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May 21, 2006

Comments

Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP

The anti-Liturgiam authenticam bishops will go kicking and screaming to heaven about the need for an "understandable" translation. What "understandable" means, of course, is a translation stripped of elevated, transcendent language, devoid of complexity, lacking theological rigor, images and language without spiritual muscle, weak little sentences mewing for help, banal sentiment about community, Pelagian and semi-Pelagian heresy, and a desperate need to make God the Father into any and everything BUT God the Father.

I've said it before: Time, baby, time...it's on our side. :-)

PNP, OP

ohevin

What's the big deal? Many fine directives are already on record showing what is required for the Holy Mass to be celebrate, i.e., the speed signs and yield signs were set up a long time ago! Unfortunately, in America and we have Bishops that are openly rebellious to the Holy See. I dare say that many of them are heretical. If it were not for our Lord Jesus telling us that "he would be with us always until the end of the age" I think this boat would have stopped floating a long time ago. You're right Father Philip when you say we have time on our side. But in the meantime we have to offer up our sufferings to the Lord just as He himself made every attempt to save the soul of Judas. Sad comparison, but true.
Aside of from this, I hope all of you have a beautful day, especially after having received the "Heavenly hug" from Jesus in Holy Communion. "Humbly Lord we worship you our Redeemer King. You who died to give us life, hear us as we sing . . . . . "

Ohevin

Todd

I see.

When the bishop's conferences sent back oodles of drafts for Roman Missal II they were cheered on. But they have the same misgivings about liturgiam inauthenticam extremists and suddenly Father Z and his minions boo.

Regardless of the forty-year principle, you'll have people in the liturgical middle ground wondering why their bishops and pastors are making such a big deal of "nothing," namely, something so ingrained the clergy themselves don't want to consult a missalette during Mass.

I do have a question: suppose the pew folk decide to remain on auto-pilot. I'm especially curious as to how pro-LI clergy would treat a mass refusal to speak the King's (meaning Harbert's) English?

Suppose the other fifteen bishop's conferences continue to nitpick and edit ICEL? Arinze can spread all the love he wants, but it's clear the hypocrisy is also sp[read about a good bit, too.

tony c

Oh Lord,
Bless this Thy Hand Grenade,
that with it
Thou may blow Thy enemies to tiny bits.
In Thy Mercy.

Richard

Hello Todd,

Regardless of the forty-year principle, you'll have people in the liturgical middle ground wondering why their bishops and pastors are making such a big deal of "nothing," namely, something so ingrained the clergy themselves don't want to consult a missalette during Mass.

A state of affairs which may say far more about the quality and orthodoxy of seminary education and catechesis of such people (and what is the "liturgical middle ground? Middle between what and what?) than it does about the wisdom and soundness of Liturgiam Authenticam.

Mark P.

"(W)hat is the 'liturgical middle ground?' Middle between what and what?"

Todd has decided that he is the arbiter of the middle ground. Todd has spoken, the subject is closed.

Mila

Todd, I think the problem is precisely the fact that something is so ingrained the clergy themselves don't want to consult a missalette during Mass. They don't have to consult a missalette. They should be praying the Mass from the Sacramentary. We are all so proud when we can commit something to memory! But eventually mistakes creep in and we start substituting when something sounds right. I once knew a priest who never ever read from the Missal; he paraphrased the whole Eucharistic prayer (usually Prayer II). It was painful to attend his Mass.

I'm with Fr. Phil. What we have been given in the current translation, no matter that we know it by heart, isn't any good. Understandable doesn't have to mean dumbed-down or silly. and some things are so dumbed-down, it's pathetic.

Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP

My request of the bishops is very, very simple: give the Roman Catholic Church in America an faithful translation of the Latin Roman Missal so that we can grow in the orthodox Catholic faith.

I have no interest in praying Trautman & Co.'s ideological prejudices and condescending political agendas.

I want the prayer of the Roman Church not the AmChurch.

An example of banal translation...this morning's concluding prayer asks God to help us "feel the effect" of the Eucharist in our lives. Uh? What, are we asking for a little Jesus buzz? "Feel the effect" reeks of 1971!

Fr. Philip, OP

Todd

"I want the prayer of the Roman Church not the AmChurch."

I could just as easily say I want the prayer of the Roman Church and not MaChurch.

And talk about condescension! A diocesan bureaucrat or a bishop: who's better qualified to have a sense of things on the ground? Arinze may have been lecturing quite a bit on his papabile tours, but I doubt he made it to your average parish in the tripping. I'm glad to see the charge of hypocrisy hasn't been addressed. Lots of you feel it, I'm sure.

The liberals were saying back in the 70's we needed to redo Roman Missal I. It's only been with the advent of otherdoxy in the 90's that the conservatives started to horn in on the call for reform.

You don't like the rendering of Roman Missal I? Take a number, you're way behind my spot in that line. Unlike Bruce Harbert, I think the English language since the time of Dickens is not without promise.

But if you think a transliteration of a Latin original will juice your need for elevated English, I fear you'll be disappointed. Unless you're only in it for the liturgical brown-nosing. Which could be ...

Tim Ferguson

Todd, I guess I'm not in the loop - who are the pro LI-clergy? and what is MaChurch? and how would you define "otherdoxy" (there is already a helpful word: heterodoxy that means the same thing). Cute little abbreviations only work when people know what you're abbreviating.

