PODCAzT 102: Exploring the new English translation of the Roman Canon; voicemail

UPDATE: 25 May 2306 GMT:

I have received word from a couple people via email that in my reading of the new translation of the Roman Canon I omitted the name of St. Anastasia, which surprises me.  This was an odd lapsus linguae given the fact that when I say Mass in English I nearly always use the 1st Eucharistic Prayer and always read the names of all the saints.

Therefore, I pulled up the audio file and recorded that little section.

Sorry about that!

Today we will make a audio comparison of the lame-duck ICEL version of the 1st Eucharistic Prayer now still in use with the new, approved and improved translation which we will soon be able to hear in our Churches.

The new translation of the Roman Missal will help the whole Catholic Church, whether people want to attend the newer form of Holy Mass or not.  When the tide rises all the boats rise with it.  Therefore, the implementation of the new translation is of paramount importance for the whole Church.

We must revitalize our Catholic identity, and worship is the key.

Thus, we hear today the lame-duck version and then the new version of the Roman Canon.  I think many people have read it, but… have they heard it?

In the reading of the two versions of the Eucharistic Prayer, I try to keep my personality out of the way and not impose too much on the text.  I just want you to hear the text.  Besides, far too many priests try to read with meaning… it’s like drowning in syrup.

Then I share with you some voicemail from a listener and reader of this blog.



103 10-05-24 The new translation of the 2nd Eucharist Prayer; Fr. Z digresses and rants
102 10-05-21 Exploring the new English translation of the Roman Canon; voicemail

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    We almost always, even on Sunday, only ever have the very short Eucharistic prayer two. It is so rare to hear the Roman Canon that is a surprise when we do.

  2. RichR says:

    Great podcazt. I like hearing (as opposed to reading) the translations.

    As mentioned above, the Roman Canon is hardly ever heard these days, even though it only adds a minute and a half to Mass. I would love to hear from priests why they usually opt for the very short canon.

  3. SuzieQ says:

    Why wasn’t it translated correctly to begin with?

  4. Han says:

    Interesting. New translation is much better than the lame duck version. It must be an Anglicanism that “Dominus Deus Sabaoth” is translated “Lord God of hosts.” Since the Hebrew word “Sabaoth” is retained as a loan word in the Latin (as well as in the Greek and in the Slavonic for those interested in comparative liturgy), I would think that “Sabaoth” should be retained as a loan word in the English (like “Amen” or “Alleluia”). I would also have translated the end of the Te Igitur, “et omnibus orthodoxis, atque catholicae, et apostolicae fidei cultoribus” as “and all the orthodox, who cultivate the catholic and apostolic faith.” The Greek loan word “orthodoxis” is very rare in Latin liturgy. I think that the Roman Canon is the only place it appears. Meaning not only “right belief”, but also “right glory,” the inclusion of the word “orthodox” in the Roman Canon, especially followed by “atque catholicae, et apostolicae fidei cultoribus,” seems to me to be intentional to draw attention to the idea of orthodoxy. I think this is more significant because of the word “cultoribus”–“cultivators” or the catholic and apostolic faith (as opposed to “believers” or something like that). I think that what we have here is an attempt to note the dual meaning of the word “orthodox”–it is more than mere intellectual assent, but rather a way of life–the catholic and apostolic faith is something not merely possessed or believed in, but it is something that one cultivates, and those who do so are the truly orthodox. Arguably, these “orthodox” are a subset of Catholics in general, since the “Church” has already been mentioned earlier. Perhaps the “orthodox” mentioned in the Te Igitur is a particular mention of those whose lives bear charismatic witness to the faith. Perhaps if the mention of the Pope and the bishop immediately before the “orthodox,” the “orthodox” are the St. Paul to the St. Peter of the universal and local hierarchy.

