Truth in the New Translation Series # 5 – The Quam Oblationem

We have been exploring the new translation of the Roman Missal that will go into effect by Advent of 2011. It is the purpose of this series to show the value of the new translation by meditating upon the truths that it more accurately translates. These truths were never lost to the Church for the Latin texts have remained with us. However, most Catholics who do not read Latin have not been able to appreciate these beautiful truths since the  1970 translation currently in use omitted a great deal of the Latin meaning. With the new translation, much of this meaningful teaching is fully restored to the faithful. We are a little less than half way through the First Eucharistic Prayer (the Roman Canon). If you have missed previous installments of this series they can be viewed here: Truth in the New Translation Series

To be honest I had suspended this series since I had heard rumors that there were more changes come even to the ordinary texts that have already been published and are actually in use in certain parts of the world. However, after several weeks with no news in this regard, I have decided to reopen the series.

As with previous installments we note first the Latin text. Then the new translation, and then the 1970 rendering that is currently in use. There follows commentary that shows forth the improvements in the new translation.

LATIN: Quam oblationem tu, Deus, in omnibus, quaesumus, benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris: ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi.

NEW TRANSLATION: Be pleased, O God, we pray, to bless, acknowledge, and approve this offering in every respect; make it spiritual and acceptable, so that it may become for us the Body and Blood of your most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

1970 TRANSLATION: Bless and approve our offering; make it acceptable to you, an offering in spirit and in truth. Let it become for us the body and blood of Jesus Christ, your only Son, our Lord

Imperative tone ameliorated– One of the significant problems with the translation currently in use is its imperative tone. We seem in many cases to be telling God want to do. The fact that we are asking is lost by frequent used of the imperative voice with nothing to moderate it. Hence the current version says “Bless and approve our offering; make it acceptable….” Are we telling God this or asking Him? In my conversation with fellow human beings I do not speak this boldly. I most often soften the imperative tone with words like “please” or “would you mind?” or “kindly” or “I would appreciate it if…” But the current translation from 1970 does none of this. It is not just a problem with this prayer, but is a problem all throughout the current Sacramentary. It comes off as very bold to speak in this manner and while it is true that the tone of voice of the priest can help, it still remains a very bold and inappropriate tone to use with God. The Latin text however is steeped in humility. The use of  quaesumus (meaning “we beseech” or “we humbly ask”) sets the humble tone. Then, instead of using the imperative voice for the verb form, the Latin more humbly renders it as “we humbly ask that you might see fit (digneris) to make this offering blessed, approved, ratified, spiritual and acceptable in every way.” Now my rather clumsy and legalistic translation is rendered more beautifully and still  accurately by the new translation as: Be pleased, O God, we pray, to bless, acknowledge, and approve this offering in every respect; make it spiritual and acceptable. But the main point to note in all of this is that the seemingly rather proud and imperious tone of the 1970 translation has been set aside and the more proper and humble, requesting tone of the Latin has been to restored to us. This is a much more appropriate manner in which to speak to God.

Oops, Forgot to Mention God– You may notice that the 1970 translation does not have the word “God” in it. But the Latin text states clearly, “Deus.” Now granted, it is understood that we are addressing God here and some may argue it was unnecessary to supply the word again. However, there is a theological matter to also consider. One of the current critiques of the Roman Canon is that in the epiclesis (the calling down of the Holy Spirit upon the offerings) the Holy Spirit is not mentioned explicitly. The other more recently composed Eucharistic Prayers follow the Eastern Tradition of mentioning the Holy Spirit explicitly. For example the Second Eucharistic Prayer says “Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy…..” The other Eucharistic Prayers have similar invocations. But the 1970 translation made matters worse by not mentioning God at all here. At least the Latin allows for us to possibly understand “God” here to mean “God the Holy Spirit”  While this is debatable it is also theologically important to acknowledge that every external act of the Trinity is always an act of the whole Trinity even if we intellectually attribute specific roles to specific Persons within the Trinity. Hence, saying “Deus” does not exclude the Holy Spirit who is God. But for that reason, the reassertion by the Latin text of the word Deus (God) was not without purpose. We are asking God, (perhaps here referring God the Holy Spirit, or at least inclusive of the Holy Spirit) to bless our oblation. It is good that the new translation re-includes the reference specifically to God.

