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The Revised Translation: Once More Into the Breach

November 30, 2013

I ran across something today that got me thinking about the revised English translation of the liturgy again.  I guess I should let this go, but things I read keep bringing it back up.   Maybe I am obsessed, or maybe this is a case of a process Richard Feynman described:  you keep a bunch of problems in your head, and every time you learn something new, you try to apply it to one of them to see if you can make further progress on it.

A few weeks ago I made two posts (here and here) on the phrase “visible and invisible” in the new translation of the creed.  Today, catching up on my daily scripture readings (I am really far behind!) I ran across this passage from Romans (Tuesday of the 29th week in Ordinary Time, read on October 22, emphasis added):

Brothers and sisters:
Through one man sin entered the world,
and through sin, death,
and thus death came to all men, inasmuch as all sinned.

If by that one person’s transgression the many died,
how much more did the grace of God
and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ
overflow for the many.
For if, by the transgression of the one,
death came to reign through that one,
how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace
and the gift of justification
come to reign in life through the one Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, just as through one transgression
condemnation came upon all,
so, through one righteous act
acquittal and life came to all.
For just as through the disobedience of one man
the many were made sinners,
so, through the obedience of the one
the many will be made righteous.
Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more,
so that, as sin reigned in death,
grace also might reign through justification
for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

As you all will recall, one small translation change in the Missal that sparked a great deal of discussion was the translation of  pro multis in the Eucharistic prayer as for many in place of the earlier for all men.  We discussed this in a post two years ago; at the time I noted something my son Kiko, the budding Latinist, said to me:  pro multis may be translated as either for many or for the many depending on context.  A variety of other reasons, for and against the new translation, were advanced in the comments.  Many people (including several European bishops conferences) argued for retaining for all or changing it to for the many.  This, however, was over-ruled by Pope Benedict.  Sandro Magister provided thorough though somewhat partisan coverage: e.g. see here.  On the other hand, the German bishops dragged their feet and last month announced they were keeping their old translation as (in German) for all.

The underlying problem is balancing a translation style which hews to as close to a literal translation of the Latin text as possible versus the theological point that Christ died to save all people.   I was led to revisit this question because in the above passage, where Paul is making a very strong point about the universality of the sacrifice of Christ, the text is translated into English four times as the many.  I therefore decided to consult the underlying Latin text.  I used the Biblia Sacra Vulgata made available online by BibleGateway.com.  (This is also called the Stuttgart edition:  see Wikipedia for more details.)

In Romans 5:15, the many is used to translate multi and plures:

sed non sicut delictum ita et donum si enim unius delicto multi mortui sunt multo magis gratia Dei et donum in gratiam unius hominis Iesu Christi in plures abundavit

In Romans 5:18, all people is used to translate omnes homines:

igitur sicut per unius delictum in omnes homines in condemnationem sic et per unius iustitiam in omnes homines in iustificationem vitae

And finally, in Romans 5:19, the many is used to translate multi:

 sicut enim per inoboedientiam unius hominis peccatores constituti sunt multi ita et per unius oboeditionem iusti constituentur multi

Now this is of course a somewhat backwards process, since the English text of the NAB is not translated from the Latin:  both are translated from the Greek.   Consulting an online interlinear text at blueletterbible.org, it appears that in both 5:15 and 5:18, the underlying Greek work is polys, meaning many, multitude, etc.  (Note that the Latin text translates this word in two ways in 5:15.)    And to add to my confusion, this is the same Greek word used in the institution narrative in Matthew 26:28, and there translated by the NAB as many.

Though it is very tempting to draw a sweeping conclusion from this, my awareness of my own ignorance, combined with my own limited experience as a translator, makes me proceed cautiously.  Nevertheless, I find it striking that in one place the same Greek word can be translated as the many and in another as many, and that the Latin text uses multi(s) in both places.  The temptation is to use this as evidence that pro multis could have been translated as for the many or for the multitudes instead of as for many without doing any harm at all to the Latin text while emphasizing the universal nature of Christ’s sacrifice.  However, there may well be nuances of the use of the language in the various passages that argue for one reading in one place, and a different one elsewhere.   I cannot resolve this question, and perhaps it is moot:  as a Church we have better things to do with our time, as Pope Francis has made clear.  But it is fun to think about.

The real bottom line:  I wish I spoke both Latin and Greek to answer this question.   Thoughts, corrections, and emendations would be appreciated.

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81 Comments
  1. Mark VA permalink
    December 1, 2013 1:22 pm

    A very thoughtful post, Mr. Cruz-Uribe. I’ve been thinking about the distinction between the “for all” and “for many” for some time, but I can’t say I feel as if I have something definitive to suggest. My thinking revolves around the idea mentioned in the passage you quoted:

    “… those who receive the abundance of grace… “.

    I think we agree that Christ’s grace is offered to all, without exception. Those who choose to receive it, will inherit God’s eternal life, and we should pray that they are many. Some choose to refuse it, and will inherit an existence apart from God, according to their desire.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
      December 1, 2013 3:55 pm

      Thanks Mark.

      “Some choose to refuse it, and will inherit an existence apart from God, according to their desire.”

      I must confess to having flirted with universalism, an idea that Gregory of Nyssa, Julian of Norwich and Therese of Lisieux all considered. In it, the universal dominion of Christ collides with free will in a way that is the mirror image of double predestination as argued by strict Calvinists. It is both a comforting and terrifying idea. Perhaps the best we can do is, like Karl Barth, affirm the existence of Hell and pray that it is empty.

  2. Chris Sullivan permalink
    December 1, 2013 2:06 pm

    One of the problems with “many” in English is that it can just mean a few. It does not really capture the connotation of a multitude which the latin “multis” expresses.

    The over-emphasis on literal translation from the latin is one-sided. Of much greater importance are the pastoral implications – how the faithful interpret the liturgy. Once people think that Christ only died for many and not all (which is formally a heresy) then they will naturally concluded that such a Jesus who declined to die for all could not possibly be God. I think the new translation is corrosive to faith, especially to those whose faith is weak and are trying to make sense of the words they hear in the liturgy.

    I applaud the German Bishops for standing firm on this important issue. How I wish the English language Bishops had had the same courage to stand up for this and say NO to the new translation. There is an urgent need for greater autonomy for local Bishop’s conferences and a substantially reduced bureaucratic dominance from the Vatican, which at its worse has been expressed in a number of shocking cases of bullying in the Church.

    God Bless

  3. Julia Smucker permalink*
    December 2, 2013 2:01 am

    Once again, I am having a divided reaction – in which, to be brutally frank, I am doubly annoyed. As a linguist and translator who is also a practicing Catholic, I am annoyed afresh at the precedence given to literalism over theological clarity (which in itself is evidence that literalistic, aka word-based, translation is often not an adequate conveyor of meaning). And as a practicing Catholic (and unrepentant overthinker) who has spent the past two years making a gradual and reluctant peace with a retranslation that I strongly disagree with on linguistic grounds, I am annoyed at this reopening of old wounds that may make it harder for me to participate in the Mass in a prayerful and charitable spirit as I get mentally tripped up over issues of wording all over again. Maybe that’s between me and my confessor, but still, revisiting this debate isn’t helping.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
      December 2, 2013 7:44 am

      Julia, I am sorry if this post (or these several posts) have been personally painful for you. As I said, perhaps I should just drop this. But the fact remains that I keep running across things I wish I had known two years ago when these issues were “hot” and I feel a desire to explore them. Like you I am not happy with the new translation, but we seem to be different in that my prayer at mass is no longer perturbed by asking these questions. Indeed, puzzling over these fine points has helped me to understand both scripture and the liturgy more fully. To borrow from Humpty Dumpty, I now know better what they mean, even if (in the case of the liturgy) that is not what they say.

