“Glaring howler” – what a way to start with the new missal

Back in January 2011, when somebody leaked the final Missal text at WikiSpooks, Pray Tell commented on the bungling of the Prayer after Communion for the First Sunday of Advent. The word order is so messed up that the prayer seems to say we learn to love the things of heaven from the passing things of this world – but the Latin prays that it be from the mysteries celebrated in the liturgy! The final text of the prayer runs like this:

May these mysteries, O Lord,
in which we have participated, profit us, we pray,
for even now, as we walk amid passing things,
you teach us by them to love the things of heaven
and hold fast to what endures.

In this week’s Tablet, Fr. Alan Griffiths comments on this very prayer. Canon Griffiths writes:

What can explain such a glaring howler?
Why was it not spotted early on, rather than
left to appear in a lavishly produced final text?
Are priests expected to read the prayer as
printed? It would be truer to the “substantial
unity of the Roman Rite” if they said:
Lord, may the celebration of these mysteries
profit us, we pray,
since through them you teach us, on our journey
through this passing world,
to love the things of heaven and hold fast to
what endures.
To concretise praetereuntia as “this passing
world” in the singular makes it clearer that
it is the plural “mysteries” that teach.
This prayer comes right at the beginning
of the liturgical cycle. What a way to start.

…What can explain such a glaring howler? Why was it not spotted early on, rather than left to appear in a lavishly produced final text?

Are priests expected to read the prayer as printed? It would be truer to the “substantial unity of the Roman Rite” if they said:

Lord, may the celebration of these mysteries
profit us, we pray,
since through them you teach us,
on our journey through this passing world,
to love the things of heaven
and hold fast to what endures.

To concretize praetereuntia as “this passing world” in the singular makes it clearer that it is the plural “mysteries” that teach.

This prayer comes right at the beginning of the liturgical cycle. What a way to start.

I would only add that it wasn’t “spotted early on” because the problem wasn’t there until the last minute. ICEL and the bishops of the English-speaking world got it right in the text approved by national conferences in 2008 and 2009. Then somebody on Vox Clara or in the Congregation for Divine Worship messed it up.

awr

Share:

186 comments

    1. Can’t believe I’m agreeing with you Bill, but that’s even more perfecter! But all kidding aside, I can see how true liturgists and perfect linguists must really be uncomfortable with their lives since I know of no one who has a perfect life or vocabulary or for that matter an authority over them. I always like what Jesus had to say about His apostles when they kept falling asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane, “It will have to do!” And you would have thought Jesus would not have bungled his selection of apostles especially when He had the chance to prove to the world God’s perfection in word and deed. What a missed opportunity! 😉

  1. I like the bungled translation. Very incarnational. Allowing the holy mysteries to immerse us in the life of the world, where we find and love the things of heaven. Damn the Latin 🙂

  2. … remember to add “y’all” after “Through Christ our Lord” y’all …

    This whole experience – which hopefully counts as a “passing thing” – has definitely taught me to love (and look forward to) the things of heaven. But I’m sure that wasn’t the intended point of the VC translators.

  3. It’s all very funny, except that now this “glaring howler”, having received the “confirmatio” of a Congregation entrusted by the Holy Father with protecting the Church’s liturgy from such error, is now enshrined in a very expensive book whose use is mandatory throughout the English-speaking Church.

    And it need not have happened.

    There could have been a new translation – both accurate and literary – in a beautifully produced Missal, had those the Holy Father trusted heeded the exceedingly polite and detailed critique, “Areas of Difficulty,” and the many sincere and urgent communications that followed upon the leaking of the Pell-Moroney-Ward-Johnson Vox Clara Missal.

    Enjoy your laughs, if you like, but don’t you always find it sad when the match ends:

    Clerical Careerism 1
    Liturgical Worship by the People of God 0

    I do.

    1. Does anyone really believe that a perfect Missal and translation is possible? I am sure there was fault found with the 98 shelved version as well. And it would be pulled apart in different areas just as this version is being torn to shreds. But maybe not by this blog, but surely another one would. I am sure the Vatican is already working on revising it. But sooner or later something had to be out into print. The previous translation was defective in many ways. This new translation will evolve into the “beautifully produced Missal” at some point in the future. This is not an end all, forever translation to exist for the next 1000 years. Could it have been better, yes, but let’s get real. There will be revisions in the future for the better. To claim the Pope sat by and has failed us all because every word is not perfect is scandalous. It is offensive. Would you hurl the same critique to Pope Paul VI and his Pontificate for allowing an even more deplorable translation to come into effect in the first place?

      1. Except that for the past 40 years, the majority of Catholics were not going to church each week saying “Boy, this is one deplorable version of a missal translation. When are they going to change it?”

        Many quite like it, and for some, it’s the only one we’ve ever known or want.

      2. Sean, then please ask your priest not to use the 1998 translation instead of the current one, or make his own deviations from the current one.

        And while you and others might like the current translation (even for the Collects and other proper prayers), there are some here who think the propers of the current translation are “sawdust”.

      3. Fine. If you think it’s sawdust, then use the new translation. Most progressive Catholics would have no problem if you use the new translation because you prefer to use it, as long as we can use the translation that we prefer to use. It’s not as if progressive Catholics are requesting to use a missal that has never been used before. It’s the mass that we’ve used for 40 years. Let US continue to use it, just as those who use the Latin mass can us that use it.

        What is causing all this uproar is being told by the hierarchy that they don’t like the current translation, that they’re not going to use and and because of that – we can’t use it either. Don’t TELL us what we can and cannot do. Ask us. We’re not to be dictated to on such a drastic change.

      1. Father, declaring this on a public forum should get you sacked. That is how I would feel if you were my parish Priest.

      2. Father, I would make it a point in going to your masses. That’s how I would feel if you were my parish priest.

      1. Hmm, my earlier comment didn’t post, it seems.

        Priests ad-libbing the liturgy is an unfortunate example of clericalism; unfortunately, many Priests do not know the pain they inflict on the People by their excursions.

      2. I agree, Simon. It’s the epitome of clericalism for a priest to treat the liturgy as his own personal possession and expect the laity to acquiesce to him as though it were perfectly all right for him to do this. But the liturgy belongs to the whole church.

        Edited. My apologies, Fr. Ruff.

      3. Jan, be nice and respect others if you wish to continue on this blog.

        Don’t get me wrong: I’m a by-the-book conservative when it comes to liturgy, my tastes and my presidential style are very much on the traditional side. Not long ago I presided at an all-Latin Mass at a chant congress in Belgium, as I expect to do so again this coming May.

        BUT: I try to respect priests who have a different sense of things, and perhaps have a deep connection with the parishioners they serve. For you to label all these priests’ efforts “selfishness” is just not fair. You can’t see into their hearts and you don’t know their motives. It could be selfishness. But it could also be a really well-intentioned effort to reach people and make the liturgy meaningful. And as much as you and I don’t like that style, maybe other Catholics – perhaps the majority in the congregation – do like and appreciate it. I know of large, vibrant, active parishes that have grown in size where priests have a style I don’t care for, but many or most people DO.

        awr

      4. I think that it is those of us who want are most longing to follow the leadership of respected authorities in the Catholic church who are most in pain over the errors of our church leaders.

        When Pope Benedict makes a mistake, we cannot neither pretend that he’s right and thus make our misgivings easily disappear, nor dismiss his decision without a second thought. We have to face the painful contradiction. We want to follow his lead, but we see that he is leading us astray.

        Those who say breezily: “If you don’t like it, why don’t you go join the Episcopalians” refuse to acknowledge that those who rant and “whine”, as they say, are not rebels; on the contrary, the purported rebels, far from having made their peace with ignoring papal and episcopal authority, are trying hard to reconcile it with misguided decisions.

        When Jordan Zarembo explains how he is caught between enemy fires, when Fr Ruff explains that he is a by-the-book guy at the same time as he finds himself turning into an activist, I think I understand exactly their precarious situation. There is such a stark division between arch conservatives and arch progressives that everyone else is asked to choose their side and is viewed as a traitor if they are not fully on board with one or the other camp.

        Those supporters of the new missal who refuse to concede that there can be some mistakes, and that the prayer of the first Sunday of Advent contains one of those mistakes, are blinded by their black-and-white opinions. How much easier it should be to admit that, regrettably, there are some minor imperfections! How much more credible! It could open the door to dialogue. Similarly, the opponents of the new missal have to recognize that in spite of its many faults, it has some qualities. Those who refuse to consider that and turn their back to it, as though they had an allergic reaction, are also rejecting dialogue.

