Another country heard from: the “1965 Missal”

In a comment on a post below, Fr. Allan McDonald remarked that he thought the initial, pre-ICEL English translations of the Mass, which were taken from hand missals, were superior to the efforts of ICEL that we are now using. This got me thinking about how 1965 stacked up against the current and the coming translations (plus, of course, 1998).

Comparison is a bit difficult, since many of the orations have changed in Latin — sometimes small changes and sometimes whole new prayers. But I found some that were sufficiently close to make a quick comparison. So, as Rod Serling used to say when introducing stories on The Twilight Zone, for your consideration. . .


Christmas Mass at Dawn

Latin 1962

Da nobis, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut qui nova incarnati Verbi tui luce perfundimur; hoc in nostro resplendeat opere, quod per fidem fulget in mente.

Latin MR3

Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, ut dum nova incarnati Verbi tui luce perfundimur; hoc in nostro resplendeat opere, quod per fidem fulget in mente.

English 1965

Almighty God, now that we have been newly enlightened by the Word made flesh, grant that our deeds may reveal the light of faith that shines in our hearts.

English 1970

Father, we are filled with the new light by the coming of your Word among us. May the light of faith shine in our words and actions.

English 1998

God of splendour, at the birth of your incarnate Word we are bathed in new radiance; grant that the light which shines in our hearts through faith may also show forth in our actions.

English 2011

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, as we are bathed in the new radiance of your incarnate Word, the light of faith, which illumines our minds, may also shine through in our deeds.


Easter Vigil: Prayer after the Exodus Reading

Latin 1962

Deus, cuius antiqua miracula etiam nostris saeculis coruscare sentimus: dum quod uni populo, a persecutione Aegyptiaca liberando, dexterae tuae potentia contulisti, id in salutem gentium per aquam regenerationis operaris: praesta; ut in Abrahae filios, et in Israeliticam dignitatem, totius mundi transeat plenitudo.

Latin MR3

Deus, cuius antiqua miracula etiam nostris temporibus coruscare sentimus, dum, quod uni populo, a persecutione Pharaonis liberando, dexterae tuae potentia contulisti, id in salutem gentium per aquam regenerationis operaris: praesta; ut in Abrahae filios et in Israeliticam dignitatem, totius mundi transeat plenitudo.

English 1965

O God, we see your wondrous works of old enlighten even our own day. For the salvation that you bestowed by the power of your right  hand upon one nation, as you rescued them from the Egyptian persecution, is now conferred upon all nations by means of the water of regeneration. Grant that the peoples of the whole world may become the descendants of Abraham and share the prerogative of Israel.

English 1970

Father, even today we see the wonders of the miracles you worked long ago. You once saved a single nation from slavery, and now you offer that salvation to all through baptism. May the peoples of the world become true sons of Abraham and prove worthy of the heritage of Israel.

English 1998

God of our ancestors, even in these present days the wonders of your ancient deeds shine forth: your right hand parted the waters and delivered a single people from the slavery of Pharaoh; now through the waters of rebirth you extend to every nation deliverance from the bondage of sin. Grant that all the peoples of the world may become children of Abraham and enter the inheritance promised to Israel.

English 2011

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.

These are just a couple of more-or-less random examples, so I won’t draw any firm conclusions. But I would make a couple of comments.

In the first example, our current translation strikes me as the weakest, losing as it does the connection between the two halves of the prayer — i.e. because we are bathed in the light of the incarnation, therefore the light of faith should shine forth in our actions. The coming translation strikes me as the second weakest because the slavish repetition of the Latin word order at the beginning comes across in English as stumbling, like someone who has something he wants to say but can’t quite get started. It’s not terrible by any means, but it is also not as good as it could be. Of the other two, 1998 has, I believe, a slight edge over 1965 because the vocabulary is somewhat richer (e.g. “bathed in new radiance” [found also in 2011] vs. “enlightened”).

In the second example, 1970 and 2011 again vie for the position of weakest. 1970 is an impoverished rendering of the Latin, losing such imagery as the “shining” of God’s mighty deeds as well as the concrete historical reference to Pharaoh (or the Egyptians in 1962/5). It also inexplicably leaves out the reference to God’s right hand. 2011 is simply poor English; indeed, it is technically a run-on sentence, needing a semicolon after “rebirth.” And I am still trying to make grammatical sense out of how the clause “whose ancient wonders. . .” is grammatically related to “for what you once. . .” If I read this sentence in a student paper it would likely get underlined with multiple questions marks put in the margin (my general method of showing extreme displeasure with confused and confusing prose). 1965 seems to strike a good balance of fidelity to the Latin with vernacular clarity. It pretty much says what the Latin says, and says it clearly. Even so, 1998 alone picks up on a shade of meaning in the word transeat, speaking of our “entering” the inheritance promised to Israel, alluding to the promised land. At the same time, 1998 probably overreaches, translation-wise, adding a reference to God parting the waters that is not in the Latin. I actually like it better as a prayer, since it makes clear the parallel between the waters of baptism and the waters of the Red Sea, but it certainly does not hew as closely to the Latin as 1965.

