Two views on the missal at National Post

Father Raymond de Souza: “New translation makes Catholic prayers sing“:

Good news about good English: Catholics [have] new prayers, a fresh English translation of the Latin texts. After 40 years of making do with rather workaday English, originally intended only as a temporary stopgap measure, Sunday marked the debut of a more elegant version, an elevated, sacral language properly suited to divine worship. The comma is back, bringing with it multiple adjectives and the subordinate clause. Theological matters aside, the return of proper English to the Catholic Mass ought to be welcomed by all who cherish the beauty of the English language.

Phil Mathias: “Catholic Church replaces good English with bad“”

The new Catholic liturgy — which accompanied the Mass for the first time last month — is a setback for ordinary Catholics, and, at many points, replaces good English with bad. This is the view of many around the world, including some eminent Catholic liturgists. The new liturgy also gives rise to an uncomfortable sense that Pope Benedict XVI is trying to move the Church to an ultra-conservative stance that is attractive only to a small part of the Church.

147 comments

    1. Joe, bless you for bolstering, edifying and championing Fr. DeSouza’s argument. You could have simply said “-what nonsense.” But you chose “humbug” instead. Beautiful! Now I have a clearer, if not precise, comprehension of your disdain. Thanks.
      And to think you could also have have employed ” babble, balderdash, baloney, bull*, bunk, drivel, empty talk, gibberish, hogwash, hooey, hot air, poppycock, pretense, rubbish, silliness or detritus, etc.” if you wanted to beat the Dickens out of your point. Marvelous. The beauty of English: ineffable, er, I mean “priceless.” 😉 Or in the words of Adrian Belew in the King Crimson song, it’s all “elephant talk.”

      1. Charles;

        You are most indubitably correct, however, you cannot blame them! For as it is noted, you must be of an ultra-conservative (not merely Catholic) bent to appreciate such lingual subtlety!

  1. “The comma is back, bringing with it multiple adjectives and the subordinate clause. ”

    It sure is!!! Perhaps resorting to Victor Borga’s “audible punctuation”
    rules would make it understandable to English speaking people!! 🙂

    1. At the very least, I would find myself more engaged if we used Mr. Borga’s audible punctuation. Enageged by amusement, which isn’t a very good place for Mass, but it probably beats disenagement, which is where I’m at right now.

  2. The New Missal truly does bring reverence and beauty back to the Mass; “This is the view of many around the world, including some eminent Catholic liturgists.”
    As for, “The new Catholic liturgy…is a setback for ordinary Catholics” – what humbug!

      1. So you dispute the claim made below that “it’s absurd and shocking to claim that the new translation is beautiful language,” right? After all, stipulating that “[b]eauty is subjective,” you can’t say that the corrected translation isn’t beautiful, you can only say that you don’t find it so.

  3. Ever see a sentence with eleven commas? There it is in the opening prayer for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – a tsunami of commas. Could a grade school student in English composition get away with a sentence like this?

    1. Jan, I love the image, “a tsunami of commas!” As I was preparing for that liturgy my thoughts were similar to yours.

      1. The new translation has no stylistic merits, and people dare to quote Newman, the greatest of English prose stylists, as if he were somehow its model!

    2. Is this the prayer?

      O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin
      prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son,
      grant, we pray,
      that, as you preserved her from every stain
      by virtue of the Death of your Son, which you foresaw,
      so, through her intercession,
      we, too, may be cleansed and admitted to your presence.
      Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
      who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
      one God, for ever and ever.

      That is beautiful.

      1. I’m assuming you’re serious when you say it’s beautiful. I think it’s ugly, almost laughably so. De gustibus and all that…

        One interesting dynamic I’ve noticed is that the only people claiming the new texts are beautiful are either A) people in officialdom who more or less have to say that, and B) right-wing Catholics. I have yet to see any exceptions. Is the “beauty” of the new text apparent only to bishops and ultraconservatives? How strange.

        The King James Bible has drawn high praise from all sides, including non-believers, for its literary quality. (See the interesting article in the current National Geographic.) I see no evidence the new Catholic missal will draw such praise.

        awr

      2. Anthony, one interesting dynamic that I’ve noticed is that the only people claiming the new texts are beautiful are either A) professional liturgists who see it as their life’s work going up in smoke, and and B) left-wing Catholics. I have yet to see any exceptions. Is the “ugliness” of the new text apparent only to liturgists and ultraprogressive dissenters? How strange.

      3. I assume you mean “the only people claiming the new texts are ugly.”

        Totally inaccurate. Haven’t you read much about the missal in the newspapers? Don’t you read Pray Tell? We had Geoffery Rowthorn and Carl Daw, both Episcopal, neither directly involved in Catholic liturgy, appraise the proper texts and the Order of Mass from the standpoint of literary quality. They both found the pretty seriously flawed. Dwight Longecker, conservative married RC priest, former Anglican, has written that the new texts sound like an eighth grader trying to write Shakespeare. The secular newspapers (and on TV, even Stephen Colbert!) have been filled with commentators who aren’t liturgists and don’t work for the Church criticizing the new text pretty strongly.

        Your claim is totally false.

        Now show me where my claim is inaccurate – where are the mainstream non-liturgists, the non-Catholics, the literary critics, claiming that the new text is good?

        awr

      4. AWR, I am serious when I say it’s beautiful. I am not in officialdom, neither do I label myself a right-wing Catholic or ultra-conservative. I am just Catholic – a Catholic father of 6. Are you a left-wing Catholic?
        As for the opinions of non-Catholics on the New Missal, I have little or no use for that, as I’m sure they also have negative opinions on the Catholic doctrines I believe wholeheartedly. Perhaps you’d like some Buddhists to weigh in on the Mass as a whole and our belief in the Real Presence?

      5. One interesting dynamic I’ve noticed is that the only people claiming the new texts are beautiful are either A) people in officialdom who more or less have to say that, and B) right-wing Catholics. I have yet to see any exceptions. Is the “beauty” of the new text apparent only to bishops and ultraconservatives? How strange.

        Beauty is not just a matter of style. Truth is beautiful. To a large degree, the beauty of the new texts is drawn from the fact that they reflect the beauty of the ideas of the underlying Latin texts. The “holy and venerable hands” of Christ; the effusive praise for God, “We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory;” the acknowledgement of the sinfullness of mankind, “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.”

        So it’s not strange to see people who uphold the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith expressing pleasure at seeing that beauty reflected in the texts used at Mass more clearly than it was before. I’m not sure what’s gained by labeling all those people right-wingers.

      6. I’m hardly left-wing! I’m smiling at the suggestion. I just posted our abbey’s chant-dominated Immaculate Conception liturgy leaflet over at musicasacra.com, where folks are sharing their feast day music plans.

        With all due respect, I think you’re confusing a couple things. We’re not Protestant fideists, we Catholics believe in particular revelation as well as general revelation available to all and knowable through human reason. Furthermore, lots of issues important in the life of the Church don’t involve faith or dogma per se. I believe in the Immaculate Conception – but the furnace repairman or the computer specialist don’t need to, they need to get the church furnace working and the parish computer system up and running.

        You speak of Buddhists’ opinions on the missal or the Mass – but I think you’re referring to specifically Catholic doctrines, about which of course Buddhists are not within the household of faith.

        The only issue we’re addressing here is the aesthetic quality of the new texts. On that question, I have no doubt, we have much to learn from ‘cultured’ and ‘artistically sensitive’ Protestants and Anglicans and Buddhists and atheists and all the rest.

        You would completely dismiss the views of non-Catholics even on the question of literary quality. I would not. Neither, in my understanding, would traditional Catholic theology.

        awr

      7. Are you then right-wing? Do you label me right-wing because I like the new translation?
        No doubt we Catholics have no problem with taking what is right and true from other cultures/ways of thought and incorporating that into our faith – we did that with Greek philosophy. After all, all Truth comes from God.
        And yes, that applies to “the aesthetic quality of the new texts.” So, those non-Catholics who approve of the new Missal – whether or not they have published their views – they, too, are to be considered? Or do only the public detractors of the new Missal hold sway?

      8. Anthony Ruff, OSB on December 6, 2011 – 10:45 am

        Father, while I don’t agree with your term “ultraconservative”, many here probably have objected to the way I have used “progressive” over the years. For this reason, I am not angered that I am “ultraconservative” for preferring the new translation. All, and especially myself, pigeonhole others out of either laziness or malice. I realize that in the eyes of many Catholics my almost complete rejection of the post-conciliar incarnation of the liturgical movement does make me quite conservative.

        No attempt at the complete vernacularization of the Roman Rite over the past fifty years has succeeded. At every turn, ideologically polarized groups have tried to use the modern spoken tongues to shape the revealed sacraments in their image. What has resulted is a serious fracture through the body of the Church. At this point, the Roman Church lives in liturgical schism in all but name.

        God speaks to us, indeed commands and teaches us, through the Sacrifice and Banquet. The liturgical tradition of the Church must be embraced in joy and gratitude, even if some of this heritage can only be correctly and succinctly expressed in the Latin sacral language. Conservation, then, is the acceptance that the sacramental life cannot be bent to the will of any living tongue or postmodern perspective, “left” or “right”.

      9. Conservation, then, is the acceptance that the sacramental life cannot be bent to the will of any living tongue or postmodern perspective, “left” or “right”.

        why “any living tongue”? Is it appropriate that liturgy was once “bent to the will” of Latin, Greek, Slavonic, Syriac, etc.? That it reflects modern or premodern perspectives?

