Liberals finally defend Liturgiam authenticam!

Many readers are sending me links to liturgical writers and pages and blogs, liberals, frothing about changes the Holy See is making to the English translation of the Roman Missal approved in 2008 by the USCCB and given the nod by the Holy See.

Rome is making lots of changes to the 2008 and some are not at all pleased.

I have had for a while now the texts of the 2008 and the amended 2010 texts and will one day get around to them.

That said….

Isn’t it fascinating that, now that Rome is making changes liberals don’t like, liberals claimed Liturgiam authenticam as their own?

What does Rome have to do now to get them to read Redemptionis Sacramentum… Summorum PontificumEx corde Ecclesiae… ?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I have been wondering why WDTPRS has been silent on this topic. Good to know that you have the materials! I look forward to your insight on the alleged 10,000 changes and your commentary on some of the variations. From my reading of the various liberal blogs, “frothing” is a real understatement!!

  2. Arieh says:

    I haven’t even heard that Rome was amending the 2008 MR. Where can one find info on the changes? Father, can you give us any idea of what changes are being considered?

  3. southern orders says:

    I think those who take great pride in calling themselves progressive, post Vatican II spirit of the council Catholics who seem to have a new found love for Liturgicum Authenticum are claiming this so as to poke in the eye those who actually appreciate it but really are not fundamentalists when it comes to either procedure or language. This new found love strikes me as a bit disingenuous. No let me retranslate that, it strikes me as very disingenuous.

  4. Melody says:

    Can someone post a link to the revised version?

  5. Frank H says:

    Melody, as far as I know, there is not a single source posting of the 2008 and revised 2010 propers. Some Googling should take you to at least two liberal blogs devoted to liturgical issues which have been pretty excitedly discussing this for a number of months.

  6. Sam Schmitt says:

    Many of the changes are nonsensical and indeed go against the principles of Litugicam Authenticam. And they’re not all just minor tweakings or changing a word here or there – we’re talking about some pretty bad rewrites.

    On top of this, the whole process of last-minute fussing looks bad, and those who were happy with the 2008 translation should be angry about this – why were these changes necessary and who’s responsible for them? This is really the last thing we need right now.

    Here’s some comparisons of the 2008 and 2010 versions. I don’t know whether “Xavier Rindfleisch” is a liberal or not – does it matter? – but his critique is solid.

    Just a taste: The phrase “nobis quoque peccatoribus famulis tuis” from the Roman Canon:
    2008: “To us, your sinful servants”
    2010: “To us, also, your servants, who, though sinners”
    That’s not “slavishly accurate,” just ridiculous!

  7. Weighing in as someone who thinks the 1973 text is poor and the 2008 text is really quite good, I am disheartened by what I have seen of the 2010 text. The 2008 Order of the Mass has endured some unexpected changes, and the propers have been tweaked in rather inexplicable ways.

    Two changes in the Order of the Mass (from 2008 to 2010) that I think are steps backward are:

    1) The re-adoption of the present “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life” in place of the 2008 “May almighty God have mercy on us and, with our sins forgiven, lead us to eternal life.”

    2) The addition of the word “in” in the Nicene Creed here: “I believe [or: And] in one, holy, catholic, apostolic Church.” The Roman Catechism after Trent addressed the lack of the Latin word “in” at this point of the Creed: “[H]ere we make use of a different form of expression, professing to believe the holy, not in the holy Catholic Church. By this difference of expression we distinguish God, the author of all things, from His works…” (Roman Catechism, Creed, IX) The 2008 translation removed the word “in”; the 2010 translation put it back.

  8. RichardT says:

    I hadn’t heard of this particular controversy, and am confused. Can someone give a couple of examples of where the liberals are saying that the new translation conflicts with Liturgicum Authenticum?

  9. Henry Edwards says:

    Here for comparison are the MR 2002 and the WDTPRS, 2010, 2008, and 1973 translations of the 1st Sunday of Advent Prayer after Communion, which has been cited a prime example of the “trainwreck” that 2010 threatens:

    MR 2002
    Prosint nobis, quaesumus, Domine,
    frequentata mysteria, quibus
    nos, inter praetereuntia ambulantes,
    iam nunc instituis amare caelestia
    et inhaerere mansuris.

