A Unifying Solution for the Missal Situation

There is a solution to the Missal situation which is surprisingly easy, and the result would be, as we say in Minnesota, not half bad. It’s this: keep the revised Order of Mass of 2011 with its congregational parts, and plug in the priest’s parts from the 1998 translation.

That might sound like an odd hybrid, and there would be just a bit of inconsistency, but I think it would be workable. And to put it in crassly political terms, it could be a unifier because, when the dust had settled, there wouldn’t be clear winners and losers. Isn’t it high time we think about bringing reconciliation and unity to an area marked by so much rancor and division?

Quick review: 1974 Sacramentary is the previous translation, rather flat with its simple language. 1998 Sacramentary is the one experts worked on for some 17 years and all the bishops’ conferences of the English-speaking world approved, but Rome rejected. The 2011 Missal is in part the product of ICEL’s work in accord with the controversial 2001 Roman document Liturgiam authenticam, but much of 2011 is scarred by the 10,000+ changes which Rome (and its committee Vox Clara) made at the last minute.

1974: (Collect, I Advent) 
All-powerful God, increase our strength of will
for doing good
that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming
and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven.

1998:
Almighty God, strengthen the resolve
of your faithful people
to prepare for the coming of your Christ
by works of justice and mercy,
so that when we go forth to meet him
he may call us to sit at his right hand
and possess the kingdom of heaven.

2011:
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth
to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy
to possess the heavenly kingdom.

As you see, the 1998 presidential texts are quite formal and elevated, making them much closer to 2011 than 1974. Most everyone would agree that the English in 1998 is poetically better than 2011.

To explain the win/win of this proposal, I will use the handy terms, however inadequate, “traditionalist” and “progressive.” Though I’m sure there are people who hold all sorts of combinations of positions that don’t fit into these two categories, I’ll use the terms here to describe the people who liked 1998 (I’m calling them progressives) and those who defend 2011 (I’m calling them traditionalists). I know, I know, there are people of quite conservative sensitivities who support 1998, and some progressives who had this or that problem with 1998, but go with it for the sake of my argument.

The win/win is this: the progressives who like 1998 would shout a cry of joy to see its presidential texts come in, but the traditionalists who have felt obligated to defend 2011 would concede that they are getting most of what they wanted in terms of more formal and elevated language. 1998 is a far cry from the 1974 which they (and not only they) disliked. And the traditionalists are also getting much by way of accurate translation of the Latin, for 1998 is generally very accurate. And if they’re honest (and have been reading Pray Tell), traditionalists know that Vox Clara introduced inaccuracies into 2011 all over the place. And of course the traditionalists are getting the revised Order of Mass with “and with your spirit” and “under my roof” and all the rest.

This sounds like a simple cut and paste, 2011 plus 1998, but there would be some decisions to make and a few details to iron out. This is why it would probably take more like three years than one. (I’ve already worked it all out and will be waiting by in phone in case anyone in Rome or DC wishes to ring me up.) The 1998 prefaces already begin nicely with “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,” which would preserve the lovely transition from the new congregational response “It is right and just.” But where 1998 leaves out some of the angels and powers at the end, it should be no problem to plug in the last bit from 2011 with a fairly seamless fit. I’d keep the new, more elaborate preface chant tone from 2011 and fit it to the 1998 preface texts, perhaps with some slight editing of the 2011 endings for normal English word order and good word accent distribution.

The heart of this proposal is the introduction into the 2011 Missal of four things from 1998: the Collect, Prayer over the Offerings, Preface, and Prayer after Communion. But there are nooks and crannies in the Roman Missal, various proper and particular texts in the course of the liturgical year. Solemn blessings, for example. These all would have to be dealt with, but it shouldn’t take that long.

One might want to adjust the 2011 Order of Mass here and there, e.g. by changing “consubstantial” to “of one substance” to throw a bone to the progressives, but I suspect most of them wouldn’t insist on this if it were the price to pay to be rid of the 2011 presidential texts. And I would settle for having just one collect option, the 1998 translation of the Latin collect, but the bishops might be feeling generous and re-approve the 3-year cycle of original collect texts they once approved many years ago which matches the readings in the 3-year lectionary. (Liturgiam authenticam allows for such original texts not based on Latin, by the way.)

Perhaps the 2011 Eucharistic Prayers would need to be smoothed out a bit, but their more formal tone could be preserved for the most part.

There might be some light editing of the 1998 presidential texts here and there, but I’m pretty optimistic it could be run through quickly. Maybe a word or phrase here or there in 1998 would have to be made more faithful to the Latin, but it would have to be without loss of the beautiful flow of the 1998 text. Some of the “inclusive language” of 1998 might need to be “un-inclusified” – and this might be advisable to appease the traditionalists and reassure them that their many and loud criticisms of the 1998 text were heard. I suspect progressives could accept some compromise on this front as long as 1998 is substantially preserved.

There is the issue of size and weight of the book. Though the Latin missal is a one-volume book, there is no reason, save extreme legalism of the pre-Francis curial variety, why a vernacular Missal can’t appear in two volumes, one for Sunday and one for everything else. Call it the “acolytes’ arms relief indult.”

If this thing took about 3 years to work out, it would mean that the 2011 Missal lasted about 5 to 6 years – which is still longer than some of those interim missals right after Vatican Two. There is precedent for the timeframe. And publishers like Liturgical Press wouldn’t mind at all a new press run! (They’re not paying me to make this proposal).

Pastorally, the transition to this new Missal would be quite painless. The people in the pews would hardly notice, since their texts aren’t changing. Priests would notice – and they’re the ones who dislike the new text and would be most happy to have better and more sensible and more beautiful English to proclaim. One would say as little as possible to the people – perhaps a brief notice that the new Missal has proven itself and the new texts have become known and accepted by people, and now some slight improvements are being made to the priest’s texts, without bringing up the whole sordid behind-the-scenes saga of what happened to ICEL under Cardinal Medina and all the rest. Or maybe one could get away with saying nothing at all to the people?

I’ve been around the block enough by now to know that when I make a grand proposal such as this, which is the high middle ground destined to unite everyone in perfect peace, with me as the hero who saved the day, the result rather is that I’m fired on from all sides.

I’m ready. Fire away.

awr

 

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81 comments

  1. As a more traditionalist type, in the terms used here, I could live with this proposal, at least if it managed to stop everyone going on about it so much.

    However, I don’t give it a great chance of happening, as the English speaking bishops just seem to be over all this translation stuff.

    I think they would prefer to kick it down the road, until the translation needs to be updated due to natural language change in perhaps a few decades, rather than reopening the whole thing now.

