Others are noticing defective ICEL prayers

The master of the Valle Adurni blog has commented on the defective, lame-duck ICEL verison still in use of the Collect for the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time. WDTPRS has over the years looked at that one twice. Here is the last entry, which I here below excerpt, with some of Valle Adurni‘s comments. First, Valle Adurni who does an interlinear fisk:

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus
Almighty everlasting God

qui caelestia simul et terra moderaris
who rule over things of heaven and of earth together
of heaven and earth

supplicationes populi tui clemente exaudi
listen kindly to the prayers of your people
hear our prayers

et pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus.
and give us your peace in our days.
and show us the way to peace in the world.

And now our own WDTPRS look:

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
qui caelestia simul et terrena moderaris,
supplicationibus populi tui clementer exaudi,
et pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus.

This prayer was the Collect for the Second Sunday after Epiphany in the 1962MR.

Almighty eternal God,
who at the same time do govern things heavenly and earthly,
mercifully harken to the supplications of Your people,
and grant Your peace in our temporal affairs.

ICEL (1973 translation of the 1970MR):
Father of heaven and earth,
hear our prayers, and show us the way
to peace in the world.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. dad29 says:

    “Your” peace differs remarkably from “peace.”

    But who knows? Perhaps God will agree with ICEL that the absence of war is “His” peace.

  2. Mark says:


    I heard ICEL is working on a new English translation of the Missal for 2007 or 2008. Do you know, would there be any recourse to some of the beautiful English wording from the Anglo-Catholic ‘High Church’ liturgies — where, of course, it is congruent with the Latin editio typica?

  3. BTC says:

    Should not “who at the same time does” be “who at the same time do”, since
    the subject (who) refers to the second person? Perhaps one might say,
    “who at the same time govern things both earthly and heavenly.”

  4. Woody Jones says:

    “give us your peace” seems to be asking for peace for each of us, while “peace in the world” sure sounds like asking for “world peace” to me. I guess I can visualize it.

  5. FranzJosf says:

    Not being a theologian, I always think of God’s peace as ‘the peace that the world cannot give.” Peace among the nations, or worldly peace, is not the same. God’s peace is available to me on the battlefield.

    Am I right?

  6. John says:

    The old BCP uses the same collect for the second Sunday after the Epiphany and it prays for “thy peace all the days of our life.” The En Calcat Office of Our Lady, which can often have somewhat eccentric translations, prays in the same collect for “your peace for as long as we live”. Perhaps my mother was frightened by Neville Chamberlain, but “peace in our time” is what popped into my mind at pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus.



  7. Eric says:


    Your commentary on this prayer illustrates, I think, a problem between those who hate the ICEL prayers on principle (and I do not say they are all perfect) and the value of simplification for oral prayer that can be redily understood.

    This prayer you use is a good example. What is wrng with translating

    “supplicationibus populi tui clementer exaudi”

    as the ICEL did:

    “Hear our prayers”

    versus what I think is your overly literal translation:

    “mercifully harken to the supplications of Your people”

    The prayers of the liturgy are meant to be oral, readily understood by the people. They are not primarily a written text. So I fail to see how your translation is an improvement in this case, especially with the use of an archaic word like “harken.” If you feel the need to draw out three words to eight, why not at least use “listen?”

  8. Eric: “So I fail to see how your translation is an improvement in this case, especially with the use of an archaic word like “harken.” If you feel the need to draw out three words to eight, why not at least use “listen?””

    You need to review what the purpose of the WDTPRS series is and then rethink what you asked.

  9. Raphaela says:


    Being able to compare the Latin and the ICEL versions in this series of yours never fails to amaze me. What was the acronym supposed to stand for again? “Inexcusably Contracted English Laxity”? ;)

  10. Raphaela: It would seem so sometimes. However… in fairness, the new and improved ICEL is doing a good job.

  11. RBrown says:

    Raphaela, are you by any chance German?

  12. Raphaela says:

    RBrown: No, I’m not — why do you ask?

  13. RBrown says:

    I knew someone in Rome named Raphaela from Germany.

  14. Eric,

    Of course it is true that – in order to make worthwhile comments here on translation matters – your need to understand both the goals of WDTPRS and (expecially) the requirements specified in the CDW instruction Liturgiam authenticam. Thus, in regard to your particular question,

    “Hear our prayers”

    is nowhere near an accurate translation of the Missale Romanum Latin original

    “supplicationibus populi tui clementer exaudi”

    and thus is not acceptable under the current standards. On the other hand, if the only objection were to the word “harken”, and acceptable translation might be

    “Mercifully hear the supplications of your people”

    though I believe “listen to” (exaudi) would be better than “hear” (audi).

  15. Eric: harken: “to listen attentively; give heed” “Harken” is also an archaic imperative.

  16. Tom says:

    And others are noticing defective prayers in the 2002 Missale Romanum carried over from the original 1970 edition; e.g., Dr. Lauren Pristas, Professor of Theology and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Caldwell College in New Jersey, in articles such as:

    “The Orations of the Vatican II Missal: Policies for Revision” http://communio-icr.com/articles/PDF/pristas30-4.pdf

    “The Collects at Sunday Mass: An Examination of the Revisions of vatican II” http://faculty.caldwell.edu/lpristas/novaetveteraweb.pdf

    “The Pre- and Post-Vatican II Collects of the Dominican Doctors of the Church” http://faculty.caldwell.edu/lpristas/Pre%20and%20Post%20Vatican%20II%20CollectswebA.pdf

  17. Tom,

    Just to reiterate what Prof. Pristas does. WDTPRS is devoted mainly to pointing out deficiencies of the currently used ICEL English translations in comparison to their Latin originals in the Novus Ordo Missale Romanum. But Prof. Pristas shows – in convincing detail, it seems to me – that even these Latin originals, seemingly so beautiful compared to the dross and pablum we’re used to hearing at Mass, are similarly weakened – doctrinally as well as stylistically – in comparison with their antecedents in the 1962 Missale Romanum, many of which had been in use essentially unchanged for many centuries.

    Indeed, if any reader here is looking forward to being perfectly happy once we have a faithful new English translation of the Novus Ordo Missale Romanum in our hands (perhaps in 2009?), that’s fine, but then I’d advise you not to follow Tom’s links and read Prof. Pristas’ summaries at the ends of her articles. Nor to systematically compare, as I frequently do first thing each morning, the 1962 and Novus Ordo propers for the day.

  18. dad29 says:

    It seems that Bp. Trautman has a screen-name: Eric.

    My children can understand Fr. Z’s translation. That’s good enough for most of us.

  19. michigancatholic says:

    Eric: You insult us when you claim that decent literal translations are too much for us to understand. It’s obnoxious and arrogant.

    You defend (the old) ICEL’s work. We don’t need ICEL to reduce everything down to 4-letter words for us. Indeed, by the looks of the so-called “translating” they’ve done, they’re the ones that need everything dumbed down. Translations from Latin to English require scholars who can speak both languages well and I don’t think ICEL members do either! Normal English speakers can see the problems with the translations. If ICEL is so high and mighty, why can’t they?

  20. michigancatholic: Whew… take a breath. Discus the issues, don’t throw flames.

Comments are closed.