Formally equivalent Christmas cookies

From dot.Commonweal: Formally equivalent Christmas cookies.


  1. Deign to imagine, with a serene and kindly (yea, even a merry) countenance, how these comestibles will augment the immensity of your majesty, or the majesty of your immensity . . . as the case (declension) may be!


  2. Pay close attention to the cookies once in the oven, or you will burn them through your fault, your fault, your most grievous fault.

    A blessed Advent and happy Christmas to many.

  3. The opening prayer of today’s Eucharist was quite a downer. Some of these cookies will be just the thing to get me out of the dumps!

  4. I think they missed the mark here, actually. Wouldn’t a formally equivalent Christmas cookie actually be, in the case of a star, a large mass of hydrogen and helium that would burn my mouth?

  5. A friend writes:

    “These cookies are worthy to enter under (the) roof (of my mouth).”

    And I hope one of our “cross-posters” has the courtesy to share this recipe with that other blog that has long championed both formal equivalence and wonderful recipes!

  6. Comments from an anonymous member of Vox Clara:

    “All-purpose flour” must be changed to “many purpose flour.”

    Sugar is clearly a dynamic, not a formally equivalent translation. The word in the original Latin is dulcedo, which was rendered “sweetness” in the 2008 ICEL translation, but this is considered too “low church” a term. Vox Clara has determined that “charm” (a more “high church” term) is the best translation. [Please note, however, that Lucky Charms are not approved for use in this recipe.]

  7. Also note that these cookies can only be baked in a wood burning oven since that was what was used for generations, and using an electric or gas oven would invalidate the cookies’ worthiness.

    1. JD (#21) overlooks the fact that MJO offered his comment in such elevated language that the comment has ascended clear up out of the comment space.

  8. Christmas Cookies – The 1973 Version.

    Mix some ingredients.
    Chill them for a while and then cut them out.
    Cook and decorate them.

  9. From the dot.Commonweal “recipe”: “when in the fullness of time, you are ready to bake these spotless cookies, these delicious cookies, these Christmas cookies” […]

    Spoofing the unde et memores isn’t funny to me, given that the anamnesis is one of the holiest and most important parts of the Mass. In fact, I find it rather tasteless. The consonance of the Latin text is purposeful, even if a literal translation sounds contrived.

    Then again, I realize that humor such as this is part of the coping and healing process for those who are dissatisfied with the new translation. I should lighten up and remember the role that humor and satire plays in dissent.

      1. I’m convinced that we must have reconciliation in disagreement to keep the fracture in the Church from splintering even further. It’s enough to recognize the existence of liturgical diversity and the right of every Catholic to worship according to his or her own conscience. That is enough healing that can be expected. That is enough to keep the Body of Christ together.

        It is difficult for me to separate the satire of the Commonweal piece from the importance of what is being criticized. I need to remind myself that the translation is being criticized, and not the typical Latin of the Roman Canon.

    1. /humour off
      Jordan – you are right, but so very unfortunately, the ostentatious and faux character of the new so-called “sacred English” itself lampoons the Mass and mocks the Mass. The text’s pretensions to being vernacular when it apes Latin, to being sacred when it sounds turgid, open the Mass to ridicule.

      No wonder Sebastian Moore calls the use of “chalice” in the institution narrative an “unconscious vulgarity”.

      Perhaps your anger could quite as well be directed to those who caused this “slavishly accurate” mockery in the first place.
      /humour on

      1. I’m not angry with dot.Commonweal or the “chef” who composed this recipe. This is coming from someone who’s sole culinary triumph was learning to open cans with a right-handed can opener. This is often difficult to learn when when you’re a lefty.

        The satirical recipe is an ethical and moral victory for Catholics opposed to the new translation. Conservative/traditional critiques of postconciliar liturgy and liturgical studies are often laden with ad hominem attacks and bald hostile name-calling. The faux recipe acts charitably by not attacking the creators of the new translation, but rather the perceived absurdity of the results. Anger directed towards the translators is anger directed fruitlessly at persons. The results of their work should be the only focus of criticism.

