28Aug Missal Translation – a Lutheran perspective

Yesterday’s language

The new words of the Catholic mass

Aug 22, 2011 by Gail Ramshaw

Because I affirm the unity of the body of Christ, I consider that the health of one arm affects the entire body. Thus I am either strengthened or weakened by the worship style of other Christians. For decades I’ve worked as a lay Lutheran toward making the words of Christian worship communally approved, biblically inspired, theologically alive and masterfully crafted. Given these convictions, I say with sadness that the new English translation of the Roman Catholic Order of Mass, mandated by the Vatican to be inaugurated this Advent, wounds not only many of my Catholic friends but also me.

Let me apply these four goals not only to the forthcoming Roman Catholic rite but also to texts used by many Protestant churches.

Words communally approved: Communal approval, as I see it, is achieved by means of a decadelong process involving open questionnaires, diverse committees, scholarly input, theological scrutiny, trial rites, genuine review, prudent revision, a concluding convention vote and denominationally supported education. Yet the new Roman Order of Mass has been smashed down upon the heads of dozens of eminent and skilled wordsmiths who since 1966 have labored to translate the Latin rite into English. The promised communal process was replaced by hierarchical control. Nobody claims that the words of the newly authorized translation are communally approved.

In countless Protestant churches also one finds that the staff or a single minister will compose texts for Sunday. Worshipers are expected to speak with their whole heart words that they have never laid eyes on.

Any new worship text embodies some reform agenda. Was the agenda communally approved? The 2001 Vatican document “Liturgiam Authenticam” describes some of the Roman agenda—and far from being communally affirmed, the Vatican’s literalist theory of translation has been criticized by many linguists. Furthermore, much of the Vatican agenda is an unspoken conservative rejection of some recent theological and liturgical developments, a counterreform that recalls the Council of Trent.

And then I wonder: have those ministers who construct their own liturgies clearly articulated their several agendas, and do at least their congregations approve these directions?

How wide is the envisioned Christian community? Much 20th-century liturgical renewal resulted from ecumenical cooperation in which different traditions learned from each other and collaborated on common projects. I am particularly saddened that the new Roman translation reflects a recent Vatican decision to heighten its denominational distinctiveness by rejecting use of ecumenical translations of shared texts such as the Lord’s Prayer and the creeds.

Yet all Christians should be concerned when their narrow denominational identity or preferred personal piety outshouts an emerging ecumenical consensus. I think, for example, of those Protestants who, tediously repeating what the 16th-­century Reformers said about the medieval Roman canon, refuse to pray a biblically rich Great Thanksgiving at the eucharistic table, even though a century of ecumenical scholarship concurs that eucharistia, the “thanksgiving,” is best served by a substantial prayer in which God is praised for the Earth, for centuries of the beloved stories of salvation, for the meal of Christ’s body and for the continuous infusion of the Holy Spirit.

Words biblically inspired: That Christians assemble around the word of God as found in a perpetually retranslated Bible raises many issues. Which biblical terminology is necessary for the proclamation of the mystery of Christ? In each language, which words and images best express that biblical vocabulary? How much biblical literacy ought we expect of worshipers? When is a biblical reference inaccessible and thus merely mystifying?

The new Roman translation of the prayer before communion, “Lord, I am not worthy,” now adds “that you should enter under my roof.” The text assumes that worshipers know the story of the centurion in Luke 7. The intent is noble, the educational task enormous.

In the new Roman rite, the second option for the eucharistic prayer asks the Spirit to be sent down “like the dewfall.” In the Hebrew scriptures, I count more than a dozen instances of dew as a metaphor for divine blessings (e.g., Hosea 14:5). Yet I doubt that most of the students I taught at a Catholic university know what “dewfall” is or, since their terrain does not rely on dew for fertility, would find it a powerful image of divine transformation.

And how do all of us cast, for example, the New Testament imagery of becoming slaves of Christ, beyond softening the noun to servants? And have we enriched our liturgy with the countless images for God and the sacraments that we can borrow from the Psalms?

Is the Bible rendered so as to support denominational preferences? Maintaining a traditional translation can inhibit responsibly attending to biblical meaning. That the Catholic Church continues to cast the words of institution in the future tense—”which will be given up for you,” “which will be poured out for you”—exemplifies this tendency.

