No Good Alternatives

Ed. note: Gabe Huck continues his discussion of the new translation. The column below was published in the December issue of Celebration magazine (www.celebrationpublications.org), and we thank them for the permission to reprint it here. Part I is available here, Part II is available here, and Part III is available here.

In [the previous three parts of this series] we have been thinking together on these pages about translation, its hazards and possibilities.  This is a subject of great importance given the new texts to be read aloud in the Roman Catholic assemblies, some of them anyway, beginning with the Advent season. The discussion of translations here has necessarily been interwoven with the political/ideological story that drove the translation story.

Now we leave translation aside to talk about a much less noticed disaster. In the 2010 missal, the Vox Clara missal, why are there no “alternative” collects?  These original English texts have been an element of our sacramentary since 1973. The responsible bodies in other language groups have also composed and put into use original texts in their post-Vatican II sacramentaries. Original texts in English have become part not only of the sacramentary but of other rituals such as those for pastoral care of the sick and dying.  What became the ICEL project of creating a second generation of these alternative texts, a project carried out in the 1980s and 1990s when ICEL commissioned, tested and evaluated original texts, prayers written to be faithful to the Roman Rite’s way of praying, but written also in with awareness of the seasonal and scriptural context for the assembly’s prayer. Much careful and often inspired work went into composing such prayers in tune with the genius of English, specifically of English to be proclaimed and to be heard.  Why are we now left with no alternatives to the poor-to-mediocre translations of prayers that were all too often already poor to mediocre in their original Latin?

For example.  On the First Sunday of Advent, in each year of the three-year lectionary cycle, the 2010 Vox Clara missal (they’ll have no more of that “sacramentary” talk) will have this prayer, one that we touched on [previously]:

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 . . .

I’m told that is a fairly accurate translation from the Latin, a text guaranteed to touch neither mind nor heart.  Perhaps that does not matter, but what does matter is that the speaking of the text evoke the assembly’s church-forming Amen. It won’t happen.

Would we like an alternative to that text?  Let’s go back to that wild, rebellious decade, the 1980s. In 1983, ICEL explained a continuing effort to create a body of texts composed in English, a second generation of those “alternative prayers” of the l973 sacramentary.  These newly-composed texts were to relate in subtle ways to the scripture texts of the Sunday. That dictated a separate opening prayer for each year of the three-year lectionary cycle. The authority to explore original English texts came from the Instruction on the Translation of Liturgical Texts issued by the Vatican in 1969.

Texts translated from another language are clearly not sufficient for the celebration of a fully renewed liturgy.  The creation of new texts will be necessary.  But translation of texts transmitted through the tradition of the Church is the best school and discipline for the creation of new texts so “that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already in existence.”

The ICEL process involved invitations for submission of compositions for certain Sundays, review and revision of texts submitted, then publishing the resulting texts for use in participating parishes over several months. Two booklets of prayers for a limited number of Sundays were published by ICEL, one in 1983 and one in 1986.  I certainly do not know what feedback ICEL received from these experiments with original compositions in various US parishes, but the texts offered might be looked at anew in light of the abandonment of original compositions since Liturgiam Authenticam.  In their language, content, possibilities as spoken and listened to texts, do these prayers clarify or mystify why the Vatican forbid any texts that are not slavish translations of the Latin?

We should note also that some of these prayers, usually in slightly altered form, were included in the sacramentary approved by ICEL and by the American bishops in 1998.  In fact, that document included three original compositions for the collect of each Sunday, each of these designated for Year A, B or C of the three-year cycle.

Other bishops’ conferences of English-speaking countries likewise gave their approval, but when this sacramentary was sent to the Vatican in 1998 for the usual ratification, the ratification never happened.  Instead, ICEL was, in effect, disbanded by the Vatican and reconstituted to do Rome’s bidding.  What that bidding would be became clear in Liturgiam Authenticam. This document, basic to the effort to undo Vatican II, prohibits prayers composed in any vernacular for the liturgy of the church. For the story of Rome’s campaign against ICEL from the pen of one who was there, see Bishop Maurice Taylor’s recent book: It’s the Eucharist: Thank God. (The book is available from Amazon.  The Tablet said: “…this [book] presents the authoritative inside story of how officials in the Roman Curia usurped the right of the bishops’ conferences to oversee the translations of the missal into English, and destroyed the bishops’ translation agency in the form they had given it.” See the review in The Tablet here. )

Although the 1998 sacramentary and its original English compositions were never published in a sacramentary for parish use, the texts for these collects did become available. First in their experimental form in the small booklets of 1983 and 1986, then in their final form in various places where the collects of the 1998 sacramentary were included for study purposes. A book was published in England making many of them available: Opening Prayers:Collects in a Contemporary Language, Scripture Related Prayers for Sundays and Holy Days, Years A, B and C. The book is available from Canterbury Press and from Amazon.

