Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Concern for the new English translation example: Advent I

(This comes from a thread on Catholic Answers Forum about the new translation.)

The following prayer is an example of poor translation: a pronoun not connecting intuitively with its antecedent. This example is sadly one which we will hear on the first day of the new translation's use!
First Sunday of Advent - Post-Communion

May these mysteries, O Lord,
in which we have participated, profit us, we pray,
for even now, as we walk amid passing things,
you teach us by them to love the things of heaven
and hold fast to what endures.
What is the "them" referring to? It's so far away from "mysteries", and much closer to "passing things" (which it immediately follows) that the average reader -- or, more to the point, listener -- will connect "them" with "passing things".  So this prayer will be interpreted to mean that the Eucharist will enable the "passing things" of this world to teach us "to love the things of heaven."

That's not what the prayer really says!
Prosint nobis, quaesumus, Dómine,
frequentáta mystéria, quibus nos, inter praetereúntia ambulántes,
iam nunc instítuis amáre caeléstia et inhaerére mansúris.
In the Latin, there is no confusion: "quibus" (by which) is in the ablative, and immediately follows the ablative expression "frequentata mysteria". The phrase "praetereúntia ambulántes" is in the accusative, as required by the preposition "inter".

Here's a rough literal translation, with the word order as it is in the Latin:
May [they] be of benefit to us, we pray, Lord,
[these] frequented mysteries, by which us, while walking amid passing [things],
even now you teach to love heavenly things and cling to abiding [things].
The "by which us ... you teach" is rendered like that simply to match the Latin word order, but it is really "by which you teach us". Here's a cleaner translation:
O Lord, may these mysteries we frequent profit us, we pray,
for you teach us by them, even now as we walk amid that which passes away,
to love heavenly things and hold fast to that which endures.
The previous revision of this prayer, from 2008, was clearer than the 2010 version:
May these mysteries in which we have participated
profit us, we pray, O Lord,
for even now, as we journey through this passing world,
you teach us by them
to love the things of heaven
and hold fast to what will endure.
It was clear that "them" refers to the "mysteries", despite the distance between "mysteries" and "them", because there was no other plural noun to confuse "them" with. Sure, the plural expression "praetereúntia ambulántes" was made into a singular (but collective/encompassing) noun "this passing world", but that sort of adjustment is not forbidden, and it is done elsewhere even in the 2010 translation!

So this is not a matter of getting used to Latin syntax (not required by the translation guidelines) or some elevated language.  This is a bad editorial decision, a poor translation.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Support and concern for the new English translation

Louie Verrecchio, a columnist for the Catholic News Agency, has put together a petition by which people can show their prayerful support of our bishops as they begin (or continue) their catechetical efforts to prepare people for the new English translation of the Roman Missal:  "What If We Just Said 'Pray'?"

The petition reads:
We are very concerned about those who are attempting to undermine the new English translation of the Roman Missal. We believe that by [sic] imposing their negative attitudes on our people - especially before a program of preparation - will have an adverse effect on our prayer and cause serious division in our communities.

We are convinced that adopting these new translations, which are highly faithful and which leaders among our bishops as well as many highly respected liturgists and linguists consider to be substantially richer than the text we’ve been praying lo these past forty years, will be a great grace.

For this reason we earnestly applaud the bishops of the English-speaking world for their contribution to the new translations and we welcome this great opportunity to grow in our awareness of Holy Mass through liturgical catechesis.

Furthermore, we hereby commit ourselves to earnest prayer for our bishops; that they may be strengthened in their ministry, as well as for the conversion of all who oppose Holy Mother Church - especially those who struggle to embrace the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

We are convinced that this approach will lift up the entire People of God who have so much to gain by the corrected translations.

We realize that the power of intercessory prayer is unlimited, as are the graces made available to those who approach the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with humility.

