Alan Griffiths on Christmas Orations – UPDATED 1/5

by Alan Griffiths

The aproved translation of the post Communion oration for Wednesday in the weekdays of Christmas time reads as follows:

May your people, O Lord,
whom you guide and sustain in many ways,
experience, both now and in the future,
the remedies which you bestow,
that, with the needed solace of things that pass away,
they may strive with ever deepened trust for things eternal.
Through Christ our Lord.

The plethora of subordinate clauses in this prayer almost overwhelms the sense and will make it difficult to read even with due preparation. Line 5 is simply impenetrable to this reader and will not stand without a little amplification.

For the sake of argument, I tried a revision. I tried to rearrange the first four lines in an attempt to make the thread clearer. I took a guess at what line 5 means and have tried to express it in something resembling speakable English.

My efforts, such as they are, yielded this:

O Lord,
who guide and sustain your people in many ways,
grant that both now and in the future
they may experience
the healing gifts which you bestow,
and as they find support for their needs
in the things of this passing world,
so they may strive with growing trust
for the things that are eternal.
Through Christ our Lord.

I am sure that this would not be the last word in a revision debate, however.

I’d be interested to learn what others might propose.

*          *          *          *          *

Once again, preparing the text below for speaking, the collect for Wednesdays of Christmas season, I was struck by how different the ‘approved’ version is from its Latin original. A literal version might read:

Grant to us, almighty God, that your salvation,
which for the redemption of the world came forth with new light of the heavens,
may always arise in our hearts for their renewal.
Through.

I saw that this oration has a strong biblical flavour relating to texts used at this time of the year. ‘Your salvation’ echoes psalms (98) and Deutero-Isaiah. This biblical flavour would be a gift to the homilist at a weekday Mass.

The approved version is as follows:

Grant us, almighty God, that the bringer of your salvation,
who for the world’s redemption came forth with newness of heavenly light,
may dawn afresh in our hearts and bring us constant renewal.
Who lives.

I found it difficult to see how this translation accords with the guidelines of Liturgiam Authenticam. It is a paraphrase of the Latin and dilutes the biblical flavour of the original.

‘Your salvation’ becomes ‘the bringer of your salvation.’ This (a) removes the biblical connotations of the image and (b) begs the question ‘why not come straight out and say “Christ”?’ The subtlety of the allusion is compromised.

As often in Roman orations, the long relative clause in line 2 makes it hard (for me at least) to reconnect with the main verb ‘dawn afresh’ difficult for the speaker.

‘Arise’ becomes ‘dawn afresh’ – is ‘afresh’ intended to render ‘semper?’ If so, then why do we have ‘constant’ later on in the line?

So I tried to do another version which might fit more closely with the original:

Grant us, almighty God,
that as your salvation came forth
with new and heavenly light for the world’s redemption,
so it may ever arise in our hearts to make them new.
Through.

In lines 2 and 4 I took the liberty of  applying a Cranmerian device (cf. Collect in BCP for the Annunciation and cf. the Roman Collect for Advent Sunday 4) with ‘as’ and ‘so?’

 

Fr. Alan Griffiths is a priest of of Portsmouth Diocese, UK.

Share:

88 comments

  1. Just to help the discussion along, here is the Latin:

    Diversis plebs tua, Domine, gubernata subsidiis, et praesentia pietatis tuae remedia capiat et futura, ut, transeuntium rerum necessaria consolatione fovente, fiducialius ad aeterna contendat.

    The 1973 ICEL translation:

    Lord, may this sacrament be our strength. Teach us to value all the good you give us and help us to strive for eternal life.

    And the 1998:

    Lord, you provide for your people in numberless ways. Grant us your loving protection now and in times to come, so that, reassured by your care for our daily needs, we may strive with greater trust toward the goal of eternal life.

  2. This is a little experiment; I am not sure it will survive the reformatter. In what follows I have broken the prayer into phrases and reordered everything somewhat closer to English structure.

    The first line of each phrase has the Latin. Then, on the next line, an attempt to parse the individual words and phrases, in square brackets. Then, the grammatical role of each grouping – subject, object, etc. – in double square brackets. And finally, a phrase-by-phrase and very literal rendering – in braces.

    The original prayer seems convoluted, even for Latin!

    Here it is. Of course I invite corrections and comments.

    Domine plebs tua gubernata diversis subsidiis
    [Voc] [Nom Passive part] [Abl of means ]
    [[ SUBJECT ]]
    {“O Lord, your people are guided by a range of helps”}

    capiat
    [Subjunctive]
    [[ VERB ]]
    {“may it (i.e. your people) take hold of”}

    remedia pietatis tuae
    [Acc] [Gen]
    [[ OBJECT ]]
    {“the remedies of your goodness”}

    et praesentia et futura
    [Abl of time]
    [[ CONJ MODIFYING THE VERB ]]
    {“both in the present and in the future”}

    ut
    [[ CONJ INTRODUCING THE NEXT CLAUSE ]]
    {“so that”}

    fovente necessaria consolatione
    [Pres part Abl] [Adj Abl] [Abl]
    [[ ABLATIVE ABSOLUTE ]]
    {“warmed by the needed comfort”}

    transeuntium rerum,
    [Pres part Gen] [Gen]
    [[ MODIFIES ‘necessaria consolatione’ ]]
    {“of passing things”}

    contendat
    [Subjunctive]
    [[ VERB ]]
    {“it (i.e. your people) may press on”}

    fiducialius
    [Adj comparative]
    [[ MODIFIES THE VERB ]]
    {“more confidently”}

    ad aeterna
    [Acc]
    [[ MODIFIES THE VERB ]]
    {“toward eternal (things)”}

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #2:
      Day’s syntax above brought home to me a peculiarity of this prayer. The subject is “plebs” which is talked about in the third person by the speaker. Does this happen often?

      More basically are these really prayers addressed to God by the priest expressing our thoughts and feelings or are they disguised homilies telling us how we should think and feel?

      In the Byzantine liturgy. a lot of the elaborate troparia are poetic homilies with a scriptural background.

      “Plebs” has a different meaning to me since I have just finished reading Peter Brown THROUGH THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE: Wealth, the Fall or Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350-550 AD.

      The Plebs were the common people in contrast to the Senate, the aristocracy. Now the common people were privileged citizens not slaves or foreigners. During the Empire both the aristocracy and citizenship were extended to many. However it was being titled, i.e. made a member of curial class, i.e. the town council members that administrated the tax structure that counted.

      Almost all the people we know historically came from the approximately 65,000 members of the curial class in the West. Augustine was from near the bottom, Ambrose was further up. One of Browns major points is that it took a long time for the upper levels of the curial class, especially the very wealthy old aristocracy to come into the Church.

      For most of this period the bishops were drawn like Augustine from near the bottom, and they related to clergy which began to form a Third Estate between the aristocracy and the people. It seems like in the thinking of the bishops there was an interplay between the Latin idea of plebs and the Scriptural idea of laos.

      So any translation project may need to face the question: are these prayers of the people or are they proclamations of the priest to the people?

      A website (and related applications) might be successful even financially if we translate these as the prayers of the people which could be used in preparation for Mass or even the silent period which should exist before the priest prays. We might even compose new prayers more closely related to the new Scriptural cycles. I like liturgical reform from the bottom up.

      1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #22:
        “So any translation project may need to face the question: are these prayers of the people or are they proclamations of the priest to the people?”

        Neither of the above–they are prayers spoken to God, offered through the priest for the entire people. The only thing that should be “proclaimed” to the people are the readings and possibly the intercessions, but even those are ostensibly prayers. Our deacon stands facing east in the middle aisle to pray them.

  3. I think we should notice that this collect includes quite a bit of martial imagery: Diversis, gubernata, subsidiis, remedia, and contendat all have connotations of war. I’m not sure, however, what makes it appropriate for Christmas time, but I suppose reminders that we are the Church Militant are appropriate at any time of the year.

    A few things to keep in mind: Gubernare does not mean originally to govern, but rather to steer or pilot (e.g. a ship).

    This collect has similar themes as that for Pentecost III and Trinity IV in the old Prayer Book: “O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal: Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake our Lord. Amen.”

    In imitation of Archbishop Cranmer’s style now welcomed into the Church by Pope Benedict, I suggest the following translation:

    May thy people, O Lord, driven by conflicting forces receive the healing remedies of thy love both in this world and in the world to come, that so, taking needed comfort in things that are passing away, they may strive all the more confidently for the things eternal, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

  4. The perfect passive participle gubernata [from guberno, –are] has strong overtones of political governance in classical Latin. The nominal meaning of guberno is “to steer”, similar in meaning to the metaphorical “ship of state” in Plato’s Republic VI.

