When using Direct Equivalence in the spoken word, should there be a disclaimer so people know what the terms actually mean?

With all the talk in Catholic circles these days about the move toward a “direct equivalence” translation of the mass parts, some may not realize that the translation of scripture (the “spoken word”) we hear at mass has not changed. Yes, some of the priest’s words and the congregation’s responses have changed to more directly reflect the words from the Latin mass. However, the first and second readings, the psalm responses, and the gospel readings have not been re-translated from their original Hebrew and Greek. We still hear the New American Bible translation read, and the NAB falls solidly in the middle of the continuum between dynamic and direct equivalence. That said, whenever unfamiliar or confusing terms show up in the scripture readings — or in the new liturgical translations for that matter — regardless of whether they were translated using a direct or dynamic equivalence – it serves the people well if the celebrant or homilist explains them during the mass.

Ann Naffziger

Ann Naffziger

Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.