Missal Petition to Cardinal O’Malley

Over at Misguided Missal there is a petition to Cardinal O’Malley about the missal you can sign. O’Malley is on the “team of eight” advising Pope Francis, so of course we want his ear.

I signed. With just a few misgivings, some things I would have worded differently here and there. But that’s probably a hang-up of academics – just get 6 of us around a table to wordsmith a statement and watch the hours go by while the first phrase of the first sentence is perfected.

This petition says a bit too much (for me) about theological problems in the new missal. If they mean mistranslations that falsify the Latin and in some cases suggest heresy (eg. the seemingly Unitarian collect for Trinity Sunday), count me in. But I suspect they mean things like the allegedly negative anthropology of the new Missal that puts down humans. Sorry, but I’m too Augustinian to go along with that. (I know myself – and dare I add, my confreres – too well.)

Also, on tactical grounds I think it probably closes doors when you tell Church authorities that their theology is wrong. It’d be best to focus on the poor quality and awkward English, and the need for a process (faithful to the Second Vatican Council) that is decentralized and allows for legitimate inculturation. And leave it at that.

But as I say, I signed. I hope you do too.

awr

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134 comments

  1. I find this petition to be altogether vague. Consider this point of the petitioners:

    The new language found in the Third Edition has, too often, become a stumbling block for many of us, both priests and laity, who find the language demeaning, with its emphasis on human unworthiness.

    While I respect Fr. Ruff’s response to this concern, I think that the question of demeaning language runs deeper than an Augustinian view of human frailty in light of the sacraments. Many of the phrases used in Latin liturgy, from the earliest sacramentaries to MR 2002, contain words and phrases which characterize the assembly as servile and suppliant. Frequently, these words and phrases are couched within implicit references to Hellenistic-Roman family structures which now are superimposed over the faithful. The not uncommon use of famulus and famula in the propers, for example, speak of slave-master relationships which are not only defunct today but also problematic to discuss in today’s society. “Servant” is not a correct translation, as this English word cannot capture the organization of the society which gave birth to the concept behind the prayer.

    I sense that the “Misguided Missal” organizers place the burden of proof for demeaning language on the new English translation. This is not entirely accurate. While it is possible that the translators emphasized certain demeaning aspects of the typical missal in their translations, any translation of the Missale Romanum must struggle with the social constructs behind the Latin. Asking for a new translation or a reversion to the Sacramentary will not necessarily resolve the linguistic, sociocultural, and moral questions which all translators must eventually consider.

  2. I don’t think I can sign, in part because I don’t understand the following sentence (particularly the part within dashes):

    Reducing our worship to an awkward, confusing recitation in the name of faithfulness to a language no longer spoken- indeed, to a Latin which was revised before the 2002 edition- is a denial of who we are as the People of God.

  3. We could ask the Spanish speaking Bishop Maurice Taylor to speak with Pope Francis and go over the history of his trying to work with Cardinal Medina who cannot speak English but was monitoring the translation anyway.

  4. Cardinal Sean has been appointed to a group whose primary task is to help Francis reform the Curia, yet this petition says absolutely nothing about PROCESS!!!

    Its anonymous authors seem stuck in the past. Cardinal Sean is seen as just another influential cardinal whom they want to take their concerns to the Vatican. It is all that intrigue with the Vatican Curia that has gotten us into big time trouble.

    I suspect by now Francis is very aware that there is much difference of opinion among the American bishops in how to deal with issues such as women religious and new missal translations. In both I suspect he is going to force the American Bishops to deal with one another and their priests and people rather than continue the Vatican Curia games.

    This petition should have laid out the case for bishops’ conferences making liturgical decisions, and for them consulting with their priests and people before making those decisions. The data on dissatisfaction among priests shows that the bishops really did not do that.

    This petition seems to a part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #3:
      +1 to Jack’s comment.

      People caught in a co-dependent dynamic are often not fully aware of how they deepen their co-dependency by being reactive.

    2. @Jack Rakosky – comment #4:
      I also agree with Jack Rakosky, and wish they had put most of their emphasis on PROCESS. That is both the biggest problem with the missal and the mandate of the group of 8 cardinals advising the Holy Father about reform.
      awr

  5. We speak for the many people who were inspired by the liturgical changes brought about by Vatican II and challenged to grow in faith, hope and commitment to Christ, to each other and to the world.

    And, pray tell, who gave them the authority to speak in my name? Is it only permissable to like the current translation if you don’t fulfill the above criteria?

    Then again, why am I so surprised that a petition like this achieves nothing more than the divisiveness it purports to eschew?

    1. @Matthew Hazell – comment #7:

      So if no one who disagrees with Matthew Hazell would ever speak up in the Church, then we wouldn’t have divisiveness?

      Why don’t you just say you disagree with the petition?

      awr

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #8:

        Well, if they weren’t making such broad claims about who they “speak for”, I would have much less of an issue with the petition. I would still consider it misguided and, frankly, a total waste of time, but at least it wouldn’t be quite so distasteful and borderline offensive to those of us who also are challenged to grow in faith, hope and commitment to Christ, to each other and the world, yet who disagree with them on this particular issue of the Missal translation.

  6. Misguided Missal? Sounds more like a Misguided Petition.

    Yes, there are things that could be improved. And our pastor has found great opportunity in his sermons to enter into the dialogue that helps enrich the content of our liturgies. It doesn’t require wholesale change to the documents to bring this into the Church.

    Oddly, the most troublesome area for us has been in the chant notation. There are a number of seemingly arbitrary changes to previous versions. The result is that two of our three priests, when they chant at all, have reverted to recto tono.

    As for the petition’s claim that “… the new words and theology reflected in the Third Edition of the Roman Missal fall abysmally short of sound liturgical principles” this seems to be an enormously over-broad accusation that the entire Missal deviates from Catholicism. I’ve certainly not felt it.

    If this group wants to prove the errors they claim, let’s take 10 of their Latinists, lock them in separate rooms, give them a dozen passages to translate, and see the results. If the 10 come out with
    verbatim translations different from the Missal, I’ll yield on those points. If they differ at all, it will show that the translation as it stands was likely also a cooperative effort that involved variations and compromises along the way…

    ,,,and that the complainers are either so traditional to the 1970s that they are unwilling to change, or they are just upset that they weren’t invited to play .

  7. I like the new Missal better than the old one. I don’t love everything about the new one, but, for me, the looseness of the older translation was shocking at time and sometimes lent itself to a Palagian interpretation. When I hear the new translation, I hear the Augustinianism that characterized the centuries when many of these prayers were composed. That is why I like the newer translation better, it sounds like the prayers come from 1500 years ago. It needs exposition and needs to be made relevant to us today. Just as the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, though translated into the vernacular, need to be explained and made relevant so too do the Latin-based prayers. That is how Catholic worship has been for centuries- when the prayers were still offered in Latin. I am as inspired by the Second Vatican Council as I am by the Council of Trent. Trent affirmed that worship need not be immediately intelligible (22:9:9).

    Now, that said, I am not perfectly content with the new translation. At times, its slavishness makes English very, very difficult to comprehend. While the goal of worship need not be be immediate intelligibility, it also should not be meaningless!

    If I have to pick, I pick the new translation hands down.

  8. I guess there’s no end of ways we can go on having this argument. I signed though I would have worded many things differently. What I would like is for someone in authority to admit that the process leading to this translation was seriously flawed and to acknowledge that it has disturbed the prayer life of many clergy and laity. I already have my solution.

  9. Cracks me up that most of the comments here criticize in the petition what the petition criticizes in the RM….

  10. I am thinking about it, but in looking over the list of signees I notice one of them is from Macon, GA. Hmmmmm….

    1. @Charles Day – comment #14:
      Charles – say it ain’t so; it couldn’t be, could it? Why he is an avowed *papist* and even taught his 1st graders some latin when introducing the best thing since sliced bread.
      Why he has repeatedly stated that his parish just loves the new missal.

      1. @Bill deHaas – comment #15:

        What is it with you, Bill, lately? Yesterday demeaning for no good reason a colleague of mine and not part of this forum, and now back to your favorite voodoo doll?
        Have you nothing better to do, if you can’t advance a discussion, that to engage in derision of, whether you like it or not, fellow Christian pilgrims?
        Aren’t we all a little long in the tooth to be throwing sand at each other in the box?

  11. The new translation is in possession, and will not be changed until the majority of bishops are won over to the necessity of changing it; at present the majority of bishops are defending the new translation to the hilt (since after all they allowed it to be imposed). I do not see Pope Francis “getting it” when the bishops of the English speaking world have given the new translation their blessing. The petition will only be a small noise, though I haved signed it.

    What can we do in the meantime? Keep on editing the new translations skillfully, and keep on making noises.

  12. Enough changes already. Let’s leave well enough alone.

    At this point, there have been a LOT of changes to the liturgy, Holy Days of Obligation being moved to Sunday, etc.

    I’m of the mind that at this point, even changes that I LIKE or agree with I’m not in favor of.

    We’ve had this translation going on 2 years now. For better or worse, we’ve had it. Now let’s leave it alone – instead of repealing it and explaining why we changed in the first place but are changing back and re-learning the old translation.

    1. @Dave Jaronowski – comment #19:

      We’ve had this translation going on 2 years now. For better or worse, we’ve had it. Now let’s leave it alone – instead of repealing it and explaining why we changed in the first place but are changing back and re-learning the old translation.

      This opinion is untenable. It’s like saying “the decorators made a real hash of repainting the outside of my house, but there it is. Let’s leave it alone.” No way. If the revised translation had been better than what went before, yes, we could welcome it. But the fact is that it is worse, because, although more accurate, it is not actually English. We already knew this when it went off to Rome in 2008, but what happened between then and 2010 is nothing less than grotesque, exacerbating what could already be seen to be a disaster in the making. Now we have a translation which is not English and is considerably less accurate than it was in 2008. Personally I’m not in the business of standing back and seeing the Church getting a bad name, and even ridiculed, because we are not prepared to make an effort to undo a misguided initiative.

      1. @Paul Inwood – comment #22:

        Thanks Paul for your thoughtful contributions.

        I am a non-liturgist and just one of the people in the pews: from this perspective, the process of arriving at the new translation was not only flawed; but in fact corrupt.

        It was an arbitrary wielding of power because those who exercised it were completely unaccountable.

  13. “…find the language demeaning, with its emphasis on human unworthiness.”

    Uh…yeah. Acknowledging human unworthiness is part of the deal.

    In our worship, we approach the throne of Divine Majesty, duly acknowledging our sins and, yes, unworthiness. The Eucharistic Sacrifice exists, at least in part, that we may partake of the Redemption afforded us by Our Lord Jesus Christ by His sacrifice on the cross.

    I think the real issue is not the language, per se, but the reality that the corrected translation sharpens and clarifies this integral understanding of things, and that many folks who drank deeply of the 1960s-era zeitgeist (with its emphasis on rejecting “outdated” notions of sin) are, understanably, made uncomfortable by this.

    From looking at the petition, there’s no way to tell, but I would be very interested in knowing the average age of the signatories. I would be welling to “bet a fiver” it is 55 at the lowest!

    Gaudete in Domino Semper!

    1. @Richard M. Sawicki – comment #20:
      No, I think it is the language. In my mind, the main reason for having liturgy in the vernacular is to increase understanding of the meaning. I submit not many people know what consubstantial means, but most would have an idea about what “one in being with the Father” means, and this example has no flavor of human unworthiness attached to it that I can see. There are lots more examples of this sort of mindless translation, particularly in prayers said by the priest, and most of them don’t dwell on human unworthiness.

      All that said, I am a bit like Dave – at least as to the Missal – and I think the translation was a mistake, but an about face is going to put emphasis on the wrong thing.

    2. @Richard M. Sawicki – comment #20:
      If you think the issue is not the language of the new Missal but the theology which is now made clearer, then you simply haven’t been listening to the critiques. There is lots of critique from lots of angles, and one of those angles is the language. It may serve your purposes to shove everyone into the drawer of 1960s zeitgeist – always a convenient whipping boy – but then you’re critiquing this phantom and not what other people are really saying.