And as to the charge of hypocrisy, who's more hypocritical: Vatican authorities who have finally heard to cries and complaints of humble lay folk tired of crappy translations and heterodox interpretations of them, or liturgical bureaucrats who complain on one hand that no one consults them anymore and on the other hand try to rip the rosaries out of little old ladies' hands because they're "not with the times."

and what is liturgical brown-nosing?

I seldom agree with you, but today your rancor has reached such a fever pitch you're incomprehensible. Why are you afraid of faithful translations?

Cornelius

I almost don't care what the subject is . . . the more spankings administered to the U.S. Bishops the better . . . Go, Cardinal Arinze!

midwestmom

"I'm especially curious as to how pro-LI clergy would treat a mass refusal to speak the King's (meaning Harbert's) English?"

Bishop Tod Brown could give 'em a few lessons. Slap up side the head, jerk them by their arms, whatever it takes.

Tim Ferguson

but midwestmom, that woman wasn't trying to mistranslate the words of the Mass or spew heresy in a homily or anything like that - she was trying to receive communion while kneeling.

It is telling what "abuses" certain bishops go to lengths to correct and what they're willing to give a pass to.

Julia

I have a question.

I'm looking at a copy of the 1965 "Parish Mass Book and Hymnal; According to the New Revised Liturgy for Every Day". The Lord's Prayer ends with "...but deliver us from evil."

When did we add "for the power and the glory, etc."? And why was it added?

For 10 or so years I was out of the church and it must have happened while I was gone.

AJP

Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but is there already a completed English translation (re-translation) of the Mass that is in accord with Liturgiam Authenticum? In other words, has the Vatican already come up with a new English translation for the Mass to replace our current translation? If so, is it available online anywhere? I am very interested in seeing it, seeing how it compares to the current English translation, and seeing what I can hopefully expect to hear soon in church.

Fr. Brian Stanley

What is interesting is seeing some commentators on this issue, here and in other blogs, staking out the amorphous and not-too-well-defined "middle ground" and promoting the status quo simultaneously. It all depends on whose ox is being gored, doesn't it? If only we had the hand-wringing forty years ago, about jarring people's sensitivities, etc., etc.

Let me add one more cliched response to all of this: what goes around, comes around.

And as far as some congregational boycott in responses because *WE DON'T LIKE THE NEW RESPONSES* because *WE WEREN'T CONSULTED* and *IT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE THE WAY I TALK,* I predict such boycotts will last only as long as there are status quo liturgists around to keep it stirred up. My further observation is that that elite group of liturgists is shrinking even as I type this.

The threat of a boycott gives not just a little credence to that old hoary joke that the difference between a liturgist and a terrorist is that you can negotiate with a terrorist. Let me pose a perhaps more realistic "what if": what if the Church puts through the English translation changes in line with Liturgicam authenticam and the faithful actually receive it positively, even enthusiastically? What will status quo liturgists do then? I propose setting up a hotline to counsel them, and perhaps even direct them to new apostolates, if they are still interested in ministering in a Church that doesn't seek their imprimatur.

Kevin Miller

What's the source for the Arinze letter? The link in the post doesn't work.

reluctant penitent

Here's a solution: mandate the Latin. Those parishioners who are unable or unwilling to learn a few pages of Latin can be permitted to bring the current translation with them and read it as the Mass progresses in Latin. They can even be permitted to bring an ipod and listen to a selection of Gather tunes as the Gregorian schola intones the antiphons.

When Todd is this angry you know that things are changing for the better in the American Church.

Meggan

The bishops that think the people are used to the present translation therefore it shouldn't change are only worried about the complaints they'll get.

I am tired of the church giving in to complainers. I don't like it that Ascension is moved to Sunday in many diocese because people don't attend mass for Ascension on a weekeday. I don't like it that a Holy Day loses it's Obligation when it's on a Monday.

I get sick of hearing priests at this parish or that parish taking shortcuts or hurrying Mass along because the people don't like long Masses.

I'm very excited about getting a new translation of the Missal. I look forward to helping our parish learn about why the changes are taking place. I don't look forward to the "don't they have enough to do at the Vatican than mess around with the Mass?" comments.

Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf - o{]:¬)

Folks: I have been writing about this for six years! >S<

o{]:¬)

Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP

Todd,

I'm calling foul. You consistently tilt at the windmill of a Victorian translation of the Latin, and I've yet to see any such thing. We can have a perfectly faithful English translation of the Latin w/o the pretentious curly-cues of High Anglican Snobbery. There is a large spectrum of acceptable, faithful styles btw "Thee & Thou" and "You."

You really have to stop conjuring up images of 18th century pastoralized Anglicanism everytime someone objects to the 70's psycho-babble and socialist rhetoric of the current Missal. It's just not true and it makes a really weak strawman.

Strong theological language and vivid images are a good way to communicate the truth of the faith. I try to do this in my homilies. I also try to avoid the blathering of the Couch and the Marketplace. I never assume that my listeners are too stupid to hear and understand what I'm saying nor do I assume that they want to hear something other than the Gospel as the Church teaches it. If they do, well, there's always the AmChurch Parish down the street.

Of course, once we get this new translation there will be a transition period where the liturgical progressives will mount every argument they can muster against anything that sounds remotely religious or theological or elevated. We'll hear about local options and freedom of conscience and pastoral needs and prudential judgments and all sorts of other finely polished nonsense to justify not using language that challenges the left-liberal hegemony over our parochial worship.

