A few missal roll-out anecdotes

* A priest on one continent, citing Canon Alan Griffiths (the ICEL translator fired for his honesty) that the coming translation as amended by Vox Clara is so flawed that it will need to be reissued in revised form in the near future, wrote this to his bishop: “I feel I cannot in conscience allow the people of God here, or anyone else, to fork out such large sums for what will apparently be a temporary stop-gap book.”

* A Pray Tell reader on another continent sent to the bishop our post on the heretical collect for Trinity Sunday. The  bishop replied with a kind thank-you and agreed with the writer that he is not quite sure what the purpose of Vox Clara is. But perhaps Vox is not the cause of some of the final changes – the bishop heard that the Congregation for Divine Worship made the changes, and one does not know the quality of their English. Ending on a note of encouragement, the bishop assured the writer that we’ll get through this.

* You thought “Christ has died” has died, since it’s no longer an approved acclamation in the new missal? Not quite. That acclamation is still part of the Eucharistic Prayers for Children. And because the Eucharistic Prayers for Children are not in the Latin missal – because you wouldn’t use them in Latin with children, and because they couldn’t include the English versions in our missal because they aren’t in the Latin missal and the English missal must mimic the contents of the Latin missal – though you would do them in English with children – are you following the logic of this? I’m not either – it means that the currently legal translation of the Eucharistic Prayers for Children is the unrevised one. No, we don’t advise using the children’s prayers at Sunday Mass just to keep the acclamation. For all that, I would think that any new translation would still be “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” –that’s what the Latin says.

* At Mass, as we all know, the new response is “And with your spirit.” But at SCAP, Baptism, Anointing, all the other rites and sacraments? “And also with you” – since those translations haven’t been revised yet. This will work fine, I think, as long as the laity are all keeping track of when the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome grants recognitio to each revised translation, so as to give their appropriate liturgical response. Or maybe common sense will prevail?

awr

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  1. At Mass, as we all know, the new response is “And with your spirit.” But at SCAP, Baptism, Anointing, all the other rites and sacraments? “And also with you” – since those translations haven’t been revised yet. This will work fine, I think, as long as the laity are all keeping track of when the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome grants recognitio to each revised translation, so as to give their appropriate liturgical response. Or maybe common sense will prevail?

    In England and Wales, the Bishops’ Conference expectation is that wherever a text that appears in the new translation of the Missal also appears in a sacramental rite, etc, the new words will replace the old ones, even though a revised translation of the entire rite may be years away.

  2. If the late decision to allow US parishes to begin in September is any indication, our bishops might come to this common sense solution in about 9 months or so… after they have had countless questions from parish catechetical leaders about how the confirmandi should respond.

  3. “You thought “Christ has died” has died, since it’s no longer an approved acclamation in the new missal?”

    Dunno about your reference to the Children’s Mass and apparent inconsistency. But the ultimate inconsistency was to insert this nonexistent acclamation into the Novus Ordo back in 1970 or whenever. When teaching about the new translation, when I point out the actual Novus Ordo has only the three other acclamations, a light inevitably goes on in the hearer. “What were the US bishops thinking?” After seeing this, they invariably embrace the corrected translation.

    It’s a wonderful acclamation. It’s just not part of the Mass.

    1. Actually, there were no memorial acclamations until the publication of the Novus Ordo. The US bishops received permission to use it as an American adaptation. The bizarre thing is the arrogant response of the CDW this time around by denying their request. I guess I’ll just tell the folks that the Vatican said we could only have three and Christ has died didn’t make it.

    2. I don’t see how it was an inconsistency to insert it in 1970 or whenever – it’s a good acclamation, it’s theologically sound, its insertion was in accord with the official translation guidelines (Comme le prevoit said that, ultimately, translated texts were inadequate and it would be necessary to draft original texts in each language), and the sacramentary with the acclamation was approved by the Holy See. You act like you’re uncovering some outrageous crime – because they weren’t following Liturgiam authenticam three decades before it was issued? Even LA allows for original texts, as you’re probably aware.

      I would caution you against applying your fundamentalism retroactively.

      awr

      1. “I don’t see how it was an inconsistency to insert it in 1970 or whenever…”

        Fr., if I may, the inconsistency is in the fact that the text “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again,” does not address Christ directly as the other memorial acclamations. The American adaptation just dosen’t make sense there.

      2. Fr. Sanchez,

        You are right that it is inconsistent with the other acclamations in terms of whom it addresses. But it is no more inconsistent than the post-communion prayer from this past Sunday, which addresses Christ rather than the Father. I don’t see anything theologically inconsistent with the idea of an acclamation after the consecration that does not address Christ directly.

      3. Deacon Fritz,
        Nothing may be wrong with it theologically; but I think the reformers of the liturgy made their intention obvious by their consistency in their composition of memorial acclamations. They were given the authority to reform the Roman Rite, not us. We can’t change the rite just because we think we have a nice theological idea. The reform has already been implemented. We are its recepients and servants.

  4. @ Mark – the funny thing about “Christ has died…” – it is commonly used as a sung acclamation in Spanish Masses… even though it is not in their Missal. 😉

    1. Read your own cited link, please – it doesn’t say anything about abrogation. It says they won’t be included in our new missal. Therefore, the current translation remains in force.
      awr

  5. Interesting! Those same Spanish Masses have always said “y con tu espiritu” which is another teaching moment here in South Texas regarding the various translations of the Novus Ordo. That experience of bilingual parishioners helps them understand the need to bring the English translation closer to the original.

    1. In our city, the primary new immigration is Brazilian, and the Portuguese translation has: “The Lord be with you. He is here with us.” So should English-language Masses round these parts get an indult to bring the English closer to the Portuguese? And what will all the grammatical errors in the new translation help us to understand? All the violations of Liturgiam authenticam? So far, what the new translation has helped me understand is how incompetent and arrogant the Congregation for Divine Worship is. When the Areas of Difficulty document pointed out all these mistakes, the only one they changed was “he bends slightly” as worldwide ridicule erupted in the blogosphere. Pretty disappointing from a body that is supposed to be assisting the Holy Father.