    1998’s translation of Diversis plebs tua, Domine, gubernata subsidiis as “Lord, you provide for your people in numberless ways” is a fine way to turn a Latin participial phrase into an English finite sentence. Even so, the 1998 translation inadequately communicates the superior-inferior relationship inherent in guberno, as “provide” is a rather cautious translation of the guberno. I am not sure if guberno shifts in meaning towards “provide” in later Latin. If not, then perhaps a literal “govern” would be a better translation for guberno.

    I am not sure on which sacramentary this particular postcommunion is based. Still, modern interpretations of the propers should take into account sociocultural linguistics when evaluating translation strategies. I respect those who would rather reinterpret ancient propers in the light of the sensibilities of today’s assemblies. However, the reality of the meaning of words as they were used in the 6th or 8th centuries cannot forever escape examination.

  5. This is from the Veronese sacramentary, occurs in no other manuscript, and was not in the 1570 Missal. So we’re on our own.

    The root difficulty in line 5 is ‘necessaria’. It doesn’t always mean ‘necessary’ in our modern sense, that is, ‘needed’ or ‘needful’. The Oxford Latin Dictionary gives as one meaning of ‘necessarius’ when applied to persons ‘connected by close ties of friendship, relationship or obligation’. There is an example in the Vulgate at Acts 10,24, ‘necessariis amicis’, translated in the Douai version as ‘special friends’.
    Replace ‘needed’ with ‘welcome’, and you have a more accurate translation of the line.

    Misunderstanding of ‘necessarius’ becomes even more damaging in the Exultet, of course: so much ink has been spilt explaining how Adam’s sin can have been ‘necessary’, but that’s not what the original text means. ‘O certe necessarium Adae peccatum’ expresses the same paradox as ‘o felix culpa’, and could be translated ‘O truly welcome sin of Adam’.

    BTW, in any revision, it would be good to see ‘pietatis’ translated.

  6. Doesn’t it also convey a sense of closeness, of intimacy? As in Latin necessariae partes, Greek οἱ ἀναγκαῖοι τόποι, “private parts”? ἀναγκαῖος is the word rendered ‘necessarius’ in Acts 10.24.

    In this phrase of the prayer, perhaps in contrast to the martial overtones from gubernata, the image seems closer to an infant being nursed by its mother, God caring for us in the most tender and intimate manner possible.

    Pietas is difficult! “Piety” certainly doesn’t work. Nor does “dutiful conduct”, since in this case the pietas is God’s. Lewis & Short suggest, as one alternative, “kindness, tenderness, pity, compassion”. That seems to fit the sense of necessarius suggested above.

  7. This discussion is fascinating, and intriguing, and shows again how easily the internet facilitates translation collaboration.

    A question: would it be a worthwhile enterprise for Pray Tell to host a Wiki that can be used for an open collaborative effort aimed at improving the new translation, starting with the most problematic texts?

    The objective would be to create a public catalogue of English texts that are

    . faithful to the meaning of the original whole, adapted with good reason where necessary
    . and always in language that is simultaneously proclaimable, comprehensible, revealing, elegant and inviting

    The collaboration would be inclusive and transparent, and aimed ultimately at improving Catholic public worship in English.

    Could I suggest that each entry have
    . the Latin original and literal translation (similar to an interlinear NT for example)
    . the English translation (and an alternative if needed)
    . ICEL 1973, 1998, 2008, VC 2010 and other versions that may be helpful for reference.

    It would cost money to host of course, and I would be the first to kick off with an initial donation of $1,000. But essentially, it would be a labour of love for all, owned by all but moderated by Pray Tell.

  8. My translation

    O God, the guide and help of your people amid changing things, lead us both now and in the future by your healing kindness through passing urgencies, so that by your consoling words and touch we may hasten with confidence to lasting things

    My translation principles are based on the patristic threefold interpretation of the bible, first the literal and historic, second the spiritual (which today we might call canonical, interpreting one part of the bible in terms other parts of the bible since they are all authored by the Holy Spirit) and third the moral application (psychological and sociological interpretation for our times). However I pack all three interpretations into one translation.

    For example when translating the psalms I start with the Vulgate because I can repeatedly pray that in Latin while letting the images of the Latin words eventually shape an English translation. I focus upon the words and their possible images and junk the syntax. I go beyond the Latin words to the Greek text, since the Greek morphology of BibleWorks allows me to see how the Greek words were used in other parts of Bible including the NT and helps me think spiritually (i.e. canonically)

    Finally I do not translate archaic cosmologies and sociologies. There are no lords and kings in my translations. The images of the divine are all contemporary images.

    In case of this prayer I simply placed all the Latin stems into the Notre Dame website (easier than using my Latin dictionary) to provide me with a bunch of images related to the Latin words
    http://archives.nd.edu/latgramm.htm
    I ignored the Latin syntax for my first translation but did find Jonathan’s syntactical guide very helpful in revising things.

    Unlike scripture there is no solid background for these Latin prayers; we don’t know where they came from and what they originally meant. I am convinced by Dei Verbum that we need to redo these prayers based upon scripture, and one obvious model for this prayer is Psalm 23.

    Therefore I interpreted this prayer by using modern images of a shepherd (guide and help). This prayer like Psalm 23 has a subtle dark background (the Latin military imagery) amid its positive flavor which I tried to bring out indirectly (changing things, passing urgencies, hasten with confidence parallel to dark valley, etc) and also by the choice of positives (healing kindness, consoling words and touch parallel to anoint my head and set a table).

    My choice of urgencies (one possible image from necessaria) was inspired by MLK’s “fierce urgency of now”. In my first translation I toned that down to urgencies of now, and in this one made it even more subtle “passing urgencies.” I find translation a prayerful contemplative process and often find inspiration with contemporary concerns and images. “Urgencies” helped me to get this prayer beyond concern for the physical (food, health) to the social and psychological.

    My language is too academic and bureaucratic, journalists, poets and musicians would likely do a better job but I wanted to illustrate my translation principles. Unless we have better principles we won’t get much of an improvement.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #8:
      I must say, that for all the carrying on about it, I have no difficulty at all making sense of and being aedified by this collect in it’s new translation version. I truly cannot comprehend what it is about it that some persons would have us believe is clumsy, unintelligible, tortured, etc. It happens to make perfect sense to me. Is this a game you are playing? Is this a farce?
      Of course, as someone has evidenced, Cranmer outshines all without even trying. Too, Jack Rakosky’s offering has considerably more substance and grace than the undeservedly vaunted ’98, or quite a few others. And what, pray, is wrong with subordinate clauses, or even a ‘plethora’ of them? Familiarity with just what literature is it that causes people to ACT as though an interesting series of subordinate clauses, an uncommon word, or a pinch of Latin syntax are bizarre or confusing? English is a far richer language than many of you seem to want to accept or allow it to be. We are not third graders. We have just been delivered from Dick and Jane. Some of the composed alternatives above and below sound awfully like warmed-over 1973.

      And, several have, yet again, trotted out that cant about how the prayer is ‘unproclaimable’. And, I, yet again, will trot out the assertion (about which I have great certitude and confidence) that we DO NOT PROCLAIM PRAYERS! Whether they are orations, collects, universal prayers, or eucharistic prayers: prayers are not proclaimed, they are prayed in an humble and prayerful tone which is just loud enough for all to hear. If you think that you are proclaiming prayers you are either deluded or arrogantly presumptuous before the All Holy. It bears repeating that if you tried praying these prayers while being carried along by their generous and inspiring syntax instead of trying to make proclamations out of them you just might discover that they are not so bad and are vehicles for a greater spirituality than you were prepared to accept.

      1. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #14:

        MJO,

        I don’t think the issue has anything to do with “proclaiming” the prayers as such. There are two primary issues, on both of which the new translation falls down badly.

        The first is what is inaccurately referred to as “proclaimability”. What this means is the difficulties that a priest will find in actually articulating the prayers. Certain combinations of words are physically difficult to produce, or do not lie naturally on the tongue because the linguistic constructions used are not English as we speak it. The ongoing reports of priests consistently stumbling, hesitating, tripping over words show that it is not just a matter of getting used to it: the fact is that things are not getting any better. The question that then arises is whether the problems encountered in articulating the texts are actually getting in the way of prayer. In other words, can the priest himself even pray the text when he is trying with all his might to speak it correctly?

        Much more importantly, these texts have not been designed for aural reception. They may make perfecly good sense on the page when you can spend time parsing the sentence and analysing what the meaning is. (Even then, as we have seen, there is a significant proportion of texts whose meaning remains ambiguous or unclear, even to the reader.) But they are incomprehensible when listened to by someone who does not have the text in his or her hand, and particularly dense when heard by people for whom churchspeak is not their natural linguistic environment. A plethora of subordinate clauses is nothing less than a disaster in terms of prayer, something that the 1973 translators, for all their failings, understood very well. If you cannot analyse the meaning as you hear the words, then you cannot pray the text. In this context, a good rule for a future revised translation would be a maximum of one subordinate clause per paragraph.