      I’m getting really, really tired of this ad hominem about age. The issue is the issue is the issue – and whether a position is held by someone 25 or 65 or 95 doesn’t per se make the position more false or more true. This is such an intellectually lazy critique.

      FWIW, I was 7 years old when the 1960s ended. I’ve been a pretty vocal critic of the new Missal. I don’t recognize much of myself in anything you say about critics of the new Missal.

      awr

    3. @Richard M. Sawicki – comment #20:

      Richard, hand over the”fiver”: I’m 47

      Regarding Richard’s #20 comment; I think Jonathan Day in #28 has really summed his “analysis” brilliantly; I only wish I could have expressed myself so well

      1. @Elias Nasser – comment #59:

        I said “average”.

        An average is “of the whole”, not the individual. I’m sure there are teenagers who agree with you. That’s why I placed my average at 55, rather than at, let’s say, 70.

        There is apparently quite a difference between what I actually SAID, and what a lot of folks HEARD.

        Gaudete in Domino Semper!

      2. @Elias Nasser – comment #59:

        “Regarding Richard’s #20 comment; I think Jonathan Day in #28 has really summed his “analysis” brilliantly; I only wish I could have expressed myself so well”

        Just so I’m clear, you are of the opinion that a shrill, personal attack filled with histrionics and non-sequitors constitutes a “brilliant analysis”, and that it represents the debate standard to which to aspire?

        Gaudete in Domino Semper!

      3. @Richard M. Sawicki – comment #71:
        Like you, I was initially a bit surprised by the seemingly harsh tone of Jonathan Day’s unpacking of your comment – but the more I thought about it I came to understand why Jonathan wrote what he wrote – he in essence pulled the curtain of your thinly veiled attack on many very fine peoples morals. Think about it – how would you feel if somebody came along and pretty much takes it a given that “you and your kind “are spineless folks of questionable moral values.
        Like many in the catholic blogosphere you also seem to have a tendency to lace your comments with plenty of pseudo facts – aka “that’s why I placed my average age at 55” and plenty of assertions presented as ‘facts’. Just because opinions have been re-circulated ad nausea in the general as it seems merciless echo chambers of American catholic Internet apologetica does not magical transform them into facts.

  14. Father,

    Salutem in Domino!

    “It may serve your purposes to shove everyone into the drawer of 1960s zeitgeist – always a convenient whipping boy”

    I didn’t shove “everyone” into anything, I said “many folks”.

    If the 1960’s zeitgeist is a “convenient whipping boy” it is because the carnage it left behind so easily makes it such.

    I do not employ references to age as an ad hominem, but rather as a recognizable line of demarcation in so many intra-ecclesial debates on any number of subjects. All the 20 and 30-something Catholics I know are actually rather happy with the new Missal.

    I was two years old when the 1960s ended. And all through my growing up years I heard endless talk about “how wonderful things are now (i.e.the ’70s) in the Church. No more constant talk about sin and unworthiness. We’ve lightened up. I’m okay, you’re okay. We don’t have to go to confession anymore (Yes! I was actually told this by people back then!) So, I do think that one can reasonably assume that anyone who dislikes the new translation because it focuses “too much” on human unworthiness is probably of that generation.

    Gaudete in Domino Semper!

    1. @Richard M. Sawicki – comment #24:

      All the 20 and 30-something Catholics I know are actually rather happy with the new Missal.

      Well, make that “All -1”. Age and dissatisfaction with some aspect of the new translation are independent variables. I happen to be in my early 30’s, but disagree with the overall philological approach of the current translation project. A person who is close to my age might have other disagreements or (as in your case) an unqualified approval of the missal.

      So, I do think that one can reasonably assume that anyone who dislikes the new translation because it focuses “too much” on human unworthiness is probably of that generation.

      I am guilty in my first post in the thread of overintellectualizing the question of unworthiness in the propers of the Mass. I often have to remind myself that not every dissatisfaction can or should be quantified. For example, we now know that many persons have been abused by clergy. Some of these persons might comprehend the words of the Mass quite differently than persons who have not suffered in this way. Yes, it’s true that the typical Latin text’s elasticity is finite. Still, persons who, for whatever reason, find that the prayers of the Mass do not uplift but rather scar must also be participants in any revision of the current translation. One of the inherent struggles of being brother or sister is the willingness to contemplate the subjective viewpoints of others, even if one does not consider these points well articulated or immediately relevant.

  15. Though I don’t often agree with Karl, I think there is something to his “People caught in a co-dependent dynamic are often not fully aware of how they deepen their co-dependency by being reactive.” With respect to dealing with the horrors of the 2010 Vox Clara product, I’d like to think that I’ve moved on. As I learned only too well with my second pastor (under the guidance of a spiritual director/counselor) it’s really quite self-destructive to persist in the irrational belief that a person has to power to change other people, or to change situations that one has no control over.

    I’ve learned to mute some of the most obviously flaws in the VC2010, such as simply skipping over every instance of “we pray,” replacing “beseech” with “ask,” replacing “oblation” with “sacrifice,” and so forth. This second year through I’ve found it much easier. I’ve never uttered “chalice,” but have retained “cup,” and have replaced the infamous “many” with “all.”

    Also, I find that it is quite easy to correct the “Yodaisms” on the fly, by simply putting the phrases in their natural order.

    I file these things under the “to change the things I can” of the Serenity Prayer.

    The blame for the rampant ongoing attrition that will be accelerated by the imposition of the VC2010 is not mine; it belongs to others. I can only do what I can do. It’s a very freeing realization.

    Liturgiam Authenticam is a runaway train; they are already doing the LotH and the Rites. I don’t see Francis as a person who is going to care enough one way or the other, at least not enough to prevent the inevitable wreck.

    1. @Fr. Jim Blue – comment #26:
      Elias pointed out that the Missal translation process was corrupt because “those who exercised [power] were completely unaccountable.” To whom are you accountable when you make your changes to the Missal text?

      1. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #41:
        To the primary principles of VII’s SC – the presider with others is to ensure that the liturgy is understandable within that culture, community, church, parish, etc. Thus, he is accountable to the community. (sorry, find your comment to be the ultimate in *snideness*) Liturgy is local – read the Pauline letter today…..some Colossians wanted to insert and make various local rituals primary over the death/resurrection of Jesus Christ – thus, Paul clearly states – Christ is preminent.
        STBDTR = legalism of the worst kind. SC via Consilium wanted a liturgy and eucharist that required folks to plan, think, choose, decide, and act – not a pre-ordained opera in which we merely follow rules. See numbers 29 and 34 above – Paul Inwood and Fr. Joncas hit the nail on the head and that is why your comment misses the point and becomes a personal attack.

        Even at its core, canon law is supposed to be *pastoral* – not a book of legalisms. Same with the liturgical laws. (and, let’s not knee jerk to the other extreme and lodge the claim that this permits an *anything goes attitude*)

        We have this argument interminentably; it gets tiresome. It may be that JR’s imaginings are the best summation esp. last line:

        “I can imagine him telling the CDW and the bishops’ conferences to have a plan on his desk within a month to get the whole thing done within a year. Francis sees himself, the CDW and the bishops as being the servants of the pastors and the people.”
        (not servants of the STBDTR)

      2. @Bill deHaas – comment #42:

        Bill,

        How do you account for SC 22, points 1-3? 3 especially? And how do you interpret SC 40, points 1-3? It seems to me that these paragraphs preclude the kind of adaptation spoken of by Father Blue.

      3. @Fr. JP Erickson – comment #44:
        Good points, Fr. Actually, here is article #40 – http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2013/04/08/re-reading-sacrosanctum-concilium-article-40/

        Note especially Fr. Joncas’s reference:

        “Articles 38-39 seem to foresee a “top-down” form of inculturation in which one begins (for the Roman Rite) with the reformed liturgical books, provides a vernacular translation of their content, and perhaps supplements that content with material particular to the culture or region (as, for example, when the Roman Missal for use in the dioceses of the United States includes a Mass formulary for July 4 “Independence Day”). Article 40 seems to foresee a “bottom-up” form of inculturation in which one begins with the religious practices of a given culture and attempts to find in them vehicles for Christian worship. (It should be noted that such processes had frequently taken place in the Roman Rite by “baptizing” or providing alternative ritual structures for established cultural patterns, e.g., the celebration of the Chair of Peter or of Advent fasting arising in response to the Saturnalia.)

        It gets to Paul Inwood’s points that the roman rite has constantly changed – even during the Tridentine period. Peckler or Jungmann provide an excellent drill down that actually shows the decision by Fr. Jim Blue to be closer to the historical and liturgical roots and practice than any type of centralized, Roman locus for liturgy change only.

        You might also want to go to number 19 and click on the link I provide.

      4. @Bill deHaas – comment #42:
        Thus, he is accountable to the community.

        Thank you, Bill; that is an answer to my question. A follow-up would be, if his community questioned his changes, how would he respond?

        I don’t wish to be snide (I doubt that my comment is the ultimate in snideness!) nor to engage in personal attacks. I just found something in Fr. Jim’s comment to be at odds with something in Elias’ comment, and wished to pursue the matter. I think I can raise the question I did — a personal question, to be sure — without it being an attack. But if I have offended Fr. Jim by my tone, I will certainly apologize.

      5. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #41:
        Mainly I am accountable to my parishioners, and as far as I can see no one is complaining. I’m sure I’d hear about it. Meanwhile, miraculously perhaps, attendance is holding steady and contributions are mysteriously rising.

      6. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #41:
        Hi Jeffrey, the concept of accountability, is not something that seems to have deep roots in the catholic tradition. It is a concept that has arisen in the context of democratic institutions: and how they exercise the power that has been vested in them.

        For citizens to have confidence that this power or authority is exercised responsibly then the process by which important decisions are taken/arrived at needs to be transparent. This is a given and no one questions this in the social and political sphere.

        When it comes to the church, we know that Christ has vested his authority in the successors of the Apostles, the college of bishops. Vat II, in dealing with the issue of translation of the RM specifically tasks bishops of the various language groups to carry out this work.

        Hence to see how the CDW & Vox Clara took the translation approved by the bishops and proceeded to render their own translation, is breathtaking in arrogance. That the English speaking bishops took this corrupt act on the chin, shows how utterly impotent they are , is it any wonder that they are effectively ignored by the faithful?

        Fr Jim’s actions do not come anywhere near those described above

  16. I would love to sign the petition. Unfortunately it is so poorly worded that I cannot do so with integrity. I will act on the organisers’ suggestion: “A second option is this: for those who are so inclined, you might add or change something in the letter to make it your own; then send it to the Cardinal no later than September 8th.”

    To make the idiocy in Richard Sawicki’s comment clearer, let me rephrase it in plainer language: those who criticize the anthropological word choices of the new Missal obviously spent decades doing little other than fornicating, contracepting and committing other sins of the flesh. They did so because the Church, besotted by the sexual revolution of the 1960s, stopped condemning these sins, and because the 1973 translation soft-pedalled language about sin and hell. Now that the new Missal has brought the language back, members of the older generation are racked by guilt, even though they may be too feeble to fornicate any longer. So they attack the language in order to appease their guilt.

    That is what you are saying, isn’t it, Richard? You should be ashamed to write such tripe in a public forum.

  17. Could I call us back to consider Jordan Zarembo’s statements @#1 or, if it is inappropriate to engage that discussion here, could I invite him to begin a new discussion line on the topic, because I think it is incredibly important in any discussion of further liturgical translations.