Most of the priests I know who hate the current translation have made a commitment to use the missal as written anyway b/c they promised to do so at their ordination. I wonder if the liturgical progressives can make that same promise when (and if!) they get a translation they don't like. Somehow, I doubt it. I predict several more years of a left-liberal clerical undermining of our liturgy in the name of ideology and politics. Shame really.

Fr. Philip, OP

Kevin Miller

Revision of my question above: The link now works, but the blog linked doesn't seem to cite a source that I'm noticing. So, what's the source? Anyone? Anyone?

Mark Andrews

Fr. Powell, if you preach the way you write I'd come to every Mass you said! Well said, Father.

Rick Lugari

Kevin, I don't know the source, but the best I can tell the first instance of it appearing in the blogosphere is this post by Diogenes. You may want to inquire there.

David B.

Todd,

"And talk about condescension!"

You should know. Nobody does condescention better than you, my friend.

Richard

Forgive me if this is a stupid question, but is there already a completed English translation (re-translation) of the Mass that is in accord with Liturgiam Authenticum? In other words, has the Vatican already come up with a new English translation for the Mass to replace our current translation? If so, is it available online anywhere?

In a word: yes.

Ignatius Press has just released a bible and lectionary - the RSV 2nd edition Ignatius - which is the only one in English which has been found to be in full compliance with Liturgiam Authenticam. You can buy the lectionary or the bible at Ignatius's website, though the 2 volume lectionary is pricey - $270.

As of this moment the Ignatius lectionary has been officially approved by the Antilles Bishops' conference. Whether other English-language conferences will approve it for use (The US authorizes only the NAB version) remains to be seen.

Ed the Roman

Todd,

In the Editio Typica, it says:

"Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meam."

In what way is "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you" a better tranlslation of this than "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof?" Leaving aside the fact that the latter is a scripture quote and the former is not.

Lee Penn

I usually attend Eastern liturgies. When I need to go to a Western liturgy, I look for a Latin Mass - such as the Latin Novus Ordo Mass that I just attended today.

The reason I prefer Latin Masses is simple: the Gregorian chants are beautiful and inspiring, and I do not have to wonder (as I often do when singing modern hymns) whether I am singing a heresy. And it is a great blessing to go to a service where I do not have to wonder what on-the-fly emendations the priest and his assistants will make.

To any member of the Liturgical Establishment who read this ... what is so hard about "do the red, read the black"? Why subject the faithful to experiments? Why leave reverent liturgy to the Anglicans and the Orthodox?

Lee

Kevin Miller

Rick,

Thanks. And please don't understand me - my motto (well, one of them) is: "ICEL delenda est!" I would like nothing more than for this letter to be real.

That said, before I conclude that it is, I'd like some evidence other than the fact that "Diogenes" says it is. And if he had and were willing to provide such evidence, one would reasonably think he'd have included it in his post.

Patrick Rothwell

Two predictions for when the new translations come out.

(1) The people in the parishes where the new translations are used by and large will not miss the old translations. Almost no one - save the liberal liturgical expert establishment - will be upset.

(2) There will be some resistance by a few liberal clergy who will claim that their parishes can't afford to buy new sets of missals and lectionaries. Anytime this happens, the laity should officiously donate new missals to recalcitrant parishes, thereby leaving them with no excuse for using the new translations.

mio

"And talk about condescension! A diocesan bureaucrat or a bishop: who's better qualified to have a sense of things on the ground?"

Well, even us diocesan bureaucrats go to Mass every Sunday (and often the days in between).

This one says, "Go Cardinal Arinze!!!!!"

mio

T. Chan

Julia:

When did we add "for the power and the glory, etc."? And why was it added?

When the Missal of Paul VI was promulgated. Why? I don't have the exact answer for that one.

Kevin Miller

I suspect it was added because it has long been in common use by Christians after the Lord's Prayer - in particular, it has for a very long time been part of the Byzantine liturgy - in both the Divine Liturgy and the Liturgy of the Hours, pretty much any time the Lord's Prayer is recited/chanted, the priest concludes with: "For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever."

See also the Catechism - at the end of its section on the Lord's Prayer, at the end of Part Four, on prayer:

"2855 The final doxology, 'For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever,' takes up again, by inclusion, the first three petitions to our Father: the glorification of his name, the coming of his reign, and the power of his saving will. But these prayers are now proclaimed as adoration and thanksgiving, as in the liturgy of heaven. The ruler of this world has mendaciously attributed to himself the three titles of kingship, power, and glory. Christ, the Lord, restores them to his Father and our Father, until he hands over the kingdom to him when the mystery of salvation will be brought to its completion and God will be all in all."

Joe

So Father Powell wants the prayer of the Roman Church. THAT would be Greek, padre, not Latin.

For the benefit of others who may not know much background here, the original prayer language of the Christians in Rome was Greek, not Latin. It was Pope Damasus I (366 - 384) who authorized Latin as the primary vernacular language for his flock when most of them no longer understood Greek. This step was a concession.

My gut tells me that any attempt to "latinize" the liturgy of the Novus Ordo will fail big time. I do not see Liturgiam Authenticam, issued by a pope who coddled a clerical sexual pervert and was verrry slow in addressing the issue of child sexual abuse, ultimately being "received" by the overwhelming majority of American Catholics.

