How the Grinch mistranslated Christmas

Some years ago I went to midnight Mass in a small French village. The priest berated the congregation for weak singing, then delivered a scorcher of a homily. All of us, he said, were whited sepulchres; we had no idea what Christmas was about. It had become little more than an excuse for consumption, buying expensive trinkets and gorging on oysters and foie gras. He hadn’t seen most of us for at least a year. “What contempt for God,” he shouted, “to put on fancy clothes and turn up at Church this once. Do you think you are fooling God? Why are you wasting your time here?”

But then, at the very end, something magical happened. Just before the dismissal, the priest stood before the congregation and his voice changed. “I know I berated you for thinking that Christmas is nothing more than new clothes and champagne,” he said, “but I have nothing against good things, especially the champagne. So on behalf of the mayor it is my honour to invite you to the town square for a glass. A very happy Christmas to all of you.” And, blessed, we went out into the cold clear air to drink champagne, look at the stars and taste the ‘13 desserts’.

During Advent it is not uncommon for conservative homilists, writers and bloggers to attack a superficial Christmas or to go after sentimental views of ‘love’. Some stress the need for confession, insisting that Advent is less about Christ’s first arrival as a tiny baby than his second coming, as the terrifying judge of all.

But, when all is as it should be, Christmas itself, especially the Mass at midnight, becomes a time of welcome and forgiveness. The battle is stilled, at least for a few hours. Even the pugnacious Michael Voris, whose daily programme repeats the slogan “Join us in combat, like us on Facebook”, paused for a day in his attack on “lies and falsehoods.” On this night, good homilists welcome those who are in church for the first time in a year, or even in ten years.

And this brings us to the new translation. For the prayers at this year’s and last year’s midnight Mass sounded as though they had been translated by that French priest in his angry mode. Like the translators, his English was very shaky.

 

COLLECT

Latin, MR2002   ICEL   New translation
Deus, qui hanc sacratissimam noctem veri luminis fecisti illustratione clarescere, da, quaesumus, ut, cuius in terra mysteria lucis agnovimus, eius quoque gaudiis perfruamur in caelo. Father, you make this holy night radiant with the splendour of Jesus Christ our light. We welcome him as Lord, the true light of the world. Bring us to eternal joy in the kingdom of heaven, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. O God, who have made this most sacred night radiant with the splendor of the true light, grant, we pray, that we, who have known the mysteries of his light on earth, may also delight in his gladness in heaven. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The bizarre and archaic “O God, who have made” has been discussed elsewhere. Why is it necessary to use the perfect tense in English? Why not “O God, who made”?

Perhaps we can only be thankful that the translators dodged the Liturgiam Authenticam police and refrained from rendering the Agnus Dei as “Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world.” And what is going on with “delight in his gladness”? Yes, I know, perfruor takes an ablative object. But if we are going to translate literally, why not “delight in his gladnesses”?

The 1973, I think, captures the sense of the Latin prayer. It doesn’t turn it into an unintelligble gabble. If there is one night on which clarity is called for, with a congregation that is largely uncatechised, this is the night.

 

PRAYER OVER THE OFFERINGS

Latin, MR2002   ICEL   New translation
Grata tibi sit, Domine, quaesumus, hodiernae festivitatis oblatio, ut, per haec sacrosancta commercia, in illius inveniamur forma, in quo tecum est nostra substantia. Qui vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum. Lord, accept our gifts on this joyful feast of our salvation. By our communion with God made man, may we become more like him who joins our lives to yours, for he is Lord for ever and ever. May the oblation of this day’s feast be pleasing to you, O Lord, we pray, that through this most holy exchange we may be found in the likeness of Christ, in whom our nature is united to you. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

The archaic “oblation” is perfectly poised to befuddle those who haven’t been to church in awhile. This prayer introduces the theme of commercium, which Whittaker (a decent abridged dictionary) glosses as “trade, traffic, commerce (right/privilege); commercial/sex intercourse/relations; exchange, trafficking; goods, military supplies; trade routes; use in common.” Christine Mohrmann says that it also refers to an exchange of gifts, which is probably the sense here, and which comes through in the 1973 but not in the new translation. This prayer also contains the complex theme of form and substance. Several learned homilies could be preached on this prayer alone, but those are unlikely to happen at Midnight Mass. The new translation offers neither clarity nor anything like a full rendering of the rich theology packed into this prayer.

 

PREFACE OF CHRISTMAS III

Latin, MR2002    ICEL   New translation
De commercio in Incarnatione Verbi  Divine and human exchange in the Incarnation of the Word  The exchange in the Incarnation of the Word 
Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere: Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens aeterne Deus: per Christum Dominum nostrum.
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.  It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord.
Per quem hodie commercium nostrae reparationis effulsit, quia, dum nostra fragilitas a tuo Verbo suscipitur, humana mortalitas non solum in perpetuum transit honorem, sed nos quoque, mirando consortio, reddit aeternos. Today in him a new light has dawned upon the world: God has become one with man, and man has become one again with God.Your eternal Word has taken upon himself our human weakness, giving our mortal nature immortal value. So marvellous is this oneness between God and man that in Christ man restores to man the gift of everlasting life. For through him the holy exchange that restores our life has shone forth today in splendour: when our frailty is assumed by your Word not only does human mortality receive unending honor but by this wondrous union we, too, are made eternal.

Here again we have the theme of commercium. The 1973 rendering, unusually, is much longer than the new translation because the translators took care to unpack and explain the concept. Once again, the new translators were  selective and clumsy in their application of Liturgiam Authenticam. Consortium is, more literally, “sharing” or even “partnership”. But perhaps that conveyed too much of a sense of the marketplace.

 The New York stock exchange has shone forth in splendour

 

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Latin, MR2002   ICEL   New translation
Da nobis, quaesumus, Domine Deus noster, ut, qui nativitatem Redemptoris nostri frequentare gaudemus, dignis conversationibus ad eius mereamur pervenire consortium. Qui vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum. God our Father, we rejoice in the birth of our Saviour. May we share his life completely by living as he has taught. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God, that we, who are gladdened by participation in the feast of our Redeemer’s Nativity, may through an honourable way of life become worthy of union with him. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Here, the archaism is “an honourable way of life”, un-literally rendered in the singular, even though the Latin is plural. Is this about receiving a knighthood? Being praised by others? At least “may become worthy” isn’t as awful as “may merit”.

 

SOLEMN BLESSING

Latin, MR2002    ICEL   New translation
Deus infinitae bonitatis, qui incarnatione Filii sui mundi tenebras effugavit, et eius gloriosa nativitate hanc noctem sacratissimam irradiavit, effuget a vobis tenebras vitiorum, et irradiet corda vestra luce virtutum. When he came to us as man, the Son of God scattered the darkness of this world, and filled this holy night with his glory. May the God of infinite goodness scatter the darkness of sin and brighten your hearts with holiness. May the God of infinite goodness, who by the Incarnation of his Son has driven darkness from the world and by that glorious Birth has illumined this most holy night, drive far from you the darkness of vice and illumine your hearts with the light of virtue.
Quique eius salutiferae nativitatis gaudium magnum pastoribus ab Angelo voluit nuntiari, ipse mentes vestras suo gaudio impleat, et vos Evangelii sui nuntios efficiat. God sent his angels to shepherds to herald the great joy of the Saviour’s birth. May he fill you with joy and make you heralds of his gospel. May God, who willed that the great joy of his Son’s saving Birth be announced to shepherds by the Angel, fill your minds with the gladness he gives and make you heralds of his Gospel.
Et, qui per eius incarnationem terrena caelestibus sociavit, dono vos suae pacis et bonae repleat voluntatis, et vos faciat Ecclesiae consortes esse caelestis. When the Word became man, earth was joined to heaven. May he give you his peace and good will, and fellowship with all the heavenly host. And may God, who by the Incarnation brought together the earthly and heavenly realm, fill you with the gift of his peace and favour and make you sharers with the Church in heaven.
Et benedictio Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, descendat super vos et maneat semper. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And may the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, come down on you and remain with you for ever.

 

I have heard this blessing for two years running – once sung, once said. In both cases, the priest stumbled through it and the congregation had no clue about when to come in with “Amen”. The phrases are too long. The cascading nested clauses don’t work. And “sin” is a far less misleading rendering of vitium than “vice”.

The 1973 translators decided to emphasise the theme of “joy”; they give the celebrant the option of introducing the Collect by saying “Let us pray in the peace of Christmas midnight that our joy in the birth of Christ will last forever”. The new translation seems to play this down, reminding us that we are unworthy and in need of salvation. All true. But is this the night to emphasise that?

Let me deal with two other themes that may surface in the comments. The first is that the new rendering is somehow more “elegant” or “poetic” than the 1973. It is not. Cranmer would never have put out shoddy English like this. Tossing “verily” and “forsooth” into clumsy prose does not turn it into Shakespeare. And larding the word salad of the new translation with archaisms does not make it beautiful or sacral.

It’s still a pig

The second is that the new translation is somehow more “accurate” than the old. Again, I disagree. CS Lewis wrote that “translation, by its very nature, is a continuous implicit commentary”. Morris Zapp, the cigar-chomping post-modernist character in David Lodge’s campus novels, loved to say that “Every decoding is another encoding.” I don’t know whether the saying comes from Saussure or Stuart Hall, or whether Lodge just made it up. But it applies here: every translator makes choices. There is no such thing as “what the prayer really says”. The 1973 translators’ choices were more pastorally appropriate to Midnight Mass than those in the new Missal.