    I understand part of the translator’s task to be an exploration and identification of the thought worlds/culture enshrined in the host language. (In the case of EP1, I have been taught that the distinction between servus and famulus in relation to the dominus in the social structures of the late antique culture that generated this text is mapped onto a distinction between all created reality [or all humans] as common slaves but Christians as household slaves for the overlord sovereign God). The trouble is that no one lives in that socio-cultural setting today. The contemporary translator is then charged with discovering the parallel fundamental structures of the target language (to the extent that they exist) to find terms from the target language that can approximate such a metaphoric mapping. Can “servants and handmaids” with its faint whiff of Upstairs/Downstairs carry this sociocultural mapping in contemporary English? More problematically, can the notion of “slave-owning” be applied to God when such a relationship is viewed by many in contemporary English-speaking cultures as intrinsically evil? In what ways can we affirm God’s “overlordship” from our thought worlds / cultures / linguistic systems in a way that acknowledges his proper sovereignty but does not present him as tyrannical? (And yes, I am aware of the metaphoric character of masculine referents for God.) All the while the translator seeks to maintain an act of TRANSLATION and not create a paraphrase or a new text “inspired” by the ancient one. I would very much like to read Jordan’s (and others’) thoughts on these (for me) vexing issues.

    1. @Fr. Jan Michael Joncas – comment #29:

      I agree, and you sum up the problem very well. I think we have debated on other threads the fact that 7th-century theology, spirituality and culture are very far from where most of the Church is now. The 1973 translation concealed this fact from us. If we had known what the prayers really said, we would not have wanted to pray them any longer. Now we are faced with that question 40 years later, and it is not any easier. What has been described as “grovelling language” merely aggravates the dilemma, which is this: do we wish to remain locked into a theology and spirituality that reflect a culture which is no longer ours?

      I constantly return to the wisdom of Comme le prévoit in 1969, and see how much of what we have today is in complete disregard of the sane principles laid down there. In the present context, I am thinking of the final paragraph, 43, with its unequivocal statement “Texts translated from another language are clearly not sufficient [my emphasis] for the celebration of a fully renewed liturgy. The creation of new texts will be necessary.” Although the paragraph goes on to say that “translation of texts transmitted through the tradition of the church is the best school and discipline for the creation of new texts so ‘that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already in existence’ (Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, art. 23)”, I note that this is talking about form rather than content. If the content of the 7th-century texts no longer expresses who we are as the People of God, then we need new texts which will do that. For my money, this was a major factor in prompting the Council Fathers to call for a reform of the rites. They could see the cultural difference.

      As long as we continue to be frightened of acknowledging the elephant in the room — that we actually can’t pray many of these particular texts any longer — it will remain difficult for us to grasp the nettle of providing new texts for our age: new texts based on old models, certainly, but with a rich content which speaks to where we are now.

    2. @Fr. Jan Michael Joncas – comment #29:

      On the theological dimensions of this petition

      Yes, we need another thread to discuss not only the anthropological but also cosmological and ecological problems of translating not only the liturgy but also scripture since in fact we human beings have now evolved to a very different situation than we have been in former centuries.

      While I am very comfortable in praying the psalms in Latin or Greek since I think I understand what Dominus and Kyrie meant to people in past centuries, when it comes to translating the psalms for today we must deal with a completely different anthropology, cosmology, and ecology.

      The problem became apparent to me in translating Psalm 8.

      Yes we still can be the “babes” of the beginning of Psalm 8 basking in the wonder of God’s creation.

      But when we contemplate the wonder of our position as crowns of that creation, we simply cannot do that without the recognition that in this past century we have acquired the ability to destroy ourselves and most of creation.

      (This is something different than whether or not we are comfortable with Augustine. Personally I am not. I think he and his followers have misled Western Christianity. I am more comfortable with an Eastern Christianity that sees in the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection and Pentecost a radical transformation of humanity and creation. )

      But getting back to Psalm 8. It seemed to me an image of humanity as adolescent, as being gifted with great potential not only for good but also for evil, was necessary to complete the psalm. That image is not in the psalm. When we put it into the psalm we are not translating, rather we are praying the psalm in light of today’ situation. If we do not recognize ourselves as adolescents, then it seems to me we are left with a misleading view of human potential that is too close to the Enlightenment for my taste.

  18. “People caught in a co-dependent dynamic are often not fully aware of how they deepen their co-dependency by being reactive.”

    Yep. Or, as we say down south:
    “It’s like wrestling (or rasslin’, if you want) with a pig: You both end up covered in mud, but the pig likes that” 😉

  19. Paul, #22, I understand your argument. But I will say, people are really weary of CHANGES.

    I’ve heard from some older Catholics who talk about being catechized on something as children, then re-catechized about why that was wrong, then being further catechized that maybe the older ways were actually the truth, then …

    It gets tiresome. I’m not that old and haven’t lived through nearly as much of it as some have, but it seems like everytime I turn around, some aspect of liturgy is being reversed and we are “recatechized.”

    I wasn’t that enthusiastic about changing the texts, although I do feel some are an improvement. But we went through it and got through it and now I think we should live with it.

    I can only IMAGINE the frustration of people who lived through Vatican II up until now. More than one person of that age has told me that over the years they’ve found that even the faith changes, so there truly is no “rock” that never changes! Of course they mean in terms of liturgy, but that is no small deal if we really believe the importance of liturgy.

    I can only IMAGINE priests and liturgists trying to stand up and give more talks about why the first translation was found wanting, so we got the one after that for 30 some years, then that was found wanting, so we got the 2011 one, but now, the Vatican has returned us to the previous one …. at what point do people just tune out?

  20. I should say, when I talked about “more than one person of that age,” I of course didn’t mean that people who lived through Vatican II are that old. I meant people who had ALREADY been around the block long enough to be entrenched in the TLM, THEN had to go through VAT II, NOW all these changes …

  21. Dave, I think your point about change is based on a premise that is false.

    The liturgy has always been in a state of change and development, even during the 400-odd years between Trent and Vatican II when it was less obvious. Read Pecklers and others if you don’t believe me.

    The problem is that many people’s perceptions are of an unchanging, monolithic Church and liturgy prior to Vatican II. When we had gone through the initial stage of revising all the liturgical books, they thought (and still think) that everyone could just sit back, fold their arms, and live happily ever after, with no further changes required. What they failed to understand was that the Church is a living, growing, dynamic organism and that change and development is inevitably an integral part of who the Church is. The comparatively stagnant period between Trent and Vatican II was just a blip in the process.

    I also understand absolutely that people are fed up with changes. I think this is compounded by the fact that in the latest round of changes we did not progress, we regressed. If the 1998 retranslation had been adopted we would not be having this conversation now; That version showed real progress. No doubt it was not perfect and would have required subsequent tweaking. I think people can cope with that as long as the results are perceived as positive progress. But because in the latest instance the rug of people’s prayer-lives has in effect been pulled out from under them they have had enough. It will be a while before they can see that further changes might be a good thing, and not the disaster that they had to suffer through this time.

  22. Apart from the style of the English translation and errors of an overly factious slavery to word for word and style of syntax of sentence structure which are the domain of English critics and supporters of the revised translation, the theology, spirituality, devotional as well as the historical realities of the Latin template of the modern Roman Missal should be the domain of Roman authorities. If a change in the Latin text is required, given so-called post-modern sensibilities, then the petition should be to retranslate the Latin template first. The English tail has no right to wag the Latin dog in regard to the Mass’s spirituality, historical context and devotional qualities.

    1. @Father Allan J. McDonald – comment #36:
      Back to the old and tiresome centralized, monarchical church – this suggestion is not even found in VII documents about papal authority (*first among equals*……per Allan, unless in Rome where you are just FIRST.
      And just love the:
      – domain of Roman authorities (guess they alone know the historical context and spirituality…..well, he just kicked almost every periti out the window at VII (few were Roman);sold ICEL down the river; etc.
      – English tail has no right to wag the latin dog (why not? We are all part of the church; there is no distinctions; we share the same baptism, same beliefs, etc. What a narrow and provincial attitude)

      This flies in the face of the fact that there are very few latin experts left in Rome….latin is barely used in the course of governance in Rome; recently, the most respected latin expert in Rome (until ill health) was an American.

      Guess we are just making things up again.

  23. Transforming Unhealthy Liturgy Wars into Healthy Liturgical Competition

    The only practical solution to our Missal problems is to allow the simultaneous use of the Old Missal, the New Missal, and the 1998 Missal. It will promote healthy liturgical competition. Everyone will benefit.

    (Healthy religious competition among sects has played a key role in keeping Protestantism vital; healthy competition among religious orders has played a similar role in keeping Catholicism vital, e.g. it wasn’t until the Sister Formation movement that there was much communication among women’s religious orders; they were in competition for members).

    People in the pews are very familiar with multiple translations of the Bible using different translation principles. They see nothing wrong with using different translations, or with different people having different preferences. Why not have the same options for the Mass?

    As for all the explanations of why we do things, most Catholics have come to be very skeptical of these for a long time now. They not only don’t take much of it seriously, they doubt priests really believe most of it. It is just a form of advertising.

    And Pope Francis?

    When Francis was bishop he was very astute in getting out among the people and knowing them as well as if not better than his priests. Already people in the Vatican are remarking how well informed he is about so many issues.

    Francis is most concerned about meeting the needs of the people, both those presently being served as we well as those who are not being served. I think he could easily see multiple missals as a better way to go.

    I can imagine him telling the CDW and the bishops’ conferences to have a plan on his desk within a month to get the whole thing done within a year. Francis sees himself, the CDW and the bishops as being the servants of the pastors and the people.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #37:

      ” All the 20 and 30-something Catholics I know are actually rather happy with the new Missal.”

      You need to get out more.

  24. I’m sympathetic to the petition, and in favor of not-MR3, but I’m declining to sign. And I avoided this thread up till this morning.

    My main concern is not how bad English MR3 is (and it is) or how good it was to finally move beyond MR1 (and it was) but that we were entering another period of liturgical stasis. With Pope Francis, I expect seeds will be planted for continuing reform into the 21st century. And I feel relief at that.

    As flawed as the English version of MR3 is, I think that the Latin edition on which it is based is not without its own problems, and likely needs considerable reform itself.

    The aim is not faithfulness, accuracy, or elevated language, either in an original or a translation. This exalts the thing. It does not guarantee the purpose of liturgy, either the worship of God or the sanctification of the people.

    I would prefer a wide consultation begin with pastors, artists, spiritual directors, (and no canon lawyers, please) to revise the Missale Romanum with an eye to developing a wide enchantment with the Word of God and the sacramental life of the Church. The post-conciliar MR begins this work. It’s time to advance it.

    Meanwhile, I wouldn’t be opposed to using MR2.

  25. I do not find global like or dislike helpful. Inam grateful for The specific critiques offered above. I do find the frequent prayers “that we may merit salvation” in the revised text troubling. Any one ever associated with scouting knows that merit means earn. This is not my understanding of Catholic teaching, at least since Trent.

  26. Jeffrey #44

    I would characterize your remarks as snide, including this most recent one, because they take us off the main topic, (the petition) and focus in upon one person’s comment in a negative manner, implying some possible personal defect.

    I also perceive another comment above ( #38) which someone else made to me to be similarly snide. Actually other than being intentionally snide, the #38 comment did not even seem to make sense let alone be relevant to any discussion whatever.

    ”All the 20 and 30-something Catholics I know are actually rather happy with the new Missal.”

    You need to get out more.

    The comments so far have actually been centered on some very important issues generated by the petition which is why I am willing to call out snide departures rather than ignore them.

    First, there is a large thread of many people who either signed this petition, or might have liked to have signed petition who are very uncomfortable with the petition. I think the conversion about why people are “uncomfortable” is an important one, and Jim Blue’s comments about his pastoral practice were an important contribution. He should not be grilled about his pastoral practices because of it.

    Second, Father Joncas identified an important theological thread. It is interesting that he suggested it might deserve a separate post.

    Third, there is the important issue of too much change which I attempted to engage with my proposal for simultaneous use of Missals.

    Fourth, there is the issue of how Francis might deal with this issue in terms of restructuring church governance.

    This is my attempt to press the reset button and keep the discussion focused.

    1. @Jack Rakosky – comment #45:

      ”All the 20 and 30-something Catholics I know are actually rather happy with the new Missal.”