        How will this end?

    1. I think we should bring back the ecclesiastical drone: just mumble incomprehensibly while emitting a nasal sound. It goes down much better than any labored sequence of articulated English phraseology.

  4. It’s not the clearest prayer in the world, and yes, you could describe it as a “glaring howler” (though I personally wouldn’t go quite so far as that).

    But, even though it’s not perfect, it’s a lot, lot better than the horrifyingly reductionist paraphrase we had before:

    Father,
    may our communion
    teach us to love heaven.
    May its promise and hope guide our way on earth.

    In any case, the confusion is nothing a little study, explanation and catechesis couldn’t fix. Indeed, since we here all know that “them” refers to the mysteries and not the passing things, we could help other people who might not know to understand, and thus encourage their active participation in these frequentata mysteria we refer to in the post-communion itself.

    Or, we could just all sit around and whinge about it, make uncharitable comments about Vox Clara to make ourselves feel better/superior, and not help anyone to come closer to Our Lord. 😉

    1. Fixating on the deficiencies of the 1973 translation is disingenuous, especially after ICEL already tried to fix them with the 1998 revision:

      Lord our God,
      grant that in our journey through this passing world
      we may learn from these mysteries
      to cherish even now the things of heaven
      and to cling to the treasures that never pass away.

      And catechesis doesn’t fix awful grammar or syntax.

      1. I never said it would fix the grammar/syntax; rather, it would fix the possible confusion arising from said grammar/syntax.

        We have what we have, and whether one likes it (as I generally do) or not, we will all of us very shortly be obliged to use it when Mass is in English. So I’m not sure what precisely the point is in trying to tear it down, like (e.g.) The Tablet and National Catholic Reporter are wont to do.

    2. Nothing a little humility and attentiveness on the part of the Congregation couldn’t have spared everyone.

      Why is it “uncharitable” to point out the failure of VC and CDW to fulfill the mandate of the Holy Father? Truth and charity are not mutually exclusive, and speaking difficult truth is sometimes the highest form of charity. Do I need to mention again the two devout and scholarly priests whose work for the Church’s liturgy was terminated instantly because they had the audacity to speak the truth?

    3. If you think that catechesis could possibly fix this garble, are you imagining that the presider stops after praying this prayer and explains it to the assembly? (“Oh, by the way, that meant that the MYSTERIES teach us about heaven, not the passing things …”)

      I have often shared your sense that the current Prayers after Communion limp at just the moment we would want them to soar. But I hardly see how it helps to replace them with prayers that are nonsensical, incomprehensible. As other commentators have noted below, to participate actively, to pray along and give a firm “Amen”, the listening assembly must be able to take in the prayer by ear alone. And the new translation fails that basic test again and again and again.

      And I find it frustrating to the limit of my Christian charity to hear some priests reply dismissively to this sort of worry, “Oh, the people aren’t listening anyway, so it doesn’t matter …” Of course it matters! How can their hearts be lifted and transformed by these mysteries if they cannot understand what they are being asked to affirm with their Amen?

      1. “[A]re you imagining that the presider stops after praying this prayer and explains it to the assembly?”

        Of course not: after all, it’s permissible for the homily to be used for liturgical catechesis! Why not do that?

        “As other commentators have noted below, to participate actively, to pray along and give a firm “Amen”, the listening assembly must be able to take in the prayer by ear alone.”

        I don’t think that’s really true. I don’t think it was true before the Council, and I don’t think it is any truer now. For example, one can pray along and actively participate in the EF, even though one can’t hear everything that’s going on, or necessarily fluently understand what is spoken.

        I also think your criteria is unrealistic. To expect someone to be able to take in any piece of text by ear alone, especially on the first run through, is a bit of an ask, even with the 1973 translation. Can you tell me what this Sunday’s Collect (week 31 in Ordinary Time) said without looking it up? If you can’t, did you really “take it in” in any meaningful way? Does that affect the “Amen” you no doubt said at the time if you now can’t remember what you said “Amen” to without looking it up? Of course it doesn’t – but for most people such questions show the limitations of the spoken word.

        “How can their hearts be lifted and transformed by these mysteries if they cannot understand what they are being asked to affirm with their Amen?”

        Understanding and comprehension of something does not always come just by hearing it spoken. Occasionally it does, and that’s great, but often we need written words to help us, and sometimes a more detailed explanation or study of it. What’s wrong with that?

        And understanding is a two-way street. Why should we expect to understand something straight away by hearing it spoken without any work or effort or sacrifice on our part, either before or afterwards?

      2. one can pray along and actively participate in the EF, even though one can’t hear everything that’s going on, or necessarily fluently understand what is spoken.

        Matthew, I’m pretty sure the standard line here is that no, you cannot “actively participate” in the EF in that way (if at all).

    4. It’s interesting, Mr Hazell that you seem to depict as whinging and uncharitable any line of thought which doesn’t agree with your views. Then you proceed to dress it up in pious clichés. Just a little self-serving, I’d say.

      1. (This reply, and then I’m done.)

        I keep up with articles on PrayTell, though I don’t often comment here myself (except tonight, it seems). From this outsider’s perspective there is a portion of comment on this website that basically consists of whinging and being snarky about things that, at this stage in the implementation of the new translation, no-one can change. It’s an echo-chamber sort of effect that isn’t limited to PrayTell (the comments on WDTPRS, for example, sometimes exhibit the same phenomenon, albeit usually on different subjects).

        And if you think that my “meanderings” are “vacuous”, “inane”, “reactionary” and “unctuous”, I’m sorry. It would be profitable if you could point out how and why they are, and where in particular you find them to be so, as well as (more importantly) perhaps dealing with the substance of what I write.

  5. we help people come closer to Our Lord by speaking intelligibly and clearly, not by mindless conformity with stupid authority.

  6. The language is, as is typical, hopelessly convoluted. I doubt most people will notice, and will let it slide by as incomprehensible noise while they try to remember the right response to the upcoming “The Lord be with you”.

  7. Just calm down, everybody. I hear rumors on substantial (but not consubstantial) validity that the next translation will be edited by Yoda. Translation good that will be!

    1. At least Yoda speaks in fairly short sentences, devoid of excessive interjections. Syntax backwards comprehnsible thus is.

  8. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but texts like this one bespeak a mindset in which worship is effected strictly by the reverent reading of “sacred” texts. It’s all “for God”, you know. Leading the people in an engaging manner which springs from full, conscious, active participation is thought of by the LA devotees as “Protestant”. Can’t you just envision the apostles at the last supper or the disciples at Emmaus following the action with the equivalent of hand Missals? Or Jesus on the hillside reading the sermon on the mount from an authentically prepared sacred text. I’m 70 years old and on the crest of the wave that is crashing toward the shore. I will continue to pray words that make sense and which facilitate a true sense of God’s saving presence. A prayer like this:

    Come, Holy Spirit!
    Fill the lives of your faithful
    that we may ever seek to love the Lord, our God,
    with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
    We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.

  9. “Areas of Difficulty” spoke the truth in charity – and in a great amount of scholarly detail – approximately six months before the final draft was sent to the publishers.

    Pray Tell documented, as none of the supposedly “loyal” blogs/websites did, the failure of Vox Clara and the Congregation to fulfill the mandate given them by the Holy Father.

    In the seminary, the label “bitter” or “cynical” was often applied to anyone who spoke truths that were difficult to hear.

  10. It amazes me that we are less than a month away from using the new versions and the parishes of no one I know have had any meetings designed for the general laity to introduce them to these changes. The liturgical staff is hopefully having some meetings but not the ordinary people. We do get an occasional paragraph or two in the bulletin from some scholar saying what a vast improvement the new versions are. I get the impression that the parish priests view the new versions as “hot potatoes” which are best handled by pretending that there really is no substantial change occurring. One priest at a mass I recently attended said that the new versions were merely a case of “tweaking ” the old versions. When I ask Catholics I know about the new changes, I usually get some version of the following two responses: (1) who cares? or (2) it can’t be a major change or we would have heard more from the pastor by now. Catechesis indeed.