  6. Closer to what “orignal” – in the romance languages such as spanish, french, latin was easily translated into with your spirit – it made sense in those languages. That is not necessarily true in english and the ICEL made a choice (you can disagree with their choice but it was a choice based upon a consistent application of CLP and their goal to have a simple, direct translation.

    1. Exactly. To say that English must have “spirit” is as sensible as saying it must have “ghost” because the German has “Geist”.

    2. “and with your spirit” had been a part of English-speaking Christianity for hundreds of years – the idea that it doesn’t make sense or is not appropriate in English seems silly and discredits those who think the new translation has real problems.

      And the original, of course, is the Latin version. That is what all the translations are being made from.

      1. The best response to the “Lord be with you” is the scriptural one.

        VUC Ruth 2:4 Et ecce, ipse veniebat de Bethlehem, dixitque messoribus: Dominus vobiscum. Qui responderunt ei: Benedicat tibi Dominus. (Rut 2:4 VUC)

        NIV Ruth 2:4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The LORD be with you!” “The LORD bless you!” they called back. (Rut 2:4 NIV)

        I have found that saying “The Lord bless you” blends well with “And also with you.” I hope it blends equally well with “and with your spirit.”

  7. Sorry, can’t help it — a bit of humor.

    An elderly Jesuit confessor of mine once told me a particularly funny anecdote about the first vernacular Masses in 1965. A fellow Jesuit drew a mental blank when saying Mass in English for the first time. At the Ecce agnus Dei before the communion, the priest paused with a perplexed gaze, and then said “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (Luke 1:38).

    There are going to be mistakes. Maybe not to that level, but there will be some bloopers. We all need to be patient, priests and laity alike.

  8. Re: “Christ has died:” It’s not really an acclamation, more of a proclamation, and we will no longer be saying “Let us proclaim the mystery of Faith.” My understanding is that you proclaim something, but acclaim someone. This moment in the Mass is personal, not ideological.

    “The Mystery of Faith” seems to be an echo of 1 Timothy 3:16, where Saint Paul appears to use it as a title of Christ, as the next verse is “He was manifested in the flesh …”. It used to form part of the words of consecration of the chalice in the Roman Canon. So “mysterium fidei” actually means “Jesus Christ the Lord.”

    So when the priest sings “The mystery of faith” and the congregation continues (NB the rubric has “continues”), the assembly is speaking to the Lord, not about the Lord. All the acclamations at this point in the Missal are addressed to Christ.

    Re: “and with your spirit:” it’s biblical language, and why it should make sense in Italian, Spanish, etc, but not in English is not clear to me. I am told by those who know that Irish has “May Jesus and Mary go with you” to which one can answer “and with yourself.” It’s not straining translation too far (perhaps a “Comme le Prevoit” version!) to think that “self” might denote “spirit.” Our “spirit” is that which God has inbreathed into the human person (cf. Genesis 2:7) to make us “spiritual.”

    You don’t have to link it exclusively to Sacred Orders, either, though that does seem to be the tradition, which ICEL supported by a reference (one only, actually) to St. John Chrysostom. I think I am right in stating that “The Lord be with you” is used by bishops, priests and deacons in the liturgy, but not by lay people. However, there seems to me to be no reason why outside that, we shouldn’t think of ourselves, whether ordained or not, as “spiritual” beings!

    Re my comment about the need for revision of the new translation: I would have thought that given the ICEL report on the Vox Clara editing, the contributions of Xavier Rindfleisch and so on, that was self-evident. I would not presume to suggest a timeline for it, though. I think some priests will be doing that work from day one.

    Alan Griffiths.

    1. If it is so important to respond to the spirit of the priest, why is he not required to say: The Lord be with your spirit? The argument for the more Latin like spirit is ludicrous. The issue is not one of which translation is more accurate, but which one makes better sense in English. I was speaking about all this with my 60 year old brother, a life long Catholic whose adult children still practice and pass on the faith. He wondered if a number of people will just simply walk away when they discover the promised better translation is no such thing. Perhaps the troglodytes will just enjoy the smaller–but more devout–numbers?

    2. “You don’t have to link it exclusively to Sacred Orders, either, though that does seem to be the tradition, which ICEL supported by a reference (one only, actually) to St. John Chrysostom.”

      I believe Narsai also put forth that line of thought, too. But I agree with you, and I wouldn’t put too stock in that explanation of “and with your spirit.” It was clearly an after-the-fact secondary interpretation of the text, and hardly definitive.

    3. I find your comments on Mysterium Fidei very helpful, thanks.

      I do not think that anyone is saying that “and with your spirit” does not make sense in English but that it is so unusual and and not in parallel with the greeting as to be a distraction rather than a dialogue which instantly makes sense, as any good translation should. Modern English speakers just do not talk this way. If it requires further explanation, it is not a very good translation.

      It makes it worse to explain it by making “spirit” reference the priestliness of the greeter. It just seems to promote clericalism.

      Restricting “the LORD be with your” to the ordained also seems to be needless clericalism. Why should not all Christians so greet each other?

      Restricting asking God to bless others in the name of the Trinity to clergy also seems clericalist to me. What special abilities do clerics have to call down blessings which others do not have? There are not magic powers associated with ordination, only authorizations to represent the church in presiding sacramentally. Even the association of preaching faculties is ancillary to this.

      Why should I not be allowed to begin a service with the greeting “The LORD be with you,” and end it with “May God bless us all in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”? There is no need for sacramental orders to speak thus except as church discipline has legislated clerical privileges, or so it seems to me.

      1. If the “Lord be with you” is seen in a scriptural context (Ruth 2:2), it is less a blessing or even greeting than a statement that we are a covenant community, and therefore by implication that we should act as one. The response (Ruth 2:2) “The Lord bless you” to a leader who says this is an affirmation of the grace that flows from the covenant relationship, not to some personal characteristic of the leader.