      Jack, that comment was originally made by Richard Sawicki at #24, not by you. Norman Borelli at #38 was mistaken when he attributed it to you and added You need to get out more.

      I happen to agree with Norman: I do know some 20-30 year-olds who seem to like the new translation, but I know far more who can’t stand it. Richard takes his own experience and elevates it to the status of a universal law. Oh wait, isn’t that what the CDW has done so often in the past?

  27. I suspect we all need to get out more, inasmuch as Catholicism seems increasingly a matter of everyone hanging out with only their own group of like-minded folks. One of the things I like about PrayTell is that we do seem to have a diversity of opinion expressed in the comboxes. We might need to work of the respectful engagement across disagreements, but you at least get exposure to people who think differently.

  28. Actually the newest Latinist in the Vatican is a very scholarly American who is continuing the unique practices of Father Foster. He takes students around to historical sites where they read the Latin of pertinent authors. We met him and his students in the courtyard of our friend’s apartment building which has a connection with Caesar. The students read selections from Suetonius in the original and their teacher offered illuminating comments. An amazing thing was that afterwards they spoke to us in Latin. That does clean the cobwebs.

    I’m so used to Latin being a Unitarian preserve back in the states that it was nice to see Catholics here in Rome involved in Latin studies.

  29. Another example of where Francis appears to be far ahead of everyone in his thinking and acting:

    John XXIII and John Paul II: Righteous popes
    Both men stood against anti-Semitism in the Catholic Church.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-cooper-saints-vatican-jews-20130714,0,1203749.story

    Many people commented that canonizing the two popes at the same time was a shrewd political move internally.

    But it may have been an even better move in the relationship of the papacy to the Jewish community. The above article shows the importance of both Popes to Jews. Given his collaborative book with a Rabbi, it is likely that Francis understood the importance of this dual canonization to the Jewish people.

  30. To pick up the thread about theological changes in Anthony’s initial text and in comment #2 — yes, there were numerous changes in the Latin of the editio tertia and some of these arguably colored the theology, even before RM3 was translated into English. Take a look at the Commentary on the Order of Mass of the Roman Missal (Liturgical Press, 2011) Full disclosure: I authored three articles on the theology of the Latin text and rite.

    Pointing out these changes for a larger audience is not like telling the Magisterium they’ve gotten their theology wrong. Perhaps it’s a bit more like Toto pulling back the curtain that concealed the Wizard of Oz …

  31. Thanks, Professor Roll. Have not had a chance to read the commentary with all of its sections and articles. Obviously, some of these would shed more *light* than *heat* on some of the themes in the comments above.
    Specifically – links to those articles that detail how to approach the pastoral challenges of the new order and translation (wonder if this would not broaden the questions raised by Fr. Blue’s points?)
    and yes, wish we could get links to the articles detailing the theology behind the latin.
    If anything, you introduce an added complexity to this post – first, the latin translation (it can be changed and impacted by one’s theology, ecclesiology, etc. – it is not a tabula rasa or blank slate); second, you have the on-going issues with vernacular translations and translation methods.

    Wonder how many commenting here have read/studied this commentary? And, Deacon, many of the articles were written by Chupungo – so, one can assume that enculturation is involved.

  32. “Richard takes his own experience and elevates it to the status of a universal law”

    I did no such thing. I thought I very clearly indicated that I was referring my own, subjective experience, which I then used to explain my position. I said all the 20 and 30 somethings “I know”, not “all in the world”, and made clear that I was speculating, not declaring.

    If one wants to disagree with me, fine. Let’s have a civilized exchange of opinions. But the snide and emotional reactions to the comments I posted are just stunning.

    Gaudete in Domino Semper!

  33. Look, no translation is ever going to be perfect. If this one bugs you, the answer’s simple: say it in Latin. (You don’t have to be a priest to do that, you know. Latin’s allowed in the pews too.)

    Whatever its (minor) faults, the new translation has finally eliminated the most outrageous, deliberate mis-translations we suffered with under the older version:

    • ‘And also with you’ (an infelicitous, ‘un-English’ phrase if ever there was one!)
    • ‘We believe’ in the Creed
    • omission of ‘through my fault’ in the Confiteor, with its breast-thumping. Oneof the few remaining opportunities for worship using the body along with the voice in Paul VI’s missal (made even fewer by the widespread abolition of kneeling for communion).
    • ‘for all’ substituted for ‘for many’ in the Canon. (If you want to pretend ‘pro multis’ means something it doesn’t, you can just as easily pretend in English.)

    For years I’d always assumed this was what the Roman Missal actually said—those little misalettes we found in the pews after 1970 didn’t print the Latin (hardly in the spirit of Vatican II!), and this was of course way before the internet. I was shocked when I finally discovered the translators had taken such enormous, unwarranted liberties and forced them upon us.

    The new translation is here to stay, folks. Let’s not be backward thinking. Can’t turn back the clock.

    It’s hard for any institution to admit it’s made a mistake, so even if the latest translation were inferior, I can’t imagine the hierarchy owning up to it. If they were capable of that, they’d have admitted years ago that the mass of Paul VI itself (which we should stop referring to as ‘the Mass of Vatican II’–it’s not) has been a massive failure, both in content and execution. Forget translations, let’s fix the missal. Now that would be an accomplishment.

    1. @Phil Eichorn – comment #60:

      The new translation is here to stay, folks. Let’s not be backward thinking. Can’t turn back the clock.

      Who’s “backward thinking”? Warp speed forward thinking, rather.

      There’s quite a big difference between discovery and dissent. Disagreement about the new translation is a very positive and healthy development. Think of it this way — PTB is a table on which to build and rebuild the possibilities behind the new translation. Think of the new translation as a big bucket of Legos spilled out on this table. While the instructions in the bucket dictate that only one type of construction is possible, PTB participants know that the Legos of Catholic liturgical text can be built and rebuilt an infinite number of ways. If someone doesn’t understand the text, he or she can break apart the text into its constitutent parts and build again. Most must worship according to the instructions in the bucket when gathered as an assembly. This reality does not preclude intellectual experimentation when given the opportunity.

      Plenty here simply enjoy this intellectual game. An uncritical belief would simply never allow inquisitive persons the ability to create and recreate possibilities, and at the same time develop their belief (and perhaps faith as well). .

  34. Can’t turn back the clock, you say, but urge us say mass in Latin, as if there was a vast medieval congregation out there just waiting for their priests to go back to Latin…

    As to enormous, unwarranted liberties, I urge you to find the Burns and Oates pamphlet in which the translators gave a line by line justification of the Roman Canon in the version we used for the last four decades (“We come to you Father with praise and thanksgiving…”) — it is far more faithful to the Roman Canon than the unprayable dreck that has replaced it.

    1. @Joe O’Leary – comment #61:
      Vatican II called for Latin, so you are basically saying Vatican II calls us to turn back the clock.

      I can see where Phil is coming from. The 1973 translation was such an impoverished paraphrase that one could easily see it as being intended to keep the faithful in the dark about the true prayers of the Mass. That’s definitely what I thought when I found out how much it strayed on things like the Mass ordinary. The 1998 translation unfortunately kept the worst aspects of the 1973 ordinary, though it was far far better in translating the priest parts.

      One thing the new translation taught me was how much more important ars celebrandi is than the texts themselves. The OF Masses I’ve been to since the switch are pretty much just as they were when I was growing up. A new person would likely never guess it wasn’t a long standing translation.

      1. @Jack Wayne – comment #69:
        Inaccuraccies or slanted opinions:
        “Vatican II called for Latin” – simplistic to the point of being inaccurate; that’s like saying the SSPX is the *true interpreter* of VII

        “The 1973 translation was such an impoverished paraphrase that one could easily see it as being intended to keep the faithful in the dark about the true prayers of the Mass.” – what malarky – ignores liturgical history and fact that *true Mass prayers* have constantly changed and developed. *Impoverished paraphrase* – only in your alternative universe. It was an immense and valid translation consistent with Comme Le Prevoit (something 2010 is not to LA).

        *1998 translation unfortunately kept the worst aspects of the 1973 ordinary* – opinion only

      2. @Bill deHaas (#73): “Vatican II called for Latin” – simplistic to the point of being inaccurate

        “Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” (SC 54)

        That seems like a call from the Council Fathers for the faithful to know their Latin to me. Yet in how many parishes is this true? How has the wholesale vernacularisation of the liturgy helped fulfil this request of Vatican II?

        It is a shame that SC 36.1, 54 and 101.1 have been minimised, if not widely ignored, over the last 50 years. It has been damaging to not just the Church’s worship, but also her unity.

  35. You are also wrong about bishops being unaware of the deficiencies of the 1973 translations — do you not know that a full new translation was prepared in 1998 and approved by all the bishops of the English speaking world? All that work went to waste. Of course we probably had better bishops back then.

  36. I agree. The reformers managed to do a lot of damage while claiming to follow the Holy Spirit. Hard to believe this was real renewal.

  37. Jordan (64), by ‘backward thinking’ I mean reverting to deliberate mistranslations, like those I enumerated.

    Joe (61-2), I don’t think I ever accused the bishops of being ignorant of the deficiencies of the older translation. They were complicit in it. And, flying in the face of Vatican II, they were also responsible for depriving the faithful of the opportunity of attending a novus ordo Latin or mixed Latin/English Mass. How many of those can you find in your average UK/US parish?

    Somehow all this palaver reminds me of the journalist who couldn’t believe George Sr won, by a landslide at that, because ‘everybody I know voted for Dukakis’. Really guys, most people in the pews don’t give a toss. Get over it.

    1. @Phil Eichorn – comment #65:

      Jordan (64), by ‘backward thinking’ I mean reverting to deliberate mistranslations, like those I enumerated.

      The Sacramentary translation is not a “deliberate mistranslation”. The translators of this edition employed a different methodology than the translators who have worked on the new translation. The goal of the Sacramentary project was not a literal translation, but rather a paraphrase of the Latin with a certain type of English syntax and semantics. Certain prayers, such as the Roman Canon, often do not make much sense to many when translated literally. The Roman Canon in Latin opens with the conjunctive postpositive particle igitur. If I entered into a discussion by beginning a statement with “Therefore …” I would undoubtedly encounter puzzled faces. “Therefore” what?

      Really guys, most people in the pews don’t give a toss. Get over it.

      When the new translation appeared on First Advent 2011, I received a few questions from family and friends who were embarrassed to ask what certain words and expressions meant. Just because no one has approached you to discuss together the meaning of certain points, does not mean that many (including myself) struggle with the new translation in one way or another.

      I take a cue from Pope Francis. All means all: you, me, all brothers and sisters in Christ. If the closed-door, exclusive process of the new translation has resulted in a text which puzzles and confuses, then the redo must involve “the many”. All should have a place at the creative process, even if some consider themselves better artisans than others.

      1. @Jordan Zarembo – comment #67:
        The Roman Canon in Latin opens with the conjunctive postpositive particle igitur. If I entered into a discussion by beginning a statement with “Therefore …” I would undoubtedly encounter puzzled faces. “Therefore” what?
        But it does not open with igitur!
        Te igitur, clementissime Pater, per Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, Domium nostrum, supplices rogamus ac petimus, uti accepta habeas et benedicas . . .
        In English, however, the “Thee” must move to make an acceptable rendering:
        “Therefore, O most merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, we humbly [lit.we, your humble ones] pray and beseech Thee that thou wouldst . . . .”
        leaving “Therefore” as the first word.
        But it is not hanging in isolation
        If I entered into a discussion by beginning a statement with “Therefore …” I would undoubtedly encounter puzzled faces. “Therefore” what?
        The Canon cannot be considered in isolation from the Preface.
        Vere dignum et iustum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper ut ubique gratias agere: Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus: . . .
        Et ideo cum Angelis … / Unde et nos, cum … /Quapropter … / Propter quod …

        Therefore with Angels … / Wherefore we too, with … / On account of which …
        Therefore or an equivalent is the linking word in almost all of the Prefaces.
        Because of the attributes/qualities/saving deeds etc. of the Father described in the Preface, we go on to praise Him alongside the heavenly powers in the Sanctus, and go on to ask that He will take possession of our offering, bless and approve it.
        The igitur can also refer back to the words of the Benedictus – because we want the blessed One to come in response to the prayer of the Canon.
        And, of course, beginning the Canon with the letter T gives free reign to calligraphers to give us a marvellous illuminated intial letter depicting the Cross 🙂
        Kind regards,
        John

      2. @John Henley – comment #68:

        Quite true, John. Syntactically, the first word of the Canon is the accusative singular te. Semantically, the first idea is igitur. Postpositivity is extremely common in Latin and Greek (e.g. γάρ). So common, in fact, that postpositives are often not translated. A comparison of an edition of the Greek New Testament against a more modern English NT translation confirms this approach.

