New Liturgy translation ‘suprisingly good’

When judging the process devised by the Congregation for Divine Worship, however, most people will focus on its success in producing good texts that are happily received by clergy and laity. A tacit consensus has emerged that the consultation and transparency central to due process have been lacking, and that this lack has diminished the quality of the work and the good will necessary for its implementation.

Judgments about the quality of translations are inevitably subjective. Commentators tend to compare the best bits of the version they applaud with the worst bits of the versions they dislike.

My own judgment, based on a limited reading, is that, considering the narrow instructions governing its preparation, the new translation overall is surprisingly good. In less skilled hands the result could have resembled Inspector Poirot’s English. In fact it reads more like the English used in costume drama — workable, but with a slightly archaic and formal flavor. It demands that the celebrant slow down and settle into period. It also supposes relatively high linguistic skills in its audience.

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