Currently, English celebrations of the Ordinary Form of the Mass make use of the 1985 English translation of the second typical edition of the Missale Romanum (which was, itself, from 1975).
This post will be looking at a letter sent by Jorge A. Cardinal Medina Estevez to the Presidents of the English-speaking Conferences of Bishops, on March 16, 2002. It explains why there had been a delay in approving the English translation; it provides a few dozen examples of the problems encountered in the proposed "translation". (Why is that word in quotes? You'll see.) I'm not a particular fan of the current English translation (the 1985 edition) because I've learned enough about the Latin original to know that the English version is over-simplified (dumbed down, really), mistranslates (or fails to translate) certain words or phrases, and contains innovations (such as Memorial Acclamation 1, "Christ has died, etc."); many of its deficiencies were not corrected in the proposed 2002 edition, and many new deficiencies were added. Going from bad to worse is never a smart idea.
The letter states that there "[are] substantial reasons for which this Congregation is regrettably unable to accord the recognitio to this text in the form in which it was submitted". The examples of these reasons (referred to as "Observations") are "extensive [but not] exhaustive, even in a generic sense". In the face of these difficulties, Cardinal Medina Estevez states that the Congregation "has been prepared from the beginning to spare no efforts in arriving at a solution to this difficulty that would have avoided the present impasse", but at the root of these problems was "an evidently insurmountable divergence as regards fundamental principles of liturgical translation": the translators simply did not understand the scope of the task given them, and often fell drastically short of the mark or far exceeded the bounds of their mission.
The Observations present 32 examples (of varying levels of specificity) across five areas of translation. I will be commenting on each example.
I. General observations regarding the layout of the book, the disposition of its texts, and the inclusion of newly composed texts
A. The word "Sacramentary" ... seems nevertheless to have had the adverse effect of furthering a mistaken conception of this "Sacramentary" as a new and somewhat autonomous liturgical book for the English-speaking world. ... Accordingly, the Congregation asks that from now on the book be referred to in English as The Roman Missal, and that the official use of the word Sacramentary be discontinued in reference to it.The present-day "Sacramentary" is not identical to Sacramentaries of the past. The correct translation of Missale Romanum is simply "Roman Missal".
B. The ordering of the texts has departed almost entirely from that of the Missale Romanum, where such ordering often has significant theological and catechetical implications.I don't know if "ordering of the texts" is referring specifically to word-order or the order of possible options. Here is an example of whatI mean by the latter: In the Actus paenitentialis, form "A" is the Confiteor. It is possible that the suggested English Roman Missal changed the Confiteor to form "B" or form "C". This represents a break with the tradition and continuity of the Latin Rite: the Confiteor (followed by the Kyrie) is the traditional Penitential Act in the Mass.
C. The proposed text would change significantly the structure of the Ritus initiales for Masses celebrated on Sundays, Feasts, and Solemnities. It would thus appear to exclude that the Actus paenitentialis be used together with the Gloria[.]So it appears that the "translation" tried to do away with either the Penitential Act or the Gloria for Sunday liturgies. Hmm... I wonder which one!
D. Certain texts included in the project ... should not be published within a liturgical book. ... [The characterization of St. Jerome] as "irascible and intolerant" is hardly an appropriate appendage to the prayers prescribed for his liturgical Memorial. In the same vein, one might cite the inappropriateness of the reference to Santa Claus in commemorating St. Nicholas, or the unexplained statement that St. Callistus I "served a sentence as a convict", or the assertion that St. Pius V's "excommunication of Queen Elizabeth I of England hardened the split between Catholics and Protestants." ... [T]hese statements ... are out of place in the Missal.ICEL was basically editorializing the Missal, adding its own running commentary. A book fulfilling the purpose that the Missale Romanum does should not be peppered with profane (meaning non-sacred) remarks. It'd be like playing the "I love you" song from Barney during the Mass (warning: link goes to video capturing multiple heinous liturgical abuses).
E. The use of explanatory rubrics that import material from other liturgical books and documents, such as the Caeremoniale Episcoporum, would have the effect of reducing or eliminating recourse to these documents themselves[.] ... Such a procedure of compilation is not within the scope of the translator's task.I take it to mean the Missale Romanum would have rubrics (or footnotes on rubrics) that tell the celebrant to do something in the same manner as prescribed in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum, page 100 (or something to that effect). The English version would instead copy the rubrics into the Missal itself. But that's not their job as translators. The Congregation is basically saying: if the Latin original didn't do it, don't do it in the English translation. The Latin original didn't copy the rubrics from other books, it referred to them. The English translation should do the same.