    1. Many parishes are keeping the rollout very low key. The only thing that mine has done has been to place the laminated “cheat sheets” in the pews behind the existing missals, and they’ve starting saying the Friday morning mass with the new translation (but that’s primarily to give our aging pastor some opportunities to practice). But it has never been announced, or mentioned that come the first Sunday of Advent, the mass changes significantly.

      I think it’s on purpose. If people don’t know about it, they won’t have time to think before it’s too late – or so the church hierarchy hopes.

      1. If by the Church hierarchy you mean the US Bishops, they have had info out there, and have been encouraging study and catechesis, for over a year. If individual pastors have chosen to play it low key until the last moment, shame on them.

    1. Well, for England and Wales, the following will apply:

      “The third edition of the Roman Missal is to be used in the dioceses of England and Wales from the First Sunday of Advent, 27 November 2011. From that date forward, no other English language edition of the Roman Missal may be used in the dioceses of England and Wales.” (CBCEW, Decree of Publication)

      The same is found in the decrees of publication for Australia and Scotland. I don’t see why it would be different anywhere else in the world, so our options for a vernacular Mass are either a) use the new translation or b) say nothing. Anything else, like it or not, is disobedience (mistakes obviously excepted!).

      1. The least we can expect is the same treatment given to the Tridentine Mass which was banned after the Second Vatican Council and which is now celebrated regularly by diehards. It makes perfect sense to continue to use the current missal for those who wish to.

        A fixation with disobedience must be a particularly English phenomenon. We’re talking about religious faith, a relationship with God, not a military programme to conquer the world.

        The new translation is so defective and deficient both at the level of process and product that it has forfeited the right to command obedience. The only type of authority worthy of that name acceptable to people in the 21st Century is authority which has been earned. For decades, arguably since the end of WWI people have begun to distrust authority which is demanded on an automatic basis because of rank, class or might. The crimes of the Nazi régime reinforced this suspicion. Deference and respect are no longer automatic. Respect has to be earned. The perpetrators of this new ‘translation’ have ensured that they and it have lost the moral authority to demand that it alone will be used.
        Murder will out.

      2. Mary, the major difference is that the church hierarchy likes the Tridentine Mass. That’s why it’s allowed.

        They don’t like the current version.

        Whether millions do like it doesn’t seem to matter.

    2. True. And I certainly don’t approve clerics making choices unilaterally in this regard – doing Vatican III in a Vatican I way (albeit with parochial Pio Nonos) is a bad way.

      That said, members of the faithful might inquire amongst themselves if the current edition of the Missal translation has yet been abrogated. The Motu Proprio created that legal finesse to accommodate the 1962 edition of the Missal and that finesse will end up raising more questions than it answered….

  11. I’ve told several publishers that they should give out bottles of white-out with each missal, but they haven’t taken me up on it! 😉

  12. Mary Burke :
    The least we can expect is the same treatment given to the Tridentine Mass which was banned after the Second Vatican Council and which is now celebrated regularly by diehards. It makes perfect sense to continue to use the current missal for those who wish to.
    A fixation with disobedience must be a particularly English phenomenon. We’re talking about religious faith, a relationship with God, not a military programme to conquer the world.
    The new translation is so defective and deficient both at the level of process and product that it has forfeited the right to command obedience. The only type of authority worthy of that name acceptable to people in the 21st Century is authority which has been earned. For decades, arguably since the end of WWI people have begun to distrust authority which is demanded on an automatic basis because of rank, class or might. The crimes of the Nazi régime reinforced this suspicion. Deference and respect are no longer automatic. Respect has to be earned. The perpetrators of this new ‘translation’ have ensured that they and it have lost the moral authority to demand that it alone will be used.Murder will out.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    As an attendee of both forms of Mass with a preference for the “Tridentine Mass” (which as an advocate who expresses outrage at the new translations for their defective terms should also know that this is now , correctly known as the Extraordinary Form Mass) I would ask you to put down your bat.

  13. In our parish bulletin from last Sunday: When we hear Jesus’ words “for the many,” hopefully we will be reminded that we are the ones who have accepted God’s salvation in Christ. Nonetheless, this change was strongly argued against in the revision phase of the English translation of the New Missal. It was the decision of the Pope who stepped in to say that he wanted to retain the words of Jesus at the Institution of the Last Supper as related to us in Scripture.

    Did Pope Benedict really intervene personally? Or is “the Pope” a way of saying “the Roman Curia”?

      1. It will be so easy to correct that by adding the definite article. Just as it will be easy to correct “chalice” and a few other things. Fr. Jim

    1. the Pope… the wanted to retain the words of Jesus at the Institution of the Last Supper as related to us in Scripture

      so “many” is good enough because it’s scriptural but “cup” isn’t!!? No translation of the NT I know of uses “chalice”.

      Hmmm…

  14. The prayer in question is all ONE sentence. That’s the first thing that needs to be understood to make sense of it. The sentence is composed of two independent clauses, which see below, stripped down to essentials:

    a) We pray mysteries may profit us
    FOR…
    b) you teach us by them

    The first independent clause has “mysteries” as the noun in a noun clause acting as the object. The second has “mysteries” as the antecedent of the pronoun “them,” in an adverbial phrase on “teach,” the predicate of that clause. Note that both instances are in the same sentence, they are both in independent clauses, and they are joined by “for,” acting as a coordinating conjunction. Stripped down, it makes perfect sense, if you read it.

    But there are also various other dependent phrases, acting as further modifiers, and that’s what’s confusing some people who aren’t used to them.

    The phrase “as we walk amid passing things” is a subordinate adverbial phrase on the predicate “learn.” “By them” is a completely separate adverbial phrase, albeit modifying the same predicate in a parallel fashion, which people who understand how to diagram a sentence would grasp right away. They are separate parallel phrases modifying the same predicate, one specifying “when” and one specifying “how.” Don’t confuse them!

    Look. You can’t think what you can’t hear. If people learn to hear a literate adult version of the language called English, they will come to understand a literate adult version of the language called English. Then, they might even start to slow down and think (!) about what they’re saying. That could only be a good thing.

    Besides, if it takes a while to unpack it, it’ll be a spiritual treasure to be mined for liturgical prayer. This is one of the traditional ways in which people have participated in the Mass for centuries. People will catch onto this again quickly with this new translation, and they will grow. Isn’t that what you want?

    1. Well said. One may prefer Griffiths’ translation, but let’s make sure a ‘howler’ is really a ‘howler’ before we jump all over it.

    2. I said this at Fr. Z’s blog, and I’ll say it here too.

      The problem is not that it might take a few readings to fully plumb the spiritual depths of this prayer, it’s that the first few readings might result in a wrong turn.

      I admit that the prayer begins by asking that the mysteries profit us, so it makes sense that we are taught by them rather than by the later “passing things”. But you could also interpret it to mean that the mysteries enable us to learn properly from passing things (rather than be distracted by them).

  15. Maybe the presider can underline the important words, say those slowly (boldface below), and slur the confusing words quickly (stricken out below) so that people don’t get confused. If people can only hear what’s in bold, or at least if the presider is careful to make the part stricken out inaudible, everything will be fine.

    May these mysteries, O Lord,
    in which we have participated, profit us, we pray,
    for even now, as we walk amid passing things,
    you teach us by them to love the things of heaven
    and hold fast to what endures.

    1. I think another matter is making sure people understand the terminology of “mysteries” for the Eucharist. Hopefully that will be made clear by the more frequent use of the word, e.g. in EP III where “at whose command we celebrate this Eucharist” has become “at whose command we celebrate these mysteries.”

      Otherwise, people will be left wondering “what are these mysterious mysteries?”

      1. Good point, Jeffery. I’ve had the same concern. But “mysteries” is a great word, so here’s hoping it does take hold among the faithful.
        awr

      2. Thanks, Fr. Ruff. I think my primary concern is the disconnect between “sacrament” and “mysteries”. “Mysteries” is in the plural, but we don’t call the Eucharist under its two different species of bread and wine two sacraments.

        It’s explainable; it just needs to be explained!

      3. Good point, Jeffrey. But remember, it has to also be comprehensible by people (I’m not automatically saying that it isn’t). I’m a college professor, and I will tell you that we explain many things over and over again, but some students – and I mean the ones that want to understand – just don’t get it.

