Please accept a light-hearted post on Christmas Monday wherein we ponder a Christmas Cookie Recipe in the fine and polished style of the Revised Translation of the Mass.

Please also understand, as most of you know, I am a big fan of the new translation we are using. I like it! But this little recipe that came my way was too much fun not to share.

I do not know the source of this recipe (it’s kicking around the Internet) and some of you will have seen it (how do you like my use of the future perfect tense)? But here it is;  I have reworked it just a bit myself. Please remember this is light-hearted. Smile and enjoy, it’s delicious and sometimes subtle.

Christmas Cookie Recipe
(Revised Translation)

Serves: You and many.

Having procured one chalice butter, 2/3 chalice sugar, cream these ingredients, that by their commingling, you may begin to make the dough.

In a similar way, the butter is having been made commingled,  with the sugar, beat in one egg.

Gather these dry ingredients to yourself, which you have received, so that, having combined them, you may add them to the dough which you have already begun to make: 2 1/2 chalices sifted all-purpose flour. 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Make the precious dough with your venerable hands.

Into the refrigerator graciously place the dough, so that it, having been chilled for the duration of 3 or 4 hours, before the rolling and the the cutting of the cookies.

When, in the fullness of time, you are a ready to bake these spotless cookies, these delicious cookies, these Christmas cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Rolling out the dough and taking up the cookie cutter or stencil of your own choosing, fashion the cookies into forms that are pleasing.

Sprinkle colorful adornments of the cookies like the dewfall.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies have jut begun to attain to the brownness that is graciously granted them by the oven’s heat.

May these cookies be found acceptable in your sight, and be borne to a place of refreshment at your table whereon they may be served with milk, hot chocolate, or with your spirits.

A Merry and Blessed Christmas to all. And may our revised and improved translation be accepted with good humor and gratitude, inspiring our everyday thoughts and discourse.

Here’s a good video if you have time on how the revised translation links more closely to Scripture.

52 Responses

  1. jj says:

    This is too cute. I`’ll share this with the children at church.

  2. Columba says:

    I don’t understand how this joke is not offensive to more Catholic ears, given that it is basically a mockery (at worst) or irreverent levity (at best) of the words of the Mass. It seems to be making its way around all the Catholic blogs without any controversy – can we even imagine the saints making these jokes? “Mix the precious dough with your venerable hands” (?!) It’s certainly good to have a Catholic sense of humor, but not by playing on the most sacred texts we have.

    • Learn to laugh at yourself a little Columba. Life is too short to be so serious and offended all the time. I can well imagine Saints having a good laugh at something like this. A little levity lifts the soul. By the way i am not irreverent, in case you think so. and being serious and sour faced does not corner the market on reverence.

      • Columba says:

        With respect, it’s quite a jump from asking for reverence with regard to the texts of the Mass to being “serious and sour faced”, Monsignor. I also don’t think it’s fair to imply that somehow I am “so serious and offended all the time”, given that there is no basis for saying that about someone you don’t know. Though I assume you are imagining I am a grumpy traditionalist, I can assure you I am not. I can assure you I am not trying to toe any “traditionalist” line by feigning offense at this. It is my honest reaction.

        • verba ipsae loquuntur

          Also I never mentioned “traditionalist” anything. The issue regards a sense of humor and distinguishing between ridicule and humor, they are not necessarily the same.

          • Columba says:

            However you want to understand the distinction between humor and ridicule, it seems that the very words of the Eucharistic prayer should merit an especially reverent treatment, and one should be very wary of using this most sacred of all prayers in jest. I think we just need to be more cautious about contributing to debasing the liturgy in any way – even in small ways which, though they seem light, could easily suggest to peoples’ minds that the liturgy is not something so sacred and can be spoken of in the same way and with the same flippancy as ordinary, every day things. This was mostly prompted by seeing this on another blog and observing some of the comments people made which could also make one cringe.

    • KJ says:

      I loved this. And I could envision many of our witty doctors of the church smiling at the above or even penning the same to be shared amongst friends. I love the new translation as someone who appreciates language… which is why I appreciate this play on the feel and wording of our liturgy. It reminds me of the funny Monty Python bit where they poke fun at the way the bible says things about the number of things… (“thrice shall be the number… four is too many…five is right out….”)