        I found this a more meaningful interpretation of the rubric restricting this greeting to the ordained minister. While Christ is present where two or more gather, the covenant community is more fully signified when an ordained person greets it as a recognized covenant community.

        In other words the Lord be with you has more to do with the official nature of the gathering than the role of the ordained person.

      2. Jack,
        Is this “official” oriented interpretation just a way of supporting the “reference (one only, actually) to St. John Chrysostom”?

        It does not seem to be a recognition of any official status in Ruth.

        OTOH, I like the basic idea of using the greeting and response as found in Scripture.

  9. The real inaccuracy with the Memorial Acclamations B-D is that they break the address of the prayer to the Father. Christ has died was fashioned to address this particular issue.

  10. To be perfectly accurate, “Christ has died” was not fashioned but borrowed. No one knows for sure who wrote it, but it seems to have been the work of an Anglican clergyman attending a World Council of Churches meeting, possibly in India, in about 1963.

    Already by 1965 it was in fairly wide use in Anglican Churches, and found its way into the Series 3 Eucharist. ICEL simply borrowed it without acknowledgement for the 1970 translation of the 1969 Latin Order of Mass (and, worse still, claimed copyright in it themselves — naughty!).

    As Sean indicates, it was about Christ, rather than addressed to Christ, and the other three acclamations were indeed criticised by liturgists for addressing Christ in the middle of a prayer addressed to the Father (rather in the same way that Rome instructed the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales on two separate occasions — but they did not take any notice — not to include the Hail Mary in the General Intercessions because the thrust of these prayers was towards the Father and a prayer addressed to the BVM interrupted that).

    There has always been some justification, therefore, for saying that “Christ has died” was more appropriate than the other acclamations. When in July 2003 I interviewed Joseph Gelineau, who had worked on the Eucharistic Prayers and was responsible for the inclusion of the Memorial Acclamation in the EP, I quizzed him closely on this. He said that in the tradition as they found it (for example in Greek liturgies), such acclamations of the people were always addressed to Christ because, it was surmised, the people felt “closer” to Christ than to the Father. (My reaction to that would be that today, it is possible to say that people feel a lot closer to the Father than they once did — and it’s also possible to point to the openings of the 1973 ICEL collects as a reason for that!.)

    1. Gelineau also told me that he had frequently been asked questions by other liturgists about why these acclamations were addressed to Christ instead of to the Father.

      I asked him if there was any reason why the three acclamations might not have been on the lines of “We profess his death, O Lord, and proclaim his resurrection, until he comes again” or “When we eat…. we proclaim his death, O Lord,…”, in each case with “Lord” being addressed to the Father rather than to Christ. He said there was absolutely no reason why this couldn’t have been done; it was simply that they hadn’t thought of it because of what they found in other traditions.

    2. In my corner of France “Christ has died” arrived around 1980. The simple but beautiful musical setting, easy to sing, made it an instant hit.

      In my mind it is linked to the acclamation that Ukrainian Catholics repeat at Easter: “Khrystos Voskres!” (“Christ is Risen!”) It’s an acclamation. They are so joyful that they cannot stop repeating it whenever they meet. Our “Christ has died” is a mini-version of that. The French version starts pianissimo at the lower C (“Christ est venu, Christ est ne”), then has a gradual crescendo (“Christ a souffert, Christ est mort”) to the climax “Christ is resurrected, Christ is present” before a decrescendo going down from the upper C to the final “Christ is here”, finishing on E, piano and full of reverence.

      It is so natural, so real, so fitting that it would be difficult for the congregation not to pray it.

  11. I attended a first communion mass in Sydney yesterday: the congregation was large, the majority being relatives of the 1st communicants.

    New laminated cards were everywhere.

    The priest tried to help the congregation by responding to his own greeting “the lord be with you” but the congregation kept going with “& also with you” right to the last.

    The young priest chose the first eucharistic prayer (not a good choice, I thought, with so many young kids around): the priest read the EP carefully and still stumbled over the awkward syntax.

    I looked around whilst the EP was being prayed: no one was engaged, people looked blank; if the priest said the EP in Latin the people would not have noticed.

    My wife and children were amused by the word chalice: they thought it a somewhat elitist word: Jesus was poor; he would have used a poor cup not some golden bejewelled ornament, they said

    How much money has been spent on this debacle??

    1. “Jesus was poor; he would have used a poor cup not some golden bejewelled ornament, they said”

      As I’ve said before, rightly or wrongly, I suspect many have formed their image of the Grail from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

      1. Actually, it’s just as much a projection to assume there were no precious objects at the Last Supper; that assumption is no less a conceit. Historically, even relatively poor Jews (and we have reason to believe Jesus was not entirely without patrons) had some finery for festive ritual meals.

        What this means is we have to suspend assumptions in both directions: that the materials were either mean or fine, and understand we should not project our modern agendas into that issue.

        Finally, the Eucharistic meal is not only a re-presentation of the historical Last Supper, and thus is not limited to such a dimension.

    2. I looked around whilst the EP was being prayed: no one was engaged, people looked blank; if the priest said the EP in Latin the people would not have noticed.

      Umm…you did say this was a First Communion, right? I wouldn’t be too concerned, by the next time most of them go to church again, the Mass may well be in Latin.

  12. A more accurate guesstimate would be had not by looking at Jesus’ socioeconomic status, but by asking: What did a 0th Century Seder “cup of wine” look like, and also (more to the point) what was it called.

    I think “Chalice” bothers me more than anything else. More than “my roof,” more than “consubstantial.” Besides the anachronism, it destroys all the English poetic references: “let this cup pass by” “the cup of salvation” etc. It seriously removes the Eucharist from, well… everything else.

      1. But the KJV is the single largest influence on English-speaking poetic and religious thought. Our cups runneth over, our chalices do not runneth anywhere.

      2. The cup that Jesus spoke the words “this is poured out for you as the new covenant in my blood” is the third seder cup known as the cup of blessing (a phrase taken up by Paul). This is all lost if we translate cup as chalice.

