Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In Which I Attempt Latin Translations

And in which I will also be scoring myself and giving an approximate success percentage! This will be fun.

I recently found on the Vatican's website a whole lot of stuff. Like Papal Encyclicals, including the first and second encyclicals from Pope Benedict XVI, and now the third. (I honestly somehow seem to have missed #2, but I can't complain too much because I haven't read any of them, or any encyclical ever, actually. I'm planning to remedy that soon.) At any rate...

I've gone through the list of encyclicals for Pope John Paul II and made my guesses as to what their titles mean. Note that the titles for encyclicals are generally taken to be the first...clause, I think, that appears in them. Anyway, for each encyclical I will give the Latin title, followed by my guess at the English, followed by the translation implied by whatever I can find in the Encyclical's intro section in its English translation on Vatican.va. I will then proceed to assign each of my guesses an accuracy of 0 to 2. 0 means I'm totally off, 1 means I attained about half-accuracy and 2 means either an equivalency or very close thereto.

Some of you may recall I used to do this in church, except it was trying to guess what the pastor was going to say according to his sermon note outline--I called it the "Sermon Note Guessing Game." But here it will be called "Translate that Encyclical."

Ecclesia de Eucharistia - Church of the Eucharist
Actual title: Okay, apparently I'm wrong about the whole "first clause of the letter" thing, BUT what I'm reading here is making it clear that it's an encyclical on the relationship of the Eucharist to the Church. Since I'm fairly certain "on the relationship of the Eucharist to the Church" is not the translation of "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" I'm going to give myself full marks on this one.

Fides et Ratio - Faith and Reason
Pretty sure from this that I've got this one right.

Ut Unum Sint - Something Unity Something
It's becoming clear that I got the unity part right. Unfortunately, I missed the other parts. Christian Unity--I should have guessed!

Evangelium Vitae - Life of Evangelism
Well, I think I got this one wrong. It really is about pro-life-ness; whatever it's about isn't actually the life of evangelism. :p

Veritatis Splendor - Splendor of Truth
I had some help on this one, because the Catholic blogger Jeff Miller, the "Curt Jester", seen in that link making an awesome commentary on who the new encyclical is for, named his website splendoroftruth.com. Evidence that I got it right can be found here.

Centesimus Annus - Annual Census?
I was off on this one too. It's actually on the hundredth anniversary of the social gospel encyclical known as Rerum Novarum. I don't know what that means, either.

Redemptoris Missio - Redemptive Mission?
"The mission of Christ the redeemer" begins the letter as noted here, and its sub-title makes it clear we're talking about the Great Commission. I'm going to give myself one point for this.

Sollicitudo Rei Socialis - Soliciting the Social King?
"The social concern of the church" leads off this one. Sub-title makes it clear that we're dealing with another anniversary encyclical. I got "social" right but I missed everything else.Evidence here. No points.

Redemptoris Mater - Redemptive Mother?
"The mother of the redeemer"! So close! I guess I now take a higher Mariology than the Catholic Church. In case that made anyone uncomfortable, I'm seriously just kidding. But seriously--so close!

Dominum et Vivificantem - Dominion and Life?
Seems to be more about the life of faith than dominion and life. So nothing environmental here, so much.

Slavorum Apostoli - Apostolic Slavery!
Apparently it's actually about the "Apostles of the Slavs." Who knew?

Laborem Exercens - Exerting in Labor
It's about human work. See evidence here if you disbelieve me. I'm going to count this as a one-pointer.

Dives in Misericordia - Divas in Misery
"God who is rich in mercy" quoted from Ephesians 2:4 leads this one. I'm afraid "Divas in Misery" was nowhere near as close as I might have liked...

Redemptor Hominis - Redeemer of humanity
"The Redeemer of Man" opens up this encyclical. Since whenever John Paul II or pretty much any other Pope says "man" and you're not sure they mean "male" they probably mean "humanity" I'm going to give myself full marks on this one. Good to end on a high note. I'm also fairly certain I've heard the translation somewhere, but I can't place it.

11/26 points! I'm not going to lie, for what mostly consisted of random guesses from a guy who knows very little Latin (church or otherwise), I don't feel too awful about that score.


M.A. Schmitz said...

Well, I'll quibble with your full marks on the last one, because the entire point of the encyclical shows why "humanity" isn't a completely suitable substitute for the general "man" in English, because of its inability to also denote the individual. The encyclical's main focus is that as regards redemption we must focus on the singular man/human as a starting point, and not the abstract "humanity".

On Ecclesia de Eucharistia it's harder to find it in the first phrase because of Latin and English's grammatical differences. The phrase itself would be translated "The Church, from the Eucharist...", and so is basically meaningless without context, specifically, a verb.

(and lol at your rapidly ascending mariology!)

M.A. Schmitz said...

as a slight addendum to my comment on Ecclesia de Eucharistia...the phrase would also require a direct object. :)

L-Po said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
L-Po said...

How come you just didn't use an on-line Latin-to-English translation site?

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