For a Protestant example of this resistance, consider that seminaries have long taught that the Lord’s Prayer is a plea for the coming of God’s kingdom, and thus the translation “lead us not into temptation” misrepresents the eschatological intention of Matthew’s and Luke’s reference to the “time of trial” (NRSV), the “final test” (NAB). So why have so few Protestants adopted the more biblically faithful 1988 English Language Liturgical Consultation translation of the Lord’s Prayer, which pleads “save us from the time of trial”?

Words theologically alive: In the new Roman text, the theology expressed in the original Latin is the approved belief, and its hierarchical depiction of the church and the Earth is maintained. In a reactionary move, the rubric “the sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds” is to become “if any are present who are to receive Holy Communion under both kinds. . . .” The response to “the Lord be with you” is now to be rendered “and with your spirit,” a change that has been defended as appropriately referring to a higher “spirit” conferred on the clergy at ordination. But is it theologically helpful to be reminded of ecclesiastical status at the time when we greet one another in the Risen Christ?

All of us must inquire which century governs our worship. Have the theological gains of the 20th century entered our Sunday speech? Why do preachers who in a postmodern time accept scholarly proposals about the origin of the New Testament preach as if the Gospels are audiotapes of Jesus’ ministry?

Words masterfully crafted: Most worship includes various levels of language: elevated, colloquial and somewhere between. With my national church, I maintain that each of these levels of contemporary speech can be shaped to convey the gospel. But in the new Roman translation, the rhetorical style of complex Latinate sentences suggests that masterful English cannot carry the mystery. Perhaps those who craft liturgical texts are often tempted to resurrect the archaic: I recall that the translators of the King James Version of the Bible decided to continue use of thou-thine-thee, even though it was passing out of colloquial use, because they judged that words which sounded laden with piety would lull users into acceptance.

The new Roman Order of Mass is a compendium of the antiquated. Important nouns (e.g., Priest, Order of Bishops, Martyrs) are capitalized, while unimportant nouns (e.g., deacon, people) are not. Common titles (e.g., opening prayer, censer) are re­placed with traditional sacral terms (e.g., collect prayer, thurible). The church is a she. The word soul shows up repeatedly. (I enjoyed asking my students whether they had a soul—most said yes—and if they had one, what it was—big blank.) Does not the choice of archaisms suggest that God is essentially old-fashioned? In the 21st century, what do we mean when we speak about “souls”? The incarnation says to me that our daily speech can carry the presence of God, but perhaps we prefer hiding in our grandmother’s attic chest.

For me, the linguistic nadir in the Roman rite is the wording at the cup: Jesus “took this precious chalice in his holy and venerable hands.” Of this, I ask, what is the referent? Of precious, I think of Gollum, or worse yet, Precious Mo­ments. Of chalice, I say that although it is a possible translation of the Latin calix, even Indiana Jones could distinguish the cup from a chalice. Of venerable, the dictionary agrees with me that the English word connotes age. I cannot fathom how this phrasing could have been proposed, let alone approved and required.

This lamentable new rite does not represent liturgical language that is communally acceptable, biblically accurate, theologically helpful or linguistically masterful, and it has impelled some Catholic liturgical scholars to conclude that, well, actually, words don’t really matter all that much. This strikes me as a counsel of despair, the sad cry of faithful worshipers who feel themselves helpless. I hope that this sense of resignation is not contagious but that all of us, in our varied Christian assemblies, will tirelessly address these issues, toward the continuously renewed vibrancy of our liturgical language.

40 Responses

  1. Mark

    Dewfall is a fall of dew. Typically it happens in the evening. Ever been camping? Grass? I give folks more credit, intellectually speaking, than this dude is prepared to.

  2. Christine Gilsen

    Coming from Ireland, “dude” is not a word I am fully familiar with. I looked up ‘The Chambers Dictionary’ and note the following. (orig US slang) n a fob or dandy; a man from the city holidaying out West; a fellow. I hope this is helpful for some people.