        Or are you condemning “conservation”?

      10. Jim McKay on December 7, 2011 – 9:327 am

        Modern languages certainly have a place in Roman worship, regardless of form. I am unconvinced that any cleric or layperson in the Church today certianly knows what the role of the vernacular in worship should be. I do know that no one “register” of the vernacular is suitable for an entire translation.

        Although the English language Protestant traditions have given all of Christianity great vernacular monuments (the Book of Common Prayer, the KJV, John Wesley’s hymns, for starters), the emphasis on the vernacular in Protestant traditions arose out of lengthy, and sometimes even violent, debates over liturgy and theology. Theology underwent a cataclysm to support a divorce from the Latin language and Roman tradition. Many Roman Catholics wish to maintain our doctrine but with full liturgical vernacularization. Yet some of our liturgical heritage cannot be understood well outside of Latin. The generations of Protestant reformers learned well that the rejection of a sacral language often requires simultaneous theological change. We Roman Catholics must soberly consider that an unyielding commitment to the vernacular may require proportunate changes in doctrine and theology. Are strong advocates of the vernacular ready to take this bold step?

        I “conserve” only because I am not willing to make the leap into the contentions that will inevitably arise from the almost complete marginalization of the Latin liturgical heritage.

    3. And the prayer over the gifts has nine, along with the word “prevenient.” If you know what that means without consulting a dictionary, you’re a better Catholic than I.

      1. Maybe you should question the assumption that there is a problem with consulting a dictionary. The anti-intellectualism that has seized the critics is really quite shocking! Responding to a similar confession of ignorance in the late 1980s, the Spectator put it well: “One of the features of being educated is that one is not totally flummoxed when one comes across something which one does not understand.” It used to be that people felt some embarrassment when presented with proof that their vocabulary or knowledge was incomplete; today, people are not only unashamed of their ignorance, but are so brazenly defensive of it as to demand that the vocabulary of all public matters be dragged down to their level.

        I will confess that, like you, I had no idea what “prevenient” meant. Unlike you, it would appear, I felt embarrassed by my lack of knowledge and turned immediately for a dictionary. I suggest you do the same, lest you forever be stuck consuming “milk, not solid food” (1 Cor 3:2).

      2. No, this isn’t anti-intellectualism. I’m sure no one has a problem with consulting a dictionary in appropriate contexts, such as in study or research. The question is whether the liturgy is such a context that it should require people to consult a dictionary to understand it. This is a very different question.
        awr

      3. It’s been said* that Catholicism means ‘Here Comes Everybody’, and my experience in parishes supports this. A distaste for fancy words doesn’t imply personal ignorance, nor does it suggest either anti-intellectualism or disdain for the less educated. It may have more to do with a desire for understanding in a public action, the liturgy, in a setting that will include people from many walks of life.

        I understand prevenient perfectly well, both in English and its Latin antecedent, and even some of the Greek behind that. I’ll bet that the much-maligned Bishop Trautman does too. But I wouldn’t ever use these terms in public liturgy, because they add neither clarity nor beauty to the language. They are nothing but a stumbling block.

        I know some young, earnest converts who lard their conversation with ‘Catholic’ sounding words. They don’t turn their attention to something, they advert to it. They don’t consider something separately, they prescind from it – even the Pope used this last expression in a recent speech. Using eccentric language may give them a sense of identity but it doesn’t create clarity or precision. In fact, it hinders understanding because these terms contain many ‘false friends’ – Latinate words that sound like their English cousins, but actually mean something different.

        ––
        * The saying is attributed to James Joyce and is frequently presented as a direct quote from Finnegans Wake but I think this is an internet meme. There is an extremely oblique bit early in the novel where HCE (Here Comes Everybody = Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker) is very loosely associated with ‘universalisation’ and ‘the truly catholic assemblage’.

      4. Asking “whether the liturgy is such a context that it should require people to consult a dictionary to understand it” begs the question: Which people? Certainly not children, right? No one would suggest excluding words that a five year old wouldn’t know. What about words that any person of common intellect should know? Well, that turns out to be slippery, because Bp. Trautman infamously insulted the intelligence of just about everyone in claiming that “ineffable” was beyond the intellectual reach of Catholics.

        And how many people must a word send scurrying to a dictionary before it must be excluded? Jon-Paul and I didn’t know what it meant, but Jonathan Day did, and I think you probably did, so in our little sample group right here, it’s fifty-fifty. So is prevenient in or out if half the congregation scurries (or should scurry) to the dictionary? And apart from where the threshold lies, what’s the sample group—in which congregation should this be measured? Presumably the congregation of a newman center parish will contain a higher percentage of people who know a term like “prevenient” than an inner-city parish where the priest is the only man to have a high school diploma.

        And what about how often the congregation is challenged—is that relevant? Suppose it’s true that liturgy is bad when every other word is beyond the reach of an average person; is the problem as acute when everything is within the reach of the average person, with the exception of one word in one prayer?

        And on the merits, while I agree that liturgy belongs in a special category, I would still answer the question in the same way. I see no problem with liturgy that sometimes asks people to increase their knowledge. To the contrary, I think that you and I would both say that liturgy that invites us to grow in knowledge and faith is a good thing. I learned a neat new term today, and so did Jon-Paul. We’ve been challenged to think. So what’s the problem again?

      5. Jonathan, an opportunity to learn is never a stumbling block. I find that idea absolutely bizarre—with all due respect, I cannot see how that is anything but the kind of anti-intellectualism to which I objected above. What hinders a person’s understanding is rejection of the opportunity to learn.

  4. It’s hard to keep reading Phil when he recites the tired “hiearchy vs. the people” line that’s been so in vogue. But we’ll soldier on.

    1) Phil seems unable to comprehend why we would make the change, but it’s not hard to understand:

    That’s what the latin says. When there’s an established English word (even a loanword) that is the established translation of a foreign word, we use it, and not some other term. That’s why, for example, we pray for our auxililary bishops rather than our “helper overseers” when translating “episcopus auxiliaris.”

    “Consubstantial” is a better fit for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Phil says that it’s ” inept because in English usage, only material things have ‘substance’ and God is a spirit,” but that’s heresy—God is Father, Son, and spirit. Those three persons are of the same substance, and in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we partake of that substance. What does Phil think transsubstantiation means? We receive the substance of Christ’s body and blood—not in some vague spiritual sense but physically—which is itself of the same substance as the father.

    Pastoral felicity. Phil’s misunderstanding of substance shows the change’s utility; confessing the consubstantiality of the trinity at Mass, and the catechesis that will support it, may help people avoid getting it as wrong as Phil.

    2) Phil argues that the “new liturgy is a literal translation of the Latin Mass that was universally used before the Second Vatican Council….” We are to take commentary on the Mass from someone with so little conversance with recent liturgical history?

    3) What’s special about Latin? Arguendo, nothing, but that’s a red herring; the real question is, why is it at issue here? because that’s the language the Mass is written in. If the Mass was written in Italian (e.g.), it should be properly and faithfully translated from the Italian.

    4) Benedict hasn’t started to undo…

      1. Are you suggesting that the editio typica text be written in English? That’s very anglosphere-centric, no? We have about a billion Catholics on the planet, and only 16% live in North America. Add in Britain, Australia, South Africa, and the anglophone pockets around the world and that total rises a few percent more, but it’s not even a quarter. Or are you suggesting, pavidum dictu, that we balkanize the latin rite and have an independent English sub-rite for the anglosphere? That seems ghastly to me.

        If the Mass can’t be adequately translated into a given language, it should be celebrated in Latin. And I note that the only reason for the confusion is the dogmatic insistence of some people—in defiance of Second Vatican Council—that the Mass should be conducted wholly in the vernacular. This problem wouldn’t arise, or at least would be less acute, if the ordinary was prayed in latin, leaving only the propers, readings, homily, and perhaps the preface in the vernacular. If we start moving to that model on a wide scale, the translation argument will by-and-large evaporate.

      2. Simon,
        Then write the original in Spanish, since probably more Catholics speak that than any other single language, and translate from there into good English. They won’t be exactly the same, and they shouldn’t be. Spanish has stylistic conventions that English doesn’t, and vice versa. Of course, that’s also true of Latin and any other language.

        There’s a trap in your thinking there – how do you define ‘adequately translated’? There are probably very few thoughts that can’t be adequately translated in the sense of getting the intended idea expressed. But problems crop up in a hurry when we start demanding a word-for-word correspondence and too rigid a literalness.

        The only reason the Church ever started using Latin in the first place is that it was the vernacular of the Roman Empire ‘way back when, and it’s really helpful for spreading the Gospel if you speak to people in the the same language they use. To that end, Latin is now quite useless, as it’s not been anybody’s vernacular for centuries.

      3. Lynn, if you inferred that I think the editio typica should be written in the most widespread language of the day, that is not an accurate characterization of my position. My point is simply that whatever language the editio typica is written in, it should be translated correctedly or not at all. I have no desire at all to displace Latin as the official language of the Latin Church, and I am mystified as to why anyone would want to. Of course, you’re correct about why latin became the language of the Latin Church, but you are quite wrong that “Latin is now quite useless, as it’s not been anybody’s vernacular for centuries.” Rather than me answering you, Bl. John XXIII’s Veterum Sapienta can answer for me:

        “Not without Divine Providence has it come about that the same language that held together for many centuries such a wide group of nations under the authority of the Roman Empire, would become the language of the Apostolic See and preserved for posterity it would hold together the christian nations of Europe under a firm bond of unity.

