16-year-old Latin whiz finds new liturgy language lacking

The National Catholic Reporter has the story of high school senior Erik Baker.  A Catholic and enthusiastic Latin scholar, he wrote a short essay to express his thoughts on the new Mass translation. Read his essay here, courtesy of the NCReporter and Robert McClory.  –ca


    1. One of the reasons this story is so cheering is that it breaks so many stereotypes, such as:

      (A) All young Catholics who care about their faith all lean toward a traditionalist or restorationist agenda.
      (B) Enthusiastic interest in Latin is incompatible with broadly progressive theological views.
      (C) Only those old “spirit of Vatican II” Catholics would have a problem with the translation.
      or even
      (D) He’s only some kid. He won’t have anything to say that’s worth serious consideration.

      Some kid, indeed. I felt like I was watching the rookie hit the ball out of the park his first time at bat. Delightful. Just delightful.

    1. And 2 Samuel 24:10:

      Peccavi valde in hoc facto; nunc vero precor, Domine, ut transferas iniquitatem servi tui, quia stulte egi nimis.

      I have sinned greatly in what I have done. But now, O LORD, I pray thee, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.

      1. The article objects that “nimis” in the Confiteor reflects Jansenism, a 17th century heresy. But “nimis” is attested to in the 14th century:

        In the “Ordo Romanus XIV” (by Cardinal James Cajetan in the fourteenth century, Mabillon, op. cit., II, 246-443) we find our Confiteor exactly, but for the slight modification: “Quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, delectatione, consensu, verbo et opere” (ib., p. 329).

        That same article also notes that “exeedingly” is also used in a form for confession (outside of Mass) of Egbert of York:

        So also Egbert of York (d. 766) gives a short form that is the germ of our present prayer: “Say to him to whom you wish to confess your sins: through my fault that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed.” In answer the confessor says almost exactly our Misereatur (Bona, “Rerum liturg.”, Bk. II, ii, v).

        Though it does not say whether “nimis” is the word used where the author has written “exceedingly.”

    2. Deacon Fritz – before you and JP nit-pick away at this poor 16 year old, you might want to reflect on Huck’s article just posted:

      “Remember Monsignor Ronald Knox? In a book called Englishing the Bible in the UK and Trials of a Translator (in the US), Knox wrote: “You can have a literal translation or you can have a literary translation: you cannot have both … Words are not inanimate things, like coins, that have an exact counterpart in a different currency. They are living things … And the translator must never be afraid of the accusation of having paraphrased. Paraphrase is the bogey-man of the half-educated….”

      The constant refrain about scriptural phrases, words in the liturgy – appears that certain phrases, words that have emotional memories for some have become “canonized” – even when those phrases, scriptural allusions have not been a part of our liturgical tradition for our whole history; or scripture that is in one or two gospels but is not in the others or is written differently by other gospel writers/Paul e.g. “under my roof”.

      1. Bill, I don’t understand why every point of contention has to be called a nit-pick. Earlier I asked how it was known that Jesus abhorred priestly language and you called that nit-picking; I wonder how Rita would have responded if I had said “Must you nit-pick?” when she called me out on my gross generalization regarding the Fathers’ interpretation of Malachi 1:11!

        When a person makes an argument and someone else seeks clarification on a part of that argument, addressing that point is necessary to upholding or refuting the argument. Erik wrote that “there is no scriptural grounding for this ‘sharper critique'”, but we can show just where Scripture uses language which Erik considers “hyperbolically critical of humanity.”

        appears that certain phrases, words that have emotional memories for some have become “canonized” – even when those phrases, scriptural allusions have not been a part of our liturgical tradition for our whole history

        The very same argument — emotional memories for “canonized” phrases, despite not having been a part of our liturgical tradition for whole history — is used on this very blog by people who are attached to the current translation of the people’s responses.

        And I think that the list of “scriptural allusions [that have been] a part of our liturgical tradition for our whole history” is a very small list indeed!

        scripture that is in one or two gospels but is not in the others or is written differently by other gospel writers/Paul e.g. “under my roof”.

