Critics should know better
The recent spate of letters and articles challenging the wisdom of the translation of the liturgical texts are surprising, coming as some do from highly educated priests and religious who are in leadership positions in the local Church. My own observation at Mass has been that most people submit humbly, obediently and respectfully to the new wording.
Is it being suggested by our better-educated Church leaders that we do not understand difficult words and well-structured sentences; that we should fall in with the attempt to diminish English liturgical language to the mediocre, slogan-filled language of secular society?
I was educated as a second-language English speaker by teachers to whom I am always grateful for teaching me to love and appreciate the beauty of the English language. I am therefore saddened when reading much of what currently passes as literature and journalism. Many have no concept of clauses and sub-clauses, mixing them hopelessly and leaving the reader to guess what is intended.
Is this the language to which we want to reduce our liturgies, satisfying humankind rather than striving for excellence to praise God? It seems no accident that our behaviour and dress have deteriorated in the past few decades, along with the impoverished language we have been using to “worship” our Creator.
If we do not understand words such as “consubstantial” and “incarnate”, maybe it’s time for an improved catechesis, rather than a choice to join secular society and lower our standards in the Church.
Perhaps it’s time also to stop treating laity as imbeciles, incapable of understanding the truths of our faith expressed in appropriate language. The faith has been strong for many centuries, in an often-illiterate laity, despite the fact that the liturgical texts were in Latin, long considered as appropriate to address a holy God.
It should tell us something that the liturgical texts are not being revised in other languages. The Polish texts, for example, have no need of change. I am assured that Zulu and Sotho are also not undergoing correction.
I look forward to the day when we once again come to the Sunday liturgy in reverence before God and that others, including our children who have fallen away, may come to believe because they see, in our language, how we love God.
Krysia Jaworski, Johannesburg