    This fatigue could be seen in the now dead proposal to adopt an ESV based lectionary in the non-US English speaking world. The bishops I think were not against the idea in theory, but another translation argument was not inviting.

    Also, I am not sure Pope Francis cares much about this kind of stuff. I think his opinion might be just to live with it and focus on more important things, like the gospel and the poor.

  2. “Isn’t it high time we think about bringing reconciliation and unity to an area marked by so much rancor and division?”

    The rancor and division is mostly between people who do not share worshiping communities. It’s online, mostly. And the rancor is not going away anytime soon. Good pastors manage rancor much better than bureaucrats, and for the most part, parishes are adapting well enough. How to rebuild lost trust between bishops and pastors: that’s what MR3 has cost in the culture of the clergy.

    “Some of the ‘inclusive language’ of 1998 might need to be ‘un-inclusified’ – and this might be advisable to appease the traditionalists and reassure them that their many and loud criticisms of the 1998 text were heard.”

    As for the traditionalists offended by accurate translation, I’m thinking Jeanie Bueller captures it well by what she said on her brother’s day off: screw ’em.

  3. No fire from my corner, Anthony. It sounds like a sensible solution to me (particularly since there are parts of the 2011 Order of Mass that I prefer to 1998). Does it have a snow ball’s chance in hell of actually happening? Probably not. Oh well, dum spiro spero.

  4. I love this idea – I actually often skip the presidential prayers when I’m reading the mass texts in Give Us This Day since they’re usually more baffling than edifying, and it distracts me from meditating on the scriptural texts. The ’98 prayers, on the other hand, I really like.

  5. I’ve sometimes had a similar thought. Personally, I think the biggest triumph of the 2011 translation is the ordinary – but the proper texts I’ve seen of the 1998 translation are usually very nice. Also, it would be really annoying to change all the people’s responses again. People seem to have a good handle on the new ordinary, if the OF’s I’ve attended are any indication.

  6. This is an excellent solution, Anthony. I’d love to ditch the whole 2011 dull mess into oblivion where it belongs. But I’m willing to live with the keeping the people’s parts, even though I find these clunky in places, if it means ALL the presider’s prayers (orations, Eucharistic prayers, etc.) can be made to shine.

    Oh, and please include the 1998 alternative prayers which link to the readings of the day. They are really special.

  7. I’m ok with this suggeation. I would add a couple of cosmetics. The first is having parts like the Preface on ONE page, rather than having to turn a page to finish.

    Second, I would like to have a better index, so we could find things more easily (like the various prefaces used for certain feasts; I liked them when they were all together).

    Third, I would like the chant tones to fit the text and not trying to force an English text to a Latin Notation (the Exultet is one of my pet peeves; it’s like putting a square peg in a round hole. The way some of the lines are noted…It doesn’t fit.). There has to some compromise to keep the integrity of the text working with the chant melody.

    1. @Pat Barkey – comment #8:
      I believe the question of layout/organization of the Missal was mentioned by Philip Endean on another thread as well. I would hope that this could also be fixed. Having the invocations to penitential rite C in the back is a major annoyance (for this deacon, at least) and having the solemn blessings somewhere that they could actually be used would be nice.

  8. Well, as you know, this is, broadly speaking, the result I’ve been recommending since 2011…. Two optional tweaks to the people’s parts (“and on earth peace” to “and peace on earth”, and “consubstantial” to “of one substance with” or another variation) involve no change in syllables so they would be easy in musical revisions.

    I would also suggest that I would not want the 2011 style employed in full in other ritual texts. The reason is that those texts are not encountered by the faithful on a weekly (or even daily) basis like the Ordo of the Mass, so that there’s *much* less opportunity for complexity to gradually percolate into reception by the PIPs. For this reason, we need a revision of Liturgical Authenticam, to take this kind of thing into account – and, even more importantly, to not treat translation as a magical correspondence formula that only cares about the euphony of Latin and not of the native genius of the vernacular tongue.

  9. Were you intending to use a pun when you said “fire away” for comments regarding an article about the”missal”??

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #25:
        But I do applaud you and hope God blesses you for being brave in initiating this discussion. Thank you. I bet your finger really hesitated a moment before you hit the Enter/Send on this one but again, Thank you. If this can come about with “for all”, I could find my way “home” and find my way back to supporting the liturgy as a cantor. I made a decision of conscience to not sing when this translation was levied against us mainly because of the “for many:. It was painful but something I had to do.

  10. Fr. Anthony,
    Were you intending a pun when you said “fire away” regarding comments to an article on the “Missal”?

    I like your suggestion only if Jesus would then die for all, not just many. I didn’t see that you mentioned that. For me this is a clencher and based on a number if the now 600 comments since yesterday on this same subject, over at NCR, I am not alone.

  11. Agreeing with many of the comments, especially those in favour of the alternative opening collects and a widespread revision of the Missal chants, I’d also make a different suggestion from Anthony’s (one volume for Sundays, one for weekdays):

    Have a Book for the Chair and a Book for the Altar. (This is what happened, at least in England, during the transition into the vernacular in the second half of the 1960s, until Rome clamped down and put a stop to it in the early 70s. The two volumes were entitled the Book of Collects and the Sacramentary.)

    I hear a large number of priests — particularly American priests, as it happens — asking for this, not least because of the total weight of the present Altar Missal (those with sight problems find the typesize in the Chapel Edition too small) and because of the layout problems that others have mentioned above.

    And there may be light on this particular horizon because the grapevine says that the England and Wales Conference has petitioned the Congregation for precisely this, and their request has apparently been approved by Archbishop Roche. A Book for the Chair would contain the introductory rites, collects, postcommunion prayers and concluding rites, plus some “chair material” from the RCIA. What is not clear on the grapevine is whether the Book for the Altar would continue to be the full Missal, or just the material that is used at the altar.

  12. Pat Barkey :Third, I would like the chant tones to fit the text and not trying to force an English text to a Latin Notation (the Exultet is one of my pet peeves; it’s like putting a square peg in a round hole. The way some of the lines are noted…It doesn’t fit.). There has to some compromise to keep the integrity of the text working with the chant melody.

    I quite agree that chant for English needs reworking – and Dom Anthony knows my views, having commissioned an article from me which appeared briefly on the PrayTell blog some two years ago. But otherwise I think his proposal is admirable.

