Friday, December 16, 2011

Commonweal Offers Revised Translation of Christmas Cookie Recipe: Advent Humor

And for a bit of fun as the seasonal madness (shop, shop, drop, drop) reaches its peak: whoever crafted the "Christmas Cookies Recipe: Revised Translation" for Commonweal is one highly clever individual.  A highly clever person who has gotten the vastly inflated and entirely misplaced (and totally empty) pomposity of the "new" Catholic liturgical translation down to a perfect T . . . .

Some of the commentary, including Fr. Jim Martin's endlessly droning and going nowhere "Cookie Blessing," is also brilliant.  Subordinate clauses falling over main clauses whose purpose they not only do not elucidate, but actively obscure; cute archaism that is about as authentic as is Olde Englishe calligraphy on a Christmase carde: Fr. Martin has a keen eye for the insufferable damage that the "new" translation has done to the cogent, if sometimes uninspiring, English of the old.

I find some of the comments in the thread baffling: when Jesus took the cup the chalice and blessed it consecrated and transubstantiated it at the last supper first Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, was he really using some obscure sacral language beyond "kitchen language"?  I had somehow thought that the whole affair was a meal.  A homely old meal.  With homely friends.  Around a homely table.  With nary an altar in sight.  Nor chalices and transubstantiation, either.

Very much a kitchen-and-table kind of affair.  With ordinary language.  And ordinary implements and ordinary folks whose very ordinariness (along with the ordinariness of bread and ordinariness of wine) is the precondition of the transformation of the ordinary that the story of the meal is all about.

Silly me for thinking all of that.  I appear, once again, to have looked at things in a way that is entirely inconsubstantial with the exalted opinions of the doctrinal and liturgical experts of my Catholic tradition.

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