Superlatives restored – The Latin text refers to Jesus as dilectissimi Filii tui (your most beloved Son). The 1970 translation seemed to have some sort of mysterious bias against these sorts of words. We saw this at the opening words of the Roman Canon where the word clementissime (most merciful) was dropped in reference to the Father. And now we seen dilectissimi dropped in reference to Jesus. The 1970 Translation also rather strangely adds the word “only” which is not in the Latin. Perhaps they were trying to capture the word “most beloved” without saying it? Strange. But the omission of these superlatives adds to the terse and somewhat flat quality of the 1970 translation. The Roman Canon is very charismatic and ecstatic in many ways. It uses an almost “flowery excess” at times. But this helps to call forth  a spirit of joyful prayer and humble gratitude that is quite lost in the 1970 version. Thankfully the new translation restores this sense and mood by translating the Latin accurately and beautifully: so that it may become for us the Body and Blood of your most beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

This piece is from the Vivaldi Gloria in D and the Latin text say simply Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe (Lord Jesus Christ, only son of the Father). The piece is not as easy to sing as you might suspect. The timing and vocal  acuity necessary make it very difficult. This video is as visually beautiful as the music.

“And With Your Spirit”- It’s Not What You Think

Of all the questions I’ve had about the New Translation of the Roman Missal the most common revolves around the response of the people “And with your spirit” as a replacement for the current  “And also with you.” One woman said to me, “It sounds as if our bodies no longer matter?”

Flawed Premise? Most of the controversy around the issue is based on a notion that the current expression “And also with you” is a more formal equivalent of “Same to you.” As if when the Priest says, “The Lord be with you” the congregation is responding, “Same to you, Father.” But this is not really what is being said by the congregation or what is meant by the Latin response et cum spiritu tuo (and with your spirit). The current translation is not only inaccurate, it is misleading, because most people think they are saying, “Same to you,  Father.”

Well, if that isn’t what is being said, what really is being said? In effect, the expression et cum spiritu tuo (soon to be accurately translated “and with your spirit”) is an acknowledgement by the congregation of the grace and presence of Christ, who is present and operative in the spirit or soul of the  celebrant. Christ’s Spirit is present in the priest  in a unique way by virtue of his ordination. Hence what the dialogue means is,

  • Celebrant: The Lord be with you.
  • Congregation: We do in fact acknowledge the grace, presence, and Spirit of Christ in your spirit.

This understanding of the dialogue was not uncommon among the Fathers of Church. For example St. John Chrysostom wrote,

If the Holy Spirit were not in our Bishop [referring to Bishop Flavian of Antioch] when he gave the peace to all shortly before ascending to his holy sanctuary, you would not have replied to him all together, And with your spirit. This is why you reply with this expression … reminding yourselves by this reply that he who is here does nothing of his own power, nor are the offered gifts the work of human nature, but is it the grace of the Spirit present and hovering over all things which prepared that mystic sacrifice (Pentecost Homily).

The priest or bishop who celebrates Mass is configured to Christ by the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The Spirit of Christ is in him in a unique way that is unlike any other non-ordained member of the congregation. The priest acts in persona Christi. That is, Christ personally ministers through him in such a way that we say that Christ is the true priest and celebrant of every Mass. The phrase “and with your spirit” is an acknowledgment and statement of faith in this fact. The congregation says in effect, “We acknowledge the Spirit, presence, and grace of Christ in your spirit, Father.”

A hat tip to Louie Verrechio for bringing this to my attention and for the quote from St, John Chrysostom. You can read his article here:  No Mere Greeting.

