Bruce Harbert and Carl Daw at Saint John’s!

In September 2009, the Diekmann Center at Saint John’s School of Theology·Seminary hosted Msgr. Bruce Harbert, executive director of ICEL, to deliver the address “The Missal’s Image of God.” The Rev. Carl Daw, executive director of The Hymn Society of the U.S. and Canada, gave the response. The speeches were videotaped.

Fr. Godfrey Diekmann, OSB (1908-2002), monk of Saint John’s and theology professor, was a peritus at Vatican II and longtime editor of Worship magazine. The Diekmann Center for Pastristic and Liturgical Studies regularly sponsors lectures by notable scholars.

5 comments

  1. I really appreciated this lecture and wanted to share a quote that has invited me to reflect further on my own ministry. Msgr. Harbert stated, “The liturgy bears the scars of its history.” For whatever reason this struck me. Maybe I will share some insights from my theological reflection in the future.

  2. I had a longer comment written, but I accidentally clicked on a link on this page thus erasing what I had written. Opening a new window for comments, as is done often on other blogs, would help with this.

    I think that Fr. Daw is too worried about connotations of words. I can’t really see that venerable and precious are really that problematic. The connotations of words normally have to be activated by context. If the context is insufficient to activate the connotation, there is nothing to worry about. It is also easy to forget that Latin words had their own connotations. For instance, the word novus (new) often had the negative connotation of “unproven, suspect, dangerous.” However, it is used in the insitution narrative in Latin to describe the “new and everlasting covenant.” Here, the negative connotation is not activated.

    I have my own problems with the Sanctus and Lord’s Prayers. I’d prefer never using the vernacular in praying the ordinary, but that’s not my call to make. In the case of the former, the translation should be, “Holy, holy, holy IS the Lord God of Sabaoth.” The words sanctus, Deus, and Dominus are all nominative rather than vocative, signalling that that Dominus is subject, Deus is appositive, and sanctus is the predicate adjective. I don’t have a problem with the thee’s and thou’s of the Lord’s prayer. There is enough archaic use elsewhere in the vernacular ordinary that nobody will think that the Lord’s Prayer is more important than anything else. However, if I understand Fr. Daw correctly, I agree with him that “tresspasses” is a horrible translation of the Latin and Greek word, which really should be rendered as “debts”.

    The forthcoming translation is still a compromise translation. Non-linguistic principles were still used in deciding how to proceed. But I think that it is a more balanced compromise than what we have been using up until now.

  3. I, too, enjoyed the address “The Missal’s Image of God” at Saint John’s School of Theology Seminary.
    Someone in the audience anticipated great difficulty in gaining congregational acceptance for new translations of texts, especially for those texts that people have prayed from memory for 40 years. I suggest that we use MUSIC as the teaching vehicle for the new texts.
    Our congregations are accustomed to learning new Mass settings, and occasionally these settings have contained paraphrases. Since the paraphrases are learned in a context of melody and rhythm, the divergence of the translation is hardly noticed. For example, the Sanctus of “Mass of Creation,” probably the best-known of all NO musical settings, slightly paraphrases the official translation by saying “God of Power, God of Might.”
    I suggest that the bishops authorize the early and optional use of the new translations of these congregational texts. This would allow our parishes to gradually introduce the revised translations BY MEANS OF MUSIC. If we were to immediately start singing a new musical setting of the Gloria, most people would hardly notice the new phrases “on earth peace to people of good will” or “we give you thanks for your great glory.” Similarly, new settings of the Sanctus could be prepared (using the new translation) and authorized for use long before the remainder of the new translation is mandated.
    By allowing early and optional use, the decision on implementation of these parts would become a local decision, made at the time and pace best knows by the local pastor pastoral musicians.
    A second suggestion: The need for new musical settings provide a perfect moment to re-introduce some English-language chants. For many years, Fr. Columba Kelly OSB of the Saint Meinrad Archabbey has been writing magnificent musical settings of the Missal propers in English. Fr. Kelly and Saint Meinrad have established the Sacred Music Project. What you will find here are beautiful settings of the propers in English, useful for every parish.
    By using the new texts within new musical settings, we could gradually ease our congregations into the new missal, recognize the pride of place accorded chant in (SC 116), and, simultaneously, provide for the active participation of the entire assembly of the faithful. (SC 121).

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