  13. From the ecumenical perspective, the retention of the congregational response “and with your spirit” rather than “and also with you” is not something that I would applaud. As Paul Westermeyer noted years ago in an open letter to Benedict when changes like this were introduced,

    The common texts we have struggled so hard to figure out together are used by families who each week attend services in two heritages, one Roman Catholic and one perhaps Reformed, Lutheran, Methodist, or Episcopal. Some families don’t attend services in both traditions, but they hear the same lectionary and confess the same Creed in separate services. These families will now be divided by different details of wording for the Ordinary, so that they will have difficulty speaking or singing common texts together any more.

    http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2010/01/13/an-open-letter-to-benedict-xvi/

    This may be a workable short term solution to a political problem within the Roman Catholic church, but it hardly a happy one nor a lasting one. At best, it postpones and papers over the larger discussion that still needs to be had.

      1. @Maxwell Johnson – comment #20:
        I’m with Max and Peter R. on this, and I strongly favor ecumenical agreement on such things. But on purely political grounds, I don’t think Catholics reverting to “And also with you” is in the cards. In my ideal world, ecumenical consultation in which the Catholic Church participated and didn’t walk away from the table to act unilaterally would yield agreement that we all use “And with your spirit.”
        awr

  14. Given that the ’98 texts were approved by all the English-speaking conferences anyway, why not allow the use of either text. Maybe congregations could vote on which of the two they wanted, or priests could say which text was in use for each Mass. At Our Lady and English Martyrs in Cambridge (my parish church), there are Masses in three different languages (including Latin) each Sunday. It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to have one of those languages be English.

  15. As someone who generally supports the 2011 translation, I could support this proposal (sign a petition to the bishops if you created one). How would you deal with the Exultet? It seems to generate a lot of emotions for both traditionalists and progressives.

  16. I too think this is on the right lines. But we need the full 1998 eucharistic prayers at least–whoever thought ‘be pleased to confirm in faith and charity’ an improvement on ‘strengthen in faith and love’ lives on another planet.

    It seems to me that 1998 was wise in not proposing a change in the people’s parts–but now that the damage has been done we should be extremely hesitant about changing them again.

  17. I think that this is a great proposal. If the assembly’s responses were the same as the current MR2011 maybe it would be possible to have the two missals authorized for use at the same time, so that the worshipping community could chose which edition better met their spiritual needs (and then “let the best missal win.”) This could be a positive first step, then if after maybe 5 years over 90% of parishes were using the 1998esque version then the Ordinary could also be looked at (and if nobody was interested in the 1998 version, then it could be definitively shelved and everybody would have to concede that MR2011 won the day). But if there was a fairly even split, then maybe we could live in a world with two editions of the Roman Missal (with the same responses), as an example of legitimate liturgical variations within English-speaking Catholicism (as is the situation in Spanish with multiple authorized translations of the Missal legitimately being used, but with, more or less, the same responses). On a practical note, it might be a good idea for the readers of PrayTell prepare a booklet with a comparison of the Latin original, the 1973 edition, the 1998 Sacramentary, MR2011 and a sample of some masses of the proposed version. Maybe something simple like the last few weeks of Ordinary Time rather than one of the liturgical seasons where some ink already has been spilt. Then the bishops could see the options available to them and how easy it would be to prepare the proposed revision.

  18. I favor your proposal, Anthony. I would want the ’98 EP’s as well as the collects. I agree that disturbing the people’s responses would not be a good idea at this time. However the RM3 translations of the Gloria and the Creed are really bummers compared to what we had before. Our parish has already learned about 5 new and revised settings of the Gloria so we would survive, but I know they could sing one of the old settings without missing a beat.

  19. Paul Inwood : Agreeing with many of the comments, especially those in favour of the alternative opening collects and a widespread revision of the Missal chants, I’d also make a different suggestion from Anthony’s (one volume for Sundays, one for weekdays): Have a Book for the Chair and a Book for the Altar. (This is what happened, at least in England, during the transition into the vernacular in the second half of the 1960s, until Rome clamped down and put a stop to it in the early 70s. The two volumes were entitled the Book of Collects and the Sacramentary.) I hear a large number of priests — particularly American priests, as it happens — asking for this, not least because of the total weight of the present Altar Missal (those with sight problems find the typesize in the Chapel Edition too small) and because of the layout problems that others have mentioned above. And there may be light on this particular horizon because the grapevine says that the England and Wales Conference has petitioned the Congregation for precisely this, and their request has apparently been approved by Archbishop Roche. A Book for the Chair would contain the introductory rites, collects, postcommunion prayers and concluding rites, plus some “chair material” from the RCIA. What is not clear on the grapevine is whether the Book for the Altar would continue to be the full Missal, or just the material that is used at the altar.

    Much of this could also be solved if they went with a more traditional typesetting style. It would save so much space. It not only uses less paper, but results in less page turns, not to mention a continuity between the two missals of the Roman Rite. Don’t freak out at the domain below, just read it. It’s a fascinating proposal.

    http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2011/10/nlm-proposal-for-internal-design-and.html

    Also, I think the move to ditch the new collects is rather silly.

      1. @Paul Inwood – comment #34:
        why not give priests the choice and have two editions? It would save a lot of paper, and for many priests, it wouldn’t be more difficult. What’s the harm in allowing a publisher to give it as an option>

  20. Fr. Ruff,
    Under your solution, what would you do about those weird features of the 1998 Sacramentary, like making the Gloria optional, and in fact mutually exclusive with the so-called “Litany of Praise” (which in practice all but means that no Gloria would never be heard again in a Catholic church)? Follow the ’98, or stick with the ’74/’11?

    1. @Dwayne Bartles – comment #28:
      I didn’t mention any of this because I didn’t have any of what you call these ‘weird’ features in mind. I think we’d stick with the Order of Mass of 2011.

      I’m told that these ‘creative’ things were already removed by the bishops’ conferences when they approved the 1998 translation – I don’t know if that’s true or not.

      awr

      1. @Anthony Ruff, OSB – comment #30:

        I’m told that these ‘creative’ things were already removed by the bishops’ conferences when they approved the 1998 translation – I don’t know if that’s true or not.

        No, they approved them all.

  21. You left out something:

    Repeal Liturgiam authenticam.

    Without this as a first step, can anything happen? One has to admit that the principles of the translation were to a great degree themselves what led to the product we find unsatisfactory. If one wants to create the conditions of acceptance for the (much better) texts of 1998, it has to begin there.

    Of course if one did that, one would be able to call into question the people’s responses too.

  22. Solve the weight problem with an ipad-surface-other tablet version of whatever missal we end up with. what i would keep as a traditional book is the lectionary and gospel book.

