Friday, December 18, 2015


I was having a discussion with two priests last night about our new and glorious English translation of the Roman Missal. They are still on the old mantra that this translation is sooooo harrrrrd for them to pray and thus they change this, that and the other.

I reminded them in my most pastoral and astute way, humbly of course, that only clericalism in the priesthood and academia, especially liturgical and linguistic academia are the only ones complaining about our glorious new translation. I have yet to hear a single word of complaint about our newly translated Mass, not one word from the salt of the earth laity! Keep in mind that clericalism and academia are often synonymous and academic clericalism is the most virulent form of clericalism and affects the laity in the great halls of it.

Thus there was wringing of  hands and crocodile tears about the Collect for the Advent Mass of December 17 which is the following:

O God, Creator and Redeemer of human nature, who willed that your Word should take flesh in an ever-virgin womb, look with favor on our prayers, having taken to Himself our humanity, may be please to grant us a share in His divinity. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one god, for ever and ever. 

Well, it was just so hard, so awful that they had to pray "ever-virgin womb." They asked, who even talks like that! Shouldn't it be "...take flesh in the Ever-Virgin Mary.?"

Here is another translation of the same Latin Prayer for December 17 but this one from the new and glorious Divine Worship, the Missal:

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all mankind, who didst will that thy Word should take flesh in an ever-virgin womb mercifully hear our prayers; that thine Only Begotten Son, who hath taken unto himself our humanity, may graciously grant us a share in his divinity; through the sae Jesus Christ they Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen. 

And the other thing that absolutely drives them to liturgical senility is "Let us Pray" followed by something like this from the Third Sunday of Advent:

O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord's Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation...

Liturgical clericalism in the priesthood would see some priest omitting the addition "we pray" since the priest has already said "Let us pray."

Of course the "let us pray" is directed horizontally to the Congregation (not to God).

"...enable us, we pray, is directed not to the congreation at all, but to Almighty God. Nothing redundant here at all.

Thus clericalism ignorant of prayer and its vertical nature (for the ears of God through Jesus Christ) think the two "let us prays" are redundant. This isn't academic at all, but ignorance!



TJM said...

In my experience, most priests who do this are talentless, ignorant, egomaniacs, left-wing loons, and big supporters of Vatican II. A tremendous irony, considering that Sacrosanctum Concilium expressly forbids any "bishop or priest" from doing so. It is a mortal sin.

Gene said...

Idiots. Narcissists. Arrogant twerps.

Jusadbellum said...

I am slightly going off topic so please delete if necessary, but given all the chaos and confusion in today's world, what is the considered opinion of our host and peanut gallery about the fulfillment in our lifetimes of the Marian prophecies of: Quito, La Sallette, and Akita?

All three Marian apparitions speak of great divisions within the clergy, a generalized falling away from faith and morals, global conflict and persecution of those who are faithful not just by non-Catholics but by erstwhile Catholics.

Given the depravity beyond our walls, is it any wonder pastors are winging things inside them? To read the theologians who babble on and on without grounds from the deposit of the faith, vainly thinking they serve the Lord while actually serving the spiritus mundi, why wouldn't pastors in the liturgy begin ad libbing the prayers to make them "more relevant" (and thus make them less relevant!)?

I think Catholicism is the only religion that accepts as a matter of faith that the future will get darker and darker before the dawn. That the 'end times' isn't the story of a robust, titanic Church militant crushing all others before us but rather of a desperate refugee Church barely holding the slim candle of faith before the apparent victorious forces of antichrist..... and that the end comes not due to our strength but God's merciful intervention. That our efforts are ultimately about keeping our faith despite all apparent defeat.

To choose the hidden and invisible Lord rather than the visible and all-pervasive (and thus easy to submit to) Leviathan.

As a believer I'd like to think I will be heroic but as a sinner I fear the wolves. Fathers, when the hammer drops, we laity will be the first to bear the brunt of it. We need any slender reed of fidelity and faithful witness you can give us, if only to encourage us in our own efforts to remain faithful.

John Nolan said...

The liturgical ignorance of many priests is astounding. When you consider that the only functions that they alone can perform are frequently performed badly, even incompetently, it makes you wonder how they justify their existence. I would not visit a medical practitioner if I thought that my competence in medicine exceeded his, yet I have sometimes had to endure 'celebrations' of the liturgy where I could have happily elbowed the priest aside and done it properly (although it would have lacked validity and efficacity since I am not ordained).

Pastoral care, chairing committees, catechesis - all these can and ought to be performed by lay people. Lay people in whatever walk of life are expected to be competent in what they do. The same should apply to clergy.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

As I was a part of the conversation to which you refer, I offer the following corrections:

No one said, "...this translation is sooooo harrrrrd for them to pray..." That is your silly hyperbole.

Msgr. Nijem, who raised the question about the Dec 17 collect, did not wring his hands and weep crocodile tears as we sat at your dining room table discussing the translation. Again, this is your silly hyperbole.

The inclusion of "we pray" in many of the English translations where no such words appear in the Latin text is a violation of the rules for translation set down in Liturgiam Authenticam. When you weep your crocodile tears about priests who do not follow the rules, but rejoice when the rules of LA are not followed, you reveal your own hypocrisy.