  16. Matthew Hazell,

    Not only will the use of the 1973 or 1998 versions be disobedient, they will be illicit and probably invalid as well, particularly if the 1998 version is used. Even the SSPX uses versions of the Mass that were once licit and valid. The 1998 version has NEVER been approved, EVER. IF certain parties try that, then they might as well not bother, for all the good that version will do them.

    1. Unless you count the approval of every single English-speaking bishops’ conference. You could also note that the CDW exceeded its authority in denying recognitio to the ’98 translation, as the work of translation was explicitly devolved to the Conferences by Vatican II.

    2. To claim that to use the 1998 translation would invalidate the Mass is to cede power to the curia Romana, which has no gospel mandate. It’s a rather pathetic and desperate crie de coeur.

      You’re free to do that, of course. Don’t expect that your desperation will persuade many not already persuaded though.

      1. Mary,
        I’m sure no one in the Roman curia would claim that use of 1998 invalidates the sacrament. That’s not Catholic sacramental theology.
        awr

  17. Claire, most people aren’t that stupid, and it’s offensive to proclaim they are. You sell the rest of the Church short. Besides, who gave liturgists the authority to dictate every last word, action and attitude to the rest of the Church? I missed that part of Scripture and Tradition. Silly me.

    The new translation is the translation we have. This is the translation that’s going into effect November 26/27. Do it badly or do it well. Its success depends on liturgists rather less than some of them imagine. We are going ahead.

    1. What do you mean? Count me among the stupid ones who cannot understand a prayer upon hearing it just once, unless its structure is very simple. The way I suggest is, I thought, a way to do it well so that people like me have a better chance to hear more than a mere set of words without coherence.

      Try reading that prayer aloud to a group of people, then ask them what it meant, and you will see for yourself. It’s not about stupidity but about processing obscure information when you only get one chance to understand it and it must happen on the fly. It’s not about being offensive (although my tone is provocative, I admit) but about being realistic.

      Isn’t this a good thing to be discussing at this stage? Since the new translation is coming in three weeks, the words are fixed, but the intonation can still help focus the hearer’s attention on some parts and away from other parts. Isn’t that our last hope for salvaging some understandability?

      1. Claire, you’re not the only one: the official commentary on the First Sunday of Advent, Prayer after Communion at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops presumes that “them” refers to passing things, and weaves a whole spirituality on the theme of not considering passing things negatively but seeing them as channels of the eternal! Quite an incarnational approach, but not what the Latin says. For those with an ecclesiastical sense of humor, it is quite amusing to see a mistranslation of the Latin being commented on in a scholarly way on a website authorized as the official informational site of an entire episcopal conference.

        Meanwhile, directed by a former student to a very conservative blog, one that has been unabashedly pro Vox Clara and anti “Lame Duck” (or now “Obsolete”) ICEL (the descriptions growing snarkier as D Day approaches), I find this amazing comment in their discussion on this mistranslated prayer:
        “So I have no ecclesiological objection to the Holy See requiring certain changes to translations produced by the bishops through their instrument, ICEL. However, as a practical matter, I would have thought that CDWDS/Vox Clara would have discussed with those responsible for the texts at ICEL any changes they are thinking of requiring with the goal of making a better text and benefitting from the feedback of experts who have worked on the text. Perhaps if there had been more such dialogue, the problem with this ambiguous “them” might have been caught in advance. After all, I would think all parties would want the text to be the best possible within the guidelines of Liturgiam Authenticam. I do hope that someone at CDWDS will keep track of any minor issues like this with the new translation, and perhaps after a few years, produce some emendations, as indeed the third typical edition of the Latin Missale Romanum was emended to correct some minor problems with the Latin text.”

      2. Amazing. That almost makes me want to learn Latin again (if only it could be instantaneous and effortless). I don’t want to be at the end of the line in this version of the telephone game.

  18. Dr. Dale, in answer to your comment:

    This page is full of continuous repetitions along the lines of WAAH, I DOWANNA, whine, whine, whine. That’s garrulous.

    What I wrote was a short explanation of the grammar of the prayer, because it appeared that it was needed.

      1. Yes because the post below is a perfect example of respect. “resides in a different universe”. This blog sorely lacks in repsect in its postings most every time I read something on it. Not just respect for people, but respect for their differing points of view. If someone feels the POV is attackable, then the individual gets targeted as well. A common theme is being taught here.

      2. Mitch, we are a fallen people in need of divine grace.

        You are right to call me on my lack of respect, mea maxima culpa. I simply couldn’t resist. The target was too juicy.

  19. Jan Baldwin apparently resides in a different universe. I am reminded of the scribes and Pharisees who never did get what Jesus was about. They wanted to tie him to their understanding of the strictures of the law. And so Jan reminds all the clergy of what will constitute licit or valid celebrations come Advent. She apparently envisions a church that is already diminished by the acute shortage of priests further reduced by the specter of disobedient priests being suspended or cast into the darkness. God save us.

  20. Jan = I think you are rationalising the grammar, because it is really incorrect. When you write sentence like that, or like this

    Almighty ever-living God,
    who are wonderful in the ordering of all your works,
    may those you have redeemed understand
    that there exists nothing more marvelous
    than the world’s creation in the beginning
    except that, at the end of the ages,
    Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.
    (prayer after the first reading, Easter Vigil)

    or like this

    Be pleased to look upon these offerings
    with a serene and kindly countenance,
    and to accept them,
    as you were pleased to accept the gifts
    of your servant Abel the just,
    the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith,
    and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek,
    a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.
    (Roman Canon)

    you fail, not only grammatically, but semanitically and pastorally too.

    As soon as you have to explain the grammar to English-speakers you’ve just proven how deficient and ineffectual the texts are.

  21. Well, the odd thing is that I’ve only had to explain it in here because this is where I’ve seen most of the real whining, including threats to use the 1998 pseudo-version and such. I’m not sure why that’s true.

    People in the local parishes I’ve visited in my diocese seem to be accepting the new musical settings fine, and I’m not hearing a lot of whining. There is only some curiosity and some anticipation. Even our more progressive parishes seem to be coming along rather nicely around here.

    Nevertheless, soon the whole matter will be a fait accompli. November 26th is only three weeks from today. The countdown is in progress.

    1. You seem to think that we are so deluded that we don’t realise that this is going to happen. In fact, here in England, it has already happened. There is real dissent among the ranks; there is real dissent among the clergy and, until his recent death, there was real dissent in our bishop. The dissent is important because we are the church, just as you are, just as the hierarchy is.

      Those of us who love the church yet have strong reservations about the new translation feel compelled to do something about it. St Paul had to go to Jerusalem to bang heads together and the Holy See relented and approved his mission to the gentiles. We see the death of a Mass we could understand in our native tongue, and we are angry that the replacement sounds so awful and is so hard to understand.

      I have read your treatise on how easy it is to parse the sentence that is the subject of this thread, but what you have produced is a backwards analysis. You are starting from a knowledge of what it is supposed to say and resolving the ambiguities with this foreknowledge in mind. The point made by Canon Alan Griffiths, in his letter to the Tablet, is that it took him many, many readings and a visit to the Latin to work out what it meant. I hope you are not suggesting that this esteemed officer of the church is one of the stupid ones you deride so. The meaning of the text was clear to him, as it was clear to me: the only problem is that it was the exact opposite of the meaning of the Latin.

      When a translation is as badly flawed as this, we are not going to sit down and shut up. We know it’s coming, but that doesn’t mean that, once it arrives, we’re going to suddenly stop talking about it. Your attitude of triumphalism is, frankly, disturbing.

      1. It’s interesting to see how the reception varies from place to place. I know of parishes where the new texts where the new texts were well-received in England and where I live. I note that there was dissent from the ex-Bishop; it’d be interesting to study this once all the dust has settled.

      2. I agree, Simon. I’ve watched the Church in fascination for decades, but watching this happen is amazing.

    2. The transition to the new missal translation will be a fait accompli in three weeks, but it will unfortunately be the starting point for many other issues, including people who will leave the church or, more hopefully, people who will actively dissent instead of passively accept.

      People who think that this is “no big deal” because the church was able to change over from Latin to the vernacular, so there should not be a problem in changing some words in the same language, are kidding themselves. It’s not going to go away.

      The pat response that the church is not a democracy ain’t gonna cut it anymore.

    3. Interesting that you see the proposal to use the 1998 translation as a threat. What on earth threatens you about this?