    1. @Henry Edwards – comment #37:
      Unfortunately, Kathy bases her argument on a single example. A quick search through PTB would yield many instances where theological inadequacies of the 2011 translation as brought forward.

      Also, a lot of the defenses of 2011 seem to be, “OK, it’s ugly, but it’s at least true to the Latin.” Even ignoring the numerous places where 2011 is not true to the Latin, I don’t think that it comports well with Catholic sensibilities to treat truth and beauty as a zero-sum game. While we shouldn’t have too put up with untruth, neither ought we to have to put up with ugliness, and I can’t think that anyone would seriously defend the beauty of many of the orations of the 2011 missal.

      1. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #38:

        >> I can’t think that anyone would seriously defend the beauty of many of the orations of the 2011 missal.

        I would, but I haven’t had the time to write that article yet.

        Pretty much every time I read an article here complaining about how unreadable some particular prayer is, I think, “Really? Made perfect sense to me.”

        Everyone is entitle to their opinion, so I take no umbrage at some people saying they think the prayers are ugly or sound bad.

        But the constant idea that NO ONE AT ALL likes them, or that NO ONE would call them beautiful is not just wrong, it’s also rude. It’s a “No True Scotsman” sort of argument that de-legitimizes the opinions of anyone who disagrees, and reminds me of the argumentative tactics I used to associate only with conservatives and fundamentalists.

      2. @Adam Wood – comment #39:
        It’s not about reading the prayers, Adam. It’s about hearing them. You can’t dismiss the method of communication when that context is so important.

        “But the constant idea that NO ONE AT ALL likes them, or that NO ONE would call them beautiful is not just wrong,”

        This isn’t my idea. My idea is that the English MR3 is poor grammar, and poor artistic proclamation. My suggestion is to address the complaints of actual people: the priests who say the texts are difficult (though not impossible) to render, and the criticism that the translations in many places are not accurate, plus the criticism that it’s not good grammar.

        Once you and Kathy are able to address real people’s best arguments against, rather than the worst, then the communication will begin. And that goes for the bishops, too. Lacking that, you two are participating in a dialogue of the deaf. Perhaps that is part of Kathy’s frustration with this site.

        So here’s a direct question of you: why don’t you tackle the best arguments against MR3, rather than the worst?

      3. @Todd Flowerday – comment #40:

        >>This isn’t my idea.

        No. Nor was my comment a response to what you said.

        >>Once you and Kathy are able to address real people’s best arguments against, rather than the worst, then the communication will begin.

        Kathy and I, though colleagues at the Cafe, are hardly the same person or even of the same mind on many issues. We often talk between ourselves about hymn writing and Aquinas (two topics we are both quite taken by), but we don’t plan our rhetorical strategy together.

        Honestly, I don’t know what “the best” arguments against the new translation are. I don’t think its wrong to have an opinion, positive or negative, about it; and (unlike many people who comment) I try to always keep in my mind that my opinions on it are just that – opinions. I attempt to make arguments that make sense on their own because I don’t think that I, by myself, have any credentials or authority on the matter. So when I do talk about it (which isn’t often), it’s really just me trying to express my thinking on the matter and why I think that.

        The reason I jumped in here is not to defend the translation (which I am unqualified to do, really) but to defend the notion that someone can legitimately like it. I grew up in a very liberal and diverse parish, and was taught to respect diversity and difference of opinion. I made a comment here on this thread because Fritz expressed an idea which I find both troubling and increasingly prevalent among my liberal friends: only the appropriately progressive opinion is legitimate. I think this sort of idea (whether Fritz holds it or not) is a real problem, and is a threat to liberalism itself.

      4. @Adam Wood – comment #45:
        ” … to defend the notion that someone can legitimately like it.”

        Of course. I know there are two main reasons for people legitimately liking it. Some people appreciate the language of it. I get that. Some others like it because it sticks it to non reform2 people. I get that too.

        I think there are a number of reasons to be against it. Vocabulary and formality of style are not among them. I think it’s poor grammar. I think many collects lack euphony, and the order of Mass isn’t much better. The texts all require careful preparation and enunciation–something that many priests lack the will or ability to accomplish. I think a too-heavy reliance on Latin-derived English leans to a certain aristocratic emphasis. 800 years ago it would have favored the conquering Normans rather than the subjugated Anglo-Saxons. LA still has a big problem with an inherent racism–but that’s matter for a whole other discussion.

        ” I can’t think that anyone would seriously defend the beauty of many of the orations of the 2011 missal”

        I think what Fritz is getting at is this: let’s take the ten worst examples and see if MR3 supporters can defend them. That’s a little different from dismissing the opinion of the missal as a whole.

        “… we should be fighting to change the source Latin texts.”

        I would agree with this, certainly. The Latin collects are unreformed and in ordinary time especially, not harmonized with the Lectionary. Scripture trumps human fabrications–the latter should be based on the former.

        ” … the beauty that resides in doctrinal accuracy and clarity of thought.”

        Well, they are not necessarily accurate portrayals of doctrine. Pope Francis, in Evangelii Gaudium suggests that the homily is about a dialogue more than a catechetical exercise. Do the collects serve as a dialogue or a monologue? As oral proclamation, do they engage people, preparing them for the proclamation of the Word or as a meditation on Holy Communion? They do not exist out of a context where they should point to and not overshadow other nearby and more important elements.

      5. @Todd – comment #56:

        >>Of course. I know there are two main reasons for people legitimately liking it. Some people appreciate the language of it. I get that. Some others like it because it sticks it to non reform2 people. I get that too.

        I’m glad you KNOW this. I’m curious HOW you know it.

        I also hope that you pray constantly for all those uncharitable people who apparently base their entire liturgical life on schadenfreude.

        >>I think it’s poor grammar.
        I’m surprised that someone who considers official ritual books to be merely suggestions would become dogmatic about grammar rules.

        I’m also curious if you have serious examples of bad grammar that you can point to.

        >> I think many collects lack euphony
        This is definitely not subjective at all.

        >>and the order of Mass isn’t much better
        I will concede the following points:
        -us men
        -chalice
        -my roof

        The rest of it is a vast freaking improvement.

        >>The texts all require careful preparation
        GOOD
        The Mass deserves no less.

        >> I think a too-heavy reliance on Latin-derived English leans to a certain aristocratic emphasis.
        It’s a Latin text. Latin derived English is the most sensible approach there is. This is precisely HOW a reception language gains the vocabulary needed to deal with theological concepts. It’s been an ongoing process ever since Douay Rheims invented “victim” and “character”

        >>800 years ago it would have favored the conquering Normans rather than the subjugated Anglo-Saxons.