  3. AnneG says:

    Msgr, isn’t that an oblation of milk or hot chocolate?
    Who says traditionalists are humorless? Love it, Merry Christmas

  4. Christopher Hagen says:

    For a nice aural rendition see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-K3tyNd5NM&feature=autoshare

  5. Chris Jensen says:

    I have seen this before. It is quite clever, but let me again say that the author does not accurately understand the meaning of “consubstantial”. Please correct this. In no way can butter and sugar be consubstantial. “Commingling”, as used earlier in the recipe should have been used again.

    • Yes agreed. You are the philosopher among us. I suppose commingling would be better but then the allusion would be lost too. Remember this is a light hearted thing. Ah, being, essence, ens, esse, substantia, subsistere, in se, per seipsum, ah, such rarefied air.

      I will, having been cautioned unto the error, by which many may be misled, endeavor to undertake a course of ammendation. :-)
      I love the return to the use of subordinate clauses in the New Translation.

  6. Kat says:

    I wish I were worthy to take these under my roof. ;-)

      • CCW says:

        LOVE IT! The ‘under my roof’ part has been my biggest stumbling block – but I’m going to keep working at it :)And, I love the ‘recipe’ Monsignor! I think the levity is well due. We’ve all laughed at ourselves as we have struggled with the new translation. I like the ‘new’ way, too. I have my mom’s 1952 St. Joseph’s Missal and with a couple of exceptions, Latin not being one of them, we are now saying the responses as they were before Vatican II. Yay!

        • Geometricus says:

          The “under my roof” came alive for me the other day at mass when put myself in the place of the centurion, a Roman father who first uttered those words when his daughter was sick, and I was almost in tears as I realized I need Jesus to come to me just as desperately as he did.

  7. Kristine says:

    Have shared this with a few folks, traditional and non…and humor was found by all. Get that consubstantial isn’t right, but it’s cute just the same. I’m perplexed at anyone not finding this at the least slightly charming. Thanks for the share.

  8. Theresa Henderson says:

    Oh would that these wondrous confections wouldst be sugarless, as sugar doth have a less than desirous effect upon me and mine.

  9. jem says:

    I’m assuming 1 chalice=1 cup?

    As much as Jesus is portrayed as eating in the gospels, I have to imagine he’d have appreciated these. It seems like he made some of his best points at the table (or reclining to eat, to be more historically accurate). I’d love to have him at my table, although he often made those who were eating with him uncomfortable.

    I’ve got to believe that if God didn’t want us to laugh, he wouldn’t have given us a sense of humor. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. esiul says:

    This is indeed cute and a little humor brightens the day. We have had a good transition in my church
    there are a few slip ups ever so often because of the responses having become part of us.
    You can’t lose your concentration that’s for sure otherwise there it is coming out of your mouth “and also with you.” The new translation is good for us.

  11. deaconpaul (PAUL E RICHARDSON) says:

    P.S. Such wonderfully good and nutritious, fully satisfying cookies will be enjoyed by the many.

  12. Mack Hall says:

    What good fun! A perfect example of something Hilaire Belloc wrote (my memory might not be precise):

    Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine
    There’s always laughter and good red wine
    At least I’ve heard that this is so –
    Benedicamus Domino!

  13. Michael says:

    That new translation sounds like a great recipe that you can actually follow and get some cookies at the end!

    Here’s what the recipe would be in the old translation:

    Put some eggs, sugar, milk, and other stuff like that in a bowl and mix it up. Put it in the oven and out comes cookies!

    But somehow the outcome is not the same with the old recipe. I wonder why…

  14. EJ Mahar says:

    This was first posted in the Commonweal blog by Grant Gallicho on December 15.
    http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=16347

    The following is one of the comments:

    james martin, sj 12/15/2011 – 11:57 am SUBSCRIBER

    A Cookie Blessing: “O God, who see the cookies that you have graciously deigned to allow us to bake here according to this recipe that you have given us that we may give to others that which you have given to us here, bless, we pray, them, O Lord, that you may allow us to offer them in return to many, as we seek to preveniently nourish these your holy people, we pray, with the ineffable taste of the flour that you have graciously allowed us to refine, O Lord, with the milky milk that milkily issues forth abundantly from the many bovine animals which you have made and from the sweet sugar that sweetly comes from the sweet sugar cane plants which you have created for we your people, who humbly implore your blessings, that all of us may humbly eat of them, in order that you might, O Lord, we humbly beseech you, bless us and them, and, we pray, O Lord, and I forgot what where I was going with this prayer.”

