Adding Insult to Injury; or, “And also with….”

A friend of mine reports today that while passing by a well-known Episcopal congregation that shall remain nameless, in a major U.S. city that also shall remain nameless, she saw a large sign in front of the church that read thus:

In small but legible black letters: “The Lord be with you.”
In large red capitals: “AND ALSO WITH YOU.”
In blue print below: “We STILL say it. The Episcopal Church welcomes you.”

I asked for a photo, but as my friend was passing through, she was unable to get back to the church to take one. Sigh.

Now, frankly, I think this is in rather poor taste. As an Episcopal priest, I think there are infinitely better ways of going about pastoral care for disaffected members of other churches. The Episcopal Church has prided itself on not engaging in proselytism. This seems to be adding insult to injury for those Roman Catholics who are only vaguely aware of the changes forthcoming in the new translation, as well as those more informed for whom changes to the congregational responses in the dialogues are a major sticking point. As a liturgiologist, I have a number of concerns about the new translation, and can level my fair share of critiques about the same. But this campaign seems rather disingenuous, because we Episcopalians also still say, “And with thy spirit,” having never abandoned that response in our Rite I liturgy.

I’m glad Episcopalians are recognizing that we have a stake in the liturgical reforms of our neighboring Christians… I just wish we knew better how to express it!

8 comments

  1. Wow. That sign will be meaningful to, at best, a handful of liturgically-aware and theologically-astute people in the local neighborhood. I love me some liturgy, too, but it is quite sad if that is the best effort a church can make to reach out to the community. Bragging about maintaining a liturgical text might be great for clergy meetings or liturgical blogs, but a large portion of those who haven’t heard the Gospel would confuse these words of liturgical dialogue with the ways that Jedi knights greet one another in the Star Wars movies – “May the Force be with you.” “And also with you.”

    Sigh.

  2. Thanks, Father Cody. As an Episcopalian, I’m disappointed that a great gift of the Roman Catholic Church to the church at large will be lost. Though there were and are great differences on some aspects of theology among us, we could all sing the same song in celebration of a sacrament. The end of this is sad.
    I agree with your last sentence, but have to admit that I find the signboard message concise and clever!

  3. I see no difference between the sign and the Catholic Church luring Anglicans by accentuating that THEY will surely NEVER ORDAIN WOMEN!

  4. I don’t think that the former similarity between the different Churches’ liturgies was noticed much by the average person in the pew; if people go to church, they tend to be pretty consistent about it. To notice that different bodies use the ICEL translation you’d have to be going not only to your own church, but others as well. I don’t think the loss of conformity is really that great.

  5. Makes me think of one of my favorite typos in print: William Ferris’ Missa Papae Septembris, published by GIA in about 1979: The Lord be with you. And so-so with you. I kid you not…..

  6. However, we will be saying And with your spirit-which is what et cum spiritus tu o means,and what was traditionally prayed by the people, or better yet sung by the people prior to Vatican II so, as I said in a previous comment, our church is an unbroken Tradition which means that Vatican II was really a continuation and a clarification of Vatican I. In other words, the people’s response of “And with your spirit” should have been the original response to the Lord be with you when the 1969 Roman Missal was published. That would have kept the Tradition of the liturgy that existed for several decades prior to Vatican II intact. The problem is the baby was thrown out with the bathwater when the Novus Ordo was conceptualized.

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