But what of the texts themselves?  How good were they? How substantial?  How attuned to the context of the assembly doing its liturgy?  Do they call forth a presider’s effort to speak them clearly, aware that they don’t do their work if the presider doesn’t cannot be caught up in their proclamation?  Part of making a judgment about texts for prayer demands reading through a prayer more than once, then proclaiming it aloud. Consider the original text of the collect for the First Sunday of Advent, Year A, as given in the ICEL trial booklet of 1986:

Above the clamor of our violence
your Word of truth resounds,
O God of majesty and power.
Over the nations enshrouded in despair
your justice dawns.

Grant your household
a discerning spirit and a watchful eye
to perceive the hour in which we live.
Hasten the advent of that Day
when the weapons of war shall be banished,
our deeds of darkness cast off,
and all your scattered children gathered into one.

We ask this through him whose coming is certain,
whose Day draws near:
your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

When the 1998 ICEL sacramentary was approved by the various conferences of bishops in English-speaking countries, the above text had been modified:

God of majesty and power,
amid the clamor of our violence
your Word of truth resounds;
upon a world made dark by sin
the Sun of Justice casts his dawning rays.

Keep your household watchful
and aware of the hour in which we live.
Hasten the advent of that day
when the sounds of war will be forever stilled,
the darkness of evil scattered,
and all your children gathered into one.

The concluding sentence (“We ask this . . .”) is essentially the same in both prayers. I find some of the changes between 1986 and 1998 to be improvements, others simply changes. But both are strong texts.

I would never argue that it is crucial to have shared images between the Sunday scriptures and the opening prayer. But I would argue that excellent texts like these, well proclaimed as the opening prayer, allow images in the scriptures to be heard anew and to open our ears. Do you find a poetry in these two texts above? How well do they or do they not lend themselves to proclamation, spoken or chanted, in a way that can be readily grasped by the assembly? Count the times you hear an echo of scripture. Do they meet the high standard we should have for any words spoken and heard in the assembly?  Why do you think so? Hold either of these original texts against “Grant your faithful people,” the Vox Clara translation of the Latin collect, and ask which text could, properly spoken, call an assembly together to celebrate eucharist and keep the Advent season.

A homilist needs to heed texts like these that respect the scriptural images as images, as shapers of our prayer and a way to grasp the times and our own lives. All of us gain when we hear these lively images spoken aloud with care, even with passion, in the heart of the assembly’s prayer. What the prayer puts into words may itself be pondered by the homilist, almost as an example of how scriptural texts don’t wear out but continue to define our selves and our assemblies.

Between the early 1980s and the completed sacramentary of 1998 the project of original English compositions became a basic element of the coming ICEL sacramentary.  The bishops, advisors and others involved in ICEL’s work  understood that the new sacramentary would have original English compositions – and many of them.  They agreed to and arranged for the writing and evaluation, rewriting and editing of optional, original texts.  In the case of the collect there would be three such texts for every Sunday, one text for Year A, one for Year B, one for Year C. These were part of the volume approved by all the English-speaking conferences of bishops and sent to Rome in 1998 (never to be seen again).

Look at one further example of these original texts, the Third Sunday of Advent.  First, the following is the only prayer we will find for that Sunday in the 2010 Vox Clara missal:

O God, who see how your people
faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity,
enable us, we pray,
to attain the joys of so great a salvation
and to celebrate them always
with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.
Through our Lord . . .

And here is Year B in the 1998 ICEL sacramentary:

O God, most high and most near,
you send glad tidings to the lowly,
you hide not your face from the poor;
those who dwell in darkness you call into the light.

Take away our blindness,
remove the hardness of our hearts,
and form us into a humble people,
that, at the advent of your Son,
we may recognize him in our midst
and find joy in his saving presence.
We ask this through him whose coming is certain . . .

If we demand of the Sunday collect what we ought to demand, which one would we take to the assembly?

At some point we have to stand up and say: Latin rhetoric was Latin rhetoric and still is –but you can’t translate it and get acceptable English rhetoric.  Even alive Latin was just one of the many languages of early Christianity. It has never been the language of all the churches in union with Rome. What foolishness to let Latin’s rhetoric control the sound of any assembly gathered to do their liturgy in their own language.  All this time we are wasting when the real task is so obvious: An English (or Chinese, or Arabic, or Spanish) able to bear the weight of an assembly’s ritual. The 20 years of work by ICEL leading to the 1998 sacramentary made clear gains toward the texts we need for the liturgy envisioned by the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.  But that work became the nearly helpless target of those dedicated to rewriting the story, erasing Vatican II altogether.