It ain't gonna' happen, no way, regardless of what Arinze or other Vatican conservative curialistas want. We have tolerated enough crap from Rome, and we don't want more. Latin is dead; "live" with this fact!

reluctant penitent

Joe,

Pedophilia is caused by the use of Latin in the liturgy? That's an important discovery! You should publish that one.

PNP, OP

"So Father Powell wants the prayer of the Roman Church. THAT would be Greek, padre, not Latin."

Joe,

Ummmmm, no. You've confused several things.

First, you are right to say that I want the prayer of the Roman Church. But you misstep when you then identify the prayer of the Church as Greek. Greek is a language not a kind of prayer. I'm perfectly happy with English or Japanese or Greek or whatever, so long as it is a faithful translation of the Latin.

Second, we need to distinguish btw the "original language of the Church" and the "official language of the Church." The original language of the Church WAS Greek. The official language of the Church IS Latin.

Third, what possible connection is there btw the speed with which JPII dealt with clerical pervs and the good sense of Liturgiam authenticam? Are you arguing that a document detailing instructions for translating Latin texts into various vernaculars is somehow compromised b/c the Pope issuing the document didn't move quickly enough to discipline a pedophile priest (assuming, of couse, his victim was a child and not an adolescent)? Please, make this connection for me...

Fr. Philip, OP

P.S. Just to be clear: I'm fine with the Tridentine Rite. I would probably never use it, but I have no problem with it being available. My complaint is that current translations are not always faithful to either the Latin of the original or the doctrine of the Roman Church.

RP Burke

Here we go again.

Has any of you loud enthusaists of Arinze actually READ the draft texts that have been leaked that supposedly have "greater fidelity to the original-language official liturgical text"?

Has any of you read it aloud? Tried to sing it? And do you really think it will meet the standard established in Sacrosanctum Concilium that the text, spoken aloud, will be "within the people's powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation"?

You have got to be kidding me. People, it's not language that is going to be muttered sotto voce into the tabernacle veil; it is to be proclaimed aloud.

Make no mistake: I believe that our texts for worship were poorly constructed, but not for the reason that so many of you claim. The problem is not that it's insufficiently close to the Latin; rather, the texts we have are insufficiently good English. They are wooden and didactic, utterly devoid of poetry and craft. They read like the old No. 2 Baltimore Catechism, for grade 4 to 6.

So what is the answer? Certainly not what Harbert and the other traditionalists have been proposing, if the drafts we've seen leaked to the Australian media are any indication. The right answer is "what the Latin says" in artistic, idiomatic English, not this silly stuff that looks like a schoolboy's first efforts at translating Caesar's Gallic Wars.

Fr. Philip, OP

"Has any of you loud enthusaists of Arinze actually READ the draft texts..."

Yes, I have. We had a copy in the library at Blackfriars, Oxford while I was there.

"Has any of you read it aloud? Tried to sing it?"

Yes and no. I read large parts of it aloud. No problems. I don't sing.

"And do you really think it will meet the standard established in Sacrosanctum Concilium..."

Yes. For an elitist academic clerical type I'm pretty unusual these days in my failure to assume that your average Catholic is stupid. Makes things difficult for me at parties with the Clerical and Lay Elite who spend their time trying to drag the liturgy down to what they imagine is the below-average intelligence of our lay faithful.

"People, it's not language that is going to be muttered sotto voce into the tabernacle veil; it is to be proclaimed aloud."

Precisely...a fact which only serves to make the current translation even more embarrassingly banal. It wouldn't be so bad if I could mumble most of it.

"The problem is not that it's insufficiently close to the Latin; rather, the texts we have are insufficiently good English. They are wooden and didactic, utterly devoid of poetry and craft."

When the current translation fails to give us doctrinally accurate prayers, it is almost always a failure to adequately translate the Latin.

That most of the texts are wooden, didactic, and devoid of poetry and craft has a lot to do with how those in charge of the 1970's English translation has chose to interpret SC 34--the norms that require that the rites of the Church be within the "people's powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation." Apparently the lay faithful of the Catholic Church will only understand bad English prose and worse poetry.

NB. SC 34 requires the rites of the Church to be within the comprehension of the people. The very next section distinguishes the rites from the words, thus leaving open the question of whether or not SC 34 applies to translations of texts. And I do really need to mention SC 36?

Aside: please note that the Church Fathers of VC2 titled the section in which we find the norms of #34, "Norms based upon the didactic and pastoral nature of the Liturgy." Ironic, uh?

"The right answer is 'what the Latin says' in artistic, idiomatic English..."

Well, this is allegedly what the current translation does. But, as we all know, this standard leaves us open constant manipulation and perverse experimentation. My first question: whose idiomatic English?

Presider: The Lord be with y'all.
People: And also with y'all...

Why not? It's simple, short, clear, comprehensible, idiomatic, doesn't require explanation, and it would make my mama happy.

Fr. Philip, OP

Tim Ferguson

Joe - if you're tired of crap from Rome, the Episcopalian Church is calling you. Heck, here in Michigan, they even have a full-blown radio advertising campaign going on. The fervency with which you keep repeating on post after post after post that Latin is dead reminds me of someone trying to convince himself that something he is very afraid of isn't going to harm him. Why are you afraid of the resurgence of interest in Latin among us younger Catholics? What do you have to fear?