F. ... [T]he Congregation must insist that the texts newly composed by the Mixed Commission be excluded. Supporting this decision are several serious concerns, namely: ... that the proliferation of original texts not hinder the meditation of the faithful and of their pastors on the riches already found in the prayers of the Roman Liturgy; that the desire for constant variety, typical of many consumerist societies, not come to be regarded in itself as constituting a cultural value capable of serving as a vehicle for authentic culturation; finally, that the characteristic structure and function of the traditional Roman Collects, their sobriety, and their reflection of the tension between the transcendent and the immanent, not be jeopardized by compositions that may be superficially attractive by virtue of their emotional impact, but lack the spiritual depth and the rhetorical excellence of the body of ancient prayers, which were not mass-produced at a given moment but grew over the course of many centuries.Innovation is the primary problem with the current liturgy: the innovations written into the Missal as well as the innovations added by particular priests and other ministers. In the tradition of the Latin Rite, there was one greeting, one Penitential Act (the Confiteor followed by the Kyrie), one Eucharistic Prayer (the Canon); the priest did not pick and choose his way through the liturgy. The liturgy is not at our disposal, we are at the service of the liturgy, because the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the source and summit of our lives as Catholics. In the Ordinary Form of the Mass (the Roman Missal as promulgated by Pope Paul VI and later by Pope John Paul II), there are abundant options: multiple greetings, multiple forms of the Penitential Act, multiple Eucharistic Prayers (many of which were invented barely 40 years ago), multiple dismissals, etc.
And if that weren't enough, the Missal says, several times, "using these or similar words: ..." Yes, the 1985 English translation of the Roman Missal invites innovation, although the Latin did not. The proposed translation of the 2002 edition was no different. And because of all this invitation to innovation in certain parts of the liturgy, priests have introduced innovation in all parts of the liturgy, despite it not being theirs to tamper with.
So the Congregation basically said "we've had enough". They cite good reasons: by introducing entirely new texts, there's the possibility that the "riches" of the current texts will be lost; the modern tendency to need new things all the time must not be allowed to impinge upon the dignity of the liturgy; and the existing texts (at least, those that weren't invented after the Second Vatican Council) were not "mass-produced", but developed organically over time.
II. Examples of problems in grammar, syntax, and sentence structure
A. ... Relative clauses often disappear in the proposed text (especially the initial Deus, qui..., so important in the Latin Collects), so that a single oration is divided into two or more sentences. This loss is detrimental not only to the unity of the structure, but to the manner of conveying the proper sense of the posture before God of the Christian people, or of the individual Christian. The relative clause acknowledges God's greatness, while the independent clause strongly conveys the impression that one is explaining something about God to God. ... [M]any of the texts now appear to say to God rather abruptly: "You did a; now do b." The manner in which language expresses relationship to God cannot be regarded merely as a matter of style.The Congregation puts it very well: the English translations of the Collect sound like we're telling God something about Himself, and then asking for more. The Latin texts do not do this: they acknowledge His greatness and then ask in humility. This is not simply "a matter of style", it is a matter of the proper disposition before God.
Here is an example of the problem found in the 1985 translation of the Collect for the Solemnity of the Epiphany (courtesy of Fr. Z):
Latin TextDo you hear a difference?
Deus, qui hodierna die Unigenitum tuum stella duce revelasti,
ut qui iam te ex fide cognovimus,
usque ad contemplandam speciem tuae celsitudinis perducamur.
you revealed you Son to the nations
by the guidance of a star.
Lead us to your glory in heaven
by the light of faith.
O God, who today revealed your Only-begotten, a star having been the guide,
that we, who have already come to know you from faith,
may be led all the way unto the contemplation of the beauty of your majesty.
B. The unfortunately monotonous effect of placing the vocative "Lord" always at the beginning of the prayers has already been cited by the Congregation in connection with previous texts submitted for its approval. However, this tendency can also be observed in the present text.Lord, forgive them for monotonously always invoking you at the beginning of prayers, like they did 20 years ago, and are still trying to do today.
C. For those Latin texts characterized by the extensive use of relative clauses, ablative absolutes, participial phrases, etc., the English text often fails to convey the precise nature of the relationship between clauses, so that the sense of the whole is lost. ... The Latin text, taken globally, has conveyed with precision certain theological realities and tensions involving salvation history and the inherent dynamism of the ecclesial life of grace, which should not be lost in the vernacular text, however challenging and difficult it may be to convey them.You can read the letter to see the examples I've excised from the excerpt here. Suffice to say, the English translation of the Latin betrays a failure to grasp the Latin syntax properly, thereby severing important theological connections found in the originals.