        I have learned over the years from various professors that postpositives serve as what I like to call “linguistic MSG”. As monosodium glutamate is a nonnutritive ingredient designed to enhance flavor without the addition of spices, postpositives contribute little or no semantic meaning other than emphases such as “this is a new idea”, or “this is an important point”. Sometimes a postpositive links to the immediately previous idea, but not always. While I appreciate your argument that igitur links with the meaning of the preface (indeed, theologically the preface and eucharistic prayer are a unit), it’s important to note that that over time the preface and the Canon separated from one another to form two distinct ritual actions in the minds of many. Many (including myself) still tend to think that the preface and eucharistic prayer are separate, even after their intrinsic relationship has been affirmed through conciliar reforms.

        I suspect that the illumination of the T of te on the canon pages of medieval missals initially evolved from an interpretation of igitur as a signal that the following paragraph constitutes a new prayer. In my view, the connection of God the Son as te and the customary illuminated image of the crucifixion evolved from the significance of igitur as a perceived break in the liturgical action.

    2. @Phil Eichorn – comment #65:

      These are the “deliberate mistranslations” you enumerated, together with brief commentary:

      • ‘And also with you’ (an infelicitous, ‘un-English’ phrase if ever there was one!)

      The original draft version read “And with you”. This was felt to be too abrupt, so “And also with you” was substitued. But it’s far from being a deliberate mistranslation. You have to go back to the Semitic languages to find out why “your spirit” actually means “you”, in fact “the you-ness of you”.

      • ‘We believe’ in the Creed

      This was translated not from the Latin but from the earlier Greek, where the verb pisteuomen is 1st person plural, not 1st person singular. You also need to be aware of the difference between a personal profession of faith from someone entering the Church and a communal profession of faith by those already in it, and the history of the Creed, which only came into the Mass in the 11th century.

      • omission of ‘through my fault’ in the Confiteor, with its breast-thumping. Oneof the few remaining opportunities for worship using the body along with the voice in Paul VI’s missal (made even fewer by the widespread abolition of kneeling for communion).

      You are not aware that the piling up of phrases in the Latin does not add emphasis in other languages but in fact weakens the desired meaning. The comment about bodily worship is nullified by looking at the actual rite of Paul VI.

      • ‘for all’ substituted for ‘for many’ in the Canon. (If you want to pretend ‘pro multis’ means something it doesn’t, you can just as easily pretend in English.)

      Here the Latin is itself a mistranslation of a Semitic concept which actually means “all” even if it uses a different word. Scholars have demonstrated this beyond any shadow of doubt. It’s similar to those languages where people count “One, two, many”, or “One, two, everything” because their concepts of larger quantities differ from ours. In the Semitic languages, “many” means “all” or “everyone” or “everything”.

      In all of these we are talking not about deliberate mistranslations but about translating the actual meaning (dynamic equivalence), not the literal meaning (formal equivalence) which is not only discredited in translation theory but which actively misrepresents the actual meaning. The authors of Liturgiam Authenticam thought that by stating the reverse — i.e. that dynamic equivalence was discredited — they could make it true, which is why that document is a laughing-stock among professional translators who know better than those Vatican mandarins whose knowledge is sadly lacking. Unfortunately, the authors of the blogs that you seem to have been reading have not caught up with this. They too betray their ignorance of best translation practice.

      1. @Paul Inwood – comment #77:

        Scholars have demonstrated this beyond any shadow of doubt? That is a misrepresentation.

        The theory supporting “for all” is really pretty speculative. My understanding is that it proposes the initial Greek New Testament mis-translates what scholars think Jesus [may] have actually said in Aramaic, on the basis of our present understanding that you could not really say “for many” in that language.

        To be honest, the theory comes down to scholars thinking they have a better insight into the intention of Jesus than did the writers of the Greek New Testatment.

        That is a big call, even if you ignore the fact that those who wrote the Greek New Testament were divinely inspired, and modern day scholars are not.

      2. @Scott Smith – comment #81:

        You’ve either not done the reading, or you simply don’t want to believe what the scholars (who are not fools) tell us. “Speculative” is an adjective that can rebound, my friend.

      3. @Paul Inwood – comment #82:

        I have done the reading, and have a reasonable amount of experience in (non-religious) humanities research and publishing.

        In fact, I am not actually criticising the relevant scholars, whose work is interesting and plausible within the professional framework they use.

        I am criticising the misuse you, and others, put their work to.

        With this kind of research, the scope for conclusions beyond a “shadow of doubt” is vanishingly small. Interesting and plausible, in other words speculative, is about all you can aspire to.

        Further, from my reading, this kind of research has tended to look at things using secular methodologies. That does not invalidate the findings, but it does mean care is required in applying them in a Catholic context, a care which is not evident in your comments.

        We need to apply the light of faith, which for very good professional reasons, many scholars are prevented from doing.

      4. @Paul Inwood (#77):

        You have to go back to the Semitic languages to find out why “your spirit” actually means “you”, in fact “the you-ness of you”. (my emphasis)

        That strikes me as a good reason to translate et cum spiritu tuo as “and with your spirit” – it actually stands a better chance of communicating that there’s something deeper going on in that exchange of words. One of my criticisms of “and also with you” is that it was so throw-away, so superficial – and ultimately so reductionist. Why use the paraphrase “you” to constrict the meaning of spiritu tuo? Who benefits in the long run from that?

        [“We believe”] was translated not from the Latin but from the earlier Greek

        Well, that was the problem, then! Like it or not, the liturgical text of the Latin Rite is in Latin! You can’t just go around replacing the words of the source text with what you’d like to translate – that’s not how it works.

        In the Semitic languages, “many” means “all” or “everyone” or “everything”.

        Aside from the fact that that’s a stretch – “many” can mean “all”, it doesn’t always mean “all” – we’re not translating an underlying Semitic text, are we? Moreover (and for me this is the deal-breaker) no English translation of the Bible has “for all” as a rendering of the words of Jesus at the Last Supper (Gk. peri pollōn, for many). So why should an English translation of the missal render pro multis as “for all”? If “for many” is good enough for biblical translators, it ought to be good enough for liturgical ones.

        In all of these we are talking not about deliberate mistranslations but about translating the actual meaning (dynamic equivalence), not the literal meaning (formal equivalence)…

        Why are you playing dynamic and formal equivalence off against each other? Both are required, after all.

      5. @Matthew Hazell – comment #85:
        If the Semitic idiom ‘your spirit’ means ‘you’ rather than ‘your spirit’ in English, it’s not a paraphrase. In fact the English phrase ‘your spirit’ is less appropriate and less exact than ‘you.’

        You consider ‘and also with you’ throw-away, superficial and reductionist. As far as it goes, that tells us something about yourself and your subjective taste. That’s not an argument against using it.

        In the Creed, ‘We believe in…’ in Greek, predates the Latin ‘I believe in…’ That confers on the plural form a greater authenticity than on the singular of the Latin. It is that impulse which both informed and sprang from the ressourcement theology which flourished immediately prior to the Second Vatican Council. Getting back to the sources is a methodology which accurately expresses the emphasis of the Council.

        Yes, in fact we are translating an underlying oral Semitic source, which predates the texts in question. Once again, the impetus is ressourcement.

        Your deal-breaker consideration is a circular argument. It fails to take into consideration the nuances of understanding required when translating a Semitic source into Greek, or Latin. The Semitic linguistic world prefers concrete concepts, i.e. substantives and nouns, which idiomatic Greek (and a Latin which seeks to resemble it) will prefer to translate with adjectives. Thus, the Semitic expression shed ‘for the multitudes,’ seeks to emphasise the sheer vastness of the numbers intended, rather than to confine the vastness in any sense. For that reason, ‘for all’ is closer to the original intent, if not to the earliest Greek text, and therefore preferable.

        Formal equivalence is more appropriate in a study context, where an inter-linear translation is required. In the construction of a text which will be proclaimed in a ritual and liturgical context, or where communication is the primary aim, dynamic equivalence is the preferred choice of professional translators.

      6. @Gerard Flynn (#89):

        If the Semitic idiom ‘your spirit’ means ‘you’ rather than ‘your spirit’ in English, it’s not a paraphrase.

        But it doesn’t just mean “you”. It means quite a bit more than that, as Mr Inwood rightly pointed out. My point is that, in this instance, the more formal, word-for-word translation of et cum spiritu tuo we now have in the English is capable of communicating that multivalent meaning far better than “and also with you”. That is why I criticised the old translation as reductionistic in this instance – I will concede that my opinion that “you” is throw-away and superficial is subjective, but my opinion in this regard is based in the more objective (short) critique I’ve made about the reductionism of “you”.

        [W]e are translating an underlying oral Semitic source, which predates the texts in question

        No, we’re supposed to be translating the Latin texts! The Latin reads (and always has read) pro multis, not pro omnibus. So, rightly, we now have “for many” in our English translation, which frankly is what we should have had in the first place. The places to give voice to the “underlying” sources are catechesis and homilies, not the translation.

        In any case, if the underlying Semitic source had that much to do with an accurate translation, why don’t any English translations of the Bible have “for all” as a rendering of peri pollōn? The same arguments you’re making about the translation of the missal at this point would apply to Mt. 26:27 and its parallels, surely?

        For that reason, ‘for all’ is closer to the original intent, if not to the earliest Greek text, and therefore preferable.

        Well, wildly speculating about the “earliest Greek text” isn’t much use, frankly. You can claim pretty much anything about texts if you start going down that route!

      7. @Matthew Hazell – comment #94:

        Apart from claiming that ‘your spirit’ means quite a bit more than ‘you,’ you haven’t said what that is, and you haven’t shown that whatever you claim that extra bit to be, is not included in the English word ‘you.’

        There’s nothing ‘reductionistic’ about stating that the essence of the Semitic expression ‘your spirit’ is contained in the English word ‘you.’ Yes, there is one word fewer. And the word ‘you’ includes ‘your spirit.’ That’s not reductionism. It’s an example of dynamic equivalence.

        No reputable biblical scholar would follow your method of insisting that the Vulgate or Vetus Latina be normative in rendering a Greek idiom into English. If you want to see how the Vulgate departs from and obscures Semitic originals, have a look at Knox’s translation, which of course has many literary and stylistic merits. Where the Latin text obfuscates a Semitic original, it ought to be set aside. You have chosen not to engage with my argument that if we take the canonical Gospels as textual embodiments of earlier oral Semitic traditions, ‘peri pollon’ is more likely to render an oral Semitic ‘for all.’ ‘For many’ translates the Greek text. ‘For all’ goes one step further back.

        The principle ‘lex orandi lex credendi’ would suggest that the liturgical text is also the primary means of catechesis, and the place where theologically sound language is preferred to formally equivalent language.

      8. @Gerard Flynn (#2, 2nd page):

        Apart from claiming that ‘your spirit’ means quite a bit more than ‘you,’ you haven’t said what that is…

        I had hoped you’d read Mr Inwood’s comment at #77, which I quoted in my reply to him at #85, highlighting his point that et cum spiritu tuo is a phrase that refers to the “you-ness of you”. Or, in other words, one’s very being – which, in the liturgy, would refer to the priest’s or deacon’s “you-ness”, that which makes them a cleric, i.e. the grace of Holy Orders and the ontological change that occurs in the soul.