      I hope that the next time I post I will speak a word that will strengthen you.

  4. Roger permalink
    December 2, 2013 12:13 pm

    Of course we could all avoid this translation bugaboo by attending Mass in Latin only. I say this knowing most of you would never dream of such a thing. Just the fact you have an issue with the direct and correct translation tells me a lot.

    Oh and BTW, it is for many NOT all.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
      December 2, 2013 2:47 pm

      Attending a Latin mass does not solve the problem—it only pushes it back one. Unless we had a population that was literate in Latin (as, say a significant percentage of Jews are literate in biblical Hebrew) then we would hear the prayers in Latin and ask what they meant in English, and the same problems of translation would be present. However, this is completely counter-factual, as there have not been, outside of seminaries and religious communities, large groups of Catholics hearing the mass who understood what was being said in many, many centuries.

      “Oh and BTW, it is for many NOT all.”

      As Shakespeare said somewhere, “To vouch it is no proof.” Would you care to address the reasoning behind this claim, or even address the more subtle distinction between “many” and “the many” which is what I was more interested in?

      • Roger permalink
        December 2, 2013 3:41 pm

        I’ve attended hundreds of Masses in Latin and I don’t speak or understand the language but it is easy to follow. The homily is spoken in the local language and during Novus Ordos Latin Masses the readings are also in the local language.

        Nowhere in the documents of the Second Vatican Council did it say to eliminate the Latin Mass. Therefore, I can never understand why the liberals of the Church are so against it. Also, remember, we are Roman Catholics, not only Christians.

        As for the many vs all debate – the direct translation from Latin is in fact “the many”. End of debate.

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
          December 2, 2013 5:43 pm

          Roger, now I am a bit confused. You do not speak or understand Latin, so in what sense can you say that a Latin mass is “easy to follow”? Certainly, when I attend mass in, say, Germany, I can easily follow along in the sense that I know when to stand, when to kneel, when to cross myself, and when people are responding I have a pretty good idea of which responses (in English) I should say quietly along with them. But I certainly do not understand the prayers. I can remember the gist of them from English, but if the priest chooses to use a special preface or one of the less customary Eucharistic prayers, I will have no idea what is actually being prayed. If you follow along, I presume you are relying on a translation, or you are relying the prayers having some meaning, unknown to you, that is important for God to hear. If the former, then we are back to the problem of translation. I am not sure about the latter contingency.

          The question of the use of Latin in the liturgy is a bit of a digression, so I will simply say that the Father of Vatican II called for “full and and active participation in the liturgy” (I believe that is a direct quote) and the bishops who went home after the Council and implemented these documents decided that this was best accomplished by translating the liturgy into English (or other local languages). So to simply call this a liberal/conservative thing is to create a false dichotomy.

          As for the translation in question: while I admire your epistemological certainty, the problem is not that easy. The underlying Latin is “pro multis” which can be literally translated as “for many” or “for the many” or “for the multitudes”, as well as perhaps other, less common uses of “multis”. Why are you certain that it is “the many” as opposed to “many”? And why are you certain that the literal translation is the correct one? In the passage from Paul that I started this, Paul is pretty clearly talking about Christ saving everyone, and the Latin translators of this passage used “for all” and “for the many” in ways that suggest that on theological grounds a more accurate (in terms of meaning, not literalism) would be to translate “pro multis” as “for all”.

  5. Mark VA permalink
    December 2, 2013 7:50 pm

    Mr. Cruz-Uribe:

    Please allow me to offer a few observations:

    (a) In my opinion, the mass in Latin is very easy to follow (btw, I attend the Extraordinary Form almost exclusively), for at least these two reasons:

    The beginners have the books with the vernacular and Latin side by side, and the more advanced have the accumulated experience to guide them;

    I assume most of us who blog here speak more than one language fluently (no?), so it should be intuitively understood that when learning a language, the degree of comprehension exceeds the degree of verbalization by a sizable margin. Thus, after so many exposures, one need not be a fluent speaker of Latin to understand the mass words and phrases. For example, the prayer “Domine, non sum dignus…” has become easier for me to say and think of in Latin, than in the other languages;

    (b) Let’s be precise when we call on the authority of Sacrosanctum Concilium:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html

    With respect to the liturgy and Latin, these are some of the salient quotes:

    “ 36. 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.
    4. Translations from the Latin text into the mother tongue intended for use in the liturgy must be approved by the competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned above. “

    (c) In my view, these instructions don’t necessarily equate to the Ordinary Form, which did not preserve Latin, but eliminated it instead. So my concluding point is this: those who advocate for the greater use of Latin in liturgy are being more faithful to the spirit and the letter of Vatican II, than those who want this beautiful language to be forgotten.

    • December 3, 2013 3:30 pm

      Hand missals for the laity didn’t appear until the 19th century, and they were very controversial when they first came out. Prior to this, the laity had very little idea what was going on in the Mass and didn’t try to understand. Even if the Latin Mass became universal, the issue of translation would still exist, since the vernacular would have to appear on the other side of the Latin text.

      • Kurt permalink
        December 3, 2013 6:47 pm

        Yes, not only controversial, but they were banned by the Church. The first appeared in Germany during the Kulturkampf when the Church authorities were in no position to enforce the ban.

        Secondly, Latin is preserved in the Latin rite. Howeer less common, it is not extinct.

        Third, like the majority of the lay faithful, I am monolingual even thought I am part of the 25% minority of American Catholics with a college degree. Maybe the sense the church is for an educated multi-lingual elite is the reason the working class has abandoned the Catholic faith without a whimper of concern or notice by most of our church leaders. I remember the old line that with the Latin Mass, Catholics could travel anywhere in the world and hear the same Mass. As if our primary liturgical concern is for the jet set in their world travels.

    • Julia Smucker permalink*
      December 3, 2013 5:16 pm

      Mark VA, you are correct to point out that Sacrosanctum Concilium contains a more nuanced view of liturgical language than it often gets credit for in these debates. Similar things could be said of any of the Vatican II documents. However, I see another false dichotomy at play, which comes up frequently in this sort of discussion: Latin vs. vernacular, with many people militating for one or the other under the assumption that one cannot love both.

      I love Latin as I love all language and do not want it to be forgotten. It is a medium for many of the Church’s treasures. I have loved it as a musician since well before I had any thought of being Catholic, and more recently I have relished the opportunity to learn the intricacies of Gregorian chant (which actually figured prominently in liturgical reform in the decades before Vatican II, but that’s a whole other subject).