  3. Pádraig McCarthy

    It is good that response is made to the article.
    It is not so good when a response uses disparaging terms. It is possible to disagree without attacking “this dude”.What Mark says about people’s understanding of dewfall may well be true; equally, what the writer of the article says about a specific group may also be true in the writer’s experience.
    The Association website is a valuable forum for debate of many issues. Perhaps we can encourage contributors to use it well, for example by adopting some basic principles like the following:
    1. To express views with civility, courtesy and respect, especially towards those with whom I may disagree, and even when I feel that the other person has not shown me this courtesy.
    2. To address the ideas and statements expressed by the other person, without attacking the other person or using mocking or insulting terms, and without exaggerating the beliefs of the other person.
    3. To act always according to the principle: “In necessariis, unitas; in dubiis, libertas; in omnibus, caritas”: In what is necessary, let there be unity; in what is in doubt, let there be liberty; and in all things, let there be charity.

  4. Gerry McDonnell

    As for the new ‘rite’, maybe we can learn from scripture about ‘new implementations’.
    David just after he had been anointed king of Israel wanted to bring the ‘ark’ to Jerusalem, so they built a new cart to carry the ‘ark’ and on the journey the cart tilted causing Uzzah to reach out and steady it; and the Lord struck him down on the spot. (2 Sam 6:1-7) It is possible for a spiritual leader and the people to recognise the need for the glory and the presence and the blessing of God, but a right thing must not be done in a wrong way. According to the word of God (No 4:15-19), the sons of Kohath were to bear the ‘ark’ on their shoulders. Anything introduced into the worship of God, contrary to his ways, is deserving of judgement. A ‘new cart’, can be any man made religious gimmick, contrary to the word of God, which is used to get the ‘ark’ of God’s presence back into a spiritually decadent congregation. New carts or golden calves must be burnt. Seek God’s face, study his word for his order and anything done in God’s way will never lack God’s blessing. David consulted all the people but he forgot to consult God. (1 Ch 13: 4-5) Twice after this incident whenever the Philistines attacked Israel, David we are told consulted God. Things begin to go right whenever we inquire of the Lord.

  5. Mark

    Oops. I’m from the younger generation – my friends call me dude on occasion and it is not in any way offensive. My American friend, for example, calls me dude. It can also be used in a slightly disparaging way, which is kind-of what I was aiming at. Which is to say, I was calling him a dude because, as I see it, he is a Lutheran (yes, a Lutheran), presuming to interfere in the internal worshipping affairs of the RCC. Would I presume to interfere in Lutheran worship? Nope. So there you are.

  6. Gerard Flynn

    There’s only one problem with ‘dewfall.’ Dew doesn’t fall.

  7. Gerard Flynn

    There’s only one problem with ‘He is a Lutheran.’ The author is a woman.

  8. Simmary

    The new translation is pompous and all those other unflattering adjectives already used and quoted. Even worse the machinery for imposing it is worryingly autocratic.

    However, (I write from England where we have to introduce it this w/e), I get the impression that our Bishops are in a cleft stick with no wiggle room. They and we are now stuck with it and if we don’t make some fist of “making the best of it” I reckon “they” might impose Mass in Latin.

    In my parish the ultra-retro, ortho-toxic control-freak, (the PP natch). has used the priest’s form for about 6 weeks. He has already taken to saying the prayers after the offertory in silence (so possibly in Latin!). There is no “Blessed be God for ever” now, and the first sound is the “Pray, brethren.” If the riff-raff don’t say their bit at the proper time in the new form, he will cease entirely saying an English Mass. Already he says a Tridentine Mass 6 days a week, and an English mid-week Mass no more than 3 times – once this week. Of course not every parish in this diocese/country is so treated.

    Our Bishops have decided to reintroduce Friday abstinence, though when pressed have agreed that not to observe this would not be a sin! Well, that’s progress we can thank God for.

  9. Martin

    Sounds like a good parish! I wish I had Mass in Latin!
    Look, this new English translation is not perfect, but it’s one heck of an improvement and I am really looking forward to it – the Ordinary of the Mass is quite beautiful. I’ve already placed an order for missals for myself and my mother. I think we shall reap the fruit of the new missal because now we have a translation (and it is a translation) which delivers to us the real meaning of the Latin text, without dumbing down or obscuring or simplifying. I would pray that all priests and people would welcome the new translation and really give it their very best shot and I am sure the blessings that will be poured out upon us will be worth any little irksomeness we might experience. Whatever the case, Christ suffered a lot more than the slight inconvenience to us sinful souls this Advent! Let’s deal with it manfully.

