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Traduttore, Traditore

Lyle J. Arnold, Jr.

Traduttore, traditore is an Italian caveat meaning “Every translator is also somewhat of a traitor.” This indictment came to mind after reading about The Third Edition of the Roman Missal for the English-speaking world, which came into effect on November 27, the first Sunday of Advent.

In view of this slightly changed text of the Novus Ordo Mass, Cardinal Raymond Burke gave an interview to Catholic News Agency on this reform and pointed to a more extensive one that would be on its way. According to him, this reform of liturgy will supposedly bring to light the true message of the Council.

Among the positions Burke holds at the Roman Curia, he is a member of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship, responsible for overseeing the Church's liturgy; hence the importance of his evaluation.

He spoke of the “enrichment” that the new translation of some Latin words introduced into the English text of the Novus Ordo Mass will bring to the Conciliar Church. He attributed this supposed advance to having “greater access” to the traditional Latin Mass. “The celebration of the Mass in extraordinary form [Tridentine Mass] is now less contested and people are seeing the great beauty of the rite as it was celebrated practically since the time of Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century.” (1)

Now Cardinal Raymond Burke

Raymond Burke was made Cardinal one year ago
In this interview, Card. Burke also envisages the merge into one single rite of the Novus Ordo such as approved by Paul VI and the Tridentine Mass, as allowed by Benedict XVI in the Summorum Pontificum. He said: “It seems to me that what he [the Pope] has in mind is that this mutual enrichment would seen to naturally produce a new form of the Roman rite - the reform of the reform, if we may - all of which I would welcome and look forward to its advent.” (2) Here we have another confirmation by a Vatican official that we are heading to a hybrid Mass. Indeed, we heard Card. Kurt Koch saying something similar last year.

Burke also affirmed that he is grateful to John Paul II and Benedict XVI for giving the Church “a font of solid direction” regarding worship, “based on the Second Vatican Council's vision of a God-centered liturgy and not a man-centered liturgy.” (3)

This sentence stands in radical opposition to the truth. Volumes have been written demonstrating the detrimental character of the Novus Ordo Mass. Its liturgical ethos ranges from Protestantism to Voodooism in forms of worship; from vulgarity to outright sensuality in the inculturated ways of following the Mass; from Communism to Tribalism in the messages delivered in the sermons - to list only some of its deleterious consequences.

Fortunately, we need not consult the long list of articles and books on the subject of the devastation caused by the New Mass, because a single author has condensed the entire Council into the Collection Eli Eli,Lamma Sabacthani?, a veritable small library that eviscerates the progressivist plan to destroy the Church that took shape at Vatican II. Part and parcel of that plot was the introduction of the New Mass in all of its disfigurement.

The portrait of the New Mass, spawned by Vatican II, can be condensed into a few lines. After carefully analyzing the 16 conciliar documents, Mr. Atila S. Guimaraes explains the ambiguities insinuated in those documents. “Because the conciliar texts are ambiguous,” he affirms, “they can be used to greater or lesser degree by any of the currents – conservative or progressivist – in order to draw as much advantage for its own camp as possible. And any discussion based on the letter of the conciliar documents will be doomed to wear itself out for lack of unity of doctrinal points of reference. Since there are difficulties with the letter, one must seek in the spirit of the Council the elements required to interpret it correctly.” (4)

This being said, the pretension that the “new translation” of certain Latin words into the text of the Novus Ordo Mass will benefit Catholic orthodoxy is like saying the application of mercurochrome to a headshot from a .30 caliber will heal it. To heal the apocalyptical crisis that Vatican II institutionalized in the Church, the documents of the Council, its spirit and its fruits must be analyzed as a whole. A band-aid with the re-translation of a few words will not heal this gaping wound. As St. Teresa of Avila once noted, it is “the greatest cruelty to use ointment where it is necessary to cut deep with steel and cauterize with fire.”

Joseph Ratzinger and Karl Rahner

It was the theology of Karl Rahner and his disciple Ratzinger that caused the Church to be centered on man
This attempt to beguile Catholics by adorning the Novus Ordo with a new translation is hardly cause célèbre. Several years ago even the laic Washington Post observed that Benedict's “reform of the reform doesn't equal a return to the past. ... Indeed, Benedict's reforms are rapidly creating something entirely new in Catholicism (whereas the new changes) and other modifications made the ‘traditional’ Mass more a hybrid than a restoration.” (5)

Now, after these last five decades of the application of Vatican II with the unanimous approval of the Popes and Bishops causing a colossal havoc in the Church, we have this timid half-apology by Card. Burke trying to attribute everything to a few badly translated words.

Are Catholics expected to believe that the progressivist experts of yore, who wrote the English version of the Novus Ordo, could not make an accurate translation of the Latin back then, but now the present day specialists can? Actuality, the new translation is a frank confession that something is amiss, and that the progressivists are quite aware of it. And Card. Burke’s valiant defense of the indefensible – the faulty New Mass – reveals he is part of the progressivist game.

In Volume VI of his Collection, Guimarães uncovers the “mind” of the fathers of Vatican II: “Until the convening of the Council, the Catholic Church was conceived as theocentric [entering on or directed toward God]; after the Council it has been presented as anthropocentric [considering man as the central fact or final aim of the universe, conceiving of everything in the universe in terms of human value]. This anthropocentrism found in conciliar documents and even in declarations of Popes consists in adopting certain humanist ideas of the revolutionary process, which has been undermining Christian Civilization since the end of the Middle Ages.” (6)

These few words stand in direct contradiction to what Card. Burke affirmed in defense of Vatican II, when he pretended that the Council wanted a God centered Church. It was not some few words of the translation that cause it to become centered on man. It was the entire revolutionary philosophy and theology behind the changes of the Council.

May Our Lady of Good Counsel shine some light on the soul of the Cardinal Burke and those who follow his syndrome of trying to mix the good with the bad.
1. “Cardinal Burke on ‘mutual enrichment”
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Volume one of the Collection, Eli, Eli, Lamma, Sabacthani? In The Murky Waters of Vatican II, Maeta, 1st ed. 1997, p.37.
5. David Gibson, “Is Pope Benedict a Closet Liberal?” The Washington Post online, October 25, 2009
6. Will He Find Faith,” 2007, Tradition in Action.
Posted January 2, 2012/

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