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87 comments

  1. Thank you, Jonathan! This post was a balm and a blessing for a pastor who struggled with these texts at Midnight Mass. Would that there were published, somewhere, a weekly critique as articulate and honest as this to keep before us the pastoral failure this Missal is for the Church at prayer.

  2. “an honourable way of life” … Is this about receiving a knighthood? Being praised by others?

    I think the modern average hearer of this prayer, no matter the frequency of Mass attendance, knows what is meant by an “honorable way of life” as contrasted to a dishonorable way of life. I doubt anyone at Mass thought this prayer was about receiving a knighthood. Perhaps some go away thinking it does have to do with being praised by others, but I don’t have any hard numbers.

    I hear it and think, “honoring God”. I think “a way of life worthy of God’s gifts to me.” I also think of some verses from the letters of Paul.

    At least “may become worthy” isn’t as awful as “may merit”.

    And it’s biblical to boot.

  3. Just nitpicking – well – more than nitpicks:

    Christine Mohrmann says that it also refers to an exchange of gifts, which is probably the sense here, and which comes through in the 1973 but not in the new translation.

    With respect, I think Christine Mohrmann is . . . inadequate on this point . Commercium is also an Old Testament reference to the way in which man entered with God into a covenant, a contract and exchange – an exchange between utterly unequal partners, of course. That is completely missed – as is any idea of exchange.

    Is the MR3 a little clunky? Sure. It captures more of the elements of the Latin original, however.

    There are other quibbles along the same lines. In the Preface, “we do well” to give thanks just is *NOT* remotely as strong as “truly right and just, our duty and our salvation.” Sure, the new is a bit clunky. But it is more accurate.

    And speaking of Latin originals…

    This may be a rabbit hole, but I’ve just noticed the difference between Vigil collect in the Pauline missal and that in the 1962MR. The latter is unaltered from the old Gelasian Sacramentary:

    Deus, qui nos redemptionis nostrae annua expectatione laetificas: praesta: ut Unigenitum tuum quem redemptorem laeti suscipimus: venientem quoque judicem securi videamus Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum. Qui tecum.

    Of course we know that the Consilium altered many collects, or even replaced them altogether. And yet, here again, the question is: why? Why was a (12-15c. old) ancient collect suddenly manhandled (albeit not in as severe a manner as many others) for the new missal? Why was the old prayer not sufficient, as it had been going back to the Patristic Era? I don’t know, but I can take note of the curious absence of any mention of Christ as our Redeemer and Judge. Was this offputting to the committee? Is it the notion that Modern Man can’t take the harder stuff? Or was it just a manifestation of “We will change it, just because we can”?

    1. @Richard Malcolm – comment #3:

      Late in on this thread, and must admit that I am aghast at the unparalleled arrogance that Richard seems to show as he casually disses the world’s leading scholars who knew (and know) infinitely more about sources in the first millennium of the Church than he or I will ever know.

      The Consilium appeared to alter or replace many collects? You bet they did. They had access to a much wider range of sacramentaries than either he or I can lay our hands on easily, and they knew their stuff, unlike us. Intimate familiarity with different recensions would have been only a small part of their knowledge and experience. Not knowing why they adopted such-and-such a course of action is tantamount to admitting one’s own ignorance of the sources and of modern scholarship. I personally am happy to trust the experts and accept their work, rather than parade my own miniscule-by-comparison knowledge in front of the world.

      Amazing, simply amazing.

  4. Hello Jeffrey @comment#2,

    I think the modern average hearer of this prayer, no matter the frequency of Mass attendance, knows what is meant by an “honorable way of life” as contrasted to a dishonorable way of life.

    That seems reasonable to me as well.

  5. Postscript:

    A larger point to Jonathan:

    You are corrrect: “every translator makes choices.” And translation is more of art than a science. The “perfect translation” does not exist.

    But some choices are better than others. And too often, the 1973 ICEL simply glosses over important elements. Or, worse, often seems to have a theological agenda in just which elements it does gloss over or soften. At times, it seems almost desperate to downplay explicit reference to the Four Last Things. For example.

    I do not think that the MR3 is truly accurate. I also think that it is at many turns awkward and clunky. But no doubt that is because we have a paucity of any real stylists in English as we once did a few generations ago. And yes, I think there are points where the 1998 ICEL is preferable. But the 1973 ICEL was simply unacceptable, for reasons that have been enunciated many, many times.

    But it’s obvious that the question of translation reveals deeper divisions, even theological divisions, between many of us in the Church.

    Nonetheless, I am glad that you posted this, Jonathan. It’s caused me to reflect more deeply on these readings for one of our greatest feast days.

  6. I have heard this blessing for two years running – once sung, once said. In both cases, the priest stumbled through it and the congregation had no clue about when to come in with “Amen”.

    It’s pretty easy. They come in when he drops a minor third (or uses a similar concluding formula) on the last syllable. If they sing stuff throughout the year (as they should) they’ll have no problem with this. If they recite the blessing, or if they don’t sing throughout the year, they’ll have trouble.

    Yes, you have Christmas and Easter Catholics who won’t get it, but they’ll always be with you and they often won’t get it no matter what you do. They likely won’t know that the response is supposed to be “Amen” in the first place. They won’t know a lot of things that you can’t instruct them all on in detail without destroying the liturgy. You just have to go with their unpreparedness and turn out enough regular Mass-goers, choir members, servers, etc. to model correct behaviour (and make sure they are well instructed).

    And “sin” is a far less misleading rendering of vitium than “vice”.

    Why? It seems perfectly appropriate to me and the opposition of vice and virtue makes more sense than sin and holiness.

    The second is that the new translation is somehow more “accurate” than the old. Again, I disagree.

    But you don’t disagree because you think the old translation is more accurate (since that would be hard to argue) but by arguing that it’s some kind of impossibility to judge the accuracy of a translation. That’s not a generally held view.

    Morris Zapp, the cigar-chomping post-modernist character in David Lodge’s campus novels, loved to say that “Every decoding is another encoding.” I don’t know whether the saying comes from Saussure or Stuart Hall, or whether Lodge just made it up. But it applies here: every translator makes choices. There is no such thing as “what the prayer really says”.

    Except that Morris Zapp/Stanley Fish is not the first/last/only word in literary criticism and in fact, most people believe that there is actually meaning in the text and not just in the reaction of people to the text.

    1. @Samuel J. Howard – comment #6:
      Samuel, I agree that practice helps with the solemn blessings. I would love to see these used more frequently during the year. One priest, singing the blessings last year in the new translation, gave the congregation a big wave of his hand each time they were to come in with “Amen.” That helped a bit, though it conflicts somewhat with bowing the head to receive the blessing.

      Nonetheless it’s striking that, until the arrival of the new translation, we never had problems with the solemn blessings in English or in Latin. I think this is because both the Latin and the 1973 English are comprehensible (the Latin to the celebrant, at least, and to some in our congregation) where the new translation is a grammatical muddle.

      I certainly wouldn’t hold up Stanley Fish, let alone Morris Zapp — who is a fictional character — as the last or only word on anything. I do think that the statement “X is a more accurate translation than Y” needs to be qualified to mean very much. More accurate for what purpose? For what listener? In what setting?

      Let’s assume that the listener is a highly educated native speaker of English, and that the setting is the sung midnight Mass. Then if the purpose is for the listener to understand roughly as much as his or her counterpart would have done in 1500, hearing the Latin, then the 1973 translation is more accurate. It is in standard, grammatical English, and the sentences are of a manageable length. The analogy doesn’t quite work, of course, since the Latin prayers in 1500 would largely have been inaudible or covered with music, but let’s not quibble about that. Perhaps the listener was a “lay clerk” serving at the altar.

      The new translation isn’t beautiful, and in many parts of the prayers I have quoted here, it isn’t English. If the goal is for a cascade of beautiful syllables to wash over the congregation, if their understanding doesn’t matter, then let’s stick with the Latin.

      Now if by “accurate” you mean that a translation conveys the vocabulary and grammar of the Latin, why not go with something like a Loeb interlinear, perhaps with grammatical notes at the bottom of the page? That would be much more “accurate” than either the 1973 or the new translation. But it wouldn’t be useful as liturgy.

  7. It is painful to witness the stumbling of otherwise completely graceful and skilled presiders. Even when the stumbling is not obvious to those who are not regulars, or who know the style of the priest, it is still painful.

    Who am I? A woman in the pew, a litugical lay minister, someone who loves liturgy. It has all been a bit much, as we have gone along, to get along.

    Thank you Jonathan – and thank you Austin.

    1. @Fran Rossi Szpylczyn – comment #7:
      I am in complete agreement with Jonathan, (especially the last paragraph- AMEN, AMEN!!!!) Austen and Fran! I find the more meaning in the words of the hymns and carols that we sing rather than the convoluted prayers the presider is forced to recite/chant. And this is so wrong.

  8. With regard to the Christmas day collect: Vocative abuse aside, the current translation is quite right to translate veri luminis […] illustratione as “with the splendor of the true light” rather than insert the name of Jesus Christ, as in the Sacramentary version, to make explicit what is not very implicit. While the insertion of Christ’s name in the collect is not a fabrication, nevertheless the insertion suggests that prayers which rely on implication for poetic or rhetorical effect cannot be understood by many unless all possible complexity is removed. This interpretation strategy greatly impoverishes transmission of the original Latin meaning.