        “Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every culture among diverse peoples, for it gives no rise to jealousies, it does not favor any one group, but presents itself with equal impartiality, gracious and friendly to all. Nor must we overlook the characteristic expression of Latin, its ‘concise, rich, varied, majestic and dignified features which make for singular clarity and significance.’

        “For these reasons the Apostolic See has always seen to it that Latin should be carefully preserved deeming it worthy of usage in its administrative exercise as a magnificent vestment of heavenly doctrine and of holy legislation, and of usage by the ministers of sacred rites.”

        Similar sentiments were expressed by Paul VI and JP2, by the way.

        Lastly: “Adequately translated”=corresponding in content and form to the original to a sufficient degree for the purpose at hand. ICEL1973 didn’t even…

    1. “We receive the substance of Christ’s body and blood—not in some vague spiritual sense but physically—which is itself of the same substance as the father.”

      The eternal Word is “of one being with” the Father. The human body of Christ, even in its glorified form (which is the content of the Real Presence) is NOT consubstantial with the divinity. It is hypostatically united with the divine Word; Christ is consubstantial with the Father in his divinity and with us in our humanity.

  5. Theological matters aside, the return of proper English to the Catholic Mass ought to be welcomed by all who cherish the beauty of the English language.

    I can honestly say I laughed out loud at this! This man obviously has no clue how beautiful the English language can be. (Unless he is actually referencing the 98 Missal here!)

    1. Not only is it unbeautiful English but even grammatically it is not proper English. In proper English we do not say “we acclaim: ‘Holy…'”, for example.

  6. Simon Dodd :

    Are you suggesting that the editio typica text be written in English? That’s very anglosphere-centric, no? We have about a billion Catholics on the planet, and only 16% live in North America.

    (This is the end of the quote from Simon Dodd – please excuse my computer illiteracy)

    I am suggesting that the foundational Mass text be written in the current default second language of the majority of people around the world rather than in the language of the Roman Empire. It’s my understanding that in many cases, the Mass is currently translated from Latin into English and then into a third language.

  7. This problem wouldn’t arise, or at least would be less acute, if the ordinary was prayed in latin, leaving only the propers, readings, homily, and perhaps the preface in the vernacular. If we start moving to that model on a wide scale, the translation argument will by-and-large evaporate.

    Just like attendance would evaporate – as the dewfall once the sun rises!

    What happened to aggiornamento? Ever think that Mass in the vernacular has become the norm because that’s what the People of God prefer? The liturgy is alive – it grows, it changes. Perhaps originally the Council intended to keep Latin in wide use, but that has been rejected in reality.

    1. What happened to aggiornamento? The Council approved sixteen documents. The word “aggiornamento” appears in none of the four constitutions’ Italian texts. It appears in none of the three declarations’ Italian texts. And it appears in only three of the nine decrees, two of which are barely worth mentioning: Once in the title of a document cited in footnote 54 of Presbyterium Ordinis, and once in in passing in Ad Gentes 20 (“Episcopal conferences should see to it that biblical, theological, spiritual and pastoral courses of refreshment [aggiornamento] are held at stated intervals with this intention, that amid all vicissitudes and changes the clergy may acquire a fuller knowledge of the theological sciences and of pastoral methods”). Only in Perfectae Caritas—a document that is expressly about the renewal of religious life—do we find a number of references to aggiornamento (nos. 2(e) and 4, 7, 8, 18, and 25), none of them in a broader context than the document’s frame of reference. So, what of aggiornamento?

      Why is it that the self-styled defenders of Vatican II spend so much time arguing for things that did not win the approval of the Council fathers, instead of reading the documents that did? I sometimes try to think like a pseudoconciliarist. If I was to find a diary by a member of the Constitution Convention revealing that many of the framers said that tea was better than coffee at elevenses, despite vigorous disagreement from a pro-coffee minority, I suppose that thinking like a pseudoconciliarist, I would be forced to hold that in light of the “spirit of the convention,” coffee is unconstitutional.

      1. Aggiornamento was the keyword of John XXIII. And as you admit it is used several times textually in the Council documents. Of course the idea of aggiornamento governs the major documents such as Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, Nostra Aetate, Dei Verbum, Sacrosanctum Concilium, and Dignitatis Humanae.

      2. Joe, it’s hard to assume good faith when you take a passage noting that the word appears in none of the council’s constitutions or declarations, and for all intents and purposes appears in only one of its nine decrees, and pull it inside out to “you admit it is used several times textually in the Council documents.” That’s intellectual dishonesty. I “admit” that the word is almost completely absent from the council documents. And, of course, I deny the notion that “the idea of aggiornamento governs the major documents….” The motivations of one group in a legislature or council, without ratification in the text itself, can’t be imputed into the text that all approved. That is true when the purported motive is fairly precise and ascertainable; it is even more so when the purported motive is something as vague, amorphous and malleable as “aggiornamento.”

        The hermeneutic that you’re reciting implicitly “asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council,” blithely claiming that the texts as compromises that were necessary to secure conciliar approval, but which can now be discarded to overcome those obsolete limitations—that that “the true spirit of the Council is not to be found in these compromises but instead in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts.” Benedict XVI, address to the Roman Curia, Dec. 22, 2005. It is, of course, an absolutely untenable and indefensible position.

  8. Perhaps originally the Council intended to keep Latin in wide use, but that has been rejected in reality.
    ———————————————–
    The Council intended a lot of things which never came about.
    Even one Father Joseph Ratzinger thought the possibility of ever returning to the all Latin Mass as the usual practice, irrespective of what the Council said about its preservation along with Gregorian chant , would not happen. The genii was out of the bottle never to return.

  9. Of course it would be possible, even desirable, to compose all the texts of the Mass and all the church’s liturgical prayers in English because it has become the most spoken and read language on the earth. Like those who first composed the texts in Latin–the vernacular of its day–the authors would need to take into account the most ancient texts from the languages of antiquity–Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic. They would use as their primary guide in composition the dictum Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi. To suggest that the church in English speaking countries lack the competence and faithfulness to compose such texts is an insult of the highest order. The Vatican would of course be involved through the participation of English speaking prelates and other lay and clerical members of the Roman Curia. Once two thirds of the members ofEnglish speaking episcopal conferences approve it would be adopted. To minister to theneeds of those who didn’t approve of the adopted text, an alternative text of their liking would be approved. We have many rites now, why not another?

    1. The Church should be thinking and preparing for years down the road. To when the lingua franca is more likely to be in addition to English, Mandarin Chinese and perhaps Hindi.

      The Church sinks or swims by following the dollar and the flag. Latin doesn’t cut it.

    2. “To suggest that the church in English speaking countries lack the competence and faithfulness to compose such texts is an insult of the highest order.”
      ———-
      I can’t speak for elsewhere, but overall, Catholics in America haven’t exactly been lights to the world when it comes to the Catholic faith. The stats on Mass attendance (under the old MIssal, BTW), divorce, contraception, abortion, etc…

      1. May be true, but utterly irrelevant.

        Composing texts has to do with knowledge of language. Everything you mention has to do with moral virtue.

        Two different things.

        awr

      2. True, the new translations breathe the very atmosphere of spiritual and moral mediocrity, and we should look for causes of rot that lie deeper than linguistic insensitivity and philistinism. If Anglophone Catholics cannot compose liturgical texts, it appears that they cannot translate them well either (at least the ones who took this responsibility on themselves). Le style c’est l’homme meme; the spiritual mediocrity of the composers of these translations is nakedly apparent.

      3. And the use of contraception is, to my mind, always an exercise of responsibility, thus morally virtuous.

    3. Jack says that “To suggest that the church in English speaking countries lack the competence and faithfulness to compose such texts is an insult of the highest order.” Really? Because if ICEL intended to “create a living, meaningful vernacular langauge inspired by the Latin, based on it, but not tied to it absolutely,” one might suppose that its complete failure to compose such texts was powerful evidence that “[t]o suggest that the church in English speaking countries lack the competence and faithfulness to compose such texts.” I have very little faith in any one generation to cut an authentic liturgical text from whole cloth, quite frankly, which is precisely why such texts should come from gradual and organic development, but I have especially little faith that an attempt to create liturgical texts in America today will bear fruit, even if the liturgists can be kept out.

      1. The Church should appoint an INDIVIDUAL, selected by competition, to submit a beautiful liturgical text. Otherweise you won’t find the Cranmer you need. The French liturgy is beautiful because of the responsibility given to the Poet de la Tour du Pin.

    4. Jack Feehily on December 6, 2011 – 11:00 am

      Father, I have no difficulty with you, or any priest, using the 1973 Sacramentary, using the 1998 revision of said text, or inventing an English-language liturgy mostly disconnected with the Roman Rite. In the third case especially, just call this liturgy something else other than the ‘Roman Rite’.

      Indeed, Phil Mathias criticizes one of the oldest gestures in Roman worship — the symbolic striking (touching) of the breast in the Confiteor — as anachronistic. What do we have left if even this most basal of gestures is abandoned? Are any vestiges of the Roman liturgy inviolable? Or rather, must the liturgy deconstruct itself whenever it has grown “state” according the subjective evaluation of clergy and the laity? How far must we travel from the characteristic markers of Roman worship before the Rite is dissolved?