      Are you aware that in the first few centuries the women and men who hosted and presided at the eucharist adlibbed the anaphora? The Eastern tradition has a very large number of these eucharistic prayers.

      1. That women have presided at the Eucharist is a figment of your imagination.

        Mary, it’s not the texts that threatens the unity of the Church; it’s dissent and disobedience. If Rome had granted recognitio to the 1998 texts, I would have used them even though I didn’t like any of the changes to the rites of Mass proposed there.

      2. “It’s not the texts that threatens the unity of the Church; it’s dissent and disobedience.”

        Some of us aren’t automatons, we actually have to believe that what we’re doing makes sense, and that a change is for the better.

        If the church says “Jump!”, we don’t automatically say “how high?”, we actually say “Hmm. Why do they want us to jump? Should we jump? Will jumping help? ”

        We’re doing that, and and only responses we’re getting are either

        “Jump because we tell you so.”, or
        “Jump because the way we told you to jump 40 years ago is wrong, we want you to jump this way.”; or
        “Jump this way because we want you to jump like us.”

    4. Also, the utilization of the 1998 translation – which is a coherent product that was enthusiastically approved by the English-speaking bishops – will be a far cry better than ripping through the Vox Clara attempt and trying to fix it on the fly.

      It’s been my contention for months that it is better to use the 1998 as it is (at least for the Eucharistic Prayers) than it would be to limp along with the 2010 wording and try to improve upon it extemporaneously.

    5. I just finished making up mass cards for the 1998 EP’s. Does anyone know where or how I can post them anonymously in the event that anyone would like to download them?

  22. In the days before the internet, public discussion of all kinds was largely restricted to the letters pages of newspapers. Does anyone remember how long the letters pages of Catholic newspapers were filled with complaints about stylistic and grammatical errors after the introduction of the 1973 translation, or was it accepted more or less immediately? I seem to recall that the Latin Massers rumbled on for a while – still do in their rather isolated way – but when did general dissent over the English stop?

  23. Actually, stopping to thing about it…

    Demanding that everyone blindly submit to authority, insistence that incomprehensibly convoluted grammar is simple, fait accompli triumphalism, elevation of the Law above compassion and conscience…

    Jan, you’re not a member of Vox Clara, are you?

  24. Sean Parker :
    Except that for the past 40 years, the majority of Catholics were not going to church each week saying “Boy, this is one deplorable version of a missal translation. When are they going to change it?”
    Many quite like it, and for some, it’s the only one we’ve ever known or want.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    That does not mean no one realized it as deplorable or banal, just because they sat there for 40 years. Well many left actually. They will change it when things get rolling and they can study issues and comments when they come up..I believe they will do things carefully and slowly now. Reactions will get to Rome. And not all are with fury.

    1. It was clearly not held deplorable by the majority, and that’s what should count.

      The majority didn’t feel that using artificial birth control that prevents conception was wrong, and whether the church wants to admit it or not, the majority use artificial birth control that prevents conception.

    2. I’m basically a person in the pew just putting my own two cents in here; any adult education I’ve received has been confined to my training as a catechist for children and to my own limited reading. I am not a liturgist by any means. I find that I generally let the prayers wash by as so much filler and pay attention to the readings. (I am referring to the prayers that change, not to the fixed prayers such as the Gloria or Consecration.) Can you give me an example of what you mean by banal and/or deplorable? I see these descriptions used frequently, but so not know what is being referenced.

  25. For Entertainment Purposes only; if you don’t possess a funny bone, read n’ further, please.

    Anyone ever notice that in many of the “MR3 is gibberish” articles that folks on both sides of the Maginot bandy about like badminton birdies some of their own ineffables? Anyone besides me find that ironic, and moreso, very amusing?

    Howlers (a poor soul consigned to the gibbet perhaps), incarnational (a new auto rental agency), lacuna (uh, can’t get a handle on this, my brain is empty on this one, a new Dance Craze ala the Lambada?), meme (John Lennon’s aunt maybe? Or extreme egoism, go figure), unctuous (an extreme antiseptic), garrulous (not a clue), crie de Coeur (I think I tasted that sparkling Pinot Noir at a winery in Lodi once. Once.), emendations (are those codicils attached to divorce decrees?), strictures (images of corporal punishment nuns used to troop out on the first day of parochial school each fall?), pat response (a lesser admonition than a stricture), et cetera ad nauseum/infinitum!

    As soon as you have to explain the grammar to English-speakers you’ve just proven how deficient and ineffectual the texts are.

    sez Graham.

    Perhaps we all have, like Lucy Ricardo, a great deal of “splainin’” to do. YMMV.

  26. Xavier Rindfleisch :

    Here is the English translation of the letter announcing this: a number of years ago now.
    http://old.usccb.org/romanmissal/translating_arinze_letter.shtml

    The instruction of the Pope is clear. But so is Article 2 of this letter:

    “There is no doubt whatsoever regarding the validity of Masses celebrated with the use of a duly approved formula containing a formula equivalent to “for all” as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has already declared. Indeed, the formula “for all” would undoubtedly correspond to a correct interpretation of the Lord’s intention expressed in the text. It is a dogma of faith that Christ died on the Cross for all men and women.”

    Seems a bit equivocal to me.

  27. Paul,
    No, I got it the first time I read it. The word “for” is the tip-off; it tells you another clause is coming that elaborates on the first. It’s like the word “while” or “because.” This is a common enough sentence structure to find if you’re a frequent reader of a variety of things, not just advertisements and the like.

    1. Well golly, I’m a frequent reader of a variety of things, not just advertisements and the like – and maybe Paul is too, so your slam wouldn’t be justified – and I didn’t get it the first time.

      “For” tells you that a clause is coming, but it certainly doesn’t tell you whether that clause elaborates on the first bit or the following bit. In point of fact, the forthcoming missal is packed with clauses that modify what follows.

      There’s no way you or anyone could know, on first reading, what is modified by the “for”-clause – unless ideological commitment to the forthcoming missal imparts special knowledge.

      awr

    2. Jan Baldwin, if you search for “ambiguous antecedent”, you will see that the rules of good writing preclude the style of the prayer discussed in this thread.

      Why is it bad to have an ambiguous antecedent? That has been studied. See http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0749596X88900538
      “Results of Experiment 1 showed that comprehension time was significantly faster for the unambiguous sentences. In both experiments, comprehension time in ambiguous sentences was faster when the antecedent was located early in the first clause than when it was located late in the clause. In Experiment 2, the interaction of embedding by location showed slower comprehension times for sentences with early deep antecedents than for sentences with late shallow antecedents. “

      So that is (1) against the rules of good writing, and (2) an impediment to understanding.

    3. Would all the people who found this prayer totally clear on first reading like to say what the wording would have been if the “them” DID refer to the “passing things”? Need it have been any different? If so, please say what it should have been, but if not, then your (correct) interpretation was simply a lucky guess, and the incorrect interpretation merely an unlucky one.

    4. Jan, well, we could trade insults until the cows come home, but I’m going to be man enough to stop here. For the record, I do read rather more deeply than advertisements. Good day to you.

  28. Mary,

    I’m not threatened about the 1998 version because a) it’s not really a viable text since it never received approval, b) I don’t really expect to see it show up in my locality, and c) if by some quirk, I get confronted with it, I will simply walk out and go find a real mass.

    I think some of you would be surprised how many people feel this way. I know a lot of people who’ve changed parishes for years because of the things we’ve had to witness. People are tired of the constant conflict. We’re tired of awful music and jarring nerves.

    Huge numbers of us in the pews just want to go to church and have it be reverent, simply reverent, which is a pretty basic desire for Catholics, one that you’d think would be easy to fulfill. But no. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been getting better and better as the years have passed and we’ve finally left the crazy post-V2 years behind. But we don’t need to go back to masses in the park, happy hour music, clowns and circles around the altar. People won’t put up with it now. Times are too hard. People want the real thing because they need the help and the comfort of something deep and lasting, serious and genuine. The world is different; it’s not 1980 anymore. The commonsense framework has changed in very important ways since all that.

    Fr. Jim,
    It’s simply not a priest’s right or obligation to “correct it on the fly.” The Mass belongs to the entire Church. It is immoral for a priest to abscond with it and do with it as he wishes for himself or for a clique. It is not his personal property, and when he changes it against the wishes of the whole Church, he violates the rights of all the other members of the Church. We are not little independent cells who can use whatever liturgy we like; rather, we are all in this together. That’s the nature of the Church.