III. Examples of problems related to questions of "inclusive language" and of the use of masculine and feminine terms
A. In an effort to avoid completely the use of the term "man" as a translation of the Latin homo, the translation often ... limits itself to a focus on the congregation actually present or to those presently living. The simultaneous reference to the unity and the collectivity of the human race is lost. ... The [Latin homo], just as the English "man", which some appear to have made the object of a taboo, are able to express in a collective but also concrete and personal manner the notion of a partner with God in a Covenant who gratefully receives from him the gifts of forgiveness and Redemption. At least in many instances, an abstract or binomial expression cannot achieve the same effect.Using the word "man" instead of "one" or "person" or "human" -- or enforcing a plural context and using "us" or "people" or "humankind" -- retains the "collective but also concrete and personal ... notion of a partner with God". Who'd want to avoid that? God created man: male and female He created them.
B. In the Creed, which has unfortunately also maintained the first-person plural "We believe" instead of the first-person singular of the Latin and of the Roman liturgical tradition, the above-mentioned tendency to omit the term "men" has effects that are theologically grave. This text "For us and for our salvation" no longer clearly refers to the salvation of all, but apparently only that of those who are present. The "us" thereby becomes potentially exclusive rather than inclusive.The prayers in Latin are named after their opening word or words; thus, what Protestants tend to call the "Lord's Prayer" Catholics call the "Our Father" (or the Pater Noster). In Latin, the Creed begins with the word Credo, which means "I believe...", not "We believe..." The other problem is saying "for us and for our salvation" instead of "for us men and for our salvation" tends to make the community saying it seem closed in on itself -- it's actually more inclusive in the Latin!
C. After the Orate, fratres, the people's response ... has been distorted, apparently for purposes of "inclusive language": "May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of God's name, for our good, and the good of all the Church." The insertion of the possessive God's gives the impression that the Lord who accepts the sacrifice is different from God whose name is glorified by it. The Church is no longer his Church, and is no longer called holy, a flaw in the previous translation that one might have hoped would be corrected.I've heard people say this; they can't bear to use the pronoun "He" for God. I'm not going to get into the question of God and gender, but the tradition of calling God "He" is found in Scripture itself. God's only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (which is another word some radicals have a problem with), took flesh as a male. He revealed the First Person of the Most Holy Trinity to us as his (and our) Father. But I digress. The Congregation makes their point simply. Translate the Latin words without performing your own "interpretation" or "exegesis" on them. Why not translate totiusque Ecclesiae suae sanctae as "all His holy Church"? Perhaps because there is an effort to muddy the Catholic faith... lex orandi, lex credendi.
D. For the Church, the neuter pronoun "it" is always used, instead of "she". So designated, the Church can appear to be a mere social aggregate[.] ... The pronoun "it" does not seem to refer properly to the reality of the Church, portrayed by Divine Revelation as our Mother and Christ's Bride.The tradition for calling the Church "she" also goes back to Scripture, where she is revealed as the Bride of Christ. Ignorance of Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium is displayed here. Triple play, ICEL!
IV. Examples of problems in vocabulary, wording and other aspects of content
A. Instead of "Collect", a traditional Roman term that is both venerable and expressive, the translators continue to use the term "Opening Prayer", which ... is simply incorrect. Likewise, "Prayer over the Gifts" does not seem to specify sufficiently the sense conveyed by the term "Oblata". ... A designation such as "Prayer over the Offerings" would be preferable.There is a tendency among the translators to choose inadequate English words and expressions. This is the theme here.
B. "Opening Song" does not translate "Cantus ad introitum" or "Antiphona ad introitum" as intended by the rites. The Latin is able to express the musical processional beginning of the Liturgy that accompanies the entrance of the priest and ministers, while "Opening Song" could just as well designate the beginning number of a secular musical performance.The use of phrases that are secular (and thus profane when it comes to the liturgy) detracts from the sense of the sacred in the Mass.
C. The Congregation ... has encountered ... virtually unanimous opposition to the institution of any change in the wording of the Lord's Prayer. ... [T]he Mixed Commission's justification for its changes ... seem inadequate and somewhat cerebral.Yes, the ICEL wanted to modernize the language of the Our Father because it just wasn't working.