Ad Iesum per Mariam!
Now, I would not go so far as to say that people who are "struggl[ing] to embrace the new English translation" are people "who oppose Holy Mother Church", but the petition has a laudable aim.  I signed it because I am aware of efforts by various people to discourage Catholics from approaching the new translation inquisitively and calmly, and I think this makes any attempt at liturgical catechesis that much harder.  I think we do need to pray for the bishops, and for all involved in liturgical catechesis, that they may be able to teach the people well.

At the same time, there are continued "reports" of flaws and deficiencies in the new translation.  I am becoming less and less convinced of the degree to which the new translation is "highly faithful" to the Latin and to the principles of translation put forth in Liturgiam Authenticam and the Ratio Translationis.  Examples such as the post-communion on the First Sunday of Advent, the translation of adstare as "to be" rather than "to stand" in Eucharistic Prayer II, the complete dropping of a phrase about an angelic messenger from the Preface for the Annunciation.  These examples come from the contributors to and readership of the sometimes-controversial but resource-abundant Pray Tell Blog.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pope Leo the Great on Lent II (Sermon 40)

Each week of Lent, I will be posting a sermon of Pope St. Leo the Great on Lent, with my meager commentary on the right in smaller blue.

This is Sermon 40 (and here it is in Latin). In this sermon, which refers to the readings from the first Sunday in Lent, Leo makes a doctrinal point (Christ's dual natures: human and divine) while discussing Satan's tempting of our Lord in the desert.

I. Progress and improvement always possible
Although, dearly-beloved, as the Easter festival approaches, the very recurrence of the season points out to us the Lenten fast, yet our words also must add their exhortations which, the Lord helping us, may be not useless to the active nor irksome to the devout. For since the idea of these days demands the increase of all our religious performances, there is no one, I am sure, that does not feel glad at being incited to good works. For though our nature which, so long as we are mortal, will be changeable, is advancing to the highest pursuits of virtue, yet always has the possibility of falling back, so has it always the possibility of advancing. And this is the true justness of the perfect that they should never assume themselves to be perfect, lest flagging in the purpose of their yet unfinished journey, they should fall into the danger of failure, through giving up the desire for progress..The season of Lent is meant to incite us even more (than the rest of the year) to the performance of good works.  It is the sign of holiness and an indicator that a man is on the way of perfection that he never considers himself having reached perfection, and so no one can justly consider himself freed from the obligations of this holy season.
And, therefore, because none of us, dearly beloved, is so perfect and holy as not to be able to be more perfect and more holy, let us all together, without difference of rank, without distinction of desert, with pious eagerness pursue our race from what we have attained to what we yet aspire to, and make some needful additions to our regular devotions. For he that is not more attentive than usual to religion in these days, is shown at other times to be not attentive enough.None of us is perfect in virtue, so we should all alike strive to grow in holiness and perfection, rather than consider ourselves good enough.
II. Satan seeks to supply his numerous losses by fresh gains
Hence the reading of the Apostle's proclamation has sounded opportunely in our ears, saying, "Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation." For what is more accepted than this time, what more suitable to salvation than these days, in which war is proclaimed against vices and progress is made in all virtues? You had indeed always to keep watch, O Christian soul, against the enemy of your salvation, lest any spot should be exposed to the tempter's snares: but now greater wariness and keener prudence must be employed by you when that same foe of yours rages with fiercer hatred.Pope Leo quotes 2 Cor. 6:2, which was the epistle reading for the First Sunday in Lent.  He is saying that the days of Lent are indeed an acceptable time for directing our minds towards salvation and the conquering of vices by virtue.
For now in all the world the power of his ancient sway is taken from him, and the countless vessels of captivity are rescued from his grasp. The people of all nations and of all tongues are breaking away from their cruel plunderer, and now no race of men is found that does not struggle against the tyrant's laws, while through all the borders of the earth many thousands of thousands are being prepared to be reborn in Christ : and as the birth of a new creature draws near, spiritual wickedness is being driven out by those who were possessed by it.The devil laments this penitential season when men and women are wrested from his grasp and brought into the bosom of the Church in the Paschal sacraments.