      Now, hopefully having established my Latinophile street cred, let me also say this: while it is true that Vatican II did not explicitly prescribe fully vernacular liturgy, it did open the way for it. The end result may not have been the direct intention of the council fathers at the time (or if it was, it would be hard to establish this after the fact), but neither did they preclude it, as was made obvious by what followed. They did not foresee that every bishops’ conference in the world would request and receive permission for full vernacular translation of the Mass, but that’s exactly what happened as they followed the trajectory of “full, conscious and active participation” set not only by Vatican II but also by the liturgical movement that preceded the council (that famous phrase, by the way, originally came from a motu proprio by Pope Pius X).

      I cannot agree with those who talk as if Vatican II was a discontinuous leap from the Dark Ages into Eden, or vice-versa, but I believe in the kind of continuity that moves along a trajectory through the Church’s history, and Vatican II, like other era-defining councils, was a significant turning point within that – and one whose implications have unfolded beyond the event itself. My point here is that something doesn’t have to be explicitly prescribed in the council documents in order for it to have followed, naturally and licitly, from what the council did.

      Personally, I’d love to see a predominantly vernacular liturgy in which people don’t get freaked out by the occasional Latin ordinary or chant proper. Actually, I have seen that in a few places, but I wish it were more common, as opposed to the kind of “liturgy war” divisions that we too often have.

      • Agellius permalink
        December 3, 2013 5:56 pm

        Julia:

        “The end result may not have been the direct intention of the council fathers at the time … but neither did they preclude it, as was made obvious by what followed.”

        It seems to me that the exclusion of Latin is precluded by the provision that “the use of the Latin language is to be preserved”. If the Council can be cited in support of “full, active participation” then we should also be able to cite it for the preservation of Latin.

        • Julia Smucker permalink*
          December 4, 2013 3:42 pm

          I have not argued for “the exclusion of Latin”. In fact, I explicitly expressed a preference for its preservation, in musical form, within the vernacular liturgy. If that’s still not enough Latin for your taste, I won’t fault you for that, but don’t put words in my mouth.

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
        December 3, 2013 7:52 pm

        Julia has eloquently made the point I was going to, that the transition to a fully vernacular liturgy was the work of the very bishops who approved Sacrosanctum Concilium.

      • Roger permalink
        December 4, 2013 11:37 am

        Julia,
        I’m completely with you on your last paragraph. To me its kind of best of both worlds. As well though, the Holy Church needs to preserve the Traditional Latin Mass and make it available to people throughout the world. The closest parish that offers this Mass is about a 45 minute drive from my home. I just wish more parishes offered it weekly, thus, making it a shorter drive for myself. I know, I’m being selfish : )

        • Julia Smucker permalink*
          December 4, 2013 3:57 pm

          Granted. On the one hand, I always brace a little at the term “Traditional Latin Mass” with its implication that the Novus Ordo is not just as much a part of the Church’s Tradition. On the other hand, Christian charity compels me to agree that if you are nourished by the Extraordinary Form, it should be available to you, although this wouldn’t necessarily be a priority to the same extent everywhere in the world.

        • Kurt permalink
          December 4, 2013 3:57 pm

          Roger, in the past decade, a number of parishes have been erected to serve those with a preference for the former Mass rites while almost all parish closing have been those that serve the poor and working class. Your preferences have certainly been beating out my preferences in recent years.

  6. Roger permalink
    December 3, 2013 10:12 am

    Mark V A,

    Brilliantly put. I don’t have to add anything further.

    David,

    My apologies if I came across as rude – it was not my intention. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
      December 3, 2013 7:51 pm

      Roger, no problem: I didn’t think you were rude, just not answering the questions in the detail I hoped for.

  7. Agellius permalink
    December 3, 2013 3:17 pm

    On the other hand:

    “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands
    for the praise and glory of his name,
    for our good, and the good of all his holy Church [Ecclesiae suae sanctae].”

    Why do you suppose the original ICEL translators took out the word “holy”?

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
      December 3, 2013 4:39 pm

      Good question. I don’t know the answer. One guess (which has a 60’s feel to it) is that they were thinking of the Church according to the “Pilgrim Church” ideal, which consists of both saints and sinners. Thought of in this way, perhaps they felt that “holy” suggested only the “good” parts of the Church were being blessed.

      I don’t think any of the critics of the revised translation thought the original was perfect; indeed, a lot of effort went into a revised ICEL translation which ended up getting scrapped by Vox Clara. I wonder if this was changed in the original ICEL revision.

      Honest question: in the 1960’s, did the ICEL ever publish a commentary on their work in which they discussed their translation principles and the specific choices they made? It would be interesting to have primary source material about their decisions instead of trying to reconstruct their reasoning post facto.

      • Julia Smucker permalink*
        December 3, 2013 5:42 pm

        The 1969 document Comme Le Prévoit springs to mind, although it did not originate with ICEL. I can’t find it on the Vatican website (perhaps because of its being displaced by Liturgiam Authenticam, which introduced misguidedly literalistic translation principles, but don’t get me started), but I found an online PDF here.

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
          December 3, 2013 7:50 pm

          Thank you Julia! This merits careful reading.

        • December 3, 2013 10:51 pm

          This website gives links to some ICEL commentaries on the first draft of the English translation. As those here may or may not know, the first draft of the Mass in English(1970, I think) was slightly closer to the new one, but was revised after a year or two into the form we had until 2011. The link refers to some of the issues discussed on that, and compares them to the new translation. Might be of interest.

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
          December 4, 2013 7:11 am

          Thanks, Turmarion! I will check this out.

  8. Mark VA permalink
    December 3, 2013 9:43 pm

    Mr. Cruz-Uribe:

    (a) After the first dry run of the experimental Novus Ordo Mass (in late 1967) for the 187 member Episcopal Synod in Rome, the subsequent voting went as follows:

    Non placet – 43
    Juxta modum – 62
    Abstensions – 4

    Source: http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/reformof.htm#1

    (b) At the launch of the Novus Ordo Mass, in November 1969, Pope Paul VI, filled with optimism and hope, made these remarks:

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P6691126.HTM

    (c) A few years later, the mood has changed, and by late 1972, Pope Paul VI was concerned with defending the Church against evil:

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/p6devil.htm

    (d) Yes, correlation is not causation. Yet, the incongruity between the early optimism and the subsequent grave concerns, in such a short period of time, should give the thoughtful person a pause. I propose we are still traversing the sea of incongruity.

    • Kurt permalink
      December 4, 2013 7:34 am

      Mark,

      This is the worst of conservative polemticism, even though what you post seems to be the standard conservative myth. You baselessly imply that there is some fault with vernacular worship because of the last link. Yet in what you link, Paul VI makes no mention of any issues with the liturgical renewal. It is one of about 750 general audience addresses he made as Pope and even those of us who think at times the Church has focused too much on evil and the Devil at the expense of other topics, I think most of us would agree that a preacher should be speaking to the reality of evil at least once in every 750 sermons.

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
        December 4, 2013 11:55 am

        Kurt,

        while I agree with you that it is a stretch to try to link Paul VI’s comments about evil and the liturgical renewal, I think you are grossly over-exaggerating in calling this “the worst of conservative polemticism”. I would reserve such labels for people such as Michael Voris ranting about “effeminate bishops” or (across the aisle) liberal commentators railing about “patriarchal neanderthals.”