      Father, our heritage is our beautiful Latin liturgy. The Latin language has touched every single part of the Roman Catholic way of life. The Church, in its wisdom, has an accumulated liturgical wisdom that engulfs the entirety of the Catholic existence. All ad-hoc or ad-lib liturgies, and any liturgy not based on the bare framework of the Latin heritage, are not grounded on the solid bedrock of our cultural and liturgical memory.

      1. Phil doesn’t criticize the gesture (a wise move since the gesture never went away—check the 1973 Sacramentary), he criticizes the text that accompanies it. On the merits, I agree with him. It’s clunky, and in the context of English it sounds melodramatic; it’s one of the few low points in the corrected translation. It is, nevertheless, a correct translation of the latin, as ICEL1973 was not. The issue I take with Phil on that point is simply that in criticizing it, his beef is with the novus ordo not the translation. I detest the language “spiritual drink” in the offertory, but that’s what the novus ordo says, and there’s no fault in the translation on that score. If I want to change it, and if Phil wants to change the confiteor, it’s the missal not the translation we must address.

      2. I took “evokes the notion of breast beating, an Oriental form of sorrow not generally practised in the English-speaking world.” to be critical of the practice and not just the wording. (Though it’s a silly criticism, how many hundreds of years must a practice continue… one that was in the old translation and the ’62 before that, before it is no longer “Oriental”. And the trend both in the Catholic Church and the Episcopal Church over the last 40 years has been in many ways towards Orientalizing the liturgy (more standing, epiclesis, prayers of the faithful, some texts), not towards making it more Western.

  10. Oh my goodness, Simon. “God is spirit” (John 4:24) is hardly heresy. In fact, it’s bedrock Catholic orthodoxy. This is one reason why “consubstantial” is such an unfortunate word choice. Even well-informed and well-educated Catholics seldom have the background in Aristotle’s metaphysics to understand Aquinas’ worldview of form and matter, substance and accident necessary to comprehend why Nicea settled on this term. “Matter” and “substance” may be synonymous in common-use English (e.g. powdery matter, powdery substance) but they are vastly different in this context. God as pure spirit does indeed have “substance” but not “matter.” How can we stand and pray that we believe in something that is so poorly understood, even by the best of us? The good old Catechism of the Catholic Church offers “essence” as a substitute for “substance.” If we were saying “one in essence” in today’s translation, I don’t think we’d be seeing this reaction.

    1. Precisely.

      “Substance” does not mean for us what “substantia” meant for the medievals. We’ve been through a scientific revolution. We know about atoms and molecules.

      “Substance” and “substantia” have many letters in common, but the former is nto an accurate translation of the latter – at least not for people living in this century.

      awr

      1. “Substance” does not mean for us what “substantia” meant for the medievals. We’ve been through a scientific revolution. We know about atoms and molecules.

        How precisely has the scientific revolution changed the philosophical/theological meaning of “substance”? We’re not all Humeans now or something.

        Merriam-Webster (which is largely descriptivist in approach) still has for substance:

        “Definition of SUBSTANCE
        “1a : essential nature : essence”

        The kind of definition impacted by the discovery of molecules is there too, but words have than one meaning!

    2. The Nicene Fathers didn’t exactly have the benefit of Thomas’ worldview either, living, as they did, nearly 1000 years earlier. 🙂

      It’s too bad that the English language is notoriously weak for the purposes of metaphysics (Greek and German are better suited, while Latin does have a useful technical vocabulary). My first Thomistic metaphysics course required a long period of learning to parse English words (like ‘being’, ‘essence’ ‘act’ and the like) in strange counter-intuitive ways.

      Indeed, many of the cognate English words based on Latin words, like ‘substance’ are often terribly misleading. Their use in English comes to us via the British Empiricists (Locke, Hume) who had a somewhat poor grasp of the content of the philosophy of the high middle ages.

      On another thread I praised the use of consubstantial in the creed. It is, however, not without its problems. As Wittengenstein pointed out, the meaning of words comes from their use in the language as a whole. Substance, in English, given its odd history of use in the empirical sciences rather than metaphysics, is used differently than in scholastic Latin. And so, it has a different meaning. Not that the English word ‘being’ or ‘essence’ is any better, in my opinion. Those words too have their own unique usages in English that are different from the Latin and Greek usages in metaphysics and theology.

      1. Nicea was not a metaphysically sophisticated Council. Homoousios was chosen for merely tactical purposes.

    3. Glenn, I think that we can trust the second person of the blessed trinity to know how the blessed trinity works, and to be questioning nothing of it when he says “Spiritus est Deus.” I do not, however, have the same level of confidence in a man who barely a breath away insisted that the corrected 2011 is a translation of the usus antiquior.

      Consubstantial is a great choice not least because it unifies the credal confession with the Liturgy of the Eucharist which follows it. I don’t care about Aristotelian metaphysics—a more sterile debate I can hardly imagine. I do care about transubstantiation and ensuring that the language of the liturgy supports the doctrine of the Church and the fidelity of the faithful to it.

      “How can we stand and pray that we believe in something that is so poorly understood, even by the best of us?” Get used to it! We do little else our entire lives, seeing as we do through a glass, darkly. The one thing that we can be entirely sure of is that the most prevalent emotion on entering the life to come is surprise.

      1. Consubstantial has NO connection with transubstantiation — and this has led someone here into the heresy of supposeing that Christ’s body is consubstantial with the divine nature.

  11. Aristotle’s metaphysics was based on a static universe firmly centered on the earth as a fixed point. All we had to do was sort everything into its proper category, and there it stayed. I know there are many people in the world today who would love to live in that kind of universe again, but the underpinnings of physics have changed, and change itself is a reality we need to take into account. Our theology has responded to our broadened horizons, offering us an even greater sense of wonder and awe in the presence of God, whom we cannot contain or pin down quite as easily as some would wish.

    1. I don’t know how versed you are with ancient philosophy, since many philosophy graduates only treat it as part of a survey at the undergraduate level.

      Not only did Arisitotle know about change, but he knew the philosophies of the pre-Socratic pilosophers. This Cambrian explosion of philosophy more or less produced every philosophical position imaginable. From Parmenidian monism on the one hand to Heraclitean perpetual flux on the other (we even have primitive notions of evolution by natural selection and atomic theory).

      On the question of change, one of Aristotle’s principle contributions is his theory of act and potency. Indeed, the whole issue of hylomorphism is related to the philosophical problem of change. Even the 10 categories of being (substance + 9 categories of accident) are part of his solution to the question of change.

      For what it’s worth, the modern worldview doesn’t actually undercut Aristotle’s metaphysics. If the metaphysical principles begin to understood in a pseudo-physical way (as say, Francis Bacon did, prompting him to jettison them in the Novum Organum) then they do begin to clash with our knowledge of the world. But, as strictly metaphysical principles, no evidence can, in principle, disprove them.

  12. Anthony Ruff, OSB :

    I’m assuming you’re serious when you say it’s beautiful. I think it’s ugly, almost laughably so. De gustibus and all that…
    One interesting dynamic I’ve noticed is that the only people claiming the new texts are beautiful are either A) people in officialdom who more or less have to say that, and B) right-wing Catholics. I have yet to see any exceptions. Is the “beauty” of the new text apparent only to bishops and ultraconservatives? How strange.
    The King James Bible has drawn high praise from all sides, including non-believers, for its literary quality. (See the interesting article in the current National Geographic.) I see no evidence the new Catholic missal will draw such praise.
    awr

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    I hesitated to make the same observation earlier about the right wing praising the new translation. Could it be that the elevated language allows us to feel holy, to leave our faith in the sanctuary, to make our faith totally vertical (me & God), while the plain language challenges us to live out our faith, to make our religion both vertical and horizontal? (me & God, me & my neighbor). I’ve also noticed that for the right, every word from the Vatican is to be accepted without question, except when the Vatican discusses economic justice!

    1. Brigid, that last point is a straw man. No one claims that every document from Rome carries equal weight; as pertinent here, faithful Catholics (whether you want to characterize us as conservative, orthodox, etc.) simply recognize the authority of documents regulating the liturgy vis-à-vis the liturgy. While a complete theory of the various levels of authority in Vatican documentation has yet to be written (cf. Ladislas Orsy, Magisterium: Assent and Dissent, 48 TS 473, 477, 479 (1988)), I think that everyone of good faith understands that a dicasterial document issued without Papal authority has a somewhat lower level of authority than one issued with it, for example, and that statements in documents should be read in the context of the category to which the document belongs (teaching as teaching, governing as governing, etc.) absent good reason to think otherwise. What I don’t think anyone believes, however, even on the left, is that a white paper by a pontifical council carries the same weight as an apostolic constitution.

      I would concede that the “left” has a much simpler job of evaluating Vatican documents, insofar as they seem to divide Vatican pronouncements into those which can be ignored and those which must have boiling concept poured on them.

      1. Speaking of documents of a lower level, take, for example, Liturgiam authenticam (March 2001), an “instruction” issued “in forma communi,” not at the higher level, “in forma specifica.” Pope John Paul Ii gave his approval to the Congregation for Divine Worship to issue the instruction. It is not then a papal document. Did the Holy Father read it? Boh!

      2. jrf – to add to that. JPII was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at least by 1998. Per MD experts in this disease, by 2001 or 2002, the disease would have progressed to the point where he would not have easily read materials, documents, etc. or retained much of what he read.