So, just based on these two examples, I am inclined to say, by all means let’s go back to 1965. Given the coming alternative, that is.


  1. Deacon Fritz, thanks for this. I prefer the 1965 missal too for the Gloria (although “peace to men of goodwill” is used, but that could be easily remedied) as well as the Creed. The Credo is in the first person, but “I” is used multiple times. Little snippets: “visible and invisible,” Begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father”
    “Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven And He became flesh by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary: and was made man.”
    “Lamb of God, Who take away the sins…”
    Even though the 1965 missal is still the Tridentine Mass only slightly modified, the prefaces are in English and new ones are written, there are more, in other words, than in the 1962 missal

    The canon though is not translated, it was to be done in Latin and quietly.

    I don’t think the 1965 missal should replace the 2011 reformed rite, but I do think it should be an option for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. Then it might well give the 2010 missal a run for its money, not only in maintaining Latin for the quiet parts of the priest, but for its superior English translation for everything that the people hear and say out loud.

  2. So, just based on these two examples, I am inclined to say, by all means let’s go back to 1965.

    BUT 1998 is the best so far. Yes? So why not use that?

  3. For whatever unknown reason, we can’t use the 1965 missal in addition to the 1962. It would be wishful thinking on my part if it could and I suspect wishful thinking for others if they thought the 1998 would be allowed.

    What would be good to reestablish if it has already been establish on this blog is why there was such a negative reaction to the 1998 translation. Obviously there is good to be found there as there is in the 2010 and even in the 1970. But there were concerns that led to LA. I don’t know the full story on that, so maybe Deacon Fritz could summarize it if he knows. Why was the 1998 dumped?

    1. I have no inside knowledge. But I suspect at least two things were in play:

      1) The translation was “bundled together” with a number of changes in the order of the Mass, particularly but not exclusively in the entrance rite. I suspect Rome took a dim view of those changes and it was guilt by association for the translations. I think that was a shame and would have been quite happy to have Rome approve the translation but not the changes in the order of Mass.

      2) Someone convinced Rome that inclusive language was a nefarious plot that masked a much deeper agenda (e.g. women’s ordination, acceptance of homosexual acts, etc.). I also think the 1998 translation overreached on the inclusive language question, avoiding the masculine pronoun for God in a number of places in the Order of Mass (e.g. “It is right to give thanks and praise,” “for our good and the good of all the Church.”).

      But at the end of the day I don’t have a good answer as to why 1998 was dumped. Even in light of the two possible problem areas mentioned above, I still do not understand why ICEL was not simply told what Rome saw as problematic and then told to fix those things.

      I fear that, alas, the whole affair had a lot more to do with personalities and old grudges long nursed than it did with principles of translation or theology. But I have no direct evidence for this, apart from a lack of any other explanation and my general experience of fallen human nature.

      1. Fritz

        One problem with the 1998 translation was that there was a decision not to revise the people’s parts. I think in retrospect that was a mistake. I understand that it was designed as a gesture to the fact that the people knew those parts and that a body of music had grown up around that reality. (Frankly, at that time, I knew way too many people in liturgical ministry (clerical and lay) who had no compunction tooling around with those parts locally for other reasons which will be elided here. So the let’s-not-bother-the-people rationale looked even at the time as more of a rationalization than a sincere argument, and it also bowed to the power of the publishing houses that had established repertoire….) One of the things I welcome about the 2010 translation is the fixing of the Gloria and the Sanctus (but I could have been happy with some other results, too – I just find our current versions the weakest of the choices available). I am also happy that this affords an opportunity to pay more attention to the quality of service music choices, especially as we move to platforms that allow more creative commons open sharing – the time is right to look afresh at our service music and demand better than what has generally been available.

        Of course, as I’ve said before, the attempt to replicate the Latinate syntax of the collects in a systematic way is a culpably negligent blunder of translation.

        What sounds muscular, grave and solemn in Latin syntax comes across as oily, fussy and effete when replicated in English.

        We might call it Smithers-English. (A show of hands?)

        This is why translation is an art. It must not only appreciate the idiomatic naturalism of the original tongue, but no less in the translated tongue, and this the current translators failed at, very simply (the first fault being the faulty translation principles in LA, of course).

      2. That is the impression I get from 1998, a kind of
        progressive over-reach. They eliminated the “Gloria” during Ordinary Time, something championed by some progressives even during the time of Pope Paul VI, but certainly no-one sees any popular support for such a move. I see no evidence that “inclusive language” is sought by the average pew sitter. It is an artificial construct and it reduces the English language. The beauty of gender specific language is seemingly lost to some. I guess they think we should call the “Duchess” of Cornwall the Duke of Cornwall now.

