Roman Missal[1]

 

I. Introduction

 

The new Missal of the Roman Catholic Church shows how to pray.  According to standard American English, however, the prayers are so difficult to understand that I refer to the “2011 illiterate Missal.”  The revised prayers are my translation of the Bible-babble in the Missal into standard American English as heard on EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network), the Weather Channel, and the evening news.

 

II. Prayer before reading Sacred Scripture (Collect)[2]

 

A. Missal:      O God, who on this day revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations by the guidance of a star, grant in your mercy that we, who know you already by faith, may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

 

B. Italian Latin:[3]       Deus, qui hodiérna die Unigénitum tuum géntibus stella duce revelásti, concéde propítius, ut, qui iam te ex fide cognóvimus, usque ad contemplándam spéciem tuae celsitúdinis perducámur.  Per Dóminum.

 

C. Revised:   Heavenly Father, on this day, many years ago, you revealed the Baby Jesus to the world.  The angels and a heavenly star announced his birth.  We believe in the Baby Jesus.  Enable us to contemplate your Son in his divine glory.  We pray for the grace of everlasting life through your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.

 

D. Comment: The Missal Collect has a 13.5 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  The revised Collect has a 6.9 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  Readability is a test of good writing.

 

The Latin omits the O in the Missal O God.[4]

 

The first sentence of this prayer contains forty-five words.  It is a fused sentence, with a 17.4 or graduate school Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.[5]

 

In standard American English, nations means ethnic political enterprises, as developed only in Modern Times.[6]  People, therefore, conveys the meaning better than nations.

 

Through . . . is a type of sentence fragment the Missal uses throughout the book.[7]

 

III. Prayer after Communion

 

A. Missal:      Go before us with heavenly light, O Lord, always and everywhere, that we may perceive with clear sight and revere with true affection the mystery in which you have willed us to participate.  Through Christ our Lord.

 

B. Italian Latin:[8]       Caelésti lúmine, quaesumus, Dómine, semper et ubíque nos praeveni, ut mystérium, cuius nos partícipes esse voluísti, et puro cernámus intúitu, et digno percipiámus afféctu.  Per Christum.

 

C. Revised:   With your heavenly light, O Lord, we recognize and appreciate with affection the Eucharistic mystery that you have given to us through Christ our Lord.

 

D. Comment: The Missal Prayer after Communion has an 8.1 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  The revised Prayer after Communion has a 5.6 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  Readability is a test of good writing.

 

The Latin uses et . . . et, that should be translated both . . . and.  The English Missal only uses one conjunction, and, to make a compound verb, may perceive . . . and revere.  The direct object of both perceive and revere is the mystery, separated compound prepositional phrases, with clear sight and with true affection.  Such nonsense characterizes the 2011 illiterate Missal.

 

IV. Blessings[9]

 

A. Missal:      May God, who has called you out of darkness into his wonderful light pour out in kindness his blessing upon you and make your hearts firm in faith, hope and charity.

R.[10]  Amen.

 

B. Italian Latin:[11]      Deus, qui vos de ténebris vocávit in admirábile lumen suum, suam vobis benedictiónem benígnus infúndat, et corda vestra fide, spe et caritáte stabíliat.  R. Amen.

 

C. Revised:   God has called you out of darkness into the light of his holy Son, the Baby Jesus.  May God shower blessings upon you, with his love.  May God give you hearts that are steadfast and firm in faith, hope, and charity.

                     R. Amen

 

D. Comment: The Missal Blessing by the priest has a 12.6 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  The revised Blessing has a 4.0 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  Readability is a test of good writing.

 

As written, the series, faith, hope and charity, is needlessly unclear.  The Little, Brown Handbook explains, “Some writers omit the comma before the coordinating conjunction in a series (Breakfast consisted of coffee, eggs and kippers [fish]).  But the final comma is never wrong, and it always helps the reader see the last two items as separate . . .”[12]

 

V. ICEL

 

Whether to include or exclude the 1998 ICEL translation is difficult.  The reason to include ICEL is this is the best the American bishops could do, before the Vatican rejected the translation.  The ICEL translation also deals with some of the vocabulary and grammatical problems with which the revisions deal.  The reason to exclude ICEL is that the ICEL translation is not significantly better than the Missal.

