Roman Missal[1]

 

I. Introduction

The Judeo-Christian message is that there is hope, despite depressing adversity.  When faced with depressing adversity, Jesus sweat blood.  His purpose was to lift up the Faithful, not cast them down.

Beginning with the Protestant Revolt, for the past five hundred years, the Christian Faithful had to face up to one adversity after another.  The current situation involves the Missal travesty.  Abandoning the Faithful at Mass is Vatican arrogance at its height.

These reflections on the current travesty begin with Protestant guidance, continue with an insistence on academic integrity, and end with a call for good writing.  Despite the terrible current situation, hope remains.  Just as there was a way out of Babylon for the ancient exiled Jews, so there is a way out of the current liturgical mess for contemporary Roman Catholics.  There is a need to recall the illiterate Missal and rewrite it so that it will withstand the review of academic rigor, without forty and fifty word sentences.  God does require Faith, however.

Beginning with a Protestant guide for literacy:  “What We Say Reveals the Way We Think” is the heading the editors placed over some of the writing of the Protestant Revolutionary, Heinrich Bullinger (1504-1575).[2]  To the extent that heading is true, the 2011 illiterate Vatican Missal, is useless.

Arrogance describes some of what is in the Missal.  Arrogance is used four times in comments, “Informed of multiple errors, Congregation for Divine Worship did little or nothing.”[3]  More gentle options included laziness and incompetence.  May 3, 2011, Claire Mathieu suggested,

 

Continued and detailed criticism of the 2010 texts [used in the 2011 Missal] is useful precisely because on the divisive topic of the liturgy, the 2010 text manages to unite most people against it, and in a bipartisan manner, from both sides of the divide.  Why is it good to work towards a clear and irrefutable case against the 2010 text?  Because it serves to shine the light on the incompetence and power abuse happening at the Vatican . . . all lovers of the English language can do their part by exposing the faulty English style.

 

Exposing faulty English style is just what these Personal Notes are trying to do.

 

The meaning of good writing:  How to Write a Sentence takes an earthly subject, baseball, and places it “in the books” for all to marvel.[4]  The Books of the Missal are the books of the Bible.  How much more soaring ought those Missal sentences be, than those of a novelist turned sportswriter.  The illiterate Missal is not even clear, let along soaring. 

 

With the new Missal, the Roman Catholic hierarchy is pretending to show for what and how to pray.  According to standard American English, the prayers are so difficult to understand that I refer to the “2011 illiterate Missal.”  The revised prayers are my paraphrase 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)[5]

 

A. Missal:      May your people exult for ever [sic] , O God, in renewed youthfulness of spirit, so that, rejoicing now in the restored glory of our adoption, we may look forward in confident hope to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection.  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]       Semper exsúltet pópulus tuus, Deus, renováta ánimae iuventúte, ut, qui nunc laetátur in adoptiónis se glóriam restitútum, resurrectiónis diem spe certae gratulatiónis exspéctet.  Per Dóminum.

 

C. Revised:   God, may we enjoy the glory of your love.  Give us a renewed spirit of love and hope today and for the rest of our lives.  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 first sentence of this Collect contains forty-one words, in an 18.5 college graduate school Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  The first sentence of this Collect is a fused sentence.[7]  The revised Collect has a 7.2 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.

 

First, the Missal has your people, followed by our adoption.  I suppose they are the same.  By avoiding the use of the first person plural, our, the Latin avoids the confusion present in the poor English grammar.  The English does not assert that we are your people.  The way the Missal presents the prayer, especially with the new emphasis on our unworthiness, the we may not be your people.

 

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

 

Jesus Christ is in apposition to our Lord and, in English, should be set off with commas.[9] 

 

Through . . . is a sentence fragment the Missal uses throughout the book.[10]

 

III. Prayer after Communion

 

A. Missal:      Look with kindness upon your people, O Lord, and grant, we pray, that those you were pleased to renew by eternal mysteries may attain in their flesh the incorruptible glory of the resurrection.  Through Christ our Lord.

 

B. Italian Latin:[11]     Pópulum tuum, quaesumus, Dómine, intuére benígnus, et, quem aetérnis dignátus es renováre mystériis, ad incorruptíbilem glorificándae carnis resurrectiónem perveníre concéde.  Per Christum.

 

C. Revised:   Lord, look with kindness upon us.  Renew in us eternal love of the Holy Eucharist.  We pray to assume your glory.  We pray though Christ, our Lord.

 

D. Comment: The first sentence of this Prayer after Communion contains thirty-nine words, in a 9.2 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.  It is a fused sentence.[12]  The revised Prayer after Communion has a 7.3 Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Readability.

 

The Latin omits the O in the Missal O Lord.[13]

 

 

V. ICEL[14]

Prayer before reading Sacred Scripture (Collect)[15]

ICEL:[16]          Let your people for ever [sic] exult, O God, let the joy of their youth be renewed, that we who now rejoice to be your adopted children may look forward with certain hope to the day of resurrection.

 

Grant 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:[17]          Protect with loving-kindness, Lord, the people you have renewed through the paschal mystery of Christ, and grant them this reward:  the resurrection of the body to glory everlasting.

 

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

First Sentences in the ICEL Collect and Prayer after Communion have 15.2 and 15.3 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.[18] 

 

God, may we enjoy the glory of your love.  Give us a renewed spirit of love and hope today and for the rest of our lives.  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.

 

 

Lord, look with kindness upon us.  Renew in us eternal love of the Holy Eucharist.  We pray to assume your glory.  We pray though 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] Heinrich Bullinger, “Commentary 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), 361. 

 

[3] http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2011/05/01/the-2010-received-text-the-internal-report-and-the-final-text/  (accessed January 1, 2012).

 

[4] Stanley Fish, How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One (New York:  HarperCollins Publishers, 2011) 9-10.

 

[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 395 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 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.

 

[9] 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. 

 

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

 

[11] 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 396 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] 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.

 

[13] 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.

 

[14] 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.

 

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

 

[16] 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 onEnglish in the Liturgy, 1998), page 802, 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] 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 389, 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).

 

[18] 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).