Roman Missal[1]

 

I. Introduction

Stanley Fish writes about the legendary actor, Joan Crawford, “. . . she never left the house without being dressed as if she were going to a premier or a dinner at Sardi’s.  An interviewer asked her why.  She replied, `If you want to see the girl next door, go next door.’” [2]   The same type of excellence applies to liturgical prayers.  They ought to be at least literate and at best positively memorable.

 

The National Catholic Reporter described reactions to the first use of the 2011 illiterate Missal.

 

Kathy Faulkner, a laywoman who spent thirty-eight years as a music director in her parish, complained that the changes are forcing alterations in the music that are less aesthetically pleasing.  Faulkner said the new translation strikes her as awkward and convoluted.

And, she observed, “there is not one female pronoun in the whole Mass now.”

 

She may be correct.  While brothers and sisters appear at least twice (in parentheses as optional wording),[3] brothers and sisters are both nouns, not pronouns.  Misogynism [hatred of women] has no place in the sacred liturgy.  Below, we try to remedy the nonsense in the Missal.

 

While he does not offer a remedy, Erasmus Sarcerius (1501-1559), the Protestant Revolutionary, has a good idea, when he says, “Sincere preachers exhort and implore their churches; they do not issue commands, try to control their consciences or bully them.”[4]  The case of the current illiterate 2011 Missal looks to me like a case of Vatican (the Holy See) bullying the Faithful.

 

II. Prayer before reading Sacred Scripture (Collect)[5]

 

A. Missal:      O God, who through your Word reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way, grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith the Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever [sic] and ever.

 

B. Italian Latin:[6]       Deus, qui per Verbum tuum humáni géneris reconciliatiónem mirabíliter operáris, praesta, quaesumus, ut pópulus christiánus prompta devotióne et álacri fide ad ventúra sollémnia váleat festináre.  Per Dóminum.

 

C. Revised:   God, through your Word, you have gathered the human race to yourself.  We now pray that Christian people anticipate the solemnity of Easter.  We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.

D. Comment: The Missal Collect has a 13.4 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  The first sentence of this prayer contains thirty-nine words and a 16.8 (graduate school) Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  It is a fused sentence.[7]

The revised Collect has an 8.9 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.

 

The Latin omits the O in the Missal O God.[8]

 

O God . . . who . . . reoncile . . . is a form of so-called “Black English.”[9]

 

The Latin christiánus is not capitalized, but the Missal Christian is capitalized.  Since the Faithful will not hear the difference between an upper and lower case word, there is no reason to stray from the Latin, except, perhaps, either to show the arrogance of the translator in the face of anyone objecting to the illiterate 2011 Missal or to present the translation in standard American English.

 

Jesus Christ is in apposition to our Lord and in English should be set off with commas.[10] 

 

Through . . . is a sentence fragment the Missal uses throughout the book.[11]

 

III. Prayer after Communion

 

A. Missal:      O God, who enlighten everyone who comes into this world, illuminate our hearts, we pray, with the splendor of your grace, that we may always ponder what is worthy and pleasing to your majesty and love you in all sincerity.  Through Christ our Lord.

 

B. Italian Latin:[12]     Deus, qui illúminas omnem hóminem veniéntem in hunc mundum, illúmina, quaesumus, corda nostra grátiae tuae splendóre, ut digna ac plácita maiestáti tuae cogitáre semper, et te sincére dilígere valeámus.  Per Christum.

 

C. Revised:   God, we pray that you enlighten our hearts with the splendor of your grace.  Enable us to contemplate what is worthy and pleasing to you.  Help us to love you.  We pray through Christ, our Lord.

D. Comment: The Missal Prayer after Communion has a 10.0 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  The first sentence of this prayer contains forty-five words.  It is a fused sentence.[13]  The revised Prayer after Communion has a 4.8 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.

 

O God . . . who . . . enlighten . . . is a form of gross lack of editing for standard American English.[14]

 

IV. Prayer over the People

 

A. Missal:      Look upon those who call to you, O Lord, and sustain the weak; give life by your unfailing light to those who walk in the shadow of death, and bring those rescued by your mercy from every evil to reach the highest good.  [sic]

                     Through Christ our Lord.

 

B. Italian Latin:[15]     Tuére, Dómine, súpplices tuos, susténta frágiles, et inter ténebras mortálium ambulántes tua semper luce vivífica, atque a malis ómnibus cleménter eréptos, ad summa bona perveníre concéde.  Per Christum.

 

C. Revised:   Lord, have mercy on those who call on you.  Give hope to sustain the weak.  Give charity to those who walk in the shadow of death.  Give love to those saved from evil.  Bestow your mercy on your people.  We pray through Christ, our Lord.

 

D. Comment: The Missal Prayer over the People by the priest has a 5.4 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  The revised Prayer over the People has a 2.7 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.

 

In Latin, et, as a conjunction is better translated as a simple andAtque, however, when used to join clauses, as here, is better translated as and indeed, and so.[16]

 

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: the ICEL translation is not significantly better than the Missal.

 

Prayer before reading Sacred Scripture (Collect)[17]

ICEL:[18]          In a wonderful manner, Lord God, you reconcile humankind to yourself through your only Son, the eternal Word.  Grant that your Christian people may press on toward the Easter sacraments with lively faith and ready hearts. 

 

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 [sic] and ever.

 

Prayer after Communion

ICEL:[19]          God of majesty, you enlighten everyone who comes into this world; fill our hearts with the light of your grace, that our thoughts may always be pleasing to you and our love for you always sincere. 