        Dude, and I thought you were still fighting battles from the 1960s and 70s. Learn to let go, man.

        >>I think what Fritz is getting at…etc
        I’d like to hear from Fritz on what he was getting at. I don’t think what you said is it.

        >>“… we should be fighting to change the source Latin texts.”
        I promise Ben Yanke doesn’t think we should do that.

        >>Well, they are not necessarily accurate portrayals of doctrine
        What? And what does THAT have to do homily format?

      6. @Adam Wood – comment #57:

        I will concede the following points:
        -us men
        -chalice
        -my roof

        The rest of it is a vast freaking improvement.

        Consubstantial?

        (The only reason we have this is because the US Sacramentary had “one in being with the Father”. The UK Roman Missal had “of one being with the Father”. Absolutely no reason why Rome couldn’t have had everyone change to the latter rendering, which is accurate, elegant and comprehensible, instead of dumping the elephant into the middle of the Creed. No wonder so many people opt to use the Apostles’ Creed all the time now.)

        PS: Mr and Mrs Kettle is not a demeaning comment but an observation of fact: most of our people do not have theological training, nor education beyond high school level. Long, convoluted sentences dripping with subordinate clauses are alien to their existence and simply cannot be understood orally by many. Even Shakespeare does not do this, by the way.

        PPS: You must not have spoken to many clergy about their difficulties in proclaiming these texts. With the greatest respect, I don’t think one of your “acting” classes will do anything except exacerbate the situation. We don’t want priests who are acting, we want priests who are praying.

      7. @Adam Wood – comment #57:
        “I’m surprised that someone who considers official ritual books to be merely suggestions …”

        You have to prove that. Citation, please?

        “The rest of it is a vast freaking improvement.”

        Not over MR2. And in the eyes of more American priests than not, they are not even an improvement over MR1.

        “Latin derived English is the most sensible approach there is. ”

        No. It’s the laziest approach there is. English is half a Germanic language in origin, and a massive borrower in the last two centuries.

        “I thought you were still fighting battles from the 1960s and 70s.”

        You thought wrong. I’m fighting for the 21st century.

        “I’d like to hear from Fritz on what he was getting at. I don’t think what you said is it.”

        On the first point, me too. But I can read a public thread and I didn’t read what you said you read.

        “What? And what does THAT have to do homily format?”

        Because it’s part of the Mass. And if it doesn’t concern the sanctification of people on the mortal plane, I wonder why it’s there as it is.

      8. @Adam Wood – comment #45:
        I made a comment here on this thread because Fritz expressed an idea which I find both troubling and increasingly prevalent among my liberal friends: only the appropriately progressive opinion is legitimate. I think this sort of idea (whether Fritz holds it or not) is a real problem, and is a threat to liberalism itself.

        Sorry, I missed this the first time around. My point was not anything about the normativity of “progressive opinion.” I do not think of myself as a liberal, nor am I particularly progressive (my worldview is far too apocalyptic to have much time for progress). I do not think the aesthetics of the translation of the collects is a progressive/traditional issue. And while it might boggle my mind — and believe me it does — that someone would defend them on aesthetic grounds (as opposed to, say, doctrinal), I do recognize that, like all aesthetic questions, there will be disagreements that are not easily settled.

        In prose, my aesthetic bias is 1) for the concrete over the abstract (which in English often means a preference for words with Germanic rather than Latinate roots) and 2) for clarity of sentence structure (which does not exclude dependent clauses, btw). Prose lacking these qualities comes across as both limp and hifalutin. The current translation clearly runs counter to both of these biases. I suspect that those who like the new translation would disagree with my biases, in part because a Latinate vocabulary and a complex sentence structure mirrors more closely the original Latin, though this seems to me more a theological/ ecclesiological/ ideological concern than an aesthetic one. Or maybe they just like limp and hifalutin prose.

        To further clarify: Unlike some, I don’t think the collects are for the most part ungrammatical. They use constructions we do not use for ordinary speech, but on the whole they do obey current rules of grammar. Also, I don’t have problems with the underlying Latin texts, just with…

      9. @Adam Wood – comment #39:
        Well, maybe I’ve just imbibed too much Orwell and Strunk and White, but the orations both read and sound to me like the attempts of my undergraduates to sound important, not trusting in their ability to say something that is important.

        But I’m willing to be convinced. Perhaps in your article you could defend the beauty of this rendering of the 8th solemn collect on Good Friday:

        Almighty ever-living God,
        who created all people
        to seek you always by desiring you
        and, by finding you, come to rest,
        grant, we pray,
        that, despite every harmful obstacle,
        all may recognize the signs of your fatherly love
        and the witness of the good works
        done by those who believe in you,
        and so in gladness confess you,
        the one true God and Father of our human race.
        Through Christ our Lord.

        Or perhaps this collect from after the Exodus reading at the Easter Vigil:

        O God, whose ancient wonders
        remain undimmed in splendor even in our day,
        for what you once bestowed on a single people,
        freeing them from Pharaoh’s persecution
        by the power of your right hand
        now you bring about as the salvation of the nations
        through the waters of rebirth,
        grant, we pray, that the whole world
        may become children of Abraham
        and inherit the dignity of Israel’s birthright.
        Through Christ our Lord.

        De gustibus, of course, but I would really like to hear a defense of what makes this beautiful. Something about the prosody involved, or the sense of structural balance, or the mellifluous quality created by the word choice, or even clarity of expression. To my ear, these are bumpy, abstract, and convoluted. Beautiful thoughts, yes. Beautiful prose? I’m as yet unconvinced.

      10. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #41:

        Beautiful thoughts, yes. Beautiful prose? I’m as yet unconvinced.

        +1. And of course there are many others where even the thoughts are not beautiful 🙁

      11. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #41:
        I quite like the second one. It extends the clause describing God continuously forward in a somewhat rhapsodic way.

        The first one I would need to work on a bit.

        I’m also a disciple of Strunk and White, though I do tend toward the rhapsodic in my own writing, rather than the simple. (And I’ll try to refrain from any non-parenthetical jokes involving Orwell and Praytell’s ongoing campaign to fix the language of the liturgy.)

        But of course you have deflected my main criticism. I don’t begrudge your opinion. I take strong issue with the notion that it is the only VALID one.

      12. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #41:

        In addition to what you’ve raised here, I’d add one more important issue. These prayers function in the liturgy as ORAL proclamation, not written. To borrow from a discussion of hymnody, there are plenty of hymns that are fine devotional poetry but disastrous as lyrics to a congregational hymn, because they are too dense, too multivalent, and/or too obscure to be grasped at the pace at which the music proceeds. They invite people to pause, to linger, and to ponder — but meanwhile, the music and worship goes on.