So in the 2010 Vox Clara missal we have no such prayers as the 1998 ICEL sacramentary.  The Vatican’s Liturgiam Authenticam simply declared original compositions unacceptable and the English-speaking bishops buckled (they bent and bowed both). In doing do, they chose also to ignore what caving in would mean to the other language groups of the world. We should remember that English speakers are not the only Roman Catholics who had begun to use original vernacular texts.  The Polish and the Italians are among the language groups that have had and continue to have original texts in their own languages in their sacramentaries. The Vatican clearly singled out the English-speaking hierarchy to give an example for less humble hierarchies.

Most of the chatter has been about the other ill effects of LA and they deserve attention, but this prohibition on original texts in vernacular language should not be ignored.  If enforced, it will change the fine sacramental rituals that were approved and published before LA appeared ten years ago.  Hold unto your copies!  And remember: It isn’t that hard to find the texts of the 1998 ICEL sacramentary.

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71 comments

  1. There are only a few of the alternative prayers that I would ever pray in the old sacramentary. For the most part they dripped with saccharine piety and preachy sentiment.

    The 1998 ones above are much worse, preachy, verbose and dripping with piety that is best said by an individual in their private devotions behind closed doors or in some communal novena or made up prayer service, certainly not suitable for the liturgical piety of the Mass.

    Thank God for the succinct sobriety of the Latin Rite prayers when properly translated into English which maintains that Latin Rite sobriety with no good or bad alternatives!

    1. I must admit that I am not the greatest fan of all of the 1998 prayers. But I would disagree, with all due respect, that the 1974 alternative prayers “dripped with saccharine piety and preachy sentiment”. This certainly is a judgment call on your part, Father.

      In fact, I myself would suggest that there is a certain balance between the “succinct sobriety” of the Latin Rite collects and the 1998 Sacramentary alternative prayers which can be found in the 1974 prayers. But then, I came to find the 1974 alternative prayers as sufficiently sober, and the 1974 translation of the Roman collects as far too succinct.

      That being said, it would seem to me that if the 2010 prayers as a whole were “properly” translated, one might not notice the absence of the 1974 alternatives (some are at least better translated than others).

      Finally, I can’t imagine that God is particularly glorified by any kind of mistranslation, old or new. It seems to be mortals alone who are content to make such judgments.

      1. Of course it is a judgement call on my part and about my personal preferences. I used the alternate prayers early on in my priesthood rather frequently but less so as time passed and usually to break the monotony when I had three Masses on a particular Sunday. I simply did not like them and found them odd, but not all very saccharin, but many in my opinion had “drippy sentimentality” but that certainly is my judgment call.

    2. “For the most part they dripped with saccharine piety and preachy sentiment.”

      And the new ones don’t? I haven’t heard or read all that many of them, but of those I’ve encountered, many to most leave me needing a glucose meter and a shower. . .clearly, our mileage varies on this one.

  2. Why are we now left with no alternatives to the poor-to-mediocre translations of prayers that were all too often already poor to mediocre in their original Latin?

    These newly-composed texts were to relate in subtle ways to the scripture texts of the Sunday. That dictated a separate opening prayer for each year of the three-year lectionary cycle.

    The deepest question in the ongoing reform of the Roman Rite is not the matter of how to translate things (that is easy, have multiple translations just as we do of the Bible), or the relative influence of Roman Curia and Bishops conferences in the process (also easy, both should be conducting test implementations with the people before approving texts) but rather the need for a new set of proper prayers (collects, etc) and chants (entrance, etc.) to fit the New Lectionary.

    The New Lectionary simply does not fit well into the strait jacket of the old Latin prayers and chants. We have simply not completed the reform that the New Lectionary implies, which is rethinking the Roman Liturgy in terms of Scripture.

    SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM was approved quickly because it was in line with reforms of the Roman Rite that had been gradually occurring. DEI VERBUM, the much more radical reform, took almost the whole council because it produced an integrated vision of revelation, of how Scripture and the life of the Church influence one another rather than the two source theory of Trent.

    As a social scientist, I think of liturgical traditions (Roman, Byzantine) as the Bible reformatted in light of the experience of the Church. Like the Bible itself (Two Testaments, Four Gospels) liturgical traditions present rich multi-dimensional views of revelation.

    If one accepts the dynamic vision of revelation in Dei Verbum, of Scripture and Community interpreting one another, then liturgical traditions can never be static. The New Lectionary stands in our midst, challenging the Roman strait jacket.

    1. I see no difficulty in what you write Jack and would like prefaces that tie in with the Gospel of the day, but at the same time I don’t think prayers should be preaching to us or politicizing us. I’ve listened to too many spontaneous prayers of Baptist ministers who make wonderful prayers of great piety (theirs) which also gives them an additional time to preach to the people while they are praying. I say, no thanks to that pious type of prayer in a liturgical setting.

