Monday, August 15, 2005

The liturgy and EIFWAIL

How are the liturgy and EIFWAIL related you ask? It seems to me that those who think EIFWAIL is OK do not fully recognize the humanity of the child who is unborn. They do not recognize that that child is alive even if it is receiving all its life support from its mother. And, among Catholics, I partially blame ICEL.

The International Committee on English in the Liturgy was established after Vatican II to write up the English vernacular for the liturgy. That committee was dominated by people who thought a few interesting things:

1) Most people are too stupid to understand what's really going on in the liturgy and so we have to dumb everything down for them.

2) We don't want anyone to understand a whole lot about the Church's full tradition prior to 1965, so take out all references to angelic beings (hence the Prefaces no longer have references to angels, archangels, powers, principalities, etc.), Joseph being the most pure spouse of Mary, and so on.

3) English need not be poetic since most Americans aren't poetic, so we'll make the liturgical language as dull as possible.

Well, they succeeded in their task.

But they also succeeded in another task -- they succeeded in making people think that people do not become people until they are born. That came from the translation of the Creed in the section that reads, in Latin, "Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est." Literally, "By the Holy Spirit, he was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and he was made man." But what we English-speaking Catholics get to say on Sundays is, "And by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary and became man."

There are a couple of things wrong with this:

1) This is a horrible translation. My children could do a better job than these supposed professionals did.

2) He was not born by the power of the Holy Spirit. That was a natural process.

3) The most grievous fault is this: He was already a man while he was in the womb of his mother. Not a man, of course, in the sense of being grown-up, but in the sense that he was of the human race. But because we recite this every week and have been doing so for nearly 40 years, I contend that the thought has crept into our minds that since Jesus did not become man until he was born, what of the rest of us who are far less than he ever was?

I do not know exactly how to consider ICEL on this point. Did the committee members intend this or not? Let's hope not because if they did, their extreme insidiousness helped to brainwash many, many Catholics to think that Planned Parenthood and Peter Singer really are correct.

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