    We beg You, O Lord, may they be profitable for us,
    these oft celebrated sacramental mysteries, by which
    You established that we, walking amidst the things that are passing away,
    would now in this very moment love heavenly things
    and cleave to the things that will endure.
    [Hang on! I was very clear in my series of articles that I was NOT… NOT… trying to come up with LITURGICALLY USEFUL versions of the prayers. I was being literal for the sake of cracking open the text. Some people have taken my literal version out of the context of the articles and then criticized them for failing to be something they were never intended to be.]

    May these mysteries, O Lord,
    in which we have participated, profit us, we pray,
    for even now, as we walk amid passing things,
    you teach us by them to love the things of heaven
    and hold fast to what endures.

    May the mysteries we have celebrated
    profit us, we pray, O Lord, for even now,
    as we journey through this passing world,
    you teach us by them to love the things of heaven
    and hold fast to what will endure.

    Father, may our communion
    teach us to love heaven.
    May its promise and hope
    guide our way on earth.

    It seems to me that the differences between WDTPRS, 2010, and 2008 versions are pretty minor in comparison with the 1973 version (which does not even approximate what the prayer really says). And that–whichever is best–each of 2008 and 2010 is such a vast improvement over the vacuous kindergarten language of 1973 that one might well ask what the alleged crisis is.

    Confronted with an example like this, I must confess to some mystification as to the motives of those who produce crocodile tears over 2008 vs. 2010, arguing that implementation must now be delayed to provide time for detailed study of their differences.

  10. Henry Edwards says:

    And here is the other prime example presented in one of the liberal posts to show how unbelievably atrocious the Vatican’s 2010 emendations are—the Prayer over the Offerings for the 1st Sunday of Advent, starting with the Latin original and Father Z’s slavishly literal translation.

    MR 2002
    Suscipe, quaesumus, Domine, munera
    quae de tuis offerimus collata beneficiis,
    et, quod nostrae devotioni concedis effici temporali,
    tuae nobis fiat praemium redemptionis aeternae.

    Take up, O Lord, we beg You, the gifts we are offering,
    which were gathered together from Your favors,
    and let that which You grant to be accomplished by our temporal dedication
    become for us the reward of Your eternal redemption.

    Accept, we pray, O Lord, these offerings we make,
    gathered from among your gifts to us,
    and may what you grant us to celebrate devoutly here below,
    gain for us the prize of eternal redemption.

    Accept, we pray, O Lord, the gifts we offer,
    gathered from among your blessings,
    and as the fruit of our temporal offering
    grant us the reward of your eternal redemption.

    Father, from all you give us
    we present this bread and wine.
    As we serve you now, accept our offering
    And sustain us with your promise of eternal life.

  11. Fr. Z, I don’t think Henry was trying to use your slavishly literal translations as anything other than a guide to compare the 2010/2008 prayers against (with the minor differences between the two), as opposed to the 1973 pseudo-paraphrasing (if it’s even that much). It offers someone like me, who doesn’t speak/read Latin (yet!) a good feeling of what the 2002 Latin really says.

    It seems pretty clear that people arguing the merits of “these offerings we make” as opposed to “the gifts we offer” should be aghast at the deviations from the Latin that is obvious in the 1973 prayer. Although I would argue that comparing the 1973 English to the 2002 Latin isn’t 100% fair, it should be the….uh…er…1969(?)/1970 Latin.

    But the main point I get from Henry’s posts are how far off, how watered down, the 1973 versions are compared to any of the others. Heck, I would prefer the slavish translation to what Henry accurately labeled “kindergarten language” of 1973.

  12. I don’t see a dang bit of problem with the 2010 version. Translators have a wide range of legitimate choices on how to translate Latin literally, and the 2010 version is well within that range.