  15. Lee Gilbert says:

    Alright, on the one hand this is humorous. On the other hand, it is a profane (sacred vs profane) treatment of the diction of our most holy possession as a Catholic people, the Mass.

    Some time ago in a homily a priest here in Portland wondered if perhaps miracles are more rare and less spectacular in our time partly because of our light treatment of holy things.

    If my priest friend was right, and I think he is, we do have a problem because this sort of humor is pandemic throughout our monasteries, seminaries, rectories and convents.

    Of course, we should laugh at ourselves, but treating the diction of the Mass humorously is quite a different matter. It more than verges on the sacrilegious. Of course, we should be joyful, but sacrilege is not a fruit of the spirit.

    Is the above treatment of the diction of the Mass reverential? Is it a sacred or a profane treatment? It is profane treatment.

    It is irrelevant whether it is funny.

    It is irrelevant that it is not malicious.

    It is a serious matter.

    I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, but…wait, YES I DO! This kind of stuff has got to stop. We are cutting the ground out from under our own prayers.

    What would be the logic of that? IF this is sacrilegious in the eyes of God, and I believe it is (our modern sensibilities to the contrary notwithstanding) then we are not in conformity with the will of God and therefore our prayers will not be heard. In fact, we may be setting ourselves up for chastisements of various sorts. Vocations crisis, anyone? Scandal? Obviously, I am not referring merely to this one incident, but to this entire vein of humor.

    “He who contemnth small things shall fall little by little.”

    And we have fallen a long, long way. This kind of humor was part of our fall.

    • Well it also be true that he who walketh about with a chip on his shoulder shall be stoopeth over and it is also written that he who taketh offense where none is intended wasteth reproof and discredits correction. It is further written. Keepeth thy powder dry and picketh carefully thy battles….sweateth not the small stuff….etc.

      Anyway, thanks for articulating the other side. I have found humor to be a very complicated thing. I can say i have never posted a humorous thing on this blog where someone didnt throw the “offensive” penalty flag. I think that is because the best humor, as opposed to merely corny humor, is edgy. That is usually what makes it funny. When the edge is crossed over is something of a matter of personal judgement as the comments above show. There are the obviously egregious jokes etc that display ridicule and such humor is not really humor at all. But then there are the many jokes that fall in the range where reasonable people may differ on the humor and/or acceptability of the joke.

      • Lee Gilbert says:

        it is a principle in rhetoric that when your opponent is being deadly serious, the most effective response is humor. You illustrate this when you respond, “Well it also be true that he who walketh about with a chip on his shoulder shall be stoopeth over,” etc.

        Given that you understand this principle, don’t you understand what is going on with this Christmas cookie recipe? It is the most effective possible response to the revision of the missal on the part of its liturgical opponents. Essentially it is a mockery of those revisions and an undercutting of the wisdom and authority of those who mandated them.

        In the kitchen a few minutes ago I tried to describe to my wife the nature of this Christmas cookie recipe by selecting one example, mentioning “a chalice of butter.” She winced and said, “You’re kidding…” Don’t you realize that for weeks and months people who have read this piece of rhetorical humor are going to be thinking “chalice of butter” when they hear “chalice” at Mass, and there will be little smiles at “consubstantial,” when they recite the creed? The Christmas cookie recipe is at root schismatic propaganda.

        • Maybe, maybe not. I often find that part of being gracious is being able to laugh at myself just a little. I work with some Protestant ministers on an interfaith panel and we often like to jest about eachothers traditions and denominational idiosyncrasies. Our theological differences are real but a little humor both builds trust and shows personal confidence in ones view. Whatever the purpose of the one wrote it, and I dont claim to know it like you do, but whatever the intent, I am confident enough in my own love and appreciation of the new translation to accpet that it does hiave a new sound that is noticable and is, for all of us taking a little gtting used to. I also realize that that there are some who do appreciate it as musch as I do and are having a harder time adjusting. But here again, I am confident enough wnd, I hope, gracious enough, to accept that a little humor from them on this, gracious accepted by me and others like me , can both build trust and make the transition a little less odious for them. In the end, I think the ingredients (pardon the pun on the post) to be sought in ocassions like this are things like confidence, joy, graciousness, patience, laughter, humility, and the ability to laugh at ones self. To be sure there are times to confront ones opponent and call the question regarding their intenet. But I think this is a case to allow for the other igredients I list to be on full display.