        • Kurt permalink
          December 4, 2013 4:01 pm

          Point well taken. It is mild compared to the FOX News commentator that says Jesus is weeping in heaven over the Pope’s anti-capitalist comments.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
      December 4, 2013 3:27 pm

      Mark,

      with regards to the vote: the tallies you copy from Cardinal Ottoviani’s letter (and it is worth remembering that he was truly one of the most outspoken reactionaries at Vatican II in assessing his letter) omits the fact that of the 187 votes, 80 were straight up yes votes, and 62 were weaker “yes with reservations”. Thus, a total of 142 supported the text—a hair short of 76% of the votes. That a significant minority (about 1/3 of those present) had reservations, but their reservations must be balanced by the fact that they still felt they could vote yes. I have significant reservations about the Affordable Care Act, but can still support it. To try to make those reservations evidence that I oppose it would be tendentious.

  9. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    December 4, 2013 3:21 pm

    “The 1969 document Comme Le Prévoit” linked to by Julia above is a fascinating read, and I recommend all sides to read over their general principles. Let me through a few quotes out that struck me as I was reading it:

    (12) The translator must always keep in mind that the “unit of meaning” is not the individual word but the whole passage. The translator must therefore be careful that the translation is not so analytical that it exaggerates the importance of particular phrases while it obscures or weakens the meaning of the whole.

    (20) The prayer of the Church is always the prayer of some actual community, assembled
    here and now. It is not sufficient that a formula handed down from some other time or
    region be translated verbatim, even if accurately, for liturgical use.

    (33) …These texts, whether ancient or modern, have a precise and studied theological elaboration. If the text is ancient, certain Latin terms present difficulties of interpretation because of their use and meaning, which are much different from their corresponding terms in modern language. The translation will therefore demand an astute handling and sometimes a paraphrasing, in order to render accurately the original pregnant meaning.

    (34) The prayers (opening prayer, prayer over the gifts, prayer after communion, and prayer over the people) from the ancient Roman tradition are succinct and abstract. In translation they may need to be rendered somewhat more freely while conserving the original ideas. This can be done by moderately amplifying them or, if necessary, paraphrasing expressions in order to concretize them for the celebration and the needs of today In every case pompous and superfluous language should be avoided.

    • Agellius permalink
      December 4, 2013 3:32 pm

      The phrase “big enough to drive a truck through” springs to mind.

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
        December 4, 2013 5:45 pm

        Why?

    • Julia Smucker permalink*
      December 4, 2013 4:26 pm

      In the interest of honesty, I must again note that Comme Le Prévoit was replaced as a liturgical translation guideline by Liturgiam Authenticam in 2001, although any linguist worth their salt would tell you that the former contains much sounder translation principles. While this hasn’t gotten much focus within the missal controversy, the failure to consult any actual linguists when determining the translation principles to be followed was, in my biased opinion, the biggest oversight in the process.

      • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
        December 4, 2013 4:56 pm

        And to round out this note, here is a link to Liturgiam Authenticam:

        http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20010507_liturgiam-authenticam_en.html

        By coincidence, today is the 50th anniversary of the approval of the constitution of the sacred liturgy. Happy Anniversary, everyone!

      • December 4, 2013 11:19 pm

        Good point, Julia. I’ve had only two years of high-school Latin some thirty years ago, plus some avocational study on my own, and even I could tell you that “it is right and just” is not quite correct for “dignum et iustum est”. Dignum (from which we get “dignity”) means something more like “appropriate” or “fitting”. The old Book of Common Prayer “it is meet and right” hits it much better–the archaic “meet” is almost exactly equivalent to dignum, and “right” is about equally good as “just” for iustum, the root of which is ius, “right” or “privilege” (in the legal sense). If a high school Latin education is more accurate here than what the bishops came up with, what does that say?

        I have to mention “consubstantial”, too. Yes, the Latin is consubstantialis (in the nominative). However, the Nicene Creed was originally written in Greek, which has homoousious. Homo of course, is “same”, and ousia is derived from einai, “to be”, and literally means “essence” or “being”. Homoousios thus means “same essence” or “same being” or, as the 1970 translation has it slightly less literally but perfectly accurately, “one in being”.

        The translation to consubstantialis was because of a defect of the Latin. 4th Century Latin lacked a word for “being” or “essence”. Substantia–literally, “that which stands under” was substituted as the best the translators of the Creed could come up with. Thus, consubstantialis–“with the substance (of)”; admittedly a limping attempt to render “same essence”. Later on, in the Middle Ages, philosophers writing in ecclesiastical Latin coined the words “essentia (“essence”) and (I think) ens, “being”; but by that time consubstantialis had been set in stone.

        Thus, ironically, the original translators of the Creed into Latin were more or less following the guidelines of the much-derided-by-traditionalists Comme le prévoit! On the other hand, by changing “one in being” to “consubstantial”, the new translation is truer to the Latin text but farther from the original Greek formulation of the Creed. It doesn’t do to say that “consubsantial” is closer to the original, unless one means the original mistranslation. One can only conclude that it’s not a matter of accuracy but of imposing a certain view of things and pressing a preference for Latin regardless of any other considerations that seem operative here.

  10. Agellius permalink
    December 4, 2013 4:21 pm

    Julia:

    You write, “I have not argued for “the exclusion of Latin”. … If that’s still not enough Latin for your taste, I won’t fault you for that, but don’t put words in my mouth.”

    I beg your pardon, but it wasn’t my intention to put words in your mouth. You had made the statement that the fully vernacular liturgy was not precluded by Vatican II, and I was making that point that I think it actually was.

    On another tack, I realize that many of the same “Fathers” who approved Sacrosanctum Concilium also implemented the vernacular liturgy. But I think that’s beside the point. The point (at least my point) was that if the *Council* can be cited in support of “full, active participation” then it can also be cited in support of preserving Latin.

    The bishops who later instituted the vernacular liturgy were acting as bishops but not as Council Fathers.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
      December 4, 2013 5:44 pm

      You are correct: the text of the document can be used to support either position. And here we run into one of the problems with trying to figure out the clear meaning of the text: there are two a priori legitimate readings. However, when viewed historically, it becomes clear that the tension between preserving the historical use of Latin and the desire to have fuller participation by having the liturgies in the vernacular was resolved by the bishops (who though they acted as individual bishops, were Council Fathers and so should be given some credit for understanding what the Council intended) by going for a liturgy in the vernacular. This was approved, repeatedly, by the Pope. So at the risk of being Whiggish, it would seem reasonable that this outcome is consonant with what the Council Fathers intended. They may not have thought it through in Council, and in the abstract thought that these two could be balanced against one another—and I would note that in a very different context, many kinds of Judaism maintain this balance. But it appears that once the rubber hit the road, they decided they could not do both.

      • Agellius permalink
        December 4, 2013 6:03 pm

        David:

        Note that I’m not arguing that banishing Latin from the liturgy was illicit — since the Council left it up to the “competent authorities” to decide how much vernacular to allow — just that it goes against the stated intention of the Council.

        But I wonder how devotees of the Novus Ordo would react if the bishops and the pope licitly decided to go against the stated intention of the Council in regard to “full, active participation”, the way they did in regard to retaining Latin? Or for that matter, if they acted in *accord* with the stated intention of the Council by reinstating an all-Latin liturgy? I suspect that the letter of the Council would suddenly seem a lot more important to some people.