        One can deduce from this that JPII was not very aware of some of the decisions and pronouncements of his curia by 2002.

      3. John, that’s another good example. So there doesn’t seem to be a fully-realized theoretical framework for the various levels of authority enjoyed by a document, but there is in fact a taxonomy in search of a theory, because if there was no difference between dicasterial documents issued in forma communi and those issued in forma specifica, there would not be a practice of giving some documents that additional stamp. The practice of the distinction implies a a difference that has yet to be theoretically articulated. But that document is, nevertheless, a document issued by a dicastery acting in its area of competence, and with the approval of the Pope. Whatever one can say about LA, it cannot be ignored; it would be insane to suggest that a document has no weight if it could have been issued with still greater weight.

  13. Anthony Ruff, OSB :
    I’m hardly left-wing! I’m smiling at the suggestion. I just posted our abbey’s chant-dominated Immaculate Conception liturgy leaflet over at musicasacra.com, where folks are sharing their feast day music plans.awr

    And I’m one CMAA colleague happy that you do visit us with regularity, AWR. I had to smile at your admission of programming IMMACULATE MARY as you have to literally live with your worshipping community. I wondered if you ever decided to stick to chant only, you might find a fly in your oatmeal the next morning in the refectory! For moi, if I use Talbot’s “Magnificat” paraphrase for the school Mass, I just defend it as having been composed by a monk! Ain’t irony grand?

  14. Simon Dodd says: “Phil argues that the “new liturgy is a literal translation of the Latin Mass that was universally used before the Second Vatican Council…. We are to take commentary on the Mass from someone with so little conversance with recent liturgical history? ”
    First of all, Simon I don’t “argue” that point. It is a mistake. But arguably not a big one. The 2002 Mass contains most of the pre-Vatican II Mass. But that’s not the point.

    Simon: Can the ordinary guy in the pew have nothing to say about the ugly words in the liturgy or the apparently false theology about Christ’s sacrifice, without being familiar with the arcane details of the liturgy’s development?
    Simon: it is that attitude that lies at the heart of what is wrong with the Church today. Thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people are leaving the church in Europe and elsewhere because their opinion is worthless. They are just human material to be fed you-know-what in the dark like mushrooms. This won’t work any more.
    My commentary is about the clunky language and the theological howler it contains, not the history of the development of the liturgy.
    And Yes, it does contain a factual error. Please try to forgive me and look past it to the main thrust of the piece.

    1. It’s a huge mistake, Phil, because it demonstrates that you have no idea what you’re talking about. As it happens, I agree with you that the platonic novus ordo of the 1969 text is not as much of a radical departure from the usus antiquior as self-styled Traditionalists believe (SSPX and the like), but it is not true that the corrected translation “is a literal translation of the Latin Mass that was universally used before the Second Vatican Council….” It’s like complaining about how awful Chicago’s skyline will look when the Freedom Tower tops out. How can you expect your commentary on a translation to be taken seriously when you don’t know what it’s translated from?

      As to the ordinary guy in the pew, I hope the ordinary guy in the pew understands “pro multis” better than you do if you think it is “apparently false theology,” and if he does not, one hopes that the corrected translation will be an opportunity for catechesis. I urge you to avail yourself of some before you blunder into a column in a national newspaper.

      The main thrust of the piece is that you don’t like the corrected translation. Okay. As you’ve said, thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people have left the left the Church. Maybe millions. What was the health of the Church before the novus ordo, Phil? We tried it (what appears to be) your way for nearly four decades, and it was a total catastrophe. Get out of the way and let us try to fix the damage if it isn’t already too late.

      1. Do you yourself know what you mean when you speak of the Platonic novus ordo? And is it really so ignorant to say that “for many” could be an apparently false theology? In English, as opposed to Latin pro multis, or Greek hyper pollon, it has a restrictive sense — “for many, not for all” — which indeed is heretical (Unigenitus 1715).

      2. When you speak of the “Platonic novus ordo,” I mean the text and rubrics of the Mass, as distinct from the ars celebrandi. I simply do not believe that the novus ordo Mass is the problem; I have seen it celebrated well. If celebrated ad orientem in latin, with incense and bells and all the traditional accoutrements of the liturgy, with traditional forms of liturgical music (chant, polyphony, etc.), I think it can be just as reverent as the usus antiquior. The radical departures that divide the ritus modernus from the usus antiquior in common practice are not in the text, and that’s what I was calling attention to.

        As to pro multis, both latin and english do have a restrictive sense of for many not for all. That is correct. As the Catechism of Trent explained, the words “serve to declare the fruit and advantage of His Passion. For if we look to its value, we must confess that the Redeemer shed His blood for the salvation of all; but if we look to the fruit which mankind have received from it, we shall easily find that it pertains not unto all, but to many of the human race.” (My italics.) Christ offered salvation to all; some will refuse him. Thus, his blood is not poured out for all, but only for many. How many? Well, that’s up to us. That is precisely why evangelism matters, because if all are redeemed ex opere operato, none of this matters.

  15. I can’t compete with the liturgical and theological expertise of many participants in this blog, but from the point of view of a “person in the pew,” it’s absurd and shocking to claim that the new translation is beautiful language. The worst part is the new translations of the Eucharistic Prayers, particularly EP I, on which I have commented at other sites. I heard it at two different masses at two different parishes, to similarly bad effect. I am not in a position to say whether the previous translation of EP I captured all the nuance of the Latin, but it was a beautiful and effective prayer. It was full of noble simplicity. The new translation of EP I sounds like the first 90 seconds of

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtW7cu56MRs

    They are funny for the same reason. Funny is not the goal of Mass.

    Honestly, it now takes special effort to remember that Jesus is present in the liturgy. The new translation does not make me proud of the Church. It does not make me want to invite non-Catholics to mass. My wife was not Catholic when we met, but loved liturgy because of her time in the Episcopal Church. Catholic Mass at my parish was natural for her, and sharing a common faith is crucial to our marriage. She has been a tremendous blessing to Catholic parishes and schools in our area. I can’t believe she would have been willing to become Catholic had the current translation been in use twelve years ago. I can’t believe the new translation will be an aid to any New Evangelization.

    I do not know what my fellow parishioners think of the new translation. Honestly, I get the same feeling at mass now as seeing the aftereffects of letting a dog drop a turd on a priceless oriental rug. It’s impossible to ignore. I’m mad at whoever let the dog inside. I’m exasperated at the people who think the rug looks and smells better now. And mostly I think about how priceless is the thing that was damaged.

  16. I was intrigued by the title “New translation makes Catholic prayers sing”. Another forum has been noticing how the Prefaces, rich in language though they may be (and that is not the same as comprehensible to the listener, by the way), become rather less comprehensible when they are chanted.

    I view this as an experiential justification of a particular flag that I have been flying for many years: that chanting texts risks distancing them from the people. And this despite the fact that the Prefaces and their chants are among the better features of the new Missal.

    While it is certainly possible for well-designed chants to heighten the meaning of the texts that they clothe, I think the problem we have now has been compounded by the Liturgicam Authenticam approach that has molded the chants in the new Missal. Put simply, the fact that the English chants have tried to stick as closely as possible to the Latin neumes, instead of adapting them to the genius of the English language, is making acceptance of the chants far more difficult than would otherwise have been the case.

    A simple example would be the final phrase of the doxology to the Eucharistic Prayer. As set in the Missal, we are given “for e – ver__ and e – ver” to B AG GA B AB A. The simpler, more natural way of doing this would be “for e-ver and e – ver” to A G-A B AB A. Nearly every presider I have worked with or experienced over the past 6 months simply cannot cope with the two notes on both the “e” and “ver” of the first “ever”; and the reason for that is setting it in this way does not lie naturally with the text.

    This example could be multiplied a myriad of times in the totality of the chants. They really need to be redone as a matter of urgency.

    1. Paul I, have you shared this notion at length with Dr. Paul (Ford)? I’m fairly sure he was advancing the polar opposite opinion throughout his lectures and demonstrations with the priests (and deacons) at their convocations throughout this last year. Or did that only pertain to presider cantillations of PSALLITE repertoire?

  17. Paul, I entirely agree. The revised chants for the Prefaces and Eucharistic Prayers are much more awkward than the old ones. We really need a fresh look at how chant might enhance the natural rhythms and accentuation of the English language, not smother them.

  18. Thanks, Paul and agree. One of my earlier comments from the second week-end was that the “new” chants for the Holy, Holy; acclamations, etc. were poorly sung; less than 50% joined in; and paled in comparison to the beautifully composed and sung “old” ones.

    Seems a poor way to try to refocus on “chant” by diluting or destroying what some parishes did very well before.

  19. The stink from the new translations continues to rise. It is nauseous and noisome. The stink will not go away, for it comes not from subjective perceptions or ideological investments but from the sheer badness of the English of the new texts.