      1. The basic difficulty is that the New Roman Rite is only coming to terms with Scripture very slowly.

        Most of our homilies come from the personal faith of the homilist rather than a deep involvement with Scripture; I keep feeling that I am hearing the same homily again and again from the same person.

        And our music reflects more the personal faith of the person(s) doing the choosing rather than a deep involvement with Scripture.

        My impression is that most priests and pastoral ministers are not deeply formed by scripture, and are not capable of leading Bible study. When I interviewed people in a local parish who participated in Little Rock Bible study led by “non-expert” fellow parish members, they all wanted experts. Yes, they enjoyed sharing their faith experiences with one another and would not want to give that up for a lecture format, but they wanted some expertise in their experience as well.

        Our graduate school’s emphasis upon historical approaches to Scripture do not help. Bergant’s course at ND taught me the value of an approach emphasizing the literary structure rather than the historical commentaries.

    1. This Weekend I invented for myself a “Consumer Choice Missal.”

      Actually I just dusted off my Gregorian Missal (still available from Amazon book dealers, and online as a pdf download from CMAA). If you like the monastic look in your prayer books, buy the Solesmes Book. If you want to be “creative” get yourself a loose leaf notebook. I like the ones with covers that you can put pictures in. I put my pages in sheet protectors. Sometimes I put pictures in my sheet protectors, too.

      The Missal, of course, has the Gregorian Propers (which I can mentally sing if I cannot sing or will not sing the hymns chosen by the management). And the Latin Credo which I now sing mentally since no one else sings the Creed.

      It also has all the Latin texts (EPs, prefaces, collects, etc).

      And it has the 1973 English texts for everything!

      All I had to add were three folded 8.5 by 11 sheets printed on one side in landscape mode from the 1998 Missal: 1) EPII, 2) EPIII for the end sheets of the book and 3) the collect, alternative prayer, secret, post communion and both Advent Prefaces for the Third Sunday of Advent to use as a place marker.

      Assuming the priest brings the 2010 Missal to the table, I have all the choices before me, and even blank sides of the inserts if I want to compose my own alternatives.

      How wonderful is this consumer age! Oh the depth of its marvels! They free us from what my graduate professor used to call the “lords of the local dung heap.” Also from more distance lords that still live in the industrial age, or renaissance courts, or feudal structures.

      Of course all this is probably coming, or has come to an iPad or other electronic devise. But so far I am leaving those to the younger generation.

      1. Jack, I’m glad you wrote this rather than me because that would be my suggestion. As you know the English translation of the Pre-Vatican II Mass in the types of missal you have were not official translations(I still have my St. Joseph Missal from 1958!) and there were a variety of them available. It didn’t matter which version of the English translation you had just as long as you also had the Latin next to it.
        So by all means carry whatever English translation of the Mass you want, even with “thees” and “thous” my preference and everyone will be happy. Of course with the iPad or iPod you wouldn’t need to read along, but simply listen with earphones to your preferred translation! 🙂
        BTW, we always sing the Credo at our monthly High EF Mass, but never at any of our English Masses–it’s required in the Sung EF Mass to be sung, but you don’t have to in the sung OF Mass, but if it were required I think more of us would do it and blame the law in order to side step personal blame from those who don’t like it sung.

      2. Just to be clear the English translation of the 1990 Gregorian Missal is the 1973 ICEL translation, not an earlier English translation.

        Personally I avoid “thee” and “thou” like the plague just as I avoid thinking of Jesus as my pal although I know he considers me to be his friend.

        One of the reasons I like liturgical prayer is that I have a deep concern about imaging Jesus and God to a faulty image and likeness. It is very providential that Jesus spoke Aramaic and did not write anything. We should keep an open mind for when we meet him.

        I sometimes wear earphones to Mass, during the hour wait for the Easter Vigil I have a CD with nine Exultets.

        The earphones and my loose leaf folder (which usually contains parts of the Byzantine Office) sometimes disturb people (the management not the liturgical police, whoever they are).

      3. You wear earphones? That would bother me. Already on the street and on the bus or train, I think of people who wear earphones as isolating themselves from the world around them, removing themselves from society, avoiding interactions with the people who are there, and it really bothers me. In church, of all places, I would find it really, really bothersome.

      4. I mainly use them at the local Fitness center to block out the noise of their music so I can listen to mine.

        But I have brought them to church when I know I am going to wait a long time before the service, and that the main sounds will be the distractions of pastoral staff chattering and setting things up. I bring my loose leaf folder of material for the Divine Office and my liturgical music collection.

