The new translation draft…. consubstantial

Truth is victorious again.

Those who think we are all too stupid to understand Mass texts without them being dumbed down complained vigously about words and phrases that were tooo harrrdNone were harder than translating consubstantialis Patri in the Creed as "consubstantial with the Father".

Here is the text in the new ICEL draft:

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only-begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;

I love the smell of accuracy in the morning. 

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29 Responses to The new translation draft…. consubstantial

  1. Pius VII says:

    We approve! Wow, one, two, three awesome translation corrections in a row!!

    Can you give Us a link to this new ICEL text, or is it not online yet? Do you mean that these translations WILL be employed in the English Mass soon? I thought the bishops had put a kabosh on the whole “dew” thing…or is this kinda like the whole “Pro vobis et pro multis” thing, that it’s going to happen regardless of what the bishops say?

  2. Pius VII says:

    And wow! You didn’t even mention that the Creed will begin with “I believe” rather than the inaccurate “We believe”! Hurray! This is crazily awesome!!! Thanks be to God!!!

  3. swmichigancatholic says:

    Well, Pius VII, that will be the interesting part. We hope that’s what will happen, yes.

    And yes, the “we believe” thing has driven me slowly nuts for years. It’s never been clear to me who “we” exactly is and how “we” can say we corporately believe anything, unless “we” means the entire Church and we are somehow speaking for the whole Church, which is pretty weird, especially in some parishes/places/atmospheres.

    Believing requires a subject and an object. In a straightforward & classical sense, individuals believe because it is an act of the will predicated on faith. Groups of people can profess their individual belief status together, but it’s hard to say how a group of people, qua group, might have a collective will of the sort needed for belief unless they are implying somehow that they themselves are the totality of the Church through time.

    The problem here, of course, isn’t that the Church herself has special spiritual, theological and ontological status, which she does. The Church is like nothing else. The problem is that when the average parishoner says “we believe,” standing there in the middle of the average parish church, what on earth can it possibly mean? There are just too many weird interpretations possible:
    a) we are a group of I’s and I say this because I believe 100% what the Church says about this, but I have no idea what anyone else believes so I’m not going to think about that. [So why not just say *I believe* because that's what's meant. BTW, sometimes the more modernistic amongst us think this interpretation is absolutely terrible.]
    b) we somehow corporately believe because WE are the Church entire & we as a group somehow OWN this enterprise. [Tilt.]
    c) my name is MacFitzMurphy. It’s a family thing and that’s all.[Double tilt.]
    d) I’m just saying this because it’s here and there’s safety in numbers. [Heh.]

    I dunno. It’s not clear.
    The new translations when we get them will be huge here, I think, IFF we can get them unscathed. This “we” thing is a pillar of the modernistic presentation.

  4. Adam van der Meer says:

    I’m still hoping that the Holy See will add “men” back into the phrase “For us and for our salvation…”. Also, it would be nice if they would get rid of the more silly inclusive language that is used in some parts (I mean, all inclusive language is silly, but some of it sounds especially so). In any event, this text is a huge improvement, even if we should have to tolerate some new foibles such as the absence of “men” from the Creed, and so forth.

    With this new translation, the English Novus Ordo will no longer be a sort of “tertium quid”, barely recognizable as a translation of the Latin Novus Ordo. And besides, we can continue to hope that the use of Latin will increase and that we can sing the Creed in Latin anyways. (OK, bring on the cynical and bitter comments about how after 5 instructions on the right implementation of the Sacred Liturgy, which clearly no one has read, why should we expect anything better now?! Things are never going to change, at least that’s what we hope, so that we can continue to be cynical and bitter…)

  5. Adam van der Meer says:

    Ha! A word play: we can call the new translation the Novissimus Ordo… until such a time when we no longer have to distinguish between “Novus” and “Antiquus” Ordines (which probably will not be in our lifetimes).

  6. swmichigancatholic says:

    Oh, Adam, I do think things are getting better. People always complain that the documents aren’t read. Well, that goes both ways. Most people haven’t read “Environment and Art in Catholic Worship,” either. So the progressives have the same problem. Meanwhile, the Church rolls on and it’s going to be okay.

    There is no bitterness intended in my post. Just some careful thinking that no one wants to hear. And the last I knew, there was no sin in careful thinking.