  5. Hey, Father Z., what’ve you got against St. Anastasia?! ;) [25 May – corrected]

    Han, concerning ‘Sabaoth’, here’s my take on the matter:

    As far as Hebrew words go, we are far more familiar with “Amen”, “Alleluia” (itself a Latinization of “Hallelujah”), and “Hosanna”, which regularly appear in English translations of the Bible. (They appear in the NAB and the RSV.) “Sabaoth”, on the other hand, tends to be translated in English Bibles. In fact, “Sabaoth” is translated nearly every time even in the Latin Vulgate (new and old) as “exercituum”, with the following three exceptions: Jeremiah 11:20 (not in the new Vulgate), Romans 9:29, James 5:4. So only once in the OT (and never in the new Vulgate OT), and that’s not Isaiah 6:3!

    So its presence in the Latin words of the liturgy is somewhat intriguing… why wasn’t “Dominus exercituum” used instead? That’s for someone with more resources and time than I have to figure out. :)

    Now, people are more familiar with “Hosanna”, to be sure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they understand what it means. That’s where catechesis comes in. (When I was much younger, I always misheard the refrain of “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” as “… who from the lips of children made sweet Hosanna’s ring”, and I was privately perplexed by – if not terrified of – a Lord who made a ring for some lady named “Hosanna” out of the lips of children! I’ve since come to a proper understanding of the hymn.)

    So does “Hosanna” have more weight or bearing than “Sabaoth”? If translations are any measure of that, I’d say yes.

    And another question about the proper translation of the first line of the Sanctus has to do with the fact that “Dominus Deus Sabaoth” is nominative, not vocative. Thus, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts”, to be translated strictly, should be “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts.”

    But this is compounded by the fact that the Sanctus, while based on Isaiah 6:3, is not a strict word-for-word citation of it. In the Vulgate, we read “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus exercituum; plena est omnis terra gloria eius.” The angels are singing OF God: “full of His glory.” In the liturgy, we are singing TO God: “Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua” – “full of Your glory.”

    So in the liturgical Sanctus, the first line is a nominative mention of God which is usually treated/translated as a vocative, since the second line addresses God in the second person, not the third person as in Isaiah. (No puns intended there, of course!)

    Now, I’m sure it’s quite natural in certain settings to speak in that way – e.g. “Gracious is the King; I am your [not ‘his’] humble servant” instead of “Gracious King, I am your humble servant.” And that would, indeed, appear to be how the Latin Sanctus is worded. But that got lost in translation a long time ago, it would seem… most (if not all) personal missals I’ve seen from the pre-Vatican II era provide a vocative translation rather than a nominative.

  6. Mike says:

    I like the new translations, however: I like “the Catholic Faith that comes to us from the Apostles” rather than “the Catholic and apostolic Faith”.

    It just seems to embody the idea of movement, the stream of orthodoxy making its way through the centuries.

    Otherwise, the new translation sounds wonderful to my ears.

  7. catholicmidwest says:

    Suzie Q,

    Why did people join communes? Why did people live in discarded painted school buses? Why did pot go mainstream? Why did people say “groovy” and “farrrr out?” It was a 60s thing. You had to be there.

    I don’t ask why the translations weren’t done correctly; rather, I’d like to know why they were translated at all. It should never have been the case that people that rapt with the state of culture had enough power to do what was done. The whole thing was a travesty–and one we’re not over yet.

  8. AnAmericanMother says:

    The new translation has more balance and repetitive or restated phrases – just as the Psalms do. It also has more alliteration and poetical language.

    This is very pleasant to hear. I don’t think it will take much getting used to.

  9. Magpie says:

    Very good Fr, thank you. The new translation is great. Looking forward to it very much.

  10. nzcatholic says:

    Notice in the bulletin at church was that here in New Zealand it will take effect from the first Sunday in Advent.
    Im looking forward to it.

  11. Frank H says:

    It really sounds quite beautiful. Language that doesn’t treat us all like 4th graders. Language that certainly restores a sense of the sacred. And, without doubt, contrary to all the protests, eminently proclaim-able!

    Fr. Z, I hope you will also consider tackling the other three Eucharistic Prayers, since, sadly, they are more likely to be used than the Roman Canon, at least in most parishes.