    1. Well, I would have to think that over for a while and formulate a detailed reply but in short the travesty of the Vox Clara 2010 product constitutes ritual abuse and victims have the right to protect themselves from abuse. Anyone who has studied the history of the “development” of the VC2010 knows that it is a work of great violence. At some point it becomes the responsibility of the pastor to advocate for those entrusted to his care.

      You seem to be buying into the mentality of “blaming the victim,” which I reject wholeheartedly.

      Also, the 1998 is pretty darn close if you have seen it and avoids the buffoonery of the bungled 2010. For the assembly there will be little perceptible difference and it will be far better than the projected millions of on-the-fly excursions from the vc2010.

      1. Would you reveal the parish that you are going to implement your own version of the Missal in for the benefit of your people?

    2. Jan,

      Is the 2010 translation in line with “the wishes of the whole Church”? As I understand it, the text we have been given by Vox Clara/the CDW is vastly different from the text approved by the bishops’ conferences in 2008. The 1998 translation has the advantage that it was approved by the bishops’ conferences and has not been altered by Rome.

      Either way, I can confidently assert that neither version, nor even the 1973 version, was in line with “the wishes of the whole Church”. The Church is the people, and people are all different: some of us will love it, some will hate it, many will be indifferent. What ICEL did in the nineties was produce a text that won the approval of nine bishops’ conferences (bodies explicitly entrusted with translation of the Mass into their local languages). That is about as good as you can expect for “the wishes of the whole Church”. The conferences have not voted on the 2010 text at all.

      Would Fr Jim be more or less immoral than Vox Clara? Neither has been given authority to translate the Mass into English, yet I feel that a Mass with Fr Jim’s touch would be significantly easier to understand for my feeble only-ever-reads-advertising-copy mind than what we have been given by Vox Clara. I humbly suggest that the greater immorality belongs to those whose work has the greatest negative impact.

      If Mass in the park, happy-hour music and circles around the altar aren’t for you, I have no problem with that. To impose your wishes on others is to deny them relationship with the divine in a way that is meaningful to them. Humanity is vastly diverse and it is a credit to the Catholic Church that it is able to accommodate such diversity. To claim that the style of worship you prefer is the only possible valid one puts you firmly on the Pharisee side of the fence, with Christ on the other, I’m afraid. Martha and Mary showed their devotion to the Lord in different ways and he demeaned neither. We all need to…

  29. Claire,
    Is the mass all about instant, complete and immediate comprehension? Should a person be able to completely process absolutely everything in every sentence of the Mass from the very first time they hear it?

    1. Jan Baldwin, you’re changing your argument. First you said that the antecedent of the pronoun was clear, now you’re arguing that it does not have to be clear.

      I take your word for it that the antecedent is immediately clear to you personally. But do you agree that it is not clear for people in general? If you agree with that point, then we’ve made some progress.

  30. Fr. Jim Blue :
    Whose interest would that serve, Mitch?

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    It should be revealed for all those who have a desire to hear an unapproved translation in the works. There are quite a few who claim that is what they want and providing a refuge for them might just what they need.

    1. True but there has already been enough brutality in this process, and a person who would advertise something like this would surely be smacked down by an ecclesiastical goon squad.

      1. I thought that what people in the Church wanted was openness, transparency, consultation… why deny them that, Father? (!)

        Seriously, has it occurred to you that you’re engaging in hypocrisy on a grand scale?

        Do you really think you’re serving the universal Church, or your parish, in proposing to replace the new translation with your own personal preferences? You promised obedience to your ordinary; please, for the sake of both you and the people in your parish, reconsider your decision. (Cf. Rom. 13:1-2; Heb. 13:17)

      2. Before you jump to accuse someone of hypocrisy, Mr Hazell, perhaps you’d like to take a look at what Hippolytus says on the matter of a slavish dependence on texts:

        I’ve included a translation for your benefit.

        Episcopus autem gratias agat secundurn quod praediximus. Nullo modo necessarium est ut proferat eadem verba quae praediximus, quasi studens ex memoria gratias agens deo.

        Let the bishop give thanks in the manner described above. It is not, however, necessary for him to use the form of words set out there, as though he had to make the effort from memory to say them by heart in his thanksgiving to God.

      3. Before you jump to accuse someone of hypocrisy, Mr Hazell, perhaps you’d like to take a look at what Hippolytus says on the matter of a slavish dependence on texts:

        How does this have any bearing on hypocrisy? Fr. Blue has suggested that he opposed the untransparency of the translation process, but that he will secretly change the texts that he reads in the liturgy. Whether or not the texts should be read at all, or selected by the local bishop, or mandated from the Vatican doesn’t effect the question of whether it’s oddly contradictory to call for transparency and consultation while misleading your parishoners.

  31. Well, Claire,
    The interesting thing is that this business doesn’t really depend on what I think, or even what you think. It’s going to happen on November 26/27, which is now less than 3 weeks away, and those who hate it might as well make the best of it.

    Paul,
    I know all about the history if the 1998 version. I’ve seen that version online and I believe I even have a print copy here in my library, along with the other versions here. But the fact remains that it never received the recognitio, and we are still in union with Rome so that matters, whether that’s appreciated in some quarters or not.

    1. The ultimate argument when all else fails: rather than concede a point, get out the argument that the church hierarchs have the authority to decide whatever they want, whether they’re right or not, whether we like it or not, whether their English grammar is correct or faulty. They are above the rules of grammar: they decide what’s correct. They are above the rules of right and wrong: they decide what’s right. It does not matter what we think, in fact, we don’t need to think. We just need to trust that they know best. They represent God, they are like God, they think like God, and, in a way, they are God. Any questioning of their ways is a sacrilege. And if we do not understand their ways, well, it’s a sacred mystery: the mystery of Vox Clara grammar.

      Arguments of authority make my blood boil.

      1. Hi, Claire. Great post but it sounds like you are letting them get to you. I find that I can protect myself emotionally pretty well by just not thinking about them very much. Despite protests to the contrary (e.g., Jan) the hierarchics have very little moral authority. You might be investing them with too much power as evidenced by your statement that arguments from authority upset you. The best thing is just to ignore them.

  32. “Arguments of authority make my blood boil.”
    Claire, that’s interesting. I wonder why that is?

    PS. Disclosure: Long ago, I used to be a member of a little autonomous Christian community. My protestant grandfather was the pastor of that tiny store-front church. On the way here, I passed through many other congregations, some larger and some smaller than the first one. All of them claimed the right to do as they wished in the way of worship. I’ve seen some very pretty displays of stuff.

    But I’ve now been Catholic, Latin rite, for decades and I like it for too many reasons to count. But I still remember what it was to belong to a church not in union with Rome and not in union with the tradition of the centuries. I don’t care to go back there, even with the really lovely stuff and very good preaching I’ve seen there.

    Most protestant preachers could preach ANY Catholic out of the building, even your finest specimen, you must understand. Catholic preachers are wimpy. Yet, that’s not necessarily the mark of much, you should also understand. There is so much more to the Catholic faith than that. The dumbed-down kindergarten-like
    approach we have been using toward liturgy doesn’t work as evidenced by both apostacy numbers & attendance percentages which are dismal; that kind of method also isn’t sufficient to explain much at all, particularly to well-educated laypeople who can read. People nod, but they don’t “get” what you’re telling them because you’ve left the point out most of the time. It needs to change.

    Cradle Catholics don’t realize what they have, and they treat it like garbage. It’s the craziest thing.

    1. Jan, you say that you now like being Catholic “for too many reasons to count,” but you sure don’t sound very happy with the Catholic church as it actually exists. To be honest, you sound rather miserable when you go at apostacy and dumbed-down liturgy, and priests who shouldn’t be doing this or that with the liturgy. I wonder if you do like the Catholic church – maybe it’s some non-existent ideal that you really like.
      awr

      1. Is it really Jan that goes at Priests “who shouldn’t do this or that with the liturgy” or is he just echoeing what has been said by many Popes and the Second Vatican Council as well. Is it SC that says no Priest shall take it upon himself to do as he pleases with the Liturgy? His comments sound no more frustrated that comments here about the result of the new translation experience. You infer to his misery but that could be derived from any number of comments. This whole blog has spiraled downwards in the last few weeks as the implementation of the Missal approaches. From constructive debate, discussion and critique to inference and accusations against specific people. Why are Jan’s “ideals non-existent ” or any more non-existent than the approved use of the 98 attempt at translation or continued use of the 73 translations that many toy with. You have a Father on here who has claimed openly that he will sneak in the 98 version where he wishes and yet declines to acknowledge his parish where this will take place. And you say nothing to him. I would think that you might mention the disorientation that this will cause to the people. Do you support this move?