        The same holds true with these prayers. The question of whether they are beautiful as written prayers is one thing, but within the event of worship, it is even more critical that their beauty as oral communication be assessed.

        On that basis, I’d say these prayers do not serve the church at worship well.

        I don’t know if this is possible, but I’d love a post where a recording of prayers from this translation would be available, rather than the text of the prayers. Reading the prayers is one thing, but for 99.9% of the church, it’s the hearing of them as they are proclaimed by someone else that matters most.

      13. @Peter Rehwaldt – comment #47:

        Again, not to belittle your opinion of their badness, but:

        I DO read them out loud. While I’m only a hobbyist theologian, I do have formal training as an actor, theatre director, and musician, and my focus in school was Shakespeare and the classics.

        I find they work BETTER as spoken texts, and I suspect that much of the criticism has to do with people being unable to sustain a train of thought or a series of dependent clauses for multiple lines.

        I’m not here to convince you. The translation doesn’t really need my help in defending itself. I just want to reiterate that I’m quite tired of constantly reading about how NO ONE AT ALL likes them, that the only SERIOUS opinion is one of criticism.

      14. @Adam Wood – comment #48:

        I suspect that much of the criticism has to do with people being unable to sustain a train of thought or a series of dependent clauses for multiple lines.

        That’s a pretty damning statement about the people in the pews.

        I’m not saying that NO ONE AT ALL likes them. I am saying that most of the conversation I see about the translation is focused on those who speak the bulk of the prayers, and very little about those who try to follow them as hearers.

      15. @Peter Rehwaldt – comment #51:

        I agree: most of the conversation is about those who have difficulty in proclaiming these texts, and very little about those who have difficulty in deciphering the meaning when they hear these convoluted texts proclaimed.

        So when Adam says “I DO read them out loud. While I’m only a hobbyist theologian, I do have formal training as an actor, theatre director, and musician, and my focus in school was Shakespeare and the classics.

        I find they work BETTER as spoken texts,” he may well be right. They may work for him. But for Mr and Mrs Kettle in the pews, without theological knowledge, training as an actor or anything else, and with no printed text in front of them (the acid test), these texts come across as obscure, incomprehensible verbiage, without talking about their tonality and register.

        We cannot simply evaluate them on paper, nor by speaking them aloud ourselves. That is not enough. We have to be on the receiving end of someone else’s oral proclamation in order to experience the biggest weakness of the whole enterprise.

      16. @Peter Rehwaldt – comment #51:

        >>That’s a pretty damning statement about the people in the pews.

        NO.

        It’s a damning statement about some priests and their inability to read.

        Also, re: Paul Inwood
        >>But for Mr and Mrs Kettle in the pews, without theological knowledge, training as an actor or anything else

        You may disagree with my point. But this is not really addressing my point.

        If you are a reasonably intelligent English speaker and you attend a production of a Shakespeare play, and don’t have any idea what they are talking about, it is the fault of the actors, not your lack of preparation and training.

        As for statements that ARE damning of the congregation (or otherwise dismissive and insulting of their intelligence), I find the notion that so-called “average people” cannot understand the texts (when spoken properly, even) to be strongly in that category.

        As to the (potential? implied? actually offered?) argument, yes maybe it would be okay if they were proclaimed really well but not all priests can do that:
        1. That’s their job.
        2. Everybody can do that if they are trained properly.
        3. If you doubt that [2] is true, I will happily come and do an acting workshop with your local clergy. My rates are very reasonable.

      17. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #41:
        I rather like both the collects mentioned. But whether I or anyone else regards them with particular affection is hardly the point. We can hope that God, to whom these prayers are addressed, finds them acceptable as expressions of our faith and adoration, even if at the same time they have a certain didactic role to play also.

        It seems to me that most of the criticisms here of these translations concentrate on beauty in a somewhat superficial sense of smooth prosody, felicitous structural balance, or mellifluous quality of expression, as opposed to the beauty that resides in doctrinal accuracy and clarity of thought.

        But I have carefully compared the Latin original and the new English translation of almost every collect, super oblata, and postcommunion in the new translation, and have noted precious few questions of accuracy of translation, even if I occasionally feel a smoother rendering might have been possible.

        Moreover, I lead a small morning prayer at my local parish, using the new translation of the day when appropriate as the closing collect, and find them quite amenable to meaningful proclamation.

      18. @Henry Edwards – comment #52:

        But I have carefully compared the Latin original and the new English translation of almost every collect, super oblata, and postcommunion in the new translation, and have noted precious few questions of accuracy of translation, even if I occasionally feel a smoother rendering might have been possible.

        You are not the only one who has done this, Henry. And if you had been around to follow this blog, for the best part of two years you would have seen a steady demolition of the whole enterprise on the grounds both of accuracy and failing to follow LA’s stipulations, done by people who are far more qualified than either you or I. There are far more than “precious few” instances, alas. Before it was ever implemented we knew the magnitude of the problems.

  23. I can’t help but agree, Adam (comment no 48). There are many, many people I know, including me, who finds the new missal edifying, both when read, spoken, or sung. Not everyone hates the new missal. Again, we come down to the issue of translation. If you want to simplify the collects, we shouldn’t be fighting for inaccurate translations, we should be fighting to change the source Latin texts.

  24. >>Mr and Mrs Kettle is not a demeaning comment but an observation of fact: most of our people do not have theological training, nor education beyond high school level. Long, convoluted sentences dripping with subordinate clauses are alien to their existence and simply cannot be understood orally by many. Get used to it.

    I strongly disagree.

    Moreover, I’m not sure I understand the logic which says that the Kettles aren’t smart enough to understand complex sentences but are smart enough that their opinions about liturgical programming, musical genres, birth control, church governance, or really any other causes on which “the people” disagree with the Magisterium, should be taken into account.

    1. @Adam Wood – comment #60:

      It has nothing to do with being smart enough or a matter of intelligence. It’s about how most of us speak and think, our habitual linguistic environment. As I said in the edited version of my previous post, even Shakespeare doesn’t use the kind of construction evident in the missal translation.

      The world of the Latin cursus is not that of the English that is spoken by us today. It never will be. Insisting that we follow 7th-century Latin syntactical constructions is nothing more than stupid. The German-speaking bishops, whose language has a very different word order from ours, had the same objections. In their case, they simply refused to use what the Congregation was trying to impose. We can do the same.