      3. The cup that Jesus spoke the words “this is poured out for you as the new covenant in my blood” is the third seder cup known as the cup of blessing (a phrase taken up by Paul).

        How did Paul refer to it as a “cup of blessing” when the English language didn’t even exist. Paul took up a phrase which has been TRANSLATED as “cup of blessing”. Why not translate it as “chalice of blessing”. The idea of getting hung up on which translation is authentic always comes down to preference and tradition. The battles being fought over such things are just proxy fights for tradition versus preference.

      4. Indeed, that’s one of the passages in my link to the Douay: “The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?”

    1. Nor, apparently, is Vox Clara a competent guide to 1) translations from the Latin, 2) the directives of Liturgiam authenticam and the Ratio translationis, or even 3) correct English syntax and grammar. In light of which, CDW, which has the authority, seems not to have the competency, interest, or humility to grant a confirmatio to a worthy text. We’re in a fine situation, aren’t we?

    2. Well, recall two other cautions:

      1. The Haggadah we associate with Pesach is a post-Temple development, long after the time of Jesus; and
      2. The Last Supper was very likely not the first meal of Pesach, strictly speaking.

    3. I agree. I would think that the gospels, none of which use chalice, would be a better point of reference. I refer to the NAB revised (USCCB). I don’t care what the King James or Douay say. The NRSV which is highly regarded for serious study also says “Cup”.

      1. Chalice is a nice anglicism for the Latin word “calix” but it is not a word of our contemporary English vernacular. In current usage it is something much more narrowly defined than “cup” which would be how one would translate calix if making a new translation of something like the Aeneid. I do not think that the original Greek “potaerion” has any of the connotations which chalice now carries in English.

      2. Actually “chalice” is a fairly common word in video games that like to use medieval-sounding vocabulary. Here’s an example that might indicate what teenagers will be reminded of when they hear the word:

        “> I’m wondering: when dealing with Affinity, what does the Chalice counter, the cost in the upper right corner or the reduced cost?
        > the cost in the upper right corner. That’s the converted mana cost (well, the *total* mana is the converted mana cost. Broodstar’s CMC is 10, not 8UU. Myr Enforcer’s is 7, no matter what was actually paid for it.)”

  13. Jack Wayne :
    “and with your spirit” had been a part of English-speaking Christianity for hundreds of years – the idea that it doesn’t make sense or is not appropriate in English seems silly and discredits those who think the new translation has real problems.

    Jack Wayne: defender of Thomas Cranmer!

    1. What’s your point? Cranmer’s English is better than ICEL – both new ICEL and especially 1970’s ICEL. I think in places where it doesn’t conflict with Catholic theology, it can be utilized.

      Anyway, even old Catholic Missals tended to use “and with thy spirit.”

      1. That’s because old Catholic missals were… translations from the Latin! (What a thought.)

        And I agree with Jack Wayne. We have a saying in my peer-group: “If everything is highlighted, then nothing is highlighted.”
        Specific, real problems are easy to ignore if the only people bringing them up also pretty much complain about everything.

        (While what I just said is true, I have to hedge it with two additional statements:
        1. I know, I know- “Complain about everything” is a bit of an exaggeration.
        2. Specific, real problems are also easy to ignore if you’re part of an anachronistic and patriarchal hierarchy that thinks it knows everything. So, you know- there is that.
        )

      2. Those old hand missals attempted to give a one-to-one correspondence and to use Latinate words in English in order to make following along more easy, on the off chance that one could actually hear a priest pronounce rather than mumble the Latin.

        That is not the objective when the entire assembly will be praying in English or any other vernacular. We are trying to use our own language rather than follow another. We need to use contemporary vocabulary which best conveys the underlying meaning rather than the word which sound most like Latin.

        Cranmer’s English was quite good for his time even though not the vernacular even then, but we are not discussing an historic re-creation but contemporary prayer. It is hard enough to teach FCAP in communal prayer in a culture pushed entirely into personal and devotional prayer because of a centuries of not being able to understand the language of the clericalized rituals at which membership required attendance.

        It is unconscionable to add to this catechetical burden having to explain to people rather esoteric uses of their own language.

  14. If the memorial acclamations mean anything, they are surely the people’s response to the words of Christ just spoken by the priest, and so are addressed to Christ. The priest then continues the prayer to the Father which he has interrupted to pronounce the words of consecration.

    BTW, is there any evidence that the Canon of the Roman Mass ever had acclamations at this point? And when were the words ‘mysterium fidei’ inserted into the consecration of the Chalice?

    1. Why would they have to address Christ to mean something? That’s an odd argument to me. Read posts above regarding insertion of the Memorial Acclamations. Very new parts of the prayer.

    2. If you consider it solely the prayer of the priest, I suppose there is an interruption. That is not what the EP is. It is the prayer of the entire assembly, the mystical body of Christ, offering up its head and itself in thanksgiving to God. The reason there are acclamations is so the assembly can give voice to its faith in this climactic action of the eucharist.

  15. Appears that we may be confusing the memorial acclamations of the 1973 liturgy and what has happened in the history of liturgy. Jungmann highlighted a number of cultures and liturgical practices in which acclamations were a part of the liturgy. My understanding was that this ressourcement may have led to the 1973 developments.

    Mr. Nolan – your comments about “interruption” makes no sense…not sure that the canon and its parts are put together in the way you state.

    Experts – Paul, Fr. Ruff, others?

  16. Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Jeffrey Herbert :

    I looked around whilst the EP was being prayed: no one was engaged, people looked blank; if the priest said the EP in Latin the people would not have noticed.
    Umm…you did say this was a First Communion, right? I wouldn’t be too concerned, by the next time most of them go to church again, the Mass may well be in Latin.

    I think many presiders would be shocked to look around at the congregation reactions. I highly recommend video recording the congregation during some Mass and playing it without sound for the presider. Maybe it would motivate harder work to engage with or communicate to the assembly. If actors saw at the first try out performance what presiders can see every Sunday, the actors would cancel other try outs and go back to rehearsal until they thought they could reach the people in attendance.

