PODCAzT 35: Cyprian on the Our Father; MP Rules of Engagement


In the PODCAzT we examine a selection from St. Cyprian of Carthage’s treatise on the Lord’s Prayer, De oratione dominica

Afterward, I make some comments about liturgical prayer. 

Then I gloss my 5 Rules of Engagement for When and If the Motu Proprio Comes

Finally, a great voice message sent by Jim in Scotland.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Stu says:

    I hope that you are at least wearing buckles on your shoes when you are using the typewriter. ;)

  2. Stu: LOL! Zing! Actually, since Mass this morning I am barefoot today!

  3. Dan O says:

    As always, Father, your choice of music is eclectic and enjoyable. I enjoy listening to you, for you have a very comfortable and logical presentation. I can imagine sitting around having a great discussion of these ideas. Keep it up. Thanks.

    Dan O

  4. Ben of the Bayou says:

    Dear Father Z,

    Since it is the 11th Sunday in OT today, I was have some fun translating the Collect and I wanted to see how you translated it (though, I must say that I am an amateur). I was wondering if I might suggest a slightly amended translation from the one you posted. In the phrase “ut, in exsequendis mandatis tuis,…” you have “so that, in the carrying out of your commands,….” I would like to propose that this phrase is an ablative absolute like “dimissis pecatis nostris” from the Mass. Thus, though I am open to correction, it might better be translated “so that, Your commands having been carried out,….” Granted, this may be a little less English friendly, but closer to the sense of the Latin (I think). Please let me know what you think. Know of my continued admiration for your work.

    In Christ,

  5. Cerimoniere says:

    Unfortunately, Ben, it can’t be an ablative absolute; it’s a prepositional phrase following “in,” and “exsequendis” is a gerund rather than a participle.

  6. Charles Robertson says:

    yes, and the notion is that it is imperative that the commands be carried out: “so that , in the carrying out of your commands (which it is incumbent upon us to do…)

  7. Ben of the Bayou says:

    Dear Cerimoniere,

    Far be it for me to quibble, and correct me again, se mi sbaglio, but isn’t the gerund a form of the participle (in this case the future passive, but apparently of a deponent verb, participle–which of course does imply an “ought”)? Of course, it does seem reasonable as you say that it is a prepositional phrase. My mistake.

    In Christ,

  8. swmichigancatholic says:


    I like the music. Was that Groucho Marx singing “I’m against it?” Very cute.

    I think perhaps traditionalists are likely to be grouchy because sometimes they’ve lost the ability to believe that it’s all going to be okay. You have to admit it’s hard when you get picked on for 40 years running! I myself remember wondering, for years at a time, if the Church would begin to right herself in my lifetime. I’m not a great trad, but rather a moderate. But here we are and I’m still here. =)

    I think that having to be gracious and trusting enough to pull this MP off will require great amount of spiritual exercise on the part of traditionalists, progressives and all of us in general. It’s going to constitute a big step toward healing the horrible wound that the Church has suffered with for the last 40 years. I think it’s symbolic of a lot of other things which will also come along in due time.

    I will be glad to see it when it comes.

  9. Cerimoniere says:

    Thinking about this text again, it is a little odd. This certainly appears to be a gerund and not a gerundive; and yet the gerund has no plural form and would not agree like that. Perhaps this is a post-classical development?

    The forms of the gerund and gerundive are morphologically related to the future passive participle, as you say, but they are not “forms” of that participle in the sense of being gramatically related to it.

    The gerundive would not make sense here in the context of the prayer. It is clearly the simple verbal noun, as Father rendered it.

  10. Legisperitus says:

    So, would that mean that “in carrying out your commands” is slightly preferable to “in the carrying out of your commands”?

  11. RBrown says:

    In exsequendo mandata tua: Gerund

    In exsequendis mandatis tuis: Gerundive

  12. TO says:

    Time to change your typewriter ribbon, Father – I could barely make out what you’d typed above (but then again, maybe the half blind girl isn’t the best one to be commenting :))

  13. Cerimoniere says:

    Mr Brown: indeed, so one would think. However, consider the phrase in context:

    “…ut, in exsequendis mandatis tuis, et voluntate tibi et actione placeamus.”