    • Jeff Galloway says:

      I think we should distinguish between humor the purpose of which is to make fun of the Mass itself (or the purposes and mystical elements thereof) and humor the purpose of which is to make fun of the operation of Mass (for want of a better term – the words, the actions, etc. that we humans do). The former is always profane whereas the latter can be funny. The recipie example is funny!

      By the way, as a lector, I have heard more than one priest makes jokes about the new texts over the past few weeks, just a few minutes before we processed out of the sarcastry. Msgr, compile a top 10 for us!

  16. Shalimamma says:

    This recipe is indeed right and just.

    Wonderful, Msgr Pope!!! Thank you so much for your humor! God created humor and is the Funniest of all… I find when people lose their sense of humor, they lose their ability to attract others to Christ. Satan hates humor, which is why we must love it… After all, to smile and laugh in fun humor is to share in joy… Keep up the wonderful writings! (and please say hi to that wonderful brother John of yours and his family ;)

    And (also) with your spirit (we still don’t have it right at or church)
    Shalimar and the Masters family

  17. Shalimamma says:

    And to those serious scrupulous types, I am afraid I am having trouble reading your post as you did not write in Traditional Latin. I find it abhorant that you would comment using the guttural English language when such a serious subject demands that we use the holiest of languages ;) Seriously, the over-serious make me laugh hysterically!!!!!! Et cum spiritu tuo, et cookio enjoyus cum sprinkles.

  18. Linus says:

    And on to the video. Actually I wish the Credo had not been changed. The new translation is awkward to me. It may be technically more accurate but the replaced Credo was more poetic and we all knew what it meant. And as far as “…praying as our ancestors prayed…” goes, our ancestors did not have the sign of peace, at least except for unusual occassions. Nor did they use “… for Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory…”. Why wasn’t the sign of peace tossed out and why did we hang onto the additional phrase which is actually a Protestant prayer ( I think). It was never used by our ancestors anyway and it is not part of the Our Father. Nothing wrong with it but it always grates on my nerves because I suspect some powerful liturgest slipped that in as a sop to Protestants. At least that is what I think.

  19. Anne says:

    Dear Msgr. Pope,
    I am, and remain, one of your most loyal readers. Perhaps, though, this particular post, is not one I would recommend to others. Perhaps it is a generation gap here…just turned a young 60 recently. I was brought up on the Baltimore Catechism in early grade school years and it still informs my sensitivity. Question and answer #1220(Baltimore Catechism…online at Google Books) “It is sinful to use the words of Holy Scripture in a bad or worldly sense, to joke in them, or ridicule their sacred meaning, or in general to give them any meaning but the one we believe God has intended them to convey.”
    Please understand, I am not accusing you nor anyone else who enjoyed the post of committing any sin whatsoever. I am only trying to point out that there is a divide here and what seems very sad and troubling to some of us may be because perhaps our consciences were informed in a different era.
    I don’t mind ALL humor in regard to religious life…but not humor that involves the most sacred words ever to be said by a human being in this life.
    Again, Msgr. , you remain my very favorite writer, and I simply wanted to let you know why some of us may feel disturbed.
    God bless you for all the souls you are leading to a deeper love of God.

    • Yes agreed. A divide. Interestinig, you and I are only ten years apart. But what a ten years it was. 1950 and 1960 are worlds apart as you point out. I will add however, I think there is more than age going on. I think people really do have different senses of humor and to some extent we can just accept that this is the case. As i pointed out in another comment I have never posted a humorous thing here on the blog wherein I got no penalty flags thrown. Humor is somewhat subjective

  20. Jon White says:

    The “recipe” text seems to me seems too mocking of the Revised Translation for me to enjoy any innocent mirth it may contain.