This understanding of the Greeting and response is confirmed by the fact that only a bishop, priest, or deacon may give the greeting “The Lord be with you” and hence receive the response, “and with your spirit.” For example, the General Instruction for the Celebration of Mass in the Absence of a Priest says,

The layperson is not to use words that are proper to a priest or deacon and is to omit rites that are too readily associated with the Mass, for example, greetings – especially “The Lord be with you” – and dismissals, since these might give the impression that the layperson is a sacred minister (SCAP # 39).

Disclaimer: Not all sacramental theologians accept this line of thinking. There is seldom perfect agreement on most things liturgical and how they are historically understood. However, the view presented here seems largely to be the thinking in Rome and in the Vox Clara Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the New Translation. I attended a gathering of all the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington yesterday on the topic of the New Translation. Msgr. Anthony Sherman, who is coordinating the implementation of the New Translation for the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB),  confirmed for us that this is part of the thinking in returning to the older “and with your spirit” translation. The other reason is that almost all of the other major language translations render the Latin et cum spiritu tuo as “and with your spirit.”

Whoever posted this video on YouTube misspelled the title (Which should be Dominus Vobiscum). Now of course I have never misspelled anything on this blog 🙂  The video is a meditation on the sacred architecture of a certain church. It is also true that God is present in every Catholic Church through the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

Truth in the New Translation Series # 4: The Hanc Igitur of the Roman Canon

We have been exploring the new translation of the Roman Missal that will go into effect by Advent of 2011. It is the purpose of this series to show the value of the New Translation by meditating upon the truths that it more accurately translates. These truths were never lost to the Church for the Latin texts have remained with us. However, most Catholics who do not read Latin have not been able to appreciate these beautiful truths since the  1970 translation currently in use omitted a great deal of the Latin meaning. With the new translation, much of this meaningful teaching is fully restored to the faithful. We are a little less than half way through the First Eucharistic Prayer (the Roman Canon). If you have missed previous installments of this series they can be viewed here: Truth in the New Translation Series

As with previous installments we note first the Latin text. Then the new translation, and then the 1970 rendering that is currently in use. There follows commentary that shows forth the improvements in the new translation.

LATIN: Hanc igitur oblationem servitutis nostrae, sed et cunctae familiae tuae, quaesumus, Domine, ut placatus accipias: diesque nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab aeterna damnatione nos eripi et in electorum tuorum iubeas grege numerari.

NEW TRANSLATION: Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation of our service, and that of your whole family; order our days in your peace, and command that we be delivered from eternal damnation and counted among the flock of those you have chosen.

1970 TRANSLATION: Father, accept this offering from your whole family. Grant us your peace in this life, save us from final damnation, and count us among those you have chosen.

1. Rediscovering a more polite and requesting tone – One of the more puzzling qualities of the translation currently in use is the consistent refusal to translate the word quaesumus. This Latin word is variously rendered as “we beseech you,” “we ask you,” “we humbly pray,”  “we pray” It is a Latin equivalent of what we mean when we say to one another “please.” In almost every case (and the word comes up a lot in the Latin text) the word is simply ignored by the 1970 translation. Without the use of this word our tone can easily sound imperative, as if we were telling the Father what to do or making a demand: “Father, accept this offering!” Thankfully the new translation will restore the tone  of  humble request so clear in the Latin. It renders the text quite faithfully by saying: Therefore, Lord, we pray: graciously accept this oblation….  Hence the imperitive tone of the current rendering gives way to a more requestful tone (we pray =quaesumus) that also recognizes God’s graciousness in accepting our offering. This a much more proper tone for prayer.

