Deus gratias?

I see that a liturgy blog received a question from a seminarian. (EF=Extraordinary Form=Pre-Vatican II Mass.  OF=Ordinary Form=Mass reformed according to Vatican II). The seminarian writes:

My present church is thinking on having a EF Mass as well as a Versus Deus OF Mass.

Hmmm, the seminarian seems to know where God is located – not out in the nave behind the priest’s back – even though he doesn’t know the Latin accusative case. This is our future leadership? Not exactly a reason to sing a Te Deus.


  1. I have hope that his Latin will improve, and his English as well. Since he used “thinking on,” Spanish may be his first language (“pensar en”).

  2. Apart from mixing up his nominative and accusative, his use of the phrase does not seem remarkable:

    and as for the grammatical error, I think of our Church as not dissimilar to that of China, where I do a lot of business, where an older generation was still properly educated before the Cultural Revolution of the 1960’s, a middle aged generation was denied access to its cultural traditions due to the Cultural Revolution, and a younger generation is, albeit imperfectly, trying to salvage what it can now from tradition now that the worst excesses of the Cultural Revolution are fading. Naturally, what they discover will not bring them back to where before, nor should it.

    There are many similarities between China and the Church in terms of healing the breaches of the 1960’s.

    Wouldn’t it be more Christian to guide and correct than to sneer?

  3. Sorry, this is par for the course and fits perfectly into my experience over the last 15 years. Guessing that english is not the primary, family of origin language as is the case in many seminaries in the western US – both college and theology levels.

    This gets at two other themes on this PrayTell blog:
    – the confusion created by JPII’s SP and how folks have run with this out of all proportion to the intent or purpose of JPII’s wishes. Good example of how “unintended consequences” happen and also what happens when conferences of bishops are not listened to
    – leads to the second problem….ecclesiology. SP plants a division in our understanding of ecclesiology and liturgy…we now have two different forms of the same rite.
    – finally, you can find story upon story of the current crop of seminarians who seem to be enchanted with the EF, liturgical dress, mannerisms, etc. so much so that more time is spent on the EF Exception than on preparing to do the current liturgy of the church and, unforgiveably, we have significant folks who support and abet this “liturgical clericalism” e.g. Burke and company.

    1. If, in your post, SP means Summorum Pontificum. That document was made universal law under Benedict XVI, not JPII.

      If not, what does SP represent?

  4. I believe that ‘thinking on’ is an idiom in some parts of the country; I would have written ‘thinking about.’ My high school English teacher would have banished both in favor of ‘considering.’

  5. My computer crashed mid way through my above post. I meant to add:

    “Notwithstanding this, it is not so hard to double check Latin spelling before hitting send – I have seen every combination of “ad orientem”, “ad orientum”, “ad orientam” etc….”

  6. Not bad for a member of a generation (my generation) that was denied a proper Catholic education. Fortunately there is time for us to recover that which the previous generation denied us, and assure it to future generations of Catholics.

    I’m VERY hopeful for what our future leadership will bring us!

  7. Should have been clearer – JPII first provided the EF window which was broken open permanently by B16/SP. Doesn’t change my points at all. Try again; and as Rita says well, reply to the point of the blog vs. the various commentors.

  8. Well, the Google test shows the order of precedence:

    Ad orientum – 6,720
    Ad orientam – 2,890
    Ad orientium – 414
    Ad orientom – 121
    Ad orientim – 53
    Ad orientiam – 3
    Ad orientym – 0

    1. Fascinating. Especially considering that the correct form is “Ad Orientem.” Oriens, Orientis, third declension, accusative case.

      The other delicious point is the “Versus Deus [sic]” concept, given that Christ is present in multiple places during the Mass (the consecrated bread and wine, the readings proclaimed, the person of the priest, amid the assembled congregation). Is this young priest’s head on a swivel?

  9. I hate to bring it up, not being a latinist, but in the languages I have studied, ‘to thank’ takes the dative case, not the accusative. Maybe Mr Adams and Deacon B. can set me straight!


    1. I’m not much of a Latinist either (I mainly read Aquinas, and his Latin is delightfully simple, unlike liturgical Latin), but that is the case with Latin as well. Thus “Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.”

      I’m not quite sure how this question fits into the previous discussion, though. Did somebody say something about “thanking” that I missed?

    2. +JMJ+

      Raymond, if you’re asking about the title “Deus gratias?”, it’s a poke at the seminarian who mistakenly wrote “ad Deus” instead of “ad Deum”… I mean, instead of “with his back to the People of God.” 😉

      1. Ah, yes. The title of the post. I thought the question mark was a dead giveaway that the Latin was incorrect.

        As to the “poke” at the seminarian. . . well, sometimes people need to be poked.

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