        In the nearby parish where many people know me I just bring my loose leaf folder, and while they know I am praying the Office, they know I look up frequently, that I greet them, and they are welcome to “interrupt” me and sit and talk with me before going to their favorite pew.

        The backdrop to a lot of my day is a liturgical music collection and now much aural material from the internet (including the Divine Office in both English and Latin) and so I long ago abolished the distinction of what is prayer and non prayer.

        So bringing my normal aural experience to a Fitness Center or Church just makes me feel at home. I am not outgoing but I think many people list me among the kinder people whom they know.

        Since the Divine Office has been my prayer since childhood. I never pray alone. Everyone is always there.

        The closest thing to personal prayer is a diary which I keep as a conversation with myself. But God is there too. But not other people usually.

    1. Marci,

      The 1998 sacramentary is hosted on Rapidshare.

      Simply click the green “Download” button to download the zip file to your computer.

  3. Great article, Gabe ……and as one who got to use the 1983 versions in a pilot; they consistently reflected the same images and themes, key words from the scripture readings of that day….found them easy to borrow from and to integrate into themes and ideas for homilies….those same key images could also be used in the Agnus Dei trophes; part of the Prayer of the Faithful response; integrated into the presider’s invitation to the eucharist, etc.

    Our music/liturgy director who also composed was able, at important key feasts/solemnities, to pick music or compose music that echoed these same themes and images.

  4. Continued obsession with 1998 reminds me of the garrison of Japanese soldiers reportedly found in the 1950’s on a remote Pacific island, still fighting on, unaware that the war had ended, and the world had moved on.

    1. To Henry: Have you actually read any of the 1998 proper prayers? If not, I do not see how you have any objective standpoint from which to criticize those of us who long for a set of prayers that capture more of the nuance of the Latin, without sacrificing proclaimability (if there is such a word), because the straight-jacket of the Latin syntax has been jettisoned.

      To Fr. Allan: I find myself deeply puzzled by your comment that the 1998 prayers are “preachy, verbose and dripping with piety that is best said by an individual in their private devotions behind closed doors or in some communal novena or made up prayer service, certainly not suitable for the liturgical piety of the Mass.” Isn’t a prayer like

      O God, most high and most near,
      you send glad tidings to the lowly,
      you hide not your face from the poor;
      those who dwell in darkness you call into the light.

      a powerful evocation of some of our most treasured Scriptures? Doesn’t it draw out connections to Scriptures that assembly members hear again and again and grow to love? Surely it would reach hearts better than the opaque word warrens the new translation have foisted upon us.

    2. Yes, and I’ve bookmarked the link to them. But I think the vast majority of parishes in the USA have embraced the official liturrgy of the Church in just three short Sundays and are moving on. It’s a new day. There are more important things to focus on, like following Jesus, feeding the poor, and bringing our Catholic identity to the culture at large.

      1. Fr. Allan: I didn’t mean to suggest that you had not read them — I was posing that question to Henry. My computer struggles to allow me to type in the comment box, so I have taken to loading an abbreviated comment and then quickly editing, since that allows me to type fluidly.

        But can you please explain more fully why having read them, you find them so very preachy? I really find it difficult to grasp such a powerful negative reaction to prayers that seem to me to do a better job of one of the things LA was asking for — drawing out the Scriptural allusions more fully.

      2. I meant the alternative ones that are new compositions which are like the one in the original post above. The actual 1998 collects from the original Latin aren’t bad, the ones that are translated to English using a better form of equivalency than the 1970 missal. I could have lived with those, but with that said, I’m really enjoying the spiritual depth of the reformed translation that we are now doing and am grateful we have it and can now focus on what is really important, living our Catholic faith.

      3. We’ve implemented the new translation very gracefully, pastorally and sensitively and without any push back and no force. However, people leave the Church everyday and for a variety of reasons and yes, the translation might be one reason for some, and they are free to do that; not even God forces them to keep Him in their lives, we’re all free and we can have other religions or no religions or make up our own.

      4. Embraced, or threw up their hands and said, what choice do we have? There’s a big difference.

        My observation on change in most situations is that it really does follow the 80/20 rule. 80% will have said, “Whatever” – they’re more interested in just getting their Sunday obligation over with. The 20% is split between he ones who love the new missal and the ones who detest it.

    3. What an off the wall comparison! How shocking that Fr. Allan would agree with it (sarcasm off.) While not approved by the Vatican, it received wide approval from the clear majority of Bishops. It is an entire and complete Missal. Like it or not, it exists, and people do use it for various things. I use the prayers in our Advent and Lent Evening Prayer liturgies. People comment on the beauty of these texts. Hearing them proclaimed is a rich prayer experience. The train has left the station – as more and more people discover this “lost” missal, and realize what they could have had instead of this current thing, and all the politics behind it (and lack of politics in the 98 Missal), the louder the cry for reform will be.