    For example, “suscipere” can mean to receive, to take up, to accept, or even to undergo. The etymology is sub-capere, to grab something that’s lower than you. Fr. Z purposefully used “take up” to expose this underlying meaning, which is blurred by the much more lateral connotations of “accept” and “receive”. But for liturgical purposes, the additional formality and courtesy attached to “accept” and “receive” make them preferable, which is why all the liturgical translations do that.

    If you want to freak out over the amazing informality and lack of urgency of “we pray” (in today’s meaning) as a translation of “quaesumus”, you have my full permission (but pretty much all English liturgical translations do that, old and new, and the hallowing of tradition permits us to use a badly worn down word that retains few “ask” connotations). But I think you’re badly mistaken in complaining about 2008/2010 changes. They seem pretty “six of one, half dozen of another”, in the examples you’re giving.

    Yes, “beneficiis” are gifts, and favors, and blessings, and “fiat” can be translated tons of ways. Yes, “praemium” is reward, and prize too. The 2010 translation is bringing out the scriptural connection to St. Paul’s racing metaphor. Is that so hideous?

    Personally, I am prepared to be happy with any reasonable translation. Everything looks copacetic to me.

  13. catholicmidwest says:

    Actually, Henry, from my point of view (and I am not a Latin translator), I actually prefer the 2010 versions. They sound like something that might be said by an adult rather than a child. They have “content” which is what prayers ought to have. Just my opinion, you understand.

  14. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Fr. Z,
    My hunch is that Mr. Edwards is using your translations in their intended purpose–to give readers a better understanding of the literal meaning rather than an example of what a publicly proclaimable version would look like. Clearly, both the 2008 and 2010 versions are closer to your translation. At least I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. That said, I do think that many of your translations are both more accurate and more proclaimable than what will be coming to us in the near future.

    Mr. Pinyan,
    I’m a proponent of literal translations. My concern is that Latin often relies quite a bit on implication, at least in comparison with English. A good example is the absolution in the penitential rite: “May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life” in place of the 2008 “May almighty God have mercy on us and, with our sins forgiven, lead us to eternal life.” In Latin there is a (frequently detachable) implicature that says that the agent of a perfect passive participle is the same as the clause’s subject, perhaps due to the fact that only deponents and semi-deponents have perfect active participles. English participles do not carry the same implication. The question is whether it is a good idea to express what is implied in the Latin with explicit wording in the English. I think that it is. Therefore, I prefer the 2010 wording, since implicit in the Latin is the idea that God is the agent of the forgiveness.

    In the same vein, I’m dissatisfied with the translation of “frequentata mysteria” in the postcommunion of the 1st Sunday of advent. The phrase is a textbook example of the post urbem conditam construction, where Latin will use a perfect passive participle modifying a noun in order to avoid using an abstract noun modified by a genitive, e.g. post urbis conditionem. In other words, what frequentata mysteria is really saying is “the observation/celebration of the mysteries.” A hyper-literal translation misses the point that frequentata is the salient idea in the noun phrase, not mysteria. The best way to communicate both content and nuance would not be a literal translation.

    I also need to put in a plug for restoring the word “walk” into the translation. Walking is an incredibly frequent action in the Hebrew Bible and calls to mind those who walked with God, those who walk through the valley of death, etc. Although I agree that many of the changes are for the worse, it is clear that the 2008 version stood to benefit from a going over.

    I’m somewhat disappointed that munus is translated by “gift” rather than “service”. Gift should be restricted to donum. In addition to meaning gift, munus is the Latin translation of leitourgia, thus frequently having metonymical value: “Munus significat officium, cum dicitur quis munere fungi. Item donum quod officii caus? datur, Paul. ex Fest. p. 140 Müll. Service as a translation works fairly well in both situations, whereas gift only works in the latter.

    All in all, can’t wait for the new translation!!

