope Francis had recently told him “the new translations of the Missal must absolutely respect the Latin text”.

The latest French text uses the word “consubstantial” in the Nicene Creed.

It also brings back the “through my fault” sequence that had been replaced by “Yes, I have truly sinned” in French.

For the chalice, it turns the current word for chalice “coupe” back to the older “calice”, which has become a swear word for exasperated French Canadians.

The introduction to the Offertory (“Orate fratres”) has become stilted and hard to recite.

By contrast, a change to the Lord’s Prayer has been well received.

The currently used French prayer now says “do not submit us to temptation”, which theologians say implies that God tempts people to sin.

The new translation, which France’s Protestant churches also support, says “do not let us enter into temptation”.

Sources

News category: World.

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