And yes, RP, I've seen portions of the proposed translations, yes I've spoken them aloud (no, I haven't sung them). They're quite fine and quite pronouncable, and yes they fulfill the requirements of Sacrosanctum concilium quite nicely. I don't think that "people's power of comprehension" is as low as most liturgists seem to think. Nearly eliminating the word "grace" from any of the collects in favor of "love" or "gift" didn't make it any more comprehensible, it made it more convoluted. Restoring faithful translations, replete with multisyllabic words drawn from the rich font of English vocabulary will only help the faithful further comprehend the mysteries of the faith.

Jason LaLonde

I want to see.

Todd

I think RP has nailed it.

I can't make it any simpler: English-speaking Roman Catholics deserve high-quality texts for praying the liturgy. "Faithfulness," while a consideration, is not a guarantee of a more poetic/elegant/beautiful text. The job done in 1967-75 was poor and needs improvement, and I've been saying that for a lot longer than six years.

As for your suggestions of my anger, I'm afraid I'm laughing at your attempts at psycho-analysis from "handwriting." Give it up. The liberals do it better. At least when they miss the mark, they can be funny.

As for fussing and boycotts, leave that for critics of the DVC phenomenon. I'll implement whatever new texts come along; it's part of my job. But I suspect that rank and file Catholics -- not just resentful progressives -- will naturally resist substantial changes to "their" words. I'm not suggesting it will be deliberate; I just think it will be an uphill struggle with a LI-priest. Imagine what the implementation will be like in parishes where liturgy is about sixth or seventh on the pastor's priority list.

Before the dancing in the streets begins, consider also that the US bishops are but one of several conferences that will need to approve this translation. The Brits and the Aussies have already publicly turned up their noses at what they've seen.

ICEL has a few drafts of Roman Missal II returned from the bishops for more work. Clearly, enough bishops think the latest draft was insufficient. We'll see if it gets the two-thirds vote or not. I suppose forty bishops might change their mind.

Count me among those who'd like the source on this leak. CWN has been way, way off the mark in the past. If I'd known this letter came from Prince Di, I probably wouldn't have bothered to comment in the first place.

Jon

The problem for Todd all other church mice like him is that the new translation is going to end a very well paying "non-job."

Michael

"The problem for Todd all other church mice like him is that the new translation is going to end a very well paying "non-job."

Nice. Had I read many of these comments (Jon's, Tim Ferguson's, and others of similar tone) while still deciding whether to become Catholic (I'm an adult convert), I never would have been confirmed. You lot are as welcoming as body odor.

Sam Schmitt

Todd,

"I can't make it any simpler: English-speaking Roman Catholics deserve high-quality texts for praying the liturgy. "Faithfulness," while a consideration, is not a guarantee of a more poetic/elegant/beautiful text."

Why do you think "faithfulness" is such a barrier to a "high-quality" text? It seems common sense that if a translation is to be worth anything, it must first of all be faithful to the original text. All Liturgicam Authenticam did was to point out this glaringly obvious fact. OK, so it's goes without saying that one could have an accurate translation without any linguistic or artistic merit.

Of course, if you insist on thinking of faithfulness in terms of church politics (as your scare quotes indicate), then I guess it amounts to some sort of threat. To what, I can't quite fathom, unless it's the pathetic liturgical and catechetical establishment that has presided over the dismantling of the English liturgy over the past 35 years. Somehow I get the impression that if the people on the pew were able to see, hear and even smell the Roman liturgy for what it really is (something that a faithful translation would bring out), with all its complexity, beauty, and subtlety (unlike the McLiturgy that we have now), people might - just might - wake up and realize what a sham they've been fed up to now. Perhaps this is why establishment liturgists so often feel threatened by traditional celebrations of the liturgy, Latin, or worse, the Tridentine mass, even when celebreated by .02% of parishes in the world? (I know that you aren't, but I have always found it curious. Somehow any liturgical oddity and experimentation can be tolerated and even encouraged, but the old mass must be eradicated from the face of the earth!)

Sam Schmitt

"But I suspect that rank and file Catholics -- not just resentful progressives -- will naturally resist substantial changes to "their" words. I'm not suggesting it will be deliberate; I just think it will be an uphill struggle with a LI-priest."

You may be right, but this has little to do with what is the best thing to do. Of course people will resist change, they always have. But does this mean that in some cases they can be led to that change. In the end, it's a self-fulfilling prohecy. If you as a liturgist are unenthusiastic about that change, then naturally people will be less than enthusiastic about it, too.

I can't help noting that the irony is delicious in all this. For forty years we have been told that change is good (and inevitable anyway), that it's time to let go of the old ways, that resistance is futile. We can't keep doing things simply because we've always done them that way. Now that change is coming, there's a desparate attempt to resist it beacuse "that's what we've always done" (or least for the past 35 years).

Jay Anderson

"I can't help noting that the irony is delicious in all this. For forty years we have been told that change is good (and inevitable anyway), that it's time to let go of the old ways, that resistance is futile. We can't keep doing things simply because we've always done them that way. Now that change is coming, there's a desparate attempt to resist it beacuse "that's what we've always done" (or least for the past 35 years)."