 

Prayer before reading Sacred Scripture (Collect)[13]

ICEL:[14]         God of mystery, on this day you revealed your only Son to the nations by the guidance of a star.  We know you now by faith; lead us into that presence where we shall behold your glory face to face. 

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.

                

Prayer after Communion

ICEL:[15]         Guide us always and everywhere, Lord, by your light from on high, that we may discern with clear minds and treasure with deep affection the mystery you have given us to share.

 

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Blessings at the End of Mass

ICEL:[16]         May the God who called you from darkness into his marvellous light shower you with his blessings and strengthen you in faith, hope, and love.

R.  Amen.

 

The respective ICEL Collect, Prayer after Communion, and Blessing have 6.0, 7.9, and  9.9 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readabilities. 

 

VI. Rationale

 

Clarity is not a prerequisite for prayer.  The search for clarity can be a means to prayer.  As part of catechesis, these Personal Notes set up what the Church needs to explain to enable the Faithful to pray with faith seeking understanding, as Saint Anslem of Canterbury (1033-1109) puts it.[17] 

In an attempt to use the prayers the anti-Vatican-II, Vatican, is now setting forth, these Personal Notes are taking on a new focus.  This new focus begins November 27, 2011, the First Sunday in Advent.  From the First Sunday in Advent until just before the First Sunday of Lent, February 26, 2012, these Notes will have a double focus, including both the Lectionary and the Missal. 


 

Heavenly Father, on this day, many years ago, you revealed the Baby Jesus to the world.  The angels and a heavenly star announced his birth.  We believe in the Baby Jesus.  Enable us to contemplate your Son in his divine glory.  We pray for the grace of everlasting life through your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.

 

With your heavenly light, O Lord, we recognize and appreciate with affection the Eucharistic mystery that you have given to us, through Christ our Lord.

 

God has called you out of darkness into the light of his holy Son, the Baby Jesus.  May God shower blessings upon you, with his love.  May God give you faith, hope, and charity in hearts that are steadfast and firm.

                     R. Amen

 



[1] n.a., The Roman Missal:  Renewed by Decree of the Most Holy Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI and Revised at the Direction of Pope John Paul II:  English Translation According to the Third Typical Edition:  For Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America:  Approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See (Washington, DC, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011) 216-219.

 

[2] Collect is the technical term for this prayer.

 

[3] This is the Latin Missale that the Missal translates into English.  I name the Missale Italian Latin, because of the accent marks, which do not appear elsewhere.  Pagina 175 at http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/exw.htm#bsr  The Holy See, Congregation for the Clergy runs this website.  (accessed December 6, 2011).

 

[4] The argument that the English is to stay close to the Latin does not hold up.  The English has O Lord.  The Latin has only Dómine, without the O.  O is a Latin word.  Cassell’s Latin Dictionary: Latin-English and English-Latin, revised by J. R. V. Marchant, M.A. and Joseph F. Charles, B.A. (New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1952) 371.

 

[5] See Chapter 18, “Comma Splices, Fused Sentences,” H. Ramsey Fowler and Jane E. Aaron, Eleventh Edition:  The Little, Brown Handbook (New York:  Longman, 2010) 339-444.

 

[6] http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/unabridged?va=nations&x=0&y=0  (accessed December 19, 2011).

 

[7] The Little, Brown Handbook explains,

 

A prepositional phrase is a modifier consisting of a proposition (such as in, on, to, or with [including through] together with its object and any modifiers (see pp. 242-43).  A prepositional phrase cannot stand alone as a complete sentence . . .