  12. Frank H says:

    nzcatholic –

    Advent of 2010!? How lucky you are!

  13. Han says:

    Mr. Pinyan,

    Regarding the origin of the use of “sabaoth” rather than “exercituum” in the Sanctus, if I had to guess, I would guess that it probably comes from a Vetus Latina translation which probably used the Septuagint rather than the now lost old Hebrew text that St. Jerome used. Isaias 6:3 in the Septuagint reads, “Agios, agios, agios, Kyrios sabaoth….” However, the history of this is irrelevant as far as the liturgical text goes, because the liturgical texts are not dependent or subordinate to scripture. Whenever it was in the past that the Sanctus became a part of the Mass, it was determined that the Hebrew word “sabaoth” should be retained rather than translated. Therefore, it seems to me that in translating the Sanctus into English, this decision of the fathers should be respected and the word “sabaoth” should remain untranslated as it was in the Latin (and in the Greek).

    For similar reasons, I think certain idioms should be retained. For example, it looks the the response “et cum spiritu tuo” finally is being translated “and with thy spirit,” but why is “et in saecula saeculorum” being translated as a simple “forever” rather than “and unto the ages of ages?”

  14. Dr. Eric says:

    Very good PODCAzT Fr. Z. I do feel as if I’ve been robbed for the past 30 years that I can remember going to Holy Mass. The priests never use the Roman Canon except for a very small minority in the churches that use the OF. I didn’t know that the proper translation of “holy and perfect sacrifice” was “a pure victim, a holy victim, an immaculate victim” or in Latin “hostiam puram, hostiam sanctam, hostiam immaculatam.”

    This new translation is going to change things in the English speaking Catholic world.

  15. Mike says:

    An older priest in our parish, God bless him, always says Eucharistic Prayer One on Sunday.

  16. irishgirl says:

    Great podcast, Father Z, as always!

    I kept my ears peeled for the translation of the words of consecration of the Precious Blood especially-I wondered if ‘for many’ was going to be translated correctly…and it was! I know that’s a bone which many trads ‘pick at’.

    Yes-you forgot St. Anastasia! [25 May – corrected]

    It’ll be interesting when this gets implemented….I remember back in the 60s and 70s when the vernacular translations happened…not a happy time!

  17. ecclesiae says:

    The other Eucharistic Prayers should all be removed from the Novus Ordo Mass. Then we would have two forms of the Roman rite.

  18. wanda says:

    Thank you for the podcast, Fr. Z. I really enjoyed the chance to hear the differences in the prayers. Would that all Parishes had the opportunity for this excellent preparation before the new translations go into effect. In charity, I can just hear it now, what? why did ‘they’ change the prayers, I don’t like it..etc. And, I do not place myself before anyone else, but, I’m just putting myself in their shoes. I venture a guess that 2/3 of us in the pews don’t even know what is coming in Advent 2011. I pray that we begin soon to hear such good teaching as yours so we will have a smoother transition and won’t go into shock or faint away in distress.

  19. Mitchell NY says:

    I did my own litmus test on the translations. I listened to the podcast while in my office, doing paperwork while Father recited both versions in the backround. As I was listening to the old ICEL translation I was brought back to my childhood Mass experience, even pictured the Church, first Holy Communion, etc. As I was listening and working when the new translation was playing I heard a few words, not unknown, but unfamiliar, and kept listening for the differences. I kept hearing references to things that had been washed out of the first translation. It did sound much better, or actually it sounded more complete. My thoughts were complete on what were the messages. I felt like a picture was more fully painted. The previous translation seemed sort of abstract, or without definition. Blurry kind of. There was a crispness to the newer translation. But more profound to me was the fact that during the ICEL version I kept getting distracted or my thoughts would wander. None of the wording kept me meditating on what was the meaning. The new translation did. It may be that this being simply “new” I paid more attention and was looking for the differences, however even when hearing the first vernaculars, I don’t remember focusing on anything. The words were just that, words, nothing to ponder. And during both I was working, but kept stopping when I heard something I had to think about. As for flow, I see no reason why this part of Mass could be called bulky, or awkward. Both seemed to have good flow. Or maybe it was Father’s way of reading the newer translation. Either way, it shows it CAN be done, without feeling bulky. The structure sounded fine and I thought about it only after I was done, remembering what I had read in criticism of the newer translation. Nothing sounded strange, at all during the podcast.