  7. TJM says:

    Please be nice and send an explanation of the word consubstantial to Bishop Trautman. I understand, that he doesn’t understand and cannot figure out what it means. So he’s worried we won’t either. Tom

  8. Jordan Potter says:

    Interestingly enough, in my old 1962 St. Pius X Missal, in this part of the Creed the Latin text is translated into English as “one in Being with the Father.” So there was some precedent for the current ICEL rendering. “Consubstantial” is preferable, though — more accurate and precise theologically and philosophically. And it’s perfectly good English too. Excellent English, to tell the truth.

  9. swmichigancatholic says:

    Once the new missal is being used, I think we should ALLLLL send Bishop Trautman the definition, just as a courtesy, to set his heart at ease.

  10. catholiclady says:

    “Once the new missal is being used, I think we should ALLLLL send Bishop Trautman the definition, just as a courtesy, to set his heart at ease.”

    Ah yes, just to keep him from the foggy, foggy dew his head is in.

  11. Mark says:

    Yay! Though, the Anglican Church I went to before reception had “being of one substance with the Father”…

  12. Henry Edwards says:

    The Baronius (FSSP-related) 1962 missal has “… consubstantial with the Father”.

    The Angelus (SSPX-related) 1962 missal has “… of one substance with the Father”.

    Both are fine with me. The one thing that I don’t understand about all this is why some people are willing to embarrass themselves publicly by protesting that nobody can understand “consubstantial” (the obvious implication being that the term lies at the outer limits of their own understanding).

  13. Alan Stout says:

    I should also like to make a philosophical point about the conceptions of being in the Greek vs. Latin sense of things. The Latin “substantia” was in fact a simpler way of expressing being than in the Greek sense which i believe makes some further distinctions in spiritual vs. physical being. However we cannot ignore than in our modern philosophy the Greek distinction still exists in terms of being. As church councils then found out, it is very very important to specify what kind of being, what kind of existence Christ shares with the father, and therefore the word “consubstantial” which overrides all Greek categories of being, leaving no room for heresy, and I think makes the most sense for us to use.

  14. Henry Edwards says:

    Can you give Us a link to this new ICEL text, or is it not online yet?

    http://valleadurni.blogspot.com/2007/04/new-translation.html

    Apparently the same translation under discussion here

  15. cor ad cor loquitur says:

    Er, Father, doesn’t the Latin text read “consubstantialem Patri”?

  16. Cor ad cor: Of course it does. But when you cite Latin so that it stands by itself, you usually reduce what you can to the lemma. Thus, Jesus is consubstantialis Patri.

  17. Mark says:

    Henry makes a good point. Though I always would want language to be reverential, a lot of folk might not understand “consubstantial”, but will understand “of one substance”… wait and see, eh?

  18. elizabeth mckernan says:

    Regarding the English translation I have always wondered why for example the french one was ‘not identical.’ I attend Mass on several occasions in france during the year and am always aware that there I can say ‘JE crois en Dieu’ (I believe in God) and ‘et cum spiritu tuo’ is a literal translation too of the Latin as ‘et avec votre esprit’ unlike the clumsy English ‘and also with you.’ We all await news of a new translation with eagerness which will restore hopefully the full beauty of the liturgy.
    Liz – England

  19. Diane says:

    Fr. Z: A local priest raised this question about the above paragraph. I’d like your thoughts on it. He first lauds the thought of “Consubstantial” being in the draft. Then, he raises this point…

    “Make” and “create” are different verbs and radically different concepts. I make cookies, but I truly create nothing. God creates, for he does so out of nothing.

  20. Diane: I am not sure what paragraph “above” you are talking about.

    However, keep in mind that the Creed was first in Greek and then in Latin. The point of the Creed was to get across that the Son, the Second Person, was not created, that there was “never a time when He was not”. In that sense, the Son is neither created, begotte, nor made. However, the Word became flesh, or in a sense, was made flesh. The Latin is Verbum caro factum est.

    On a side noe J.R.R. Tolkien came up with the term “subcreation” to describe what man does at least in relation to art.

  21. RBrown says:

    Fr. Z: A local priest raised this question about the above paragraph. I’d like your thoughts on it. He first lauds the thought of “Consubstantial” being in the draft. Then, he raises this point…

    “Make” and “create” are different verbs and radically different concepts. I make cookies, but I truly create nothing. God creates, for he does so out of nothing.

    Diane,

    I once heard a priest with the Frs of Mercy make the same objection. I think looking at the Latin would be of help.