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
          December 4, 2013 6:19 pm

          A reasonable question, but I don’t think the two are comparable, because of historical contingency. If, in the late 1960s the bishops had decided the other way, and had kept a fully or mostly Latin liturgy, then we would have spent the last forty years discussing/arguing about how to bring about full participation in the liturgy. And, who knows, it might have worked.

          But 40 years have passed, so a decision to reinstate Latin now would be a very different act, both in intention and outcome, than the decision to institute the vernacular was 40 years ago. You could argue that it is the same as the decision to drop Latin and institute the vernacular, but it really is not: letting the Djinn out of the bottle is very different from trying to stuff it back in again.

        • Kurt permalink
          December 4, 2013 8:55 pm

          Again, Latin has not been banished from the liturgy. Just like buffalo have not been banished from the Great Plains. Both still exist even if not as common as in the past.

          You are misunderstanding the Council document and as evidence as to what the proper understanding is, it is totally legitimate to see what the Council Fathers who wrote and adopted the Constitution did back in their home dioceses.

  11. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    December 4, 2013 4:54 pm

    The 1967 Experimental translation that Tumarion links to above is interesting for its detailed commentary on the fine distinctions that the translators were working with. Though no abstract principles are articulated, they seem to be following the rules laid out in Comme Le Prevoit discussed above.

    With regards to the current discussion about “pro multis”, they translated this as “for all men” and wrote in the commentary:

    “Neither Hebrew nor Aramaic possess a word for ‘all’. The word rabbim
    or ‘multitude’ thus served also in the inclusive sense for ‘the whole’, even though the corresponding Greek and the Latin appear to have an exclusive sense, i.e., ‘the many’ rather than ‘the all’. Cf. J. Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus (New York, 1966), pp.
    179-182, 229. ”

    The underlying principle seems to be the following: we will translate what the text means, not what the text appears to say literally. Communicating a truth of the faith is more important than hewing directly to the Latin text.

  12. Agellius permalink
    December 4, 2013 6:37 pm

    David asks, “Why?” (in response to my comment, “The phrase ‘big enough to drive a truck through’ springs to mind.”

    One of the guidelines is, “The prayer of the Church is always the prayer of some actual community, assembled here and now. It is not sufficient that a formula handed down from some other time or region be translated verbatim, even if accurately, for liturgical use.”

    Why would it be “not sufficient” to accurately translate Mass prayers that were handed down to us from previous centuries? In all the years I’ve been attending a Latin mass, with its literal, verbatim translations of the ancient (and European) Mass prayers, I don’t recall ever thinking, “Boy, that prayer is sure irrelevant to this community!”

    But in terms of the “hole”, what I mean is that this seems to leave it up to the translators to decide what the prayer of the current “actual community” is or should be. In other words they can make it mean whatever they think is currently “relevant”.

    Besides, this principle would seem to require that each individual parish translate the Mass prayers to suit its own situation. After all, if the prayers of other centuries aren’t relevant to us, the prayers of other cities, states or countries might be just as irrelevant.

    I may be overly suspicious of the potential motives of the translators. But it appears that the later Popes also decided that a bit less leeway was in order.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
      December 5, 2013 7:19 am

      What principles do you suppose Cyril and Methodius used when they translated the liturgy into Slavonic? Or when the unknown scholars translated the liturgy into Latin from Greek in 4th century Rome? I suspect they were much more concerned with the prayer of the community they were addressing than fidelity to the (already venerable) Greek liturgy in their hands.

      So why is something done by the Fathers of the Church okay, but not when done in our own age?

      I am reminded of a comment Chaim Potok once made about rabbinic scholarship. He pointed out that Orthodox Judaism resisted the introduction of the historical critical method; in particular objecting to the idea that the text of Torah might in any way be corrupt or in need of emendation. But one of the intellectual heros, Rabbi Elijah of Vilna, the Vilna Gaon, freely corrected the text of Torah when he had solid reasons for doing so.

      • Agellius permalink
        December 5, 2013 1:51 pm

        David writes, “So why is something done by the Fathers of the Church okay, but not when done in our own age?”

        If their assignment was to produce a new or revised version of the mass and its prayers, then nothing would be wrong with it. But the revision had already been done, to the Latin text. The job of the translators (correct me if I’m wrong) was to *translate* the official Latin into the vernacular. Why would you not try to do so accurately?

        In any event, my point was not to say that the translation guidelines were right or wrong, just that they leave more leeway than I would be comfortable with.

  13. Agellius permalink
    December 4, 2013 6:44 pm

    “letting the Djinn out of the bottle is very different from trying to stuff it back in again.”

    Yes. Those Djinn can get pretty nasty when you try to reign them in. ; )

  14. Agellius permalink
    December 5, 2013 1:02 pm

    Kurt:

    You write, “Again, Latin has not been banished from the liturgy.”

    In most parishes at most times it has, in fact if not in law. Although I have attended mass at dozens of parishes since my re-conversion in my 20s, I never learned of a Latin mass that I could feasibly attend, in the new or old forms, until I reached my 40s (and it’s a 35-minute drive each way). Yes, you occasionally hear “Adeste Fidelis” or something, but I hardly think that counts as “preserving Latin in the liturgy”.

    You write, “You are misunderstanding the Council document and as evidence as to what the proper understanding is, it is totally legitimate to see what the Council Fathers who wrote and adopted the Constitution did back in their home dioceses.”

    I don’t know on what ground you say that I misunderstand, since you don’t say. But I think it’s reasonable to assume that the Council Fathers meant what they said. They may have changed their minds later, but their later actions are not actions of the Council. People don’t always act the same in groups as they do alone. It appears that as a group they said one thing, but individually they acted otherwise. That’s fine, but the group and the approved writings of the group are what constitute a council, and I think I’m within my rights to rely on what they wrote. Otherwise what’s the point in writing it?

    As I said before, I’m not arguing that it was illegitimate to not preserve (de facto, in most places) Latin in the liturgy, just that it goes against the stated intention of the Council.

    • Kurt permalink
      December 5, 2013 3:52 pm

      The Council Fathers did mean what they said.

      The said that the Latin liturgy is to be preserved in the Latin Church. They did not say that it is to be preserved in every parochial community. While they spoke of the Latin liturgy continuing to be a living practice of the Church they did not speak as to how extensive or commonplace it is to be. They didn’t even say it needs to be pastorally preserved, which could imply its availability to all of those who think they might get pastoral benefit from it.

      There are Latin liturgies in the Latin Church today. It is not like the Sarum rite, which has not been preserved.

      Now, while they simply said it is to be preserved without indicating how extensively, you might argue that while they didn’t say how extensively, they meant in every parish or at least parts of every Mass. But in discerning what they meant but didn’t say, the actions of the Council Fathers would be indicative.

      The use of Latin in the liturgy as it exists in the Latin Church today is an important part of our patrimony and should continue to be preserved. The degree to which it used is a pastoral consideration which may wax and wane.

      • Mark VA permalink
        December 5, 2013 9:38 pm

        Kurt:

        What if after ordering a steak dinner, a plate containing an 1/8 oz steak with some vegetables was delivered? And after a polite inquiry, the maitre d’ responded:

        “Sir, when we mention a 20 ounce steak on the menu, it shouldn’t be assumed by our patrons that it will be served on every such plate. Its amount will wax and wane, according to certain, well, considerations”.