        I wasn’t aware that the number of Gospels in which a phrase appears was a factor here; with the exception of the varied accounts of the Last Supper, I don’t remember hearing this line of argument. Could you provide some more examples?

    3. Maybe I am being overly generous here, but I thought what Erik was saying is that attributing grievous guilt to all the faithful all the time is what isn’t in scripture.

      And indeed it’s not. The occasions of sin are many, and heaven knows people sin grievously at times. But the Scriptures do not over-generalize, as the New Testament records some Pharisees to do, saying to the man born blind, simply by the category to which he belongs, “You are steeped in sin from birth.”

  1. Re: “good-will” in the Gloria…

    It appears the issue is related to which textual tradition of Luke 2:14 the Gloria is based on. One uses the word “eudokias” which is genitive: “of good-will”; the other uses the word “eudokia” which as far as I can tell is nominative: “good-will”. So, the Greek Gloria (ugh… that’s like saying “the Greek chasuble”) seems to follow the “eudokia” tradition, while the Latin Gloria seems to follow the “eudokias” tradition.

    1. Jeffrey, I have to admit that every time I sing the new Gloria, I am very thankful that we didn’t get the NAB translation of that verse from Luke! Hopefully Catholics can ALL agree on that!

    2. Here, I think Erik’s argument needs more nuance. Peace has multiple meanings. The unjust cannot experience the true peace which comes from God. When someone is oppressing the widow and the orphan, or grinding their neighbor into the dust, to take easy examples, do we wish them a clear conscience and a good night’s sleep? Of course not. It’s appropriate to pray for their conversion, not to crown their iniquity with the divine gift of peace.

      On the other hand, to those who are by their goodness embroiled in the struggle of life, God’s peace comes as a healing balm, and the source of a strength they need to carry on. I read the Gloria to proclaim this sort of good news. Christ’s coming is consolation for those of good will, but stumbling block for those without it.

      Peace, in the sense of the end to armed conflict is, of course, something we wish for all people.

    1. These sorts of comments are really not useful to real discussion. I respectfully request they be removed. John obviously has useful things to contribute to the discussion, as demonstrated below.

      1. Agreed Michael.

        Sounds like some don’t like what is said so call the kid some names.
        Reminds me of what the pharisees said to the young man in John 9:34: To this they replied, … how dare you lecture us!”

      2. Michael, Dale – I hear you. But perhaps it was meant in good fun. I’ll let it stand, smile, and move on.

  2. “So the Latin is solid. The problem, though, is that the Latin itself seems to be hyperbolically critical of humanity.”

    This article was supposedly by a 16 year old Latin scholar who was “smart enough” to find all kind of errors in the translation. However, if you read the above statement and the entire article, it is clear that he doesn’t really talk about translation at all. He objects not that the translation is inaccurate or even bad. Rather, his beef is that the Latin itself is no good.

    People can argue about whether the Latin ought to say what it does, but this is NOT the role of a TRANSLATOR. One does not change Church teaching through the back door in the name of “translation.”

    While there are certainly issues of translation that we can argue about, I have found that the vast majority of people who seem most upset with the new translation are really upset with what the Latin says and not with the translation.

    “So the question clearly isn’t ‘is it a better translation,'”
    He actually admits that IT IS BETTER!…

    “I think it’s valuable to use these changes as an opportunity to examine the value of the Latin Mass and ultimately the nature of the Mass itself.”

    No, translating is not an “opportunity” to do anything other than translate. You may wish the the Church would go away from using Latin for the typical edition, but that is NOT a question that a mere translator gets to have any say in. While this question is completely unrelated to translation, this is the real issue that most people are upset about.

    “The problem with the new translation and indeed the notion of a codified Latin Mass at all is that it destroys the communal and egalitarian nature of the act. ”

    This is completely backward. The very reason for a typical edition is so that we can all say the same words in our own language to the extent that this is possible. That’s why translation matters. I want know I’m praying the same prayer as every other…

    1. Fr states: “I have found that the vast majority of people who seem most upset with the new translation are really upset with what the Latin says and not with the translation.”