    In the Nicene Creed (used at mass) the Latin is factorem (maker); in the Apostles Creed (cf Rosary) the Latin is creatorem (creator). Interestingly enough, in both Creeds the Greek word is the same, mirroring Genesis 1:1.

  22. Christine says:

    Seen and unseen always annoyed me. I am so glad the invisible
    works of God are back.

  23. RBrown says:

    I think I dealt with the question of consubstantial (homoousion) before, maybe on the other board.

    In Greek the distinction is between ousia and hypostasis. Ousia refers to the nature of a thing, hypostasis refers to the concrete thing itself. And so when we speak of a certain man Peter, we are referring to hypostasis. When we say that Peter is a man and has humanity, then we are referring to ousia.

    It is the same with the Trinity: There are Three hypostases but One nature (which is infinite). The mystery is of course how there are three distinct hypostasis having an infinite nature.

    The problem arises in translation. Ousia is accurately translated as substantia, and hypostasis as suppositum. BUT hypostasis literally means substance (hypo= sub). Thus a literal translation is in conflict with the understanding of the terms.

    I rather think the average Catholic would prefer “consubstantial” over “one in being” simply because it more indicates a mystery.

  24. swmichigancatholic says:

    RBrown, it also points to the fact that Christ and the Father are totally other in their consubstantial character as well as being immanent. It’s a mystery to the human mind how this can happen and it’s *meant* to be a mystery.

    It’s like the business about how God can hear the prayers of everyone on earth at the same time but yet hear YOURS personally. And yet, he does and he can and he wants to do so because he’s God and we are his handiwork, individually and together.

    The powers and properties of God have been played down mightily in the last 40 years (because unfortunately we’ve been talking about ourselves), but he still has them. ;)

  25. RBrown says:

    RBrown, it also points to the fact that Christ and the Father are totally other in their consubstantial character as well as being immanent. It’s a mystery to the human mind how this can happen and it’s meant to be a mystery.

    Didn’t I point that out, noting that the word “hypostasis” refers to the concrete thing itself? Then I noted that all have the same Divine “ousia”?

    In St Thomas’ theology of the Trinity (also St Augustine’s), to which I am a lame follower, there is only one act of willing and one act of knowing in God. Thus the Divine Unity is the foundation for StT’s theology of the Trinity–that’s why God is referred to as “Triune”.

    It’s like the business about how God can hear the prayers of everyone on earth at the same time but yet hear YOURS personally. And yet, he does and he can and he wants to do so because he’s God and we are his handiwork, individually and together.

    Two points:

    1. Any of God’s acts ad extra have to be attributed to God’s Unity. Otherwise, the Trinity could be known by reason.

    2. God hearing our prayers is a matter of His single, infinite Act of Knowing: He knows what we will pray for before we know it. 1 Jn 14:19–We love Him because He first loved us.

  26. Adam says:

    Does anyone know if other translations of the Mass (e.g., Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese) are in the process of being re-translated to be in line with Liturgiam Authenticam, or are their 1960s translations pretty decent?

    Thank you for a great blog, Father!

  27. Karen S. says:

    Father Z,

    I am looking for a comparison table with three cells in it.

    The first would hold either the Latin (preferred) or the English for each part of the Mass as it used to be.

    The second part of the table would be the corresponding part of the Mass as it is TODAY

    The third part of the table would have the corresponding part of the Mass as it WILL BE with these changes. I think a lot of people would like to see this side by side.

    (I know it’s a big request — and I thank you in advance.

    Karen S.
    Salem, OR
    St. Edward Parish-Keizer
    Archdiocese of Portland

  28. Peter Moscatelli says:

    Adam,

    I’ve heard that the Italian version is being revised, and very much hope that it will take care of the scandalous treatment of “Domine non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum …”, now rendered as “Signore non sono degno di partecipare alla tua mensa …” (how do you turn “enter under my roof” into “take part at your table”???). Such a pity that father Z. doesn’t follow these language versions … Or does he?

    Regards,

    Peter Moscatelli

  29. Matt says:

    I’d didn’t know what consubstantial meant until
    I read an explanation. I’m sure if the local priest
    explains it people shouldn’t have too many problems.

    Being a child of the 80s I’m not familiar with Latin
    aside from the Ave Maria prayer. The new mass text
    however sound fantastic and has the true beauty of our
    faith and the words of God.

    I studied the new text and most if it comes in one way
    or another, directly from the bible i.e.
    Lord hear our prayer is from Psalms.