The liturgical liberals have adopted the same strategy as their judicial liberal counterparts who, after decades of using judicial activism to pursue their agenda, suddenly have a new-found respect for stare decisis now that they fear Roe v. Wade is at risk.

We saw the same thing in the Soviet Union. Eventually, the radicals become reactionaries.

David B.

Todd,

How is anyone supposed to take you seriously as a liturgist, when you mock official documents on liturgy, such as referring to Liturgium Authenticam as "liturgium inauthenticam?" Perhaps you don't want authentic liturgy. Maybe you would rather "Sing a New Church" into being.

As to where the link came from, I don't know if it was from CWN or not. It is Fr. Z's WDTPRS web-site that Amy has linked, and there is no link on his site to CWN. Of course, your little slight, "Fr. Z and his minions" perhaps reveals that you still are a little sore from your experience at COL. Seem to recall you having a little trouble with respect for authority there, too.

Tim Ferguson

I'm still at a loss to understand what Todd means by "LI-priest". does anyone have a clue?

And sorry, Michael-with-no-email-address, if you find my comments offensive and unwelcoming. In my defense, I've never compared anyone to body odor.

David B.

Tim,

I believe this is Todd's snarky, disrespectful way of referring to priests who support Liturgium Authenticam. Hence his earlier referring to the document as "liturgium inauthenticam." IOW, "LI." The humorous thing is, is that he said when liberals miss the mark, at least they are funny. Must have a weird sense of humor, if he thinks referring to the document in this way is funny, because we know he is way off the mark. ;-)

David B.

Oops! In my previous comments, that should be "Liturgiam" not "Liturgium."

Mark Windsor

A sad story (and I'd really like to get Fr. Philip's reaction).

I went to our parish priest two weeks ago. We talked about Latin. Latin is something of a restricted subject here. I suggested doing Vespers once a month in Latin, given the upcoming apostolic exortation. It got a very cool reaction. Taize is ok during Lent, but Latin gets a cool reception. So it goes...

The subject turned to English and the translations that I use. I mentioned that I teach my kids the English of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. It has all the grand language; the thees and thous, the hath and hath nots, verbs ending with "st". He said, in a very offhand way, that it was ok to teach my kids these things privately, but he could never make such a suggestion to anyone else...he'd get complaints that it was too protestant.

It's ok to have the first person singular "Credo" mean "We believe", but it's not ok to say "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior."

From LI itself: "...it may happen that a certain manner of speech which has come to be considered somewhat obsoltete in daily usage may continue to be maintained in the liturgical context." Lex orlandi, lex credendi?

By the way, Father, what parish are you at?

Ed the Roman

Fr. Philip,

"Presider: The Lord be with y'all.
People: And also with y'all..."

That should be "and with y'all's spirit."

Todd,

I don't think there's as much sense of ownership of the 1970 Missal as you seem to think. For starters, the number of people who remember the 1970 Missal being handed to them with about the same level of introduction as a change in Army uniform regulations is still quite large. Even those people who like it know that they were not asked their opinion at the time.

Kathy

I'm interested in Kevin's question: Is this letter for real? Or did Diogenes make it up as a parody?

I don't find it on any sites except Catholic blogs.

F C Bauerschmidt

Fr. Philip,

I suppose there's no accounting for taste (or de gustibus non est disputandum, for the aficionados of Latin), but I have to agree with RP Burke. I thought the first draft of the Ordo Missae was pretty awful (I haven't seen the second draft, which I can only hope was an improvement). This seems particularly the case with the Eucharistic prayers, where the translators did not seem to take any account of the difference between a highly inflected language (like Latin) and a relatively uninflected language (like English), giving us sentences that go on and on.

Also, some changes seem to be simply for the sake of change, and result in no greater fidelity to the text. Perhaps someone who is a more accomplished Latinism than I can explain why the post-sanctus of the second Eucharistic prayer, Vere Sanctus es, Domine, fons omnis sanctitatis is better translated by ICEL's proposal (in the first draft):

"Truly, Lord, you are the Holy One,
the fountain of all holiness"

rather than the current translation:

"Lord, you are holy indeed,
the fountain of all holiness"?

I suppose the capitalization of "Sanctus" warrants its transaltion as "Holy One," but why is "truly" better than "indeed" as a translation of "vere"? Indeed, "indeed" strike me as having a more "elevated" tone than "truly." As pieces of English prose, the current translation is far easier on the ears because of its regular stress pattern:

Lord, you are holy indeed
(two very nice dactylic feet, concluding with a stressed syllable -- sort of a waltz-time)

while the proposed text is:
Truly, Lord, you are the Holy One
(I don't know how to begin to characterize this rhythm).

Linguistic fidelity is the starting point, but it's not the only point, and it can't always be the trump card. It seems to me that translating the idea rather than the words is legitimate in some cases, in order to convey the idea powerfully in the target language. I would hate to see us end up with a translation that is awful in different ways from our current one, but no less awful. I was not encouraged by the first draft.

David B.

Todd,

Missed this tidbit: "Imagine what the implementation will be like in parishes where liturgy is about sixth or seventh on the pastor's priority list."

When the celebration of the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith is placed somewhere far down the list of a pastor's priority list, this is a parish I wouldn't want to belong to.

Christine

"Had I read many of these comments (Jon's, Tim Ferguson's, and others of similar tone) while still deciding whether to become Catholic (I'm an adult convert), I never would have been confirmed. You lot are as welcoming as body odor."