  15. Ioannes (haven’t seen you at PTB lately… did I miss — or forget — a falling-out?), my beef with “forgive us our sins, and bring us” is that it sounds to me like a laundry list. “May God do A, B, and C.” But the Latin text more firmly unites B and C: having our sins forgiven is a prerequisite for eternal life. Back when I was writing about the 2008 text, I used an analogy:

    A mother can tell her child playing outside to “go inside, wash up, and get in the car.” The child can do those things and yet — as only children can! — get dirty on the way from the house to the car. That’s not what the mother meant, of course. She wanted her son to be clean when he got in the car.

    I think the tighter Latin translation reflects that: May God have mercy on us and, with our sins forgiven, lead us to eternal life.

    I also like “lead” over “bring”; it resonates more of the “Good Shepherd” vibe with me. And “eternal” over “everlasting”.

  16. Henry Edwards says:

    Father Z: “Hang on!” . . .

    Of course, I know that you knew that I had included your WDTPRS version precisely to provide the actual “slavishly accurate” literal meaning of the Latin original as a baseline for comparison of the 2008 and 2010 versions, but felt that this fact needed emphasis. [Of course you knew! You are a battle-hardened WDTPRS veteran. There are a lot of newer readers, however.]

    The bottom line in all examples I’ve seen is that both 2008 and 2010 agree well in meaning the Latin original. Different people may have different preferences between the two in individual cases. However, this is the Roman Missal, so it should be no surprise that the Holy See expresses its own preferences in the final version, whatever it is.

    I suspect that this reality–rather than either accuracy of translation or smoothness for proclamation–is the real bone of contention in this Mass hysteria. I’m beginning to wonder whether most of those who are howling so loudly about the differences between 2008 and 2010 are concerned less with liturgy than with ecclesiology.

    Those who were most opposed to the new (so-called 2008) translation began a desperate “What if We Just Said Wait” campaign several months ago in a last ditch attempt to stall it. This was getting nowhere, with a likely Advent 2011 implementation in sight, when they found out about the apparently numerous final emendations being made in-house at the Vatican.

    Now these same previously implacable opponents of the 2008 translation are reverencing it as a thing of unparalleled beauty that Rome is trashing perfidiously via the 2010 emendations, and charging that the translation instructions of Liturgiam authenticam–which they bitterly opposed from the beginning—are being ignored most lamentably by the Vatican itself. (Count the ironies here!)

    So I’m tempted to conclude that—whatever are the merits of the matter–this is largely a disinformation campaign whose instigators hope to delay implementation of any new corrected translation as long as possible, and to poison the well for successful implementation whenever it does occur. Naturally, having studied all these prayers in Latin and English for years–largely under the tutelage of Father Z–I have my opinions about their translation, but I fear that many who are drawn into contention at this late date are simply playing into the hands of others less worthy.

  17. Sam Schmitt says:

    Henry, maybe I missed something – but exactly which liberal critics of the new translation are now tripping over themselves to praise it now? The author of the critiques being posted at a certain liberal blog does not strike me as a “What If We Just Said Wait” liberal – he praises the 2008 renditions and cites LA numerous times. Sure, many liberals may be chuckling with glee over this new in hopes that the whole project will be put on hold or even derailed, but that doesn’t mean that the 2010 revisions aren’t bad news.

    I’ll grant that the differences between the 2010 and 2008 versions are minor compared to 2008 / 1973. Still, there are some modifications in the 2010 version which are not in line with Liturgicam Authenticam: additions that are not in the Latin, mistranslations (plurals for singulars when the former works well, failure to preserve parallelisms, etc.), and even reversions back to the wording of the 1973 version!

    Most of the examples he offers are minor by themselves. For example “tibique reddunt vota sua” in the Roman Canon:

    2010: “paying their homage to you”
    2008: “fulfilling their vows to you”
    1973: “We pray to you”

    Clearly, 2010 is a big improvement over 1973, but it loses the Scriptural overtones of “vows” of the 2008 version. More to the point, how does “vota” translate as “homage”? Lewis and Short gives: “a promise to a god, solemn pledge, religious engagement, vow.” OK, I suppose it’s not the end of the world if we lose this tidbit, but the 2010 revision does this over and over again – the cumulative effect is very big. The modifications do not improve the accuracy, rhythm, or comprehensibility of the translation.

