Cutting up Collects for the Conversion of Paul: POLL

Let us make a rapid comparison of the Collects for this feast, looking at the 1962 Missale Romanum and the 2002, third edition, of the Novus Ordo Missale.

COLLECT (1962MR):
Deus, qui universum mundum
beati Pauli Apostoli praedicatione docuisti:
da nobis, quaesumus;
ut, qui eius hodie Conversionem colimus,
per eius exempla gradiamur.

LITERAL VERSION:
O God, who instructed the whole world
by the preaching of the Blessed Apostle Paul:
grant us, we beseech You,
that, we who are today honoring his Conversion,
may conduct ourselves according to his examples.

Blaise/Dumas indicates that gradior is not only "to walk" but "to behave oneself".

Many (many many) of the prayers of the pre-Conciliar form of the Missale Romanum, were cut up and changed for the Novus Order, if they made the cut at all, that is. Today’s prayer is a case in point. Here we go!

COLLECT (2002MR):
Deus, qui universum mundum
beati Pauli Apostoli praedicatione
docuisti,
da nobis, quaesumus,
ut, cuius conversionem hodie celebramus,
per eius ad te exempla gradientes,
tuae simus mundo testes veritatis.

LITERAL VERSION:
O God, who instructed the whole world
by the preaching of the Blessed Apostle Paul:
grant us, we beseech You,
that we, walking in life toward You according to the examples of him,
whose conversion we are celebrating today,
may be witnesses of Your truth in the world.

Okay… changes are obvious. Improvement or not?

{democracy:3}

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34 Responses to Cutting up Collects for the Conversion of Paul: POLL

  1. Mike says:

    Father – slightly OT, but do you have an opinion on the general quality of the
    translations in the 1962MR published by Angelus Press?

  2. Jeff Moore says:

    “…we, walking in life toward You…”

    I find this very awkward and unnecessary.

  3. Séamas says:

    My problem is that in the entire prayer, “love” is not mentioned even once! Even the modern ICEL version never uses the word “love.”

    Come on! Everyone knows that they will know we are Christians by how many times we say the word “love”!

    Here’s the ICEL version:

    “God our Father,
    you taught the gospel to all the world
    through the preaching of Paul your apostle.
    May we who celebrate his conversion to the faith
    follow him in bearing witness to your truth. ”

    Here’s how it should go:

    “God, our loving Father,
    you lovingly taught the gospel of love to all the world
    through the love and preaching of Paul your loving apostle.
    May we who lovingly celebrate his conversion of love
    follow him in bearing loving witness to your love.”

    See? All you need is love!

  4. Father Z: Most people are probably voting not on the MR prayers themselves, but on your literal translations of them. So you might also have included – to see if anyone would vote for it – the ICEL translation:

    God our Father, you taught the Gospel to all the world
    through the preaching of Paul your apostle.
    May we who celebrate his conversion to the faith
    follow him in bearing witness to your truth.

    Actually, not a bad ICEL effort, it seems to me.

  5. RC says:

    colimus is a fine word; it’s not obvious why the editors replaced it with the ambiguous celebramus.

  6. Mike: Of course, Angelus did not make a new set of English translations of the propers, just re-used excellent pre-1962 translations that had long stood the test of time. Which makes one wonder why ICEL felt a need to make it’s own new translations.

    Of course, the pretext was that, having butchered the venereable old Latin prayers (many of which had been used without change for many centuries) they naturally had to butcher them again in the process of alleged translation into English.

  7. Andrew says:

    I voted for the new version even though I would have liked to see the “colimus” retained, and even though I find the new version a bit too verbose. But the “per eius exempla gradiamur” is enhanced by the “per eius ad te exempla gradientes, tuae simus mundo testes veritatis.” I think.

    Actually, I don’t like the “per eius exempla ” turn of phrase.

  8. FranzJosf says:

    I don’t like that the new prayer leaves out the idea of following Saint Paul’s
    example. Perhaps I’m a cynic, and there is nothing wrong with being
    witnesses to God’s truth, but I suspect the innovators don’t like being
    ‘confined’ by Saint Paul’s practices. In the new Springtime of the Council, we’ll
    find brave, new ways to do things, or something like that, the innovators believe.