  25. >>With the greatest respect, I don’t think one of your “acting” classes will do anything except exacerbate the situation. We don’t want priests who are acting, we want priests who are praying.

    I can definitely see where this comment comes from. I don’t want priests “ACTING” either. (In fact, I don’t really want actors acting.)

    I really mean “in depth text work.” It is a tool that actors use, but is not for actors alone.

    And the assumption which I read into your statement (and forgive me if it isn’t there) is something like that that kind of text work inhibits prayer, or alienated the priest from the immediate emotional/spirituality, or something along those lines.

    (I assume that because I have heard it from other people in many guises – including actors who don’t want to rehearse and musicians who don’t want to study theory.)

    If there’s some version of that idea in your statement, I disagree with that as well. The work is what gives the text wings.

    1. @Adam Wood – comment #61:

      I would simply respond that if a collect whose function is to gather people together in prayer requires “in depth text work” to make it comprehensible to people in the pew, then it is clearly the wrong sort of text for its purpose.

      I think it’s high-handed and arrogant to say “Well, I had no trouble understanding this text [on paper] and so neither should anyone else”. The fact is that most people will have trouble understanding, and that is a problem which isn’t going to go away. Trying to alleviate it through study and artifice ignores the fact that we are talking about how things are received aurally. For example, in the case of ambiguities resulting from the antecedents of dependent clauses being simply impossible to determine, no amount of work is going to change that. It’s just not how people think any more.

  26. >>Long, convoluted sentences dripping with subordinate clauses are alien to their existence and simply cannot be understood orally by many. Even Shakespeare does not do this, by the way.

    For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
    The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
    The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
    The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
    That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
    When he himself might his Quietus make
    With a bare Bodkin?

    Who would these Fardels bear,
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
    No Traveler returns, Puzzles the will,
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
    Than fly to others that we know not of.

    Those are each one sentence. They occur in succession in the most famous speech ever written in the English language. (And, in some editions, they are one sentence with a semicolon between them.)

    1. @Adam Wood – comment #63:

      Not a good example. This text is accumulative, not filled with subordinate clauses. I’m not talking about the length of sentences but their structure. (Although, as the 1973 translation tried to acknowledge, even lengthy sentences become progressively more difficult to absorb unless they are separated into manageable chunks.)

  27. >>I think it’s high-handed and arrogant to say “Well, I had no trouble understanding this text [on paper] and so neither should anyone else”.

    I find this odd. Truly.

    I would think that my sense that everyone else in the world is potentially as smart and capable of understanding something as I am to be the opposite of arrogance.

    >>Trying to alleviate it through study and artifice ignores the fact that we are talking about how things are received orally.

    Not artifice.

    Practicing the art of speaking, and studying the text to be spoken, is not any more or less artificial than studying music and practicing an instrument before being allowed to play an organ at Mass.

    The prayers are received aurally (not, um…. orally), and it is ridiculous (in my opinion) to not expect priests to have made the art of public prayer part of their training and for them to do some amount of text work and study each week – just as I’m sure you practice the music you are going to play before you get to Mass.

    1. @Adam Wood – comment #66:

      aurally (not, um…. orally)

      Ahem. See post #64. That is what happens when you rush to reply while the author of the post is still editing his or her comment. I forebore from pointing out that you wrote they’re instead of their in an earlier post….

      I would think that my sense that everyone else in the world is potentially as smart and capable of understanding something as I am to be the opposite of arrogance.

      No, because your underlying implication is that they ought to be the same as you even though in fact they aren’t. You say “If I can understand it, surely everyone can”. That is (a) not true, (b) disrespectful of the way other people’s minds work and the education they may or may not have received. It’s an implied criticism. The implication is that because they didn’t understand it, unlike you, they are therefore less intelligent / educated / skilful / clever than you are. “Everyone ought to be like me” is what you are saying.

      it is ridiculous (in my opinion) to not expect priests to have made the art of public prayer part of their training and for them to do some amount of text work and study each week – just as I’m sure you practice the music you are going to play before you get to Mass.

      My point is that it doesn’t matter how much work priests do or don’t do, many of the texts are structurally irredeemable. No amount of study or preparation will make any difference. Add to that problem the actual tone of the utterance, together with the vocabulary employed, and the outcome is something that people just tune out as verbiage. Incomprehensible churchspeak.

      We can do better than this — much better.

  28. “I would think that my sense that everyone else in the world is potentially as smart and capable of understanding something as I am to be the opposite of arrogance.”

    I’m with Paul. It’s not. It pretty much looks like arrogance. In part because it assumes not a similar level of intelligence, but a similar sense of priorities.

    I could see that in a monastic or dedicated religious community the demand for a level of attention to the collects that otherwise can also be devoted to the readings from Scripture, or to a mix of sacramental engagement, personal recollection and communal singing.

    One reason why the collects, as they are, are just plain wrong is that even for people as smart as you, they demand a level of attention that, in the liturgy, is just misplaced. I think a degree of elevation works in places like the Lord’s Prayer, and perhaps the Eucharistic Prayer. In the bigger scheme of things, the collects are just not that important.

    This is probably the biggest sin of Vox Clara/ICEL/CDWDS: they are inattentive to the greater issue of context and purpose in the liturgy.

    The opening collect should point people to the Liturgy of the Word. It’s a preparation piece transitioning from one section to another. As such it should be succinct and clear. As a kerygmatic piece, it has something of a homiletic quality. As such, I see it as ideally governed by a familiar, conversational, but not trite style. Pope Francis’ remarks on the homily apply in a way to it. His remarks, to me, underscore why the opening collect is a failure.

    The post-Communion collect is a denouement from an important sacramental moment for the community. It should serve to unify and reengage people as a community and point to mission in the world. Anything else is a distraction. It’s the one moment in the Mass when most people think the distraction should be minimal.

    Granted, folks like you or I might be willing to accept a sustained attention to liturgy. But for those who can’t or won’t, it’s not a factor of their intelligence.

    For the record, I think your points are well-taken. But to me they look to lack roots in the context of the arguments, and they don’t strike me as a completely accurate diagnosis of the problems at hand.

  29. If I did not do so earlier, I apologize for projecting into your statement opinions that you do not hold.

    I see a troubling trend toward dogmatism in liberalism, which you seemed to be manifesting- i was reacting to the trend, not to you in particular.

    Contrary to assumptions that might be made about me based on my affiliation with the Chant Cafe and SOME of my liturgical understandings, I consider myself a theological liberal, and have always valued diversity in theological thought and liturgical practice.