Whether Leo meant by "now no race of men is found" that he thought the Gospel had truly been preached to the whole world, I do not know. Perhaps he thought it had reached the whole known world.
The blasphemous fury of the despoiled foe frets, therefore, and seeks new gains because it has lost its ancient right. Unwearied and ever wakeful, he snatches at any sheep he finds straying carelessly from the sacred folds, intent on leading them over the steeps of treasure and down the slopes of luxury into the abodes of death. And so he inflames their wrath, feeds their hatreds, whets their desires, mocks at their continence, arouses their gluttony.Because souls are being freed from Satan's grasp, this penitential season is a cause for him to re-double his efforts as well.
III. The twofold nature of Christ shown at the Temptation
For whom would he not dare to try, who did not keep from his treacherous attempts even on our Lord Jesus Christ? For, as the story of the Gospel has disclosed, when our Saviour, Who was true God, that He might show Himself true Man also, and banish all wicked and erroneous opinions, after the fast of 40 days and nights, had experienced the hunger of human weakness, the devil, rejoicing at having found in Him a sign of possible and mortal nature, in order to test the power which he feared, said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." (Matthew 4:3)Since Satan did not balk at the thought of tempting the Lord, we can be sure he will not be timid in tempting us.

Here Leo begins to weave in the theme of the doctrinal importance of this Gospel passage, that Christ is true God and true man.
Doubtless the Almighty could do this, and it was easy that at the Creator's command a creature of any kind should change into the form that it was commanded: just as when He willed it, in the marriage feast, He changed the water into wine: but here it better agreed with His purposes of salvation that His haughty foe's cunning should be vanquished by the Lord, not in the power of His Godhead, but by the mystery of His humiliation. At length, when the devil had been put to flight and the tempter baffled in all his arts, angels came to the Lord and ministered to Him, that He being true Man and true God, His Manhood might be unsullied by those crafty questions, and His Godhead displayed by those holy ministrations.Christ conquered Satan in the desert not by virtue of His divinity, but by virtue of His humanity.

Then, when the devil left Him, the fact that angels came to minister to Him is seen by Leo as a sign of His divinity.
And so let the sons and disciples of the devil be confounded, who, being filled with the poison of vipers, deceive the simple, denying in Christ the presence of both true natures, while they rob either His Godhead of Manhood, or His Manhood of Godhead, although both falsehoods are destroyed by a twofold and simultaneous proof: for by His bodily hunger His perfect Manhood was shown, and by the attendant angels His perfect Godhead.I do not know if there was a particular heretical group which Leo had in mind at this time, but he makes it clear that anyone who denies the divinity or humanity of Christ is at odds with this Gospel passage.
IV. The Fast should not end with abstinence from food, but lead to good deeds
Therefore, dearly-beloved, seeing that, as we are taught by our Redeemer's precept, "man lives not in bread alone, but in every word of God," and it is right that Christian people, whatever the amount of their abstinence, should rather desire to satisfy themselves with the "Word of God" than with bodily food, let us with ready devotion and eager faith enter upon the celebration of the solemn fast, not with barren abstinence from food, which is often imposed on us by weakliness of body, or the disease of avarice, but in bountiful benevolence: that in truth we may be of those of whom the very Truth speaks, "blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6)Abstaining from food is done for natural reasons, but the purpose of the Lenten fast is supernatural, not merely natural.  Thus our hunger, which comes naturally when we abstain from food, should be directed to the Word of God, that we may be filled by it.
Let works of piety, therefore, be our delight, and let us be filled with those kinds of food which feed us for eternity. Let us rejoice in the replenishment of the poor, whom our bounty has satisfied. Let us delight in the clothing of those whose nakedness we have covered with needful raiment. Let our humaneness be felt by the sick in their illnesses, by the weakly in their infirmities, by the exiles in their hardships, by the orphans in their destitution, and by solitary widows in their sadness: in the helping of whom there is no one that cannot carry out some amount of benevolence.So our food should be the same as our Lord's:  "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work." (John 4:34)