      If that’s the case you haven’t really been listening, you obviously haven’t been reading any of the comments on this blog.

      Also, ” This article was supposedly by a 16 year old Latin scholar who was “smart enough” to find all kind of errors in the translation.”

      Really, “supposedly” ? “Smart enough”?

      Reminds me of the pharisees in John 9:34 To this they replied, … how dare you lecture us!”

      I bet you’re a real gem in the pulpit father.

    1. Amen, Father! I would also like to add, that the Faithful deserve “the Roman Rite” in English instead of an English rite loosely based on the Roman one.

      1. In English, or in Latin but using English words? The cultural context of the Latin language is entirely different from the cultural context of the English language, and to impose the culture of the former onto the latter does not produce a translation in any meaningful sense.

        If the aim of the Latin Mass is to leave Latin speakers at a loss to what is going on, if the aim is to use language so arcane that even native speakers need to bring a dictionary, if the aim is to produce complex and barely-parsable stacks of grammatical constructs, then congratulations. The new translation is a triumph.

        As an engineer, I understand that my job is to harness the laws of nature to produce a design that performs a function in a way that is so elegant, so beautiful, that the user is unaware of my work. The very best engineering is discreet and subtle and produces its effect without lumps, bumps or screaming out what it is doing. The new translation uses the English language so jerkily and clumsily that it focuses attention on the language itself, the layered clauses: the long sentences, the vast distance between subject and object, the ceaseless repetitions. It does everything but fade into the background and turns, rather, into an essay about how not to write text intended for proclamation.

        When the way language is used is more visible than the concepts it is trying to convey, the translation has failed.

      2. When did we make “latin” our God? It’s not about latin. You might want to refer to last Sunday’s gospel about the Pharisees and worshipping.

    2. “I want [to] know I’m praying the same prayer as every other Catholic in the world.”

      Careful there, Father. You certainly meant to say “every other Latin Rite Catholic in the world”, yes?

      (Just wanted to give you a little rib on behalf of our Eastern brethren and sistren!)

      😉 MPod

  3. Amen to Peg Conway and amen to Deacon Fritz. How many post-Vatican II Catholics who have only known the Mass in the English of 1970 don’t realize that the reformed Latin Mass, the template of all the vernacular Masses developed, has such strong Biblical allusions not only in the fixed parts of the Mass, but also in the changing parts, such as the entrance chant, offertory and communion chants? (Do you like that long English sentence?)
    Last night we celebrated the Solemn Sung EF Requiem with our combined choirs singing Fauré’s beloved Requiem. Every person in the pew had a faithful English translation of it for their parts and the propers sung by the choir. In fact I mentioned in the homily that they could follow the Latin Roman Canon by looking at the revised English translation of it our WLP worship aid for the corrected English Mass. They couldn’t do that using the uncorrected one in our yearly missalette that will run out Christ the King Sunday. They were not mystified by what was going on, nor were they ignorant of what was happening; they were experiencing mystery, from the Greek Mysterion (with this term the Greeks united several different notions, including the sacred, arcane or hidden, and initiation) which is translated into Latin as Sacramentum or mysterium and into English as Sacrament or mystery. There was only one disinterested character though at the EF Requiem, but at least she was there!
    I’d love her take on it!

    1. Fr. Allan, that long sentence was fine. If, however, you want something, a sentence, long and waving, like reeds in the morning, the morning after a good sleep, incomprehensible, it would consistent with the new translation to infer that many-layered relative clauses make a text easy to proclaim and understand.

      1. Paul, many people forget (or never realised) that the long phrases are rooted in Scripture and Patristics. Therefore, those who have some familiarity with Scripture would have less difficulty making sense of the long phrases used and how they join the parts of the rich prayer together. This is unlike your example, where your ideas are drawn from the deep recesses of your personal imagination and have no resonance in the ears of those who listen.