    1. After reading all the discussions here, I’ve been paying more attention to what goes on in my own head at Mass. I am sorry to say that all the prayers, no matter how beautiful and appropriate as they may be, come across as a deluge of words that I tune out after a while. It takes real effort to come back from my own thoughts to attend to the Consecration. The closest comparison I can make is to a graduation exercise. Five or six different people stand up and make a welcoming statement or give a speech and people listen politely, but who remembers what was said 10 minutes later? Indeed, how many people manage to actually listen?
      We need a framework for communal prayer, but I think the framework is itself interfering with communal prayer.

      1. Graduation exercise is a good analogy. The VIPs feel they have to say something and that it cannot be too short, as if they did not put any effort into it. It also has to be in somewhat elevated language, given the institutional location..

        In the MR we have centuries of such development and elaboration.

        There is also a lot of devotional accretions as various authorities inserted their preferences into what already existed and in general did not dare to take anything out. My favorite example from the MR is the anomalous insertion of Andrew into the prayer following the Pater Noster.

        Try imagining the briefest form of the Liturgy of the Eucharist that includes needed content and do a word count comparison with the RC. What is the multiple?

        Don’t forget that the Lord’s Prayer can be elsewhere in the Mass than inserted between the Institution Narrative and the sharing in the sacred meal.

        The MR is wordy beyond belief, prompting the glazing of eyes and the direct passage of words from one ear to the other without encountering any brain activity and encouraging presiders to rush rather than linger and proclaim.

        Worst of all are the presidential prayers. Even if each was a gem of composition, they interrupt rather than advance the ritual actions. Surely one per Mass would be enough.

        We spend enormous energies on this list discussing [charitably one hopes] various translation possibilities for this much modified prayer from a long past culture. Could we please look at the intrinsic problems of the MR itself and its Canon and the “deluge of words”?

        A graduation exercise or two a year at the University level I can sit politely through as a sign of support for the graduate without expecting FCAP or to take much away from it. It is a bit much to ask me to do that every week.

    2. Church architecture helps us pray. Our church building is not just a functional assembly of building blocks. We gaze at the columns and arches and experience their harmonious elegance or pleasing symmetry or some other aesthetic feature. We do not all have the same experience of what is beautiful, but everyone agrees that beauty is vitally important: the beauty of church architecture lifts us up in an encounter with the divine.

      Liturgical texts are for prayer, and beauty is an essential element of prayer. The words of the Mass in Latin, I am told, are very beautiful. An authentic translation would acknowledge the primary importance of beauty, and give us a text that preserves the meaning while re-creating beauty anew by leveraging the genius of the English language. The new missal (whether 2008 or 2010) does not do that. It is not beautiful.

      What do we lose with the end of the 1973 text of the Mass? I admit, those Eucharistic prayers are also often not beautiful, and (as Brigid describes) my attentiveness is more a conscious effort of the will than the joyful, spontaneous response to beautiful language. But I do listen to the words of the Mass, absorb their meaning, and sometimes recognize that they are true because the meaning resonates with my own understanding of our faith. That’s what the 1973 Missal gives me: an occasional encounter with Truth. In contrast, the new texts (whether 2008 or 2010), following a foreign syntax, are obscure and convoluted in English, and I will be unable to absorb their meaning and to make them resonate. Truth is the casualty.

      Without Beauty, without Truth, is there any redeeming feature in the new missal? The 2008 text (not the 2010 text) is great study material, but neither are a good prayer.

      1. Are all cathedrals copies of Notre Dame? St. Peter’s? We have hundreds of different and beautiful physical expressions of our faith. Most people find something they like better than another. Most people find something they dislike. Indeed, the one physical expression that is almost universally condemned is the cookie cutter approach; selecting statues and prints from a catalog rather than looking for a fresh expression.

        Why then do we insist that the prayers at Mass be identical? I will grant the scriptural readings and essential prayers should be the unifying items. But where would the English language be if every poem were an epic, a sonnet, a haiku?
        There may be places where the elaborate phrases used now are meaningful prayer. I would suggest that for Americans , at least, fewer words would be better prayers.

      2. We must always keep in mind the differences between personal and communal prayer. Most church architecture does not help us to pray liturgically.

        Much devotional and symbolic content of church architecture comes from the era when pious content was needed for an illiterate laity required to attend a clericalized ritual in a dead language. They had no seats, and interesting things to see were useful.

        The USA has near universal literacy. Devotional architectural devices are distractions from FCAP. They are invitations to go inside oneself instead of maintaining awareness of one’s neighbors and of the very different nature of communal prayer from personal prayer. We need to teach these differences if the liturgy is to work as SC envisioned.

        Beauty is not vitally important. Doing liturgy conscientiously with noble simplicity requires focusing on the ways liturgical prayer works. Great beauty can be as much a distraction from communal prayer as can ugliness.

        Incompetence in praying and presiding cannot be overcome by beauty or any artistic expression. They draw attention to themselves instead of immersing one in the communal prayer experience.

        We need neither beauty nor study materials for effective liturgical prayer. [Although each might be helpful for personal prayer in public or private.]

        We need effective proclamation and preaching by those trying to communicate the meanings of Scripture rather than make a brief good impression.

        We need preachers afire with the need to convey to the message of Jesus and not just the words.

        We need presiders and planners and assistants who understand the dramatic methods of ritual rather than rubricists or fourth rate entertainers or self-expressing artists.

        Liturgy needs craft, not art.

        We need liturgical presiders constantly honing elocutionary and performance skills and who understand the flow of liturgy and draw others into FCAP by how liturgy is done rather than by pressures.

      3. Interesting. I did not expect controversy on the role of beauty! I am taken off-guard. I disagree, but have no ready response.