Pope Leo then lists works of mercy.
For no one's income is small, whose heart is big: and the measure of one's mercy and goodness does not depend on the size of one's means. Wealth of goodwill is never rightly lacking, even in a slender purse. Doubtless the expenditure of the rich is greater, and that of the poor smaller, but there is no difference in the fruit of their works, where the purpose of the workers is the same.Charity is the great equalizer, for it is an operation of the soul, not of material wealth or power.
V. And still further it should lead to personal amendment and domestic harmony
But, beloved, in this opportunity for the virtues' exercise there are also other notable crowns, to be won by no dispersing abroad of granaries, by no disbursement of money, if wantonness is repelled, if drunkenness is abandoned, and the lusts of the flesh tamed by the laws of chastity: if hatreds pass into affection, if enmities be turned into peace, if meekness extinguishes wrath, if gentleness forgives wrongs, if in fine the conduct of master and of slaves is so well ordered that the rule of the one is milder, and the discipline of the other is more complete.Our Lenten discipline is not only about increasing our works of charity, but also about decreasing our works against charity.
It is by such observances then, dearly-beloved, that God's mercy will be gained, the charge of sin wiped out, and the adorable Easter festival devoutly kept. And this the pious Emperors of the Roman world have long guarded with holy observance; for in honour of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection they bend their lofty power, and relaxing the severity of their decrees set free many of their prisoners: so that on the days when the world is saved by the Divine mercy, their clemency, which is modelled on the Heavenly goodness, may be zealously followed by us.The secular example of emperors granting pardon is seen by Leo as the law of God's mercy permeating those in positions of power in the world.
Let Christian peoples then imitate their princes, and be incited to forbearance in their homes by these royal examples. For it is not right that private laws should be severer than public. Let faults be forgiven, let bonds be loosed, offenses wiped out, designs of vengeance fall through, that the holy festival through the Divine and human grace may find all happy, all innocent: through our Lord Jesus Christ Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns God for endless ages of ages. Amen.If an emperor can be so merciful, surely we can be too.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pope Leo the Great on Lent I (Sermon 39)

Each week of Lent, I will be posting a sermon of Pope St. Leo the Great on Lent, with my meager commentary on the right in smaller blue.

This is Sermon 39 (and here it is in Latin).

