Mark Shea on Weak-Tea Translation.

The money shot:

Now, “Go!  You are sent!” is a radically different statement than “The Mass is ended, go in peace.”  The former has the sound of a trumpet in it.  It’s a clarion call to bring Christ to the whole world, to cast down the mighty in their arrogance and lift up the meek and lowly.  It’s the sort of thing the apostle Paul could (and in fact did) hear from the mouth of the Risen Christ!  It’s the sort of ringing call to get going and get out there to save the world that the apostles heard from the Risen Lord in Matthew 28.  In contrast, “The Mass is ended, go in peace” is not a translation, not even a paraphrase, of what the text actually says.  Indeed, it is an astoundingly weak tea replacement of the words of the Mass with some sentiment of a translator with a tin ear, especially when followed by “Thanks be to God!”  Talk about a prayer that goes “clunk”!  It conveys a sentiment more like “Well, Mass is finally over [Thanks be to God!].  Go home and watch some TV”.  It calls us nowhere and bids us do no more than drift out of the sanctuary toward nothing in particular.  It’s like translating, “Veni, Vidi, Vici” as “I visited France.  I saw a lot of interesting things.  I decided live there as an important official in the Italian Ministry of Peacekeeping for Indigenous Peoples.”

Apart from amusing the heck out of me with that “veni, vidi, vici” thing, Mr. Shea makes some truly remarkable points: the end of mass is itself a commission, and we would do well to remember that.

I’ve said it before; let is be said again: “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words,” is too often an excuse to not preach the Gospel at all, never finding those words necessary. Lately this has weighed on my soul.