      2. Simon, it matters little where the layers and layers of relative clauses come from, be it my fevered imagination or the Holy Scripture. Every single defining relative clause causes the brain to have to store a load of context to come back to at the end of the clause. You need to remember the subject of the sentence, because the verb and/or the object haven’t arrived yet. Adding a defining relative clause to define the defining relative clause means that you have to store another level of context. The Collect for Holy Thursday has three layers of defining relative clause. By the time you get to the end of them, you’ve forgotten what the subject was.

        My example is similar, if slightly more extreme. I use four layers there, each defining the previous one. When you hit “incomprehensible”, you have to re-read the sentence because you’ve forgotten it was that “incomprehensible” applies to.

        There is nothing wrong with long phrases in and of themselves. It is possible to write a 50-word sentence that is easy to read. It is equally possible to make a grammatically-correct 50-word sentence that is so convoluted that it needs to be read eight times in order to decode the meaning.

        A very significant point with much of the Mass translation is that this convoluted layered-clause style is used in prayers that are proclaimed from the altar; prayers that the congregation hear once per year (or once per three years) and do not, as a rule, have written down. For those that do have them written down, do they zone out of the Mass for a while to work on parsing, or do they put the tangled mess out of their mind and move on? If the former, they lose some of the Mass; if the latter, they lose some of the Mass.

        You can include scriptural references, allusions and quotations in language without making it unreadable. This translation fails on that front.

      3. Paul, I’m sorry, but what happened to the idea of people having missals? What happened to the idea of people preparing for Mass by reading the Mass texts and the scriptures?

        You seem to want the texts to conform to our slothful inclinations, when it is we who should be conforming ourselves to the texts through prayer, study, preperation and catechesis.

      4. People with missals: bad idea. We should celebrate the liturgy as an action, not read along with our nose in a book. People having missals is hardly traditional. Printed missals didn’t exist until the 15th century, of course. Missals for people didn’t exist until the 1920s, but weren’t in widespread use until the 1950s in many places.

        Aidan Kavanagh in On Liturgical Theology speaks strongly and convincingly of the ways the western liturgy has been harmed by the invention of printing.

      5. People with missals is not a bad idea for people whose participation is best fostered visually over aurally. (And there are quite a number of those people.) We’ve learned a lot about the diversity of sensory perception and learning types in recent decades. While we should not encourage following along in the missal for it’s own sake, we should strenuously avoid disrespecting people for doing so when it actually fosters their active participation. Can we move away from the hoary nose in the missal image?

      6. Karl, good point. There can be a diversity on this. And I think a daily missal is good for most anyone to use before the liturgy to prepare oneself.
        I’m clarifying my thoughts now, and I see two problems with missal: that it becomes the norm for everyone during the liturgy (this is what I grew up with in missalette days) instead of for the few that need it; and that it is defended as a coping mechanism for the translation we’re getting which is unsuited for public proclamation in places. People should not need a printed text before them to compensate for problems in the proclaimed text.

      7. Fr Ruff

        Thanks for the clarification. I fully agree with your last point. Indeed, that’s why I think the propers need to have a somewhat different translation standard than texts that are encountered by the faithful on a weekly/daily basis (I think more complexity is fine – so long as it is euphonious and idiomatic – with the latter kinds of texts, because people have time to absorb them).

        But I think you underestimate the proportion of people whose active participation is assisted by a visual aid. I used to think little of this, but experience over the past 20 years has caused me to change my mind pretty significantly. It’s not just learning style or age, but it also involves the particular acoustics involved, too (PA systems are as often a problem as a solution; and I am being charitable – one problem with PA systems is that they encourage speakers to speak in a fast, conversational tone, instead of a more deliberate proclamatory tone, and that is a real burden on apprehension, let alone comprehension).

        I don’t have a problem with a 3 to 5 year period where people in general are more reliant on a visual text. I believe that comes with the territory of a living vernacular, where we have to engage in updating translations every couple of generations. (Pace the decision of the 1998 translators, I believe the people’s parts did need to change.) I would not want our reaction to this retranslation to undermine what might be a much needed and improved translation in the future, perhaps after we are dead. We should act now in a way that is consistent with what might be necessary in the next updating of the translation…. We need to play the long game, as it were.