As a fellow convert, I have to ask -- you've got to be kidding, right?

I'm right up there with Fr. Philip, God bless him! Good grief, the REVISED Book of Common Prayer has more nobility of language than the current Roman Missal (not to mention the Liturgy of the Hours). We don't need to revert to Elizabethan English, but surely we can do better. Bring on Liturgiam Authenticam!

InPhoenix

While I expect the majority of U.S. bishops will continue to ignore the Church's guidance and discipline here, I'm very thankful that the Prefect of the CDWDS is an English speaker. Can the same be said of the Secretary, Abp. Don (if this is the proper way to refer to a Sri Lankan name)?

Kevin Miller

I'm not sure that I'd agree that "indeed" is more "elevated" than "truly," though maybe that's the "taste" thing. Nor do I think rhythm is all that important. I attended a Melkite parish very regularly for some years. The translations we used of the Divine Liturgy were pretty faithful. They didn't seem to have been done with a lot of attention to rhythm, etc. This didn't seem to bother anyone, to be an obstacle in singing (or, occasionally, reciting) them, or otherwise to be a problem.

I haven't seen the proposed revised Mass translation recently, but at some point I saw some texts online. For the very most part, they struck me as big improvements, fidelity-wise, over what we have now, even if there might also have been, in places, some questionable tinkering with parts of the translation that are already pretty faithful to the Latin (as in the example above).

I'd take that any day over what we have now.

reluctant penitent

Again, there is an easy solution to the problem: just use the Latin. It's not as difficult as it seems. Parishioners would have to learn only a few pages of Latin and can follow a bilingual missal in the meantime.

Loudon is a Fool

If RP and Todd could provide some examples of the unsingable portions of leaked drafts I would be very interested. Some examples of what RP considers the poetic use of the English language outside of his favorite Joan Baez lyrics would also be illuminating. I suspect their concern is that it may be difficult to accompany the new translation with bongos and water stick. Which, truly, would be a tragedy.

Old Zhou

My prediction:

There will be no new English translation of the Liturgy before, perhaps, 2020, or about 50 years after the first edition that was published in the 1970's.

This is good, because I probably don't have to worry about buying more English liturgical books in my lifetime.

Why do I say this?

(1) When the first translation was done in the 1960's and 1970's, everybody was in a post-Conciliar ecstacy about unlocking the treasures of the Latin liturgy into English. Everything went very fast, and approvals were almost automatic. Most laity were equipped with bi-lingual Latin-English missals, most everybody in Church could handle the Latin necessary for their serving the Liturgy, all priests knew Latin and were trained in the Liturgy in Latin, so English was new and fun and filled with possibilities for the Spirit to move. Latin was a firm foundation and background for everyone involved.

This is no longer the case. The clergy and hierarchy are involved in a chuch-polity tug -of-war about how to go forward, or re-evaluate, the original implementation of Vatican II. There is significant disagreement among American bishops and clergy, and between the US and the Vatican. Also, after 40 years of "Vatican II abolished Latin," the laity no longer know what is in the promulgated texts of their liturgy, and even many of the clergy (those formed in the 1970's and 1980's) are basically incompetent in Latin. This raises the stakes of the English translation significantly, as it is no longer a pleasant, conventient "add on" to the Latin base. The Latin base has, for the most part, been washed away by 40 years of neglect.

(2) Liturgical English translation has become a battlefield of linguistic-political agendas. These struggles, developed during the 1980's for the most part, did not exist in the 1960's and 1970's during the first translation efforts. Did Jesus become "man" or "human" or "one of us"? Did Paul write to "brothers" or "brother and sisters" or "sisters and brothers"? It is endless.

(3) If there is to be another English translation of the Liturgy, and I don't know that there ever will be another, to be quite honest, it will have to be after most of those "pioneers" of the work in the 1960's and 1970's have gone to their reward.

My suggestion: Learn Latin. Study and pray the Liturgy (not just Mass) privately or in small groups (or in the occasional parish) in Latin. Know what the Liturgy really is. Then, just enjoy the ride of Liturgy in English. Whatever.

RP Burke

Loudon, you surely are a fool. Or at least you have forgotten what I have consistently written about church music, where Todd and I generally agree somewhat in principle but strongly disagree in practice.

Michael

"As a fellow convert, I have to ask -- you've got to be kidding, right?"

No.

Henry

The liberals do it better. At least when they miss the mark, they can be funny.

How true this is! And funny, too. So I wonder why Todd's army of mean-spirited critics can't see how funny, even hilarious, most of his remarks really are.

Dale Price

Loudon:

Let me be a witness on RP's behalf--he's truly no fan of the Haugen/Haas/folk dreck oeuvre.

More of a Palestrina man, if memory serves.

Todd

More fodder agains the hate-me-hate-my-music approach: my own musical preferences lean more to plainsong and Renaissance polyphony than hymnody of any era. At any rate, you'll find far more posts on my weblog about the KCS and Friends of Chamber Music than David Haas.

As they say at the K these days when the hometown boys are at bat, "Swing and a miss."

Loudon is a Fool

Polyphony or the guitar Mass. They're both modernist attempts to subvert reason and contemplation of the divine mysteries by appealing to the passions. Which is why Todd and R.P. agree more than they disagree. Clearly, however, devotees of Palestrina show considerably better taste than the hippies so for the implied slur against Mr. Burke I apologize.