      4. Tom, the things you say we need are all good, but they are not in opposition to beauty. Beauty is a leverage, if you will. How are the dramatic rituals that you mention more than the odd spectacle of the remnants of old and strange cultural traditions? How do we perceive their depth? How do they lift us to God? For many, many of us, the aesthetic experience is essential. Beauty is one thing that does not come from the natural world. But it is not opposed to everything that you say. On the contrary, the congregation, moved by beauty (of the surroundings, say), becomes more prayerful, and their devout prayer has its own beauty, so these things feed one another in a helpful feedback loop.

        If I understand you correctly, for you the ideal church building is, not beautiful, not ugly, but perfectly bland, so that we are never tempted to look at anything other than what is happening in the liturgy. The ideal music is not beautiful, not off-tune, but perfectly indifferent, so that we are never tempted to fall into a personal dream that angelic voices are an echo of heaven, instead of keeping our attention duly turned to the liturgy with absolute constancy. If I understand correctly, you want to rule out such moments, just because they’re not strictly speaking part of the communal prayer.

        But even in communal prayer, we have to be engaged, and the aesthetic experience draws us out. In addition, it is not just one more trick. I believe that beauty is of divine origin, and that God intended it as a way for us to transcend our limitations and have an intuition of the beyond. That’s why I say it is vitally important.

        Perhaps your opposition comes from some pre-conceived notion of what I have in mind – maybe, you think that next I’m going to argue for particularly fancy vestments or heavily decorated altars. I have no such intention. I think they convey the wrong message, and do not advocate sacrificing symbols to beauty, but on the contrary, having them work…

  17. Now, I know that some people disagree. They claim that the new missal is beautiful. Can they articulate what makes it beautiful? I have seen many threads discussing the ugliness of various specific details. Can we be educated by seeing discussed the beauty of some specific details? What makes them beautiful?

  18. Claire, try singing through the new translation using the chants provided. Then compare that with what we normally get at a vernacular OF Mass. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if Gloria XV and Credo I, and the chants provided by Solesmes for the Latin NO are not beautiful, then I for one don’t know the meaning of the word.

    1. Ah, chanting to the rescue! You know, much as I dislike the new texts, if they make for beautiful chant, that would make a difference to me.

  19. @ Tom Poelker #61

    As a matter of fact literacy rates in pre-Revolutionary France were far higher than in the present-day USA (see Simon Schama, ‘Citizens’, p.180).

    If a ‘liturgical presider’ is constantly honing his ‘elocutionary and performance skills’ he is in very great danger of becoming an entertainer. And since when was liturgy reduced to ‘a communal prayer experience’ with ‘effective proclamation and preaching’? I can get that at my local United Reformed church which doesn’t have a liturgy at all.

    The problem with reformers throughout history is that they tend towards puritanism. In 16th century England they destroyed nearly all of late medieval art and vast quantities of music which existed only in manuscript. There was a faction at the Council of Trent which wanted all church music banned. Thankfully the post-Vatican II minimalists would seem to have had their day, although their death-throes may be prolonged.

    1. There is no logical connection between honing presiding skills and becoming an entertainer.

      There is a huge difference in motivation.

      Please do not use “reduced to” in order to support a prejudice for other forms of prayer. Communal experience distinguishes liturgy from other forms of prayer, most of which you can get in private without going to church at all.

      Do not confuse your dislike of minimalism with what I am proposing which is to identify and support the essential nature of each kind of prayer in its time and place.

      Pre-revolutionary France is irrelevant to the medieval basis of the MR. Nice attempt at diversion, though.

      I fail to see any relevancy in Tridentine efforts to ban church music. A bad idea then has no bearing on identifying and supporting the essential nature of liturgical prayer.

      In other words, nothing you said is relevant to the points I have made. I hope you enjoyed repeating your meme.

    2. Perhaps you just do not think it takes performance skills to preside with “style and grace” or ” noble simplicity”?

      Perhaps you do not understand that elocution includes projection, enunciation, pronunciation, proper phrasing?

  20. @ tom poelker # 68

    Everything I have said is relevant to the points you have made. I’m sorry, but I’m used to the English debating style, which actually prefers arguments to the simplistic ‘you are wrong’ arguments used by opponents. “Perhaps you do not understand” is rather insulting to those who may happen to disagree with your point of view.

    The liturgy is not a ‘performance’. if you still think that, you have IMHO a lot to learn. Do you ever bother to read liturgical writings by the likes of Alcuin Reid, Laurence Hemming and Joseph Ratzinger?

    1. The liturgy is a performance.
      You seem to be confusing the broader term performance with the narrower term entertainment.

      It requires performance skills to preside well at liturgy.

      I have read Ratzinger. When he sticks to the teachings of SC, he is pretty good. When he gets onto his peeves about western culture and tries to make the liturgy carry that load, he is pretty bad. Liturgical theology is not his strength.

      I think you should avoid “IMHO” because you do not exhibit humility but condescension.

      The condescension to the colonials is much more insulting than my concession that you might lack understanding rather than simply be wrong.

      Your remarks in no way answer the points I raised at 8:58 am.

      So what is the point of your ad hominem attack? Just a diversion because you can only declare relevancy and not demonstrate it?

      1. So is liturgical music a performance of the assembly. Bernard Huijbers calls the assembly the performing audience.

  21. Chant to the rescue?
    Well there are many horrible song texts and opera libretti that are saved by the music. But the populus dei deserve better.

    1. Do we? If people passively let things go, priests fearfully follow their bishops, bishops blindly follow Rome, Rome’s decisions are determined by a small unwise clique, and the Pope trustingly closes his eyes to what is happening, then maybe we deserve what we’re getting. We’re just a pack of sheep letting indifference, fear and ambition rule the Church.

  22. Yes, Joe, they deserve better than ICEL 1973 which refused to translate ‘gratia ‘ as ‘grace’ in all of the collects in which it appeared.

    1. “Grace” does not translate “gratia” it merely anglicizes the Latin word.

      Translating into English would involve using words like “free” or “gift”.