    1. Hey Joe, “where you goin’ wid dat gun in yo’ hand?”
      Sorry, Hendrix/Leaves Sixties Flashback. You dream of Bugnini, I dream of, well, the genius of Jimi.
      Speaking of flashbacks, in #5 you defended “humbug” as if I had demeaned the precision of your rhetorical choice. Dude, I applauded your choice. Where’s the love? Or did you assume I was jes “Scroogin’ around?
      Regarding this “stink” you posit that “comes not” from whatnot but, yea, from “sheer badness”; is that a good or a bad thing? Here in the states something being “bad” is often connotated as a supreme compliment. Paradoxically, being designated a “Bad *ss” here in the colonies (and I suspect as well in Australia) is a welcomed moniker.
      “Sick” is also well on its way towards rhetorical transmutation in regular ‘merican usage. So, perhaps one might even have to reconsider declaring “It stinketh like Gehenna” as the syntax, or is that “sin tax?”, isn’t discernable off the page or aurally without context. But “sheer badness” still has cachet; I’m gonna file it for future ponderment. Right now, “sheer badness” elicits a sort of Lady GaGa enfatuation one of my trad colleagues in RotR evokes.
      It’s all good. Or bad, if bad is, in fact, good.
      Maybe Msgr. Maroney will consider my “bottoms up” perspective next go round:
      Holy, holy, holy Caller of shots for some f’sure crews of da Bad.
      All thems in all hoods’ cribs know y’all the baddest…
      Y’all beyond sick, word.
      Easy time for homes that gets your kites to the hood.
      Y’all beyond sick, word up.

      1. Glad you agree that “humbug” fits the bill. Not sure what to make of your linguistic experiment — I think creative inculturation must chime with the whole community, not just a fringe element.

  20. Joe O’Leary :
    The Church should appoint an INDIVIDUAL, selected by competition, to submit a beautiful liturgical text. Otherweise you won’t find the Cranmer you need. The French liturgy is beautiful because of the responsibility given to the Poet de la Tour du Pin.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    Did you say Cranmer? Perhaps then, we have ground for agreement. Until recently I have been exposed only to the order of mass – not the prayers and collects. As one who had a Cranmerian rearing, I couldn’t wait for a replacement of the (no-adjective) equivalency of 1973. I must admit, though, that some of the examples trotted out here are a little bit problematic: surely the entire body of collects is not this slap-dash?! Still, I should rather have this than the mealy-mouthed ghosts which are characteristic of the ‘equivalency’ that was actually not a translation but a substitute.

    Yes, they could have taken Cranmer and modernised the pronouns and have had an admirable result. They could even simply have used one of those old translations that appeared in the bilingual missals of old, modernising the pronouns. No, they wanted something that could not be mistaken as Anglican in inspiration, and, ironically, ended up with a parody somewhat inept.

    Further, one can after all honestly assert that there is nothing wrong sui generis with a 50 word sentence, nor a tsunami of commas – providing it and they are masterfully crafted and used. The problem is not one of style, syntax, vocabulary, etc., but of inspiration and mastery.
    Cranmer shewed the way.

  21. Most agree that the 1973 collects were not great, and that the 1998 ones were far superior (but the Vatican dumped them).

    1. As I said all along, the real disagreements here are not ideological but are based on whether or not people are fully exposed to the new translation. When they are they generally agree that it is not a success, irrespective of whether they consider themselves liberals or conservatives.

      1. JO’L –
        Again, from what I have seen of it, the 1998 is nothing to crow about: it seems to me to be only a somewhat doctored-up 1973, and in some respects is even worse with its poorly considered and somewhat silly constructions designed quite transparently to please the feminist quarter.

        As for the liberal-conservative divide on the new translation: I am obviously very conservative liturgically, but in some regards would likely be considered an heretic by some of the conservative Catholics I know of and read about. — I think the conservative-liberal divide which you and Fr Ruff speak of herein is not a wholly accurate one. While recognising the ever-more-obvious flaws in the new translation I will adamantly prefer it over that non-dynamic substitute which is now history. In spite of some mis-placed commas and questionable choice of words, it still is superior in (intended) sacral ethos to what it replaced.

        (I am glad that you like Cranmer: say a prayer for the Anglican Ordinariate, which will become official in the US on 1 January MMXII. Perhaps you will even sing a Te Deum with us.)

    1. JO’L –
      I think slap-dash (even amateurish) is the right description. It isn’t necessarily that they were the product of incorrect ideas, but of insufficient intellect or learning and artistry to realise those ideas. The ideas themselves were noble.

      1. But they spent 10 years on it. I think the ideas are shown up by their failure, somewhat like Soviets’ economic inefficiency showed up a fallacy in their thinking, which looked so good on paper.

      2. I think 1998 retranslated the preces from scratch, rather than doctoring up the poor 1973 ones. For the Eucharistic Prayer, however, 1998 contented itself with doctoring up the 1973 text, not always for the better. Changing “we have this bread to offer” to “we have this bread to present to you”, or “may we grow in love” to “make us perfect in love”, or “from east to west” to “from the rising of the sun to its setting”, or “a perfect offering” to “a pure offering”, or “ready to greet him when he comes again” to “eagerly awaiting the day of his return” is not a real improvement.

  22. But generally speaking 1998 is unobjectionable, very unlike the objectionable new trans.

    “poorly considered and somewhat silly constructions designed quite transparently to please the feminist quarter.”

    In the Orate Fratres and response, perhaps — but in others the inclusive language is not only in line with current ethics but also quite graceful: “you formed man and woman in your own likeness” “Again and again you offered the human race a covenant” (I always replace the 1973 “man” with “your people”, stressing the Jewish story); “he lived as one of us in all things but sin”.

    “While recognising the ever-more-obvious flaws in the new translation I will adamantly prefer it over that non-dynamic substitute which is now history.” But if it was any good you would not have to prefer it adamantly, you would prefer it naturally. I think the whole business of translation has become an albatross; time to compose original prayers in our own tongues, as the early Christians did.

    1. JO’L –
      Well, that was apparently quite common in the early church(es). It did and would again inelluctably lead to dubious and tenuous faith and theology being espoused, and the creating of unorthodox expressions. That is why standardisation evolved quite early on and why it remains essential. It is also why composed hymnody was suppressed in the western mass, where it was replaced by the psalm antiphons proper to each mass, while hymnody was limited to the Divine Office where it was sung in its entirety as a meditation in its own right. This is why the Propers, not hymnody, are the appropriate choral music for mass, and the ordinary and responses are the appropriate music for the congregation. This is the Roman rite in its purity, and, experiencing it can be eye-opening at first for those who thus partake of the pure Roman Rite in all its simple grandeur. This is clearly GIRM’s first choice, but as second choice it allows the introduction of appropriate other music, which can only be seen as ancillary, decorative add-ons which are definitely extrinsic to the Roman Rite.= Propers are part and parcel of the mass. Hymns and anthems (even if they are good ones [which, too often in our churches, they are not]) are in the last analysis add-ons, decorations, extrinsic extras as opposed to the propers, ordinary and responses, which are inherent and inviolable parts of the Roman Rite.

    2. “…time to compose original prayers in our own tongues, as the early Christians did.”

      Joe, that would not be the Roman Rite.

      1. Yes, but what is this idolatry of the “Roman Rite”. Is liturgy only a museum? Does God not give his people tongues to praise him in their own idioms? If Vatican II was supposed to be a new pentecost, why did we not allow it to affect our liturgy, making it more joyful, imaginative, inculturated?

      2. And your point is, Fr. S ? I’m not saying that the old liturgy should be cast aside, but neither should it be carved in stone.

  23. “Well, that was apparently quite common in the early church(es). It did and would again inelluctably lead to dubious and tenuous faith and theology being espoused, and the creating of unorthodox expressions.”

    FIrst, that was not “quite common” but universal in the early church, which had to use great creativity to build up a specifically Christian worship (using hints from the ministry of Jesus, notably the Last Supper, and Jewish forms). “Standardisation evolved quite early on and… remains essential. It is also why composed hymnody was suppressed in the western mass,” — standardization is useful, but it need not be total; your own example of the use of hymns shows that there is plenty of room for flexibility. Nigerian masses I am told are vibrant occasions that would stun and shock the frozen ” say the black, do the red” liturgical purists who have killed worship in the West.

    1. “Standardisation evolved quite early on and… remains essential.” — Not quite sure what is being considered “early on” here, but as of 601 Gregory the Great was advising Augustine of Canterbury to choose from various liturgical practices and form his own practices for the English church. It shows an adaptability to local needs and a trust of the local bishop that seems anathema in our more standardised era. And this from a pope who is arguably the greatest liturgist in the history of the church.

      From the Libellus responsionum —

      “Augustine’s Second Question. ­ Whereas the faith is one and the same, why are there different customs in different churches? and why is one custom of masses observed in the holy Roman church, and another in the Gailican church?

      Pope Gregory answers. ­ You know, my brother, the custom of the Roman church in which you remember you were bred up. But it pleases me, that if you have found anything, either in the Roman, or the Gallican, or any other church, which may be more acceptable to Almighty God, you carefully make choice of the same, and sedulously teach the church of the English, which as yet is new ln the faith, whatsoever you can gather from the several churches. For things are not to be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things. Choose, therefore, from every church those things that are pious, religious, and upright, and when you have, as it were, made them up into one body, let the minds of the English be accustomed thereto.”

      1. Thanks, Fr. Lou – reminded of this from Vatican II:

        John XXIII speaking to the bishops in Italian about the vernacular – “Only one art but a thousand forms”

        Later, Maximos IV, Patriarch of Antioch, spoke in French:
        “…..I am Catholic but not Roman Catholic; latin is not the language of my liturgical tradition. He suggested that the document state that latin is the original language of the Roman Rite.”

        He went on….”The most absolute value assigned to latin in the liturgy, in teaching, in administration stikes us from the East as strange. Christ after all spoke the language of his contemporaries. In the East there has never been a problem…liturgical language is all languages. The latin language is dead. But the church is living and its language needs to be living for it is intended for us human beings; not for angels.”