Old Zhou

In my comment above, I mentioned 3 reasons why I don't think a new translation of the Latin Liturgy into English will happen any time soon.

However, even if the albino monks put something in the water at the bishop's meetings, and they all agree, zombie-like, to everything that Cardinal Arinze wants in an English translation...IT WON'T MATTER.

Why?

Most priests I see hardly use the Missal we've got in English. So what difference is tweaking the translation going to make?

How many of you see the Altar Server holding a loose-leaf notebook of locally concocted liturgy meant to replace the already approved English translation?

Or does your priest use one of several unofficail worship aids for the prayers at Mass, such as "Magnificat" or some other periodical during Mass?

And, even if the official English translation of the Missal is in front of him, how many priests embellish, improvise, modify, edit, expand, elaborate, inculturate, inclusivise, excise, and otherwise wing it with the text?

The problem is not the existing translation. The problem is the disregard, in practice, for the existing translation (and any future translation).

And that disregard extends to all the OCP and GIA music, for example, that is in clear contradiction to the GIRM instructions for music. See, for example, GIRM n. 48.

If we get a new English translation of the Missal, so what? It will be just as widely disregarded and mucked with as the current English translation.

The problem is not the translation.

Dale Price

And I should have added (lack of caffeine, alas) that I wasn't sure where Todd's musical favorites sat on the spectrum, but then he up and responds, so there you go.

I should add that my sympathies lie with Giovanni Pierluigi, too.

"Modernist"--bah.

Joe Dunelm

"The Brits and the Aussies have already publicly turned up their noses at what they've seen."

I'm not an Aussie (so don't know what they think), but as a Brit who takes a keen interest in matters theological and liturgical I would suggest that those of my countrymen who "turn up their noses" at the forthcoming translation are of the liberal persuasion - as indeed are many of our bishops. I can assure you, though, that there are very many of us who can't wait for a new and accurate translation - though, personally, I'd be quite happy sticking with latin.

On another point: a number of contributors have made what I think are rather unkind, personal comments against Fr Harbert. As someone who has known him when he was a PP here in the UK, I know that he is well capable of speaking up for himself against such unfair comments - should he choose to do so. In my view, these comments are undeserved and those who have made them should apologise to him. Fr Harbert is a sound authority on his subject and has a keen sense of pastoral awareness. The work that he and the ICEL translators do, is the work of the Church and is being done in accordance with the directives of the magisterium. We should judge the new translations in that light.

Mark Windsor

Zhou, you're bein' mighty depressing today. Accurate as always, but mighty depressing.

Well, our bishop turns 75 in a few months, so maybe the dice will land well for us. Maybe we'll get a bishop for whom "Latin" isn't a four letter word.

RP Burke

Dale, thank you.

Loudon, you are the first person to claim there is such a thing as a 16th century modernist. So much for that.

Henry

Or does your priest use one of several unofficail worship aids for the prayers at Mass, such as "Magnificat" or some other periodical during Mass?

Well, as one devoted both to my monthly "Magnificat" and to my 1962 TLM missal, I'd be delighted to see a priest using the Magnificat at daily Mass (though I cannot say this about any other "periodical"). I use both of them daily -- the Magnificat at Mass, and the 1962 missal mostly privately.

The Magnificat is precise and correct, both in the black to be said and in the red to be done. And, unlike the usual altar Sacramentary (I assume), it includes the Ordinary (Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster, Agnus Dei) in Latin (if seldom used at Mass). Frankly (and unfortunately) the priest who could not benefit from the Magnificat is the exception rather than the rule in my experience.

Fr. Totton

Henry,
The Magnificat is a fine supplement, and I know many priests who use it for their private prayer and preparation for Mass, but it is not a liurgical book and its use (as a replacement for the Sacramentary) is entirely unacceptable. You may not realize it, but the ordinary of the Mass in Latin IS provided in every Sacramentary (in an appendix).

No priest should use any book, hand Missal, misalette, or three-ring binder as a replacement for the Sacramentary. The three-ring suggests that the priest saw fit to change the prayers (many have been known to do this) and the others (especially the paperbacks) are beneath the dignity of the Liturgy.

As I say, many of these are fine for private preparation and for the sake of the laity who wish to "follow along" but not for use at the altar.

reluctant penitent

'The three-ring suggests that the priest saw fit to change the prayers'

I received a copy of the Sacramentary that had been used in the recent past at our parish. A number of busy-bodies had crossed out offending passages and pencilled in politically correct ones.

This is another advantage of using the Latin--busybody liturgists and progressive priests usually do not have enough proficiency in the language to fiddle with the text of the Sacramentary.

Henry

Fr. Totton: Of course, you're entirely correct in pointing out that nothing other than a proper Sacramentary should be used on the altar. I went a bit too far in exaggerating for effect a preference for something unobjectionable in content (if still inappropriate for liturgical use) over the objectionable material that unfortunately we sometimes see used. Better neither.

David B.

Kevin (and other interested parties)

Earlier you had asked for a source. Since the issue of source/authenticity of the letter had been raised on a couple blogs and I hadn't seen a response, I asked Dom Bettinelli if he knew. He responded that he had seen the fax and cover letter from Bishop Skylstad that was sent out to various chanceries throughout the country. CWN also did a straight news story about this, per Dom.

http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=44304

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