  10. Gerard Flynn

    There are quite a lot of people who won’t want to deal with this issue manfully, if by that you mean keeping silent about a flawed product, the result of a discredited process – and not all of them are women.

    An interlinear translation, while a useful study guide for people with little or no familiarity with the language being translated, is unfit for public proclamation.

  11. Martin

    Sometimes Fr. Gerard, the manful thing is to bite the bullet. Christ said ‘not my will but Thine be done’ – He did not ‘feel’ like being crucified, but He went forward because it was His Father’s will for the salvation of the world.

    Just imagine the graces that would flow for somebody who had a big issue with this new missal, if they bit the bullet and manfully embraced it – not my will, but Thy will be done. There is more grace in obedience than in disobedience.

  12. Gerard Flynn

    Rita Ferrone on Pray Tell Blog:

    “The Church encourages people to not take responsibility for their actions when they make it seem that their only responsibility is to be obedient to authority. The conscience, having been put to sleep by the siren song of “there’s nothing we can do” hands over to others its sovereignty.”

  13. Grigori Simonakis

    “An interlinear translation, while a useful study guide for people with little or no familiarity with the language being translated, is unfit for public proclamation.”

    I presume you mean a literal translation? Well, I’m afraid that the Septuagint is such a translation, and was/is merrily proclaimed in the Churches of the East!

  14. Joe O'Leary

    First Martin tells us the new missal is wonderful and he is buying a copy for his mother. Then he tells us he is going to “bite the bullet” like a man in the spirit of Gethsemani. Fabulous double-think.

    The other Martin is not much better in the Irish Times on August 30 — he who lambastes clericalism comes across as very clericalist there.

  15. Martin

    Fr Joe, I can assure you that it is not for me to bite the bullet – I meant that for those with issues with the new translation to bite the bullet and embrace ‘suffering’.

    My one and only criticism of the new is that it is a little clunky in places, but overall it is a good translation and I’m pretty happy with it.

    I am also not the other Martin you mentioned.

    Did anyone see the article by Fr Ryan in the latest Tablet?

  16. Gerard Flynn

    No, I don’t mean a literal translation. And indeed the Septuagint is no such thing.

    In the case of Jeremiah, it is about one-eighth shorter than the Massoretic Text. Some material is in a different order, and large portions, spread through the book, are missing. Similarly with Job. In the case of the Book of Judges, Codex Alexandrinus (A)and Codex Vaticanus (B) provide two very different text-types.

  17. Spencer

    Do the Lutherans submit proposed liturgical changes to the Church? What on earth is the point of publishing this? “Many linguists have criticised…” Many have also praised, there were bound to be different reactions by those not appointed by God’s Church to do the work which was much needed and delayed.

  18. Joe O'Leary

    “Many have also praised” — more accurately, “Few have praised”.

  19. Joe O'Leary

    Fr Ryan urges a Leninist policy: give the people the new translation warts and all, and wait for the explosion. Do not protect them from the Vatican’s folly. http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2011/09/01/time-to-say-yes-sort-of/

  20. diffal

    @Joe O’Leary: “Fr Ryan urges a….”

    Surely that’s what priests are supposed to do anyway, to let the texts stand for themselves?

    The Last thing I want at Mass is the Priest as ‘liturgical entertainer’ who tries to make Mass ‘meaningful’. Surely it is Christ rather than the priest who does this?

  21. Martin

    I was at Mass today. Sadly, our priest feels compelled to make the Mass his own. As a Christian, all I want is the Mass of the Church. I just want to be able to go to Mass and find that what I experience matches up with what is in my missal. I don’t think that is too much to ask. It is only by providing the Mass of the Church, without being chopped and changed, that I can actually stand a chance at encountering the God of mystery. God is easily pushed aside when priests think the Mass is about them and the reaction of the people. It is much more delicate than that. Let us not crush or usurp the Holy Spirit. We should do everything we can to give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to act, and that opportunity comes when the priest follows the missal faithfully and reverently, and in the quiet of our souls, free from distraction, we can encounter God. Of course we encounter Him anyway, in our adoration and reception of Holy Communion, but the disposition of our soul can be affected by the way the Mass is offered, and this affects the amount of grace we actually receive and profit from.