        Kurt, where is the beef?

        • Kurt permalink
          December 6, 2013 9:39 am

          Mark,

          And this is the error too many neo-traditionalists make. You look upon the liturgy as a consumer item and feel particularly those with a superior palate should be able to order up their favored item at any time.

          The purpose of allowing vernacular worship was pastoral and the extent and degree it was adopted was based on a discernment of pastoral benefit. If you think your pastor has misjudged this, I would suggest speaking to him.

          But the Council wisely cautioned that even if it was found that there was pastoral benefit in having worship mostly and almost always in the vernacular (which I would say is what the Church did find), that there still should be a preservation of the Latin liturgy.

          Maybe if we were to stick with your restaurant analogy, the better example would be a restaurant would no longer require all meals to be served with pickled calves feet but make sure that at least one person in the kitchen has preserved the ability to pickle calves feet for when the chef decides to include it in the menu.

          Unlike the Sarum rite which has not been preserved, the Church has preserved the Mozarabic rite even while limiting it to a single chapel in Toledo. The Latin liturgy on the other hand exists even more widely in its preservation.

  15. Ronald King permalink
    December 6, 2013 11:08 am

    I am absolutely ignorant of language translation but am extremely interested in the interpretation of the language I speak. This jumped out at me, “condemnation came upon all,
    so, through one righteous act
    acquittal and life came to all.
    For just as through the disobedience of one man
    the many were made sinners,
    so, through the obedience of the one
    the many will be made righteous.”

    I interpret that all were condemned and then all were acquitted. Perhaps “many” but not all were made sinners so then it would follow that those many will be made righteous who happened to be unlucky enough to be a sinner myself included.

  16. Agellius permalink
    December 6, 2013 2:12 pm

    Kurt:

    It seems our main disagreement may lie in whether Sacrosanctum Concilium (SC) is laying down norms for the mass, or only making prescriptions to be observed in some proportion of masses, the number of which is to be decided upon later. As I read SC, I see it setting forth new norms for the mass. Thus, when it says that the limits of the vernacular will be extended, and that the rubrics will be simplified, it doesn’t mean that those things will happen in some number of liturgies, but in “the liturgy” generally.

    If you disagree — if you’re saying that when it says “Latin shall be preserved in the liturgy”, it only need refer to “some exceptional liturgies here and there” to be fulfilled — then the same also applies to extending the limits of the vernacular: It only has to occur somewhere in the world in order to fulfill the requirements laid out by the Council, and not in “the liturgy” as a rule. So 99% of masses could be entirely in Latin and that would fulfill the Council’s intent, so long as the occasional mass here and there had some vernacular in it.

    Let me ask you this: If the pope and the bishops implemented a policy whereby 99% of all masses in the world were entirely in Latin, and only 1% in the vernacular, would you say that was in accord with the stated intent of the Council? If not, then you understand my position. If so, then you’re saying that the Council is basically indifferent to whether 99% of masses in the world are entirely in Latin or entirely in the vernacular.

    But was it intended to be that open-ended? Is it not prescriptive, but merely reflective — in advance — of whatever the bishops happen to decide later on, when they’re no longer in council? If so, then the language it employs is wildly inapposite, since it’s far too specific about what it intends.

    Thus SC says the vernacular is to be extended primarily into the “readings and directives”, “some of the prayers and chants” and “those parts which pertain to the people.” Or speaking of the wedding mass, it specifies that “the prayer for the bride, duly amended … may be said in the mother tongue.” Why specify these parts if it’s indifferent to whether the entire mass, as a rule, is in Latin or in the vernacular?

    Note also that when SC talks about the vernacular being extended, it speaks of expanding it into new *parts* of THE mass, not expanding it into a larger *number* of masses. Clearly then, it is speaking of the mass as a rule and not of particular or occasional masses.

    It’s clear to me that the stated intention of the Council is that “the liturgy” as a rule be partly in Latin and partly in the vernacular, the specific proportions of which are left to the competent authorities. It clearly does not envision 99% of masses being entirely in the vernacular and 1% entirely in Latin, or vice versa. The language is just not applicable to that kind of a scenario.

    Again my disclaimer, lest any latecomers misconstrue me: I’m not arguing that it’s illicit to have the mass as a rule be entirely in the vernacular, only that it’s not consistent with the stated intentions of the Council.

    • Kurt permalink
      December 6, 2013 6:02 pm

      As I read SC, I see it setting forth new norms for the mass.

      The Council documents were not norms. I think every canonist would agree with me on that even if they have great sympathy for what you desire to see. The Counsilum had that duty.

      Let me ask you this: If the pope and the bishops implemented a policy whereby 99% of all masses in the world were entirely in Latin, and only 1% in the vernacular, would you say that was in accord with the stated intent of the Council?

      Yes, if they found that was what was pastorally called for. Personally, I think the People of God were well prepared and very much desired and expected vernacular worship. But let say this was a gravely misjudged assumption. Yes, then a very limited use of the vernacular would have been appropriate.

      SC rightly gives a hierarchy of where in the Mass vernacular should consider. It is a very thoughtful sequence and my own parish followed that sequence, introducing vernacular in each stage, and then judging the benefit it had to the faithful quickly leading to all but the Kyrie, Sanctus and Canon in the vernacular.

      Now here is the dirty little secret that young neo-traditionalist don’t know about. Those of us of the liturgical renewal were quite comfortable stopping there and thereafter having a robust mixture of practices differing from parish to parish.

      but it was the conservatives (who are not the same as the traditionalists or neo-traditionalists) who were horrified at the lack of rigid uniformity from parish to parish. Change the Mass if we must, but let’s make sure that the new practices are exactly uniform in the church. Liturgical pluralism was there great fear.

  17. Mark VA permalink
    December 6, 2013 3:44 pm

    Kurt:

    I’m not sure if you remember this, but here is the classic “Where is the beef ?!” commercial (for the benefit of the younger crowd around here):

    Read between the lines, or should we say, between the two halves of the bun.

    Bon Appetit!

    • Kurt permalink
      December 6, 2013 6:04 pm

      Mark, I do remember it and such silliness does not enhance your case in something as serioius as the Roman liturgy. If you case is that the Holy Mass lacks any “beef” without the latin language, I think you have a very impoverished view of the liturgy and the Holy Eucharist.

      • Mark VA permalink
        December 6, 2013 7:56 pm

        Well, Kurt, Sacrosanctum Concilium clearly stated that Latin is to stay on the menu. Thus, it’s not my case, it’s the Vatican Two’s case.

        By the way, you do realize that with this new translation, the Ordinary Form is just one short step away from returning certain prayers to their proper liturgical language?

        It would be so easy and obvious – just move the vernacular, as is, to the right page, and put the source Latin on the left. The young people in the parish would love it – a new cool way to say the prayers, and tweak the status quo proprieties of the old folks to boot!

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
          December 7, 2013 8:40 am

          “returning certain prayers to their proper liturgical language”

          Well Mark, I guess this makes your position clear. But I have to ask: what is improper about English? And does this rationale apply to Latin? After all, in the 4th century the “proper liturgical language” was Greek, and Latin was the vernacular.

          “The young people in the parish would love it – a new cool way to say the prayers, and tweak the status quo proprieties of the old folks to boot!”