  4. What struck me was that, of the English translations, only the 2011 includes the “grant, we pray” construction. I find this an awkward phrase in English, and can only imagine it getting to be a “throw-way”, not really heard, if we end up using it over and over again.

    Also, although I appreciate the richness of the other translations, and prefer them, the clarity of the 1970 version of the Easter prayer is appealing. I work with adults in the RCIA, or who are in confirmation preparation, and most of our prayer, even now, goes right over their heads. Even several months of catechesis does little to help most of them grasp the biblical connections or the ideas of the imagery and metaphor. And, to be very honest, I don’t think these people are all that different from the majority of our congregations.

    I’m not saying that means we don’t use them, but that we need to always be aware that a lot of what’s in the prayer is just not going to be heard by lots of people. The 1970 text explicitly draws the parallels, almost does our work for us. We need to learn how to do it for ourselves.

    1. “Grant, we pray” is probably meant to be a ‘throw away.” I, and probably many others, generally do not really hear the first few words that are spoken. By using an oft-repeated mantra like “Grant we pray” we can fill in from memory, and over time develop, like Pavlov’s dogs, a sense of prayer in response to the words. We do not need it for meaning, but it can be an effective technique for prayer.

  5. My earliest memories are of the 1965 Mass: we used our small brown St. Joseph Sunday Missal and Hymnal. I’d be grateful if a parish or monastery somewhere would make a YouTube video of a 1965-Rite Mass so we could all see how it went. Might be useful in the current discussions! Would also be fascinating.

    1. Scott, it was the pre-Vatican II Mass in all ways except the prayers at the foot of the altar dropped psalm 42, the per ipsum ritual was changed (to what we have today) and the ritual with placing the paten under the consecrated host was changed.
      Almost immediately, the Mass was said facing the people, but with all the same rituals as if it were ad orientem. But ad orientem was still clearly allowed. Everything was in English except all the priest’s private prayers said silently as well as the canon which remained in Latin and with all of the rituals of the Tridentine Mass.
      The Last Gospel was eliminated and the introductory rite up through the collect as well as the prayer after Holy communion could be celebrated at the chair rather than at the altar.
      I do think that “folk music” was experimented with this Mass for the 4 hymns that could be sung during the Mass. If you have ever seen Elvis Presley’s movie with Mary Tylor Moore, “A Change of of Habits” you will see one very peculiar scene in a traditional church with the traditional Mass being celebrated and a folk group to the side of the ad orientem altar strumming away. The priest was instructed to sing any parts of the Mass with the choir/laity and not to jump ahead reciting anything that was sung.

      1. As an aside, at a recent used book sale, I acquired a Sacramentary from 1965, which also has various add-ins as things developed thereafter. An interesting artifact to have on my bookshelf!

  6. Thanks for this comparison. The more comparisons we have the better. The more we give these comparisons to people in the pews and get their feedback, the more we will know about where we have been, where we are now, where we are going to be with the new translation, and what our options might be for the future beyond this new translation.

    People in the pews are interested in prayer even if I suspect most of us don’t pay much attention to the variable prayers. We do a lot of comparison shopping so people might be interested in prayer comparisons. I am slightly. But really music and the readings are far more important to me. If I get some good new music out of the change I will be happy.

    My suspicion is that most people are not interested in accuracy of translation, and that many, perhaps even most, would be willing to choose prayers that are not based on the Latin text. It would be interesting to include prayers from other traditions if they are meant to go with our lectionary readings or to improve our prayers.

    My suspicion is that most people are not interested in all the technical legalistic questions about interpreting Vatican II, and the political history of the various translations. Such sausage making might stir up the church political junkies on blogs, but it certainly bores me.

    Most of my friends don’t have the slightest notion of what the new missal is about. Some are interested in the sex abuse scandals, the financial scandals, parish closings, clerical celibacy, and women in the Church. One recently asked me “What is this Missal thing about? have you been following that?” I told him he really doesn’t want to be bored. He will have opportunity for that when the catechesis comes.

    1. Jack I agree with you. However for the parts that are changing for the laity, there will be some aggravation, but if presented well, rehearsed and lighthearted about it, it won’t take long for the adjustment. In terms of the priest’s parts that are changing since most of us are critical and like to grumble, there will be some consternation. And if the priest doesn’t practice this new translation, it could really be bad. But I don’t think the laity for the most part will be overly critical of what the priest’s parts are. I haven’t found them to be critical at all.
      And certainly the political, decision making aspect of the “sausage” as you call it only disturbs a view protocol junkies in both the clergy and laity as it pertains to their perspective on this as they understand Vatican II.

      1. How can the majority of people be (or not be) critical of something that they are not quite aware of yet?

      2. Priests should set aside a hour a week (or at least every other week) to practice the variable prayers with small groups of laypeople.

        Priests should listen to lay people saying these prayers individually, and have them critique each other. That will identify difficult words, phrasing, and how people understand and hear these prayers. Lay people who are good speakers can also provide positive models for priests.