  9. Petellius says:

    If I may be so bold:

    I don’t understand why in the 1962 version, “per eius exempla gradiamur” gets rendered “conduct ourselves according to his examples,” while the 2002 version’s “per eius ad te exempla gradientes” becomes “walking in life toward You according to the examples of him.” In the first place, I don’t know where the “in life” comes from, since it’s not in the Latin. Secondly, pace Blaise/Dumas, it seems a little misleading to translate “gradiamur” and “gradientes” differently, what with them being two forms of the same word. I’m not disputing the tropical definintion offered by Blaise/Dumas, and I understand that it’s not really possible to translate “gradientes” as “conducting ourselves” with the “ad te,” but it seems that consistency would be desired here. Why not just make them “walk according to his examples” and “walking to You according to his examples”? – after all, English “walk” can likewise metaphorically mean “behave” or “conduct oneself.”

    I wouldn’t make such a big deal, but this discrepancy in translation seems to be behind, e.g., the confusion above regarding the omission of following St. Paul’s example in the second prayer. There is, in fact, no change in this regard (except in the form of the verb). If I have misread something, though, please feel free to offer correction.

  10. Henry: I carefully avoided looking at the english and reflected on the latin alone. I voted for the older version because (1) it is sober and terse, (2) uses two strong action verbs in the last two lines, (3) uses “colimus”, which I prefer without really being able to say why, and (4) leaves unspecified, and therefore open to unlimited imagination, the things we may do by walking according to Paul’s examples.

    Andrew: I don’t like “per eius exempla” either.

  11. Séamas: I think this is what Bishop Trautman is looking for. Send this effort to him as an example of the kind of work you can do, and you may have a fancy new job working for the Bishops Liturgy Committee.

  12. AC says:

    The problem with the new version is the same problem with the new mass and teaching of the faith — it’s watered down and ambiguous. We can get a little lost in the weeds on these, but by thinking simply about this, one can see that it’s purposely confusing as to not make liberal Catholics feel as if they actually have to live like Paul — they just need to know the truth of
    the Lord. This is typical and sad.

  13. Ben D. says:

    AC, by “new version” do you mean the ICEL translation or the Latin?

  14. Séamas: “loving…lovingly…love…” ROFL!

  15. Petellius: There is no one to one correspondence between words in Latin and words and English. Various are the possible words we can select. The verb gradior means in ecclesiastical refers behavior. As we find in L&S: “of the conduct of life, to walk, live, conduct one’s self”. The two different ways I rendered gradior simply reflect different wrinkles of the verb. Translation is not simply pushing the “babblefish” button. That said, sure, it’s possible to have some form of “walking” in the way you suggest. Why not? What difference does it make, after all? We are not here doing these for the new official translation. We are just digging at them a little to uncover what they mean.

  16. Joseph: You make a good observation: “I voted for the older version because (1) it is sober and terse,”. It is of the style of a Collect of the Roman liturgy to be “sober and terse”. This is precisely one of the ancient Collect’s characteristics.

  17. AC says:

    Ben, see Father’s last post, which sums up what i was saying. I just feel it goes beyond the Collects and moreover
    to the way the Faith is now taught in general, which has led to a poor understanding of the Faith by most Catholics today.

  18. anonymous says:

    This raises another issue, aside from that of translation. Why were the Latin collects modified? There was an article in the Thomist a few years ago on the process they used for these modifications – eg, eliminating references to hell, the devil, grace, etc – it was hard to read.

  19. AC, by “new version” do you mean [loss of faith in] the ICEL translation or the Latin?

    My answer would be both. Everybody here knows how Father Z has documented the deficiencies in the ICEL English translations. Perhaps not so well known are Lauren Pristas’ articles that systematically compare the Latin propers in the old and new Masses, and suggest that the new ones fail – even apart from the much better known deficiencies in their current English translations – to preserve the fullness and richness of Catholic faith inherent in the old ones. Her articles – look here for the first one – make clear the doctrinal differences and their consistent doctrinal direction.

    It is interesting to read her statistics, as to how many thousand-year old prayers were retained and how many were ditched entirely, how many were altered so as to change their meaning, how many where wholly new compositions for the 1969 missal. My own summary conclusion – based on lots of comparisons, largely in Latin, of the old Mass and new Mass propers — is that as much emasculation of the Faith took place during the fabrication (as Cardinal Ratzinger puts it) of the 1969 missal as during their translation into English.