2. Rendering our debt to God –  The current rendering simply asks God to accept our offering but the Latin calls it an oblation of our service (oblationem servitutis nostrae). We are not simply making offerings to God, we are making offerings that are expected. As we have discussed earlier in these reflections  on the Roman Canon, our praise is due to God. We have a debt of gratitude to render unto God. It is true we could never thank God enough for what he has done. That is why we join our prayers to Christ who alone can give the Father the thanks and praise he deserves. Hence it is good that the new translation will render the Latin more faithfully and thus remind us that our offering is not just some wonderful gesture on our part but is, rather, the partial rendering of a debt that is owed that only Christ can complete.

3. Peace is experienced in good order– The current rendering merely asks God to “grant us his peace” but the Latin has a little more to teach us here about how God gives us his peace. He orders our days in his peace (diesque nostros in tua pace disponas). To be under God’s good order, under his law, under his dispensation is to experience greater peace. Sin is chaos and disorder, grace is good order and brings peace. The new translation brings to light this teaching once again by rendering the Latin more faithfully:  “order our days in your peace.”  Peace and good order are hand and glove.

4. Sheep of the flock– one of the criticisms of the Old Mass was it’s diminished use of scripture. This is not an invalid critique in that we have a far richer sampling today than we used to. However, there were many allusions to scripture in the prayers of Mass and many of them were lost when the current 1970 translation went into force. One of the allusions to scripture is here where we ask the Lord to number us among the sheep he has Chosen (in electorum tuorum iubeas grege numerari). This is a clear allusion to Matthew 25:31ff  wherein the Lord says he will judge the nations and place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. The sheep will inherit everlasting life, but the the goats (those on his left) will depart unto eternal damnation. The allusion is lost in the current rendering which eliminates any reference to the sheep and only asks that we be counted among the chosen and saved from final damnation. The new translation will restore the scriptural allusion.

Once again we see that the new translation restores many things to us that were  lost or diminished in the current 1970 version. Many riches have lay hidden which are now brought to light. Stay tuned for more installments.

Since the Eucharistic Prayer is about gratitude due to God this video says gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam (We give you thanks on account of your great glory)  From the Vivaldi Gloria in D

Truth in the New Translation Series #3: The Communicantes of the Roman Canon

In this series we are looking at the new Translation of the Roman Missal and how it restores to us a clearer articulation of the beautiful truth contained in the Latin text. Many of these truths have been lost or ambiguously presented in the current rendering we are using. Lex orandi, Lex credendi  (the law of praying is the law of believing). Hence the new translation, since it is more accurate and literal,  gives us a chance to more clearly appreciate anew the beauty of our faith based on what we pray. The previous installments in this series can be found here:

Truth in Translation Series

As usual, the Latin text is presented, followed by the new translation, and then by the rendering currently in use.

LATIN: Communicantes, et memoriam venerantes, in primis gloriosae semper Virginis Mariae, Genetricis Dei et Domini nostri Iesu Christi: sed et beati Ioseph, eiusdem Virginis Sponsi, et beatorum Apostolorum ac Martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreae, (Iacobi, Ioannis, Thomae, Iacobi, Philippi, Bartholomaei, Matthaei, Simonis et Thaddaei: Lini, Cleti, Clementis, Xysti, Cornelii, Cypriani, Laurentii, Chrysogoni, Ionnis et Pauli, Cosmae et Damiani) et omnium Sanctorum tuorum; quorum meritis precibusque concedas, ut in omnibus protectionis tuae muniamur auxilio. (Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

NEW TRANSLATION: In communion with those whose memory we venerate, especially the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ, † and blessedJoseph, Spouse of the same Virgin, your blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Jude: Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian] and all your Saints: through their merits and prayers, grant that in all things we may be defended by your protecting help. [Through Christ our Lord. Amen.]

RENDERING IN CURRENT USE: In union with the whole Church we honor Mary, the ever-virgin mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God. We honor Joseph, her husband, the apostles and martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, (James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Jude; we honor Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian) and all the saints. May their merits and prayers grant us your constant help and protection. (Through Christ our Lord. Amen.)