        Once the priest has some idea of the stumbling blocks that hearers experience, it should be relatively easy to add a key SUCCINCT phrase to the “Let us pray..” cueing listeners into the meaning of the prayer and easing them over the stumbling block.

        Such phrases might also ease the consciences of priests distressed by the new translations by helping to improve the situation without changing the actual prayer.

        Essentially a brief phrase delivers the catechesis “just in time” before the actual prayer. A simple phrase will help bridge the preference many people have for the present simpler style into a more ornate style. (There is much evidence that familiarity leads to liking, so this will be a major problem. We can just wait until familiarity leads people to liking the new prayers, or try doing something about it).

        Currently it is very obvious that many priests, readers, and musicians do not spend as much time as they should preparing for Mass. Laity tolerate this “mediocrity” because they recognize everyone is busy. However this acceptance of mediocrity also means pew dwellers can excuse themselves for coming late, leaving early and missing Mass frequently, etc. We are busy, too.

        These practice sessions would be a way for priests to set a concrete example of a higher standard than mediocrity rather than simply criticizing and preaching to others or (more often) engaging in a mutual mediocrity toleration society. We are all very busy.

  7. For completeness, here are the relevant texts from the 2008 translation:

    Christmas Mass at Dawn

    English 2008

    Grant, we pray, almighty God, that, as we are bathed in the new radiance of your incarnate Word, our deeds may shine with light that illumines our minds through faith.

    Easter Vigil: Prayer After the Exodus Reading

    English 2008

    O God, the splendor of your ancient wonders remains undimmed before our eyes today, since what you bestowed on a single people, freeing them from Pharaoh‘s persecution by the power of your right hand, you now perform for the salvations of the nations through the water of rebirth: grant that all the people of the world may become children of Abraham and pass over into the dignity of Israel.

    Comparing the 2011 Christmas text with the 2008 text causes me to wonder if Vox Clara was translating a different Latin text than MR3. As Xavier Rindfleisch has pointed out, where 2008 and 2011 differ, 2008 is invariably better.

    The 2008 Easter text meets Deacon Fritz’s grammatical objections to the 2011 text. I can’t understand why the 2008 text was changed at all, except to have change for the sake of change–making the text worse in the process. You can also see this with the word substitutions in the alternative Easter prayers; the only rationale for making word changes seems to be, “Because we can.”

    I should also point out that the English 1965 text Deacon Fritz has reproduced is identical to that found in my copy of the 1961 Maryknoll Missal published by P.J. Kennedy and Sons. Was the 1965 translation outsourced? This hand missal explicitly notes that:

    The prayers of the Roman missal have been translated in such a manner as to retain the sense and spirit of the Latin prayers while avoiding the complex Latin idiom.

    Given this, I doubt that the 1965 translation would pass muster under Liturgiam…

    1. Bill,
      For the history of the evolution of these texts from 1964 through the current ICEL, see my postings, given as #14 and #15 under “Translating the Roman Canon III”. You’re quite correct: the orations (Collect/Prayer; Prayer Over the Gifts; Prayer after Communion) were taken from The Maryknoll Missal – in the United States and published as a supplementary book to the Roman Missal of 1964 (The English-Latin Sacramentary) with an Imprimatur by Cardinal Spellman in February of 1966. Canada and Australia had the orations (but not the Prefaces) in English right from the start (1964), with the Collects translated by Dr. Christine Mohrmann (these appeared also in the Benziger one-volume Roman Breviary 1964) and the other orations (I think) modernized from the Fr Lasance New Roman Missal (under the Benziger copyright). For the record, the Collects in the three-volume Collegeville Latin-English Divine Office (the alternative to the one-volume Benziger Roman Breviary) were newly translated at Collegeville from a the French “Biblical Missal” which evenutally became The Saint Andrew Bible Missal. These Collects also appeared in the Collegeville Short Breviary of 1962. This was the first time the “Per Dominum” endings were changed into a complete sentence: “This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, etc.” Because of Collegeville’s copyright, the 1975 ICEL went with “We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .” We’ve also lived long enough to see THAT go back to the elliptical: “Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . ”

      Something tells me I shouldn’t have thrown out my leisure suit . . .

  8. Well, I lived long enough to see ABBA come back as the award-winning Mamma Mia! I have now lived long enough to see The Maryknoll Missal acclaimed as a highpoint of English liturgical translation! 🙂 Remember, the so-called 1965 Missal texts you’re quoting are from “The English-Latin Sacramentary” (a supplement to the 1964 Roman Missal) with an Imprimatur date of February 1966 and went into force during Lent that year, orations and prefaces from The Maryknoll Missal (see the PJ Kenedy copyright on the inside title page of that Sacramentary).