          Not any young people I know. Even the fiercely conservative Catholic students I know pray in English. A few of them have a vague nostalgia for Latin, but this is an itch they are in no hurry to scratch.

        • Kurt permalink
          December 7, 2013 10:10 am

          Well, Kurt, Sacrosanctum Concilium clearly stated that Latin is to stay on the menu

          Nothing in SC characterizes itself as a “menu”, in fact that is a rather degrading concept of liturgy.

        • David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
          December 7, 2013 12:11 pm

          Okay, it is not a menu: just a metaphor.

  18. Mark VA permalink
    December 7, 2013 12:16 pm

    Thank you, Mr. Cruz-Uribe, for your reply.

    Yes, (gasp, vapours, quick, smelling salts!) I’m of the opinion that Latin is the proper liturgical language of the Latin Church. I think the Vatican Two Council documents support this position – while vernacular was admitted into the house of Latin, it had no right to evict Latin from its own house.

    As far as young people (those born in the seventies and later) are concerned, my thinking is this:

    To say something informed on this subject, the young person should be well (and not just superficially) acquainted with both the Ordinary and the Extraordinary rites, should have read and thought about the Vatican Two Council documents, and should know something of the history of the Catholic Church prior to October 11, 1962. Also, the young person should be able to think critically at some level (somehow, PISA tests come to my mind here);

    Thus, please forgive me, but I think it is borderline rhetorical tautology to accept the situation where while they have no experience of the Extraordinary Rite, they are therefore right in concluding this Rite is not worth knowing (i.e. they have no “itch”).

    However, with this in mind, may I propose a (hopefully humorously put) compromise:

    The Ordinary Rite is like differentiation, akin to “moving forward”, while the Extraordinary Rite is like integration, being able to “trace one’s path back”, to know what came before. The Church needs to be able to do both, to experiment and preserve, at any given time, as circumstances allow.

  19. David Cruz-Uribe, SFO permalink*
    December 7, 2013 4:48 pm

    I finally got a chance to skim “Liturgiam Authenticam” and while it makes a number of useful points about maintaining stability and unity in liturgical texts, a waspish part of me wants to summarize the rules for translations as follows:

    1) You really should just use Latin instead of the vernacular.

    2) If you do use the vernacular, it should sound as much like the Latin as possible.

    3) Texts in the vernacular should be clear, and easy to understand except if that causes them to not be just like the Latin text.

    4) Texts in the vernacular should respect the grammatical and poetical structures of the language, except if that causes them to be different from the Latin.

    5) Even if the Latin text is wrong, the translation should follow the Latin text.

    6) Every word in the Latin text is sacred and has deep theological meaning; nothing was introduced into the text for poetical or stylistic purposes.

    7) Never use a common word if there is a more obscure word with the same meaning.

    On a more serious note, one thing I found striking was the desire to impose textual uniformity across linguistic groups, even if the language has diverged substantially amongst them. I am thinking particularly of Spanish: in Latin America “vosotros” (familiar plural “you”) is completely archaic and never or rarely used, whereas in Spain it is still common. It seems odd to force Latin American Catholics to use a liturgical text that makes use of an obsolete form. The effect would be roughly the same as if the English texts used “thee” “thou” “wouldst” “hast” etc.

  20. December 7, 2013 6:19 pm

    Mark writes, “I think it is borderline rhetorical tautology to accept the situation where while they have no experience of the Extraordinary Rite, they are therefore right in concluding this Rite is not worth knowing…”

    Yes, it’s very easy to talk about there being no demand for the Latin mass, when the vast majority of two generations have been raised with no exposure to it whatsoever, except perhaps being told that people who prefer it are rigid anti-Semites with a vaguely perverted love for men in lace.

    My proposal would be to put one in every parish that has more than two Sunday masses, give it five years or so, and see what proportion of people gravitate to it. (You could switch mass times around to eliminate scheduling convenience as a reason for preferring it.) If after all this, less than 1% of people still profess a preference for it, then I will accept that it’s in out-of-the-way places and at odd times only because of lack of demand.

    As it is, the lack of demand appears to have been deliberately manufactured. Generation after generation are basically programmed not to demand it. The lack of access is a self-fulfilling prophecy: There’s no access because there’s no demand. But there’s no demand because it’s treated as though it’s something disreputable, in part due to the odd times and out-of-the-way places, which make it appear as though it’s something that the Church would rather that people avoided.

    • Kurt permalink
      December 8, 2013 3:22 pm

      Agellius,

      Why not also mandate the Sarum rite and the Mozarabic rite in every parish?

      Seriously, the Roman Church has a liturgy. By exception, the former Mass liturgy may be used where a priest is willing to use it and thier are pastoral reasons to provide it for those who prefer the former rites. The debate over this was held 50 years ago and the Church decided to go a different route than you and Cardinal Ottaviani would prefer. In kindness and pastoral consideration, allowances have been made.

      The renweal of the liturgy was widely embraced by the Roman Catholic world went it was introduced. The very people well exposed to the rites of their life until then accpeted the liturgical renewal. I’m afraid your proposal is coming at the wrong time of history.

      • December 8, 2013 7:24 pm

        Kurt:

        I agree with you: The reason the Latin mass is offered only at odd times and in out-of-the-way places is not because of lack of demand, but simply because that is what the competent authorities decided would be the case. My “proposal” was simply a way of finding out whether demand for the TLM would remain minimal, were the TLM put on something more closely resembling an equal footing.

        • Kurt permalink
          December 8, 2013 8:15 pm

          I understand that. The Church has adopted a particular order for the liturgy that differs from the former rite, but making some accomadation to those with an affection for the former rite. I simply don’t believe she erred by reforming the liturgy rather than imposing two rites on every parish.

          What I don’t understand is, given one of the virtues of the current rite is it allows some options, what is it that those with an affection for the former Mass usage find missing from the renewed rite using every legitimate option in the current rite? You can say Mass in Latin, using Eucharistic Prayer One (the Roman Canon), in a fiddleback vestment, at an altar pushed against the apse, with no concelebrants, withholding the chalice from the lay faithful, and even add prayers for the conversion of Russia after Mass. Is the reading from the Hebrew Bible that offensive to neo-traditionalists? Is it that deacons must be actual deacons rather than priests dressed up as deacons? Is the inaudible prayers of the priest? Do neo-traditionalist really think the liberals are off base by suggesting the blessing of the Eucharistic elements by the priest AFTER conseceration is superfluous? Beyond those, what really is the difference?

  21. December 7, 2013 6:34 pm

    Or to put it another way, when you make it so inconvenient that only a fanatic would go to the trouble, it’s not surprising if many of those who go are fanatical. Make access more run-of-the-mill, and more run-of-the-mill Catholics will choose to attend.

    • Mark VA permalink
      December 8, 2013 5:51 pm

      Angellius:

      The method in certain dioceses is to send the parishioners who ask for the TLM to some officially designated parish – in other words, show them the door (distances notwithstanding).

      In my neck of the woods, after six years of this practice, my newly built TLM parish is literally bursting at the seams with “refuseniks”, almost all young families with many children. Thus, our capacity (including the parking lot) is more often than not met. The option is to add a third mass, but that’s not very practical in the long run, considering so many young children with fixed dinner schedules, play-times, etc.