    Henry Edwards quotes the versions of the prayer over the offereings for the First Sunday of Advent to show that the changes aren’t that big of a deal.

    Accept, we pray, O Lord, these offerings we make,
    gathered from among your gifts to us,
    and may what you grant us to celebrate devoutly here below,
    gain for us the prize of eternal redemption.

    Accept, we pray, O Lord, the gifts we offer,
    gathered from among your blessings,
    and as the fruit of our temporal offering
    grant us the reward of your eternal redemption.

    Suscipe, quaesumus, Domine, munera
    quae de tuis offerimus collata beneficiis,
    et, quod nostrae devotioni concedis effici temporali,
    tuae nobis fiat praemium redemptionis aeternae.

    But if you look more closely, the changes are at best totally unnecessary – one wonders what problems they were intended to fix? At worst, they are violations of LA. The “to us” in line 2 is not in the Latin; “beneficiis” is better translated as “blessings” instead of “gifts” (which would be “donis”); in lines 3 and 4 the temporali / aeternae (temporal / eternal) contrast is lost. And could someone please tell me where “celebrate devoutly here below” is in the Latin? Or “gain”? The “tuae” – “your” (modifying redemption) at the beginning of the last line is simply left out. What’s wrong with the 2008 version that it had to be “fixed”?

    The bigger issue is why this is happening at all? With such opposition and politicalization of the whole process, the last thing we need is behind-the-scenes, last-minute, fussy changes that serve no purpose but to confuse everyone. And the changes are not innocuous! It certainly isn’t helping those who are trying to defend this project.

  18. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Dear Jeffrey,
    Re: PTB, I sometimes still read it, but I was never too happy about the moderation. Sometimes felt like I was being baited, too. I may post there in the future, but WDTPRS will always be my first love!

  19. Jim of Bowie says:

    I stopped reading PTB. I couldn’t take the snobbery, snarkiness and hatred of anything Pope Benedict or orthodox. I must say that you, Jeffrey and Henry do an admirable job of defending tradition.

  20. Emilio III says:

    After reading this entry, it seemed proper to play a couple of recordings of The Suspicious Cheese Lords.

  21. Frank H says:

    PrayTell is reporting today that still further changes are being made to the so-called 2010 received text, apparently in response to all the discontent.

  22. Henry Edwards says:

    Pertinent post by “southern orders” from a workshop this week in San Antonio on the “glorious new English translation of the Holy Mass”:

    All is Well With the New English Translation of the Mass

    “What most of the priests here are saying is that it will help us to bring about the authentic liturgical renewal envisioned by Sacrosanctum Concilium of the Second Vatican Council. It will return us to a more formal approach to God in prayer and worship and the reverence due him from us! Somehow and this is really unbelievable to me, we as Catholics lost the profound sense of the sacred that we are noted for as Catholics especially in our worship. The prayers were simplified and lost so much of their dignity that was and is in the current Latin.”

    (See the post for more.)

  23. Dave N. says:

    Questions about the “10,000 changes” to the 2008 version came up today in a diocesean training event on the new translation. Unfortunately the presenter had no idea what the questioner was referring to or how to deflect concerns that there are still substantial changes to the MR that are yet to be revealed. Things sort of fell apart after that. It would be nice to clear the air about what’s going on.

  24. Father et. al.

    Praytellblog is a riot! You don’t have to scratch too deeply to see where those ‘chatty cathies’ are coming from! Consider this recent gem from a frequent PTB contributor:

    >>>While it is nice to quote Edmund Campion or Thomas More, let us not forget that they were martyrs for a view of papal authority that the Church no longer holds, whereas Thomas Cranmer was a martyr for freedom of religion, which the Church does uphold since Vatican II. ……<<<


    The blog's creator himself (on the same string) puffed himself up and pontificated that 'the Church is not timeless!' He had read many books which told him so….to his credit he saw the folly of his statement. I don't know what he did with all of his books!!

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