      Latinisms which are only used as technical vocabulary, church jargon, do not make for very effective communications except among experts needing narrowly defined precision. They are not as useful when translating Scripture or prayer into the vernacular.

  23. Sanctifying grace has a specific theological meaning. ‘Gratia’ has other meanings in Latin, just as ‘grace’ does in English. Christian Latin sometimes borrowed from Greek to express theological concepts, just as English borrows from Latin. If Catholics don’t understand what is meant by grace in this context, then they haven’t been properly catechized.

    1. Or else the texts have not been translated into the vernacular.
      You are missing the point again.

      A good translation would not require additional catechesis but less.

      1. I am talking about the concept, not the translation. ‘Sanctifying grace’ is the vernacular. To translate it otherwise is to suggest that you reject the concept.

  24. Tom Poelker,

    It isn’t that I don’t understand what you’re saying; I just happen to disagree with it. You must be very confident in the rightness of your views to imply that those who dissent do so out of ignorance. As to your reference to ad hominem attacks, the words ‘pot’ ‘kettle’ and ‘black’ spring to mind.

    1. I am still waiting for you to provide logical arguments instead of assertions or accusations.

      I do not think you can find an actual ad hominem attack among my words instead of among your inferences.

      Find it and I will apologize, because I do try to avoid that.

      Meanwhile, to repeat, “Your remarks in no way answer the points I raised at 8:58 am.”

  25. Claire Mathieu :
    Tom, the things you say we need are all good, but they are not in opposition to beauty. Beauty is a leverage, if you will. How are the dramatic rituals that you mention more than the odd spectacle of the remnants of old and strange cultural traditions? How do we perceive their depth? How do they lift us to God? For many, many of us, the aesthetic experience is essential. Beauty is one thing that does not come from the natural world. </p
    The confusion arises from people thinking that liturgy is the place to get their aesthetic fix. That is not the function, role, or purpose of liturgy. I do not claim that liturgy is in opposition to beauty, just that beauty is not its objective.

    If liturgy is done well, “with style and grace,” with noble simplicity, with careful attention to the needed performance skills which make attentiveness easy, communication clearer, and participation highly encouraged, with great good luck, one will occasionally get a beautiful service, but the beauty is an additional gift.

    I am reminded of being able to see the elegance or beauty in some mathematical proofs. If a mathematician aims for beauty, one is making it more difficult to get the proof according to mathematical logic.

    But it is not opposed to everything that you say. On the contrary, the congregation, moved by beauty (of the surroundings, say), becomes more prayerful, and their devout prayer has its own beauty, so these things feed one another in a helpful feedback loop.

    Such a congregation is being moved into private meditative prayer by each individual, not into FCAP in communal, liturgical prayer. Creating a beautiful space for private prayer is something which might be done with a Eucharist Chapel. That is one reason why devotional chapels should be separate from the main worship space.

  26. Can something be done about the use of the quote function?

    In trying to quote and respond to Claire, because she is so close to the character limit in her comments, some problems show up.

    The quote process adds a lot of characters, but does not permit one to select where to cut the excess.

    It complicates this by not cutting the preprint [Only comments with a full name will be approved.]in the response box which otherwise goes away as soon as one makes an entry.

    As soon as one even attempts to select something to cut in order to get back down below the character limit, the system automatically cuts from the bottom up which loses the response to a quote formatting.

    Could the provider/programmer make it possible to select and delete material and maintain the response formatting?

    This is particularly a problem when the respond option is not available, and I cannot tell why that sometimes goes away.

    Thanks for looking into this.

    1. This is particularly a problem when the respond option is not available, and I cannot tell why that sometimes goes away.

      The reply option goes away once a conversation is three comment levels deep (comment, reply to comment, reply to reply to comment.) At that point, you can stay within the “thread” of comments only by scrolling up to comment at the “reply to comment” level and using the reply button there.

  27. Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Claire Mathieu :

    Beauty is one thing that does not come from the natural world.

    Did this come out wrong? It sounds like you are saying that beauty is NOT FOUND IN THE NATURAL WORLD.

  28. Claire Mathieu :

    If I understand you correctly, for you the ideal church building is, not beautiful, not ugly, but perfectly bland, so that we are never tempted to look at anything other than what is happening in the liturgy. The ideal music is not beautiful, not off-tune, but perfectly indifferent, so that we are never tempted to fall into a personal dream that angelic voices are an echo of heaven, instead of keeping our attention duly turned to the liturgy with absolute constancy.

    If I understand correctly, you want to rule out such moments, just because they’re not strictly speaking part of the communal prayer.

    You do not understand me correctly, and I cannot understand where you could get such an incorrect idea from what I actually have written. Perhaps you are accustomed to dealing with some other people who do not value the arts. OTOH, I am a theater person and a choral singer. I am part of the chorus on the RCA Red Label recording of Alexander Nevsky by the St. Louis Symphony. Quite aesthetic!

    I am opposed to bland. I favor beauty.

    Yet, I do not find bland surroundings to interfere with liturgy. I have often found that the efforts of people to create beauty draws attention to what they have done and away from communal prayer.

  29. Claire Mathieu :

    Tom, the things you say we need are all good, but they are not in opposition to beauty. Beauty is a leverage, if you will. How are the dramatic rituals that you mention more than the odd spectacle of the remnants of old and strange cultural traditions? How do we perceive their depth? How do they lift us to God?

    I do not think that I have in any way opposed beauty or said that liturgy is in opposition to beauty. See my earlier comment.

    I rejoice when beauty happens in liturgy and I think it can happen often if we focus on doing liturgy well instead of on creating art. High quality materials and good craftsmanship
    [is there a PC substitute for this word?]
    can create beauty without seeking to make an artistic statement.

    In liturgy we need to be engaged in the communal prayer experience, not an aesthetic experience. If we are drawn to the aesthetic during prayer, we can be distracted toward the art form.