 

At the end of the prayer, the unity is confusing.  A dictionary definition for the word the:  “1 c:-- used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent refers to someone or something that is unique or is thought of as unique or exists as only one at a time <the Lord><the Messiah> . . . .”[7]  Unity is a noun meaning “1a:  the quality of stage of being or consisting of one.”[7]  Does the unity mean that the Holy Spirit belongs to a union, like a labor union?  Does unity in the Collect mean that the Holy Spirit, unlike Jesus, has only one nature, Divine?  Does unity mean the trinitarian unity?  In the same vein, does unity mean that it is the Holy Spirit, which is the relationship between the Father and Son, thereby causing a triune unity?  The last is how the revision would resolve the matter, substituting Divine Trinitarian nature for unity.  Because the Faithful have not challenged the unity since Vatican II, the now traditional silly phraseology remains.

 

See Part 4, “Clear Sentences,” Chapter 17 c, “Sentence Fragments:  Verbal or prepositional phrase,” H. Ramsey Fowler and Jane E. Aaron, Eleventh Edition:  The Little, Brown Handbook (New York:  Longman, 2010) 335.  http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/unabridged?va=the&x=0&y=0  (accessed December 4, 2011).  http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/unabridged?va=unity&x=0&y=0  (assessed December 4, 2011).

 

[8] This is the Latin Missale that the Missal translates into English.  I name the Missale Italian Latin, because of the accent marks, which do not appear elsewhere.  Pagina 177 at http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/exw.htm#bsr  The Holy See, Congregation for the Clergy runs this website.  (accessed December 6, 2011).

 

[9] The full heading is: Blessings at the End of Mass and Prayers over the People

Solemn Blessings

I. For Celebrations in the Different Liturgical Times

1. Advent

 

[10] The Missal uses the red.  The Italian Latin does not.

 

[11] This is the Latin Missale that the Missal translates into English.  I name the Missale Italian Latin, because of the accent marks, which do not appear elsewhere.  Pagina 606 at http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/exw.htm#bsr  The Holy See, Congregation for the Clergy runs this website.  (accessed December 6, 2011).

 

[12] H. Ramsey Fowler and Jane E. Aaron, Eleventh Edition:  The Little, Brown Handbook (New York:  Longman, 2010) 433.

 

[13] Collect is the technical term for this prayer.

 

[14] All ICEL prayers are from International Commission on English in the Liturgy:  A Joint Commission of Catholics Bishops’ Conferences, The Sacramentary:  Volume One—Sundays and Feasts (Washington, D.C.:  International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 1998), page 208, downloaded from https://rs895dt.rapidshare.com/#!download|895l35|387089704|ICEL_Sacramentary__1998_.zip|6767|R~00A3D4012C6FE19956DB84F71E5405F6|0|0 at http://misguidedmissal.com/wp/?page_id=23 (accessed December 8, 2011).

 

[15] All ICEL prayers are from International Commission on English in the Liturgy:  A Joint Commission of Catholics Bishops’ Conferences, The Sacramentary:  Volume One—Sundays and Feasts (Washington, D.C.:  International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 1998), page 209, downloaded from https://rs895dt.rapidshare.com/#!download|895l35|387089704|ICEL_Sacramentary__1998_.zip|6767|R~00A3D4012C6FE19956DB84F71E5405F6|0|0 at http://misguidedmissal.com/wp/?page_id=23 (accessed December 8, 2011).

 

[16] All ICEL prayers are from International Commission on English in the Liturgy:  A Joint Commission of Catholics Bishops’ Conferences, The Sacramentary:  Volume One—Sundays and Feasts (Washington, D.C.:  International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 1998), page 797, downloaded from https://rs895dt.rapidshare.com/#!download|895l35|387089704|ICEL_Sacramentary__1998_.zip|6767|R~00A3D4012C6FE19956DB84F71E5405F6|0|0 at http://misguidedmissal.com/wp/?page_id=23 (accessed December 8, 2011).

 

[17] http://www.google.com/search?q=faith+seeking+understanding&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a  (accessed November 28, 2011) and http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/anselm/ (accessed November 28, 2011).