  20. This raises another issue, aside from that of translation. Why were the Latin collects modified?

    The following two paragraphs from the conclusion to the Pristas article cited above only hint at why, but they may suggest the scope of what was done in 1969. I myself wonder whether merely ascribing it to “the modern mentality” might err in the direction of charity.

    “Up to the time of the Vatican II reform the euchological texts of the Roman Missal could be likened to a great old city built up over time and containing within its walls not only the old and the new but everything in between. Each building, street, monument and so forth has its place in the whole. Over the centuries certain structures, even whole neighborhoods, were torn down and others renovated or added. But the basic nature of the city, as one that was built over the course of centuries and, on this account, that presented evidence in every quarter of its many and diverse architects, is accepted. Indeed, it is recognized as one source of the city’s rich beauty.”

    “In contrast, [this essay] describes the construction of an entirely new city. The ‘authors of the new missal’ took from the ancient city all the parts, or parts of parts, that they desired; accepted them ‘as is’ or reshaped them to fit a new plan; and augmented the selected materials with entirely new ones in order to complete the project. The architectural plan for the new city is not unveiled ….. but there are many indications that the design was drawn with constant reference to ‘the modern mentality,’ and that, practically speaking, there was only a single corporate architect, the Consilium.”

  21. Ben D. says:

    This is a timely opportunity for me to re-ask a question that got lost in the Christmas bustle many posts ago: Father, do you know, roughly, what the ratios are in the current edition of the Missal, of Proper prayers unchanged from the 1962 edition, to prayers revised from their 1962 edition, to prayers freshly composed, to prayers culled from other sources (e.g., old Sacramentaries)?

    I’m not looking for scientific accuracy here, just a ballpark estimate from someone who has spent a lot of time looking carefully at these prayers and commenting on them.

  22. David says:

    The problem I have with the new collect is that it assumes us to be walking in life toward You according to the examples of him, whereas the old collect asks that we may conduct ourselves according to his examples. The first new one reminds me of the Farisees prayer, whereas the old one remends me of the remorsefull sinner (as can be found in the Holy Scripture). Therefore I prefer the old one.

  23. Ben D: I just wrote about this in the print version of WDTPRS which appears weekly in The Wanderer. It will eventually make its way online too!

  24. Matt Kennel says:

    Leaving behind the issue of the Latin, of which I know but little, I voted for the newer version. I prefer the older version stylistically, because of its clear expression of one idea, but I am intrigued by what the new prayer brings out. Contrary to what others have said in these comments, I don’t believe that the prayer, as Fr. Z has rendered it, assumes we are walking in St. Paul’s example. Rather, the English translation implies that we are asking God for two things

    1. That we may be walking in life toward the Lord in accordance with St. Paul’s example.
    2. That in doing so, we may be an witness (an example) to the world.

    I like depth of the implications in this new prayer. It implies not only that we ought to be following St. Paul’s example, but also that we ought to do so in order to convert the world. Thus, by following Paul’s example, we share in his mission. Then, others follow our example, and thus come to share both in our mission and in St. Paul’s, for really there is only one mission, the mission which Christ gave us before his ascension, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” Certainly, this mission belongs preeminently to the Apostles, but we laymen also share in it, especially by our example as given in living out our daily lives among our family and friends. Thus, we all walk together with St. Paul on the path toward the Lord.

  25. RBrown says:

    I think the older version is better for two reasons:

    First, it is concise. One of the beauties of Latin is that it is both concise and fertile. Its concision doesn’t box in the mind but rather stimulates it.

    Second, the added phrase in the newer version is yet another example of what I think is the biggest flaw in the Novus Ordo church–the contemplative core of life in the Church is all but suppressed.

    Although the Love of God bears apostolic fruit (sometimes secretly), it is primarily contemplative, existing for its own sake–not so that we might be witnesses. Paul’s Apostolic endeavors notwithstanding, he is one of the greatest contemplatives in the Church, having been snatched up to the Third Heaven.

    In the newer version everything–including growing closer to Christ–is ordered toward witness to the world.

