It has been inexcusably long since I've written -- particularly given my resolution, just before the sharp drop-off in posts, to update regularly.

Many blog posts have been half-written in my head, biking home from work, but somehow I lack the motivation, conviction, or courage to do the work to making them coherent and concrete writing. Since the best way to overcome the inertia of not getting things done is to start getting things done, I will take the easy route here, in order to at least make something happen.

Thus, a quote that tickled my fancy from a Sightings (column produced by the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School) article by Heather A. Hartel way back in 2008, on the Vatican's changes to the English translation of the central prayers of the liturgy.

"The new English translation mandates the return of formal language," she writes, "by insisting upon better fidelity to the Latin Missal." Apparently, the motive for the changes was to "emphasize the hierarchal authority the Church and the role of its representatives as mediators between God and the laity."

Now, I can't argue with changing the words to better represent one's theology. I might, however, argue with insisting on better fidelity, depending on how "fidelity" is defined. Translation is an art, not a science, where factors like the music of an utterance may be of equal or greater importance than its denotative meaning, and where idiomatic comprehensibility may be more important than word-for-word accuracy.

Which brings me to the quote which so amused me that I kept the column for more than a year:

"I can't help but wonder, though, if while learning the new words of the Creed, a Catholic schoolchild somewhere will mishear the word 'consubstantial,' and recite 'Constantinople with the Father.'"


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