      2. Fr Ruff,

        That comment is unfortunate. I think people can love the Church and still be terribly distraught with the sins, dissent and disobedience they see, in themselves and in their brothers and sisters. It’s like a family.

        Not everyone is as limited, so it seems, as you are.

    2. No, Jan, we do realise what we have, which is why some of us are so upset that Rome is intent on taking it away from us.

      We also have a strong aversion to people rolling into our churches and shouting at us that we’re doing it wrong. If we want to worship the Living God, the Creator, the God who loved the world and sent his only son to redeem it, we have to do it EXACTLY LIKE THIS AND ONLY LIKE THIS. We tend to listen politely for a little while before walking away sadly, shaking our heads. We would love to welcome you, but it seems that you’re not all that interested in the type of welcome you are getting.

      Having never done RCIA and having never had to stand in front of a congregation and proclaim that we believe and affirm everything that the Catholic church holds to be true puts us in quite a different position from someone who has. We are born into a faith founded on the apostles, we are nurtured by it every day of our lives. When we look for depth, it is there; when we look for compassion, it is there; when we look for the body and blood of Christ, they are there. Most of the time, for most of us, we aren’t looking for rules, laws, regulation and iron-fist authority. We don’t want a return to witch-burning and the Spanish Inquisition.

      The Church is full of people, and people are messy. We all like different things: some like electric guitars in church, some prefer plainchant; some go to Confession weekly, others once or twice in their lives; none of us is perfect. One thing we all have in common is that the Mass speaks to us. The Lord calls our hearts into Communion with his.

      We know that the church, as it really is is quite different to what the rulebook says it should be, and we cherish that, for the rulebook would surely cast the first stone. We only ask a for little humility from those who would: get to know us a bit before condemning us and, maybe, wonder why we haven’t condemned you.

      1. The Church is full of people, and people are messy. We all like different things: some like electric guitars in church, some prefer plainchant; some go to Confession weekly, others once or twice in their lives; none of us is perfect. One thing we all have in common is that the Mass speaks to us. The Lord calls our hearts into Communion with his.

        YES! THANK YOU Paul for such a concise description of the Catholic Church.

  33. Mitch: “Would you reveal the parish that you are going to implement your own version of the Missal in for the benefit of your people?”

    Fr Blue: “Whose interest would that serve, Mitch?”

    Jan: In all honesty, the answer is Fr. Blue’s interests.

    Fr. Blue, how about some simple honesty? Would you really try to mislead an entire congregation with a literal bait & switch just to get your own way? Wow. Just wow.

    It’s a good thing they have the internet. It might as well be announced because I doubt the whole congregation could bamboozled for long. If they aren’t told explicitly and honestly, I’m sure they will find out anyway. Some might not care, but some of them will or there wouldn’t be any need to avoid revealing the information publicly, would there?

    1. Actually, Jan, “bait and switch” is being ordained in a season of promise after the Second Vatican Council and living to see the powers that be turn their collective backs on its teachings.

      And, I don’t think you hear me saying that using the ICEL 1998 version will be much truer than what will be ubiquitous: presiders riffing on the VC 2010 on the fly. And the ’98 is close enough that I doubt many will even notice or care.

      1. the ‘98 is close enough that I doubt many will even notice or care.

        Every time I hear this I can’t help but think it’s a sign of a double-standard mentality that people like Fr. Ruff are right to call the conservatives on, who say “it was done like this before to us, and now it’s happening like this to you.”

        Have you catechized your parishioners at all on the specifics of the new translation? Or have you avoided doing so so that you can use a different translation which they won’t even notice or care about?

  34. No, Fr Anthony,

    I like being Catholic. And of course, I have every right to be in the Catholic Church, as much as anyone else. And you know, I’m not complaining about where we’re going next. I like it.

  35. “And the ‘98 is close enough that I doubt many will even notice or care.”

    How much are you willing to bet on that, Fr. Jim Blue?

    [And I can’t help but find myself wondering, if the ’98 version is so close to the ’10 version as you say, then what is your outrage about exactly??]

    1. You’d have to look at them side by side. The ’98 avoids some of the major faux pas, as in “for many,” and “chalice,” and a couple other glaring bloopers.

      But I must thank you for giving me an idea – for the first few weeks some in the assembly might be following along in the missallette, so maybe it would be prudent not to roll out the ’98 right away but wait until the few are not following it so closely.

      1. But if the orations are as as difficult as people maintain on this blog, that day may never come.

        By the way, you have a hanging “the few” in your sentence. It seems to refer to the weeks, but I must have been mistaken.

  36. Well, well, well. But, suppose people do look it up sometime? The internet isn’t going to fold up and go away after 2 weeks, you know.

    Do you ever read the missal the way it’s written or do you always ad lib? Just curious because it just occurred to me: In your parish, it might not make much difference if you are always out in the sticks someplace anyway. LOL.

    And seriously now, if these 2 versions are as close as you seem to believe, then why are you so defiant about this?

    [BTW, I’ve seen the two versions, and they’re not so close. In fact they’re not close at all. The little kids will probably be able to tell the difference, let alone the adults.]

    You are quite a character. I’ll be watching for your compadres in this neck of the woods because I want the real liturgy. But then I knew I’d be doing that anyway. It is what it is.

    1. Try not to cut your hands on that First Stone: you seem to be gripping it very firmly and it looks sharp.

      There is a higher authority in the Church than the pope.

      I wonder if you recognise the following. I’m sure you’ll agree that it didn’t come from a particularly authoritative source, so we can probably safely ignore it: “Over the pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority there still stands one’s own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. Conscience confronts [the individual] with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even of the official church.”

      Fr. Blue and all of the other people here who are expressing concern and/or dissent over the new translation are not doing it on a whim. We are adults who have taken responsibility for our actions and we are following the calling of our conscience. We are not ignorant of the probable consequences.

    2. Has any study been done on the baleful influence on the church of people who have come into full communion with us because they were disgruntled members of their own churches?

      1. There’s a nice thing to say to a convert. Wow, what a nasty attitude.

        FYI, no matter what my reasons were, I have every bit as much right to be Catholic as you do. Where is all that diversity talk that progressives are so proud of?? Does it only apply to people whose views you happen to like?? Some diversity.

      2. Jan, as I said earlier, you have as much right to be Catholic as the rest of us. Before you take too much umbrage at your reception here, take a quick look at how you have treated everyone here who disagrees with you. I am not condoning rudeness directed at you, but I can understand why it is.

        So far, you have called a Canon of the church stupid, you have suggested that I am barely literate, and you seem itching to call the Vatican and say “Father Jim is being a naughty boy, you’d best send in the attack dogs.” Forgive us if we are upset by this and lash out a little.

        Fr Jim’s actions are his business and a matter for his conscience. He is a man who has been placed in an impossible situation by the hierarchy of the church he loves so much and has to find his own way through it. You telling him to simply toe the party line is, frankly, insulting his intelligence and integrity. If he could toe the line without sacrificing his integrity, I am sure he would. He cannot, and has a painful choice to make. I do not envy him.

        Your triumphalist tone of “it’s happening in Advent, nyah nyah” is insulting to the lot of us. We’re not ignorant of this fact, as much as we’re not happy about it. Telling us it is going to happen is redundant. Expecting this information to make us shut up is insulting.

        As I have tried to make clear in previous posts, you are very welcome to our church, to your church, to the Catholic church. It is where we come together to worship the risen Lord, and to receive him in Communion. What you might find, however, is that you are not welcome to tell everyone around you that their style of worship is wrong (neither can they tell you that your style is wrong), that they like the wrong music, or that the liturgy they have loved these past forty years is worthless and mourning it is simply a waste of time.

        I am sorry for rudeness directed at you. Sadly, though, you invited it.