        I’m sure you will come back to me again and say that the texts are perfectly comprehensible on the page. Regardless of whether or not that is true, the fact is that we do not need a read-along liturgy. That is not true worship; it is simply getting through a text because it happens to be there, in other words the liturgical sin of ritualism. We have spent over 40 years now trying to lift people’s heads out of their books and missalettes in order to engage more fully with the liturgical action, and something that forces people back onto the printed page is quite simply a large step backwards. These texts are meant to be understood when they are heard. If that is not achievable, then the text must be changed until it is.

        It seems to me that what Mr Day, Mgr Harbert and Canon (to give him his correct title) Griffiths are engaged upon is an exercise not only in conveying accurately, as far as possible, the underlying meaning of the text but also in ensuring that, when heard, the text is clear and understandable by the average person in the pew, who will not be concerned with the niceties of “virtues” and for whom “dominations” sounds like something faintly exotic out of Fifty Shades of Grey but who will certainly know what “heavenly powers” conveys.

        We need to keep in mind not only the transmission of the meaning (insofar as we can understand it) of the text but what the text is for — i.e. genuine prayer on the part of the community and not obscure gnostic ritual utterances on the part of the priest.

      2. @M. Jackson Osborn – comment #14:

        I have no difficulty at all making sense of and being aedified by this collect in it’s new translation version.

        Pray, enlighten us. What does it mean? How are you aedified by it?

        Take just the closing: “transeuntium rerum necessaria consolatione fovente, fiducialius ad aeterna contendat.”

        The current translation has “the needed solace” which makes it seem as if the transitory things are a distraction to be dealt with. ’73 just lists valuing the transitory and striving for eternity side by side, no real connection. ’98 has “reassured by your care” making the consolation a help in striving for eternity.

        These are 3 very different meanings. 2010 has it horribly wrong IMO, edging toward ingratitude. 1998 fits better with the first part, the help in transient things supporting us in another of the diverse ways where God leads us, ie striving for eternity. Are we “more confident” because we are not distracted by transient needs? Or because we are grateful for God’s providence?

        I am not against different people taking different meanings from a prayer. But when three translators get such different meanings I dom’t think anyone should claim the meaning is obvious.

  9. God, you govern your people in many ways.
    May we accept the help you generously offer
    So that the transient things you give today
    Will give us the confidence to strive toward an eternity with you.

  10. Mr. Rakosky,

    I am truly scandalized by these words of yours: “Finally I do not translate archaic cosmologies and sociologies. There are no lords and kings in my translations. The images of the divine are all contemporary images.”

    The Kingship of Christ is a revealed and immutable dogma of the Christian religion. It is affirmed in the Creeds and was made even more emphatic after Vatican 2 when the feast of Christ the King was given a more prominent place in the liturgical year than in the Extraordinary Form. To ignore the fact that the two most important images for God in the New Testament and in the Liturgy are Father and King can only in the end bring us to disaster, or at least to a different religion entirely. Not to translate “archaic cosmologies and sociologies” is in the end not to translate at all, but rather to compose a new text inspired by some of the images in an older one. It was precisely this urge which you’ve expressed which led to the disaster of the original ICEL “translation” and the need to replace it with something better. The Church has moved on; so should we.

    I, for one, still want the religion of Christ the King and I’m willing to become an unpatriotic American if that’s the price I have to pay for it.

    LD

    1. @Luke DeWeese – comment #11:

      First, thank you for your cranmerian rendition of this prayer. I like it better than any other offered so far.

      I am scandalized by your unambiguous approach to kingship. God gave Israel a king only after they asked for one, and then grudgingly.(1 Samuel) In Christ, the kingdom of God is restored. Christ is a crucified king, a paradox that critiques temporal kingship even as it takes over the term. In our day, ‘king’ no longer carries the resonances it once did, so the best translations will express the ambiguities and paradoxes in kingship through modern temporalities. Not easy but necessary for a Lord who condemns lording it over one another.

  11. What a wonderful New Year’s gift to us all: this fresh collaborative effort, involving Monsignor Bruce Harbert, Father Alan Griffiths, and Dom Anthony Ruff, OSB, the three good souls to whose intellectual gifts, literary/musical skills and ecclesial devotion the revised translation and its musical adaptation should have been entrusted from beginning to end – WITHOUT the clumsy and embarrassing “emendations” of Vox Clara. Thank you, Fathers, for these enlightened and enlightening posts. I do hope someone “in Urbe” has the good sense to set you three to work on the multiple revisions for which, my very reliable sources tell me, an ever-swelling chorus of bishops is calling.

  12. I would happily contribute to such a wiki. But a first and necessary step is to agree on the principles for such a translation, as Jack and Luke have both suggested.

    As long as we are saddled with Liturgiam Authenticam, especially when it is interpreted very strictly, it will be almost impossible to produce a good translation. As Peter Jeffery says (Translating Tradition, p. 56),

    The tradition blossoms with potential, LA bristles with impossibilities. The tradition is bursting with vitality, LA is rigid with prohibitions. With a tradition as ancient, complex, and variegated as the Roman rite, why would anyone choose the thorns over the roses?

    Why indeed? The wiki, or discussion of it here, needs to begin with agreement on the principles of translation.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #15:

      A translation project should include proponents of LA, its detractors, as well as scholars not ordinarily involved with Catholic liturgical translation (e.g. classicists). Each interpretation perspective must justify its relevance and value to a particular project. In an academic setting, or even a setting frequented by knowledgeable people but not officially endorsed by an episcopal conference or the Vatican, no position can rely on imprimatur. Any translation project should include the possibility that certain Latin prayers and idioms cannot be easily translated into English, and perhaps should not be translated.

      At this point I am more interested in etymology and semantics rather than the politics of syntax. For some, translation is part of a grander liturgical philosophy. Others are more interested in the history of liturgical linguistics, and less interested in current practical disputes over liturgy.

    2. @Jonathan Day – comment #15:
      What a wonderful quote from Peter Jeffery

      The tradition blossoms with potential, LA bristles with impossibilities. The tradition is bursting with vitality, LA is rigid with prohibitions. With a tradition as ancient, complex, and variegated as the Roman rite, why would anyone choose the thorns over the roses?

      It sums up why I developed my principles for translating scripture.

      Translating Mark cannot be done word for word, or sentence for sentence, because it is an elaborate structure of concentric sandwiches, so you have to translate any part of Mark in terms of its complex whole, and then you have to pick up all the OT resonances. Mark, like all scripture, is bursting with vitality. It is ancient, complex and variegated. Interpreting it fully blossoms with potential; only fundamentalists and fundamentalisms limit that potential.

      The task of translating and reforming the liturgy has to be scripture based. In Dei Verbum scripture and tradition are not opposing entities but the dynamic interaction of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit in the ongoing life of the Church. Our liturgies should be constantly formed and reformed by Scripture. But our understanding of Scripture is also formed and reformed by the practice of the Church not only in the liturgy, but in the lives of the saints. As Congar says, each life of saint can be seen as a commentary on Scripture.

  13. Lord,
    you guide and sustain us in many ways.
    May we continue to receive your gifts
    and use them generously on our pilgrimage to eternal life.
    Amen.

    It took two minutes. I had to look up ‘solace’. The first thing that came to mind was James Bond’s quantum of it. I think using the verb ‘use’ conveys the passing nature of the gifts and also the idea of using them for good. Obscure words with media connotations can be problematic. When an early translation was leaked a few years ago (‘we have sinned exceedingly’) I remember getting a letter published in a UK Catholic paper comparing this to Mr Kipling’s ‘exceedingly good cakes’, a phrase used on television adverts every week. The word was dropped.

    I do not like the way the new prayers are deliberately constructed to make God distant. I have read comments from people that detest the way the 1973 texts told God what he already knew, or (?impolitely) demanded things of him (eg ‘Grant us such and such’, rather than ‘Be pleased to be ever so gracious to bestow on us such and such’). I have grown up with the 1973 way of addressing God, and it is reverent. There are only so many ways words can be used to express our ideas in prayer so stick with what is readily understandable.

    I also get the impression that we are being talked about by the priests rather than included, as if we are just observers listening to their prayers that just happen to be picked up by the sound system. I’m still at a loss to understand who the royal ‘we’ is in many of the prayers, particularly all the ‘we pray’ phrases that appeared out of nowhere, non-Liturgiam Authenticam-style. In EP1 there is this bit ‘for them and all who are dear to them we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them’. The ‘we’ seems to be the priests on the altar and the ‘they’ seems to be those being talked at. Extend that usage of first and third person plural pronouns to every other utterance of ‘we’ and the landscape changes. My prayer is 1973-style.

