The inimitable Fr. H today has a spiffing piece at his blog Mutual Enrichment. Let’s have a look.
Taking a breath
We are told that a certain sort of Novus Ordo cleric complains that the current 2010 English translation of the Roman Rite is difficult for him to read. He certainly (judging by two OF Masses I attended last summer) does sometimes have difficulties: taking breath at the right times; pausing; emphasising … all those little tricks by which a crafty hierophant conveys the impression that he understands what he is saying.
The poor dear poppets. They, impoverished souls, may have no ministerial background in delivering liturgically the rolling Tudor periods in Dr Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer. I pity them. Of course they are going to have trouble with any text that goes on for more than a dozen words without a full stop or colon. [That’s our situation now, I’m afraid. I wonder if it wouldn’t be a good idea to require seminarians, over their years of formation, to have a permanent workshop in which they must stand and recite poetry, passages of mighty prose or famous speeches.]
OK; fair enough. But one thing really does puzzle me. There are four words which they seem so often incapable of saying … three of them monosyllabic … “The Mystery of Faith”. [This is, perhaps, a kind of proof that those words shouldn’t be there, in that moment and for that function, in the first place!]
So one gets all sorts of irrelevant nonsense: “Let us proclaim the beauty of our wonderful Catholic Faith”. That sort of thing. My memory is imperfect about details, because, being what PF would call a Rigid Pharisee, my mind tends to be distracted from the interesting and unrigid things the inventive presbyter is saying. Ever a victim to distraction, I am instead caught up in the wonder of the Theophany which he has just brought about upon the Altar. [ROFL!] I can’t help that; I’m too old to change now. But take it from me …
Those four words, of course, are intended to refer to the Mystery of the Great Presence. That is why they were originally within the Verba Domini. [ehem… they still are!] I once wrote a piece about this, which I imagine would be accessible via the Search Engine attached to this blog.
Ah, well. Perhaps things are better in seminaries nowadays. Perhaps the chaps do now get some input, both about the meaning of the Liturgy and how to celebrate it. How to breathe, for example. [See my comments, above.] But what those older clerical chaps do demonstrate, by their endless propensity to change the words, to ad lib their own interminable clevernesses, is this: they obviously find the Novus Ordo (both as composed and as translated) very deeply unsatisfactory; inadequate to meet their own needs and what they assume to be the needs of their people. [Otherwise, why are they constantly tinkering with it?]
Well … ‘traddies’ find it unsatisfactory … this other ‘trendy’ lot does too … so there seem to be an awful lot of clergy who dislike the OF, once you add both those opposing groups together.
Is there anybody out there who really does like the OF, as opposed to merely tolerating it for pastoral reasons, or using it as the springboard for personal inventiveness?