I. The benefits of abstinence shown by the example of the Hebrews
In former days, when the people of the Hebrews and all the tribes of Israel were oppressed for their scandalous sins by the grievous tyranny of the Philistines, in order that they might be able to overcome their enemies, as the sacred story declares, they restored their powers of mind and body by the injunction of a fast.He is referring to 1 Samuel 4, where the Philistines defeated the Israelites, and then 1 Samuel 7:6, where the Israelites fasted and sacrificed, and then defeated the Philistines.
For they understood that they had deserved that hard and wretched subjection for their neglect of God's commands, and evil ways, and that it was in vain for them to strive with arms unless they had first withstood their sin. Therefore abstaining from food and drink, they applied the discipline of strict correction to themselves, and in order to conquer their foes, first conquered the allurements of the palate in themselves. And thus it came about that their fierce enemies and cruel taskmasters yielded to them when fasting, whom they had held in subjection when full.It is foolishness to seek a strictly natural solution to a supernatural problem. As the Psalmist says, unless the Lord builds the house, in vain do they labor who build it; so long as the Israelites battled against God because of their sinful conduct, they could not triumph over the Philistines. We must obtain victory in our interior battles if we wish to attain to victory in our exterior battles.
And so we too, dearly beloved, who are set in the midst of many oppositions and conflicts, may be cured by a little carefulness, if only we will use the same means. For our case is almost the same as theirs, seeing that, as they were attacked by foes in the flesh so are we chiefly by spiritual enemies. And if we can conquer them by God's grace enabling us to correct our ways, the strength of our bodily enemies also will give way before us, and by our self-amendment we shall weaken those who were rendered formidable to us, not by their own merits but by our shortcomings.The physical foes of the Israelites correspond to the spiritual foes of Christians. We are made susceptible to the attacks of the devil and his angels "not by their own merits but by our shortcomings," and so we must implore God for His grace so that we can repent and reform our lives. Pope Leo emphasizes the primary role of God's grace in our self-correction.
II. Use Lent to vanquish the enemy, and be thus preparing for Eastertide
Accordingly, dearly-beloved, that we may be able to overcome all our enemies, let us seek Divine aid by the observance of the heavenly bidding, knowing that we cannot otherwise prevail against our adversaries, unless we prevail against our own selves. For we have many encounters with our own selves: the flesh desires one thing against the spirit, and the spirit another thing against the flesh. And in this disagreement, if the desires of the body be stronger, the mind will disgracefully lose its proper dignity, and it will be most disastrous for that to serve which ought to have ruled.The struggle of the flesh against the spirit is described by St. Paul in Galatians 5:17 and Romans 6-7.
But if the mind, being subject to its Ruler, and delighting in gifts from above, shall have trampled under foot the allurements of earthly pleasure, and shall not have allowed sin to reign in its mortal body , reason will maintain a well-ordered supremacy, and its strongholds no strategy of spiritual wickednesses will cast down: because man has then only true peace and true freedom when the flesh is ruled by the judgment of the mind, and the mind is directed by the will of God.In our fallen state, our intellect is darkened and our will is weakened, so our flesh has power over them, such that we do even those things we know we should not. The right ordering of things is that our flesh should be subjected to our minds, and our minds should be subjected to the will of God, so that what He wills, we will, and we do.
And although this state of preparedness, dearly-beloved, should always be maintained that our ever-watchful foes may be overcome by unceasing diligence, yet now it must be the more anxiously sought for and the more zealously cultivated when the designs of our subtle foes themselves are conducted with keener craft than ever. For knowing that the most hallowed days of Lent are now at hand, in the keeping of which all past slothfulnesses are chastised, all negligences alerted for, they direct all the force of their spite on this one thing, that they who intend to celebrate the Lord's holy Passover may be found unclean in some matter, and that cause of offense may arise where propitiation ought to have been obtained.We are always to be on guard, but particularly so during the season of Lent, because our spiritual enemies seek to make us unworthy to partake in the Eucharist (the Passover of our Lord), so that we receive not mercy but condemnation. (cf. 1 Cor 11:27ff) Our participation in the Paschal feast of redemption, won for us at the price of our Lord's life, must not be an occasion for offending the Lord.
III. Fights are necessary to prove our Faith
As we approach then, dearly-beloved, the beginning of Lent, which is a time for the more careful serving of the Lord, because we are, as it were, entering on a kind of contest in good works, let us prepare our souls for fighting with temptations, and understand that the more zealous we are for our salvation, the more determined must be the assaults of our opponents.Again, we should serve the Lord with our whole being at all times, but the season of Lent is a lens with which we can better focus our intentions and efforts. Because of the heightened penitence and motivation to charity, we can be sure we will be tempted even more intently.
But stronger is He that is in us than He that is against us (1 John 4:4), and through Him are we powerful in whose strength we rely: because it was for this that the Lord allowed Himself to be tempted by the tempter, that we might be taught by His example as well as fortified by His aid.Just as the Lord submitted to being baptized by John "to fulfill all righteousness" and set Himself as a model for us, so too He allowed Himself to be tempted so that He could be our supreme example of resistance in the face of temptation. Thus, through the Son, God is able to teach us by His own example how to be obedient to Him, rather than simply to demand it of us.
For He conquered the adversary, as you have heard, by quotations from the law, not by actual strength, that by this very thing He might do greater honour to man, and inflict a greater punishment on the adversary by conquering the enemy of the human race not now as God but as Man. He fought then, therefore, that we too might fight thereafter: He conquered that we too might likewise conquer. For there are no works of power, dearly-beloved, without the trials of temptations, there is no faith without proof, no contest without a foe, no victory without conflict. This life of ours is in the midst of snares, in the midst of battles; if we do not wish to be deceived, we must watch: if we want to overcome, we must fight.It would appear that the Gospel reading for this day was Matthew 4:1-11, the same as we use on the First Sunday of Lent (Year A). Jesus conquered Satan's temptations with the Word of God, not with miracles, showing that He had the power as man to conquer Satan.
And therefore the most wise Solomon says, My son in approaching the service of God prepare your soul for temptation (Sirach 2:1). For He being a man full of the wisdom of God, and knowing that the pursuit of religion involves laborious struggles, foreseeing too the danger of the fight, forewarned the intending combatant; lest haply, if the tempter came upon him in his ignorance, he might find him unready and wound him unawares.The more firmly we dedicate ourselves to the service of God, the more violently Satan will combat us.