    1. @Mark Coley – comment #16:
      You had to look up solace? Maybe that’s an advantage of these prayers when considering I-phones. They can expand our vocabulary with words we should know anyway.

      1. @Jordan DeJonge – comment #28:
        Solace is a word I have heard but never myself used, so, yes I did look it up before embarking on my own translation of the prayer above. Words like phytomenadione or phenoxymethylpenicillin tend to trip of my tongue far more readily these days. As a former physicist and now a physician much of my day-to-day work requires rapid translation on the fly of sometimes quite complex subject matter into a form my patients or their relatives can understand. The difficult situations where bad news needs to broken also require a fluency with language. There is a skill to this and it comes with experience. I have to probe the current depth of understanding and then build on it. Over recent years UK medical graduates have had more and more emphasis put upon communication skills and we are now quite good at them. The 1973 and 1998 translations would not be discordant with what medical schools are currently teaching on the ability to communicate well. The same cannot be said of the current translation.

  14. Having done a little more research I can see the people that detest the manner in which God is addressed are none other than those that sit in the Holy See.

    See response II, parts A and B at http://www.adoremus.org/CDW-ICELtrans.html

    The more my eyes are opened the more I can see that the God of the United Kingdom of the last quarter of the 20th century, of Catholic primary and secondary schools there, and of the religious orders entrusted to educate young people is clearly not the same God of parts of the Vatican. I cannot speak for other countries but I suspect the UK has not been alone.

  15. I’m sure you will come back to me again and say that the texts are perfectly comprehensible on the page. Regardless of whether or not that is true, the fact is that we do not need a read-along liturgy. That is not true worship; it is simply getting through a text because it happens to be there, in other words the liturgical sin of ritualism. We have spent over 40 years now trying to lift people’s heads out of their books and missalettes in order to engage more fully with the liturgical action, and something that forces people back onto the printed page is quite simply a large step backwards. These texts are meant to be understood when they are heard. If that is not achievable, then the text must be changed until it is.

    It seems to me that what Mr Day, Mgr Harbert and Canon (to give him his correct title) Griffiths are engaged upon is an exercise not only in conveying accurately, as far as possible, the underlying meaning of the text but also in ensuring that, when heard, the text is clear and understandable by the average person in the pew, who will not be concerned with the niceties of “virtues” and for whom “dominations” sounds like something faintly exotic out of Fifty Shades of Grey but who will certainly know what “heavenly powers” conveys.

    We need to keep in mind not only the transmission of the meaning (insofar as we can understand it) of the text but what the text is for — i.e. genuine prayer on the part of the community and not obscure gnostic ritual utterances on the part of the priest.

  16. If we are going to discuss the collect it would be helpful to have the Latin with Jonathan’s syntactical notes.

  17. Regarding the second prayer that Alan Griffiths has put before us, the Collect for Wednesdays between Christmas and Epiphany, a few remarks:

    It originates in the Gregorian tradition, and the Hadrianum gives it as a prayer for both Christmas and Epiphany. The 1970 Missal text is slightly shorter and more straightforward than that of the manuscripts, in which it is unclear whether ‘with newness of heavenly light’ modifies ‘came forth’ or ‘dawn’.

    The value of knowing these details becomes apparent when we try to puzzle out what this ‘new heavenly light’ is – the light the shepherds saw in the fields, the light that guided the Magi, or the light of Christ rising in our hearts (to which we refer at the beginning of the Paschal Vigil). The tradition is unclear about this – which some will see as a plus (‘rich ambiguity’) and others as a minus (‘lack of clarity’).

    ‘Your salvation’ is found in Luke 2,30 (the Nunc Dimittis). Do we want to preserve this allusive phrase from Scripture, or come straight out with the proper name of Christ?

    ‘Dawn’ (Latin ‘oriatur’) also echoes a Lucan canticle, the Benedictus (1,78) ‘the dawn from on high’ – also an allusion to Christ.

    ‘Came forth’ (processit) recalls the comparison of the Sun to a bridegroom coming forth (Vulgate ‘procedens’ ) from his chamber. St Ambrose used this verse to refer to the Incarnation in the hymn ‘Veni Redemptor gentium’, which occurs in the week before Christmas.

    It helps to know such things when attempting a translation.

    The orations of the post-Christmas period play with the imagery of light in many ways. This can come to seem repetitive and boring, but here we have one of the more successful examples, I’d say.

    1. @Mgr Bruce Harbert – comment #26:
      I deeply appreciate the history and theology of these prayers, especially their origin from various missals of the past. It gives insights that most clergy and laity are sadly unaware and being made aware certainly helps the praying community at Mass. Regardless of the “clunkiness” of some of the new English translations, it seems to me that we are now given an opportunity to do what you are doing in helping to explain the various theological and spiritual dimensions of their prayers which are more profound than most of us thought. Just as an aside, I think in most typical parishes, and mine being one, very few if any laity questioned the content of the collect initially discussed in this post. Of course we have no worship aids with them written for them to look at and this may account for it. But I really wonder that apart from the tiny minority here, how many are actually befuddled at Mass. Not that the tiny minority here doesn’t have something to contribute toward any future revision of translations, certainly they do, but I would hope freed from authority and power play issues and the politics of such which most Catholics have grown quite weary. But by all means more history, theology and explanation of these wonderful prayers.

      1. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #29:
        More of the same *tired* mantra….”….very few if any laity questioned the content of the collect initially discussed in this post. Of course we have no worship aids with them written for them to look at and this may account for it. But I really wonder that apart from the tiny minority here, how many are actually befuddled at Mass.”

        Always amazed at your comments – taking your very limited Macon experience (controlled by you) and drawing sweeping conclusions. Try worshiping with a family member who has not been to church in the last 12 months – what do you think their reaction is? Try attending parish liturgy/music planning meetings where they actually use the prayers, etc. to do feast/seasonal planning?

        Question – you have launched out on this crusade for the EF and LA but it is obvious that your knowledge of the history, translation methods, and the vast amount of historical sacramentaries, understandings of their specific times/churches, etc. would have a significant bearing on choices about today’s liturgy (and, in fact, even this post barely touches on the immense depth of sacramentaries, decisiions, contexts, etc. that ICEL (original) had and used in their 1973 missal.
        As we say in the discipline of history, if you fail to understand history, you are doomed to repeat it.
        Does seem to be the MO of some of the EF folks?

      2. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #33:

        With the deeopest respect, Father Allan, you were NOT “complimenting Msgr. Harbert” – you were using the “compliment” as an excuse to chant your tired mantra.

        A few of your words were addressed to Bruce; the rest (the great majority) was your usual nonsense.

      3. @Fr. Allan J. McDonald – comment #29:
        Is this more of your *hermeneutic in continuity* appreciation of history and theology:

        from your blog:

        “Now, I know this might be a bit controversial, but it must be said: It was a mistake to remove the altar rails from the churches. Taking out the altar rail was one step in utterly destroying the Jewish roots of the Liturgy, because it denies the connection between the Jewish “Holy of Holies” and the Catholic sanctuary.
        Now you might say, “But, Father, the Mass is a supper and a meal!” And I say, “It is no mere supper, it is the ‘Wedding Feast of the Lamb’ – happily, the new translation will correct this common error.” The Mass isn’t a casual meal or a common supper; it is a feast, a wedding feast! This is the difference between a lunch and a feast: A feast is filled with all sorts of solemnity, everyone has their proper roles and all respect the traditions. The Mass is a feast and a sacrifice, and the only way we are going to understand the Jewish heart of the Mass is if we regain the sense of the sacred and the sense of solemnity which was so honored in our tradition.
        It is far time for us to recall this fact, to return to the Jewish heart of worship – then we will come to understand that all of history rests with the Jews.”

        Your appreciation seems to fall in step with your appreciation (to Msgr) for the origin of the prayers from various missals of the past….giving insights that most clergy/laity are sadly unaware. *most* – not sure about that but your statements are at least consistent in their inaccuracies and lack of liturgical and historical understandings.

  18. When LA was promulgated in 2001, I remember saying to a colleague “it’ll never work”. Until we have sensible principles of liturgical translation and due respect for experts in translation, ‘in vain do its builders labour’.

    One of the defined means (SC 48) of achieving ‘participatio actuosa’ is by good understanding of the ‘mystery of faith’ by means of its rites and prayers (‘per ritus et preces id bene intellegentes’). If the prayers are unintelligible to those who should be praying them – both priests and people…

    1. @Jim McKay – comment #30:

      From http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/vl.htm

      Fascinating link — thank you so much!