D. The word "presbyter" often continues to be used instead of "priest", for example in the Proper of Saints. The Holy See's position on this matter was made clear in a letter of the Congregation for Divine Worship to the Conferences of 20 September 1997. At the same time, many titles are used there which do not appear at all in the Missale Romanum. In the titles of the celebrations the designation "Saint" is consistently omitted, contrary to the established tradition of the Church. One example of these tendencies: "6 October: Bruno, presbyter, hermit, religious founder."The word "Saint" is dropped out often, as well as the word "holy" elsewhere in the translation (see III.C above and IV.I below).
E. The rich language of supplication found in the Latin texts is radically reduced in the translation. ... [The orations are rendered] somewhat abrupt and presumptuous in tone, so that the oration seems to be a command rather than a prayer addressed to God. Again, there is more than style at stake here.The Congregation said the same thing in II.A: this is not merely an issue of style, but what the style results in! Lex orandi, lex credendi! The Latin text reminds us of our position to God: we are humble and unworthy supplicants beseeching our gracious God. The English text "asks" (if it can be called that -- again, see the example in II.A) God for something, and then waits for Him to fulfill our demand.
F. The language often lapses into sentimentality and emotionality in place of the noble simplicity of the Latin. A focus on transcendent realities in the Latin prayers too often shifts in the English prayers to a focus on the interior dispositions and desires of those who pray. The overuse of the word "hearts" when the word is not present in the Latin text weakens the use of the term on those occasions where it actually occurs. Likewise, the overuse of the term "sharing" flattens and trivializes the content conveyed by the Latin words participes and consortes.The English translation is peppered with "hearts" and "sharing", which weaken and fail to match the meaning behind the Latin. It's a liturgy of the congregation feeling a sense of togetherness among themselves... and God's invited!
G. For patena, calix, etc., the translators avoid the use of specifically sacral terminology, and use words commonly employed in the vernacular for kitchenware. In an already secularized culture, it is difficult to see what legitimate purpose could be served by a deliberate desacralization of religious terminology. ... [T]he sense of the transcendent is not only inadequately conveyed, but actively obscured.Again, the ICEL seeks to "protect" us from the difficult and arcane sacred terminology by using "cup" and "plate" or "dish" instead of "chalice" and "paten". The liturgy is supposed to draw us out of the every-day, the mundane, the ordinary, the world, and draw us into God's heavenly temple.
H. The word unigenitus is often translated simply as "only", so that Jesus is called the "only Son" of God. The distinction between the terms "only" and "only-begotten" is often crucial in the liturgical prayers, which unfold within a Trinitarian dynamism precisely by virtue of our own adoptive sonship.We too are God's sons and daughters, through the spirit of sonship through which we can cry "Abba! Father!"; through this spirit, we await our actual adoption through the redemption of our bodies (Rom 8:15,23; cf. Gal 4:5-6). Jesus is God's only-begotten Son, but we are His children as well.
I. Frequently there are important words translated either in an inadequate manner, or not at all. Among them are: devotus (-e, -io), dignor, (in-)dignus, famulus, ineffabilis (-iter), maiestas, mens, mereor, novitas vetustas, offero, pietas, placatus, propitius, supplices, and many others, besides those mentioned elsewhere in these Observations. The challenge posed by the translation of certain of these concepts into contemporary English underscores a cultural fact that is at the same time perhaps the strongest indication of the necessity of doing so, even when the result must be a text that will have to be clarified by good catechesis.I learned that difficult situations won't go away by ignoring them. The ICEL does not seem to have gained that wisdom yet. Instead of using phrases that will require catechesis, they drop the phrases altogether or use simple and banal phrases that do not convey the same meaning.
J. The text exhibits some confusion on the part of the translators regarding the intended sense of the words caelestis and caelorum which, in the original text, refer at some times to heaven as such, but at other times to heavenly realities experienced now. Confusion on this point hinders the text in its capacity to convey the eschatological tension at issue in the Latin text.This is a similar issue to the preceding one. If they can't figure out what the intent of the Latin was, how can they properly convey the same sense in English?!
K. In the conclusions of the Prefaces, the enumeration of the heavenly choirs (cum Thronis et Dominationibus, etc.) is often omitted in favor of the singular term "angels". The reason for this tendency of the text in many places to make gratuitous alterations is not clear.Why? Because no one really believes in "Thrones" and "Dominions" and "Principalities", do they? And if they do, the ICEL will put a stop to it by simply omitting those words from the liturgy. The Congregation just calls them as it sees them: "gratuitous alterations"!