    Here’s a Collect I don’t think was found in the 1962/65 Missal; first option after the first reading at the Easter Vigil:

    Omnípotens sempitérne Deus,
    qui es in ómnium óperum tuórum dispensatióne mirábilis,
    intéllegant redémpti tui,
    non fuísse excelléntius,
    quod inítio factus est mundus,
    quam quod in fine saeculórum
    Pascha nostrum immolátus est Christus.
    Qui vivit et regnat in saecula saeculórum.

    Almighty and eternal God,
    you created all things in wonderful beauty and order.
    Help us to perceive how still more wonderful
    is the new creation
    by which in the fullness of time
    you redeemed your people
    through the sacrifice of our passover, Jesus Christ,
    who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

    Almighty and eternal God,
    how wonderful is the work of your creation,
    how wisely you establish all things in order!
    Enlighten the people you have saved,
    that we may perceive the greater wonder of your new creation,
    brought forth in the fullness of time,
    when Christ our Passover was sacrificed,
    he who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

    Almighty everlasting God,
    who are marvelous in ordering all your works,
    let those you have redeemed
    understand that still more wonderful
    than the world’s creation in the beginning
    is that, at the end of the ages,
    Christ our Paschal Lamb has been sacrificed.
    Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

    1. Now, take a look at what (supposedly, unless they’ve changed it again) we’re getting as the final text:

      Almighty ever-living God,
      who are wonderful in the ordering of all your works,
      may those you have redeemed understand
      that there exists nothing more marvelous
      than the world’s creation in the beginning
      except that, at the end of the ages,
      Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.
      Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

      “except that . . . “? In a Collect? Does that construction strike anyone else as far from suitable as a formal prayer text?

      Which version would you choose for 1) accuracy 2) proclaimability 3) comprehensibility?

      1. understand that there exists nothing more marvelous than the world’s creation in the beginning except that, at the end of the ages, Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.

        Huh? So Christ has been sacrificed at the end of the ages, and that is marvelous.


      2. Here’s another whopper, this time from the EP1 2010:

        Be pleased to look upon these offerings with a serene and kindly countenance, and to accept them, as you were pleased to accept the gifts of your servant Abel the just, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.

        Nice to know that Melchizidek is a holy sacrifice and spotless victim.

        Um, or maybe Melchizidek’s offering is the holy sacrifice and spotless victim. But didn’t he offer bread and wine? Where’s the victim? Must be his spotless bread and wine is the victim.

      3. Graham,

        These are liturgical texts not essays, your criticisms are not persuasive (at least to me). I wonder what your textual approach, as given here, would do to the vernacular translations of the Byzantine & Maronite liturgies. These prayers are read out-loud but they are also meant for meditation and frequent repetition. That is how they change us over time. The “celebratory art” of the celebrant, the way he pronounces the words, will make a difference in how the people grasp their meaning.

  9. Graham,
    Current Roman Missal: “Look with favor on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchisedech.”

    Maryknoll personal missal translation (1965) which is closer to the 2010: “Be pleased to look upon these offerings with a gracious and kindly countenance, and accept them as it pleased you to accept the offerings of your just servant Abel, and the sacrifice of our father Abraham, and that which your great priest Melchizedek offered to you, a holy sacrifice and a spotless victim.” (Maryknoll doesn’t capitalize victim, so maybe you are correct “Must be his spotless bread and wine is the victim.” But better understood as an anticipation of the true sacrifice and true “Victim?”)
    Earlier in the Maryknoll missal immediately following the consecration of the wine, the Latin has “…offerimus praeclarae maiestati tuae de tuis donis, ac datis, hostiam puram, hostiam sanctam, hostiam immaculatam, Panem sactum vitae aeternae, et Calicem salutis perpetuae.”

    Their translation is “We….offer to your supreme majesty, of the gifts you have bestowed on us, a perfect, holy, and unblemished Victim, the sacred bread of everlasting life and the chalice of eternal salvation.” (In this case, Maryknoll capitalizes Victim, whereas later when associated with Melchizedek they don’t.)

    1. Alan – thanks for the help, but I was being sarcastic, pointing out the absurdity of the English and what the reasonable hearer would understand.

      Melchizidek did not offer a spotless victim in sacrifice, and he himself is not the spotless victim and holy sacrifice. The adjectival phrase can only reasonably refer to Abraham’s son, Isaac, or to our offering, and is in the wrong place in the text to make that clear.

      But hey, does anyone care as long as the Latin is translated word for word, absurdities and all. Or, perhaps it’s all just a mystery, so gobbledegook language is okay: pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, Dorothy!

      1. Graham, its all for the good because if we don’t understand any of “it” then as “Liturgiam Authenticam” wisely points out, “it” becomes an opportunity for catechesis!!!!

        “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

        for “custodiet” replace with “catechises” and “custodes” replace with “catechist”

      2. Elias, now it’s your turn to be sarcastic, no doubt.

        Liturgiam authenticam, the “most ignorant statement on liturgy ever issued by a modern Vatican congregation.” (Link)

        But to those who think catechesis will solve all our syntactic and semantic problems with Vox Clara 2010, let me shout it out:


        CATECHESIS is the WRONG REMEDY (or is that “healing balm”?). Just have faith and you will see that the sun does indeed revolve around the earth, Nicholas!