      The first thing that struck me as I scrolled through this page of further links is that the Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children are there, large as life, in an Appendix. And yet we are told that these were not permitted in the revised English Missal because they weren’t in the Latin. Anyone care to explain this?

      1. @Paul Inwood – comment #40:
        I notice that they are in the Mid-West Theological Forum edition too, but I’m pretty sure that the 2002 Vatican edition (which I don’t have at home) omits them.

      2. @Paul Inwood – comment #40:
        Warning to Paul, Jim, and anyone else using the clerus.org web site:

        It was not designed very well. The URLs are terrible (e.g. http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/vl.htm) and have been known to change from time to time. In other words, a few months from now, that particular URL (for the 2002 Missale Romanum) may point to some other document altogether. I once had their copy of Denzinger in a bookmark… and then they pulled it out from under me.

        It’s also worth noting that the 2002 MR has some howlers, like “Credo in unum Deum Patrem omnipoténtem, Creatórem caeli et terrae.”

  19. There is a reference to 2 Peter 1:19, “donec dies illucescat, et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris.” Which is about The Transfiguration, but here is applied to Epiphany/Baptism in an interesting way.

  20. Father Allan, I agree with your sentiments on this. The discussions on this site about the liturgy, its history and translation, fascinate me from the opening to the closing posts of each thread. The expertise that many bring to bear on the liturgy is deeply appreciated. My hope and prayer is that the confusing parts of the Missal will be clarified in future translations, with the full participation of people who have been excluded from helping with the current translation.

    In line with your comments in #29, from an average layperson who faithfully attends Mass, my impression is that when people attend to a lengthy prayer with multiple subordinate clauses, etc., they don’t attempt to “piece together” the various parts as a prayer proceeds in an effort to derive an intelligible, “connected whole”. Rather, they attend especially to words and phrases which afford immediate edification, enlightenment and comfort, as: “…you guide and sustain us in many ways…”…things that pass away…”…strive with ever deepened trust for things eternal…” It may be unfortunate that we are sometimes obliged to take this “piecemeal” approach -and perhaps future translations will help this. But my point is, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, that the attitude of faithful Catholic laypersons at Mass is to collect whatever nourishment is going around.

  21. Also, briefly, I thought Paul Inwood made some excellent comments @#18 about how important it is to be able to understand the liturgy as we listen to it, and to be able to get our faces out of the various printed texts we use at Mass.
    He made some very good points.

    I had been at this blessed place of “textless participation” for many years until we began using the new translation in 2011. Now, to be honest, it will take me a long time to get to this place again, because I find I can’t easily expunge some of the old words and phrases from my mind and replace them from memory with the new ones. I’m working on it, but I still feel more comfortable having a text in hand for the places I find particularly difficult. What used to be called (I think) “The Prayer of Humble Access” is a continual stumbling block for me.

  22. Concede nobis, omnipotens Deus, ut salutare tuum, quod ad redemptionem mundi luce nova caelorum processit, nostris semper innovandis cordibus oriatur.

    Rearranging in subject-verb-object order:

    Omnipotens Deus [Nominative] [[ SUBJECT ]] = “Almighty God,”

    concede [Imperative] [[ VERB ]] = “grant”

    nobis [Dative] [[ INDIRECT OBJECT ]] “to us”

    ut [[ CONJUNCTION INTRODUCING THE NEXT CLAUSE, WHICH IS THE OBJECT OF ‘Concede’ ]] = “that”

    salutare tuum [Nominative] [[ SUBJECT OF THE CLAUSE ]] = “your salvation”

    quod [[ CONJUNCTION INTRODUCING THE RELATIVE CLAUSE ]] = “which”

    processit [Perfect] [[ VERB ]] = “went forth”

    luce nova [Ablative] [[ ADVERBIAL ]] = “with the new light”

    caelorum [Genitive] [[ MODIFIES ‘luce nova’ ]] = “of the heavens”

    ad redemptionem mundi [Accusative] [[ PURPOSE, MODIFIES ‘processit’ ]] = “for the redemption of the world

    [END OF THE RELATIVE CLAUSE]

    semper oriatur [Subjunctive] [[ VERB WITH ADVERB ]] = “may always arise”

    nostris innovandis cordibus [Ablatives] [[ MODIFIES ‘oriatur’ ]] = “in our renewed hearts” [[ N.B. that ‘innovandis’ is the future passive participle, so strictly speaking this is not an ablative absolute.

    Collating the English for an ugly-but-literal translation:

    Almighty God, grant to us that your salvation (which went forth with the new light of the heavens for the redemption of the world) may ever arise in our renewed hearts.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #37:
      I think ‘nostris innovandis cordibus’ is dative of purpose. ‘Innovandis’ would normally (in my experience) be called a gerundive, but gerundives often function as future passive participles, so I would say it can also be given that name. The phrase means ‘for our hearts to be renewed’ or ‘for the renewal of our hearts’.

      1. @Mgr Bruce Harbert – comment #39:
        Dear Mgr Harbert, of course you are right — a gerundive indeed and no doubt a purpose clause. Of the two translations you offer, “for the renewal of our hearts” seems more euphonious to me, though I am guessing a strict application of LA would call for a passive.

    2. @Jonathan Day – comment #37:

      Mr. Day, first of all, Latin has no future passive participle. Second of all, innovandis is a gerundive. And I don’t think your “ugly-but-literal translation” is all that ugly. Why not make it like this?:

      Grant unto us, almighty God, that thy salvation which hath gone forth as a new star in the heavens for the redemption of the world, may ever arise within us to renew our hearts.

  23. I can only marvel at the expertise and devotion to be found in the contributions here on this website, particularly more so when one considers how shabbily some of the experts (Canon Griffiths to name just one) have been treated by Rome.

    I have no expertise whatsoever in this field, but please God, what on earth possessed the person responsible for the collect on Wednesday, “bringer of salvation”?

    From literalist Latinate translators, Lord, liberate us

  24. @Mgr Bruce Harbert – comment #5:

    BTW, in any revision, it would be good to see ‘pietatis’ translated.

    @Jonathan Day – comment #6:

    Pietas is difficult! “Piety” certainly doesn’t work. Nor does “dutiful conduct”, since in this case the pietas is God’s.
    ———-

    These questions have been stewing in my mind for a while.

    The postcommunion: Diversis plebs tua, Domine, gubernata subsidiis, et praesentia pietatis tuae remedia capiat et futura, ut, transeuntium rerum necessaria consolatione fovente, fiducialius ad aeterna contendat.

    pietas is difficult, but a classical antecedent might help. Per L&S, in classical Latin pietas contains two valences. One is humility towards the gods, the other is filial piety. pius, to which pietas is closely related, is an individual disposition of dutifulness.

    An interesting example from Cicero, de natura deorum, and his discourse on piety towards the gods. Here Cicero uses pius and pietas together in an extended metaphor:

    Si nihil aliud quaereremus nisi ut deos pie coleremus et ut superstitione liberaremur, satis erat dictum; nam et praestans deorum natura hominum pietate coleretur, cum et aeterna esset et beatissima (habet enim venerationem iustam quicquid excellit), et metus omnis a vi atque ira deorum pulsus esset; [Cic. N.D. 1.42]

    “If we shall seek nothing else other than to worship gods dutifully [pie] and to be liberated from superstition, it was said to be enough; for the superior nature of the gods, which is eternal and most blessed, shall be worshiped dutifully [pietate] by persons (for whosoever excels has just veneration), and every dread expelled from the vigor and wrath of the gods.”

    In this excerpt, just worship of the gods [pius here as an adverb, pie, “dutifully”] is in an active construction. pietas [here ablative, pietate] is in a passive construction. I interpret pius as the conscious reverence due to the gods, and pietas as a passive duty due to the gods because of the intrinsic dignity of the Roman pantheon.

    Then, et praesentia pietatis tuae remedia capiat et futura, “may take hold of the cure of your benevolence [pietatis] presently and in the future”. Here pietatis refers the just duty owed by persons to God now returned to humankind by God’s graciousness. As Cicero writes, quicquid excellit, the person who exceeds the pious duty will find the gods benevolent.

    1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #42:

      So pietatis means benevolence?
      Because our pietatis results in God being benevolent? Or because benevolence is God’s pietatis, his “conscious reverence due to us”? Are you trying to dissociate pietatis from tuae?

      I am having a hard time following how you are putting these together.

      1. Paul Inwood : @Jim McKay – comment #30: From http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/vl.htm Fascinating link — thank you so much!