    With regard to the postcommunion: I would argue that […]dignis conversationibus[…] is idiomatic and best rendered in the singular despite the ablative plurals of the original prayer. The “through an honourable way of life” is a singular concept imputed to a plural congregation. To translate dignis conversationibus literally as “through honorable ways of life” suggests that the postcommunion offers more than one way to live the Christmas message.

    The preface dialogue of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom reads Ἄξιον καὶ δίκαιον where the Mass reads dignum et iustum est. Ἄξιον, at least in a patristic Greek sense, denotes worthiness. dignus, at least in a classical sense, denotes not “right” as in a correct/incorrect binary but also a sense of worthiness not unlike Ἄξιον. In my view, “honorable ways of life” does not capture the meaning of dignis conversationibus. Rather, the postcommunion reminds the assembly of a worthy or Christlike way to live the Christmas message.

  9. “But no doubt that is because we have a paucity of any real stylists in English as we once did a few generations ago.”

    Irrelevant. We indeed have people who are artists with language. In the view of the hierarchy, they are unfortunately mostly all lay people, even (gasp!) women.

    It’s not our fault today’s episcopacy self-selects for canon lawyers at a 70% clip to the detriment of musicians, liturgists, authors, poets, artists, and spiritual directors.

  10. Hello Todd,

    We indeed have people who are artists with language.

    If we do, Todd, they were somehow overlooked by the ICEL in its 1973 translation .

    But I second your concern about canon lawyers – to some degree. We could do with spreading our episcopal net a little wider. Unfortunately, the best pastors are usually wise enough to find ways to avoid being appointed.

    1. @Richard Malcolm – comment #11:
      I’m inclined to give the 1973 crew a break for the work they did on what was only intended to be a transitional piece. Good language artists were indeed employed for the 1998 translation. I remember being involved as a grad student and later, as a church musician in the 80’s and 90’s evaluating some ICEL material for that and other projects. How many of us lay people were called for MR3?

      “Unfortunately, the best pastors are usually wise enough to find ways to avoid being appointed.”

      lol. What did Ambrose do? Hide in a flock of sheep, was it?

      1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #12:
        Thanks. I can’t figure out why we are always using 1973 as a reference point when 1998 should be the point when referring to ICEL.

        The 1973 translators were well aware that their work was in need of a serious revision. And they did it with the 1998.

      2. @Barry Moorhead – comment #28:
        Plus One – but to skip over the history and 1998 is part of the ROTR’s attempt at interpretative history. It helps support their belief in *rupture* rather than organic development in continuity.

  11. I took one look at the prayer over the gifts and the prayer after communion, and used those from the dawn mass instead. This post tellingly illustrates how bad the new translation is.

  12. Hello Todd,

    I’m inclined to give the 1973 crew a break for the work they did on what was only intended to be a transitional piece.

    That’s a fair point.

    Of course, that raises other questions in turn: (Most importantly) why the missal was rushed out before really good and acceptable permanent translations could be completed, at least in all the major languages; or, failing, that, why it took so long to come up with a permanent one afterward. Sure: Rome/Vox Clara had something to do with that, but not all. I really do think many in ICEL weren’t really in any hurry to replace the “transitional” translation.

    1. @Richard Malcolm – comment #15:
      Hi Richard,

      That’s actually not my impression of ICEL, that there was any sort of delay in bringing out MR2. They were quite busy replacing transitional rites all through the 80’s: Pastoral Care of the Sick in 1983, RCIA in 1988, and the Order of Christian Funerals in 1989. There was great energy and excitement about this work while I was in grad school.

      Bishops of 16 different conferences all had to sign off on the project, which they did by 1996. And then there was two years’ delay from the CDWDS before its rejection of MR2. Only after that (2001) they came up with a document, Liturgiam Authenticam, to justify the rejection of work approved by the English-speaking bishops of the world. And VC couldn’t even get LA right. Rules are made to be broken, so it seems.

      Vox Clara has been an unfortunate intrusion into the process. Its members lack competence, it seems, outside of canon law. Bishops are already involved as members of national conferences. And in Rome, of course. This extra level of bureaucracy seems little more than an excuse to jet to Rome once or twice a year and slug down Malvasia Bianca over their parchments.

      My take is that the process was doing quite well through the 80’s and into the 90’s. What we have now is clumsy intrusions by those who have the power, but lack the competence to make decisions. To the impoverishment of all. But, at least we still have a decent Lectionary and the texts of vernacular hymns, songs, and spiritual canticles. No wonder people will go home with adapted Scriptures on their tongue before they will recall a fumbled turn of phrase by anything coming out of a priest’s mouth. It’s a fine bed they’ve set for their clergy to sleep in.

      1. @Todd Flowerday – comment #21:
        Thanks, Todd. Found Richard’s comment to be barely disguised innuendo, rumor, and gossip.

        VC/2011 pales in comparison to what Paul VI, Consilium, and ICEL/other episcopal translation groups did.

        In fact, we could say that we had 2001 Liturgiam Authenticam – took more than 10 years to produce the inferior 2011 – even in secret with little input and consultation and touching only the eucharist.

        Apply Richard’s questions -15 years for 1998 but so much more was going on; 10 years for 2011.

        And why was 2011 rushed – given even the small slice of Jonathan’s, we see an inferior, rushed missal – why didn’t VC wait – why a rushed out missal before a really good and acceptable permanent translations could be completed, at least in all the major languages.

  13. I love this article by Jonathan Day. The comparisons side by side make it all so clear. I am still grieving the loss of the word “cup.”
    Cup is a simple yet profound word that has taken on deep meaning over the centuries…it can mean source or destiny or lot. It has been linked to the milk of human kindness. It is the name of the first utensil given to a baby after weaning…a new source of nourishment…a new life source. “Take this cup and drink from it. This is the cup of my blood.” To me…it translated, without distraction, to… “Be nourished/united here in Christ.” I understand that the change is meant to elevate the level of respect in worship to God. Chalice brings to mind formality, regality, homage to king. But doesn’t it also bring to mind earthly riches, gold and goblets…and just at a time in the mass that we are called to be in communion with Christ. To me, it sticks a lever into the mystery of Christ’s presence…and changes direct reception/gratitude of God…into a distracted reversal of the spiritual into the physical…and a medieval need to make idols… the very reason Jesus turned those tables over in anger in the story. “Cup” worked. We honor God in our need to commune in the mystery of the Eucharist.

    And so a year into the new translation with all of the long crazy sentences and words, the word I miss the most is cup. Thanks for letting me vent here!

  14. The third “cup” almost stumbled back in on Christmas day during the sung EP. The priest hesitated and finally “chalice” came out.

    For the convenience of the Santa Clauses all the people’s parts were printed with the music handout, along with the note at the top that they had changed in 2011.

  15. Lex orandi, Lex credendi. I am tired of the criticisms of the ’73 translation because it didn’t adequately or accurately render the Latin text. This presumes that we somehow couldn’t pray as the church believes without those texts. The highest authorities confirmed that the ’73 translation contained prayers which expressed the faith of the church, why isn’t that enough? For more than a thousand years, only a tiny fraction of the church understood its teachings. My experience is that the 2010 translation is awful in terms of clear and intelligible praying, regardless of those who allege its greater conformity to the Latin texts. Communicating the meaning of a collect or blessing should not require some kind of studious examination, one ought to hear and comprehend. The 1973 translation was based on a principle that differed greatly than that of the 1962 RM: Cognition by an assembly participating fully, consciously, and actively is not only vital but is a right of Christ’s faithful in virtue of their Baptism. The folks who want to see the Novus Ordo become more like the TLM have a wholly different understanding of the importance of cognition and the meaning of participation. I submit that the preponderance of the evidence shows that by an overwhelming margin the Fathers of VII noted the shortcomings of the RM and directed a revision of the Missal and related sacramental texts as soon as possible. The evidence further shows that those same Bishops, in union with the Roman Pontiff and his successors, oversaw the implementation of that revision. Was it accomplished with perfection? Nothing done by humans is. Was the 1998 translation a significant improvement on the 1973 translation. It surely was. The latter’s rejection by the head of the CDW–totally untrained in Liturgical theology–led to LA and the fiasco of 2010. All of this is proof that while the gates of hell will never prevail against the church, its officials are perfectly capable of messing things up royally.

    1. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #18:

      I heartily agree. It’s a painful example of a royal misuse of curial power, aided and abetted by the apparent cowardice of several episcopal conferences, who should have had some advance sense of how badly this translation would work in local parishes — and should have strongly urged Rome to pause before imposing this gauche set of texts. (That sentence is about the average length in the new translation!)

  16. I think the most grating part of the solemn blessing is the deacon’s curt “BOW DOWN FOR THE BLESSING!” I think the Latin Inclináte vos ad benedíctionem could have been handled a bit more gracefully than that, even at the expense of straight-up literalism. It sounds a bit comical to me. “Bow your heads for the blessing” at least would be an improvement.

  17. Bow your heads and pray for God’s Blessing is even better. That’s what we said for forty years and it worked beautifully. That’s what we still say here, since the deacon doesn’t have the missal in front of them and is used to what they should say.

    1. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #20:
      Yes, “Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing” sounds so much better sung, as well.

      I continue to hear quiet adaptations — inadvertent or deliberate — as with Jack’s deacon. “For many” often turns into “for the many”. The invitation to the Lord’s prayer is often shortened from the clumsy and stilted “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say…” In most cases I don’t think this is planned disobedience. It just happens.