        St John Chrysostom in a homily for Pentecost, and Theodore of Mopsuestia in one of his baptismal homilies, say the same sort of thing. I might also point out that when laypeople preside over, e.g., a Sunday celebration in the absence of a priest, they are not to use the greeting “The Lord be with you” because that would give the impression they’re something they’re not (cf. DSCAP 39).

        The translation “and also with you” cannot catch this fuller meaning, because it stops at the Semitic idiom and goes no further. It does not really enter into the liturgical Christianisation of the idiom. If it really just meant “you”, we could say it to anyone – but the fact is that in the liturgy we only say et cum spiritu tuo to ordained ministers.

        You have chosen not to engage with my argument that if we take the canonical Gospels as textual embodiments of earlier oral Semitic traditions…

        No, I agree with you that that is likely. But you have not engaged with the plain fact that no English Bible translates peri pollōn as “for all”. So why should the liturgy in English have “for all”?

        ‘For many’ translates the Greek text. ‘For all’ goes one step further back.

        And I would say that the place for that (legitimate) one step further back is not the translation of the text, but rather the exegesis of/catechesis on it.

      9. @Matthew Hazell – comment #3:

        Your argument that all of the legitimate nuances are not covered by ‘you’ is not persuasive. ‘You’ says everything that you claim ‘your spirit’ says.

        Secondly, to invest the Semitic expression ‘with your spirit’ with an awareness of shades of ontology is simply wrong from a methodological point of view. An elementary application of historical criticism makes clear that ontological language of the type you use postdates the biblical expression. That is to say, to claim that ‘and with your spirit’ refers to the clerical status of the recipient is nothing more than a tendentious accretion, and, in short, an exercise in retrojection.

      10. @Gerard Flynn – comment #9:

        Gerald, I’m not quite sure why you have prioritized semitic language semantics as an absolute basis for Christian liturgical language ressourcement. Your perspective is certainly one of many, and not “right” or “wrong” so far as no hermeneutic can ultimately be given either one of these values. It is not enough, however, to state that semitisms are the best yardstick for all subsequent liturgical language without clearer linguistic and theological links between instances of this phenomenon. The author of Luke is quite fond of impersonal clauses with ἐγένετο (egeneto, “it happened”). This semitism likely is not as laden with meaning as the possible semitic language basis of et cum spiritu tuo. Even then, resemblances can deceive — not all linguistic instances will fit neatly into clear positions in a hermeneutic within Catholicism, let alone outside of our beliefs. After all, I am not sure that the echoes of ἐγένετο in modern religious movements (e.g. the Book of Mormon “and so it came to pass”) could be woven into a grand hermeneutic of lasting semitic linguistic influence across the scriptures of diverse religions.

      11. @Gerard Flynn (#9, 2nd page):

        ‘You’ says everything that you claim ‘your spirit’ says.

        Even if I agreed with you – and, for the record, I don’t, though that ought to be obvious by now! – “your spirit” is better able to communicate to English speakers that there’s something deeper going on in those moments it is used in the liturgy. Again, at the risk of unduly repeating myself: the translation “and also with you” cannot catch this fuller meaning, because it stops at the Semitic idiom and goes no further.

        An elementary application of historical criticism makes clear that ontological language of the type you use postdates the biblical expression.

        Why is that a problem? Surely you accept the premise that how language is used develops and changes over time? It is no different in this instance – the Semitic idiom has been taken up into the liturgy and imbued with additional, fuller, sacramental meaning. A meaning that, in my opinion, is better expressed in a more formal English translation of the phrase!

        @Paul Inwood (#8, 2nd page):

        It’s difficult to imagine how Latin and chant could ever be a part of [Latin American et al] culture in the way in which they can sometimes be in our own cultures.

        Not that difficult to imagine. Up until just after the Second Vatican Council, most of the Latin Rite world seemed to get along perfectly well with what is now the EF. St Charles Lwanga and his companions, St Augustine Zhao Rong and his companions, St Laura of St Catherine of Siena – what language was the Mass that changed and formed them said in?

        The great liturgist Joseph Gelineau was fond of pointing out that a liturgy which grew up in the Mediterranean basin becomes increasingly irrelevant in other parts of the world.

        That doesn’t mean he was right, though. Not that I’m dismissing Fr Gelineau’s opinion out of hand, but I think it’s worth re-examining whether the Latin Rite is really as “increasingly irrelevant” as it may have been thought in the 20th century.

      12. @Matthew Hazell – comment #11:

        To expect the Semitic idiom ‘with your spirit’ to facilitate the speculative ontological gymnastics you speak about is to do violence to it. In biblical anthropology, ‘spirit’ is incapable of supporting these musings in ontology, where ‘spirit’ is not immortal – at death the breath returns to God from whence it came at birth. It is contemporaneous with one’s earthly life.

        One of the primary questions historical criticism asks is ‘What did the author intend to say?’ There is no sense in which the various biblical uses of ‘with your spirit’ imply anything about the clerical status of speaker or recipient. Fitzmyer says that the meaning we take from a biblical phrase must be in ‘homogenous continuity’ with the author’s intention. In this case, talk of ontological hierarchies is not.

        If you want to justify the language of ontological elevation, look elsewhere.

      13. @Gerard Flynn (#14):

        In biblical anthropology, ‘spirit’ is incapable of supporting these musings in ontology… Fitzmyer says that the meaning we take from a biblical phrase must be in ‘homogenous continuity’ with the author’s intention.

        We’re dealing here, though, with a biblical phrase that has been taken up into the liturgy, and thus invested with a fuller meaning as a result. I’ve already noted a couple of early Church writers that spoke about this fuller meaning, and I’m sure some more detailed research would bring up a few more who said similar things. Some in the 20th century liturgical movement also saw this idiom in terms of what you label “ontological gymnastics”: e.g. Pius Parsch, The Liturgy of the Mass (3rd edn, London: B. Herder, 1957), pp. 122-123.

        I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record here, but it is reductionist to translate et cum spiritu tuo only with a view to its biblical use. Historical criticism is important, but it only takes one so far, as our Pope emeritus rightly pointed out in his Jesus of Nazareth trilogy (among other places).

        It’s also perhaps worth noting that, in the vast majority of English Bible translations, this idiom is translated as “with your spirit”. E.g. Gal. 6:18: RSV2CE, NABRE, NJB, NIV, ESV (among many) all have “be with your spirit” for meta tou pneumatos humōn; only GNT and NLT have “be with you all” (and they’re not consistent: cf. their renderings of 2 Tim. 4:22!). So, as with pro multis/peri pollōn, once again I ask: if it’s good enough for biblical translations, why not for liturgical ones?

      14. @Matthew Hazell – comment #17:
        But once you grant that it’s been taken into the liturgy and invested with a fuller meaning, you’ve pulled the rug out from your argument. We can’t be literalist about what it means in the Greek of the Bible. Then neither can we be literalist about what it (allegedly) means in the Latin liturgical books. It has been taken up into a living liturgical event that has meaning in a particular liturgical culture that speaks English. What the Church once did in moving from Greek to Latin, the Church can (and must) keep doing as we move from Latin to the many vernaculars.
        awr

  38. Phil Eichorn : …Somehow all this palaver reminds me of the journalist who couldn’t believe George Sr won, by a landslide at that, because ‘everybody I know voted for Dukakis’. Really guys, most people in the pews don’t give a toss…

    Well, many people here do. (And doesn’t that “everybody” negate that “most people”?)

  39. Phil Eichorn wrote that … 99% of priests pip for the 2nd or 3rd Eucharistic Prayer, to make up for the time they lost while the liturgical dancers swayed to the strains of ‘Gather Us In’.

    In many, many years of at least weekly Mass attendance, in Europe, the USA, Japan, the UAE, Libya (etc etc etc) I have never heard ‘Gather Us In’ or seen a liturgical dancer. That certainly doesn’t mean these things don’t happen, just that they aren’t happening everywhere.

    My experience fits with Jack Feehily’s and Joe O’Leary’s. Before the new translation I heard the Roman Canon in perhaps 1 out of 8 English Masses, especially on very festal days. Priests loved it, in part because of all the saints mentioned in the canon. In Latin Novus Ordo Masses, perhaps 1 out of 5. The new translation of the canon is such a gabble that relatively few priests seem to use it.

    There has been extensive analysis of the EP1 translation here at Pray Tellthis post might be a good place to start.

    The rest of Phil’s assertions e.g. that the Mass of Paul VI has been a failure, are not even worth discussing.

    1. @Jonathan Day – comment #74:
      I’ve deleted the offensive comments and consequently several replies to it – I think Phil has had more than adequate space to present his tendentious and disrespectful views. Enough.
      awr

  40. The ICEL 1973 text has after the words of the Confiteor “that I have sinned through my own fault,” a rubric which calls for the striking of the breast.

    And in the 1973 text of the Nicene Creed, there is the rubric, “All bow during these two lines,” before “by the power of the Holy Spirit/he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.”

    Despite all of the catechesis preceding the introduction of RM’11, the bow prescribed during the Creed just doesn’t happen. A number of people in my experience don’t join in reciting the Creed.

  41. Like Mr. Eichorn, you play fast and loose with history and facts.

    http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2010/12/04/sacrosanctum-concilium-at-47-the-second-spirit-of-the-council/

    The Second Spirit of the Council is seemingly based on a few selected passages from Sacrosanctum concilium. We’ve heard these phrases so often that we know them by heart. The principal ones are:
    – SC 36: “Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.”
    (note – is says preserve; not calls for latin. And preserve doesn’t mean latin only)

    •SC 14: “In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else.” First, “restorations” are not always gentle. They can bring about greater or lesser changes from what went before. Second, this article seems to mean that active participation (however that is understood) is more important than preserving Latin or Gregorian chant or tradition. In principle the door is opened to massive ritual changes if that is thought better for achieving the highest goal of active participation. (this is a principle of SC unlike SC 36 which is merely a directive underneath the principles)

    Your *historical* comment about the *true prayers of the mass* – really

    •SC 21: “The liturgy is made up of immutable elements divinely instituted, and of elements subject to change. These not only may but ought to be changed with the passage of time if they have suffered from the intrusion of anything out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy or have become unsuited to it.” The study of the liturgical history shows that very, very little of the words and rites of the liturgy is of divine institution, and the larger part by far grew up in the course of the centuries.

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #80:
      I did not play fast and loose with anything.

      To preserve Latin would imply the continued use of it, and discredit the idea that anyone calling for the use of Latin wishes to “turn back the clock.” Vatican II supports the use of Latin and chant regardless of whether or not someone interprets SC 14 to mean active participation excludes Latin and chant. You seem to have gotten so caught up in semantics and your obsession to condemn others that you totally ignored the context of my post.

      As for when I said “true prayers of the Mass,” you seem to misinterpret me. I obviously mean the prayers that were being translated, not the idea that they are divinely created or that they cannot be changed. You read what you wanted, and seem to imply that the prayers of the OF are out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy and that the prayers need to be fixed when translated into English. Your problem seems to be with those who reformed the liturgy.

      Also, the 1998 translators must have felt the 1973 translation was insufficient, otherwise why bother retranslating it? Sure, they left the ordinary alone, but the rest of the prayers are often different.

      1. @Jack Wayne – comment #84:
        You are now clarifying your earlier statements. You have also skipped over some of your more offensive descriptive phrases and judgments/opinions.

        This comment: Also, the 1998 translators must have felt the 1973 translation was insufficient, otherwise why bother retranslating it? Sure, they left the ordinary alone, but the rest of the prayers are often different. says it all. Obviously, you either are unaware or choose to ignore the historical facts and documented history of ICEL, the very intro to the 1973 (which had already envisioned an update revision in the future), the 15 yr. process that arrived at 1998; the documentation that Medina would not approve 1998 (approved by all english speaking conferences) because Medina imagined that 1998 was too *politically correct in terms of gender language, etc.*
        You say: “You read what you wanted, and seem to imply that the prayers of the OF are out of harmony with the inner nature of the liturgy and that the prayers need to be fixed when translated into English”
        Actually, no, rather was merely repeating what the VII council fathers wanted, desired, and voted on in terms of *reforming* the order of mass based upon updated theology and ecclesiology….only then do we get to vernacular translation…it was a two step process. Some prayers were accretions (foot of the altar); the reformed order of mass deleted prayers such as the last gospel, etc. So, yes, council fathers saw these as *out of harmony* with the reformed order of mass.