        Yes, interesting link. I have one question from this for the experts: From the EP for various needs and occasions we have this phrase:

        …quorum fidem tu solus cognovísti…

        for which I have three English translations. The first seems to me to be the best and is the one I first heard in the 1990s in Cambridge when a draft English translation of this EP was being used by Mgr Tony Rogers. It captured the idea that even at death something about the person continued. It had been a welcome change to the evangelicals on my physics course who insisted that at the moment of death you either went to heaven or hell. I assumed the EP (with its brand new translation) was the current up-to-date expression of faith of the Catholic church in modern English. The friendship of God would be ongoing. With God there is only the present. But then with 2011 the faith has been shifted into the past tense as if everything stopped at the moment of death. I questioned my bishop on this in Lourdes in 2010, on the shift of tenses, and he thought it was more theologically accurate. It was not a good discussion.

        The Latin seems to suggest the past tense, but if so, why? And why have all the recent translations kept the knowledge of the faith in the present? Was the Holy Spirit just possibly at work???

        Pre-2011: whose faith only you can know
        1998: whose faith is known only to you
        2011: whose faith you alone have known

        Our faith is formed by the words we hear and my faith would be changed if I were to believe what is now being said. I presume the change has been deliberate, so any background to it would be appreciated.

      2. @Mark Coley – comment #46:
        The context of this line from EP IV is:

        Memento etiam illorum, qui obierunt in pace Christi tui,
        et omnium defunctorum, quorum fidem tu solus cognovisti.

        Here are three English translations:

        1973: Remember those who have died in the peace of Christ
        and all the dead whose faith is known to you alone.

        1998: Remember those who have died in the peace of Christ
        and all the dead whose faith is known only to you.

        2011: Remember also those who have died in the peace of your Christ
        and all the dead, whose faith you alone have known.

        The Latin “cognovisti” is second person singular in the perfect tense, so “you have known” is a legitimate and accurate translation. However, because God “has known” their faith, and nothing can change that, it can be said that God does still “know” their faith (in the present tense). Everything is the present to God. But that’s not the theological point being made in the prayer: the prayer at this point is speaking of people who have died (past tense) and whose faith (at the time of their death, presumably) God knew.

        The Catechism, in paragraphs 1021 and 1022, states that “death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ” and that “each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ.”

      3. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #52:

        Latin aside, why did the 1973, the 1998 and the draft translation of the EP for various needs and occasions that I had access to in the mid 1990s all use the present tense when talking about God’s knowledge of the faith of those who had died? Which is more theologically correct? Were the translators translating what the Latin should have said?

      4. @Mark Coley – comment #68:

        I’m not sure that it’s necessarily anything to do with theology as such. Using the present instead of the perfect tense is a literary device used by writers with a good sense of style to make events in the past more immediate and to heighten their “real-ness”. Of course, LA is not concerned with writing style, and therein lies one of the problems.

        However, on a theological tack, it is possible that if one talks about God’s knowledge in the past tense that could be understood to imply that this knowledge does not continue into the present, something which would clearly be heresy.

      5. @Paul Inwood – comment #69:
        The issue, I think, is not about theology but about Latin.

        A lot turns on how we render cognoscere.

        In the present tense it is closer to “become acquainted with/aware of; recognize; learn, find to be; inquire/examine” (Whittaker). Lewis & Short add, “to become thoroughly acquainted with (by the senses or mentally), to learn by inquiring, to examine, investigate, perceive, see, understand, learn … to examine a case in law, to investigate judicially.” It is a very active verb; the Vulgate uses it in Genesis 4, where Adam “knows” Eve and their child is conceived: Adam vero cognovit Havam uxorem suam quae concepit et peperit Cain.

        But the meaning can change in the perfect, as here where it becomes “to know” — perhaps “to have carried out the investigation” or “to have learned”.

        So the 1973, 1998 and draft EP actually get closer to [cough] “what the prayer really says”, where the schoolboy word-for-word method of the 2011 introduces confusion.

        Note too that the earlier translations render fidem cognovisti in the passive, “whose faith is known” while the 2011 follows the original syntax. “Whose faith you alone know” (strictly accurate translation) sounds clumsy in English.

      6. @Mark Coley – comment #68:
        Why did they use the present tense? I do not know; Paul’s remark about present-as-literary-device may very well have been one of their reasons. It may be because the beginning of that part of the EP for Various Needs (which draws heavily on EP IV at this point, which is what I thought you were quoting originally) uses present tense verbs in relation to God (except for this particular verb):

        Memento fratrum nostrorum N. et N.,
        qui in pace Christi tui dormierunt
        omniumque defunctorum,
        quorum fidem tu solus cognovisti:
        eos ad lumen vultus tui fruendum admitte
        et in resurrectione dona eis vitae plenitudinem.

        “Remember them … lead them … give them.”

        The two verbs in the perfect are dormierunt and cognovisti: “they have fallen asleep” and “you have known”. I would guess the use of the perfect tense in the Latin is to connect God’s knowing their faith with the time of their death: at the time they died, God knew their faith. Of course, God knows their faith NOW too, and God is outside of time anyway; but that’s my guess.

        I can discern no theological error in the use of the perfect or present tenses, and I doubt the authors of the Latin text, nor its more recent translators into English, are prey to the particular heresy mentioned by Paul.

        As to whether the Latin should have used the present tense, I have no idea.

      7. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #71:
        In pre-Christian Latin, ‘cognosco’ is one of those verbs that denote a process, like ‘cresco’ and ‘adolesco’. So ‘cognovi’ means literally ‘I have come to know’ and consequently ‘I know’.
        But in later Latin, ‘cognosco’ can lose the denotation of process and mean simply ‘I know’. I was reminded of this by the Miserere in last Friday’s Office, where we read ‘peccatum meum ego cognosco’, meaning ‘I know my sin’, not ‘I am getting to know my sin’.
        This development in late Latin eventually produced Italian ‘conosco’, meaning ‘I know’.

      8. @Jim McKay – comment #43:

        Jim, I think you are right in a way that pietas is the duty of the gods (or in the case of Christianity, God) to reciprocate the faithfulness of Roman worshipers (or, for Christians the faithfulness of the People of God) with favor and even solicitude. Christians do not worship God [pius,] out of fear but out of a sure trust that God will grant us grace for our faith through cooperation with the sacraments (i.e. the active act of faith in God versus the passive act of receiving grace). I chose “benevolence” for pietas in order to highlight that the duty of God towards his people is loving and gratuitous (in a positive way) when we respond freely with adoration and confidence in the Lord.

        This idea meshes well with the idea found in the same postcommunion, the opinion of Jonathan in #6 suggests that necessaria consolatione fovente, “with private (intimate?) consolation”, that pietate is not only God’s grace but also his great intimacy towards his faithful.

      9. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #47:
        Jordan, “duty” or “dutiful” doesn’t work for me, when it is attributed to God. I think your last paragraph hits the mark: this is about tender, intimate, entirely gratuitous love. The English “pious” or “piousness” may be a false friend here.

        There are clues, I think, in the use of pie in various Latin hymns — just two examples:

        Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem
        “Merciful Lord Jesus, grant them rest”

        O clemens, O pia, O dulcis virgo Maria
        “O gentle, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary”

        If there is military language in this prayer, it is balanced with language of tender and intimate love.

  25. @Paul Inwood – comment #40:

    The text at http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/vl.htm reproduces the 2002 printing of the Missale Romanum.

    Since then, a revised third edition has been issued (in 2008, I think). Among the changes are the omission of the Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children (which had been in an appendix) and the inclusion of the new dismissal formulas.

  26. While we’re at it, some HELP with the Prayer over the Gifts from the Epiphany mass “at” the day:

    “Look with favor, Lord, we pray on these gifts of your Church, in which are offered now not gold or frankincense or myrrh, but he who by them is proclaimed, sacrificed and received, Jesus Christ. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.”

    HELP!

  27. Ecclésiae tuae, quaesumus, Dómine, dona propítius intuére, quibus non iam aurum, thus et myrrha profértur, sed quod eísdem munéribus declarátur, immolátur et súmitur, Iesus Christus.

    From the Roman Missal I cited earlier, on the Congregation for the Clergy’s website.

  28. Very interesting comments today. Thank you, All Contributors. Now a curiosity: Since I am not familiar with all the names as I read I say to myself: Who are YOU? Are you laity or clergy? Are you from USA or UK?
    These two facts would affect your comments.

    Praying or Proclaiming, etc. People whose native tongue is French, for example, when speaking English quite often have difficulty pronouncing English words beginning with ‘th”. . That sound does not exist in French and thus the lingual gymnastics of forming the ‘th’ sound is not common to them. OK. I am 78 years old, 50 years ordained, ministering daily to a community of senior religious. After a year, and with daily preparation, I stammer and stumble over some wordings in the liturgical texts. . .because I do not have the ‘gymnastic flexibility’ to readily read these succession of words, and ungrammatical constructions. It is annoying to me and to the people I serve. They have similar problems due to age and infirmities, and so many have given up trying to use the printed aids to the new texts. . .sometimes we have a cacophony of sounds. . . or might it be “praying in tongues”? 😉
    The Sacramentary with which we have prayed for nearly 40 years is sorely missed as an aid to prayer, as opposed to struggling with strange words and constructions. And, often enough when I am praying the tests of the Eucharist I easily slip into the language of old and then have to stop and search my place in the new Missal. And, alas, as one says in French, “je fais mon possible. . . I do my possible.” LOL

    I am edified in the root sense by your scholarship, not just impressed. Thank you.. . . Gerald Ragis, cleric, usa

  29. Very interesting comments today. Thank you, All Contributors. Now a curiosity: Since I am not familiar with all the names as I read I say to myself: Who are YOU? Are you laity or clergy? Are you from USA or UK?
    These two facts would affect your comments.

    Praying or Proclaiming, etc. People whose native tongue is French, for example, when speaking English quite often have difficulty pronouncing English words beginning with ‘th”. . That sound does not exist in French and thus the lingual gymnastics of forming the ‘th’ sound in not common to them. OK. I am 78 years old, 50 years ordained, ministering daily to a community of senior religious. After a year, and with daily preparation, I stammer and stumble over some wordings in the liturgical texts. . .because I do not have the ‘gymnastic flexibility’ to readily read these succession of words, and ungrammatical constructions. It is annoying to me and to the people I serve. They have similar problems due to age and infirmities, and so many have given up trying to use the printed aids to the new texts. . .sometimes we have a cacophony of sounds. . . or might it be “praying in tongues”? 😉
    The Sacramentary with which we have prayed for nearly 40 years is sorely missed as an aid to prayer, as opposed to struggling with strange words and constructions. And, often enough when I am praying the tests of the Eucharist I easily slip into the language of old and then have to stop and search my place in the new Missal. And, alas, as one says in French, “je fais mon possible. . . I do my possible.” LOL

    I am edified in the root sense by your scholarship, not just impressed. Thank you.. . . Gerald Ragis, cleric, usa

  30. I hesitate to put the Latin words into subject-verb-object order because the Latin order is not random and because it’s important to learn to read Latin in its normal order. But it’s easier to grasp the syntax with the words recast in a way that more closely mimics English.

    Are people finding these syntactical analyses useful?

    Domine [Vocative] [[ SUBJECT ]] = “O Lord”

    propitius [Adjective functioning as an adverb] intuere [Imperative] [[ VERB ]] = “look with favour”

    quaesumus [[ PARENTHETICAL CLAUSE ]] = “we pray”

    dona ecclesiae tuae [Accusative] [[ OBJECT OF ‘intuere’ ]] = “upon the gifts of your Church”

    quibus [Ablative] [[ INTRODUCES SUBORDINATE CLAUSE ]] = “in which”

    aurum, thus et myrrha [Nominative] [[ FIRST SUBORDINATED SUBJECT ]] = “gold, frankincense and myrrh”

    non iam = [[ ADVERB MODIFYING ‘profertur’ ]] = “no longer”

    profertur [Passive] [[ FIRST SUBORDINATED VERB ]] = “are offered”

    sed [[ CONJUNCTION INTRODUCING SECOND PART OF THE SUBORDINATE CLAUSE ]] = “but instead”

    quod [[ RELATIVE PRONOUN, SECOND SUBORDINATED SUBJECT ]] = “the one who”

    eisdem muneribus [Ablative] [[ MODIFIES VERBS TO FOLLOW ]] = “by the same gifts”

    declaratur, immolatur et sumitur [Passive] [[ SECOND SUBORDINATED VERB ]] = “is made known, is offered in sacrifice and is taken up”

    Iesus Christus [Nominative] [[ APPOSITE TO ‘quod’ ABOVE ]] = “Jesus Christ”

    “O Lord, look with favour, we pray, upon the gifts of your Church, in which gold, frankincense and myrrh are no longer offered, but instead the one who, by the same gifts, is made known, is offered and is taken up: Jesus Christ.”

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #60:

      The super oblata/secreta of MR 2002 is virtually identical to that of MR 1962. The bolded part below is the longer ending from MR 1962.

      MR 2002: Ecclésiæ tuæ, quaesumus, Dómine, dona propítius intuére, quibus non iam aurum, thus et myrrha profértur, sed quod eísdem munéribus declarátur, immolátur et súmitur, Iesus Christus Filius tuus, Dominus noster.

      I have no clue why MR 2002 mentions the name Jesus Christ, but not “your son, our Lord”. Did the Tridentine redactors add Filius tuus, Dominus noster to the end of an older prayer? This addition does not change the meaning, certainly. The addition might be a telling clue in the evolution of this proper throughout Roman liturgical history.

      Looking back your queries Jonathan,

      1) iam [L&S sv. iam I.D] plus a negative particle cancels an action to taking place right now. The limiting non absolutely cancels what should take place at this point in the paragraph. “now not” or “not now” is a fine translation of non iam, given that the prayer here is a contrast, as you note.

      4) Here is another example of propítius as pseudo-adverb, from the gratiarum actio post missam, “an act of thanksgivings after Mass”, from MR 1962.

      Deus, qui tribus pueris mitigasti flammas ignium: concede propitius, ut nos famulos tuos non exurat flamma vitiorum.

      “God, who has quelled the flames of fires for the three boys, favorably grant that the fire of moral failings shall not consume us, your servants.”

      concede propitius and dona propítius intuére are quite similar. Both concede and dona are imperative, followed by the pseudo-adverb propitius. The inclusion of the infinitive intuere in the secreta for the Epiphany does not change the pattern of imperative+adjective as a substitute for a “regular” adverb.

  31. Notes and queries:
    (1) non iam is clearly ‘no longer’; it creates the contrast between the two subordinated units (offering gold, incense and myrrh … the sacrifice of Christ). Why would it have been rendered “now not”?

    (2) sumitur seems to refer to the Father receiving the sacrifice of Christ more than to the people receiving Christ in the Eucharist.

    (3) It looks as though there is a parallel between the 3 gifts and the 3 verbs:

    gold … being made known (proclaimed)
    frankincense … being sacrificed (immolated, burnt)
    myrrh … the sacrifice being received (the death of Christ)

    Do others read the parallel in the same way?

    (4) Am I correct that propitius is functioning like an adverb? The classic adverbial form would be propitie, which could also be a vocative adjective modifying Domine.

  32. Here is the Prayer After Communion as ICEL had rendered it:

    Let your people,
    guided and sustained in so many ways, O Lord,
    experience your healing compassion both now and in the future,
    so that, supported by the welcome solace of things that pass,
    they may strive with greater trust for things eternal.

    And here is the collect from ICEL:

    Grant us, almighty God,
    that your salvation,
    which came forth with new light from heaven
    for the world’s redemption,
    may arise in our hearts to renew them always.

  33. AWR, so these are the new translations before they were reprocessed by “Vox Clara”?

    Before:

    Let your people,
    guided and sustained in so many ways, O Lord,
    experience your healing compassion both now and in the future,
    so that, supported by the welcome solace of things that pass,
    they may strive with greater trust for things eternal.

    After:

    May your people, O Lord,
    whom you guide and sustain in many ways,
    experience, both now and in the future,
    the remedies which you bestow,
    that, with the needed solace of things that pass away,
    they may strive with ever deepened trust for things eternal.

    Quelle dégringolade!

  34. necessari* occurs frequently in the Vulgate.