      If I could change only one thing in the new translation, it would be to break up the long sentences. For the sake of obedience if nothing else I can live with “for many”, “and with your spirit”, “consubstantial” etc. But English simply doesn’t work with huge sentences and multiply subordinated clauses. Not casual English, not oratorical English, not educated English. There is no point in aping the sentence structure of the Latin, especially given that punctuation is a relatively modern addition to the texts.

      1. @Jonathan Day – comment #25:

        Jonathan: I continue to hear quiet adaptations — inadvertent or deliberate — as with Jack’s deacon. “For many” often turns into “for the many”. The invitation to the Lord’s prayer is often shortened from the clumsy and stilted “At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say…” In most cases I don’t think this is planned disobedience. It just happens.

        While I agree that some adaptations, such as for the new translation of praeceptis salutaribus moniti … (the invitation the Lord’s Prayer) are of no real consequence, I am extremely concerned about the modification of the consecration of the wine. pro multis (for many) is an essential part of the consecratory formula. The insertion of “the”, as in “for the many”, inherently changes the apostolic formula. The insertion of an article is unwarranted, for Greek (for example) does not contain an article for ὑπὲρ πολλῶν. For example:

        Greek recension of the Byzantine liturgy:
        τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ αἷμά μου, τὸ τῆς καινῆς Διαθήκης, τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν καὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυνόμενον, εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.

        αἷμά (blood) is inherently neuter. The neuter nominative singular particle τὸ adds emphasis and ensures that every subsequent relative clause starts with τὸ as to link each clause with αἷμά. The article τὸ is not the article for πολλῶν, as πολλῶν is encapsulated in a prepositional phrase and is genitive plural in any event. The translation for ὑπὲρ πολλῶν is clearly not “for the many”, but simply “for many”.

        Latin of the Roman Mass:
        hic est enim calix Sanguinis mei novi et aeterni testamenti, qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum.

        The qui of qui pro vobis et pro multis clearly refers to calix. qui is not a pseudo article for pro multis, again a prepositional phrase. The absence of any possible definite article for ὑπὲρ πολλῶν in Greek Byzantine recension strongly suggests that there is no warrant to infer an definite article into an English translation of the Latin.

        —-

        Again, I agree that many priests might unconsciously add a definite article to pro multis. Yet, this very slight change certainly challenges the integrity of the consecration formula. It would be better to hope that one day priests would be able to secure an indult to use the Sacramentary eucharistic prayers. If that is not possible, perhaps it would be better to say the consecration of the bread and wine in Latin. The integrity of the consecration takes precedence over the construct of assembly and its immediate auditory understanding of the words of the eucharistic prayer.

      2. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #32:

        Jordan, I think you would need to go back not to the Latin or Greek but to the Semitic languages, whose experts tell us that the concept of “many” is equivalent to “all”. In other words, the Latin and Greek themselves are erroneous translations of the concept as understood in earlier tongues. What we are doing in the latest English version is therefore compounding the error.

        The French have for many years been saying la multitude at this point in the rite, which can easily be rendered into English as “the many”. I have come across more than a few priests who continue to say “all”, regardless of what is in the Missal.

      3. @Paul Inwood – comment #36:
        So first-generation Christians (who I presume were familiar with Semitic languages as well as Greek) made this significant error in translating the sentiment of the reported words of Jesus at the Last Supper?

        Does the Semitic “many” always means “all”?

      4. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #42:

        I might also note that no English translation of the Bible uses the word “all” for pollōn in the words of institution: they all (!) use “many”. The only exception to this I can find is the Bible in Basic English, which has “This is my blood of the testament, which is given for men” at Mark 14:26; still no sign of “all”, though.

        And I don’t recall this rendering of pollōn as “many” in the Gospel institution narratives ever having been a particular problem, so why there’s all this fuss over what is effectively the same text in the Missal, I don’t know. I have to say, the difference between the Bible/Lectionary and 1973 Missal translations in this regard was always very jarring for me, particularly on Palm Sunday, so I’m very happy this has now been fixed.

      5. @Matthew Hazell – comment #51:
        Yes, I’ve noted the universality of “many” in the English Last Supper narratives before. I don’t understand why it is acceptable (isn’t it?) when read in the Bible, but scandalous when heard in the synthesized institution narratives of the Eucharistic Prayer.

      6. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #32:
        Jordan, as you correctly said here, the qui refers not to calix but to sanguis (here in the genitive) — it is the precious blood of Christ that will be poured out, not the cup. No metonymy here.

        I have never seen anyone claim that qui is a “pseudo article”. Rather, the claim is that “for the many” better conveys the sense (connotative rather than grammatical) of multis. I agree with this. Too many people read “for many” as “for we happy few”. I have heard a traditionalist blogger claim that “for many” implies that people like Nancy Pelosi should be excluded from the eucharist.

        Given that the French have said “for the many” and we, for 40 some years, have said “for all”, I don’t see how saying “for the many” could possibly threaten “the integrity of the consecration”.

        I do think that adding “the” raises an issue of church discipline and of the right of the faithful to the text and rite they expect. All sort of moves put that right at risk: adding “the” before “many”, priestly improvisation around the prayers, adding Tridentine elements to the normative rite. The right of the faithful to a predictable Mass is relative and ends up being balanced against all sorts of other concerns.

      7. @Jonathan Day – comment #37:

        Jordan, as you correctly said here, the qui refers not to calix but to sanguis (here in the genitive) — it is the precious blood of Christ that will be poured out, not the cup. No metonymy here.

        Quite true. Thank you for noting this. My previous analysis from the NT was better. The antecedent of the relative clause is clearer in the Greek than in the Latin in any event.

        I do think that adding “the” raises an issue of church discipline and of the right of the faithful to the text and rite they expect. All sort of moves put that right at risk: adding “the” before “many”, priestly improvisation around the prayers, adding Tridentine elements to the normative rite. The right of the faithful to a predictable Mass is relative and ends up being balanced against all sorts of other concerns.

        That is a fair point. An assembly or congregation has a right to a certain licit liturgical standard that has been agreed upon by consensus and is consistently practiced. Those who attend Brompton Oratory for Mass expect and receive ad orientem worship.

        Yet, all liturgy contains a level of opacity which transcends affective and subjective evaluations. “Opacity” here refers to the idea that certain translations, such as “for many” for pro multis, should not be changed merely because the translation appears discriminatory when it is actually not discriminatory in any sense, and especially a Jansenistic or exclusionary sense. pro multis contains a meaning which is difficult to understand at first, but contains its own consistent and orthodox logic. I believe it unwise to change prayers, or paraphrase prayers, just because many people cannot immediately apprehend the meaning of a prayer.

        All of us struggle to understand Holy Mass, and most of us will die not knowing most of its intrinsic meaning.

  18. Bill, I think a lot of otherwise good Catholics have been fed innuendo, rumor, and gossip from many otherwise revered internet sources for many years. I’m not as quick to condemn what people may be parroting from other sources. That said, I’d say a lot of embittered individuals and organizations do bear the responsibility for the mean spirit they conspire to pass on in the name of self-promotion.

  19. Hello Bill,

    Exactly which remarks of mine did you think qualified as “barely disguised innuendo, rumor, and gossip?”

    1. @Richard Malcolm – comment #24:
      Very simple but echoing Paul Inwood’s post, you don’t even realize what you are saying:

      “I really do think many in ICEL weren’t really in any hurry to replace the “transitional” translation.”

      And you know this how? Can you even name someone who was a member of ICEL? And if so, can you tell us anything about that person, his/her interests, values, participation and contributions to ICEL, etc. Shooting from the hip and you put a bullet into your own foot.

  20. Jonathan, I very much appreciate your “There is no point in aping the sentence structure of the Latin, especially given that punctuation is a relatively modern addition to the texts.”

    In prayer, these immoderately long hyper-sentences don’t accomplish the communication of thoughts, concepts, or beliefs. It is the most serious weakness of the new translation.

  21. For insights into the differences between the pre-Conciliar Roman MIssal Fr Patrick Regan OSB’s “Advent to Pentecost – Comparing the Seasons in the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite”, (A Pueblo Book/The Liturgical Press, 2012), pg 43-75 gives excellent coverage. Reading Richard Malcolm’s comment makes me suspect that either he was using secondary sources or failed to acquaint himself with the fact that there is more than one edition of the Gelasian Sacramentary. And it should be noted there has been a shift in the understanding of the position and role of the various Eucharists that can be celebrated on December 24th, a point also covered by Fr Regan.
    Once more Jonathan Day made some very valuable and worthwhile comments. All the liturgies I participated in on December 24th and December 25 were in Japanese, reviewing the texts as quoted by Jonathan Day from RM3, I am glad I didn’t have to proclaim any of them; my usual cross-cultural community with whom I celebrate the Eucharist in English, the vast majority of whom don’t claim English as a first language, wouldn’t have gained much nourishment for their own prayer life from the present translation.

  22. Jordan, I have come to read your comments with great interest and respect. I am taken aback, however, with your concern about adding “the” before “many” in the consecratory prayer. While doing so may violate liturgical law it would in no way affect the validity of the consecration. Nor would continuing to say “all” render it invalid. Christ did shed his blood for all, for many, and for the many. Thus each of these words or phrases reflects the integrity of the church’s faith. It is another question entirely, in my view, as to the prudence of varying the words. I do believe, however, that what can be done with permission can be done without.