  37. Why do you think that the secular press has not picked up on the story that the actual translation which is to go into effect is NOT the one approved by the bishops?

      1. Other than Robert Mickens’ “A War of Words”, does anyone know of any other source for the story about the last-minute changes made to the Missal?

      2. Thank you, Bill deHaas.

        Alas, I fear those articles were posted too far in advance of the Missal’s publication. Most bishops didn’t even realise, so it seems, that what Vox Clara (well, technically, CDW) sent back was so extensively changed from the version they had approved and submitted to Rome. All of them, understandably, accepted Bishop Serrattelli’s “statement” that the changes were typographical or stylistic, in the interests of standardization. Some have since suggested that the Bishop was given that statement to read and may have believed it himself. It turns out not to have been true, of course, as the final version makes clear.

        Re-reading the article on the Advent Prefaces, and checking the texts against the official Missal we have received already for the chapel, I see they have made some changes to the 2010 (especially in what was an awful version of Preface II for Advent). But, once you accept 2008’s preservation of the Latin “qui” in English, both Advent I and II seem more accurate and more literary in 2008 than what emerged as 2010.

        I’m still astonished that no bishop (that we know of) has gone past Vox Clara and over the CDW’s head to let the Pope know what happened. The poor man keeps talking about the Missal as “an extraordinary fruit of collegiality,” though the men standing before him and then doffing their zucchettos while kissing the Fisherman’s ring must surely know by now that this just isn’t true.

        Perhaps the upgrade is already in preparation: Roman Missal 3.1 (to whom it may concern: that title is already copyrighted – so don’t you dare!)

      3. I’m still astonished that no bishop (that we know of) has gone past Vox Clara and over the CDW’s head to let the Pope know what happened.

        This week some US bishops are having their ad limina visit with Pope Benedict. This is their chance to speak to him directly about the new missal issues. Unfortunately, in a change of protocol said to be designed to save Pope Benedict’s energy, the bishops will meet him not one-on-one but in small groups. That is making it more difficult for them to raise taboo topics frankly. One wonders whether that change might have been designed on purpose by clever politicians firmly intent on keeping certain informations out of Pope Benedict’s hearing.

  38. The 1973 preces are sawdust — they are the Trojan horse of the old translation — but yes, the 1998 preces are what we should be thinking of.

  39. It’s reassuring to know that Catholics still get wrapped around the axle regarding our liturgy. Prayer matters though I hope God is more tolerant of our bumbling efforts than we sometimes seem to be. I suspect He knows what’s in our hearts even when our words fail us. We’ll muddle through until the next rewrite. I wonder how long Jesus struggled over the Our Father?

  40. Jan:

    Huge numbers of us in the pews just want to go to church and have it be reverent, simply reverent, which is a pretty basic desire for Catholics, one that you’d think would be easy to fulfill.

    Well, yes. You are not alone. It’s just a question of how you define “reverent”. The upcoming translation is scarcely reverent, unless you think that “klunky” and “reverent” are the same thing.

    The thing that exercises my mind is that the Postcommunion Prayer that Alan Griffiths has so effectively demolished is not the end of the story — nor indeed the beginning of the story. Take a look at the very first Collect we will encounter, on the 1st Sunday of Advent:

    Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
    the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
    with righteous deeds at his coming,
    so that, gathered at his right hand,
    they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom.
    Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever.

    Even in its 2010 revision, it simply will not do.

    Line 5: “they” to the listener will mean “righteous deeds”, which is palpable nonsense. They will not be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom. “They” obviously refers to “we”, or if you prefer it, “your faithful”, 26 words earlier.

    The only way to make that clear is to substitute “we” for “they” in line 5. That way, the prayer has half a chance to mean something to those standing awestruck in the pews. The fact that the hidebound translators/revisers could not allow themselves to make this simple revision because of the straitjacket they have locked themselves into (think Liturgiam authenticam) just goes to prove how unworthy of respect the whole project is.

    Priests with any semblance of intelligence will be screaming to be released before they have got two weeks into Advent. How are we going to respond to them?

    1. The bit I don’t like is “with righteous deeds at his coming” which implies that the idle faithful will hurriedly perform good deeds when they hear of Christ’s coming, rather than what is clearly meant, that that they bring the good deeds of all their lives to be presented to him when he comes.

    2. I don’t think the “they” in line 5 will be misunderstood. The object of the prayer is so clearly “the faithful” that it won’t be mislinked, not even by a Priest who is challenged in proclaiming the orations.

      If I’m not mistaken, the Roman orations sometimes (maybe quite often?) has the Priest praying in the third person (i.e. he is not included in he prayer), not because he doesn’t need it, but in exercise of his office for others. Possibly, this oration is one of those.

      But your last paragraph is very unfortunate. I know of many intelligent Priests and People who will embrace the new texts quite well, and some who are already, illicitly perhaps, making use of the new texts, with great happiness. Did God give you the authority to judge another’s intelligence and actions?

  41. Not likely, Claire (at 9:06 pm, 8 November). The pope is eighty-four and seven months. The same restricted process has been used for conferences other than English-speaking in recent weeks. But perhaps I have failed to appreciate your wonderful irony.

    1. No, no irony: that restricted process is another small step that shields Pope Benedict, keeping him disconnected from whatever his court does not want him to know.

      Since this is like a monarchy, power resides in influence, and influence is rooted in access to the monarch. The more access is restricted, the more power is concentrated in the hands of the court, and the more the monarch is is a golden prison-like position.

      From my experience of monarchies, gained through reading pop fiction, the ways to gain power in such a situation, in which the monarch is inaccessible to the common people, are: bribing and blackmail if one plays within the system; popular revolt and threat of revolution if one wants to overthrow the system. Father Maciel took the first route, and the Austrian priests are taking the second route. There is also the way that consists of doing nothing and passively letting the country (in the case of a monarchy) go to its ruin, limiting oneself to helpless laments. Those are the options, if one disapproves of the way things are going.

      1. Another example of Jan’s utmost respect for people of differing opinion.

        Maybe it’s worth considering that pop fiction is written about people and how people interact. It is also a vehicle by which a society can examine itself and how it got to where it is, and how it could have been somewhere else.

        “Pop fiction” does not mean “utter rubbish”, that’s all down to the skill of the author.

  42. Simon Ho: “If I’m not mistaken, the Roman orations sometimes (maybe quite often?) has the Priest praying in the third person ”

    You are mistaken. A plural subject should be followed by a plural verb.

    Enjoy your new translation!

  43. This prolonged debate that began with grammatical problems in the translation reminds me of some helpful advice I read somewhere: “The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people’s powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation.” Do the passages in question pass muster? No. Does that mean the new translation must be chucked? No. Does it mean the work of liturgical reform goes on? Semper!

  44. Following is the explanation posted on the usccb website for the Prayer after Communion on the First Sunday of Advent. What do you think?

    “This prayer turns to the language of commercial exchange to indicate that in commerce with our Lord we derive the profit. Simple participation in the mysteries, however, does not bring about automatic profit. Participation leads to personal reflection and discernment, which are forms of ongoing cooperation with the Lord who teaches.

    As we prepare to return to our daily lives, our journey is described as a walk among passing things. Even then, the Lord teaches us by our participation in the mysteries how to walk among passing things, to love the things of heaven, and to hold fast to what endures.

    The prayer does not say that we reject passing things, nor does it describe things of this world in a negative light. Rather, by sharing our daily bread in communion we learn as a community to value, hold fast and even to love the enduring things of heaven, the mysteries in which we participate.

    The communion we share informs our daily conduct as we learn to value even passing things as bearers of the enduring things of heaven.”

    1. You [Lord] teach us by them“, is explained by expanding it to “the Lord teaches us by our participation in the mysteries”.

      You [Lord] teach us by them to […] hold fast to what endures” is further expanded to “by sharing our daily bread in communion, we learn […] to hold fast and even to love the enduring things of heaven, the mysteries in which we participate.”

      It seems to me that the commentary is saying that,
      by our participation in the mysteries,
      the Lord teaches us to hold fast
      to the mysteries in which we participate.

      One has to laugh.

      But maybe it is impossible to give a sound commentary for that prayer, except by going back to the Latin text, or by looking at translations in other languages, or by looking at other translations into English, so as to be able to figure out what it is supposed to mean. It’s hard work. And who has time for that? The committee for divine worship is surely quite busy with other things these days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *