Missal Modifications

The Ordinary of Mass for the new English Missal is set, right? That was finalized by the Holy See in June 2008, right? Not so fast. When the final text with all the propers arrives from Rome, there will be some small changes to the already-approved Ordinary. Gee, if you’ve set these texts to English chant, or if you’ve recorded these Mass parts , or if you’ve published anything on the new texts, this will be, um, interesting. Stay tuned.


  1. So who exactly made these changes? Rome? If so, was there any input into those changes by the bishops, or was it completely unilateral on the Vatican’s part?

    Btw, didn’t the Vatican also impose new translations of the antiphons without consulting the bishops, or am I remembering that wrong?

    1. Rome has now claimed the right to impose texts on conferences – that is in Liturgiam Authenticam. I think the changes might be very minor, but yes, it’s done unilaterally by Rome.
      Antiphons – I think it’s a bit less heavy-handed than “impose.” The Vatican offered to do it just to help the US bishops make the deadline in getting everything approved. That was agreed to without the requisite decision of the conference. Despite Bishop Trautman’s to make an issue out of the illegality so as to delay the missal, the conference approved the agreement after the fact.

      1. It will be interesting to see how the those who did the ICEL translation work on the antiphons this time round will react when they finally appear. One of them is a friend of mine….

      2. “Rome has now claimed the right to impose texts on conferences – that is in Liturgiam Authenticam.”

        That ship sailed at the Council of Trent, I think. They may have delegated some of the power to develop texts back to the bishops conferences at times, but it’s always been clear hasn’t it that they could do nothing binding without the recognitio from Rome.

  2. Fr. Anthony raises a concern that I know many of us fear, those who have been composing and revising mass settings in light of the new Missal… we are biting our nails worrying about last minute changes or directives…

    Come Lord, Jesus…

    1. Oh I’m still hoping and expecting that there won’t be changes to congregation acclamations like Sanctus or Memorial Acclamations. But who knows… we shall see…

    2. It’s already happened once — the Mass composed for WYD 2008, George Palmer’s Missa Benedictus Qui Venit used the “Grey Book” stage translations, the popular acclamations of which were subsequently changed (particularly the Sanctus). Congregations all over the English-speaking world learned that setting, and it was used for the WYD Masses — and now? No word on whether or not it’s being revised.

      In that case, it was the Bishops’ Conferences that pursued the change. . . but it points to the real possibility of last-minute alterations that could have potentially serious compositional effects. Adding (or subtracting) words or syllables does not amount to simple subdivision (or conjunction) of beats, after all, in metrical settings. And dropping extra neumes into place doesn’t exactly seem ideal in neo-plainchant settings: we’re talking about integral wholes here.

      I admire the composers who are undertaking revisions of their settings: I think that would be harder work than wholly-new composition.

  3. And I thought the 2008 OM was published so that composers could set music to the words and catechetical programs could begin. I am sure this news is leaving even the most informed people either scratching their heads or seething mad, and I think rightfully so. Doing that and what was done the Revised Grail Psalter is unacceptable.

    I do hope the changes are cosmetic and don’t affect the Ordinary parts of the Mass greatly. Who knows, maybe Rome has listened to some of the criticisms and decided to improve some things. I know I am probably dreaming.

    Of course, I won’t be disappointed if the decide to change the deacon’s blessing request before the Gospel.

    1. Whether or not the Revised Grail Psalter is acceptable, both he USCCB and the Vatican have approved it for liturgical use. So it will be used. The bishops in 1991 declared the NAB Psalter and the NRSV Psalter unacceptable. As my parish’s outgoing liturgy director tells us in liturgy planning team meetings, we don’t have to agree with liturgical changes, but we do have to accept them.

  4. With Rome now exercising this “right” stated in Liturgiam Authenticam, we seem to be moving closer and closer to a day when ICEL and sister organizations become completely irrelevant.

  5. Rome is acting beyond it’s jurisdiction.

    The people in the pew do not give a flying jump about Authentic Liturgy, the priest facing the wrong way and Latin hymns.

    People like to sing ‘Eagles wings’, ‘Christ be our light’, ‘One bread, one body’ etc.

    1. People also seem to like to be in and out in 15 minutes on the way to their baseball game or the beach, to get up and go to the bathroom throughout Mass, to text on their cellphones… I don’t see the Missal adding a bathroom break or rite of texting anytime soon.

      1. In all respect Fr. Chris, how do you get people out of Mass in 15 minutes without omitting key parts of the Mass or by shortening the Eucharistic Prayer . Mass needs to be celebrated slowly and reverently. If people are rude enough to talk or text on their cell phones during Mass, maybe they shouldn’t be at Mass. Remember that time at Mass is on GOD’S time not ours.

    2. I’m a person in the pew and I do care. Eastward posture is not “the wrong way.”

      Just because a hymn is liked does not mean it is proper for the liturgy, at least, for the Mass. There are different kinds of music, and some while “religious” is not appropriate for liturgical use. (cf. De Musica Sacra 1-10)

  6. It is difficult to take Rome seriously.

    A while ago (I think 2001) an antiphonary appeared on the BCEW website.

    One of the antiphons was, as far as I remember, ‘I am the living bread, says the Lord, come to me and never hunger; believe in me, and you will never die’.

    This was not accepted by Rome and was withdrawn.

    1. “It is difficult to take Rome seriously.”

      It might reach the point where some folks have a hard time seeing Rome as relevant….

  7. Why does Rome object to God being powerful and mighty?

    What is wrong with singing ‘Christ is risen’?

    1. More ridiculous arguments, John. Are you being serious, or simply trying to cause a stir?

      Rome does not “object to God being powerful and mighty.” In the Sanctus, God is named as Dominus Deus Sabaoth, “Lord God of Sabaoth” – that is, “Lord God of hosts”. This is a Biblical title for God (used over 280 times, by my rough count); “God of power” or “God of might” are not Biblical titles for God, nor do they accurately translate the Latin, which uses a Biblical title.

      The Mass frequently refers to God as “Almighty”, thus acknowledge God’s might (and by association, power as well).

      As for the “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”, it is not wrong to sing that. But it is inappropriate in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer, as it a) is not one of the acclamations in the Latin text, and b) is unlike those three Latin texts, which address Jesus directly and also mention us as well:

      We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.

      When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.

      Save us, Savior of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.

      There’s no reason “Christ has died…” could not be used for some other purpose, but it’s not appropriate after Mysterium fidei.

      1. Well, since you brought it up, I’ll air a personal peeve.

        Why shouldn’t the Sanctus be translated “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Sabaoth? As far as I know, everywhere else that the Latin retains a Hebrew word (“Hosanna” “Amen,” “Alleluia”) it is left in Hebrew in the vernacular. Why not here? Is Sabaoth less intelligible than Hosanna?

        Oh well, “God of hosts” is at least better than “God of mighty hosts,” which was the initial proposal.

      2. As far as Hebrew words go, we are far more familiar with “Amen”, “Alleluia” (itself a Latinization of “Hallelujah”), and “Hosanna”, which regularly appear in English translations of the Bible. (They appear in the NAB and the RSV.) “Sabaoth”, on the other hand, tends to be translated in English Bibles. In fact, “Sabaoth” is translated nearly every time even in the Latin Vulgate (new and old), with the following three exceptions: Jeremiah 11:20 (not in the new Vulgate), Romans 9:29, James 5:4. So only once in the OT (and never in the new Vulgate OT), and that’s not Isaiah 6:3!

        So its presence in the Latin words of the liturgy is someone intriguing… why wasn’t “Dominus exercituum” used instead? That’s for someone with more resources and time than I have to figure out. 🙂

        Now, people are more familiar with “Hosanna”, to be sure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they understand what it means. That’s where catechesis comes in. (When I was much younger, I always misheard the refrain of “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” as “… who from the lips of children made sweet Hosanna’s ring”, and I was privately perplexed by – if not terrified of – a Lord who made a ring for some lady named “Hosanna” out of the lips of children! I’ve since come to a proper understanding of the hymn.)

        So does “Hosanna” have more weight or bearing than “Sabaoth”? If translations are any measure of that, I’d say yes.

      3. And another question about the proper translation of the first line of the Sanctus has to do with the fact that “Dominus Deus Sabaoth” is nominative, not vocative. Thus, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts”, to be translated strictly, should be “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts.”

        But this is compounded by the fact that the Sanctus, while based on Isaiah 6:3, is not a strict word-for-word citation of it. In the Vulgate, we read “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus exercituum; plena est omnis terra gloria eius.” The angels are singing OF God: “full of His glory.” In the liturgy, we are singing TO God: “Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua” – “full of Your glory.”

        So in the liturgical Sanctus, the first line is a nominative mention of God which is usually treated/translated as a vocative, since the second line addresses God in the second person, not the third person as in Isaiah. (No puns intended there, of course!)

        Now, I’m sure it’s quite natural in certain settings to speak in that way – e.g. “Gracious is the King; I am your [not ‘his’] humble servant” instead of “Gracious King, I am your humble servant.” And that would, indeed, appear to be how the Latin Sanctus is worded. But that got lost in translation a long time ago, it would seem… most (if not all) personal missals I’ve seen from the pre-Vatican II era provide a vocative translation rather than a nominative.

      4. Jeff, I am not entirelty sure as to why “Sabaoth” was used instead of “exercituum” in the Latin Sanctus. My guess is that the liturgical text comes from a pre-Vulgate translation. For what it’s worth, the Septuagint maintains the Hebrew σαβαωθ. This would seem to point to a textual transmission tradition of not translating, but rather transliterating this word. I wouldn’t be surpised if the translation used for the liturgical Sanctus we use might have been based upon the LXX. I’m curious as to whether the Sanctus was used in the Latin West prior to the Vulgate (it comes from Jewish usage and was used elsewhere in Christian circles at the time). I’d be happy to know if anyone could confirm or refute these suppositions.

        Also, speaking to the power of textual transmission tradition, I never realized that the first line of the Sanctus used the nominative rather than the vocative.

  8. I wasn’t sure what I comment I could add to this lovely post, but just now, this morning at 5:45 AM on the elliptical machine I had a brainstorm from my deceased father who died in 1987 and would be 100 this July. He was from Judique, Cape Breton and grew up on a farm next door to the world famous fiddler, Buddy McMaster, who now has world famous fiddling progeny, and he always said two things, don’t set your words to music until you have your words and my father, old MacDonald also said, don’t count your chickens until the eggs are hatched. Very wise words for liturgy too! Now I’m off to Savannah for a priest’s funeral, not mine.

  9. Fr. Allan,

    If you were off to your own funeral and still commenting here, I would be most disconcerted, I think….

  10. Jeffrey said As for the “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”, it is not wrong to sing that. But it is inappropriate in the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer, as it a) is not one of the acclamations in the Latin text, and b) is unlike those three Latin texts, which address Jesus directly and also mention us as well

    There’s no reason “Christ has died…” could not be used for some other purpose, but it’s not appropriate after Mysterium fidei.

    We have been through all this recently in another thread. Some liturgists think that “Christ has died” is in fact the only one that is appropriate, since it does not interrupt the focus of the entire Prayer, which is to address the Father and not Christ.

    At least four English-speaking bishops’ conferences have requested that this acclamation be retained/reinstated as a modification to the approved “generic” text.

    1. So “Christ has died…” is directed to the Father?

      The rationale I am aware of for the three typical acclamations is that they are addressing Jesus Christ directly as an affirmation of His Real Presence in the Eucharist.

    2. Paul,
      Actually, there are a few acceptable acclamations,”Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored your life, Lord Jesus come in glory.” “Lord by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free, you are the savior of the world.” And let’s not forget “When we eat this bread , when we drink this cup, we proclaim your death o Lord until you come again.” And that is in addition to Christ has died, which by the way was written by Lucien Deiss. The only reason why we can use this is because the U.S. received a dispensation from Rome to do so.

  11. As for using the word “Sabaoth”,

    (a) a proportion of people would simply not know what it meant, even if it was explained, and you can just hear them saying “well, it it means such-and-such, why not just say that instead of using this strange word?”

    (b) it would be impossible to get everyone to agree on how to pronounce it! Traditional Roman Catholic usage is “sah [long ‘a’] bah [ditto] oat”, as in the Latin pronunciation, but (ex-)Anglicans have “Sa [short ‘a’] bay yoth [short ‘o’] “, with that characteristic intrusive ‘y’ sound. They also tend to stress the second syllable, rather than the first one.

    1. In that same chant we have the word Hosanna. Another technical word that people don’t seem to have had a problem with.

    2. I wonder how many people know that Hosanna means “save now!” ? Not many, I think. But everyone recognises it as a kind of liturgical “Yee-haw”, just as they recognise Alleluia as the same kind of thing. But Sabaoth has never been part of Roman Catholic English usage.

      1. Paul,

        It might be worth noting that “Roman Catholic English usage” is a tradition of rather recent vintage (45 years). That in itself is hardly a compelling argument, particularly when compared to a 1500-year tradition (I am, for the sake of argument, presuming a rather late introduction of the Sanctus in the West) in the West of not translating the word.

        As to pronunciation: there are/were similar difficulties with “Amen,” and we seem to have managed OK.

        “God of power and might” doesn’t currently send me into a tizzy, and I am sure “God of hosts” won’t either (though I fear some will think it has something to do with the Eucharistic “host”). But I think it is at least a question worth raising as to why this alone of the Hebrew terms in the Mass was not retained in vernacular translations.

  12. On a practical level – will priests actually go out and buy this ‘New Missal’? (Would the money saved be better spent on the poor?)

    A priest I know said of the new translation: ‘It’s not English, it’s not Latin, it really doesn’t mean anything at all – priests won’t go out and buy it’.

    Perhaps getting off-topic, but do words like ineffable, constubstantial, etc. mean anything to the average person in the pew?

    1. John, are you suggesting that parishes stop spending money on any liturgical or otherwise parish-centered need? No new hymnals, vestments, lights, decorations, etc.? The “spend the money on the poor” line was tried by Judas and countered by Christ. The Church always supports the poor, even as she makes use of the finest arts. (cf. Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 122ff)

      A priest I know is very supportive of the new translation, which is English, thankyouverymuch.

      And as for words have any meaning to people, perhaps that’s not the proper gauge to be used. Many things that don’t have meaning to people signifies a flaw in the people rather than in the word or thing.

      I suppose at this point I should cease responding to your posts, which on most forums would be considering “trolling”.

    2. But yet there will be plenty of money spent on banners and throw away missals and children of the world stoles (which seem to be on clearance at autom). I think the money thing is being used as an excuse by those who just don’t want to give into the reality that this translation is happening. I am sure you can find a few people who would be happy to give a few dollars to memorialize a book in memory of their loved one (instead of yet another cheap white chausable that will never be worn). “Would the money saved be better spent on the poor?”–I’ve heard that someplace before.

  13. I would be more concerned about what these words mean to the person in the pew:
    Host–a person who receives and entertains another as his guest; an organism on which another organism lives as a parasite.
    Venerable–worthy of deep respect because of age or associations etc. (But generally used to mean “of advanced age.”)

    1. There are other definitions of these words! And sometimes the commonly perceived meaning of a word is not its primary meaning.

      The GIRM says that “there will always remain the need for some catechesis on the biblical and Christian meaning of certain words and expressions.” (392)

      The attitudes of many on this blog towards the use of rather deliberate words – and their worthlessness, as well as the common Catholic’s inability to understand them – is truly frustrating.

    2. I’ve had several informal discussions of the new translation with average churchgoers, and several people have thought that “Lord God of hosts” refers to the hosts sitting on the altar-the bread. That is the most obvious meaning of “host” in that context.

      Telling people to stop thinking of the obvious meaning and think instead of an unusual meaning is like telling someone, “close your eyes, now DO NOT picture an elephant.”

      1. Can people really not know (or learn) that “host” has more than one definition?

        If Catholics were better educated in the Scriptures, “God of hosts” would not be such an obscure phrase to them.

        I refuse to approach this new translation from a perspective of “people are too stupid to…”

      2. I do not think that “people are too stupid to…” My concern is not about intelligence but about realistically how many people will absorb the numerous details of “this word means this, that word means that.”

        Based on experience of past decades, most parishes will do little to help their people understand the changes beyond “Starting today we have the new translation, please follow along in your books.”

        There will be a minority of parishes who make an all-out effort though multiple formats to educate their people. But even in these exceptional parishes, not everyone will eagerly read every bulletin insert and go to every class to study the changes.

        Even if your parish makes an excellent effort at catechesis, if I walked into your Sunday Mass three years from now and asked 10 people what “Lord God of hosts” means I suspect that more than one person would say BREAD.

      3. If people won’t avail themselves of help, then it doesn’t matter WHAT words we use, Scott. And if people think that learning is a one-and-done proposition – as many Catholics think it is, concerning learning their faith – then what you said wouldn’t surprise me.

        Do you not realize that all this is pointing to a much greater problem than liturgical translation? We’re failing to live in the New Covenant of our Lord, whereby “no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” (Jer 31:34)

        People don’t know their faith. They don’t know what’s going on at Mass – and 40 years of a poor translation and poorer catechesis hasn’t helped. The Church is providing us with a new translation, and some of us are trying to provide better catechesis. It’s a matter of souls.

      4. We agree on several points, Jeffrey. I too see many improvements in the new translation and I will go to lengths to help my parish understand and pray with these texts. I will emphasize the good in these new words. But privately I worry that we are making our worship more intellectually edifying and doctrinally precise for the most attuned people in the room but simultaneously more obtuse for people of less sophistication, experience, or education.

        SC calls for texts to be “within the people’s powers of comprehension and normally not require much explanation.” This idea has been pushed aside in the pursuit of doctrinal precision. If we are to exalt precise theology and philosophy over pastoral concerns, we could just have the Mass in Latin and be done with it.

      5. SC calls for texts to be “within the people’s powers of comprehension and normally not require much explanation.”

        I think people have the power to comprehend this new translation, even if some things must be taught or explained to them. I also think the vast majority of the texts don’t need much explanation, although there are certain words or phrases that do require more explanation.

  14. Catholic liturgy seems to be up to the task of presenting texts with different ways of referring or relating to God. Literal critics don’t seem to look very deeply into the Mass, for example: Dan Schutte singing Isaiah 6 is bad, but Lent’s First Sunday entrance antiphon is good.

    “Christ has died” is credal. And centuries of Catholics have had no problem singing the text of the Credo, not advocating for “I believe in you, one God, Father Almighty, Creator …”

    And Jeffrey, to a certain degree, vernacular liturgy will always have to consider the shift of the use of language in the context of the wider culture. Suppose the word “gay,” for example, appeared in a slavish translation. At what point does the Church buck the sexual, political, and moral connotations of secular usage to explain what it really means? Or is there a point where the explanation is more distraction than faithfulness?

    As for any last-minute changes, imagine if there are any number with which the South Africans must cope. They had a spitstorm for their implementation of the Ordo Missae. Just imagine if the final version gets tweaked a bit more.

    1. The South Africans caused their own problems by unveiling an unfinished product on the people, some say purposely to cause a negative reaction. Was that the case, I don’t know. But it is a good example of how the negative attitudes of priests and parish staff members will be the leading cause of a rejection of the Missal, not the authentic experience of the people.

      1. That’s a very interesting take, Fr Costigan.

        I heard from a friend connected with ICEL that the letter from Cardinal Arinze that accompanied the approval of the Ordo Missae wasn’t included in the package sent to South Africa. Would it be less or more charitable of me to suggest that the South Africans were guinea pigs, that the CDWDS thought they would be among the more docile of the English-speaking Catholics, and that there was some intent behind leaving out the letter saying, “This is all approved, but for heaven’s sake, don’t implement yet!”

      2. I’m not a big buyer into conspiracy theories. I wonder if we will ever get the real story.

  15. Jeffrey said So “Christ has died…” is directed to the Father?

    The rationale I am aware of for the three typical acclamations is that they are addressing Jesus Christ directly as an affirmation of His Real Presence in the Eucharist.

    No, of course it isn’t. It’s about Christ, whereas the other three acclamations are all directed to Christ. In other words, we have been addressing the Father, and now we say, liturgically, “hurray for Christ!” before continuing our address to the Father.

    You are, alas, completely incorrect in thinking that the rationale for the other acclamations is one of affirming the Real Presence. It has nothing to do with that at all. Read my interview with Gelineau in 2003, in which I question him about why the acclamations are addressed to Christ instead of to the Father, and whether they could be about Christ instead of to Christ. (He was responsible for reinserting an acclamation in the middle of the Prayer, in case you didn’t know. And he said yes, there’s no reason why the acclamations couldn’t be about Christ instead of to Christ.)

    1. Could you help a guy out by at least telling me where I can find your interview with Fr. Gelineau? I can only find snippets of it in various articles online. If it’s in a print publication, it’d be nice to know the name, volume and issue numbers, etc.

      From what I know of Fr. Gelineau, I’m not terribly happy. His words (translated from French, I would imagine) disquiet me: “It would be false to identify this liturgical renewal with the reform of rites decided on by Vatican II. This reform goes back much further and goes forward far beyond the conciliar prescriptions.” And “[I]t is a whole new Liturgy of the Mass. This must be said without subterfuge: the Roman Rite, as we knew it, exists no longer. It has been destroyed.”

      As for “Mysterium fidei” / “[Let us proclaim] the Mystery of Faith”, I’ve found consistent support in the Church’s documents that the phrase is used in the Roman Canon to refer to the Eucharist (or perhaps specifically the Blood of Christ, cf. Aquinas ST III q78 a3). The Eucharist is consistently called the “mystery of faith” by Trent, Leo XIII, Vatican II, Paul IV, the SC of Rites, John Paul II, the CDWDS, the Cong. for the Clergy, and Benedict XVI. (Card. Ottaviani makes mention of it in his infamous “intervention”.) This would lead me to believe, despite Fr. Gelineau’s intentions, that the acclamation introduced by the phrase pertains to that phrase, and thereby to the Real Presence.

      Paul VI retained ‘mysterium fidei’ in the Eucharistic Prayer (against the wishes of liturgists, I hear), saying that it serves to introduce the acclamation. Fr. Gelineau said that the acclamation isn’t where he wanted it to be… I don’t know where that would be.

      1. You asked about the Gelineau interview. You’ll find part 1 in the OCP book “Voices from the Council”. You’ll find both parts (and his comments on the memorial acclamation are actually in part 2) in the Society of St Gregory journal “Music and Liturgy”, Summer 2004, vol 30 nos 2 and 3. Unfortunately only the last couple of years of this journal are available online, so you’ll have to find a library that has it.

        The Eucharist may well have been referred to as the “mystery of faith” over the centuries, but the fact remains that in the context of the Roman Canon no one knew what on earth it meant or how it connected grammatically with anything else around it. That was the problem facing the liturgists charged with reforming the rite after the Council. And the rationale for making those words the introduction to an acclamation was simply to comply with Paul VI’s fear that jettisoning it might be throwing away something of value, even if neither he nor anyone else was sure what that something might be.

      2. There’s more. Technically, if one is looking for an acclamation after the institution narrative, it’s already there in the form of the anamnesis. Take EP IV: “Father, we now celebrate this memorial of our redemption. We recall Christ’s death. his descent among the dead, his resurrection and his ascension to your right hand;…” However, converting the anamnesis into an acclamation would mean allowing the faithful to articulate the Paschal Mystery by saying words that are “reserved to the priest”, and that of course would never do!

        So what Gelineau and his colleagues wanted to do was have an acclamation following the anamnesis, not before it. In other words, the assembly would rejoice over and elaborate on what the presider had just said.

        In that case, “mysterium fidei” would have been detached from the words of institution completely, and it was thought that this might be a step too far for Paul VI. So they opted for an acclamation after the institution narrative.

        Gelineau also says that what they really wanted was a number of additional acclamations, along the lines of the Coptic models and what we now have in EP II for Masses with Children, or those vestigial acclamations in the Roman Canon that we have talked about on this blog on a previous occasion; but they decided to make haste slowly.

    2. Just some points of clarification, “Christ has died…” is in fact in the Latin, just not where you would expect to find it. It was an additional acclamation in the EPs with Children, which was taken over to the other EPs. So, for those who claim it as an innovation without being in the Latin, that is incorrect.

      “Mysterium fidei” is a challenging text. It is in none of the Gospel accounts of the Last Supper, and didn’t get added to the Canon until the 7th century. One of the drafts of the OM had it translated as “Great is the mystery of faith.” Which the CDWDS actually noted was a good translation of the text in its 2002 letter denying recognitio to the 1998 Sacramentary. But there were different reasons for changing the text to what is it, mostly to agree with the acclamation at the end of the readings, and words used as the distribution of Communion.

      In 1988 there was a dubium submitted to the CDWDS on the topic. I will post the translation below, but it not widely know because most liturgical documents after 1979 aren’t widely available. Hopefully that will be remedied some day!

      1. I assume you’re referring to the acclamation “Christum, qui mórtuus est pro nobis et resurréxit, exspectámus veniéntem in glória.” (“We await Christ, who died for us and rose again, coming in glory.”)

        The “Christ has died…” translation doesn’t do that justice, since it doesn’t mention us (as the Latin does), nor His coming in glory (as the Latin does).

        When were the EPs for children written? I would imagine after 1973, when the Directory for Masses with Children was published: “For the present, the four Eucharistic prayers approved by the supreme authority for Masses with adults and introduced into liturgical use are to be employed until the Apostolic See makes other provision for Masses with children.” (DMC 52) It appears Pope Paul VI gave permission for such EPs to be drafted in 1975.

        “Christ has died…” appears to have entered the English Sacramentary in the 1973 printing.

    3. Notitiae XXIV (1988) 152


      The expression “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith,” after the consecration of the bread and wine by the priest celebrant, is also counted by some, among the invitations that in the celebration of the Mass belong to the deacon.
      Regarding this point, attention should be paid to the following. Namely, the words “Mysterium fidei” (the mystery of faith) are found in all manuscripts of the Roman Canon from the seventh century onwards. Even so, their origin is altogether unknown. The one biblical reference to this expression is found in 1 Tim 3, 9 where “the mystery of faith” refers to the universal Christian doctrine or to the plan of God for the salvation of the world. (cf. JUNGMANN, Missarum sollemnia, II editio – Wien 1949, II par, nn. 269 ff).
      Already at the time of the Council in order to finish the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy the experts in this area had subjected the question to examination and had arrived at this conclusion: the expression “Let us proclaim the mystery of faith” is to be pronounced by the priest but not by the deacon.
      Having carefully weighed everything, the rubric of the Roman Missal, which states “Then he (the priest) says ‘Let us proclaim the mystery of faith’” (The Order of Mass, n. 93) is to be observed.
      The rubric is confirmed in the Ceremonial of Bishops, n. 155.

    1. The other three memorial acclamations are translated decently… so why not this one? Even as a paraphrase, “Christ has died” leaves out two particular elements that the Latin text considered important enough to mention: 1) our relation to Christ’s death (and Resurrection and second coming), and 2) the glory in which Christ will return.

      I provided a literal translation as a service, not necessarily as an example. I would expect a translation that at least captures what the Latin conveys; it needn’t be “literal”, but at least complete.

      1. I merely pointing out the fact that the Latin text serves as the basis of the translation, not that it is complete and integral. Compare the Latin of the Roman Canon to the 1973 translation, you’ll see the everything the Latin says might not always appear in the English.

  16. Catechesis on “hosts” and “Hosanna” isn’t hard.

    The old English translation rendered the Latin-and-Hebrew expression “Dominus Deus Sabaoth” as “Lord God of power and might,” but that did not do justice to this rich Scriptural title for God, “Lord God of hosts.” This title (along with “Lord of hosts” and “God of hosts”) occurs nearly 300 times in Scripture.

    The word “host” here does not refer to the Eucharistic host; rather, this word means “a multitude” and “an army.” The Lord commands the heavenly host of angels, and the archangel Michael is recognized as the “captain” of this host. (cf. Jude 1:9; Rev. 12:7) This military language reminds us that we are waging a spiritual battle (cf. 2 Cor. 10:3-4) with God and His saints and angels fighting with us; we must be equipped for such a battle. (cf. Eph. 6:10-17)

    The city of Jerusalem (on Palm Sunday) spoke of Jesus as “he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Little did they realize that Jesus was coming in His own name, since Jesus is Lord! The cry of Hosanna (related to the Hebrew word hoshea, “savior”) is at once a word of praise and a shout for salvation. It acknowledges God as Savior while calling upon Him to save His people; it means, “Please, save [us]!” or “Hasten to save [us]!”

    It’s also worth pointing out that the translation of the Salvátor mundi… memorial acclamation now expresses the salva nos omitted by the old English translation. The acclamation has a cry of Hosanna in it: Salva nos, “Save us!”

    1. Jeffrey,
      In all my years of being a Catholic, I have never recited or sung(which is preferred) the Holy, Holy as “Holy, Holy Holy, Lord God of Hosts”. It has always been “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest.”

      1. We, we did use Lord God of Hosts back in the five years after Vatican II and before the fully reformed Missal.

    2. Excellent post, Jeffrey. This is the kind of material that I pray will get into the hands of the faithful and make its way into their knowledge.

  17. Karl Liam Saur :
    We, we did use Lord God of Hosts back in the five years after Vatican II and before the fully reformed Missal.

    The fully reformed missal didn’t happen until 1975. I’ve sung both the Danish Mass and the People’s Mass and neither of those use “Lord God of Hosts.”

    1. The reformed Order of Mass came out in 1969, English in 1969 or 1970, and this (including the Sanctus) didn’t change in subsequent English sacramentary, so KLS’s memory of five years would be accurate.

  18. But, again, the Peoples Mass and the Danish Mass were written in 1972 or 1973,and neither of those contained the Sanctus of Holy , Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts.” I distictly remember that, and I sang those two mass settings since I was a young Catholic.But I believe you are right, that the original English translation came out in 1969 but there were errors so the revised of the revised came out in 1970.

    1. No, I’m not right about that, because I didn’t say that, nor would I. There were no errors corrected. I don’t recall whether it came out in ’69 or ’70, but it came out once and that was that.

    2. The translation Missal that was in place from 1965 to 1970 used Lord God of hosts. I have it right in front of me in my First Communion Missal from that period (there is no Latin in this missal, and we used them for our responses – and they accorded with the missalettes, which we used before we got them). And then we had to relearn some things after the revisions came out.

      The Peoples Mass and Danish Mass postdate this period.

      1. I have the hardback Roman Missal of 1965 in front me even as I type. It is a slightly simplified Tridentine Mass, but allowed all the people’s parts heard and spoken in English. There are two music settings of the English Sanctus in this missal presumably adaptations of Latin chanted Sanctus–no description of who wrote the music. It is …Holy, God of hosts! Now, as I recall even before the 1970 missal came out in Advent of ’69, the revised Eucharistic prayers, the Roman Canon and the three new ones came out in a supplement to be added to the 1965 missal along with the revised penitential rite. At that point, and it might have been 1967, the canon of the Mass could be prayed in English with the additional Eucharistic prayers and it is quite possible that the Sanctus in English was revised at that time around 1967 to be “Lord God of power and might.” There was also a big deal about where the comma went in terms of the Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and Might instead of Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God…

  19. Fr. Allan,
    You said:

    There are two settings of the English Sanctus in this missal presumably adaptations of Latin chanted Sanctus–no description of who wrote the music. It is …Holy, God of hosts! Now, as I recall even before

    Are both settings of the English Sanctus in this setting,Holy Holy God of Hosts? If that’s the case, then perhaps the early English Roman Missals after the conclusion of Vatican II, they kept the traditional translation of the Sanctus. That is where the 1970 and later Roman Missal went wrong. That is part of what this is about. The people’s responses should be what they were traditionally prior to Vatican II.

    1. But the people had no traditional translated responses before Vatican II. THere was no custom to make any particular translation traditional, as it werre. Each handmissal publisher determined its own approach, and the bishops provided imprimaturs (and my favorite, Neal Ohb Stat) weren’t enforcing any particular uniformity in translations, which were merely provided for the edification of the faithful.

    2. Yes, in the 1965 missal both written with or without music is Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. (with only two commas not three.) But the revised Mass and translation trickled down to parishes even before the 1970 missal arrived in Advent of 1969. As I recall too, not only was the revised penitential rite added around 1967, but the concluding rite as we basically have it now was added, with the Go in Peace.. after the final blessing not before. So the current English translation filtered down to many parishes well before the actual 1970 missal was issued and as we have it today for the most part.

  20. Fr, Allan, you stated:

    Yes, in the 1965 missal both written with or without music is Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. (with only two commas not three.) But the revised Mass and translation trickled down to parishes even before the 1970 missal arrived in Advent of 1969. As I recall too, not only was the revised penitential rite added around 1967, but the concluding rite as we basically have it now was added, with the Go in Peace.. after the final blessing not before. So the current English translation filtered down to many parishes well before the actual 1970 missal was issued and as we have it today for the most part.

    How did that translation trickle down to the parishes before 1) the bishops conferences may or may not have approved of such a translation, and 2) the Vatican granted the translation in recognitio and then the final editing took place and then printed and implemented officially in the individual dioceses?

  21. Scott:
    You said:
    “Based on experience of past decades, most parishes will do little to help their people understand the changes beyond “Starting today we have the new translation, please follow along in your books.”

    That’s where the problem lies. When GIRM 2002 was implemented in our parish along with our revised diocesan liturgical norms, our liturgy director held an hour and half training which was open to the entire parish that explained the how and why the changes were taking place. And there were also bulletin inserts that our diocese provided for 10 weeks prior to the changes being made and also the liturgy lessons that focused on each change and why. If your experiences are different, then you had some poor liturgy directors or pastors who forgot that part of their role as a pastor is as a shepherd and teacher.

Leave a Reply

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