From a reader:
I have a question that arises from something I overheard at an FSSP Mass this morning. When the priest turned to the congregation with the Blessed Sacrament and said "Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi", and the congregation responded with the "Domine, non sum dignus", the elderly lady sitting next to me said "Domine, non sum digna", substituting the feminine adjectival ending to match her own gender (this was clearly audible during all three iterations).
I was quite impressed with her knowledge of Latin, but when I mentioned the incident to a seminarian of my acquaintance he seemed to think this innovation was pretty much on a par with people in the NO Mass substituting entirely different words in the vernacular texts, and thus, by implication, not licit. What would your take on this be?
I think the texts should be read as they are.
If you are going to make responses at Mass, say the texts as they are written.
This is not just because this particular phrase is from Scripture, but because the Mass texts constitute their own theological locus.
I can understand the desire to make the texts your own. On the other hand, the baptized person participating at Mass speaks with Christ’s voice and makes Christ’s gestures when it falls to him or her to speak and move. The Church’s texts must be respected when it is time to speak.
Also, changing a text like that might subtly reinforce the idea that "it’s Father’s Mass". In other words, "It doesn’t matter what I do, since he is saying the correct text up there. I can say what I want to make it more meaningful to me."
I don’t think a woman saying digna rather than dignus is terribly harmful. In the large scheme of things, this wouldn’t be among those cares I would worry over. Still, I think the texts should be read as they are for various reasons.