If you'll permit another letter on Father Kavanaugh's June 10-16 letter on liturgical translation, I believe his premise that “Every act of translation is also an act of transculturation,” is mistaken.
The translations of the texts of the Mass are, or should be, occurring across languages but within the Catholic culture. If Catholic culture is lacking, it is where there is a lack of education and understanding due to a lack of accurate texts. This is exactly the point made by Liturgiam Authenticam (Authentic Liturgy).
The problem is precisely that the translations as they now stand are not “rendered in a way that makes the truth of the text accessible to the hearers.” For example, “ite, missa est” is not, as in Dismissal C, “Go in peace to love and serve the (our) Lord (and each other)” (these parentheticals being occasionally added by the presider). “Ite, missa est” is nothing but “Go, the Mass is.” While the words are plain enough, their implications may not be, and we are thus presented with a perfect opportunity for catechesis on the mysteries of the Mass, the Eucharistic Sacrifice (in time and outside of time) and the Sacrifice on Calvary (once and for all).
Culture is not a matter of turns of phrase, but of behavior. American culture mistakenly suggests that one can do something which may be wrong until one is caught and told not to do that thing. Hence, again mistakenly, the thing not specifically prohibited is allowed. It was illustrated for me this way: The rule book for baseball gets thicker, while the rule book for cricket does not. This is also illustrated by Dismissal C above. Priests are not authorized to re-translate the translation of the dismissal.
[Translator Douglas] Hofstadter's credentials notwithstanding, he makes a grave injustice of the translating/painting analogy by choosing an impressionist painter rather than just a painter. By definition, the mere painter renders to the best of his ability what is before him, and the impressionist renders his impression of what is before him. While some may prefer an impression of a landscape to a simple, accurate rendering of a landscape, the latter is to be preferred in a translation.
Regarding Father Kavanaugh's mistaken concluding points: Language is referential, not analogical (see Mortimer J. Adler, Intellect: Mind over Matter, page 129); the introduction of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (6-15) speaks clearly about what has and can change in the liturgy, hence no “strides” toward “disabuse”; and, by their respective natures, Liturgiam Authenticam has a lesser chance of being “ideology-tainted” than any conclusion which may be drawn from an uncritical reading of Father's letter.
MARK L. WILLE Phoenix