1. The Communion of the Saints– It has been a long and ancient tradition to refer to our relationship with the saints as the “communion of the Saints”. The current rendering fails to use the word communion, but only union and  adds the phrase “the whole Church.” It is not wrong to say that we have a communion with the whole Church if we hold the faith and are in a state of grace. However, noble though this idea is, it is not what the Latin says. The Latin text literally says, “In communion (with) and venerating the memory of…..” and then goes on to list the saints. Hence what we have described here is the communion of the Saints and the fact that we venerate their memory and are swept up into the communion of the Saints. This communion is described as a kind of hierarchy beginning with Mary (see just below) and then Joseph. Then the apostles and then the martyrs. The prayer goes on to mention all the apostles by name along with some of the early martyrs. The prayer will conclude by asking the Lord’s protection on account of their prayers. The new translation thus restores to us, by a more literal rendering, a more proper understanding of the communion of the saints to which the prayer refers.

2. The glories of Mary re-articulated– The current version we are using rather flatly says, “We honor Mary, the ever virgin Mother…..” But the Latin (and the newer and more accurate Translation) speak of her more effusively, indicating that we venerate the memory “especially, the glorious ever-virgin Mary.” Note that Latin says we honor her  “in primis” (in the first place). The New English captures this reasonably by saying “especially.”  The Latin calls her glorious, as does the new translation. Why all this? Mary is not just any saint. She is the Queen of all the saints. She is Queen Mother of the Church. She is “our tainted nature’s solitary boast.”  She is God’s masterpiece. She is the new Eve. She has pride of place in any listing of the saints. Many Old Testament texts have been taken by the Church and applied to Mary down through the Centuries. For example: You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the Joy of Israel, you are the highest honor of our people. (Judith 15:7). I am the rose of Sharon, I am the lily of the valleys (Song 2:1). Your name will be renowned through all generations; thus nations shall praise you forever (Ps 45:18). Blessed are you, daughter; by the Most High God, above all the women on earth. (Judith 13:18) . The trust you have shown shall not pass from the memories of men, but shall ever remind them of the power of God. (Judith 13:25). Well, you get the point. Mary is honored in the first place and is the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ. The new translation, by accurately reporting the Latin restores her glories and pre-eminence among the saints.

3. Clarity about Joseph– The reference to Joseph in the Roman Canon is relatively new. It was added in 1962 by Pope John XXIII. The exact Latin phrase that was added was sed et beati Ioseph, eiusdem Virginis Sponsi (and of Blessed Joseph, the spouse of the same Virgin). The wording was chosen very carefully to reflect the fact that he was her husband to be sure, but she was the same Virgin who was just called “ever-virgin” in the previous phrase. It is a way of re-emphasizing Mary’s Virginity which is necessary today in an age where many, even in the Church have wanted to doubt it. The current version lost this nuance when it simply said, “Joseph her husband.” The new translation restores the emphasis by translating it: “blessed Joseph, Spouse of the same Virgin. ” Note too that Joseph gets his adjective back: “Blessed.” The current version so often just eliminated words without apparent reason. Why not call him blessed as the Latin does? It was puzzling. But thankfully the new translation will have us giving Joseph his due.

4. Blessed apostles and martyrs– The same may be said for the apostles and martyrs whom the Latin calls “blessed.” The current version eliminated the word. Why again is a mystery. But the new translation will once again let us give them their due. They are blessed indeed.

5. They Are God’s Holy Ones –  Perhaps I am being picky but the current version says, “and all the saints” but the Latin says, “and all YOUR saints.” They are God’s saints after all, his holy ones. The New Translation gets this right as well.