  23. The problem with the English translation of the new Roman Missal is that the language used isn’t English. The syntax isn’t English. The vocabulary isn’t English. It’s all Latinate!
    Which makes it very difficult for native English speakers to say, pronounce, enunciate, proclaim or sing.
    In addition the old music doesn’t match the rhythm of the English used in the new transl, and it’s very difficult to compose new music for the incorrect rhythm of the English used.
    Plus this bit of changing all the English texts imposed a HUGE financial burden on the entire English speaking world:
    New altar books.
    Newly composed Masses, psalms, antiphons, hymns.
    New misalettes for the congr.
    New Hymn books and Mass books for the choirs.
    New Accompaniment books for the organists.
    New liturgy instruction classes for church workers and school teachers.
    ad infinitum……

    a liturgical musician

  24. Why would “the integrity of the consecration” take precedence over “the construct of assembly and its immediate auditory understanding”? How does the consecration have any integrity apart from “the construct of assembly and its immediate auditory understanding”?

    What mechanism do you see operating here? Isn’t it rooted in the faith of the Church rather than in the text?

  25. More of the same grinchness –
    To me, al the New Translation Prayers given above are far superior to the ICEL in style, interesting syntax, vocabulary, even rhythm, heft, and they certainly more closely convey the Latin of which they are supposed to be translations. The ICEL, as always, is ‘Dick and Jane English’, is so stylless as to be a shabby, insultingly presumptuous bore. It’s so infantile that it seems like it must surely be a joke. No. The New Translation is the better translation, the better vehicle for prayer and worship, the more worthy of God, and the most complementary and edifying to his people. There are, though, some things wrong with it: as I’ve said elsewhere, it doesn’t do what it set out to with genuine MASTERY, superior rhythm and grace: and some words are mis-used while other interesting, perhaps better, ones were overlooked. These are its shortcomings – not (ipso facto) complex syntax, unsusual words, Latinisms, etc. One has the impression that those responsible thought that they were being XXI. century Cramners. Unfortunaely, we shall have to wait for someone else successfully to fulfill this glaring need.

    Perhaps a little charity is in order: People have been using a third grade dynamic equivalency for 40 years (without, astonishingly, batting an eye!), so it may not be surprising that, when faced with real English (or something close to it) they complain that IT is the problem, not THAT from which they came.

    1. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #35:
      MJO, what English-language writers do you most admire for prose or poetic style?

      I ask the question in an attempt to get beyond the back-and-forth exchanges about the quality of writing in the 1973 and new translations. If we could agree on few a well-known writers as standards for quality, we might be able to progress what has become a sterile discussion.

  26. Certainly the 1998 translation would have been a vast improvement over the 1973 one; but it was far from perfect and there would be those complaining about it too, especially its unnecessary imprecision in translating key passages of the Latin in a more literal way.
    But as someone above already said, most laity and generally most clergy didn’t complain about the 1973 translation as poor and supposedly “transitional” as it was. However, over the years, there were minor adjustments made to it. I suspect that with the current revised English translation, a few adjustments will be made to it as well with punctuation, reducing the sporadic clunkiness and perhaps marking it for the priest to chant more easily. But for those who truly appreciate the 2012 translation and could care little about the politics behind it, which would be about 99.9% of English speaking Catholics who could care less about the politics, wouldn’t it be more constructive to join those who seem to have their finger on the pulse of true liturgical renewal and offer positive, modest suggestions for an improved 2012 translation. Let’s face it over 70% of Catholics appreciate this new translation and want to move on to being Catholic not complaining about the politics of translation or the translation itself since this is now water under the bridge.
    Finally, most people when speaking English do not speak it emphasizing punctuation and many who teach lectors to proclaim the Scriptures ask that they avoid emphasizing commas and periods and speak the text naturally, as though they were speaking it. Our orations are meant to be spoken to God, rather I should say, chanted to God and I find the current translation when chanted is quite lovely.

  27. Once again it is the theology of the Roman Missal that underscores many objections to the translation. This is made clear in the final comments in the original post where it is lamented that the RM is “reminding us that we are unworthy and in need of salvation”. On that note it is instructive to look at just what parts of the original RM the “73 translation omitted. For example, in the offertory prayer “joining our lives to his” is not the same thing as “being found in likeness” with our “natures united to his” because the new translation seems to emphasize the pursuit of holiness that brings this likeness about. In the “73 preface: where is “duty” and “salvation” ? “All-powerful” is similar to “almighty” but leaves out God’s eternal nature. Why does “73 typically avoid words like “duty” & “salvation”? The new preface III is actually more clear to me than the earlier version because “man restores to man” requires signficant explaination. It could even be interpreted in a pelagian way. We don’t see that same ambiguity in the new preface. The “honerable way of life” by which we become “worthy” in the postcommunion tends toward the pursuit of holiness mentioned above and is also more personally demanding than the somewhat vague admonition of “living as he taught”. In the solemn blessing “scatter(ing) the darkness” is not the same thing as “driv(ing) the darkness from this world”, “filling our minds with gladness” is different than “filling us with joy” because the former is more specific. The latter has a hackneyed quality. “Fellowship with the heavenly host” is not the same as “sharers with the Church in heaven” because with the latter we get the image of the whole Church triumphant whereas the former makes one think primarily of the angelic choirs.
    People occasionally mention the 98 translation. It would be interesting for someone to discuss 1998 in conjunction with its various elements including its pointed modifications to the rubrics and use of inclusive language.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #41:
      For the sake of comparison, here are the 1998 propers for the Mass of the Lord’s Nativity during the Night:

      Collect
      God our Creator,
      who made this most holy night radiant
      with the splendour of the one true light,
      grant in your mercy
      that, as we celebrate on earth the mystery of that light,
      we may also rejoice in its fullness in heaven.

      Over the Offerings
      Accept our offerings, Lord God, on this festive night,
      that through this holy exchange
      we may become like Christ,
      in whom our nature is united to your Godhead.

      Preface III
      It is truly right and just,
      our duty and our salvation,
      always and everywhere to give you thanks,
      holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
      through Jesus Christ our Lord.
      Through him the marvellous exchange that brings our redemption
      is revealed this day in all its splendour.
      When your eternal Word assumes human frailty,
      our mortal nature takes on immortal value.
      More wonderfully still,
      this union between God and ourselves
      makes us sharers in eternal life.
      And so we join the multitude of angels
      in their joyful chorus of praise:

      Post-communion
      Accept our offerings, Lord God, on this festive night,
      that through this holy exchange
      we may become like Christ,
      in whom our nature is united to your Godhead.

      Solemn Blessing
      Bow your heads for God’s blessing.
      Through the incarnation of his Son
      God has scattered the darkness of the world,
      and by Christ’s glorious birth,
      which angels announced to the shepherds,
      has brightened this most holy day [night].
      May the God of infinite goodness banish the darkness
      of sin from your hearts
      and make them radiant with the light of goodness. (Amen.)
      May God fill you with the joy of the shepherds
      and make you heralds of the gospel. (Amen.)
      May the God who joins heaven and earth
      fill you with peace and goodwill
      and unite you in fellowship with the Church in heaven. (Amen.)

      1. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #44:
        Wrong prayer for the Post-Communion; it should have been:

        Post-communion
        Lord our God,
        we celebrate with joy the birth of our Redeemer.
        Grant that through worthy and holy lives
        we may be welcomed into his glorious company for ever.

  28. Thank you, Jeffrey! A very helpful contribution to the discussion.

    The 1998 avoids so many of the solecisms that plague the 2011, and it takes gentle liberties with the Latin in order to produce genuine English. For instance, it is difficult to use a vocative “O” in English without sounding affected or theatrical (“O King, may you live forever”). Yet beginning a sentence with “God” comes across as abrupt.

    The 1998 also speaks to a question that Samuel raised above: why “sin” rather than “vice” in the solemn blessing? I can think of two reasons: first, vitiorum is plural; a literal reading is “drive from you the darknesses of your vices”. But that raises the question: which vices? “Sin” is comprehensive without needing enumeration.

    The second is that the 1998 and 1973 translators had an ear for connotations at multiple levels — perhaps because they were native English speakers, which doesn’t seem to be the case for the 2011 group. Both “virtue” and “vice” have potentially ironic or even comic overtones in English. We may not like this, but it has to be reckoned with in a translation. And it is nothing new: the anti-heroine of Henry Fielding’s Shamela (1741) writes to her mother, saying “I thought once of making a little fortune by my person. I now intend to make a great one by my vartue.”

  29. Allan, you greatly exaggerate the data pointing to 70% of the faithful happy with the new translation. First of all, there is no present way of determining how much of that translation they are actually hearing beyond the new responses. Lots of priests are continuing to use EP’s they have long ago memorized, or perhaps a hybrid version. Lots of priests are editing the other texts on the fly so they make more sense. Others are using some of the 1998 texts which are readily available. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more than a few priests just using the 1973 sacramentary until the temple police catch up with them.

    Also, it needs to be noted that Catholics who attend Mass regularly are notably compliant about what goes on during Mass. They weren’t given a choice, nor asked for input. They were taught the new responses and were told this is the way it is going to be. It would be futile for them to express much criticism over that which they are powerless. Just think of the compliance of your folks in Georgia. You’ve introduced modifications which at least some of them like. I presume you’re aware that the people who absent themselves from Masses containing your changes are not in approval.

    I wish you every blessing in the New Year!

