Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Back to the dictionary again: The Lectionary for Masses with Children

In the Herald of Hope column in the Catholic Herald of October 13, 2005, Bishop Richard J. Sklba addresses the children's lectionary, based on the Contemporary English Version (CEV) of the Bible.
This translation is known as a dynamic equivalent version, namely translating every concept though not necessarily every word.

Would, then, a dynamic equivalent version of "dynamic equivalent version" be "paraphrase"?
Another less helpful characteristic of the CEV is that its authors decided to eliminate some of the more technical religious vocabulary associated with the mystery of salvation such as "redemption" or "righteousness" or "justification." I myself understood the concern, but over the years I have objected to the decision, even when made on the grounds that people were not familiar with the terms, because it seemed to me that the very omission of the language contributed to the ignorance it was trying to combat.

Sounds a bit like a dynamic equivalent version of The Screwtape Letters.
The Holy See approved the experimental use of the CEV for the Lectionary for Masses with Children, and its usage has become very popular, especially among catechists at the parish level.

So if its use leaves the kids ignorant, you might think this experiment would be judged a failure. Experimental, here, has been taken to mean something more along the line of avant garde; lack of results makes it seem even more so. Hence Christian Formation programs not only keep using the CEV, some have been using it beyond the primary grades.
We are told the current use of the CEV keeps children at an elementary biblical level and does not adequately prepare them for participating in truly adult celebrations of the Eucharist.

And so Bishop Sklba joins the ranks of those who conclude that a decree of the Second Vatican Council was implemented in an infantalizing way.
I've been involved in the review and restudy of the Lectionary for Masses with Children for the past two years. There is a growing consensus on this question among the experts who truly know children as well as the Eucharistic liturgy.

"Hey, we're in a hole!"
They are convinced that another translation probably should be developed for use with our children that would better prepare them for the young adult experience of the Word of God.

"Better keep digging."
This coming November the bishops of the country will be asked to vote on this new text. It may be helpful to know that it is the catechetical specialists in child faith development who have made this recommendation to the bishops of the country.

Helpful in the sense that he's given us reason to have no confidence in their judgment.



Blogger Dad29 said...

The FIRST thing to understand is that it is "educators" who perpetrate this stuff upon our children.

...think "whole language" and "new math."

...think "curve."

9:14 AM  

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