      2. Nonsense. Anger directed at the actions of the creators of the interlinear translation is justifiable if they knew that what they were doing was vulgar, but for reasons of preferment chose to continue on.

      3. In memory of C. Hitchens who passed away today – quoted as saying: “….human equality and freedom happen & advance when we can laugh at authority”

    2. To me, it sounds more like Richard III:

      This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
      This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
      This other Eden, demi-paradise,
      This fortress built by Nature for herself
      Against infection and the hand of war,
      This happy breed of men, this little world,
      This precious stone set in the silver sea,
      Which serves it in the office of a wall
      Or as a moat defensive to a house,
      Against the envy of less happier lands,–
      This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

      But I suppose that is because the cook mimics Shakespere’s iambic pentameter, while the liturgist has seemingly no ear for such things. ( drop the “that you” at the beginning and it would easily be massaged into blank verse.)

      1. John of Gaunt in Richard II.

        Are you saying that the new translation or the parody of it sounds like this sublime speech???

      2. The parody comes closer to Shakespere’s rhythms.
        The liturgy could sound that way, eliminating some of the clunkiness, but it does not. If there is some rhythm to it, I have not heard it.

    3. My son likes the revised translation — and did the LOLROTF thing with the recipe . . . one unforeseen advantage of the new translation is the restoration of Catholic humor — an entire generation or more missed out on putting Latin to humorous uses, so the new texts are the next best thing.
      But yes, the humor IS part of the coping. A strategy, it would appear, might be beyond your ken.

  10. Actually, here’s the 1973 version – simple, well thought out, and to the point:

    Makes 36 cookies:

    Prepare dough by creaming 1 cup butter, 2/3 cup sugar.

    After combining the butter and sugar, beat in 1 large egg.

    In a separate bowl sift together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

    Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, and mix by hand.

    Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch, and cut into various shapes using a cookie cutter. If you don’t have any cookie cutters, dip a round drinking cup into some flour, and use it instead.

    If you desire, top the cookies with sprinkles.

    Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies just begin to brown on top.

    Place cookies on a cooling rack until they reach room temperature.

    That’s a 1973 version, none of that poetry crap.

    P.S. If you wish to use other versions of this recipe, feel free. Unlike some versions, we don’t believe in forcing you to only use one version by telling you that all other versions are now null and void.

    1. Huh?
      People put Precious Blood in a cup all the time, not least where they’re following official Roman Catholic documents (or the Bible!) that call it a cup.


      1. Are you joking? The Bible say Jesus was hung on a tree — even downgrading whatever solemnity might have attached to the word crucified.

    2. Where were you for the last 38 years, Father, when that is precisely where it was entrusted!
      Jesus entrusted his precious blood to the vessels available at the Last supper.

    3. the Greek word poterion, translated by St Jerome as calix, means a drinking-cup. St Jerome foreswore dynamic equivalence in his biblical translations. Perhaps you will say you do not put the Son of God in a stable —

  11. I read at Mass this morning. I was tempted to alter the response to Psalm 67 to:

    “Let the peoples praise you, O God!
    Let many of the peoples praise you.”

  12. We haven’t gotten around to “chalice” here yet. So far no temple police.

    What I like about this post is a reminder that sometimes finding humor in a tragic situation helps to deal with it more creatively.

    Case in point, drawing from ICEL1998 on occasion is really not that big of a deal. It’s just being the cook who has freed her/himself from the cookbook.

    I don’t see real cooks using measuring cups and spoons very often. (Bakers yes, baking is chemistry.)

      1. Take it from Janet: a pulpit, Crucifix, classic vestments of the Roman Rite, slow sign, construction cone.

        You figure it out.

        Fr Blue did…..and so did my boyfriend!

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