L. In the text, in particular the Eucharistic Prayers, many significant biblical expressions and allusions continue to be obscured ...I have combined these two because they are closely related. Here is one such example: In EP III, the English translation reads "... so that from East to West, a perfect offering may be made to the glory of Your name." The Latin is "a solis ortu usque ad occasum oblatio munda offeratur nomini tuo". The bold words mean "from the rising of the sun to its setting". It is richer and deeper than merely "East to West": it is temporal as well as geographical. Furthermore, the NAB and the RSV-2CE use from the rising of the sun to its setting (Ps 50:1; 113:3; Is 45:6; Mal 1:11). The point is that the liturgy contains Scriptural references, so the wording in the liturgy should match the wording of the Biblical translation(s) in use in that particular part of the world.
M. In order to assist the faithful to commit various parts of the sacred text to memory and to appropriate the text more deeply without the jarring inevitably created by the dissonance of diverse translations of the same passage, those texts taken directly from Sacred Scripture, such as the antiphons, should reflect the wording of the same approved version used in the Lectionary for which the Conference has received the recognitio of the Holy See. ...
N. ... [I]n the case of texts from Sacred Scripture, it is the sacred text itself that should determine the qualities of the music to which it is to be set, rather than vice-versa. ...The issue here is found throughout the music settings for the Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Memorial Acclamation, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei). The approved English translations of these prayers are altered to fit a musical setting! The tail wags the dog. Instead of musical artists humbling themselves and producing music befitting the approved words of the Mass, they exalt themselves above the liturgical texts, bending them and altering them to fit their own tunes.
I didn't know this was such a big deal until recently. I grew up with such musical settings. I'll be honest: I had such a musical setting at my wedding. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
V. The distinction of liturgical roles
A. In the vast majority of the cases in which the priest prays in the third person for the people (and again, the Eucharistic Prayers are notable in this regard) the translators have opted instead for the first person plural. Such a choice obscures the distinction of roles that is evident in the Latin text, and in particular the priest's role as intercessor and mediator vis-à-vis the people for whom he prays in an unselfish manner. The priest is thus submerged within an amorphous congregation that prays for itself. Obscured at the same time is the important notion of offering the Mass on behalf of others or for their benefit. These are crucial issues. ...The line between the ordained and the laity is muddied enough as is (because of the current translation, among other things). The ICEL further confuses the issue by changing the way in which the priest prays. On the topic of "offering Mass", see my recent post.
B. The rubrics and notes have been completely re-worked in ways that obscure the distinction of hierarchical and liturgical roles. A few examples:It's not enough to confuse the ordained with the laity, let's confuse the ordained in and among themselves! The focus of Holy Thursday is on the sacramental priesthood, so the inclusion of the non-ordained again confuses the matter. Finally, the third example mistranslates incipit, which means "begins" or "starts". The priest does not "lead the assembly" in this prayer, because they are not praying it. Perhaps the laity need to be taught exactly what their role is when it comes to the Eucharistic Prayer, and how they can prayerfully join themselves to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I'd suggest they read Mediator Dei, nn. 79-99. (I should really do a post specifically on that excerpt...)
- In the Prayer over the People for the Ritual Mass of Confirmation, the translators seem to have wished to alter the universal and constant discipline of the Latin Church according to which the Bishop is the ordinary minister of the Sacrament. In place of the Latin, Deinde Episcopus, manibus super populum estensis, dicit:, one finds instead, "The priest sings or says the following prayer with hands outstretched over the people."
- For the Chrism Mass of Holy Thursday, it is suggested that those laypersons who exercise a ministry to the sick, to the catechumens, and to families of children being baptized and confirmed, take their places with the Bishop during the Mass. On the other hand, the intentional focus of this celebration on the sacramental priesthood is obscured somewhat.
- In the Order of Mass, where the Latin rubric reads, "Tunc sacerdos incipit Precem eucharisticum," the translators have altered it to read instead, "The priest leads the assembly in the eucharistic prayer." Such an alteration -- for it cannot be termed a translation -- obscures the true nature of the Eucharistic Prayer as a presidential prayer, in which the people participate by listening silently and reverently and by making the acclamations prescribed by the rite.