    I think I have lost your train of thought in some ways while trying to fight the format battle with the commentary system. Do you intend these word to be a description of liturgy?
    “odd spectacle of the remnants of old and strange cultural traditions? “

  30. Claire Mathieu :

    But even in communal prayer, we have to be engaged, and the aesthetic experience draws us out. In addition, it is not just one more trick. I believe that beauty is of divine origin, and that God intended it as a way for us to transcend our limitations and have an intuition of the beyond. That’s why I say it is vitally important.

    In communal prayer, we DO have to be engaged, but that in which we have to be engaged is communal prayer itself, not an added-on aesthetic experience.

    Aesthetic experience are not the only way one can be engaged, even if one is strongly drawn to the beautiful. Liturgy has to avoid ugliness, and I have often tried to point out that ugliness of performance is detrimental to the liturgy. Unfortunately, that does not go far with those of the narrowly traditional and ex opere operato mindset who permit no criticism of the MR or the cultural gap between its aesthetic and the modern world.

    Of course beauty is of divine origin, but that does not, especially in this era of artistic self-expression, make every artistic expression supportive of prayer.

    The ability to perceive beauty is “vitally important”. The “intuition of the beyond” it provides, however, has its own time and place, especially in nature, and it need not be imported into liturgy. Liturgy well done by its own criteria is intended to create an “intuition of the beyond” quite different from but compatible with an aesthetic experience.

  31. I did not think that Claire was “going to argue for particularly fancy vestments or heavily decorated altars.” I agree with her that “they convey the wrong message”.

    I hope Claire can recover the final words of her message which the system cut off because its own word count is unreliable. It reads like she was about to say something very positive.

  32. Liturgy is repeatedly assaulted by enthusiasts of other areas. Yet, liturgy is not the place to insert one’s favorite devotion or meditative material or artistic expression. It is irrelevant that such past insertions have produced some great music, or sculpture, or architecture, or foretaste of heaven. These are not the purpose of liturgy.

    Priests and planners must learn and practice our liturgical principles above other standards, which includes avoiding self-centeredness and personal exhibitions by anyone in any liturgical ministry.

    Liturgy is not opposed to beauty or the aesthetically pleasing. The liturgical principle of noble simplicity includes avoiding ugliness. However, finding rubrical loopholes which permit [because they do not explicitly prohibit] the insertion of some artistic expression is a symptom of putting the desire to make an artistic statement ahead of the desire to follow specifically liturgical principles and is a failure to put one’s talents to the service of the liturgy.

    A concert pianist who was not primarily employed as a musician put it this way.

    When with my professional peers at a convention, I am often asked to play for a sing-along. It is not what I would play for my own pleasure or for a concert, but it is not demeaning, and we usually have a good time.

    When I play as a vocal concert accompanist, I play differently than when I play as a soloist. It is a matter of knowing an entire range of piano skills and applying the correct set of skills for the time and place.

    The speaker said that such judgments about what elements of one’s skills were applicable in the situation were what the liturgy asked of all artists. If one does not have sufficient humility to play appropriately for a sing-along, then one is not competent to serve the liturgy.

    The referenced conventions were the meetings of the NCCB, but I have forgotten the name of the bishop pianist.

    1. Ok. I agree with each specific example that you give, so I have the impression that in a concrete setting we would probably be in agreement, and this may be miscommunication due to poor choice of words on my part.

  33. Is anyone an English major? I’d love to see someone diagram a collect or two from the new Missal … just like we did back in grammar school! How would Sister James Anne feel to have us diagram these sentences?!

    1. Diagramming is popular again. I think you would find a number of run on sentences in the new translation.

  34. John Nolan :

    I am talking about the concept, not the translation. ‘Sanctifying grace’ is the vernacular. To translate it otherwise is to suggest that you reject the concept.

    Why have you introduced the irrelevant discussion of the “concept” of sanctifying grace? It seems a mere distraction from how to translate “gratia”. The customary translations of the past do not necessarily accord with today’s vernacular.

    ver·nac·u·lar (vÃr nakÆyà lÃr, và nakÆ-), adj.
    1. (of language) native or indigenous (opposed to literary or learned).
    2. expressed or written in the native language of a place, as literary works: a vernacular poem.
    3. using such a language: a vernacular speaker.
    4. of or pertaining to such a language.
    5. using plain, everyday, ordinary language.
    [Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 1999]

    “Sanctifying grace” is the English translation of a Latin technical term. It is far from “plain, everyday, ordinary language.” It is appropriate for a theology classroom. If used in a school catechism, it requires two page or more of explanation. However, the entire purpose of vernacular liturgical prayer is to use everyday language.

    What is your problem with actually translating rather than anglicizing Latin terms? Do you not understand the difference? Does not the Latin have more connotations than the technical term in English? Do you not want people to understand that “gratia” implies something freely given, not earned or confected?

    Besides. there is no doctrinal definition of which English words may be used in theological discussions or in prayer, Latin or vernacular.

    Please retract your false statement

    1. I retract nothing. Quod scripsi, scripsi. Please enlighten me as to the false statement I have allegedly made and clarify whether you interpret ‘false’ as meaning something plainly and demonstrably contrary to objective truth or merely something with which you happen to disagree.

      1. Since I quoted your false statement in the header, I thought it obvious which particular false statement did not qualify as an opinion to which you had a right whether it was accurate or not. In order to make it easier for you to follow, I have placed your false statement in apposition below.

        “Besides. there is no doctrinal definition of which English words may be used in theological discussions or in prayer, Latin or vernacular.

        Please retract your false statement, ‘Sanctifying grace’ is the vernacular. To translate it otherwise is to suggest that you reject the concept.’ ”

        How very royal is your Latin, quoting the bad guy.

        You will undoubtedly have a last word on this diversion because I will not be responding to you further until you return to liturgical topics instead of heresy hunting.

  35. The ‘you’ is impersonal. I suppose I could have said ‘one’ but it sounds a bit prissy. And note the the word ‘suggests’. However, since you are a liturgist and I am not, I shall attempt to track down some of your published works and read them with I hope an open mind. If you can point me in the direction of any relevant academic journals, I would be most grateful.

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