Saturday, July 23, 2011


I await with great delight the first translation of the Novus Ordo Mass into English. The bland, Scripture-muffling, colorless, odorless, gaseous paraphrase American Catholics have had for forty years often was not a translation at all, nor even a paraphrase into English. It was a paraphrase into Nabbish, the secret official language of the New American Bible.

With an opening paragraph like that, how could I not go on to read the whole thing? That’s from an opinion piece (“A Bumping Boxcar Language”) in the June/July issue of First Things. I’d provide a link if it weren’t for the subscription firewall.

The whole bit was fun to read, as it pointed to all of the failings of the NAB translation of the Bible that has been used for the English translation of the mass. Unfortunately (and please correct me if I’m wrong), the new translation of the missal applies to the prayers and responses. The Lectionary readings will still be based on the NAB.

I’d also like to point out that American Catholics aren’t alone in their language woes. Based on my casual reading, Nabbish, as described by Anthony Esolen in his First Things rant, looks to be a close relative of Nivish, the secret official language of the New International Version.

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