  21. Warren says:

    Rather than seeing the cookie recipe as offensive, i.e., poking fun at the new translation, I think it simply points out how far (and necessarily so) must our liturgical language be from our everyday speech. Those who would have the liturgy brought so far down to the colloquial that it becomes imprisoned in the linguistic fads of the moment, e.g., politically correctness and its neutering effects, are missing the point that liturgical language necessarily needs to be elevated in order to elevate the mind and heart unto God. Elevated language frees us of the temptation to fashion and subsequently worship a god made in our own image, a colloquial or tribal god who merely reflects our own biases.

    The cookie recipe points out, rather eloquently by way of its reflexive humour, that we should not corrupt the liturgy by bending it to coarse or every day language. Or, to put it another way, we should not bring God down to our level but rise to meet and respond to Him with the dignity He has granted us by creating us in His own image and likeness. In a way, the use of unredeemed language reflects a tarnished likeness or unredeemed humanity. The use of beautiful language reflects a restored likeness to God. Liturgical language should reflect the beauty of restored humanity not the unredeemed character of a trailer park cursing lout. Apologies to trailer owners who know and act better.

    Our purification and preparation for heaven begins here and now – something about working out our salvation in fear and trembling – and so, too, our language needs to be purified. The way we speak reflects our hearts, and the way we speak reveals our theology – something about lex credendi lex orandi. A bad word can kill as much as a good word can heal and save. Let’s choose the latter.

    At the risk of further offence, though none is intended, the cookie recipe challenges us to work out our salivation with joy and thanksgiving for the goodness and beauty of the new translation.

  22. Steve says:

    I like what Warren says; he might have hit on the best lesson to take from this discussion. Maybe someone should write a recipe in the style of Marty Haugen. Would anyone be able to tell?

    Still, it could be made more ecumenical if it began with the words, “With wisdom, let us be attentive.”

    • Erin Manning says:

      Steve, I couldn’t resist taking up the challenge to write a Marty Haugen-style cookie recipe. I posted it on my blog, but will share it here, too:

      The Singing Cookie Recipe Song

      Here in this place, the oven’s preheating,
      Now is our hunger banished away,
      See in this space, the mixer is whirring,
      Making us snacks for to brighten the day.

      Gather them in, the sugar and butter
      Gather them in, the eggs and the flour;
      Wash and prepare each cute cookie cutter
      Have them at hand for the time and the hour.

      We are the young–and baking’s a mystery,
      We are the old–we’ve done this before,
      Careful, say moms throughout human history:
      Sugar’s a mess to clean up from the floor.

      Gather them in, the salt and vanilla
      Gather them in, the rest as you know;
      Add soda too, but just a scintilla,
      Stir it and make it to form a soft dough.

      Here you must chill the dough till it’s ready:
      Here you must roll and cut–the next phase–
      Here you must bake, with hands that are steady,
      All of the shapes in the oven on trays.

      Give us to eat the golden-brown cookies
      Give us to drink some milk with them, too,
      Nourish us well, the chefs and the rookies
      Make everybody clean up when we’re through.

      :)

  23. Bill says:

    I go through life with a perpetual chuckle over many funny things but this article only makes me mourn. If we Catholics will not respect our own worship how can we expect anyone else to? I know Msgr. Pope will say that I have got it backwards, that by laughing at ourselves we become more approachable by non-Catholics. I have noticed however, after many years of participation and observation in many different religious contexts, that when we Catholics mock ourselves it elicits laughter, knowing nods, etc. but no conversions. If you think this article is funny you have been had. You are doing the enemies work.

  24. TeaPot562 says:

    I thought the cookie recipe both clever and humorous; but I do understand (and agree with) reluctance to apply the normally reverent and special use word “chalice” to a measuring cup for milk and butter.
    A human can only deal with so many serious moments in life. A good laugh helps restore a level of health where some sorrowful event has occurred.
    So thanks for the humor, which I have enjoyed – circulating through the internet in at least two forms.
    TeaPot562

  25. Della Dennis says:

    I was given a version of this recipe at Mass today. I would just like to add that if you don’t follow the recipe precisely, the cookies won’t turn out through your fault, through your fault, through your most grievous fault. But maybe that’s just as well, it being Lent and all.

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