Those who read this blog, or any Catholic blog for that matter, now know that there are serious translation problems scattered throughout the Holy Father’s post-Synodal Exhortation entitled Sacramentum caritatis. We dealt with one at length, focusing on the inaccurate translation of aequum est. The error was eventually corrected on the Holy See’s website.
The nature of the translation problems provoke even those who are not cynical to wonder if there were not some ideological reasons for the inaccuracies, rather than just haste or lack of skill.
I want to turn our attention now to a serious problem in paragraph 23.
Par. 23 deals with the priest who acts in persona Christi in the Eucharistic liturgy. This is a central point for Benedict because the priest is a manifestation, in a personal way, of the High Priest Jesus Christ who is the true Actor in the liturgical action (actio). Because the liturgy is always first and foremost Christ’s and not our personal possession, even the alter Christus the priest, acting in persona Christi, must not hijack the liturgy and impose his own person on it. By his fidelity to the Rite, to the rubrics, the priest gets himself "out of the way", as it were, so that Christ is more apparently the true Actor.
Leaving aside the bulk of par. 23, I ask you to consider the following:
Quod peculiari modo in humilitate exprimitur quacum sacerdos actionem ducit liturgicam, in oboedientia erga ritum, cui corde et mente respondet, omnia vitans quae speciem praebere possunt alicuius propriae importunae actioni.
Ciò si esprime particolarmente nell’umiltà con la quale il sacerdote guida l’azione liturgica, in obbedienza al rito, corrispondendovi con il cuore e la mente, evitando tutto ciò che possa dare la sensazione di un proprio inopportuno protagonismo.
Slavish English from the Latin
Which is expressed in a special way in the type of humility with which the priest leads the liturgical action, in obedience in respect to the rite, with which he complies, avoiding all things which could present the appearance of some unsuitable actio of his own.
Official English (2-4-2007)
This is seen particularly in his humility in leading the liturgical assembly, in obedience to the rite, uniting himself to it in mind and heart, and avoiding anything that might give the impression of an inordinate emphasis on his own personality.
The concept actio is critical for understanding what His Holiness is expressing in the Exhortation.
The English version entirely erases the concept actio.
The Latin speaks of the priest “leading the liturgical actio” but the English changes the concept to “liturgical assembly”.
The actio is not the “assembly”.... except perhaps in the most bizarre views of progressivists.
The English emphasizes the priest’s “personality”. The Latin obliges the priest not to impose anything of his own on the actio of Mass in such a way that he turns the actio into his own personal actio rather than that of Christ in His Church.