    1. @Fr. Jack Feehily – comment #46:
      Fr. Jack,

      I agree with your point about compliance but would only add that it was a factor in 1970 as well. In fact, it was much more of a factor then than it is today. As you suggest, continued attendance at Mass does not necessarily equate to approval and that was also true in 1970. To your point about people absenting themselves being in disapproval of the new translation we also have to admit that the much greater drop off in Mass attendance after 1970 did not indicate approval of the post conciliar ICEL translation or reform either.

  30. It would be interesting to revisit the tug-of-war between the US and English bishops over translation issues in the former incarnation of ICEL. I believe the funeral rites and the canon were two good examples of this debate.
    We know that the end result was some variance between the translation used in the US and the British Isles prior to the contemporary reform. I wonder if Jeffrey has access to the modifications to the rites included in the 1998 version? This area was among those singled out for criticism when 1998 was rejected.

    1. @Daniel McKernan – comment #47:
      The real tugs were coming from the CDWDS. They need one English version to act as a basis for translating languages for which there is little or no competence with a Latin interface.

      Otherwise, what’s the problem with having different English versions?

  31. Daniel McKernan : It would be interesting to revisit the tug-of-war between the US and English bishops over translation issues in the former incarnation of ICEL. I believe the funeral rites and the canon were two good examples of this debate. We know that the end result was some variance between the translation used in the US and the British Isles prior to the contemporary reform. I wonder if Jeffrey has access to the modifications to the rites included in the 1998 version? This area was among those singled out for criticism when 1998 was rejected.

    Well, the differences were not between the US and UK bishops, but between the UK bishops and ICEL. They focused primarily on the Creed: four instances, in fact, where the UK version differed from ICEL. The major at issue was the ICEL/US “one in being with the Father”. The UK had “of one being with the Father”, which is of course correct, whereas “one in being” is not. The result of the ICEL/ICET/US error was that we are all now condemned to enduring “consubstantial”, which means precisely nothing to the average person in the pew. They may be professing something, but they don’t know what it is. It would have been simple to change the rest of the world to the UK version, but no. Nothing so easy.

    The canon of the Mass was not an issue, except for the phrase “bread and wine” versus “one bread and one cup” [sic].

    The funeral rites were not an issue either. The UK rites came out years ago because it was simply too long to wait for the “international” version.

    Daniel might also have mentioned the marriage rite. The main issue here was the question of the exchange of consent, which came up against the problems of civil validity. In the end, an Act of Parliament had to be passed to enable Catholics consent without contracting a marriage invalid in civil law. The latest ICEL green book revision of the marriage rite is going to jeopardize all this work.

  32. Why not just imitate Cranmer? If we did, here’s what it would sound like:

    O God, who hast made this most holy night to shine with the radiance of the true Light, grant, we beseech thee, that as we have known the mystery of that Light upon earth, so may we also perfectly enjoy him in heaven, where with thee and the Holy Ghost he liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting.

    May the oblation of today’s festival be pleasing unto thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, that through this most holy exchange, we may come to share in the divinity of him who hath joined our nature unto thee, who liveth and reigneth world without end.

    It is very meet and right, our bounden duty and the increase of our salvation that we should, at all times and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, holy Father, almighty and everlasting God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom the exchange which hath wrought our salvation hath shown forth, for when thy uncreated Word took upon him the nature of mortal men doomed to die, our human weakness did not merely pass over to honour everlasting, but was also rendered immortal by his glorious participation in it.

    Grant unto us, we beseech thee, O Lord our God, that we who rejoice to celebrate the birth of our Redeemer, may with godly conduct be worthy to attain unto his glorious kingdom.

    May the God of infinite goodness, who hath scattered the darkness of the world by the incarnation of his Son and by his glorious birth hath shown upon this most holy night, banish from you the darkness of vice and shine upon your hearts by the light of virtue. And may he who willed that the great joy of his life-giving birth be announced to the shepherds by an Angel, fill your minds with his joy and make you heralds of his Gospel. And may he who through his Incarnation hath joined together the earthly with the heavenly fill you with the gift of his peace and of good will, and make you sharers of the Church in heaven. And may the blessing of almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy…

    1. @Luke DeWeese – comment #53:
      Verily, such words have a life of their own. Such is the hallmark of literary art. When one rides upon rhythm and pulse, and encounters imagery and pungent style, and intellectual converse, one doesn’t notice the number of words in a sentence (who cares!) or that (EEK!) this is imposed Latin syntax (schreek! shreek!), or (dear! dear!) here are some uncommon words; and on and on. What intelligent and literate person is there who does not delight in these things.???

    2. @Luke DeWeese – comment #53:

      Why not just imitate Cranmer?

      Quite simply because we don’t speak like that any longer. The language has moved on in the four and a half centuries since his time. There is no virtue in being artificially archaic, and Cranmer in 1549/1552 is no more sacred than the Missal of 1570. Both were of their time, and that time is not now.

      1. @Paul Inwood – comment #56:
        There’s a deeper reason, Paul: it is a shocking insult to Cranmer.

        He would never have written doggerel like the prayers Luke cited — especially the last last four prayers. He would have sniffed at the Collect, but at least it’s somewhat more in his style. The last four are ugly pastiche.

        Cranmer was a master of English prose; you could make a strong case that he was the true originator of modern style. His contemporaries tended to ape Latin style and write in cascading Ciceronian sentences. Cranmer started out doing just that, but his writing shifted over the course of his life. It became earthier and more direct. The Prayer Book was influenced by the more homely tone of Tyndale’s Bible translation.

        What is more, Cranmer’s liturgical prose is subtle in its art, filled with amazing rhythms and beautiful internal rhymes. The beauty of the Prayer Book has nothing to do with “imposed Latin syntax” or “uncommon words”. A great deal of his skill lay in using simple, homely words. Some of the most memorable language of the Prayer Book is earthy, pithy (CS Lewis), even cosy:

        O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works do proceed: Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that by thee we being defended from the fear of our enemies may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

        This is far from the sprawling, clumsy Latinate prose of the Douay-Rheims Bible or of the 2011 Mass translation.

        I am confident that, of the three translations we have discussed here, Cranmer would have preferred the 1998; he would have found the 1973 a very close second, perhaps preferring some of its simpler sentences.

        He would have entirely rejected the 2011 translation.

      2. @Jonathan Day – comment #57:
        I think the modern ear might find “… that both our hearts may be set to obey thy commandments, and also that…” a bit curious.

        1. The “that both … and also that” construction seems (to me) unnecessarily redundant (“both”, “and”, “also” — one too many there?).

        2. That same construction is chiasmatic (“that both” … “also that”), and the different location of “that” in the two clauses (before “both” in the first, after “also” in the second) grates on my ears, in the same way that mixing verb tenses or conjugations would. Either use “that both X … and (also) Y” or use “both that X … and (also) that Y”. You can think about it mathematically: “both (that X and that Y)” = “that both (X and Y)”.

        3. Finally, the juxtaposition of “both” and “our hearts” sounds like I have two hearts that I pray are set to obey God’s commandments.

      3. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #75:
        Jeff–I hear or pray this prayer almost every day, and never thought “that both” and “and also that we” are redundant or mean that we have two hearts, any more than I’d think “that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His body and our souls washed through His most precious blood” means that His Body cleanses only our bodies and His Blood cleanses only our souls. It may be a different way of speaking to modern English speakers ears, but it’s not unintelligible. The whole point of having everything said out loud and in the vernacular was so that people would listen and comprehend, correct? Sounds like no matter what the translation, the hearing is probably there, but the comprehension just isn’t happening.

  33. Excellent observations from Jonathan as usual. The detailed analysis exposes the flaws clearly and the defender of the new translation merely fall back on generic utterances. It is notable that the new translations show up so badly even in comparison with the much-maligned 1973 texts (no need to invoke the 1998 alternatives this time).

    Even flawlessly literal translations such as “we, too, are made eternal” grate on the modern Christian ear.

  34. “When one rides upon rhythm and pulse, and encounters imagery and pungent style, and intellectual converse, one doesn’t notice the number of words in a sentence (who cares!) or that (EEK!) this is imposed Latin syntax (schreek! shreek!), or (dear! dear!) here are some uncommon words; and on and on. What intelligent and literate person is there who does not delight in these things.???”

    To the non-native ear heavy and turgid English can sound elegant, but as Jonathan points out, the subtle rhythm of good English, as in the quoted prqyer from Cranmer, is free of the cancer of “sprawling, clumsy Latinate prose”.

  35. The brutality of the assault incurred by the imposition of the Vox Clara 2010 transliteration becomes even more painful as the initial shock wears off and the naked ugliness of the product becomes even more overwhelming. As presider I am profoundly embarrassed by the words that are like “wormwood in my mouth.”

    I appreciate this article very much, but why are we still hashing this over? We already know we’re dealing with a miserable piece of tripe . . . this rubs salt in the wounds.

    1. @Fr. Jim Blue – comment #59:
      Well Fr. Jim, you can always celebrate in Latin instead or revert to Latin whenever the particular words and phrases you find to be “tripe” appear.
      Some celebrants & laity found the 1973 translation an unpleasant transition from the fuller English version found in the 1965 missal.

    2. @Fr. Jim Blue – comment #59:
      Fr Jim, I agree with everything you’ve said here. I had second and third thoughts before posting the piece — I had actually sketched it in my head a year ago at Christmas, then set it aside.

      I thought it worth posting, though, to make three points.

      First, that there is no such thing as a single “most accurate” translation. In particular, the prayers at the midnight Mass are pastorally “inaccurate” in many ways.