  22. Anthony J. Butler

    I appreciate Martin’s statement of how he feels about Mass as he experienced it yesterday.

    I have been trying to put into words my feelings about the new translation of the Missal. As a celebrant the following letter in this weeks ” The Tablet ” (Sept 3rd) absolutely expresses how I feel and believe.

    ” … I find the prospect of having to implement the new translation of the Missal is making me ill. I have felt at home in the present traslation so that for me it has become a deeply personal, truthful and intimate voicing of my relationship with the Lord. This new translation I find totally unnecessary, clumsy and off-putting. The manner of its imposition is also, in my opinion, unworthy of people who profess to follow Christ. I am 71 years old and want to die as I have tried to live, as a Roman Catholic. I find now I am asked to be a Vatican Catholic. Breaking point cannot be far off “. ( Fr ). Val Farrell, Blackpool,Lancashire.

    As we approach the implentation of the new translation of the
    Missal this letter expresses how I feel also. I shall use these words – with reference to its author – as my ” Here I stand ” belief should I be asked about my feelings and belief about this imposition of the new tranlation.

  23. Soline Humbert

    @ Joe O’Leary: Fr Ryan urges…
    Joe, I think it is more a case of waiting for the implosion, rather than explosion.
    More lay people, and especially women, will take the exodus road , away from the “Egypt”of the official liturgies where their role is little better than that of slaves: Pay up (For the New Missals),
    Pray up ( in the sexist, archaic language we impose on you)
    and shut up ( don’t expect to be consulted by your masters).
    Meanwhile the lip service will continue to a more humble, inclusive, consultative church… and we are preparing for a Eucharistic Congress where the theme is Communion: Will we open our eyes to the extent of the spiritual violence in our church/ the abuse of power and how it undermines communion?

  24. Byron Smith

    “The new Roman translation of the prayer before communion, ‘Lord, I am not worthy,’ now adds ‘that you should enter under my roof.’ The text assumes that worshipers know the story of the centurion in Luke 7. The intent is noble, the educational task enormous.”

    Why? Wasn’t Sacrosanctum Concilium supposed to open up the Scriptures in the new Mass? Fifty years of Bible immersion later the people are LESS ABLE to recall the familiar story of the centurion?

  25. Martin

    I honestly don’t know what you are talking about Soline. I don’t think many ordinary people (male and female) inhabit your world, and their experience of the Church is, I suggest, very different. They encounter the Lord Jesus Christ in Holy Communion, and that is what it is all about – the God-Man Who came to forgive our sins and to heal us, to make us whole, to make us holy. All this talk about power, spiritual abuse, and so on, is just so much hot air.

  26. Sean

    Not surprised the ACP publish the thoughts of a Lutheran here, I suppose that when the so-called priests here can’t follow directions from the Holy Father that they will seek allies from other churches. Did no one tell you there is only ONE true Church.
    Get over it, the new translation is here, if you can’t cope why not join the Lutherans or any of the hundreds of other churches who make it up as they go along.
    I don’t expect this to be published but I know it will be read to be ‘moderated’ and will let you know that your disobedience is noted by the ordinary Mass attender, most of whom would never have imagined that they would have to inform a priest what is meant by being a Catholic.

  27. Joe O'Leary

    Diffal, you are happy to give the Vatican a blank cheque on this — but some bishops have been saying they rely on priests to make suitable modifications in the new translation to meet pastoral needs.

    Explosion or implosion? Alas, I am forced to admit that implosion is the most likely outcome.

    I am amazed at bishops who insist that these sticky new translations will revive appreciation of the Mass.

  28. Joe O'Leary

    Sean, I talked to a German Catholic lately who complained that lots of money was wasted on a Vatican-concocted funeral rite that was found to be unusable. If the new missal is found to be unusable in the same way, a lot more money will be wasted. You will be paying out of your pocket for the Vatican’s monkey tricks.