    My growing frustration is not so much that I disagree with anyone on particular points (because that is inevitable and healthy), but that it increasingly seems that people I think of as essentially kindred liberal spirits do not want to admit to the validity of viewpoints other than their own.

    1. @Adam Wood – comment #71:
      One useful bit that helps me, but probably not as often as it should is CCC 2478, which is also an honored principle in Ignatian spiritual direction: that I am obliged to think the best of the other’s statements, attitudes, personal presentation. Perhaps the grounding behind that is that I am obliged to authentic dialogue with people with whom I’m inclined to disagree.

      I think I was too cheeky to suggest a second reason for endorsing MR3 is to stick it to the ars celebrandi generation of 1981-1998, those people who grew up and grew past the excesses or even silliness of 1963-1981. But who, as you demonstrated earlier in this thread, are often lumped together with others you dislike.

      The 60’s and 70’s comment was frankly ignorant on your part. I wasn’t Catholic in the former decade, and I was a teenager in the latter, and perhaps not as responsible as you think for your dad or mom’s burlap banners and Paul Simon music in church.

      My frustration in turn is with people who seem more satisfied to fly in a uniform flock, and who seem to accept that as mainstream. Your association with Chant Cafe, for good or ill, colors perceptions about you. It is a site that does not tolerate dissent, and often whips itself into an unbecoming frenzy–a failure of CMAA as well. The troubling trend toward dogmatism isn’t a liberal or conservative fault. It is human nature amplified by the peculiarities of online communication and interaction. Lamentable, but very real. And universal.

      A metaphor about the collects … they strike me as much out of place as a heavy dessert after a heavy Italian meal. Once my gullet is packed with pasta, cream sauces, and perhaps two or more courses, the last thing I want or need is a thick slice of chocolate cake and a glass of milk. That doesn’t mean that cake and milk are bad. It just means that in the context of the meal I’m thinking of at this moment a small dish of spumoni seems so much more palatable.

      I hear your regard for the translation of the collects. I could see the advantage, even, in a more intentional or academic environment, of using them with fruitfulness. Or using them as a study document to assist in the translation of MR3 into other languages. I do not see such advantages in the culture at large. I think it is possible to have a more artistic language in the vernacular translations of the Mass, but avoid the theological and grammatical problems of the English MR3.

  30. >> Chant Cafe[…]is a site that does not tolerate dissent

    If that were true, I would not have been invited to become a contributor, as i have a well documented track record of dissent, heresy, heterodoxy, feminism, liberalism, and love for David Haas music.

    1. @Adam Wood – comment #73:
      A better model and example would be the public conversations Jeffrey Tucker and I had a number of years ago. I long ago gave up on seeking and finding such examples online. But its curious as to how two individuals who disagreed on so much could find a rather friendly and generous camaraderie, and why places like the Cafe aren’t able to reproduce that at all. KLS has the measure of it all. And, alas, me too.

  31. Adam

    I think many religion blogs and discussion boards have a hard time recognizing rhetorical mirroring in action. We see that pungency and classical (adversarial, often strongly adversarial) rhetoric to advance our own position is good, but not so good when it is mirrored from the other side: the tendency is what I might call a “classical rhetoric for me and Rogerian rhetoric for thee” mindset. The problem with classical rhetorical argument is that it’s only productive when each side shares certain assumptions (assumptions are in a sense intuitive and pre-rational, and not easily susceptible to syllogistic argument), but otherwise all it does is ensure that everyone gets to go away feeling righteous and offended.

  32. Thank you, Fr Anthony for a well reasoned proposal. I would group the Eucharistic Prayers with the prefaces in terms of need for clearer and more poetic language with betTer pace and phrasing.

    Lastly, Some time ago there was a very helpful post on the PREPARATION OF THE ALTAR AND THE GIFTS and how this rite has been retrogressing back to offertory language. Perhaps this issue is more theological than simply related to translation. But how do we recoup the Eucharistic Prayers as the central offertory prayer of the Mass, essentially conjoined to the offering of Jesus?
    See also Dennis Smolarski”s writing about the different gestures related to Bread and Cup PRESCRIBED in the missal and virtually ignored by clergy and Bishops alike..

  33. Today I watched the state funeral of the recently retired Canadian Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty. The funeral was held at St. James Anglican Cathedral in Toronto. The BCP was used for the rites. There has been much comment here about the “formality” of the language of our current translation. The language of that Anglican funeral was elegant; it was formal, but it was not awkward, convoluted, and stilted as is the translation of RM III. Because the English is so well crafted, the “thee’s” and “thou’s” don’t intrude. It conveyed meaning readily. Had our new translation been of that quality, it would be more than acceptable. I was impressed by the reverence with which the rites were celebrated (including a fine homily!), and longed for language of that quality in our own celebrations.

  34. I for one am unlikely to be happy unless the congregational parts are also revised.

    True the priest’s parts are far worse than the peoples, but I want good quality, contemporary, English for the people as well as the clergy.

    How, for example, is a 1st century formula for saying “goodbye” better than an common, everyday contemporary response to the greeting from the priest? (even if it is verbatim what the Latin says.

    The Lord be with you.
    Goodbye.

    No it doesn’t work for me, … sorry.

  35. A happy Easter to all.

    The “goodbye” is to be taken with a smile and a dose of salt of course, but as an example of the sort of thing I mean (and with tongue out of cheek this time): … consider the Apostles’ Creed.
    I humbly suggest this is not in clear English, as the meaning of “hell” has changed over the centuries and there is risk of misunderstanding.
    Even if seldom used the text is still there to be read by anyone browsing the Missal.

    Nonetheless your idea has merit and will be a big improvement even if the unfortunate laity are left with the 2011 version.
    It is likely to be a long time before we can hope for a complete overhaul from scratch resulting in first-rate English texts and the “unifying” proposal offers an interim solution that will satisfy many. But I remain deeply unhappy with the 2011 people’s parts.

  36. Thank you Fr. Ruff for your proposal. I’m sure many could live with it, me too.
    However, maybe, perhaps, the underlying problem here is one of our American constant caviling at everything the church gives us. Dear Lord, can’t we just stop arguing about things like this and accept what the church has given us, even though it may be flawed? No translation, GIRM, no ruling or document from Rome is going to make everybody happy. Who’s going to win? All of us have to have some measure of obedience and acceptance, and it can go against our highly educated opinions and deeply held proclivities. I do very much get tired of endless opinions about what I like and why I like what I like is better than what the bishop (of Rome or anywhere) and I can prove it.
    Now having said that, I will have to check myself as the next time I disagree with some priest or liturgist! I’m sure the Lord will remind me!

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