Friday, November 20, 2009

A poem. A bad one.

Below my post about the new Mass translation, reader Scott W. wrote, "How come the usual suspects can toss around mutlisyllabic words like "sustainability" but bristle at "ineffable"?"

I told Scott I thought there was a poem in there somewhere. Regrettably, I've now written one, with many apologies to G. K. Chesterton, whose format I, copied:

A Liberal Bishop on the New Translation

Oh, how I love "Sustainable,"
A word that graces English,
And how I hate "Ineffable,"
So clankish, never ringlish!

For forty years the liturgy
Has done its best to try
To call God, not "Almighty"
But "Our Buddy, in the Sky."

Words too fancy just don't fit
With modern Catholic manners--
They also clash with shrieking hymns
Round churches, and felt banners.

We need a simple, childish Mass
Keep prayer and worship light!
'Cause John and Mary Catholic--
They really aren't too bright.


Anonymous said...

Ahhh. Lamentable. ;)

Todd said...

Erin, I don't think the best arguments against the translation are to be found in vocabulary. And if you were reading, there are conservatives out of the cheerleading tone who think little of Liturgiam Authenticam and its principles.

By painting the issues along a liberal/conservative spectrum you betray your own byline. At root, this is an issue of quality. The quality of a tranlation beyond the words. The quality one can muster when one consults beyond the clergy and enlists the abilities and charisms of poets, musicians, and writers.

When you or anyone else is ready to move beyond the fun, but childish nursery rhymes, I'm willing to have a serious discussion with you or anyone else on the real issues and problems ahead.

Magister Christianus said...

Erin, you and I seem to share thoughts about linguistic issues. I love your poem, and it made me think of one I wrote more than ten years ago. I did not borrow/steal from so lofty a source as Chesterton, but found my inspiration in Seuss.

A Seussian Look at Feminazi Theology

If your tired and worn-out Trinity shows too much masculinity,
And you prefer divinity that has some femininity,
Then pick one from infinity with which you have affinity!

A god that is she-male
A god that’s a sea-whale
One that a bobtail lark can now email

Bobtail email she-male sea-whale,
What a whale of a tale you’ll have now to tell!

With no doctrine and no dogma there’s no need for any creed –
My new god can feed each need I have without the need to bleed!
Freed to feed!
Freed from need!
Freed from bleeding needy creed!

And the cross?
Still our boss?
No, let’s toss our boss the cross!
No great loss, our boss-cross tossed!

No more Savior with one name,
No eternal life, no shame.
No more Father, Holy Ghost,
No more Trinity – it’s toast!

In fact the god I think I’ll choose
Is standing right now in my shoes!

Red Cardigan said...

Magister, I love it! :)

Todd said...

"In fact the god I think I’ll choose
Is standing right now in my shoes!"

Of course, there's nothing particularly feminist or liberal about that. You can go to any conservative extremist and find pretty much the same sentiment expressed in so many words. It's a feature of narcissism, and it knows no ideology.

The real trick with humor is this: can the humorist laugh at him or herself? Mark Twain or Garrison Keillor succeed at it. Embittered Catholics somewhat less so.

Red Cardigan said...

Todd, it's funny, but I have the same question about liberal Catholics all the time--can they laugh at themselves?

Now: Can I laugh at myself? Sure. Here are a few:

What do you call a redhead with an attitude? Normal.

What's the quickest way to a man's heart, to a redhead? Through the breastbone.

How do you make a redhead mad? Speak to her.

What do you call a man walking with a redhead? A hostage.

Why do some people think the "Harry Potter" books are unrealistic?
The redheaded character actually has friends.

Why aren't there more jokes about redheads?
Some idiot told them to a redhead.

Of course, you don't mean "Can Erin (a redhead) laugh at herself?" you mean "Can Erin (an embittered Catholic) laugh at herself?"

The answer's still yes:

What scary ghost did the embittered Catholic dress as for Halloween?
The Spirit of Vatican II.

Why did the embittered Catholic return to his pastor the violin he'd once used in the long-gone Catholic school's orchestra?
He thought Father needed a fiddle back.

Why was the embittered Catholic smiling at Mass when the cantor shrieked "On Eagle's Wings" to the accompaniment of a guitar, a bongo drum set, and some tambourines?
His doctor had just told him he was losing his hearing.

How many embittered Catholics does it take to replace a light bulb?
Three. One to remove the light fixture, one to rip out the wiring, and one to buy the candles.


Scott W. said...

Erin, until you are ready to have an adult conversation, I'm taking my ball and going home. :)

LarryD said...

Todd uses too many big words.

Todd said...

Hey! "Mutlisyllabic" wasn't mine.

eulogos said...

I would say we are getting a more accurate translation, better than the one we have, which was written with an agenda I would like to reject. BUT we are not getting a great translation. Perhaps if TS Eliot had been Catholic, he could have written a great translation. Flannery O Connor? Newman? Gerard Manley Hopkins? We need someone with a great literary gift, and a great and orthodox faith. Is anyone alive to day who meets those requirements? I am afraid I would not trust the choice to a committee of bishops.
Susan Peterson

Bob the Ape said...

Bloges in aeternam,
Witty Red Cardigan,
Whose verse satirical
Makes us to laugh.

Take as your battlecry:
"Stulta delenda sunt!"
Skewer and barbecue
Each golden calf.

Faith said...

Brilliant!! (I mean the writer of this blog.)