      Second, that the prayers at this particular Mass are unusually ugly. Neither the structure nor the vocabulary gives them a beautiful or sacral character. That is deeply unfortunate given both the importance of the occasion and the presence of “Christmas Catholics”. If I were prime minister, we would have the prayers in Latin, providing the congregation with a parallel 1998 translation, clearly marked FOR COMPREHENSION RATHER THAN LITURGICAL USE.

      Third, that we can accept and live with the new translation, but we should not slip into complacency about it or forget what a botch it was. Constant complaining makes no sense, but it is not a bad idea to remind ourselves of the severity of this error once in awhile. As Todd notes, it might lead to a better outcome the next time round.

      Those who were upset by the suppression of the Tridentine Mass maintained a constant protest movement — sometimes a rather noisy one. Those of us who have been upset by the pig that is the new translation might want to do the same, perhaps in a quieter manner, but in an equally persistent one.

      That was my point in the post — certainly not to rub salt in the wounds.

  36. “I appreciate this article very much, but why are we still hashing this over? We already know we’re dealing with a miserable piece of tripe . . . this rubs salt in the wounds.”

    And further, this does great damage to the Church’s unity in a way 1973 never did. This has aligned people, some more vociferously, and others with some regret, into two camps: reformers and recoverers. This one is on Pope Benedict–unity is his responsibility.

    I think we keep at it. Perhaps the other rites in English will be spared. When’s the next serving of salt tripe?

  37. Fr. Jim Blue : I am profoundly embarrassed by the words that are like “wormwood in my mouth.”

    Jim – embarrassed, yes and more so… I am dazed too that the intitutional Church could be so stubbornly dumb in thinking this translation method an improvement, when so clearly it is not. I feel like a dissapointed adolescent who has realised his parents aren’t as smart as he thought and don’t always know better. The challenge is how to continue to love them without humiliating them or ignoring them when they’re being stupid.

  38. “I feel like an adolescent who has realized his parents aren’t as smart as he thought and don’t always know better.” – or a more accurate analogy would be an adolescent who finds out his mother or father has been having an affair, cheating on the entire family while spending the kid’s college fund for gambling and carousing.

    This is much more of an atrocity than simply being “not smart.” It’s turning V2 into bait-and-switch.

  39. “Well Fr. Jim, you can always celebrate in Latin instead or revert to Latin whenever the particular words and phrases you find to be “tripe” appear.”

    Unlike the current power hoarders among hierarchs I am not convinced that the institution can be saved by our burying our collective heads in the sands of 1950’s piety. And for me to inflict Latin on the parishioners would be as vile as the imposition of the VC2010 upon the English-speaking church at large.

  40. Of course, Jonathan, I take no offense and that all makes sense to me.

    With regard to the Tridentine Mass I don’t think it was the constant protest movement but the gathering awareness of various hirearchs that the T.M. would provide a parallel revenue stream; more than anything else the T.M. seems to be a profit center, and I think that is what is behind the current deplorable state of relaxation regarding the unreformed liturgy. A classmate of mine became pastor of a church with a T.M. and he said he could never correct that because it brought in so much money.

    1. @Fr. Jim Blue – comment #66:

      With regard to the Tridentine Mass I don’t think it was the constant protest movement but the gathering awareness of various hirearchs that the T.M. would provide a parallel revenue stream; more than anything else the T.M. seems to be a profit center, and I think that is what is behind the current deplorable state of relaxation regarding the unreformed liturgy. A classmate of mine became pastor of a church with a T.M. and he said he could never correct that because it brought in so much money.

      While it may be true that the EF is a “profit center” in a few places (including your classmate’s parish), I would find it hard to believe that this is the case in many or even most places. Certainly, the way that it was treated under the indult system that existed 1984-2007 would not suggest so — bishops who see something as a “profit center” would hardly want to place it in shabby churches on the fringes of the diocese or in bad parts of town, nor would they prefer to exile it to the city’s cemetery chapel (just for a few examples that I am aware of).

  41. This thread seems to have wandered far and wide, but let me make a few comments on the Midnight Mass texts.

    Firstly, ‘the true light’ in the Collect is a direct quotation from John 1,9. The new translation of the Missal makes clearer the links between Scripture and the Liturgy. The 1998 version had ‘the one true light’ – clearer and more forceful, perhaps, but less scriptural.

    Secondly, if ‘oblation’ were not used in the translation of the Missal as a whole, ‘sacrifice’ would inevitably be overused. Latin has ‘sacrificium’, ‘hostia’ and ‘oblatio’ for ‘sacrifice’, and translators aimed at a similar variety of vocabulary, encouraged by Liturgiam authenticam 51.

    Thirdly, ‘commercium’ occurs in the Prayer over the Offerings and the Preface, referring to the Incarnation. It is more often used to refer to the eucharistic elements, so its use here suggests a parallel between God’s transformation of bread and wine and, by means of the Incarnation, of human nature. This seems worth preserving.

    Finally, if the rhetoric of the Solemn Blessings appears contrived, it is not nearly so contrived as that of the Latin originals. These texts were originally composed to be sung by bishops, and to impress. In them, sound is no less important than sense. In my judgement, their importation into the 1970 Missal was a mistake, and I am glad that they are optional.

    It is easy to criticise the rendering of a single word or phrase, but such criticism has limited force unless accompanied by an alternative version of the whole text in which the word or phrase occurs.

    And the real challenge is to translate the entire book.

    1. @Mgr Bruce Harbert – comment #68:
      Thank you, Mgr Harbert, both for bringing the discussion back onto topic and for your comments.

      I think we might usefully discuss how closely a Mass text needs to resemble the biblical text to be “scriptural”. In my view the translation of Domine, non sum dignus was just as “scriptural” in the 1973 as in the current version. And “the one true light” speaks of John 1.9 as clearly as “the true light”, especially given that the scripture reaches us in translation anyway.

      LA 51 calls for “variety” rather than direct correspondence or mimicry (oblatio = “oblation”) and you seem to be making the same point. English typically has a rich and wide vocabulary, but perhaps it is limited here. Without extensive digging, I assembled the following list: gift, offering, sacrifice, gifts we offer, gifts we present, gifts we have presented (captures the perfect tense implicit in ‘oblation’), gifts we have offered. Several of these require more than one word. Does anything in LA require a single Latin word to map to a single vernacular word?

      On the issue of rendering a single word with a single word: given the semantic complexity of commercium, would it not be better to expand on ‘exchange’ or ‘holy exchange’? I hesitate to make the suggestion, because I don’t know how best to expand it.

      Finally, on the solemn blessings — well, they are supposed to be solemn. It makes sense for them to be optional; they seem apropos for a grand parish Mass more than for a weekday “said” celebration. Nonetheless I don’t see why the long first blessing could not be broken up a bit. It wouldn’t lose solemnity. It wouldn’t even lose Latinity. Is there another LA principle that forbids this?

      I am grateful for your contributions here, and for the way you respond to criticisms of your work in such an open and non-polemical way.

      1. @Jonathan Day – comment #71:
        Does anything in LA require a single Latin word to map to a single vernacular word?

        Nope; just the opposite, at least in certain circumstances:

        53. Whenever a particular Latin term has a rich meaning that is difficult to render into a modern language … various solutions may be employed in the translations, whether the term be translated by a single vernacular word or by several, or by the coining of a new word, or perhaps by the adaptation or transcription of the same term into a language or alphabet that is different from the original text (cf. above, n. 21), or the use of an already existing word which may bear various meanings.

        That was all I could find, searching for particular keywords related to this question.

      2. @Jonathan Day – comment #71:
        In response to the question that Jonathan raises about allusions to scripture, I looked up John 1:9 on Bible Gateway and did not find a single English version that said ‘the one true light’. I think Scripture scholars would judge that to be too forceful, too ‘in-your-face’ a version, containing too strong an interpretative element.
        A person translating for the liturgy might think it desirable to make the point more forcefully, especially since the quotation from scripture is so brief, and likely to be missed by many. That, I guess, was the origin of ‘one true light’ in the 1998 version. But this prayer will be heard many times in a lifetime. Points missed one year may be grasped the next. Moreover, the preacher will be able to point out the parallel between the scriptural and liturgical texts without explaining a difference between two translations.
        So one way of judging whether a liturgical translation can be called ‘scriptural’ is to ask whether it is likely to awaken in the hearer an awareness that scripture is being quoted.

  42. Thanks, Msgr….but the same sort of explanations and alignment to CLP could be and has been stated by the original ICEL members.

    And, yes, the real challenge is to translate the entire book.

    At least with 1973, ICEL has published and documented notes that reveal their choices and translation decisions – whether you agree with them or not.

    Some are judgment calls whatever the translation methods – Solemn Blessings. IMO, it was a good decision to revise and import into our liturgy.

  43. Apparently, the author’s call for universal charity does not extend to those who translated the new Missal. (It also doesn’t seem to extent to those who attend the Extraordinary Form). Fortunately, as the CARA survey shows, the people in the pews are quite happy with the new Missal.

  44. Hello Paul,

    Late in on this thread, and must admit that I am aghast at the unparalleled arrogance that Richard seems to show as he casually disses the world’s leading scholars who knew (and know) infinitely more about sources in the first millennium of the Church than he or I will ever know.

    …I personally am happy to trust the experts and accept their work, rather than parade my own miniscule-by-comparison knowledge in front of the world.