      The practice of sending the Traditionalist Catholic families away from their home parishes can only work for some time. Many dioceses have adopted the truly pastoral solution by allowing the TLM in the home parish that requests it (as, for example, is the practice in my neighboring diocese). I think that this compassionate gesture will eventually become the practice everywhere, to the satisfaction of many, and possibly the chagrin of few.

      • Kurt permalink
        December 8, 2013 6:45 pm

        Just for the record, I have long advocated removing the decision to hold Mass according to the former rites from the pastor and place it with a majority vote of the People of God of each parish community. Oddly, my neo-traditionalist friends have never reacted with the favor I would expect.

        • December 8, 2013 7:37 pm

          Do you advocate the same thing with regard to whether to offer a mass in Spanish?

        • Kurt permalink
          December 8, 2013 7:59 pm

          As a first principle, I would hope pastors would propery discern the pastoral benefit of Mass in various languages, Latin and Spanish included. When I hear from some of the laity that pastors have not made good discernments, I am then willing to coinsdier giving the faithful a definative voice. I served on my parish council when we reduced the number of English Masses from three to two and increased the number of Spanish Masses from four to five; keeping the single French Mass at that number. It was a matter handled in a spirit of concord and Christian charirty. I hope other communities have the same experience.

  22. Ronald King permalink
    December 8, 2013 8:32 am

    I was an altar boy and grew up with the Latin Mass. I felt detached from the Mass and there seemed to be much gloom which I suppose was called piety during the Mass. I liked learning the Latin prayers and did feel superior to those who did not know Latin. However, it did not bring me any sense of being closer to God. That happened 40 plus years later without the Mass.

  23. December 8, 2013 5:57 pm

    Chris,
    You mentioned aove at the end of your comment about other “bullying from the Vatican” What were you referring to ?

  24. bamacnz permalink
    December 8, 2013 6:18 pm

    I grew up with the Latin Holy Mass … it did not change until I was in my thirties . Maybe I did not understand all the Latin words but we were taught what the different parts of the Holy Mass meant …. I still miss the prayers that were said at the foot of the altar just after the priest came into ,what was then called ,the sanctuary .

    RRe the “many” and “all” … we had it explained to us that as was said in prayer before the many , yes Christ died and shed His Blood for all but not every one of theall believed that the wine actually became the precious Blood therefore the Precious Blood at Mass was for the Many who did believe.
    Shalom Mrs Mac

  25. Agellius permalink
    December 9, 2013 1:23 am

    Kurt:

    I don’t deny that the new form of the mass can be done very well. I have seen it done in Latin, very reverently and with Gregorian chant. In fact that was my first experience of Latin in the mass; it was a few years more before I was able to attend a TLM. And I loved this new mass in Latin so much (indeed it nearly brought tears to my eyes), that it was probably the main thing that piqued my interest in attending a TLM, once I finally found one that was feasible to attend on a regular basis.

    The thing is, that kind of a new mass — extremely reverent, in Latin with Gregorian chant — I only ever found offered at a single parish, which was a 40-minute drive from my house. None of my home parishes has ever offered such a thing, My conclusion, based on my experience, is that the new mass can indeed be done very reverently and in a traditional spirit — but for whatever reason almost never is. Whereas it’s not at all rare among TLMs for them to be done in that manner.

    There is one other parish that offers a Novus Ordo, in English, but with the priest facing the altar. The only two parishes I have ever heard of where that’s done, both are parishes where the TLM is also offered. Non-TLM parishes apparently have no interest whatsoever in performing the Novus Ordo in the traditional manner. It seems that for the vast majority of pastors, Novus Ordo = modern style.

    So rather than asking me what’s my objection to the Novus Ordo performed in the traditional manner, with fiddleback vestments, etc., the people to ask are the 99.9% of Novus Ordo parishes who refuse to offer it in that manner. It’s not “offensive to traditionalists”, it’s offensive to anti-traditionalists. Ask them what their objection is. I have no objection.

    The NO in Latin could indeed satisfy the hunger of a lot of Catholics for traditional spirituality, such that they might stop grumbling about the lack of access to TLMs. It is indeed a very interesting question you raise, why there is so much opposition to the idea.

    • Kurt permalink
      December 9, 2013 8:45 pm

      Agellius,

      You say the current Roman Mass could meet your standards yet no priests will offer it as they instead offer the former Mass. Nothing prevents these priests from offering it. So again I ask, what is it about the current Mass order that neo-traditionalist find unacceptable? The reading from the Hebrew scriptures? I’m puzzled.

      But beyond my puzzlement on that questions, I’m fine with giving the lay faithful a definative vote in the form of the Mass if parish priests are thought to be obstructing the desires of the majority of the faithful.

      • Agellius permalink
        December 10, 2013 2:06 pm

        “You say the current Roman Mass could meet your standards yet no priests will offer it as they instead offer the former Mass.”

        I said that? Hmm.

        “So again I ask, what is it about the current Mass order that neo-traditionalist find unacceptable? The reading from the Hebrew scriptures? I’m puzzled.”

        I can’t speak for “neo-traditionalists” generally. Speaking for myself, I’m baffled as to why you think a reading from the Old Testament would pose a problem for anyone.

        My problem with the new mass (since you ask) is nothing unique, but one that people have discussed ad nauseum: Mainly that it was manufactured to spec rather than developing organically. I think such a dramatic change in worship so suddenly, contributed to the general impression of the time that everything was up for grabs. I think that in practice, based on my experience, it’s most often celebrated in ways that are trite and banal.

        Frankly I get *bored* during the new mass. The Responsorial Psalm and the prayers of the faithful, for example, seem to take FOREVER. I think it’s much easier to zone out during a vernacular mass, when all the words are familiar to you and you’ve heard them a thousand times, than in a Latin mass where you’re reading along in a missal. I think that generally in new masses there is too much physical noise and activity, and not enough time and stillness for contemplation. For these reasons, in my opinion the old mass is more conducive to active participation.

        But these aren’t reasons for banning the new mass or accusing it of illegitimacy. It’s just my opinion that it was implemented in a bad way, too much too fast, which encouraged the too-rapid jettisoning of traditional styles and trappings, and the instant adoption of any and all styles of music, including those that for centuries were considered unequivocally inappropriate for the liturgy.

        It’s not hopeless. These things could be fixed. But if you ask me, since the old mass is good enough, why bother? The old mass with the readings and propers in the vernacular, I think could have satisfied the stated intentions of the Council without causing the kind of wholesale upheaval and resulting resentment that we have witnessed.

        • Kurt permalink
          December 11, 2013 6:20 pm

          i’m baffled as to why you think a reading from the Old Testament would pose a problem for anyone.

          I am baffled too. Given it is the most dramatic difference between the orders of the two Mass rites, that is why I asked. It seems to me most of the other changes are minor.

          But I think you most dodged my question. Taking the order of the current Roman Mass and using all of the options it allows to those of your view, what is it that is substandard?

          From what I can tell in your response, you think the Mass is too long. I’m not clear what else.

  26. Agellius permalink
    December 12, 2013 11:55 am

    Kurt:

    I think I’ve already said that I don’t necessarily have a problem with the new mass per se, but with the way it was created and implemented and the way it is actually performed in the vast majority of cases.

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