      8. OMG! That you-tube thingy is great! We’ve been singing the Lamb of God from the Roman Missal, the new one, and for the life of me, when either the choir or the cantor is leading it the last two words sound to me like “upon us.” I told the music director that that is what it sounds like to me and she insists they are singing it correctly and that my ears are messed up!

      9. People with missals during Mass remind me of the people at Chartres cathedral who are looking into their guide books while the rest are looking at the cathedral.

        Missals have their place as a preparation for Mass – at home.

      10. Fr Ruff and Karl,

        I’m in general agreement with you both (though perhaps not your first post in this subsection, Father!). I even broadly agree with the last of Father’s points: that “[p]eople should not need a printed text before them to compensate for problems in the proclaimed text”. A couple of clarifications on that point, though:

        1) We have yet to start using the new translation in its entirety (though our parish priest is using our newly delivered copy on weekdays to begin to get used to the change in style between the old and new). So I’m not sure how far we can go at this stage in saying that there are necessarily problems. We can all anticipate various problems, but that’s a slightly different issue; what we think may happen might not be what will actually happen in parishes. Until we’ve used the new translation for a good period, I’m not sure it’s entirely useful to speak of “problems” in implementation as if they are certainties.

        2) Similar to, but slightly different from the point above: what others count as a problem may not be what I personally would consider to actually be a problem; e.g., Mr Robertson’s complaint about the complexity of the “incomprehensible” texts. By and large, I consider the new texts to be perfectly comprehensible, if one is listening attentively. In this regard, the old translation was a lot more forgiving, but as I mentioned above, I don’t think it’s the translation’s job to counteract our possible sloth, laziness, or arrogant expectations (i.e. “I should be able to understand this perfectly without thinking too hard about it”).

        If the Latin is full of complex biblical and theological allusions, expressed in (to us) a slightly alien way, then our English ought to reflect that. And I think this is where I part company from (e.g.) Mr Robertson and Mr Huck, but that’s another issue.

      11. Mr Flynn, dogmatic as always, I see! 🙂

        To continue your metaphor, perhaps you could consider that as well as looking at and experiencing Chartres, the guidebook is necessary to understand it, to contextualise and root one’s experience and feelings in the history and meaning of the cathedral. Otherwise, yes, you can look at and enjoy Chartres, but would you ever really comprehend it?

        Please don’t be cynical about those of us (like me) who use missals at Mass: it can’t possibly be doing you any spiritual good.

    2. Sorry about this, Fr. Allan, but this particular vocabulary issue is a pet peeve of mine: “disinterested” is not the same as “uninterested”. It means “impartial”.

      Oh, bummer. Apparently now it is both. See what popular usage does to our language?! Disgraceful…


      1. Jeffrey, I see your point! Through my fault, through my fault through my most grievous fault! And on top of that one of our permanent deacons reminded me, because his wife told him to tell me, that I shouldn’t pronounce “grievous” with an additional “i” in it which I do all the time, “grievious.” Am I the only one that does that? Maybe it’s a southern thing?

      2. My condolences, Fr. Allan. My bishop and personal hero, Michael Evans, died from that this year. From what I understand, he had little love for the new translation too, but I’m not going to put words in his mouth. I miss him terribly.

  4. “Ridiculous words defeat the point of a translation in the first place.” Quite so.

    He instances ‘consubstantial’. He might also have quoted ‘oblation’. A word simply not in currency, and non-communicative of such an important action as the Eucharistic Prayer. Why not ‘offering’, which is used to translate the same Latin word, ‘oblatio’, elsewhere?

    1. But John, words have specific meanings. One dictionary definition of oblation is: The act of offering something, such as worship or thanks, to a deity.

      This is clearly not the same as me offering my OSU/Michigan football tickets to you, which would certainly be a sacrifice on my part. But, unless you are a deity, it would be simply an offering, not an oblation.