 

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Prayer over the People

ICEL:[20]          Unavailable

 

The respective ICEL Collect and Prayer over the People have 8.6 and 7.8 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.[21] 

 

After noting changes that took place in 2000 (John Paul II reigned 1978-2005) the Misguided Missal website goes on,[22]

 

At the same time, Rome’s policy on how translations are made from the Latin base text of any Catholic rite into any of the modern spoken languages was drastically changed.  Instead of using the principle of “dynamic equivalence” (expressing the original idea in the natural vocabulary and rhythms of the receptor language, even when the result was not a literal translation), the new norm is “formal equivalence” (keeping as close as possible to a literal translation from the Latin, even when the natural form and syntax of the receptor language are violated.)

 

In an attempt to use the prayers the anti-intellectual, anti-Vatican-II, Vatican, is now setting forth, these Personal Notes took on a new focus.  These Notes had already prepared the Lectionary all the way to Lent, because the hierarchy withheld the U.S. Missal until October.  This new focus began 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 had a double focus, including both the Lectionary and the Missal.  From the First Sunday in Lent forward, these Notes only focus on the 2011 illiterate Missal.


 

God, through your Word, you have gathered the human race to yourself.  We now pray that Christian people anticipate the solemnity of Easter.  We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever.

 

God, we pray that you enlighten our hearts with the splendor of your grace.  Enable us to contemplate what is worthy and pleasing to you.  Help us to love you.  We pray through Christ, our Lord.

 

Lord, have mercy on those who call on you.  Give hope to sustain the weak.  Give charity to those who walk in the shadow of death.  Give love to those saved from evil.  Bestow your mercy on your people.  We pray through Christ, our Lord.

 



[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.

 

My manner is to place what I expect readers to read in the main body of the text.  The problem with these essays is that some readers may begin at any point.  For these readers, I include material previously included in the text.  This is particularly important for the practical details of grammatical nonsense.

 

[2] Stanley Fish, How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One (New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2011) 4.

 

[3] 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) 530, 655.

 

[4] Erasmus Sarcerius, “Annotations on Ephesians,” Reformation Commentary on Scripture:  New Testament X: Galatians, Ephesians, (ed.) Gerald L. Bray (Downers Grove, Illinois:  IVP Academic, An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2011), 326. 

 

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

 

[6] The Missal translates this Latin Missale into English.  I name the Missale Italian Latin, because of the accent marks, which do not appear elsewhere.  Pagina 141 at http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/exw.htm#bsr  The Holy See, Congregation for the Clergy runs this website.  (accessed December 6, 2011).

 

[7] 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.

 

[8] 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 OO 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.

 

[9] H. Ramsey Fowler and Jane E. Aaron, Eleventh Edition:  The Little, Brown Handbook (New York:  Longman, 2010) 302.

 

[10] The Little, Brown Handbook has a "using appositives” subsection.

 

An appositive is usually a noun that renames another noun nearby [in this case Jesus Christ], most often the noun just before the appositive.  (the word appositive derives from a Latin word that means “placed near to” or “applied to.”)  An appositive phrase includes modifiers as well . . . .  All appositives can replace the words they refer to:  [our Lord/Jesus Christ]  . . . Appositives are economical alternatives to adjective clauses containing a form of be . . . [our Lord [who is] Jesus Christ. . . ] you can usually connect the appositive to the main clause containing the word referred to . . . An appositive is not setoff with punctuation when it is essential to the meaning of the word it refers to [in the United States of America, which has no secular lords, our Lord is not essential to Jesus Christ] . . .  When an appositive is not essential to the meaning of the word it refers to, it is set off with punctuation, usually a comma or commas [as is the case here, our Lord, Jesus Christ,] . . .

 

H. Ramsey Fowler and Jane E. Aaron, Eleventh Edition:  The Little, Brown Handbook (New York:  Longman, 2010) 254-255. 

 

[11] 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> . . . .”[11]  Unity is a noun meaning “1a:  the quality of stage of being or consisting of one.”[11]  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).

 

[12] 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 141 at http://www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/exw.htm#bsr  The Holy See, Congregation for the Clergy runs this website.  (accessed December 6, 2011).

 

[13] 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.

 

[14] H. Ramsey Fowler and Jane E. Aaron, Eleventh Edition:  The Little, Brown Handbook (New York:  Longman, 2010) 302.

 

[15] The Missal translates this Latin Missale 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).

 

[16] D. P. Simpson, M.A., Cassell’s Latin Dictionary: Latin-English  English-Latin, (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, Inc., (fifth edition) 1968) 63, 219-220).

 

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

 

[18] International Commission on English in the Liturgy:  A Joint Commission of Catholics Bishops’ Conferences (ICEL), The Sacramentary:  Volume One—Sundays and Feasts (Washington, D.C.:  International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 1998), page 232, 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).

 

[19] International Commission on English in the Liturgy:  A Joint Commission of Catholics Bishops’ Conferences (ICEL), The Sacramentary:  Volume One—Sundays and Feasts (Washington, D.C.:  International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 1998), page 233, 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).

 

[20] International Commission on English in the Liturgy:  A Joint Commission of Catholics Bishops’ Conferences (ICEL), The Sacramentary:  Volume One—Sundays and Feasts (Washington, D.C.:  International Commission on English in the Liturgy, 1998), page unavailable, 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).

 

[21] 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).

 

[22] http://misguidedmissal.com/wp/?page_id=383  (accessed December 27, 2011).