Friday, June 13, 2008

Bishops to Faithful: You're too dumb to understand this.

For those who don't know, the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) are currently meeting in Orlando. John Allen is reporting that liturgical translations have been a hot topic.

Right now, it seems that the main complaint is that the laity are too stupid to understand the language.

Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, a longtime critic of the new translations, said the texts contain a number of “archaic and obscure” terms, pointing to words such as “wrought,” “ineffable,” and “gibbet.” He also said that the text’s preference for mimicking the sentence structure of Latin, featuring long sentences with a large number of dependent clauses, impedes understanding in English. Trautman cited one prayer in the new Proper of Seasons presented as a single 12-line sentence with three separate clauses.

“John and Mary Catholic have a right to have prayer texts that are clear and understandable,” Trautman said. “The document before us needs further work.”

I don't think there's any doubt that Catholic teaching has been dumbed down in the last several decades. This hasn't been helped by a lot of bishops who seem content in not instructing their flocks.

Really, though, the entire argument is asinine that the laity can't understand all this. This is the same sort of language used in the King James Bible. I personally know hundreds of Protestants without any sort of formal education beyond high school who do just fine with it. Why? Because it isn't rocket science, and I suspect that many in the hierarchy know that.

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