    4. My Filipino congregation are still blissfully unaware of the new translations. I read EP IV in the 1973 translation this morning and in the incredibly unwieldy Japanese translation last night. But we must get beyond this regime of translations.

      1. Well, the Philippine Church will be getting the new English one next year–I might as well start going to Mass in Tagalog more often, which they have not gotten around to tinkering with.

  5. I’m not completely sure but I would guess that the English-speaking world probably has the closest adherence to the Latin missal right now – at least among languages widely spoken. The only other missal that I’ve seen with such close adherence is Arabic. The French and the Germans have all kinds of proper insertions and alternatives in the Ordinary and the Eucharistic Prayers, not to mention alternative collects and such, which IIRC, the Italians and some of the Spanish missals also have. For that matter the Latin formularies of EP III used by the Pope on feasts like Easter have special clauses not found in the missal – but the English can’t!

    There seems to be an insistence on Latin and only the Latin. This struck me when the new dismissal formularies were inserted after the Synod in the Latin typical edition. I felt that in the ‘old days’, they would have just left the Latin alone and stuck it into a vernacular missal and had it approved – but it seems to be the trend now that everyone is to be encouraged to only translate what is in the Latin text.

    I liked some of the 1998 alternative prayers but one thing that irked me somewhat was that almost all the alternatives for the greater sanctoral feasts substituted any mention of intercession with imitation. The other difficulty that I have with the idea is that I am not sure about restricting the Ordinary Sundays, at least, to quasi-themes which sometimes result from prayers composed according to the readings.

  6. Fr. Allan J. McDonald :
    I meant the alternative ones that are new compositions which are like the one in the original post above. The actual 1998 collects from the original Latin aren’t bad, the ones that are translated to English using a better form of equivalency than the 1970 missal. I could have lived with those, but with that said, I’m really enjoying the spiritual depth of the reformed translation that we are now doing and am grateful we have it and can now focus on what is really important, living our Catholic faith.

    Yes, I realize that my comments above to some extent muddled the difference between the Latin translations and the newly composed prayers. But isn’t the whole point that there would have been alternatives — the translations from the original Latin would have been one option (and you would no doubt have leaned toward that option), and the new composed prayers would have provided viable alternatives for those of us having a great deal of difficulty “living with” these prayers that you find “spiritually deep” but which many in our assemblies find so convoluted that they turn off listening altogether. In another post earlier in the thread, you talk about how your use of the possible alternatives evolved during your life as a priest — but now all those choices (perfectly pastoral choices within the competence of any good presider) have been precluded.

    1. Yes, you are correct but the decision has been made and we’re moving on and that is healthy (which is Henry Edwards’ point to which I agreed). Why wallow in what might have been, like those who regret Vatican II. Those with a healthy sense of life and the hard knocks of life accept that we’re just not in control of everything, even though they might have preferred a different outcome to Vatican II or the translation that was approved move with the Church and many of them marvelously to the greater unity of the Church, but not all did or are.

      1. I guess that logic depends on how grievous one considers the hard knocks to be? Acquiesce to the “inevitable” tragic translation, like american blacks to slavery, like women in the middle east to acid and Sheria law, like Italian Jews to the fascists, like the Palestinians to the British redistribution of their homes, like Russians to Putin, like Egyptians to the muslim brotherhood, like the Irish republic to the english crown, like Nelson Mandela to the South African Apartied, like the abused wife to the drunkard husband? Now, maybe the current translation missal mess doesn’t equate to the level of these inflictions of malfeasance and barbarism, but the principle is the same nonetheless. For the believer, one doesn’t simply accept an unjust and un-pastoral situation, no matter how perfectly juridical it might be. The SS kept great paperwork, and by German law everything they did was “legal” and for the “good” of the state remember. Please, let’s not pretend to be so naively slavish, even when we want to believe in Mater Ecclesiae! Second Vatican Council asked us to grow up a bit more than that for God’s sake.

      2. Henry Edwards’ “point” was a fairly insulting analogy about Japanese trooops battling on in the Pacific long past the end of the war (though I seem to recall that those troops were so cut off that they could not be communicated with, and believed they were doing their duty).

        Those of us who continue to point out that there was a better alternative (ICEL 1998), arrived at though a consultative process guided by the English-speaking bishops that was far more in line with SC, believe we are doing our duty for the good of the Church, even as we struggle to do our best implementing the new, flawed translation for the sake of obedience and unity. Seems to me that self-silencing is far more unhealthy (to use your “healthy sense of life” metaphor, though I don’t find it terribly fair or salubrious either).

      3. What might have been ain’t what might have been until it has ceased to be, and the 1973 and 1998 translations are still being used in many places and will continue to be used unless the 2010 translations prove tolerable, which they so not seem to be doing.

