There is a POLL at the end.
These days I have been comparing on a daily basis (sometimes on the blog) the new, or corrected ICEL prayers (in a couple revisions) with the Latin originals. And while comparing them to the lame-duck versions still in use until Advent 2011 is only worth a chuckle, sometimes looking at old “hand missals” and more traditional translations people used for decades is fruitful.
One thing I wish the new translation had is the old “thee” and “thou” and “thy” language.
The norms of Liturgiam authenticam state that the speech of or liturgical worship should be distinct from every day speech (my emphases and comments):
27. Even if expressions should be avoided which hinder comprehension because of their excessively unusual or awkward nature, [“thou” surely isn’t that] the liturgical texts should be considered as the voice of the Church at prayer, rather than of only particular congregations or individuals; [not merely cutting across global boundaries, but also the boundaries of time] thus, they should be free of an overly servile adherence to prevailing modes of expression. [Just because not many people say “thou” at work or home doesn’t mean we can’t say it in church.] If indeed, in the liturgical texts, words or expressions are sometimes employed which differ somewhat from usual and everyday speech, it is often enough by virtue of this very fact that the texts become truly memorable and capable of expressing heavenly realities. Indeed, it will be seen that the observance of the principles set forth in this Instruction will contribute to the gradual development, in each vernacular, of a sacred style that will come to be recognized as proper to liturgical language. [That has already happened with “thou”, etc.] Thus it may happen that a certain manner of speech which has come to be considered somewhat obsolete in daily usage may continue to be maintained in the liturgical context.
There it is.
In my opinion, the “thee” thing certain does what Liturgicam authenticam asks. I don’t cry over the choice not to “thou” it up in the new, corrected translation. Still… I like that sort of thing and I think others would also.
That said, most people are under the impress that “thee” and “thou” are formal. They originally weren’t.
“Thee… thou.. thy… thine…” are familiar forms of pronouns for the second person singular used by a superior to an underling or between equals or friends.
The “you” form (derived from “ye”) is the more formal.
It was the use of “thou” and not “you” for the second-person singular pronoun in Early Modern English translations of the Bible which gave “thou” etc. the solemn and formal feeling it has now. In other words, over time those translation turned “thou” on its head and made it’s connotation the opposite of what it had before. Unless you are Amish or Quaker you don’t hear the familiar impact of “thou”. You hear something formal.
My point is that the impact of “thou” for most people is now solemn and formal and venerable.
In traditional prayers (Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name…) we address God with a familiar, intimate form. Think of the ruckus that would result if we forced Catholics to say “Our Father, who are in heaven, let your Name be holy”.
I grant that thou wouldst raise an eyebrow or two at the bowling alley with thy peeps if thou didst shift to “thou”:
“It being the tenth frame and since thou hadst a strike, thrice canst thou bowl. Take thou up thy ball and bowl thou, already, ‘cause I gotta go home.”
That last phrase shows some lame-duck ICEL influence, but I think you get my drift.
In the lame-duck Sacramentary now in use ICEL improperly provided “Alternative Prayers” having nothing to do with Latin edition, which has no alternative opening prayers.
Too bad we can’t have alternative prayers in the new, corrected translation with the “thee”s and “thou”s.
I know you will have your own opinion.
Here is a WDTPRS POLL. You don’t have to be registered to vote.
Choose your best answer and then, if you are a registered user, give your reasons in the combox. Let people speak their piece without engaging with them or arguing with them. But please stick to the topic.