This is a video I put together some time ago in honor of the Blessed Mother, she who is our tainted nature’s solitary boast:

Truth in the New Translation Series: # 2 – The Memento Domine or Commemoration of the Living in the Roman Canon

This is the second installment of a series begun last week on the New English Translation of the Roman Missal. In this series I seek to present the new translation as a truer translation and hence a truer expression of the Catholic faith than the version in current use. In case you missed the first installment it is here:  Truth in the New Translation Series – The Te Igitur

With the new translation the richness of the Catholic faith in the Roman Missal is once again made available to Catholics in English speaking settings. Many of these riches have been kept hidden by an inferior translation ( a paraphrase, actually) in use since 1970.

We now turn our attention to the second paragraph of the Roman Canon known as the Memento Domine. Presented first is the Latin text, followed by the new translation, followed by the version in current use:

Latin Text: Meménto, Dómine, famulórum famularúmque tuárum N. & N.  Et ómnium circumstántium, quorum tibi fides cógnita est, et nota devótio: pro quibus tibi offérimus, vel qui tibi ófferunt hoc sacrifícium laudis, pro se, suísque ómnibus, pro redemptióne animárum suárum, pro spe salútis et incolumitátis suæ; tibíque reddunt vota sua ætérno Deo, vivo et vero.

New Translation: Remember, Lord, your servants N. and N. and all gathered here, whose faith and devotion are known to you. For them and all who are dear to them we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them, for the redemption of their souls, in hope of health and well-being, and fulfilling their vows to you, the eternal God, living and true.

Version in current use: Remember, Lord, your people, especially those for whom we now pray, N. and  N. Remember all of us gathered here before you. You know how firmly we believe in you and dedicate ourselves to you. We offer you this sacrifice of praise for ourselves and those who are dear to us. We pray to you, our living and true God, for our well-being and redemption.

1. We are God’s servants – In the translation in current use we refer to ourselves as “your people” but the Latin refers to us as famulorum famularumque (literally “servants and handmaids). The new translation restores the more accurate word “servants” to refer to us. It is true that the use of the word “handmaids” has been dropped. This is likely due to its rather archaic sound in the modern setting. The translators have simply made use of the single word, “servants” to  refer to both male and female though, it is true,  the Latin text distinguishes the two. Perhaps in the modern setting we can say it is a distinction without a difference. But the return to the truer rendering of the word “servants” is helpful to our age. In current times we are slow to acknowledge that, before anything else we are or do, we are God’s servants. We are not God’s equal, neither are we free to set the terms of our obedience to God. That would be pride, the primordial sin wherein Adam and Eve essentially said, “I will decide what I want to do and I will decide whether it is right or wrong.” But as it is, we are not to yield to pride, we are to realize and accept that our greatest glory is to be God’s servant. The Lord Jesus said, Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mk 10:43-45). It is appropriate as an antidote to the current climate which has downplayed our status as servants of the Lord.

2. A less presumptive declaration of our faith and devotion – The current version rather presumptively tells God what he should know by saying, You know how firmly we believe in you and dedicate ourselves to you. This tone is rather presumptive and boldly  asserts things about ourselves that we are not the judge of. Hence the new translation more accurately and humbly renders the Latin, and all gathered here, whose faith and devotion are known to you. Now we will no longer tell God what he should know about us but rather we will simply and humbly accept that he knows for himself and on his own terms the true degree of our faith and devotion. Here too is another antidote to the rather bold and presumptive tone our times.

3. The distinction between the offering of the clergy and the people  – What the priest is doing at the Altar is separate and distinct from what the gathered people are doing. The ordained ministerial priest in virtue of his ordination is making the offering to the Father in persona Christi capitis (in the person of Christ the head). It is Christ himself who is speaking and ministering through the ordained priest. The Latin text does say offerimus (we offer) but the “we” referred to here is the celebrant along with any other con-celebrating priests. As to the people the Latin text says, vel qui tibi offerunt (or who (themselves) offer unto you). Hence the people DO offer unto God, but in an offering distinct from (though related to) what the priest(s) celebrant(s) are doing. The people are offering prayers, a sacrifice of praise, bread and wine, and monetary support, indeed the gift of their very selves to God. And they make this offering as an exercise of the common or royal priesthood they received in baptism. But as the Catechism points out the common priesthood  of all the baptized  and the ministerial priest are ordered to one another but differ essentially (cf CCC # 1547). The Second Vatican Council affirmed that

Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The ministerial priest, by the sacred power he enjoys, teaches and rules the priestly people; acting in the person of Christ, he makes present the Eucharistic sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist.  They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity. (Lumen Gentium 10)

Hence the more careful rendering  of the new translation spells out the careful wording of the Latin text which preserves the inter-related though distinct offerings taking place here: For them and all who are dear to them we offer  you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them. The lack of proper distinction in the past decades has led to harm in both distinct branches of the priesthood. It has led to a clericalization of the laity, thus undermining respect for their proper role and mission in the temporal order as well as at mass. It has also tended to laicize the clergy thus diminishing respect for their distinct role among the faithful in terms of the celebration of the Sacred liturgy, thus sanctifying, teaching and governing in sacred matters and equipping the laity to exercise proper oversight of the temporal order. It is surely hoped that the new translation will assist in rearticulating and thus recognizing the proper roles and distinctiveness of clergy and laity.

4. Rendering  our vows– The new translation says that the faithful,  in making their offering,  are  fulfilling their vows to you (a fairly literal rendering of the Latin tibíque reddunt vota sua). This is a gloss on a phrase that occurs not infrequently in the psalms occurring over a dozen times in this or a similar form: I am under vows to you, O God; I will present my thank offerings to you. (Ps 56:12) or again, Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled (Ps 65:1). The fact is that we owe God our praise. To praise God is described repeatedly in the psalms and elsewhere in Scripture as a kind of debt we owe to God. He is worthy of our praise and since we have this debt we have a kind of vow or promise to render and fulfill that debt of gratitude and praise. Too many people today think of worship as something that exists for them. Hence we hear people say that they “Don’t get anything out of Church” or that they “Are not being fed.” But in the end it is not about you or me. The focus is God and that we owe him a debt of gratitude and praise. We ought to go to Church simply because God is worthy and we have a debt or vow to render. It is nice if the sermon is good, my favorite song is sung etc. but that is not why we go. We go to render or fulfill our sacred duty and vow, to give thanks to God who is infinitely worthy.

The current English version misses the Scriptural allusion altogether by simply saying “We pray to you.” Fine, but again notice the subtle shift to us and what we are doing. Notice too a complete loss of the reason, (our vow or duty). The current text also stumbles badly because it inaccurately links the “We pray” to an expected reward: “for our well being and redemption.” In other words the current translation links our act of praying to reward whereas the Latin text and the new translation link to a duty pure and simple. Here again, the new translation will provide a vast benefit by helping us to recover reference to our duty to worship God and render him thanks simply because he is worthy and we have a duty, obligation and vow to render this even without any hope of reward for it.

So here we are only two paragraphs into the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) and we have had much to discuss. The New translation provides vast benefit in terms of teaching and the recovery of sacred truths which the 1970 version obscured. As can be seen the poor translation of 1970 is directly connected to many struggles we have had in the Church in terms of an improper understanding of the faith and of worship. It is not the only cause, but surely we can see how the new translation will help us recover important truths. More installments in this series will be coming soon.

Video: I realize that some of you do not appreciate Gospel music the way I do. But one of the great blessings of Gospel music is that its focus is almost always on God and what God has done. So much of other modern Church music focuses too much on us. One of the great themes of Gospel music is that God is worthy, worthy of all our praise. This song says,

I’ve got so much to thank God for. o many wonderful blessings, and so many open doors. A brand new mercy along with each new day That’s why I praise You and for this I give You praise

For waking me up this morning, That’s why I praise You,  For starting me on my way,  That’s why I praise You.  For letting me see the sunshine,  that’s why I praise You  of a brand new day.  A brand new mercy along with each new day,  That’s why I praise You and for this I give You praise!