  7. Really, Fr. Allan – you compare Vatican II and Vox Clara. Not exactly the same – sort of like comparing an adult decision to the tantrum of a child.

    Let’s see – on the level of canon law, council vs. dicastery/committee decision
    LA – formal approval (like a “recess appointment”) vs. votes by over 2400 bishops

    MR3 english translation – yes, impacts for now eleven english speaking conferences vs. the rest of the world (who knows what the future holds and initial steps reveal every major language group resisting this move)

    Your words – “……translation that was approved move with the Church” – – well, that is yet to be known. It was, rather, an approved move by the hierarchy (really, by the curia and not stopped by two popes)….let’s not continue to make the mistake of conflating the curia or even the hierarchy into the “total” church. Let’s see what happens across the world (per John Allen – 2/3rds are in the southern hemisphere – LA ain’t going to work there) and the sensus fidelium.

    Greater unity of the church – your description of this adventure but let’s, again, see what history has in store…..we already know the historical track record of many popes and curia in terms of decisions…..e.g. slavery, modernism, democracy, etc. (and these were significant compared to a translation)

      1. Ha ha, its like Pontius Pilate washing his hands of the Jesus mess and “moving on.” He thought his point was clear too!

      2. Who is in control? The heirarchy? So if they do something, no matter how bungled up it is, any criticism or call for change is being divisive? Tell that to people like St. Catherine of Sienna, who told the pope to get his rear back to Rome. We are gifted with the right to speak up when something is wrong – and this Missal is wrong. Perhaps it is you who needs to “move on” from your stance, because you can write posts telling us to tow the line till your fingers turn blue, but those who find fault with this Missal will not stop. A grave injustice has been to the LITURGY – the work of the PEOPLE, the source and summit of the Christian’s week. We may be three weeks into it and people may be catching on better to the responses, but that doesn’t mean that all is well. A local pastor said it becomes harder to pray from this book every day – seeing the poor text, lack of poetry, mistakes, heresies, all while having some grasp of the politics behind it’s creation. No, Fr. Allan, one cannot assume from your joyful acceptance of it, and your amazing parish’s acceptance and embrace of it, that the rest of the English Church is falling into line.

        I believe the Holy Spirit is in control – and he/she does not have to operate through the cardinals and Pope to make his/her point.

    1. As Archbishop Vincent Nichols so wisely asked, “Who can say what’s down the road?” People who talk about the infallible march of history are soon knocked from their horse.

    1. Bill, thanks, that’s what I’ve been saying; Keep in mind that what Pontius Pilate did was to assist in our means of salvation even unwittingly; don’t forget that part of it. Oh happy fault, o necessary sin and all that and more.

      1. The new bad liturgy may indeed by a felix culpa from which good may come. But not what its perpetrators expect.

      2. Sort of like saying that the Nazi’s “Final Solution” unwittingly assisted in the creation of modern day Israel.

  8. Thanks, Gabe. Got these in my Celebration packet, but appreciate seeing them here. FWIW I don’t permit any purchases here from LTP since your mindless ejection by the ordinary.

    Since the ICLE 1998 came up here, I would add that I’ve been using it (at least the EPs) with great success. I have only two or three people who have figured out what we are doing here; and I don’t yet know if they are narcs. Time will tell.

    I have found that just about all instances of “…we pray…” can be dropped with no ill effect. Scrapping some of the obsequious verbage is helpful . . . in fact if your remove some of the grovel-speak some of the prayers are not ugly any more.

    1. Actually, found that a couple of the orations were almost decent when the self-depractory and obsequious verbage was excised.

  9. I earnestly hope that the next pope will let the more progressive anglophone wing of the Church begin work on a purely anglophone rite divorced in full from the Latin typical OF. Many here at PTB have called for a purely anglophone rite. The “alternative collects” are half-measures at a purely anglophone composition which appease few.

    Why not go further and adopt liturgical developments from other liturgical Christian traditions, such as Anglicanism and Lutheranism? Again, I don’t see why this is a problem as long as a baseline doctrinal and theological integrity is kept. The traditions just mentioned contain orthodox liturgy. A divorce from the Roman Latin substratum permits experimental borrowing from other Christian traditions. I only suggest that all the anglophone bishops’ conferences ratify a wholly anglophone text before it is used. I do not foresee this as a problem given that ratification of vernacular liturgy has never been denied in the post-conciliar era.

    Let whole-cloth vernacular missals happen, even if doing so might foment anger among conservatives and traditionalists. I interpret diversity as “everyone gets the liturgy they’d like, so long as these new liturgies are doctrinally and theologically orthodox.”