      1. How happy am I that I was reared on the BCP!. The language that many here consider odd seems to me quite normal, pleasing, and interesting. If a mere ‘consubstantial’ or ‘oblation’ presents problems of comprehension, one can only wonder at the level of linguistic and theological poverty that is evident. I will, however, grant that our new translation is woefully less elegant and masterful than Cranmer’s gift to the world. Purge the BCP of half a dozen sentences (plus the embarassing 39 Articles) and one would have an impeccably Catholic book. Why this irrational desire to rid our worship of any language that would be out of place while in line at a grocers? It is a far better thing to follow a fifty word, multi-layered, sentence that’s grantedly clumsily constructed than to yawn through what we have now.

  5. Just because words such as oblation are not used in everyday speech is not reason to “ban” them. With proper teaching and formation in a short time a new generation will grow up with these words, assuming they attend Mass, and the words will once again be commonplace and not unfamiliar to Catholics. They were used in previous translations in the mid 60’s and if they have fallen further from the minds of the Faithful that is the fault of the translators who banished them. Now they call them obscure? How can someone know such words if they are removed from the one setting where you would expect to hear them? Mass. Same goes for Latin.

  6. “The best evangelical tool we have is a well-celebrated Sunday Mass.” I’ve heard this idea down the years from many people I respect. I admire this young man’s perceptive analysis of the Latin texts and their origin, and I abhor the personal (i.e., ad hominem) attacks used in an attempt to defeat his analysis of the Latin originals and their English translation. For what it’s worth, we now have three forms of the Roman Rite Mass that anyone might experience in an parish: the Latin original of the Missale Romanum of Paul VI, a current vernacular translation of that missal, and the Missale Romanum of Blessed John XXIII. Let’s celebrate those with the careful attention and full-hearted devotion that Mass requires. The Missale of John XXIII requires, to the extent possible, the “fully conscious and active participation” of the whole assembly, as do the postconciliar rites. Let’s focus on being “in the rite” and celebrating it with all due dignity, rather than harping on whatever hidden agenda an intelligent and articulate sixteen-year-old Latin scholar may or may have in mind by reflecting in public on the Mass and its translation process. Sursum corda.

  7. Much of this article agrees roughly with what I’ve been saying here and in other places. “It’s definitely a better translation,” though a flawed one and that it beter reflects the theology of the underlying Latin.

    The key difference, Baker finds that theology problematic, I don’t.

  8. It seems to me that Fr. Tunink vastly oversimplifies the role of translators. Translation is not merely a mechanical process of switching from one language to another. Douglas Hofstadter writes in “Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language” the following: “A translator does to an original text something like what an impressionist painter – van Gogh, say – does to a landscape: there is an inevitable and cherished personal touch that makes the process totally different from photography.” (pg 388)
    Good translation is as attentive the the original language as it is to the language into which the text is being translated. Language, being analogical, necessarily involves cultural, historical, and theological nuances.
    Latin from a different culture, a different historical period, a different theological paradigm can be rendered very literally. But this does not insure that the meaning of the translated words will serve to communicate the mysteries they are meant to convey.

    1. ““A translator does to an original text something like what an impressionist painter – van Gogh, say – does to a landscape…”

      However, Father, there are methods of painting other than impressionism, just as there are methods of translation other than that which Hofstadter prefers.

      “But this [literal rendering] does not insure that the meaning of the translated words will serve to communicate the mysteries they are meant to convey.”

      Neither does any other method of translation, in itself. Hence the importance of good, solid catechesis.

      1. And it’s also quite a different thing to turn a family portrait of 5 members into four, so as to avoid the uncomfortable reality that one of them is a special needs individual.

        The old ICEL texts sought to play down or “correct” some uncomfortable phrases, based on modern and bound-to-change scholarly principles. That is no longer translation, and in diplomatic circumstances it can be disastrous. In our liturgical worship, it is no less damaging.

    2. I hope genuinely that Fr Kavanaugh is not suggesting that those who gave us the translation which will become history in a few weeks are literary van Goghs!