      3. Graham,
        This is a problem with the Latin, not entirely the translation. The 1967 ICEL commentary explains why they chose to leave it out::

        Line (83 and) 84 :Sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam
        These words, attributed by the Liber Pontificalis to Leo the Great, are a later gloss and it is not immediately apparent whether they refer to the offering of Melchisedech or to the Eucharistic gifts. To avoid prejudging this question, the reference in the immediately preceding section to the ‘holy and perfect sacrifice’ (line 76) seems sufficient, without an unwieldy duplication of the expression here.

  10. So much of the newest translation seems to be talking AT God rather than TO God.

    i.e., “Please be so kind as to notice X, Y, and while you’re at it, Z.”

    The latest group of translators should be assigned the project of diagramming the sentences they have created. What a mess.

  11. Fr. Allan J. McDonald :

    However for the parts that are changing for the laity, … if presented well, rehearsed and lighthearted about it, it won’t take long for the adjustment.

    In terms of the priest’s parts … I don’t think the laity for the most part will be overly critical of what the priest’s parts are. I haven’t found them to be critical at all.

    As much as I dislike the new translation,
    [I think the entire LA etc. is smoke screen for inclusive language dislike, with bad English diction being collateral damage because they really did not care about anything else.]
    I also think the people in the pews will adjust pretty quickly if the bishops let the travesty actually go into effect. Many will even go on saying what they have said for two generations and not notice the difference if some nanny does not rudely point out their differences to them.

    Regarding the EP, there might be more consternation along the lines of, “Why make it more confusing and so old-fashioned?” Dislike in the midst of apathy and powerlessness.

    Regarding other presidential prayers, I suspect they don’t today, and will not then, even make it in one ear much less cross the brain to go out the other. I don’t think they contribute much to the Mass for most people, and if presiders who did not like them simply omitted them, few would notice and only one percent object, at most.

    To take an extreme position, what do the presidential prayers contribute to the Mass on days when the collect…

  12. Supra quae propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris: et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui iusti Abel, et sacrificium Patriarchae nostri Abrahae: quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.

    Maybe it could be broken down into this order:

    [Click on the hyperlinks to see pertinent grammatical points from Allen and Greenough (via Perseus)]

    1) et accepta habere,

    2) […] sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.

    3) Supra quae propitio […] digneris:

    4) sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui iusti Abel, et sacrificium Patriarchal nostri Abrahae:

    5) quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech,


    Bolded lines 1) and 2) are the base structure of the paragraph.

    3) is the petition.

    4) and 5) are the specifics of the petition.

    I agree with Graham that the placement of the object of accepta habere at the end of the paragraph creates grave problems. English speakers will inevitably interpret this as a false attribute of Melchizedek. Latin is quite fond of separating subject from object across a wide range of subordinate clauses, but that is not at all compatible with the English language.

    ICEL: “Look with favor on these offerings and accept them as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchisedech.”

    The Sacramentary translation sharply paraphrases 1), 2), and 3), but at least renders the subordinate clauses as satisfactory direct objects in English. I am not pleased with the strong paraphrase of the first three logical clauses, but I recognize that this is a honest translation strategy.

  13. The first translation here, from the Christmas Mass at dawn, should have gone to the Scripture for inspiration, 2 Cor 2: 4; 2 Pt 1:19 or even the Benedictus. Not that anything needed to be added, but it could have guided the translation:

    as the new birth of Your Incarnate Word shines on us, may the light of faith, shining in our hearts, shine out from our deeds.

    And what is it with the passive forms. “We are bathed by the radiance” instead of “the light bathes us.” That strikes me as the real problem throughout what I have seen of 2011, that the Latin syntactical focus on ‘us’ means God always does the action but is never the subject.

  14. Amazing comments about the “1965 Missal”- by which I think folks mean the USA’s (February 1966 Imprimatur) “English-Latin Sacramentary” which gave us the three presidential prayers of each Mass and the Prefaces in English. And more amazing that people are hailing the translation, lifted right out of The Maryknoll Missal (a translation clearly and obviously meant to be read privately and not proclaimed), as evidenced by the fact of the copyright acknowledgement to PJ Kenedy & Sons right inside the title page of the Sacramentary (except for the Exsultet, which was adapted from Dennis Fitzpatrick’s 1963 Demonstration English Mass Altar Missal).

    And buried within this thread, as people compare texts with the 1998, are questions that begin to recur: What happened to the 1998? Exactly why was it rejected? And what led to Liturgiam Authenticam?