    1. The Flemish/Dutch speakers have been doing ‘home-made’ whole cloth vernacular missals for some time with varying results, but they are still doing it –despite grumblings from Rome and other Church Authorities.

      With the at least 400 years old ‘small t’radition of of doing ecclesiastical texts in English, a large number of them at least based on the Roman Latin texts, one would think some good could be gleaned for the ‘official Roman Catholic Church’ from this work. In many ways this ‘new translation’ in use for these past weeks has been a rather extended exercise in ‘reinventing the wheel’ — without the sense of ‘euphony’ found in the Book of Common Prayer, the King James Bible, or even the Revised Standard Version or even the NRSV.

    2. re: Jordan Zarembo on December 10, 2011 – 8:21 pm

      Whole-cloth vernacular liturgy is the logical end of the progressive interpretation of post-conciliar liturgical renewal. The logical end of “traditional” Catholicism, both in the EF and a “tridentinized” OF in choreography and translation, is a unyielding reverence and adherence (some might say fundamentalism) towards the Latin Roman tradition. The centripetal forces pushing these these sects apart should be respected. Each should be permitted to evolve according to their ideological program, provided doctrinal and theological orthodoxy is preserved.

      I do not at all like the idea of “whole cloth vernacularism”. Part of charity-in-diversity is the reluctant recognition of the aspirations of others.

      re: Philip Sandstrom on December 11, 2011 – 10:58 am

      I would caution that wholly vernacular missals will not immediately resolve questions of euphony, prosody, verse, and style. Fifty years of vernacular Roman Catholic worship has not provided enough time for a clear consensus. Also, the permission to create an entirely anglophone missal will inevitably raise debates over the nature of modern English literary quality. One only hopes that these debates will be constructive and not collapse into the acrimony exhibited with the 2010 translation.

  10. The fury incited by the horrible new translations may bring about the long-needed push to creative inculturated liturgies composed anew in the world’s Englishes.

    1. Joe, while some people may be getting awfully steamed up on this blog and others like it, I haven’t seen anything that can be described as “fury” in real life: we’ve had the new translation since September over here, the only grumble that I’ve heard so far is that the new CTS hand-Missals don’t have enough page-markers in them.

  11. Fr. Jim Blue :
    Thanks, Gabe. Got these in my Celebration packet, but appreciate seeing them here. FWIW I don’t permit any purchases here from LTP since your mindless ejection by the ordinary.
    Since the ICLE 1998 came up here, I would add that I’ve been using it (at least the EPs) with great success. I have only two or three people who have figured out what we are doing here; and I don’t yet know if they are narcs. Time will tell.
    I have found that just about all instances of “…we pray…” can be dropped with no ill effect. Scrapping some of the obsequious verbage is helpful . . . in fact if your remove some of the grovel-speak some of the prayers are not ugly any more.

    “2 or 3 people have noticed what I am doing”. How do you explain to someone who thinks he or she is following, and learning the 2010 approved Missal, that you have substituted what you think to be better against the wishes of the Church and even the instructions of the Second Vatican Council that no Priest on his own may change the words of Mass? What do you say to the person/s that will be terribly offended by this?

    1. Mitch,
      I’m curious what your goal is, or what you think will be accomplished by your contribution. Is it your hope that a priest going against the (probable) wishes of his bishop will show obedience to you, a PTB commenter?
      Pretty much everyone knows the position you’re re-stating. What do you expect the effect will be of stating it yet again?

      awr

      1. Father Blue has stated several times here that he intended to use the 98 version more than several times. He is now using it and has stated it several times, 2 posts. My goal would be to engage him in thinking thinking about the people who he is misleading. My post is no different than anyone else on PTB that asks for clarification or questions ones motives. As for Father Blue showing obedience to me, well that is ridiculous and you know it. He would be being obedient to the Holy See. But then again the Second Vatican Council does point out that the laity have a responsibility to speak up when liturgical abuse is present. I would ask you the same thing Father, what is it you are trying to accomplish by engaging me with questions that are quite obvious from my post?

  12. Jack Feehily :
    What council document urged Catholics to report liturgical abuses? I must have missed that.

    Yes I stand corrected, I meant to say in Redemptionis Sacramentum. Thanks.

  13. Claire,
    Or maybe you wouldn’t – at our parish we provide earphones with radio recievers for the use of people with hearing difficulties in the church environment. I’m sure I don’t need to list all the variables that might lead to that situation.

    Claire Mathieu :
    You wear earphones? That would bother me. Already on the street and on the bus or train, I think of people who wear earphones as isolating themselves from the world around them, removing themselves from society, avoiding interactions with the people who are there, and it really bothers me. In church, of all places, I would find it really, really bothersome.

    1. Yes, if I understood that the goal is to connect better to the environment, not to remove themselves from the environment, it would be completely different of course.

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