  26. Paul says:

    Matt,

    [i]I like depth of the implications in this new prayer. It implies not only that we ought to be following St. Paul’s example, but also that we ought to do so in order to convert the world.[/i]
    I respectfully disagree in that the new prayerful explicitly talks about being a witness, while the older prayer surely implies it. It seems to me in the old prayer it is taken for granted that people knew alot about St. Paul and what he did, so no extra explanation was needed, everyone “got it.” In the new prayer, it just seems like the author’s were trying too hard, which I find in most of the prayers. Séamas’ example illustrates my point in that it is only a bit “over the top”, at least in terms of ICELese (Yes, the ICELese is worse than the Latin in the new prayers, but the point remains).

    Sorry I’m not articulating my point very well.

  27. “It is of the style of a Collect of the Roman liturgy to be “sober and terse”. This is precisely one of the ancient Collect’s characteristics.”

    Indeed.

  28. RBrown says:

    I respectfully disagree in that the new prayerful explicitly talks about being a witness, while the older prayer surely implies it.

    You missed the point, which is that the Love of God primarily is an end in itself but that secondarily it also bears pastoral fruits.

    The older prayer implicitly includes being a witness in the world AND contemplating God. In the newer prayer, the contemplation of God is all but suppressed.

    Remember Martha and Mary. According to Christ Himself, Mary, who sits at His feet listening to Him (and is considered the model for contemplatives), has chosen the higher way.

  29. Paul says:

    RBrown,

    I do understand your point; I was trying to respond to a specific point of Matt’s. Your point caused me to reflect on Matthew 22:36-40 (36 Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. 38 This is the greatest and the first commandment. 39 And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.) It does seem as if the emphasis has shifted toward making the two more equal than previously. Indeed, on the ground at parish level (especially in these parts) it seems the emphasis is on flipping them around.

  30. Petellius says:

    Father:

    I understand your point, and do not disagree. I only though that, since in both cases we were dealing with “gradior”, it might be a good idea to use the same translation, so as to avoid the impression (which some seem to have gotten) that there is an opposition or change between the idea of behavior in the ’62 and that of walking in the ’02. Obviously, both ideas are present in both prayers, and the translator must choose which connotation seems best in the given context.

  31. John says:

    Prof. Pristas work is outstanding, and once we receive our new and improved ICEL texts, perhaps Fr. Z. will retool WDTPRS to consider the old and new collects week by week to determine how they have been modified and if they are faithful to tradition.

    Fr. Z might also comment on the present work of the CDW, which has recently released collects for e.g., the memoria ad libitum of S. Catherine of Alexandria and the m.a.l. of the Holy Name.

    John

  32. Ben D. says:

    David,

    The problem I have with the new collect is that it assumes us to be walking in life toward You according to the examples of him, whereas the old collect asks that we may conduct ourselves according to his examples

    I had the same impression at first glance, but I’m not sure whether the Latin has to be taken this way. Perhaps someone with more Latin than I can comment: does gradientes in the new prayer seem to modify the implied nos of celebramus, or of simus? Or is it ambiguous?

    Father Z. has translated it as though it modifies celebramus and perhaps this is the logical (or even necessary?) reading. But ICEL has translated it as though it modifies simus, which might even indicate that the ICEL translator(s) consulted the 1962 Collect and deliberately retained the unambiguous subjunctive of gradiamur!

  33. Matt Kennel says:

    Actually, I disagree that the older prayer is more about contemplation, while the newer prayer is more about us. Of course, both mission and contemplation are implied in the old prayer, but it is the NEW prayer and not the old which mentions walking on the path toward God. The new prayer includes both an explicit focus on God (“walking in life toward You”), and a focus on our mission toward humanity (“we…may be witnesses of Your truth in the world”). So, the new prayer includes both Mary and Martha, both action and contemplation (as does the old, implicitly). The great advantage of the new prayer is that it gives us an image to dwell on, the image of St. Paul on the road. This sort of image based contemplation, which gives St. Paul’s conversion an almost allegorical explanation, seems quite Patristic to me.

  34. Rob F. says:

    I prefer the new. “Celebremus” is a more concrete replacement for the vague “colimus”. I very much like the addition of “ad te”, which makes gradi much more specific than in the old and reminds us what this prayer is all about, and I like that the new prayer specifies how we should follow St. Paul’s “exempla”: by “tuae simus mundo testes veritatis.” It reminds us that following St. Paul’s examples is a real challenge!

    Father, do you know whether these alterations are a new composition, or the recovery of an older version, or a mix?