    As it happened, the people who ‘did in’ the 1998 translation – not just the original prayers, additional texts and structural change recommendations, but even the very accurate and literate translations from the Latin – are EXACTLY the same people who teamed up to draft Liturgiam Authenticam. Moreover, many of them are (surprise, surprise) currently involved as consultants and operatives of CDW and Vox Clara. Motivations were many and varied, not excluding score-settling, revenge, and good old fashioned clerical ambition. Among the illustrious participants were James Moroney, Cuthbert Johnson, Anthony Ward, Jeremy Driscoll, Cassian Folsom …..” Readers of this blog who know, feel free to add any names I’ve forgotten.

  15. If clerical critics of the new translations face sanctions, as Fr Jim Blue suggested, then clerical flatterers of these wretched texts will receive rewards, favor, promotion. The emperor would never have strutted naked if he had not been surrounded by toadies.

  16. Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Graham Wilson :

    Here’s another whopper, this time from the EP1 2010:
    the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek, a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.
    Nice to know that Melchizidek is a holy sacrifice and spotless victim.

    A howler of a dangling modifier phrase, I agree. It’s so easy in English to misplace little items that pose no problems in inflected languages: “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. . . .”: Are the ‘single people’ ‘freeing them’? ‘[F]reeing them’ is only a “trailing” modifier, but it is one of nine phrases struggling to break free from the snares of that convoluted sentence. And what is the ‘what’ that God ‘once bestowed’ and now ‘bring[s] about’? I’m confused.

  17. I’ll skip commenting on the Latin, since I’m not a Latin scholar. But is it too terribly much to ask that we not need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs to find our way from subject to object in one sentence in the English?

    It’s been mentioned that the English translation is so literal because some languages need to translate from English, there being no [whatever the language is] to Latin scholars capable of doing the deed from Latin. OK, use the literal version for that. Can we English speakers have a translation for worship and study that is respectable, intelligible, English? Are we not entitled to that much? Any sense of “I am not worthy” simply doesn’t extend THAT far. . .

  18. By all means, return to the 1965. It’s exactly what SC demanded, not a jot nor tittle more.

    It would mean disappointment for trads (being one, I can live with it), but better yet, it would mean the end of the un-Catholic, “banal, on-the-spot product” that is the Novus Ordo.

    What can “mutual-enrichment” in the end arrive at other than the ’65? Even Alcuin Reid attests to its organic character. Paul VI over-reached with the Novus Ordo. The ’65 was THE Mass of the Council. It’s restoration would mean unity and the ultimate end of the liturgy wars.

    As for the 1998 translation, had the feminists stayed beneath their rock, you’d have it now.

    1. Sorry, but there are a couple of things in this post that I encounter a lot and am very, very tired of.

      By all means, return to the 1965. It’s exactly what SC demanded, not a jot nor tittle more.

      This presumes that SC was a document that indented to give a detailed list of liturgical reforms. I see no evidence that this was its intention.

      it would mean the end of the un-Catholic, “banal, on-the-spot product” that is the Novus Ordo.

      If one looks at this quotation in context, it is pretty clear that Ratzinger/Benedict was not describing the reformed liturgy in these terms, but rather the various experimental liturgies that were produced in the immediate wake of the Council.

      By all means, feel free to criticize the reforms that were enacted. But could we please do so without recourse to tired internet memes?

  19. Deacon,

    “If one looks at this quotation in context, it is pretty clear that Ratzinger/Benedict was not describing the reformed liturgy in these terms, but rather the various experimental liturgies that were produced in the immediate wake of the Council.”

    I’m doubtful. The quote, from the Holy Father’s preface to Klaus Gamber’s “Reform of the Roman Liturgy,” reads

    “What happened after the Council was something else entirely: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy: We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal, on-the-spot product.”

    In his memoirs “Milestones” the Holy Father, as Cardinal Ratzinger, writes “…it is not surprising that the “model Mass” now proposed, which was supposed to (and in fact did) take the place of the traditional Ordo missae, was in 1967 rejected by the majority of the Fathers who had been called together to a special synod on the matter. Some publications now tell us that some liturgists (or perhaps many?) who were working as advisers had had more far-reaching intentions from the outset. Their wishes would surely not have received the approval of the Fathers.”

    Tired internet memes indeed.

    1. Sorry, I still don’t see any reason to think that Ratzinger is referring in the Gamber preface to the revised liturgy itself as opposed to a certain do-it-yourself attitude toward that is perhaps more common on the Continent than it is in the English-speaking world. I am sure that it is blindingly obvious to you that he is referring to the Missal of Paul VI. It is not obvious at all to me.

      As to what he is saying in Milestones. . . well, that’s a good question. What is he saying? I’ve pulled my copy off the shelf and re-read the passage in context and I am still not sure what his point is.

      But so that my point might be clear: why not argue things on their merits rather than engaging in the quixotic project of claiming that Benedict XVI considers the missal of his predecessor Paul VI to be “uncatholic.”