  20. Henry Edwards says:

    It’s odd that some say they almost always hear EP II, which I understand is not supposed to be used for any Mass that has a proper preface, which apparently includes all Sundays, feasts, and solemnities.

    At any rate, of the two priests who celebrate the OF Masses I ordinarily attend, one uses only EP I (the Roman Canon), the other uses EP I on special days, sometimes EP III, but practically never EP II. So I (thankfully) practically never hear EP II.

    Another favorite priest says he’s resolved to use each EP at least once annually, but that he forgot to use EP II last year, so is bracing himself to use it twice this year (but is procrastinating so far).

  21. lofstrr says:

    Wow, it is hard to believe that both are translation of the same latine and that the actual canon didn’t get changed. Pretty shocking.

  22. lofstrr: Yes, it is actually shocking.

  23. Henry: bracing himself to use it twice this year (but is procrastinating so far)

    Let him procrastinate… and procrastinate.. and procrastinate…

  24. Maltese says:

    The new translation is a band aid on a gaping wound. Take just the artistic and musical aspect. How many great, say, requiems, have been written for the new mass? None. Why? Because it wasn’t birthed in the crucible of the faith or cradled in her tradition. It was manufactured with the help of protestants at the most modernistic time of the Church’s history. Here is Gherardini on-point:

    “And if someone passed through that door to introduce into the Church a Liturgy subversive to the very nature and primary end of Sacred Liturgy…the responsibility for this, in the final analysis, is none other than the conciliar text itself [Sacrosanctum Concilium]…Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci, Master of the prestigious Sistine Chapel [states that the new mass] ‘was born without music, I would even say with a poorly concealed aversion to music’ which opened ‘the door to amateurism, to poor taste to superficiality’ to the point where ‘this music goes well with this Liturgy'”

    Msgr. Brunero Gherardini, “The Ecumenical Vatican Council II, A Much Needed Discussion.”

  25. Maltese says:

    there will soon be available a new translation of the various texts, certainly improved regarding some verses, but I will not marvel at all if for other passages there will be more problems than in the first edition resulting from certain exegetical historical-theological eccentricities which I myself have already pointed out…From this [the anthropocentric nature of the Novus Ordo] comes the constant need of revisions, adaptations, and new translations. And this is exactly what has happened and continues to take place today. The loss of Latin was colossal…Bugnini again legitimized his position by declaring that :no part of the sacred action is justifiable in a language which the people cannot understand…If ever there was anyone who not comprehend the almost infinite spiritual capacity of man, and especially that of a popular religious character, it was him. Even if the people were not to make out the sound or the sense of the words, they would, however contemplate and adore in the presence of the sacred action and be spiritually involved…It must also be duly noted that at that time there was the wide use of bilingual Missals which put the people in a position to follow the literary unfolding of the sacred action in addition to the spiritual. Therefore the vague “yes” which Paul VI gave for the suppression of Latin is almost incomprehensible.

    Msgr. Brunero Gherardini, “The Ecumenical Vatican Council II, A Much Needed Discussion.

    You can’t fix stupid, and stupid it was to suppress the Latin, no less try to create a mass which seems to almost focus more on man than God.

  26. irishgirl says:

    Are the other Eucharistic Prayers going to be changed in their wording, too?

  27. I received word from a couple people via email that in my reading of the new translation of the Roman Canon I omitted the name of St. Anastasia, which surprises me! And now I get what people mentioned in the comments, above.

    This was an odd lapsus linguae given the fact that when I say Mass in English I nearly always use the 1st Eucharistic Prayer and always read the names of all the saints.

    Therefore, I pulled up the audio file and recorded that little section.

    Sorry about that!

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