  9. Answer to John Drake: “But, unless you are a deity, it would be simply an offering, not an oblation.” Then why is not ‘oblatio’ consistently translated ‘oblation’? It’s the inconsistency that’s part of the problem.

  10. I can’t decide whether the better response to this article with the 16 year old is to a) wonder how a high school child (who does not happen to be either a scriptural expert or a church historian) could possibly know better than the Holy See what the liturgy ought to sound like, or b) accuse the publisher of the article of abusing minors by exposing them to ridicule in an attempt to make one of his ridiculously tendentious points. Both do apply.

    1. They’re not abusing or ridiculing him. You are!

      I never realized there were so many paranoid people who are looking for a conspiracy.

  11. I greatly admire this young man. And as one who has opposed this new translation from the beginning, I applaud his courage in speaking out and sharing his thoughts with the world. I think he is spot-on in his interpretation! And wise beyond his years!

  12. So much for young people who don’t know Latin anymore. There are more of them than many people wish to acknowledge. And for all the young people who do study Latin, whether to improve scholastic aptitude, as a hobby, or because they simply have a language interest, they should be afforded the opportunity to utilize their skills when going to Mass in the Latin Rite of the Church. Here in the US there are a few districts that are allowing Latin again as an elective in foreign language studies. And internet groups and foreign language study aids that 10 years ago were no where to be seen are all over the place. It is more easy today than anytime in our history to learn Latin or at least grasp the basic prayers of the Church. Just the click of the same mouse that takes us here, shopping, or anywhere else can be utilized in obtaining a basic understanding of the Mass in Latin. That would be active participation at its best. Times are a changin.

  13. A response to Jeffrey Pinyan’s post on November 2, 2011, at 9:45 p.m.
    For Erik, wherever he is: The rendering “Peace on earth, good will toward men”—based on “eudokia” as the reading of the disputed word—appears in two of the dozen New Testaments I have at hand, namely the King James and New King James versions. The other ten, including the Douay-Rheims, opt unanimously for “eudokias.”
    More crucially for our new Gloria, very few NT translations since 1900 use “on earth peace to men/people of good will.” When normal English speakers (such as Erik Baker) hear “people of good will,” they naturally conclude that the good will has been developed by the people themselves. However, the near-unanimous wording in post-1940 New Testaments is some variation of the NAB’s “on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests,” because (as these NTs usually tell us in their footnotes) the “good will” is not ours but God’s.
    I assume we currently sing “peace to his people on earth” because ICEL, like Bruce Ludwick, recognized that “on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” is a mouthful. Though rather paraphrastic, “peace to his people on earth” at least doesn’t violate the meaning of the Gospel verse, as “on earth peace to people of good will” does.
    The producers of the new English Gloria have rendered word-for-word a Latin translation of Luke 2:14, in violation of the instructions of “Liturgiam authenticam” against double translation (section 24), and in so doing have mistranslated Scripture. (Look at what trouble they caused for Erik!) That’s just unacceptable. Vox Clara is not allowed to do that. ICEL is not allowed to do that. Not Cardinal Medina, or Pope Benedict, or any Church council is allowed to do that. I think we in the pews have a problem here.

  14. Please note that in the Gloria, at the beginning, “hominibus” is translated as “people”, whereas in the creed, “qui propter nos homines” is translated “men”…so much for literallness, same goes for “omnium circumstantium” in the roman canon

  15. Not sure this explanation will satisfy everyone but here it is: in the Creed they wanted a connection between “for us men” and “became man,” a form of the same word as in Latin.
    In the other case, they simply decided to mistranslate it because they want people to kneel, not stand, during the EP.

    1. The phrase et omnium circumstantium in EP I was translated as “all of us gathered here before you” (1973 and 1998) and as “all gathered here” (2008 and 2011). Perhaps you were thinking of the more egregious astare coram te in EP II, which was neutered from “to stand in your presence” (1973 and 1998) to “to be in your presence” (2008 and 2011).

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