        That same day John XXIII wrote in his diary that latin divided the Council between those who have never left Rome or Italy and those who have lived and experienced a more international vision of the Church.

      2. Liberals love to quote Patriarch Maximos’ speech, Bill, because it sounds very much like what they want the Council to have said. But Maximos’ comments are irrelevant–they are the opinion of a single bishop, and judging from the final documents, it is an opinion that he failed to convince the council of, insofar as his opinion is to be found nowhere in SC. The council is what the whole council approved–the opinions expressed in an intervention by Maximos has no more authority than the opinions expressed in the intervention by Alfredo Card. Ottaviani.

        As to the claim about John XXIII, that seems highly implausible unless it’s being distorted by the act of wrenching it from its context. Citation, please.

      3. Fr LM –
        Your example of the great Gregory and Augustine (and, you could have chosen others as well) is a potent one. However, we should note that Gregory is not giving this advice and direction to just anyone: he gives it specifically to Augustine, in whose orthodoxy he places great trust. (Nor is he telling Augustine to improvise eucharistic prayers!) This is a far cry from allowing every priest in most situations to improvise collects and eucharistic prayers under the illusion that they are acting in concord with the ‘early church’. No doubt, many would be moved to inspired expressions of the magisterial faith. But, should we be so naive as not to think that many would use this license to deny, or hedge on, or omit aspects of the faith which were not fashionable, or relevant, or which were, simply, unpleasing to them? I think not. Just because some sneer at the niceties of theology which may or may not be cleared up by ‘consubstantial’ does not mean that heresies are relics of history: there are many who more learned than I who could address the guise in which they circulate in our own time – in the most surprising places and from the most surprising persons.

      4. Interesting — the early Church was much more varied and reflective of local cultures than the increasingly Rome-dominated Church of later times.

      5. John XXIII quote – taken from Keith Pecklers, “The Genius of the Roman Rite”; page 48.

        Given the resultant direction and fairly quick decision of conferences of bishops asking for permisison to use vernacular widely – your opinion makes no sense. It appears that the comments of the Patriarch were taken seriously – per Pecklers in his book, his comments received overwhelming approval from the floor of St. Peter’s. (He made his comments right after Spellman tried to speak creating confusion – Spellman suggested that vernacular be allowed for all clerics praying the Divine Office but that the liturgy must be kept in latin. One Italian archbishop exclaimed – “now they want the priest to pray in english but the people to pray in latin!”)

        Maximo’s words were supported by the French Liturgical Committee’s memorandum to VII in 1964.

        Compare that to the 1969 appeal by Ottaviani and Bacci (both retired cardinals by then) to Paul VI and supported by 12 key personnel of Lefebrve – their memorandum outlined points opposing not only vernacular but much of the liturgical reform. Most of these points are now enshrined in the SSPX.

        So much for your opinion and cries of implausability.

      6. I don’t have a copy easily to hand, so I will have to pick up that conversation in ten to fourteen days for delivery. 😉 I think it’s very unlikely, though, that John XXIII had in mind the point for which you’re citing him, given Veterum Sapienta. For now, though, it suffices to say that even if Veterum Sapienta did not reflect the private opinion of Angelo Roncali, it was the teaching of Peope John XXIII, and even if it had no authority, it speaks with persuasive force. I shall stand by it.

        As to Maximos, it’s really tough to figure out how the view you’re advancing connects to reality. If the response was overwhelmingly positive, why is almost nothing of what Maximos said in the text that the council approved? In the last analysis, it doesn’t matter what Maximos said (or what Ottaviani said) or how the council received the speech; it matters what “it pleased the Holy Spirit and us [council fathers]” to put into the approved text. And for that reason, as I said above, Maximos’ comments “are the opinion of a single bishop, and judging from the final documents, it is an opinion that he failed to convince the council of, insofar as his opinion is to be found nowhere in SC.” There is no council except what it pleased the council fathers and the Spirit to accept in the texts.

  24. While I find little that is exceptional about the new translation, pardon me for wanting something that more accurately conveys the sombre tone and spirit of the Latin rite- something the previous translation completely failed to do. Forgive us if we desire our reformed rite to be consonant with the generations of our family, not only in lip service, but also in demeanour. It strikes me that a great portion of critics of the new translation are uncomfortable with the actual text of the Roman rite itself, and therefore Catholicism as its been understood and practiced for centuries. I don’t understand this notion of ‘spiritual tradition’ absent its concrete historical heritage, and I want no part in the further degeneration of the Roman rite. This is very much a question of continuity in spirit.

    1. That’s exactly right. It’s absolutely clear that the real object of the critics’ ire—or rather, that of most critics—is the text of the ritus modernus. The corrected translation is nothing more or less than an accurate translation of it, and that’s the problem: They don’t like the underlying text, so they want a “translation” that “fixes” what they see as its “deficiencies.” Thus, for example, when Phil complains about “my fault, my fault, my most grievous fault,” he isn’t complaining about the translation of “mea maxima culpa”—he isn’t arguing for us to say “my greatest fault”—he’s complaining about the confiteor itself, in its confession “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.”

      1. No, that’s not right at all, and you should know it if you’ve been paying attention at all to what the critics have been saying. Sometimes, it is true, but not that often, the objection is to the Latin text. Other times, the objection is to a translation document which no longer allows changes to be made to the Latin text when there is good reason. But in most cases by far, the objection is to the way the Latin text is translated. I would think you’d know this – many of the critics support the 1998 collects because they are higher quality English, with no mention of objection to the fact that the translation conveys the Latin accurately.

        You way of arguing is getting tiresome. You’d make a better contribution if you were more reasonable.

        awr

      2. Sometimes, it is true, but not that often, the objection is to the Latin text.

        OK, not “that often”, but frequently?

        Andrew Cameron-Mowat SJ objected on this basis.
        Erik Baker objected on that basis.
        Phil Mathias is objecting partly on that basis.
        Joe O’Leary December 4, 2011 – 9:00 pm has objected partly on that basis.
        Many (!) people who object to “for many” are making a theological objection.

        At some point, this becomes a frequent cause of objection.

      3. More useless nitpicking from Samuel – and inaccurate, as is often the case.

        You found many people who have this as part of their overall critique. That doesn’t mean it is the predominant critique for any of them.

        awr

      4. Yet, Father, the fact that such is even a part of their critique is indicative of a problem, surely?

        There is quite a lot of criticism on this site that basically boils down to “I don’t like the (theology of the) underlying Latin text”. And regardless of whether or not it happens to be the “predominant critique”, I don’t see it as a healthy thing for people who worship according to the Roman Rite to be saying.

      5. Mr Hazell, you have a problem with people not liking something. The great thing about the like/dislike spectrum is that we’re free to position ourselves at whatever point we choose on it. There are no moral repercussions to liking or disliking something. It’s built in to the development of doctrine. As soon as enough influential people dislike something it will be replaced by something they like better.

        The implication of your position is frighteningly indicative of a control pathology:
        Here is the new translation. You WILL like it. I insist.

      6. You seem to be assuming that a literal translation invariably captures ‘the theology of the text’. That’s a big assumption, and I think an incorrect one. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa once conveyed heartfelt repentance. A literal rendering of this, as we now have in the new, botched translation conveys – to me at least – insincere, manipulative grovelling: Uriah Heep snivelling before a powerful person whom he seeks to deceive.

        The triple mea culpa sounds fine in Latin – I sing it every Sunday at Mass and understand it without mental translation – but ridiculous in the new, incorrect English, in a way that the 1973 did not.

        The issue is neither with the Latin text nor with the aesthetics of the new, botched translation but with a literal rendering that conveys a different sense than someone for whom Latin was a living language would have taken from the text.

      7. Mary:

        There are no moral repercussions to liking or disliking something.

        I’m not convinced that’s true. If I like murder, or adultery, surely that does have moral repercussions?

        It’s built in to the development of doctrine. As soon as enough influential people dislike something it will be replaced by something they like better.

        That’s not development, though, that’s replacement. You seem to be implying that authentic development of doctrine involves a change in or replacement of the doctrine itself, which is just not true.

        In any case, my point is that I don’t see it as healthy for people who worship according to the Roman Rite to have a dislike for either a) the Latin text that underpins the English translation(s) or b) the theology of those same Latin texts. There have been prominent criticisms of, for example, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa and pro multis that say more about their respective authors’ disdain for the theology of the Latin text than the new translation. The Tablet, for example, had a very weird article disparaging the Confiteor (sadly not on their website any more, but nothing ever really dies on the Internet!).

        It’s one thing to say, for example, one doesn’t like the repetition of the Confiteor in English on stylistic grounds. That’s fine, and I hope we’re all capable of politely stating our differences (my opinion is that if the repetition exists in the Latin, it should also exist in the English). But to move from that to the new-translation-is-pre-Vatican-II-guilt-trip and we-don’t-believe-that-about-sin-any-more opinions we’ve seen from some quarters… well, I think that’s where it becomes spiritually corrosive for people.

        Jonathan:

        Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa once conveyed heartfelt repentance.

        Why would it not still do so today? And if it doesn’t, is that ultimately a problem with the words or the person saying them?

      8. Matthew, you think it’s a problem if anyone critiques the Latin liturgical text? I don’t mean to over-react, but that sounds almost like idolizing the Latin text. It’s a revision done by a committee after Vatican II, and I respect and accept all of it. But I surely don’t think it’s beyond critique.