You never brought up clericalism during the dinner table conversation. You have added that in now to make yourself look good and sound "pastoral."

Allan, if you are going to turn private dinner table conversation into fodder for your blog, you ought to do it honestly.

MaryP said...

They forget how hard it was for the laity to endure 20 years of changes ending in a bastardized text which we had to put up with for 25 more years, with congregational prayers that no one could remember because the words had been changed so many times. If they are uncomfortable, serves them right.

Gene said...

Jus, that is also the Calvinist vision. Compared to Calvin (and Augustine), Catholic theology has an entirely too optimistic view of human nature. It all goes back to the doctrine of the Imago Dei and how it is understood by each. BTW, a group of historians got together and, after reviewing world history and coming to a consensus, came to the conclusion that since 3,500 BC there have been approximately 265 years of world peace. So, how's everybody's optimism?

Steven Surrency said...

Father, you slightly misquoted the prayer.

"....look with favor on our prayers, that your Only Begotten Son, having taken to himself our humanity...."

I kept reading what you posted and noticed that it isn't grammatical. I know it was only an oversight on your part, but the fact that people haven't noticed the error makes me wonder if perhaps the prayer isn't comprehensible to some people. If it were comprehensible, people should have been able to read it and see that it is missing a noun phrase. I wonder if people sometimes tune it out. Blah, blah, sacral language, blah blah. I am not sure.

TJM said...

Father Kavanaugh, well Bishop "Trautperson" said that many, many times, that the correct translation is "too hard" for Mary and Joe Catholic. We are sick and tired of old lefties telling us what we can and cannot comprehend. The next time a priest changes the words of the Mass I attend, I may just hang around and punch his lights out, since that may be the only meaningful recourse an outraged member of the laity has with priests of that ilk.

John Nolan said...

The (OF) Collect for Advent III does include 'quaesumus' ('we pray' or better, 'we beseech thee') but Fr Kavanaugh is right in saying that 'we pray' is sometimes added to Collects where there is no equivalent in the Latin. Too many people had a hand in the translation, including the bishops who didn't want too many changes in the people's parts, hence the retention of the wordy and inelegant Confiteor; and Vox Clara who made a lot of last-minute alterations. Somewhere down the line someone must have thought that the unadorned imperative sounded too abrupt, disrespectful even!

Fr Hunwicke spotted a schoolboy howler in the translation of the Introit 'In medio Ecclesiae' and in EP III 'cujus voluisti immolatione placari' is probably deliberately mistranslated; it actually means 'by whose sacrifice thou wished to be appeased'.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The Collect for the Third Sunday of Advent in the Divine Worship Missal is completely different than the Ordinary Form. It must be an adaptation of the Book of Common Prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee: grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight; who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

And it is addressed to Jesus rather than the Father.

Anonymous said...

Those of left wing political persuasion should not be made priests. Those who are, should be defrocked.

Catholicism and the legacy of Robespierre are not compatible.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - What Bishop Trautman said or did not say isn't germane. You're welcome to come to my church and take a swing at me any time. Bring your lawyer.

Gene said...

TJM, you, and me, and Jan, and Jusad and a couple of others on here need to get together. We couple form a neo-Templars order and really kick apse.

Rood Screen said...

Perhaps, from now on, there could be a live audio-video feed from the rectory, viewable from the blog. Or, at least a word-for-word transcript.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Perhaps, from now on, Fr. McDonald should not turn private, dinner table conversations into blog posts without the approval of those involved.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It was not I who named any names!

George said...


While those of us who would like to see the Mass done properly, with due reverence and adherence to the rubrics, appreciate your likewise desire that it be so, I advise you not to do what you propose. Just as it would we unwise to physically assault a policeman, whose power is conferred and vested according to the secular authority, so also it would be unwise to strike a priest, whose power is conferred according to the authority of Almighty God, delegated to the bishop. To do the former would be quite foolish and very costly; to do the latter would be sacrilege and doubly costly, since one would not only be subject to whatever the civil and criminal penalties could be imposed but also to whatever spiritual penalties that God would impose to satisfy His justice.
Certainly it is understandable to conclude that it offends God when the Mass is not celebrated properly and with due reverence.
It would not be wise and proper however, to assume to take on the role of God's agent of righteousness by inflicting harm on one ordained to the priesthood.

John Nolan said...

In the 45 years since the Novus Ordo Missae was adopted I have never seen or heard any example of irreverence, disregard of rubrics, ad-libbing, unauthorized alteration of texts, inappropriate music, perambulating priests with hand microphones, clown noses or anything that could be classed as an abuse - when the said Novus Ordo is celebrated in Latin.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I have often said that the abuses in the "new Mass" came primarily from familiarity with the vernacular that produces vulgar responses. Familiarity breeds contempt. Most of the abuses that have become legend have to do with the vulgar language and the contempt for the sacred it somehow created. I suspect, though, if one were to use exclusively the new Personal Ordinariate Mass with its "Elizabethan style language" this might prevent some of the vulgarity that you attribute to Latin preventing.

I think I'll make your comment and mine into a post!