  29. Soline Humbert

    @Martin:…” All this talk about power,spiritual abuse and so on is so much hot air”

    In his cri du coeur appeal to the bishops of England and Wales, Fr.Kevin Kelly, priest and theologian, writes:
    “The New Missal imposition is just ONE INSTANCE OF THE ABUSE OF POWER IN OUR CHURCH….It is just the tip of the ice-berg”.
    (You can read his full letter on this ACP website under “News”: The Vatican’s Tahrir Square?)

    Perhaps what you call “hot air” is the warm breath of the Spirit melting down the frozen waters so that life can flow freely in the church. That Spring-time of a Second Pentecost?

    And yes I meet Jesus Christ in Holy Communion, but also really present in my brother and sister. ” What you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to ME”.
    In joyful hope!

  30. Sean

    Joe, I am not familiar with the funeral rite to which you refer so can’t really comment on it.
    I would however not have a problem with money spent on the new missal. I could suggest many ways in which money could be saved but that’s for another discussion.
    I do not have a problem with money spent on anything that instructs us in the true faith and tradition. In fact I would greatly welcome money being spent on a proper Catechism for all our schools. My own son recently showed me his school ‘Catholic’ religious education book. Apart from the word ‘Catholic’ appearing on the cover it was not mentioned anywhere else within the book. In fact it now seems that the word ‘Christian’ is used to replace the word ‘Catholic’ and that all other world religions are equal to Catholicism.
    Anyway I’m going off track.

    Also, apologies for my reference in my previous post in which I referred to ‘so-called priests’. This was disrespectful of me towards priests who have been ordained by Christ. Sincere apologies, my own frustration with the actual article did not justify this type of remark.

  31. Martin

    Soline,the Adoremus Society produced a translation of the Mass and that was well over ten years ago.

    The new translation is the work of a committee, so any shortfalls are due to that fact.

    The way to get anything done really well, as opposed to pretty well, is to give it to a group of dedicated, faithful experts. That was what Adoremus did. But instead everything has to be committeed (sic) out, and we all know committees are a good way to not do something really well.

  32. Jim

    My history professor once remarked that: “The Roman Catholic Church is the last enduring relic of the Roman Empire and is thus infused with its imperial majesty. In fact, one of the Pope’s titles is Pontifex Maximus.”
    Although I’m Catholic, for the sake of all traditional Christians (i.e. still using the Nicene Creed), I wish excessive Romanism could be diminished.

  33. Eileen

    I’m new to blogging but it’s been good to read the above! I wish I could attend a Eucharist where, with the people of God, we share the Word of God. For the past few weeks, it’s been all about The New Translation.
    I’ll confine myself to 2 comments about it. 1)It’s a slap in the face to women, referring to the human race as ‘men’ throughout. The very word, ‘Catholic’ means universal, inclusive of everyone. Jesus included everyone. This move backwards is a betrayal of his mission.
    2) About inserting the adjective ‘holy’ before ‘Church’ “(for our good and the good of all his ‘holy’ Church)” – seems rather arrogant, doesn’t it? Would not ‘sinful’ be more appropriate or would that be too much of a shift towards truth and humility?

  34. Martin

    Eileen, the Catholic Church has four marks: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. From Wikipedia: ”The word holy means set apart for a special purpose by and for God. It does not imply that the members of the Church are free from sin, nor that the institution of the Church cannot sin. Christ’s Church is holy because it is Christ’s Church: “…upon this rock I will build my Church.”[Matt. 16:18] Jesus founded his Church to continue his redemptive and sanctifying work in the world. Christians understand the holiness of the universal Church to derive from Christ’s holiness.”

  35. Joe O'Leary

    I attended Mass at the Dominican Church in Pope’s Quay, Cork, yesterday and heard the people recite their newly translated parts tranquilly. Delivery of “and with your spirit”, strong at first, became increasingly uncertain and at its fifth and last appearance we had a resounding “and also with you!”

  36. Soline Humbert

    A timely article on harassment and bullying in our holy church,
    and a call not to turn a blind eye but face reality,however much it may shatter our”peace”ie living in our comfort zone with our heads safely tucked away below the parapet. There is a silence which is not golden but lethal.

    http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/QuestionsFromAEwe/~3/QhizKgCXPLM/harassment-and-bullying-in-church.html?