C. Another example of the translators' having altered texts (or, in this case, maintained a deficient wording) to the detriment of the distinction of roles between priest and people is the prayer Orate fratres, ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium..., which becomes "Pray, brothers and sisters, that our sacrifice..." as if the congregation and priest both offered the sacrifice in an indistinct manner.The Latin does not say "our sacrifice", it says "my sacrifice and yours" (or "my and your sacrifice"). The current English translation has this deficiency ("our sacrifice") and ICEL didn't change it for the 2002 Missal. See above for information on how the we as laity join our sacrifices to the one offered by the priest. "The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Dogmatically, Liturgically, and Ascetically" explains it in this way (p. 548):
In addressing the faithful the priest says: "my Sacrifice and yours." The Eucharist is the Sacrifice of the whole Church; it is not exclusively the priest's Sacrifice, but the property of the faithful also. They partake in a variety of ways and in different degrees in the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, while the priest in their name and for their benefit alone completes the sacrificial action itself. Thus priest and people are at the altar bound together in a communion of sacrifice; they offer not only the Host and chalice, but themselves also.This is lost on the ICEL, apparently.
D. Given the Latin tradition that very closely links the words "Mysterium fidei" to the words of institution, it is inappropriate for the deacon to give the invitation to the Memorial Acclamation. The translators, with no authorization, have introduced this change. The same importance traditionally attached to the words "Mysterium fidei" precludes its replacement by other formulae[.] ... [T]he Congregation considers the translation "Great is the mystery of faith" a good one for rendering in English the precise meaning and purpose of the Latin phrase in its liturgical context.The Roman Canon (also known as Eucharistic Prayer I) before the new liturgy placed "mysterium fidei" in the midst of the words of institution for the chalice. It now exists "outside" the institution; or, properly speaking, at the end. It is translated in English currently as "Let us proclaim the mystery of faith" to which the congregation responds with the Memorial Acclamation (which also did not exist in the Roman Rite before the new liturgy). The English translation improperly draws attention away from the the miracle that has just occurred on the altar. Why the ICEL thought it had permission to let a deacon say this, I don't know. Doesn't the deacon have his own liturgical role, as defined in the GIRM among other places?
E. The translation of "Et cum spiritu tuo" as "And also with you" has become familiar in the English-speaking world, and a change in the people's response would no doubt occasion some temporary discomfort. Nevertheless, the continuous literal translation of this response in all major liturgical traditions, whether Semitic, Greek, or Latin as well as in virtually every other modern language, constitutes a historical consensus and an imperative that can no longer be set aside. The present translation inappropriately situates the exchange on a purely horizontal level, without any apparent distinction in the roles of those who speak; the literal translation in its historical context has always been understood in relation to the crucial distinction of liturgical roles between the priest and the people. Weighty considerations such as these necessitate that the English translation at last be brought into conformity with the usage of the other language groups, and with the tradition, as is also prescribed now in the Congregation's recent Instruction Liturgiam authenticam.I agree completely. "The Lord be with you" is a blessing that the priest says over us, and our response should be an acknowledgment of the character he received in his ordination to the priesthood: "And with your spirit". Instead, we say "And also with you".
"The Lord be with you" is not said by a layman; "And with your spirit" is not said to a layman. Some priests say "The Lord is with you." Why? I don't know.
My personal conclusion is that the ICEL seeks to develop an "English Catholicism" (or at least an "American Catholicism") that is drastically different from traditional Latin Catholicism, by means of translation. But it doesn't stop there: see this excerpt from the Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission's July/August 2006 issue:
An English Mass translation, faithful to the original Latin and rich with Eucharistic theology, said [His Excellency Most Reverend Arthur] Roche [Bishop of Leeds, England, and chairman of the ICEL], is important precisely because English may play in various parts of the world the role Latin once played as the preserver and transmitter of the Faith. Even in countries where "English is not much spoken," said the bishop, "the English version of liturgical texts plays an important function, because it is used as a guide to translating the Latin." He mentioned not only parts of Africa and Asia but even Norway, where "the translators rely heavily on the English version."See the problem? If the English version is deficient, it can have an impact on other translations, because certain Conferences of Bishops know English better than Latin, and so their Missal becomes a translation of a "translation". (The official language of the Church is still Latin... they really should be working from the Latin text to make their translation.) Then the deficiencies -- the watered-down and misrepresented faith -- in the English Missal are absorbed into the Missals in other languages. The faith is distorted and changed from within. Suddenly, Rome is speaking one thing and the rest of the Catholic world is speaking another.
I'm glad the CCDDS won't allow this kind of internal breakdown to occur.
Post-script: The matching of the English in the liturgy and the Bible (see IV.L and IV.M above) is also mentioned in the Los Angeles article. Bishop Roche talks about it in a recent interview as well.