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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Keeping unto the Latin

For the moment, I am engaged in some rather enjoyable clerical sort of work. Happily, and for a very good end, it involves a little Latin translation. Or, at least, I have taken it upon myself to do some translating - and that is what brings me to this post.

I have come to the reasonable conclusion that Roman Liturgical texts (those prayed within the Mass) should simply and always remain in the Latin. Even if translations are accurate and sensible, they can stifle one's imagination. And annoy clergy and servers.

For example, a good and holy priest might cringe at having to pray the P. translation rendering the Psalm 42 antiphon: I will go unto the altar of God: to God, Who gladdens my youth. Even though it is rather correct. This good priest might much prefer ascending the altar of God, unto Him Who gives joy to his youth. If the Latin were preserved however, both Priest and pleb would be very happy, and plebby P. wouldn't be in her pew stewing about the precise meaning of laetificare, and silent 'ad's. (If one takes laetificare to mean 'to give joy to', and the 'to' to be silent, and mean 'unto,' then I suppose I can concede the translation found in most missals - but still, I'm not satisfied!)

I love Latin.

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