    Gen. 42:2; Gen. 42:7; Gen. 42:33; Gen. 43:4; Gen. 43:22; Exod. 10:26; Exod. 35:22; Exod. 36:1; Exod. 36:5; Num. 4:9; Num. 7:7; Num. 18:24; Jdg. 17:10; Jdg. 19:20; 1 Ki. 4:7; 1 Ki. 4:27; 1 Ki. 5:9; 2 Ki. 12:5; 1 Chr. 22:5; 2 Chr. 2:14; 2 Chr. 2:16; Est. 2:3; Tob. 6:5; Tob. 8:21; Tob. 11:4; 1 Ma. 10:39; 2 Ma. 1:18; 2 Ma. 4:3; 2 Ma. 4:23; 2 Ma. 7:24; 2 Ma. 9:21; 2 Ma. 13:20; Prov. 27:27; Prov. 30:8; Job 6:13; Wis. 16:3; Sir. 3:23; Sir. 13:7; Sir. 15:12; Sir. 29:3; Sir. 38:12; Sir. 39:31;

    Mk. 11:3; Lk. 10:42; Lk. 11:8; Lk. 14:28; Lk. 19:34; Acts 10:24; Acts 15:28; Acts 28:10; 1 Co. 12:21; 1 Co. 12:22; 2 Co. 9:5; Phil. 1:24; Phil. 2:25; Phil. 3:1; Tit. 3:14; Heb. 7:11; Heb. 10:36; Jas. 2:16

    The OT references tend to be mostly physical. However the NT references concern spiritual, social, psychological things as well as physical. Here are the five Gospel references using the DRA since translates literally. The Gospel references take us far beyond the physical

    And if any man shall say to you, What are you doing? say ye that the Lord hath need of him: and immediately he will let him come hither. (Mar 11:3 DRA)

    But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luk 10:42 DRA)

    Yet if he shall continue knocking, I say to you, although he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend; yet, because of his importunity, he will rise, and give him as many as he needeth. (Luk 11:8 DRA)

    For which of you having a mind to build a tower, doth not first sit down, and reckon the charges that are necessary, whether he have wherewithal to finish it: (Luk 14:28 DRA)

    But they said: Because the Lord hath need of him (Luk 19:34 DRA)

    I would suggest that “But one thing is necessary” may be the key to interpreting this prayer. Now necessari* can refer to close friends as Msgr pointed out

    And the morrow after, he entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, having called together his kinsmen and special friends . (Act 10:24 DRA

    Behold there is no help for me in myself, and my familiar friends also are departed from me. (Job 6:13 DRA)

    The Greek word behind necessarium in Luk 10:42 is translated in different ways in the NT. I think Jerome chose neccesarium because he thought it was appropriate to the close relationship of Mary to Jesus. Jerome like Jesus had many women friends and supporters for his ministry. In his translation of the Gospel he also chose the word cubiculum (inner bedroom) when he had other choices because it helped promote the particular brand of asceticism he advocated for these women.

    The idea behind the prayer seems to be that in all the necessities and urgencies of our journey the guiding relationship that God has with us is the one thing necessary.
    .

  35. As long as we are doing the prayers from Epiphany, I’d like to ask a question about the post communion prayer:

    Caelésti lúmine, quaesumus, Dómine, semper et ubíque nos praeveni, ut mystérium, cuius nos partícipes esse voluísti, et puro cernámus intúitu, et digno percipiámus afféctu.

    Does it really end “see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly”?

  36. Fr. Ruff, Dr. Terence Tunberg, one of the three greatest Latinists in the anglosphere (and one of my teachers), steadfastly denies that the gerundive is to construed as a participle. So does Reginald Foster. Here’s one take on this from Wiki because I don’t have either Gildersleeve and Lodge or Allen and Greenough handy:

    The gerundive is sometimes considered the future passive participle, although it more closely resembles the jussive mood than the future tense. It is formed from the present stem + (e)ndus, -a, -um; e.g. educandus “needing to be taught”. (cf. the paradigms for the Latin verbs: ēdūcō “I lead forth” (ēdūcendus “which is to be led forth”) and ēducō “I educate” (ēducandus “which is to be educated”) in Wiktionary: [1])

    The point being, in good Latin, the gerundive either functions in the same sense as the gerund or signifies necessity. To use it as merely a future passive participle, although sometimes tempting, is a sign of poor Latinity. When I get back to my books, I’ll find the appropriate reference for this.

    1. Luke – very good. But I replied to your claim that Latin has NO future passive participle. You’re arguing another point – that the gerundive is not an example of a future passive participle.
      awr

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #76:
        We speak of ‘baptizandi’, ‘confirmandi’ and so on, meaning ‘those who are to be baptised’ etc. But what does that mean? ‘Those who must be baptised’ or ‘those who will be baptised’? The distinction between necessity and futurity is not easy to draw in such cases. That is why some people will categorise the gerundive in some uses as a future passive participle.

      2. @Mgr Bruce Harbert – comment #77:
        Mgr Harbert has nailed it, as ever.

        In any event this feels like a storm in a grammatical teacup. The name of the forms is far less important than their function.

        Call it a gerundive if you will; I was taught, by perfectly good Latin scholars, that there is a form called the future passive participle that often — but not always — functions to convey obligation or necessity or even propriety (in the sense of fas est). For me, “gerundive” signifies function rather than form.

        But, as Mgr Harbert says, the line between necessity and futurity is a fine one.

        As an example: minister cenam edendam in mensa posuit, “The waiter placed the dinner that was about to be eaten on the table.”

  37. Luke (can we go by first names here?) – I stick to my assertion that my “ugly but literal” version was in fact ugly. Here it is again, this time with the purpose clause corrected following Mgr Harbert’s intervention:

    Almighty God, grant to us that your salvation (which went forth with the new light of the heavens for the redemption of the world) may ever arise for the renewal of our hearts.

    And here is your version. It is far less ugly, not because of the older language style, but because your good ear naturally and appropriately adjusted the wording. I have boldfaced the parts that you changed.

    Grant unto us, almighty God, that thy salvation which hath gone forth as a new star in the heavens for the redemption of the world, may ever arise within us to renew our hearts.

    That is more poetic than my ugly but literal rendering but you may lose one or two Liturgiam Authenticam points for your laudable improvements.

  38. This thread is truly interesting, but for me it is getting out of hand. We have at least five different prayers “in play”, from Masses for different days and from different parts of the Mass. It is becoming very difficult to connect all the interesting comments.

    If we are seriously to continue, I think we need the Wiki that Graham called for at the very start.

    Building on his comment, it would ideally encompass

    – the Latin prayer from MR2002/2008

    – an analysis of sources (e.g. ancient sacramentaries) and antecedents (MR1962, etc.), showing how the Latin changed over time

    – similar Latin phrases elsewhere in the current Missal

    – a detailed vocabulary study and syntactic analysis – not just a literal translation but an explication of the syntax and structure of the prayer.

    – building on this analysis, a literal translation

    – an analysis of the Latin rhetoric – devices used, parallelisms, etc.

    – antecedent English translations: old Anglican renderings, if the particular prayer turned up in one of the Prayer Books, pre-Vatican-II “people in the pews” translations such as the St Joseph Daily Missal, etc.

    – recent English translations: ICEL 1973, 1998, 2008, VC 2010

    – and then a range of candidate English translations.

    What other categories or sections would we add?

    It is clear that, even with the little group assembled on this thread, we could do a lot, very quickly. I am finding Graham’s idea more and more compelling. How do you say “crowdsourcing” in Latin?

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #80:
      I also have a page that allows you to pull up the Readings and Propers (including commons and sets of prayers) for a given liturgical day.

      I’ve been meaning to consolidate these programs, since they pull from the same database.

    2. @Jonathan Day – comment #80:

      Jonathan: What other categories or sections would we add?

      The analysis of classical Latin etymology vis a vis Christian Latin etymology should receive limited consideration. Christian Latin is not a closed circuit — not a few words in early Christian prayer have been appropriated and resignified from golden and silver age Latin as well as later compositions. Vestiges of these “pagan” expressions survive even today in Roman liturgy. In particular, I suggest a focus on slave-master relationship expressions as well as the technical language of the Roman imperial bureaucracy.

      Also, it would be quite fascinating to compare the evolution of particles from classical to late and Christian Latin. I have attempted to delve into this before with non iam. Then again, my personal hobbyhorses should not derail the main objective of the applied science of translation.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #85:
        Jordan, a wiki could let us do what you describe fairly easily — Jeffrey Pinyan will have a better idea of the technology than I, but take the following example, the collect in the common of saints for a monk:

        Deus, qui famulum tuum beatum N. ad Christi sequelam benignus vocasti, eius, quaesumus, intercessione, concede, ut, nosmetipsos abnegantes, tibi toto corde adhaerere valeamus.

        Someone who wanted to take a closer look at famulus could create a “word study” page that explores the word, variants in its declination (e.g. between classical and later Latin, variants in usage, master/servant relationships, the word famulus in patristic sources, etc. Another contributor working on the particular prayer I’ve listed above could add a link to that page at the word famulum. And similarly for the many other interesting words in that prayer.

        Jeffrey’s fabulous page lets you find other forms as well, e.g. by asking it to research “famul*”. And there is a decent cross-reference page that covers the entire MR2002, here:

        http://www.rifugiodelleanime.org/m3/

  39. Jonathan – thanks for your opening comment. Agree – it also sheds light on the very difficult task for the original ICEL and, thus, the truly good work that they did. Some added comments….you are looking at one Sunday or even one prayer – would suggest that this is out of context…..however you do this one Sunday or prayer has to be fitted into the rest of the prayers, seasons, etc.

Leave a Reply

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