Amy Welborn has an excellent extended post in response to Bishop Trautman’s article in America magazine on the new translation. She also includes and links to the Happy Catholic post on the subject which I should have linked to previously
Based on the bishop’s criticism I can imagine a conversation between him and Saint John.
St. John: So what do you think of the Gospel I have written?
Bishop Trautman: Well to be honest I think there are some major problems with it, especially the prologue.
St. John: What do you mean?
Bishop Trautman: Well for example the use of a word like Logos? I would think that a philosophically charged and little used word like that isn’t very pastoral. In fact the whole prologue is not very accessible. Plus it just isn’t very pastoral all this Logos was at the begriming, and the Logos was with God, and then the Logos is God. I mean which one is it. Is this language accessible to the average Jew and Gentile in the street?
St. John: Well I did write it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Bishop Trautman: That’s the same excuse Mark gave me for using "for many" in his Gospel. What I want to know is how will your Gospel resonate with John and Mary Catholic in the catacomb?
St. John: I am not sure what you mean? I am a John and I think the Gospel is positively inspired and as for Mary, well when I showed it to Jesus’ mother all she said after reading it was "Amen."
Bishop Trautman: What about "He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not?" Is this prayer intelligible, proclaimable, reflective of a vocabulary and linguistic style from the contemporary mainstream Jews in the Diaspora? This is not an isolated example. Do you really believe "He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light." leads to active participation in the liturgy? I mean what is is with you and your paradoxes? In the world, but made the world – not light, but bearing witness to it" Come on these are awkward phrases and are problematic to your average Greek speaker.
St. John: Well I am sorry you feel that way.
Bishop Trautman: If the language of your Gospel is inaccessible, how can it catechize and convey the reality of the living, risen Son of God in the Eucharist? If the language of the Gospel is a stumbling block to intelligibility and proclaimability then it is severely compromised. Frankly, I just don’t think your Gospel with all of it’s language problems will catch on. Now excuse me I need to go talk to St. Paul about his pastoral problems.
Speaking of translations: Fr. Z has uncovered one of the the funniest mistranslations ever.
The Holy See’s new document Guidelines for the pastoral care of the road from the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People and its president Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino. After talking about "Street Women" and "Street Children" we get:
THE PASTORAL CARE OF THE HOMELESS (TRAMPS)
An no he didn’t make it up.
Well… it’s only a mistranslation if you speak American English. If you speak the English of Ireland and Great Britain, then “tramps” are vagrants, vagabonds, beggars, itinerants – it fits.
Though yes, it’s funnier in American.
Bishop Trautman should stick with moral issues and leave the popular pandering to the politicians (is alliteration too big a word for the translation?).
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