    And I am personally happy to trust generations of the Roman Rite’s liturgical tradition, formed by holy men (however apparently less credentialed than Archbishop Bugnini’s experts) and the Holy Spirit. I am personally happy not to treat the entire tradition of the Roman Rite after the early patristic period with a hermeneutic of suspicion.

    So are we to speak of “unparalleled arrogance?” Then let us speak of the unparalleled arrogance of a committee of liturgical experts who believed they had the right to treat the ancient rite of the Latin Church as an exercise in personal creativity, and then railroad Pope Paul VI into imposing it on the entire Roman Rite world as quickly as possible, with little chance for review or input by anyone outside. And let us speak of the unparalleled arrogance of such experts – and their apologists in the Diocese of Portsmouth and beyond – who believe that the letters after their name and the lengths of their c.v.’s gave them the right to assemble an entirely new missal, with threadbare justification of the practice of the ancient Church by cherrypicking (and the “Spirit” which can always be counted on to justify any new idea or experiment, so long as it is in accord with the spirit of the age) selected scraps of archaeological evidence.

    I don’t care if these experts could recite Hippolytus from memory -in Greek. Ancient prayers sanctified by the worship of dozens of generations cannot be set aside so easily.

    Your posts here have frequently been harsh and abusive, Paul, but this is a new low for you.

  45. Friends, can we not discuss revisions to the Latin and the Tridentine vs the Novus Ordo on one of the many threads focused on that issue? This one was supposed to be about the new translation, and specifically on the midnight Mass prayers. I have no authority to enforce this; I can only plead that we not let the issue take over this discussion.

  46. Hello Jonathan,

    For my own part – My apologies for having opened up (and continued down) this particular rabbit hole.

    I will save further comments on it for an appropriate thread.

  47. The hook in this post is the French priest anecdote, and the lead-in to the detailed analysis objects that the prayers of MR3 sound as if they were translated in “angry mode” by people whose English is “shaky”. Does the post make out these objections? Or are they just stale slurs masquerading as intelligent criticism?

    I use RM3 to refer to the English translation of the Missale Romanum (2002) and ICEL73 to refer to the translation used in Anglophone countries before Advent 2011.

    [A] The nearest we get to “angry” is that RM3, according to Mr. Day, “seems to play down” the theme of “joy”, reminding us that we “are unworthy and in need of salvation”.

    (1) “Seems to play down the theme of joy”. This is not made out. I can see that ICEL73 “played up” joy by inserting “joyful” in the prayer over the offerings (and by including “joy” in the optional preamble it inserted before the collect), but it doesn’t follow that RM3, by failing to play it up, was playing it down. RM3 rang the changes with “delight”, “gladness”, “gladdened”, “great joy”, and “gladness” whereas ICEL73 chose “joy”, “joy”, “joyful”, “rejoice”, “great joy”, and “rejoice”. It is excessive to condemn RM3 for down-playing joyfulness just because “joy” and its cognates are not over-played.

    (2) MR3 “[reminds] us that we are unworthy and in need of salvation”. The complaint here would appear to turn on (i) RM3 “vice” in place of ICEL73 “sin” in the Solemn Blessing ; and, possibly, (ii) in the fact that ICEL73 suppressed part of the Preface by giving “we do well” as a translation of “Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare” – an invariable formula in the Preface. Neither limb (i) nor limb (ii) singly or jointly justifies the objection.

  48. To complete, if I may, my examination of the validity of the prominent complaints identified at the end of the lead-in to Mr. Day’s post :

    [B] As to the use of language, I note these value judgements :- “bizarre”, “archaic”/”archaism” (3 instances), “unintelligible gabble”, “befuddle”, and “clumsy”. Of these, only “unintelligible gabble” indisputably signals “shaky English”. It is directed at the RM3 collect. If not mere abuse, it must be taken to assert (i) an excess of words (ii) signifying nothing.

    (i) The RM3 collect has 59 words as against the 53 of ICEL73. In part, the word-saving is achieved by ICEL73 using “and” where RM3 uses “in the unity of”. Quantity of words cannot be an issue here.

    (ii) Three phrases at most might give one pause :- (a) “O God, who have made this . . night radiant”; (b) “we who have known the mysteries of his light . .” ; and (c) “grant . . that we . . may delight in his gladness”. One pauses not because the English is shaky, however, but because (a) contains an unusual, although correct, use of the verb in the second person singular in a relative clause after a vocative (hardly an instance of bizarrerie – compare “Our Father, who art in Heaven”) ; and (b) and (c) express dense ideas, as to which, it may be Christmas, but that is no reason to unpack everything.

  49. Moving on, and staying with (not in) “angry mode”, it is Mr Day who seems to have succumbed to that temptation. Or is the reference to “the Liturgiam authenticam police” intended to be playful? It strikes a sour note and reads as a crude attempt to undermine citation of that Instruction (“hereafter “LA”).

    Mr Day’s analysis at least takes the Latin as the basis of discussion, but he offers no ratio translationis. It is all very well to say that “every translator makes choices”, but there self-evidently must be constraints. The core principle of “fidelity and exactness” as expounded in LA (“the translation of the liturgical texts . . is not so much a work of creative innovation as it is of rendering the original texts faithfully and accurately”, “integrally and in the most exact manner”, LA20) means, at least, that the translation be made “without omissions or additions”, “without paraphrases or glosses” (ibid.).

    Since the texts convey theological truths (as Mr Day concedes) and often quote or allude to Sacred Scripture (a point he does not advert to), these cannot be “unpacked” ad lib.(LA19, 26, 29). Still less modified in order to cater for people who come to Mass rarely (LA21 and 22 are a fortiori). Difficulties are not to be air-brushed out (ibid. 27); ambiguities are not to be resolved (ibid. 28, 32, 52)

    Why? Because the words of Sacred Scripture “as well as the other words spoken in liturgical celebrations, especially in the celebration of the Sacraments, are not intended primarily to be a sort of mirror of the interior dispositions of the faithful; rather, they express truths that transcend the limits of time and space” (ibid., 19).

    These are the essential reference points without which any discussion of the text of RM3 is mere self-indulgence.

  50. Resuming my analysis of Mr Day’s analysis:-

    [1] He berates RM3 for lack of fidelity to LA wherever he detects lack of literalness. But LA does not demand word-for-word translations (cf. LA21, 53). The use of “gladness” for “gaudiis”, “union” for “consorti[um]”, or “honourable way of life” for “dignis conversationibus” are very low-grade gotchas! anyway. See LA43 and 56 for the few occasions where literal translation is required.

    [2] He jibs at the translation in RM3 of a handful of words:-

    (fecisti) “Why . . necessary to use the perfect tense . .?”
    Perhaps because the aorist is not apt when the Incarnation is evoked as having just happened? In ICEL73’s Midnight Mass texts, I find present perfects in both entrance antiphons, in the opening verses of the reading from Isaiah, in the psalm response, in the opening words of the second reading, and in the Gospel acclamation. In the Mass at dawn, these iterated present perfects are absent.

    (gaudiis suis) “what is going on with “delight in his gladness”?”
    A frivolous objection.

    (oblatio) “The archaic “oblation” is perfectly poised to befuddle those who haven’t been to church in awhile” (sic).
    It’s not heard everyday – unless by daily Mass-goers – but men and women who are vowed oblates (and those in association with monasteries such as Fr. Ruff’s) live unarchaic lives. As of 1989 the OED did not anathematize it as “arch.”, “obs.” or even “rare”.

    (consortium) “Consortium is, more literally, “sharing” or even “partnership”.”
    Lexically it lies between “communio” (intimate union of mind and heart) and “societas” (an external association akin to a joint enterprise) but it seems unlikely any distinction is being drawn in the prayer. To my taste, “wondrous union” is more euphonious than ICEL73’s “marvellous oneness”.

    (dignis conversationibus) “Is this about receiving a knighthood?”
    A frivolous point.

  51. [3] Mr Day claims that ICEL73 trounces RM3 by “unpacking the theology”. This presumes : (a) the theology of Latin prayers ought to be unpacked in a translation, (b) ICEL73 successfully unpacked it, and (c) RM3 left it unpacked. Two instances are offered:-

    commercium:- “The 1973 rendering [of “commercium” in the Preface], unusually, is much longer than [RM3] because the translators took care to unpack and explain the concept.”

    In fact, ICEL73 is longer through unpacking “consortium” three times:- “God has become one with man and man has become one again with God” (note the present perfect tenses), and “this oneness between God and man”. Frankly, it was tedious ; and whatever else it was doing “oneness” did not translate “commercium nostrae reparationis “. Nor did “our communion with God” translate “haec sacrosancta commercia” (prayer over the offerings).

    forma . . substantia:- “This prayer also contains the complex theme of form and substance . . [RM3] offers neither clarity nor anything like a full rendering of the rich theology packed into this prayer.”

    RM3 “unpacked” to the extent of identifying Christ (“illius”) and expanding “tecum”. ICEL73 simply erred in its translation of “substantia” : in what sense, pray tell, did Christ join “our lives” to God’s ?

    [4] Mr Day celebrates ICEL73 as superior to RM3. Since a major argument is that it “unpacks” the theology, and since Mr Day signalled he is not interested in complaints of inaccuracy against ICEL73, just notice a few places where it jettisoned significant theology:-

    Collect:- cuis in terra mysteria lucis agnovimus
    Prayer over the offerings:- qui vivit et regnat
    Preface:- Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare /. . commercium nostrae reparationis
    Prayer after Communion:- qui vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum
    The Solemn Blessing:- [benedictio] descendat super vos et maneat semper

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