        Semantics – reason why I linked to Fr. Ruff’s article is because you are playing the *second spirit of VII* tune which has one part semantics in order to justify the ideology. (condemn others; totally ignore – would suggest re-reading the words you wrote in #69 – talk about condemnation, immature, etc.)

      2. @Bill deHaas – comment #88:
        I’m sorry, but could you point out to me where I brought up the EF prayers? We have only been talking about the OF up to this point because that is what ICEL translates and suddenly you change the discussion to bring up the prayers at the foot of the altar and last Gospel, which really have nothing to do with what we are talking about. Why on earth would you quote SC about the prayers being changeable in reaction to me talking about the 1973 ICEL translation if you were not basically telling me the Latin OF was deficient and needed to be changed by the translators? I was treating the reform of the prayers and subsequent translation as a two step process- you were not.

        And you of all people really have no right to call anything I write offensive, ever.

  42. Argue about which translation is better; I get that. Argue over whether liturgical dance is licit, I kind of get that – because even though Pope Benedict and others had strong words against it and it doesn’t seem called for, it is true that it’s hard to find LEGISLATION speaking to it. Argue about a whole host of other things …

    But how can ANYONE ignore or argue that the documents of Vatican II, and even other documents including “Sing to the Lord” say that LATIN in the liturgy is to be fostered and that gregorian chant has pride of place in the liturgy? How can you read the plain english texts and then say “Well, the view that that actually means you should use latin is oversimplistic …” I guess it’s as oversimplistic as the view that you should not make a right turn when approaching an intersection with a sign that says “No right turn.”

    1. @Dave Jaronowski – comment #87:

      But how can ANYONE ignore or argue that the documents of Vatican II, and even other documents including “Sing to the Lord” say that LATIN in the liturgy is to be fostered and that gregorian chant has pride of place in the liturgy? How can you read the plain english texts and then say “Well, the view that that actually means you should use latin is oversimplistic …” I guess it’s as oversimplistic as the view that you should not make a right turn when approaching an intersection with a sign that says “No right turn.”

      Dave, it’s not quite as straightforward as that. SC 116 says The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

      It’s quite obvious that Gregorian chant is especially suited to the Roman liturgy. (It would be somewhat strange if people tried to use it with the liturgies of other traditions, which have their own chants.) The key phrase, however, is “other things being equal”. The fact is that in most celebrations today other things are not equal. Indeed, the circumstances pertaining when SC was written have developed so dramatically that if that document were going to be written today it would probably say something rather different.

      SC 36 says that the use of Latin in the Roman rite is to be preserved, but it then goes on to legislate for the vernacular, which is in fact what the world’s bishops requested when they saw the pastoral benefits of it. The use of Latin is in fact preserved in some places, but that is not to say that it needs to be preserved everywhere. I was involved in a Mass only today which included two Latin chants (Kyrie XVI and Agnus XVIII) in the midst of an otherwise vernacular liturgy. Latin and chant are not dead. They are just being used differently, depending on the context, which is all-important. In fact today we used a succession of Latin tropes within Agnus XVIII to cover the time taken for a rather lengthy fraction rite.

      Sing to the Lord 61 begins by stating that vernacular celebrations are the norm, before saying that Latin should be fostered, especially in singing. The crunch para in SttL is 64, which is quite clear that “Whenever the Latin language poses an obstacle to singers, even after sufficient training has been provided—for example, in pronunciation, understanding of the text, or confident rendition of a piece—it would be more prudent to employ a vernacular language in the Liturgy.” That is pastoral common sense. Foster Latin where you can; where you can’t, don’t force it.

      To me, all this is rather different from saying that Latin and chant are paramount and must be used. The documents simply don’t say that.

      1. @Paul Inwood – comment #95:

        Foster Latin where you can; where you can’t, don’t force it.

        Even if we grant this as a fair understanding of what SC 36, 54 et all are calling for – how often in the last 48 years can you honestly say that part one of that formula has even been attempted?

        Rather, these passages have, almost universally, been treated as absolute dead letters by pastors and liturgists insofar as they refer to Latin. Frankly, I wonder how many of them ever actually read Sacrosanctum Concilium in any detail.

        I know there’s going to be an inevitable riposte about the overwhelming and rapid vernacularization of the liturgy beginning in 1965 as simply reflecting some sensus fidelium. However much many laity may have welcomed the vernacular, however, no one should be under any illusion that this was not a top-down reform without significant lay input. And the reality remains that, even under the more restrained reading you adopt, Paul, these are passages which have been essentially disregarded insofar as they make any reference to Latin. The reformers too often jumped on the prescriptions they liked, and ignored the ones they did not – to say nothing of pushing through many other reforms nowhere mentioned, even implicitly, in the text.

      2. @Richard Malcolm (#4): +1 from me.

        I’ll also point out that Mr Inwood’s rather defeatist suggestion that you have quoted cannot be reconciled with SC 54, which specifically states (at the risk of unduly repeating myself) that “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them”.

        We all should know our parts in Latin – such knowledge is to be fostered among all the faithful of the Latin Rite!

        Compared to the Council Fathers, Mr Inwood seems to have quite a low view of the capabilities of the Christian faithful, which is regrettable (to say the least!).

        @Fr Feehily (#5): are you then saying that all English translations of the Bible don’t express the faith of the Church because they render peri pollōn as “for many”, just as we now have the same English rendering for pro multis in the liturgy?

      3. @Matthew Hazell – comment #6:

        Compared to the Council Fathers, Mr Inwood seems to have quite a low view of the capabilities of the Christian faithful, which is regrettable (to say the least!).

        Quite the contrary. I think our assemblies are capable of far more than we ask of them.

        But I suggest you cast your net wider and imagine those indigenous congregations in Latin America, South America, Africa and Asia at worship. It’s difficult to imagine how Latin and chant could ever be a part of their culture in the way in which they can sometimes be in our own cultures. And they form the large majority of worshipping Catholics.

        The great liturgist Joseph Gelineau was fond of pointing out that a liturgy which grew up in the Mediterranean basin becomes increasingly irrelevant in other parts of the world. It’s good to ponder that, and also to remember that people from those other parts of the world are now well and truly in our midst. The situation that obtained in 1963 will never obtain again, however much we might like it to.

      4. @Richard Malcolm – comment #4:
        Sorry – you trot out the usual – “how often in the last 48 years can you honestly say that part one of that formula has even been attempted?

        Rather, these passages have, almost universally, been treated as absolute dead letters by pastors and liturgists insofar as they refer to Latin. Frankly, I wonder how many of them ever actually read Sacrosanctum Concilium in any detail.”

        Disclaimer – personal experience in many churches in different regions of the US. In any parish that I have been a member, latin chant, music, etc. has always been a part of the parish liturgy….especially at major feasts, used with school children, part of our experience in catholic high schools.
        Find your *pre-judgment or allegation* to be extreme…..now, that use might not be as much as you would prefer but that doesn’t justify your *extreme* jedgment and conclusion.

        Suggest re-reading comment #80 – http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2010/12/04/sacrosanctum-concilium-at-47-the-second-spirit-of-the-council/

        Especially the opening paragraph about the *usual* latin kerfuffles.

      5. @Bill deHaas – comment #7:

        Hello Bill,

        Disclaimer – personal experience in many churches in different regions of the US. In any parish that I have been a member, latin chant, music, etc. has always been a part of the parish liturgy…

        All I can say is that I would very much like to visit the churches where you lived, because in *my* experience over the last two decades living in several different dioceses, I have yet to experience any significant use of Latin or chant in the liturgy in regular parishes (I will except Arlington and Lincoln; but these are exceptional dioceses by almost any measure, not least in availability of the TLM) – quite the opposite, in fact, because I can recount more than one anecdote by myself or others where meek (I emphasize “meek,” not “angry trad”) suggestions that a Latin Sanctus, or a Veni Creator Spiritus be added to the repertoire were met with cold hostility by music directors or prominent parishioners. Occasionally I might hear a “Kyrie” done or even an Agnus Dei. These things are extreme exceptions, I find – though I admit that their incidence is starting to grow a bit more the last few years. And, as Matthew Hazell rightly says above, this is not what the Council is affirming in SC 36 and 54 (especially 54).

        My allegation is not extreme. It’s just the lived reality of the Church across America (and beyond). Latin and chant are not only extreme exceptions, they often engender very hostile responses when proposed.

  43. Also, I stand by my “impoverished paraphrase” comment from before. It’s hardly an offensive opinion ignorant of history.

  44. While there are a few exceptions, the vast majority of liturgical uses of the creed, in both Latin and Greek, are in the first person singular. The creed of the Council of Nicaea was originally promulgated not as a liturgical text, but as a kind of “position statement” of the bishops who assembled at the council. Thus the use of the first person plural.

    The initial liturgical employment of the creed in the East was as a baptismal text. It was thus quite natural to put it in the first person singular. When it entered into the Eucharistic liturgy it was, as it were, a migrant from the baptismal liturgy, and therefore retained the first person singular.

    This is not an issue that I think of great import, but I am inclined to think that the first person singular is more appropriate for our liturgical use, not only because it is by far the predominant form in which the creed is used, but also because what we are doing in reciting the creed is renewing our baptismal faith, not reciting the position statement of fourth century bishops.

    Of course, this is less clear in the Latin rite, since this is not the creed used in our baptismal liturgy. So perhaps it would make more sense to either use the Apostles’ Creed at Mass or to use the Nicene Creed at baptisms. In any case, the argument that the Creed was originally in the plural is not, to my mind, very convincing.

    1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #92:

      I respectfully disagree with Fritz. There is all the difference between a personal profession of faith, the origin of the Creed, and a communal profession of faith, which is where we are now, or should be. In my view it is no longer about the historical basis for an element of the rite but about the liturgical function of that element today.

      1. @Paul Inwood – comment #96:
        Paul, you seem to have my argument backwards. It is precisely because the creed functions a reaffirmation of our baptismal faith, and not our signing on to the consensus statement of a 4th century council, that it should be in the singular. Now I may be wrong about it’s function, but my argument does not depend solely upon its historical genesis (though I think the historical genesis of any liturgical element ought to have some influence on how we think about its function).

      2. @Paul Inwood – comment #96:

        I agree with Paul on this one.

        While the “I” is correct for baptism, at Mass I do not renew a personal decision to be baptized or enter into communion but rather we celebrate our common faith, a faith which we share across space and time with others, including the Council. Personally, I think that common faith is best expressed in song.

        As a cradle Catholic, especially one who was baptized on the day of his birth, I have always had such a strong sense of baptism as God’s gift and choice that I have a great deal of difficulty with the piety of baptismal renewal. It seems to suggest an “I” which exists apart from God and his people which I have never experienced. Maybe it makes sense for people who were baptized as adults, or even people baptized as children who had some sort of adult “conversion” experience.

        Some of the “renewal of baptismal promises” ideology seems too much like club membership, like paying one’s dues, being a loyal member, etc. All that seems far removed from being a child of God.

      3. @Paul Inwood – comment #96:
        I agree with Paul also.

        There can be no ‘we’ if the ‘I’ is not included. Otherwise it’s a ‘you believe.’ All of the nuances contained in ‘I believe’ are covered by ‘We believe.’ Ergo ‘We believe..’ says it all.

  45. Deacon Fritz is completely right. The translation is important only in its context. If the creed restates dogmatic agreement with one another, in line with Nicea, then ‘we’ is correct; if it is an affirmation of our baptismal faith, ‘I’ is correct.