    If one treats this as a gerundive, what sense does it make? It has to mean, “so that, in carrying out your commandments, we may be pleasing to you in will and in action.” If it were a gerundive, surely it would have to mean, “so that, in your commandments which we must carry out, we may be pleasing to you in will and action.”

    Either way, it would seem that something odd is happening: (a) the gerund has developed a plural, and exsequi has started taking an indirect object, or (b) the gerundive is doing something that it doesn’t usually do.

    Father, do you have any thoughts?

  14. RBrown says:

    According to my notes, Foster teaches it as a gerundive–preferred by Romans to the gerund “in exsequendo mandata tua”.

    Gerundives are adjectives, and exsequendis is in the form of the noun mandatis.

  15. Ceremoniere: Father, do you have any thoughts?

    Sure… I think this topic has nothing to do with this entry.

    Robert Brown is correct in what he has described. The Collect is ancient. It is found in the Gelasian. The ancients seem to have preferred using a gerundive in cases like this.

  16. Diane says:

    Great podcazt again. I’ll definitely point people to it from my blog.

    I really fear for younger priests who are attracted to the Classical Roman Rite, and end up on the receiving end of such critical feedback after their first Mass. The nitpickers will do a good job of making sure few want to celebrate the Mass. I’ve already read accounts of young priests who have been there, done that, and don’t want to do it again.

    I think perfecting one’s celebration of the Mass – even where there are legitimate mistakes – is something that will take time and clinics to work through. People in the pews need to be patient.

    The other thought I’ve really been pondering of late is how it seems that some – even on blogs – raise the Liturgy to something that is greater than the Gospel itself. The two must go hand in hand, with charity taking a lead. The fruits coming from assiting at Mass should properly be witnessed as such. Therefore, kindness, gentleness, patience should be visible. If people come out of the Mass with excessive feedback for the priest (or shall we say, “biteback”), then they should be asking themselves what they are doing there to begin with and what are they getting from the Mass. Those graces will come from God in spite of any perceived imperfections in how the Old Mass is celebrated. I say perceived because from my encounters with some in the Traditionalist circles, there are many arm-chair popes who say they know how it should be done, yet it counters what other arm-chair popes say is the way it should be done. This leads to one more fruit yet unmentioned: Humility.

  17. Janet says:

    Fr Z, to change subject slightly, when I log into your webcam, I sometimes hear a woman singing “Lord of All Hopefulness”, and her voice is so very beautiful! Is it Kiri Tekanawa by any chance? If not, who is she?

  18. Julie says:

    I agree, Diane, but in the liturgical wasteland I live in, there aren’t many nitpickers! Most Catholics here, including the priests, know next to nothing about the traditional Latin Mass, and those of us who do know something about it will be so grateful to have a priest willing to say it (if we can even find one) that we will not be watching him with a scorecard to see how he celebrates the Mass.

    I’m afraid it will be Tridentine Mass 101 here, and we traditional Catholics praying in the pews will be totally thrilled and thankful for it.

  19. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    In exsequendis mandatis tuis is definitely what we would call a “gerundive”, though the Romans wouldn’t know what we were talking about.

    It’s not a gerund. The Romans hated using gerunds with direct objects.

  20. Craigmaddie says:

    Fascinating comment from Jim regarding place names, especially for me, as I also live in Scotland. I grew up in a suburb of Glasgow called Bishopbriggs which either means the “fields of the Bishop” (“rigg” being Old Scots for “field”) or the “bridge of the Bishop”. It is striking how deeply interwoven our Catholic faith was with everyday life in Scotland…until the Reformation. But at least it was too late to change the place names!

    And isn’t “Ecclefechan” just pure poetry?

  21. Tim Davies says:

    Dear Father

    Thank you for your excellent podcasts and blog. I find them really helpful and enjoyable. I was interested in the comments from your Scottish listener. In Welsh, our word for church (eglwys) comes directly from ecclesia. There are also some Welsh place names with this word, e.g. Eglwysfach “little church”, but more common is llan (perhaps a cognate of kil) meaning a Celtic enclosure with a church/monastery. Thus, our otherwise forgotten Celtic saints are remembered in place names such as Llandeilo “church of St Teilo”, Llannon “church of St Non”, etc. Now that Calvinistic Methodism is all but dead in Wales, we can hope and pray that the true faith will flourish again in what was in Celtic times a land of the saints.

    Yours in Dmo.,

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