        We have to get beyond this magisteriuim-fundamentalism that seems to be on the rise in the blogosphere and in our Church. For 2,000 years now, doctrine and liturgy have been evolving and changing – spurred on by critiques from theologians who love the Church. I don’t mean to overstate it, but it almost sounds at times like you want to call a halt to that process, stop all critique for the first time in history, and freeze in stone the current documents and texts of the magisterium. I’m sorry if I’m misreading you, but that is the impression you sometimes give.

        awr

      9. Is the liturgy somber and meant to be? Is all our talk of celebration and making a joyful noise unto the Lord just a sort of fairy-tale for kids, while the essence of our liturgy is groveling and fear?

      10. Mr Hazell, a basic course in human development would be a good Christmas present to yourself. It’s axiomatic that emotions, including like/dislike are premoral entities. There is no moral ramification to them. They just are. Their purpose is to tell you about yourself, if you care to be aware of them. My goodness what a burden you are laying on your psyche.
        Only a control freak would seek to stipulate how a human being (themselves included) OUGHT to feel about a particular thing.

  25. After actually hearing the new translation last week I was surprised how really “not shocking” the changes were. The parish seemed to go along with it fine, Mass was full, and after an initial stumble with And With Your Spirit everyone got back on cue. When hearing chalice, consubstantial, incarnate and the triple repetition in the Confetior I thought it sounded much better than the previous attempt and also had a religious, in this case Catholic, ring to it. It was comforting. I think the new translation is a decent attempt at re establishing a sense of a part of out Catholic Identity. What I don’t understand is most of the folk claiming that the Mass is impossible to understand use more difficult words and phraseology in their own postings. Overall it is a better translation and for as much negative postings as there are out there, there are just as many positive ones.

    1. “our Catholic Identity” construed as a throwback to idealized image of the 1950s is another idol.

      “there are just as many positive ones” — not really; as I have often pointed out most of the “positives” are really “negatives” directed against the 1973 translation and against the alleged foibles of its alleged defenders or celebrants (Fr Trendy or Fr Folkmass or Sr Issues etc).

  26. We Catholics are prone at times to put more emphasis on our ‘earthen vessels’ rather than the treasure they contain.
    I submit that language/words are ‘earthen vessels’; some may be more elegant, sophisticated (and sometimes even antiquated) than others, but their purpose is to express something. A friend defined ‘words’ as that which gives something intelligibility. But if those word’s don’t convey or express the reality they signify, what good is it? The choice of vocabulary is important but the purpose of that vocablary is to convey an understanding of something greater than just syllables.

  27. Jordan, I’m still puzzling over ” the sombre tone and spirit of the Latin rite.” Are we talking here about an emotive content? The Latin was filled with words properly rendered in all translations, old and new, as “joy”, “hope”, “praise”,”glorify” and “alleluia”. If the good news of salvation is sombre news, that’s news indeed to me. But your choice of words does seem to suggest a dimension that could use some exploration. What do others think? Is the sacred always and everywhere sombre? Is ‘alleluia’ a heartfelt cry of joy or an intellectual acknowledgement of God’s grace- or can it be both?

    1. Perhaps he meant “sober,” which is typically described as a characteristic of the Roman Rite (though a characteristic latter somewhat attenuated), contrasted with the cermonies and language of e.g. the Byzantine Rite, which are more extravagent (even today, though attenuated towards the Roman Rite where they have been latinized).

      If he meant “sombre” then I couldn’t agree.

      1. Yes, he probably meant “sober”. But we are not bound to stick forever to a tight-lipped laconic style. The Bible is not sober, in that sense, and a more biblical liturgy would be a more joyful one. Also, is the Roman liturgy really that sober — teh pleonasms in which it abounds (including in pagan Rome) are exuberant expressions, and of course musical settings of teh Mass have been florid, emotive, dramatic, hauntingly romantic, etc. etc.

  28. That same day John XXIII wrote in his diary that latin divided the Council between those who have never left Rome or Italy and those who have lived and experienced a more international vision of the Church.

    What kind of Church would we have if instead of every diocese sending seminarians to Rome, they traded among themselves – Americans going to Nigeria, South Africans to Brazil, etc?

  29. I know this question is going to bore those of you with a great deal of erudition with respect to the liturgy but when the Pope took the MR 2008 and had those 10,000 new translations added, didn’t he break some kind of rule established by Vatican II? If so, what is the rule and where can I find it? Tnx.

  30. Marci – don’t think that B16 took the MR2008 and made those changes. He was presented with the 2010 approved by conferences. Subsequent to that, Vox Clara made changes – who knows if B16 is aware of that or not?

    The Second Vatican Council stated in Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36 – article 22, section 2:

    1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.
    2. But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants, according to the regulations on this matter to be laid down separately in subsequent chapters.
    3. These norms being observed, it is for the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, to decide whether, and to what extent, the vernacular language is to be used; their decrees are to be approved, that is, confirmed, by the Apostolic See. And, whenever it seems to be called for, this authority is to consult with bishops of neighboring regions which have the same language.

    1. Thanks Bill, but why then did Robert Mickens write in “The Tablet” on July 2, 2011:

      “But the real shock came in November 2010 when a scathing report, written anonymously, produced extensive evidence that last-minute changes had been made to the English Missal without the knowledge or approval of the competent conferences and in violation of the Vatican’s own translation rules. This was six months after Pope Benedict XVI had received the CDW-approved final version of the Missal.

      “So it was a bitter irony that the officials of the revamped ICEL should also be set up poison similar to the one they had dished out their predecessors. They believed their Missal, which had been given the Vatican’s recognition was a done deal, only to discover that Vox Clara and/or the CDW had revised. Some estimate that 10,000 changes were made.”

  31. What Mickens describes is a shocking example of contempt for church order by a little clique who are too big for their own boots. It clashes not only with the primacy of episcopal oversight (as the entire process does, in direct contradiction of Vatican II) but even with the necessity of Roman approval, in that AFTER the official papal recognition the Congregation with Vox Clara did their thing (perhaps presuming that the Pope had handed over his powers to them for this purpose?).

  32. Marci Blue :
    I know this question is going to bore those of you with a great deal of erudition with respect to the liturgy but when the Pope took the MR 2008 and had those 10,000 new translations added, didn’t he break some kind of rule established by Vatican II? If so, what is the rule and where can I find it? Tnx.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.
    Marci, Do you believe the Pope to be Supreme legislator of the Church or that he has final say? Sometimes this will go with the majority and sometimes it will not, as was the case with Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae. So either one would have to believe the Pope is innocent and not aware of each one of the 10,000 supposed final changes or that he has done something to harm the liturgy and Church. To which do you subscribe? To understand the documents of Vat II may I suggest reading them and forming an initial opinion on what they say and what they mean to you. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy would be a good place to start. They are all available from numerous sources on the web. And when reading through them also consider reading the documents from Vatican I, the previous Council on the role of the Pope. Vat II does not supercede Vat I. They must be read in continuity and harmony with one another. And the Council of Trent will also tell you quite a bit about the growth of the Church. It provides great clarity in regards to where we are today.

  33. Animated discussions continue on blogs and in print over MR3. Just limiting the focus to PTB, there have been dozens of postings and literally many hundreds of comments exchanged (often with considerable venom) on the virtues and liabilities of the new English texts. After all of these exchanges I suspect few, if any, of us have changed our minds or positions. So, I’m wondering aloud, is the Body of Christ really this polarized? Where does this leave us as a Church? Anybody have a word of wisdom or hope this Advent?

    1. Yes, the Body of Christ really is this polarized, sad to say. I couldn’t disagree more with Bill, for example, but while I doubt the sanity of his positions, I don’t doubt his sincere good intentions for a moment, and I hope he feels the same way. So where does it leave us? It leaves us where we’ve been for a long time: a militant progressive wing that desires constant change, and an orthodox wing that desires fidelity. The turbulence will continue so long as the former keeps trying to change the Church.

      1. You way of framing the issue is tendentious and inflammatory. Those who think like you are ‘orthodox’ and desire ‘fidelity,’ but the others are militant for change. Surely you realize that the church has been changing for 2,000 years now, including in its teachings, including correction of false teachings on any number of issues.

        Everyone desires fidelity, so I don’t think you can award that only to your side. Some people believe that fidelity to Jesus requires the church to change.

        awr

  34. Mr Dodd, Could I suggest that you inform yourself of the distinction between faith and belief. While the former doesn’t change the latter does and has to because it is a human, temporal, fallible, expression of how the People of God understands what it teaches. Understanding progresses. Doctrine develops. No formulation of a doctrinal nature, no matter how sacred, even the Creeds, exhausts the reality of that which they attempt to explicate. That’s not a sign of weakness. It’s part of what it is to be alive. Otherwise like Sisyphus your synthesis will appear to have just made it to the top of the hill when down it’ll come again. We have the Spirit and the Lord with us until the end of time.

  35. Anthony Ruff, OSB :
    We have to get beyond this magisteriuim-fundamentalism that seems to be on the rise in the blogosphere and in our Church.
    awr

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    OK – can someone give me a quick definition of “magisteriuim-fundamentalism”? I know that magisterium has to do with teaching function, but I don’t quite get what the phrase “magisteriuim-fundamentalism” means. Keep in mind that I’m just getting up to speed on a lot of this have only recently discovered that I am a progressive Catholic – or was it militant catholic?

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