    A somewhat similar distinction is in play with “for all.” If we want to reproduce a textual phrase, ‘for many’ is correct. If we want to express our faith, ‘for all’ is more appropriate. Ditto with ‘and with your spirit’ and ‘and also with you.’

    These differences reflect the aim John XXIII presented to the Council in his opening speech:
    Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest
    will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us, pursuing thus the path which the Church has followed for twenty centuries.

  46. Obviously we renew our baptismal faith in the context of a community (and the real ratification of our baptism is not the recitation of the creed but the reception of communion).

    I do think we need to take seriously, however, the fact that 95% of the Christian tradition has chosen to do this be using a profession of faith that is in the first person singular. It is possible that the consensus is mistaken, but I think the consensus at least shifts the burden of proof.

  47. Fritz said:

    I do think we need to take seriously, however, the fact that 95% of the Christian tradition has chosen to do this by using a profession of faith that is in the first person singular

    Yes, but that profession of faith was usually intoned by the priest, who alone sang “Credo in unum Deum” on behalf of the community, and the remainder of which was usually sung by the choir. That was hardly an individualistic expression of faith.

    That does not seem to have much in common with the current attempt to find in the recited “I believe” something similar to responding to a Billy Graham call to be saved, except you don’t have to get out of your pew.

    Personally, I would not mind keeping the “Credo” if we would just sing it; anything to get away from the individualistic mess.

  48. Let’s cut to the chase. Did Jesus shed his blood so that many could be reconciled to God, or so that all could be reconciled to God? The answer is certainly “All” which is why it was changed from “Many” in the first place. It is true that not all will in fact seek and accept the grace of reconciliation made available through faith in Christ’s paschal mystery. That has nothing to do with the words of the institution narrative. We were told to make it clear during the translation catechesis that “for many” really means “for all”. Many of us continue to express the faith of the church that his blood was poured out for all. Will someone please pull the plug on this thread. Mercy!

  49. Just to clarify: yes, those other parts of the world used Latin before Vatican II under the influence of missionaries, although there appears to be some evidence that with the increase of native-born priests this started to shift. (Note too the Jesuit vernacular liturgical usage in China in the 17th-18th centuries, before it was stamped out by the Vatican.)

    Some places even used Gregorian chant, but the vast majority of them did not, it appears. They did what happened elsewhere (e.g. Germany) and embellished the rite with native songs in their own languages.

  50. Paul Inwood : Quite the contrary. I think our assemblies are capable of far more than we ask of them. But I suggest you cast your net wider and imagine those indigenous congregations in Latin America, South America, Africa and Asia at worship. It’s difficult to imagine how Latin and chant could ever be a part of their culture in the way in which they can sometimes be in our own cultures….

    The conversation with Matthew has moved on a bit from here, but I would still like to single out this post, Paul, because I would be keen to hear you expand on your initial statement. What do you think that our assembles are capable of?

    I ask this because there seems to be a conflicting sense of this from more progressive liturgical circles: The laity are more educated than ever before; they are capable of more participation than we have heretofore given them; yet language remains such a great obstacle to be overcome. Vernacular expressions like “consubstantial” are said to be too difficult; and Latin…well, Latin is just too much to ask.

    There’s a larger point to be made about the role of culture in the liturgy here, one that Gelineau seems to grapple with. It’s odd to hear how Mediterranean-limited Latin and chant are supposed to be, given that almost half the Mediterranean itself used other languages in their rites. But more to the point, all these Mediterranean-based rites did not lack for success in rooting themselves far beyond the Mediterranean – the Byzantine rites in the Slavic world, the Latin Rite (and its daughters) deep in the Germanic and Anglo-Saxon worlds – and, yes, Latin America and the East Indies.

    I fear there’s an unfortunate privileging here of the didactic over the latreutic dimensions of the Mass.

    1. @Richard Malcolm – comment #16:

      The conversation with Matthew has moved on a bit from here, but I would still like to single out this post, Paul, because I would be keen to hear you expand on your initial statement. What do you think that our assembles are capable of?

      I ask this because there seems to be a conflicting sense of this from more progressive liturgical circles: The laity are more educated than ever before; they are capable of more participation than we have heretofore given them; yet language remains such a great obstacle to be overcome. Vernacular expressions like “consubstantial” are said to be too difficult; and Latin…well, Latin is just too much to ask.

      Richard, you’ve partly answered your own question. People are capable of far more participation than they actually manage in most places, principally because we don’t create the conditions in which it can happen. A few examples:

      * Our people generally don’t do silence, and particularly communal silence, very well. We have not succeeded in inculcating a contemplative dimension to liturgy in the midst of a busy cunsumerist world. However, with a little effort much can be achieved.

      * Musically, our people over time are capable of far more than the endless ballad-forms that we often give them. It’s the same problem as with the Anglican belief that foursquare hymnody is the only thing congregations can do. With imagination and creativity and the right kind of leadership, our people can spread their wings.

      * Latin is not the issue. There is already Latin in our celebrations — e.g. in Taizé chants, in the simpler chants of the Ordinary, in the occasional Veni Creator at an ordination. But there’s Latin and Latin. I’ll bet you anything that a spoken Eucharistic Prayer IV in Latin would not be easily understood by the vast majority of people, far less a chanted EP IV.

      * Our liturgical catechesis has often not been effective. Many people still perceive the liturgy as an amorphous mass, or as a personal devotional exercise. Because of this, their participation is often superficial at best.

      I’m sure you can think of many other examples, too.

      As far as things like “consubstantial” are concerned, no, this word is not part of common currency, and its meaning is obscure for almost everyone. The problem here was the translation used in America — “one in being with the Father” — which was rightly criticised. In other countries, however, the phrase used was “of one being with the Father”, which was and is perfectly acceptable. It would have been very easy to change everyone to the latter, but no, the crazy strictures of LA were invoked, provoking a reaction that will take years to undo, if indeed it can ever be undone.

    2. @Richard Malcolm – comment #16:

      I’m not sure that the didactic and latreutic functions of liturgy are mutually exclusive or even in competition with each other. Perhaps the word didactic is not even the best one to use in this context because it has connotations of instructing by exposition and of moralising.

      What we are speaking about here is the ability of good liturgy to build up the faith of the People of God and to promote the Kingdom of God.

      There is no doubt that when these things happen, God is authentically worshiped and glorified.

  51. I grew up attending Mass in four different Midwestern states, and Latin and chant was never a part of the OF repertoire. I was an adult before I heard a Greek Kyrie or anything in Latin.

    The music director at the EF I attend favors the “popular” Mass settings and hymns from the old St Gregory and Basil hymnal almost to a fault, yet chant still shows up regularly and rules the day in Lent and Advent. Our High Mass is musically similar to what was common before the council judging from everyone I’ve talked to.

  52. “And with your/thy spirit” has a long history in English liturgy. It is only in the last forty years Catholics have translated it as something else (even if they didn’t say it at Mass), and Protestants have only used something else for about 30 years or so in an effort to match us. The idea that the phrase is a difficult one for English speakers or isn’t suited to our living liturgical culture doesn’t hold water.

    I wonder if the phrase had made it into the 1998 translation if it would be as controversial among those who don’t like the 2010 version and the process that had led up to it.

    1. @Jack Wayne – comment #21:
      You make an excellent point – it may well have been received differently if it were part of 1998 which many like. The dislike of it is colored by 2010 and the problematic process.

      Your comments support an important point: words have meaning in a context, not absolutely or apart from the time and place. There is no timeless, unchanging, “accurate” translation.

      In evaluating the switch to “and with your spirit,” it’s fine to look at the original Greek and various English bibles in the last 50 or 100 years and what the Latin (from 5th century or from 1969) said – but none of this really settles the question. What we really have to look at is, “what does this say to people today? how is it heard? what meaning will it take on after this problematic process? after this ‘continuity’ agenda which wasn’t there 10 or 40 years ago is now being advanced?

      The idea that it isn’t suited to our liturgical culture actually holds water very well – since our liturgical culture isn’t what it was 75 or 50 years ago. “And with thy/your spirit” will have lots of connotations after 40 years of “and also with you” that it wouldn’t have had otherwise. Please, take our culture seriously and stop arguing as if it doesn’t really exist or doesn’t matter.

      awr

  53. I take our culture seriously and never argued it doesn’t exist or matter. What a bizarre and unfounded accusation.

    1. @Jack Wayne – comment #23:
      I’m sure you take culture seriously, as most everyone does.

      The question is whether one attends to culture for pragmatic reasons of how to advance one’s ahistorical, supra-cultural agenda, or one takes culture seriously because all human thought and endeavor is culturally constructed. There is a tendency among many people – and I see it running through your comments at Pray Tell – to take culture seriously only for the first reason. This is a methodological problem.
      awr

      1. @Jack Wayne – comment #31:
        No, your words mean what they mean, and my words mean what they mean. I don’t mean to pick a fight, but I do want to insist on this point. You can’t just throw accusations around gratuitously. This is a very important methodological point for me, and I believe very strongly that you can’t do theology as if the Enlightenment never happened. But it is a striking feature of much conservative Catholic thought today to do exactly this. I don’t believe I’ve ever written a syllable at Pray Tell that suggests I do theology in this way.
        awr

      2. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #32:
        Says the person who started this conversation by throwing accusations around gratuitously.

        You have written many syllables on PrayTell that forward an ahystorical agenda. I never said anything about the Enlightenment. However, you frequently ignore that culture today is not what it was fifty or even twenty years ago and frequently hold up liturgical fidelity to Vatican II as being more important that having relevant celebrations that bring people to Christ and accomplish what Vatican II actually wanted (you flat out said as much in a prior thread in which you basically told me a well celebrated participatory EF is deficient when compared to even the most inept OF because the bishops fifty years ago declared it to be so). You promote ideas that cause division and the abuse of power (the indult system) even though you consider yourself to be against division and abuse.

      3. @Jack Wayne – comment #33:
        OK, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

        I’m closing this thread – not only because of our interchange, but because I’ve been thinking for some time that the entire conversation has run its course.

        awr

  54. Matthew cites the prohibition on lay presiders using the greeting ‘the Lord be with you’. Is the prohibition or exclusion of laypeople from using the greeting attested to in patristic sources? I know that St John Chrysostom speaks of the bishop as acting in the power of the spirit; but he also speaks of the spirit descending on all of the people of God. I am curious about whether the explicit prohibition is truly ‘traditional’ or, as some elements of ‘traditionalism’, thoroughly modern.

    My problem with ‘and with your spirit’ is that it raises questions about the specific ‘spirit’ with whom the cleric is endowed but the layperson is not. This inevitably leads to a mechanical or even magical view of the sacraments: a focus more on the presumed spiritual impotence of the laity than on anything positive about the clergy. And, it leads to a conflation of the spiritual gifts given to the Church and to a conflation of ‘Church’ with ‘clergy’. It provokes comments about the ‘nullity’ of non-Catholic orders. It exacerbates the debate about the ordination of women.

    Did the Holy Spirit descend on the whole Church at Pentecost? On the women as well as the men? On the ‘clergy’ as well as the ‘non clergy’?

    Acts 2.17 seems to support this; Peter quotes the prophet Joel: “In the last days – the Lord declares – I shall pour out my Spirit on all humanity. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young people shall see visions, your old people dream dreams. Even on the slaves, men and women, shall I pour out my Spirit.”

  55. In re: whether the Creed is intended to reaffirm baptismal faith.

    It’s relevant, I think, to observe that the sprinkling rite was inserted into the opening rites of Mass in the reform to reaffirm baptismal faith. This is beyond question.

    The Creed at Mass, however, has different historical origins and a different purpose. Although of course it’s not completely exclusive to other interpretations, the major reason why the creed was placed in the Mass was to combat heresies. As I read the history, the reaffirmation of what the Church believes collectively versus heresies is the issue, not the regeneration of individuals by water and the Word or adherence to Christ as opposed to Satan.

    Naturally, “I” is part of “we” but I think we are talking about emphasis here.

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