      1. Sounds like someone’s preaching the Hermeneutic of Discontinuity, and it ain’t you, Fritz….

  20. Suppose we did believe the idiotic claim that Pope Benedict XVI viewed the Mass of Paul VI as “un-catholic”. What would that imply about Pope Benedict himself, who uses it in all of his public celebrations, despite pleas from traditionalists that he celebrate the Tridentine Mass?

    What would it imply for the hundreds of thousands of Catholics, traditionalist and progressive, who witnessed and praised the reverent papal Mass in Westminster Cathedral? Apart from music composed expressly for the occasion and a few extra altar servers, this Mass is virtually identical to the one celebrated there each and every Sunday, not to mention at about 10 other London churches.

    All of us, Pope and worshippers alike, “non-catholic”, lovers of a “banal on-the-spot product”? Rubbish.

    1. The Holy Father models many things for us and everything he does is within the rubrics and general instruction of the Roman Missal of 2002/3. That’s the other thing he models for us, “saying the black and doing the red.” He’s made full use of the vernacular in whatever country he has visited, although at international gatherings he prays the Eucharistic prayer in Latin and picks more than just the Roman Canon. In Italy at parochial Masses he prays the canon in Italian. He may have preferred a more nuanced reform of the Mass than what Pope Paul VI promulgated, but he’s not about to make it up as he goes. I saw him celebrating Mass in a parish Church in Italy and the “folk group” was singing away to the right side of the altar (that’s the epistle side for those who understand that).

      1. Pope Benedict seems to have a strong preference for
        EP 3, another “on-the-spot” creation of the Council?
        He sang it very beautifully at the Holy Thursday Mass
        of the Lord’s Supper in Italian two years ago.

        I have yet to see him celebrate Mass ad orientem
        outside the Roman basilicas. He seems to delight in
        keeping both liberals and conservatives
        guessing. Just dazzling them with his footwork.

  21. Dunstan Harding :

    He seems to delight in
    keeping both liberals and conservatives
    guessing. Just dazzling them with his footwork.

    Best comment about the Pope and Liturgy ever. Can we shut off the Internet now?

  22. 1965 does seem to embody alot if not all of what SC had to say about the liturgy. As someone else posted, we will probably arrive at it anyways. Although not against vernacular in Mass how is it that Article 54 of SC is followed in a 100% vernacular Mass all the time? And how many of us that grew up in the NO generation learned a Latin Ordinary as SC also thought important enough to include? Where were the Latin Pauline Masses, at least once on Sundays in the 70’s? And where all vernacular Masses are said all the time what place does Latin and Chant have a place in common lay life? If you can go 10 or 20 years and not hear a word of Latin what does that do for retaining the Latin language to some extent? And please don’t go to the other extreme about the importance of the vernacular. I support it. I would just like to have had both. That part of my Catholic identity. I certainly did not think I would be chastised for my curiosity or draw.

    1. The questions of whether SC 54.2 meant “Latin” when it said “Latin” and whether SC 54.2 is relevant today have been raised and addressed on this blog before. I think the documentation supports the literal interpretation of SC 54.2, especially after reading the relevant portions of Abp. Bugnini’s Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975. But these questions are apparently not settled.

  23. What excellent comments here. Deep important thoughts. I will throw in my hat for the 1965 as the hands down winner. I speak as one born in 1982, and having spent much time in both the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, 1962 Latin Mass and a Anglican-catholic masses in both Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

    The 1965 is the closest in qualities to the english I know from the “English Missal” (aka Knott Missal). The 1965 translation has best qualities of both more literal translation and smooth easy to speak proper english grammar. However, both the 1965 and 2011 translation are the strongest inheritors of the Anglo-catholic tradition. The 2011 is in fact generally excellent in terms of the literalness of the latin. I will have to admit that its sentence and order of words are far more awkward than they could be. However it does get the message across in a way which does the job. the Job is done, it simply is not done in a way that is timeless. I think that there is no question that the 2008/2011 translation IS going to be modified and tinkered within in the future.

    We really are going back to the past, back to 1965 in a roundabout way. Everything old is new again. I for one rejoice in it’s inevitability, even while knowing I will lack patience to wait for it’s full realization in the next generation of young clergy and hierarchy.

    I’ll end with the Anglo-catholic translations of the two Collects above for your own comparison. For myself they by far the best. They are on the agenda for formal approval within the Ordinariates, a few parishes already use them by special permission.

    Nativity of Our Lord – at second mass at dawn:

    “Grant to us, we beseech thee, almighty God: that as thou dost pour forth on us the new light of thine incarnate Word; so he who doth illuminate our minds by faith may like-wise in our works shew forth his brightness. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord….”

    “O God, whose miracles of old we perceive to shone forth even in…

  24. “O God, whose miracles of old we perceive to shine forth even in our times: who didst deliver one people from the pursuit of the Egyptians by the power of thy right hand, and dost now through the water of regeneration bestow thy saving health upon all nations: vouchsafe; that the fullness of the whole world may be numbered among the sons of Abraham and made partakers of the dignity of Israel. Through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, throughout all the ages of ages.”

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