  37. Wendy Murphy

    I’m grateful for this opportunity to read others’ thoughts about the new translation. I had read excerpts and knew what to expect and was appalled but not really prepared for how devastating it would be in practice. The words we’re now supposed (commanded) to say and gestures we’re told to perform are clumsy, pompous, anti-spiritual, meaninglessly pious, un-English, sexist, divisive, ludicrous. I have absolutely no truck with those who lecture us to bow our heads in submission. Martin seems to feel he’s cornered the market in God’s grace – congratulations. Sean advises us, if not pleased, to join the Lutherans as opposed to the ‘One True Church’ – so much for communion ‘and all who seek you with a sincere heart’
    No, I must protest. It’s not only the dire unwanted translation but the manner in which it’s been imposed which is so wrong and so lacking in understanding and charity. Added to this, in our parish, the priest ‘jollying us along’ as if we’re recalcitrant children is especially grating. I know many priests are struggling with their even greater burden and I deeply sympathise.
    I will not have words I cannot say forcibly put in my mouth, so I will now opt to remain silent. I’m with you all in spirit but I will not say ‘And with thy Spirit’
    I do feel this is a power struggle and a legitimate one because the power is all on one side and we, peaceful opponents, quietly resist the now overbearing force and dominance which amounts to abuse of the faithful.

  38. Paul Burns

    Simple facts are that Jesus spoke Aramaic; the early evangelists used Greek about 100 years later; this was translated to Latin about 300 years later; and the liturgy of the Latin Mass was agreed at the 16th century Council of Trent. Greek and Latin were the ‘universal’ languages of their times just as English is now. What a pity that the Vatican is reverting to the ‘comfort blanket’ of pre-Vatican II liturgy. Yes, I too have a nostalgic view of serving Mass as an altar boy in the early 60s with ‘et cum spiritu tuo’ etc but time has moved on, so have I and so should the powers that be in the Church.

  39. Eileen

    Martin, I take your point but why bring in the ‘holy’ qualifier now? I’ve been reading the other contributions. Thanks to Gail for sharing from a Lutheran perspective. Wendy,I also refuse to say, “and with your spirit.” (Whatever happened to the theology of the body)? And I’ve experienced the priests ‘jollying us along’ in the manner you describe. I really believed and hoped that they wouldn’t close ranks like that. In a weekend paper, one said he was glad of the new translation because he thought if the priest said, “rashers and sausages” the congregation would automatically reply: ‘And also with you.’ Unfortunately, this kind of patriarchal arrogance is widespread. Only yesterday, a celebrant said, after the Gospel, “I bet none of you can remember the response to the Psalm.” (Everyone did). Yes, I’m still trying to attend Mass but I don’t know for how long more I can put up with being bullied like this.The priests like Brendan Hoban and Tony Flannery are few. Like the prophets of the Old Testament, they are being criticised and ridiculed.
    This is how I see a new Church emerging. It will be centred on Eucharist in its true sense. Jesus said, “Do this in memory of me” having blessed and broken the bread and shared the wine. Following his example, the early Christians gathered together, told their stories, shared a meal, looked after those in need and were COMMUNITY in its true sense. There was a place for everyone at the table; sinners were encouraged to repent and welcomed back. People talk about the original Latin. Let’s concentrate on the real origins of Eucharist. (There was a recent example in Swords, where, following the drowning tragedy, the whole community joined in the search and subsequently, became closer, acknowledging the sense of community they had developed). This is happening in many places. The Church i.e. people of God, are coming together in response to human need.And this is where the love and compassion of Jesus are to be found. Remember, the last supper happened in the context of betrayal.

  40. Joe O'Leary

    (There was a recent example in Swords, where, following the drowning tragedy, the whole community joined in the search and subsequently, became closer, acknowledging the sense of community they had developed).

    The same thing happens in the Church of England, where priests have given the church to people to use in times of tragedy. People rediscover what church means — coming together as community. This shows that the allegedly collapsing C of E is still people’s spiritual home. The same, let us hope, is still true for the Catholic Church in Ireland.


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