Pope Leo quotes from the book of Sirach ("Ecclesiasticus"), a deuterocanonical book of the Bible.
IV. The Christian's armour is both for defence and for attack
So, dearly-beloved, let us who instructed in Divine learning come wittingly to the present contest and strife, hear the Apostle when he says, for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this dark world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly things (Ephesians 6:12), and let us not forget that these our enemies feel it is against them all is done that we strive to do for our salvation, and that by the very fact of our seeking after some good thing we are challenging our foes.Every good deed we perform, and every intention to perform a good deed, is a barb in the side of Satan and a frustration of his attempts to separate us from God.
For this is an old-standing quarrel between us and them fostered by the devil's ill-will, so that they are tortured by our being justified, because they have fallen from those good things to which we, God helping us, are advancing. If, therefore, we are raised, they are prostrated: if we are strengthened, they are weakened. Our cures are their blows, because they are wounded by our wounds' cure.The wicked spirits cannot stand our good deeds, which flow from the grace of God which we have in Christ Jesus, through the salvation He won for us on the cross. The ultimate cure for our wounds, Christ's torturous Passion, was a torture for Satan as well.
Stand, therefore, dearly-beloved, as the Apostle says, having the loins of your mind girt in truth, and your feet shod in the preparation of the gospel of peace, in all things taking the shield of faith in which you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one, and put on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:14-17). See, dearly-beloved, with what mighty weapons, with what impregnable defences we are armed by our Leader, who is famous for His many triumphs, the unconquered Master of the Christian warfare.The spiritual clothing of a Christian is both a weapon and a defense against the "wickedness and snares of the devil."
He has girt our loins with the belt of chastity, He has shod our feet with the bonds of peace: because the unbelted soldier is quickly vanquished by the suggester of immodesty, and he that is unshod is easily bitten by the serpent. He has given the shield of faith for the protection of our whole body; on our head has He set the helmet of salvation; our right hand has He furnished with a sword, that is with the word of Truth: that the spiritual warrior may not only be safe from wounds, but also may have strength to wound his assailant.Satan is the "suggester of immodesty" and the ancient "serpent" who bites at the heel. But we are protected from his attacks by wearing the spiritual clothing provided by our champion and the "pioneer and perfecter of our faith."
V. Abstinence not only from food but from other evil desires, especially from wrath, is required in Lent
Relying, therefore, dearly-beloved, on these arms, let us enter actively and fearlessly on the contest set before us: so that in this fasting struggle we may not rest satisfied with only this end, that we should think abstinence from food alone desirable. For it is not enough that the substance of our flesh should be reduced, if the strength of the soul be not also developed. When the outer man is somewhat subdued, let the inner man be somewhat refreshed; and when bodily excess is denied to our flesh, let our mind be invigorated by spiritual delights.We do not fast and abstain simply for physical reasons; our fast is not only from food, as Isaiah reminds us. (cf. Isa. 58) The physical fast we undergo should strengthen us in spirit.
Let every Christian scrutinise himself, and search severely into his inmost heart: let him see that no discord cling there, no wrong desire be harboured. Let chasteness drive incontinence far away; let the light of truth dispel the shades of deception; let the swellings of pride subside; let wrath yield to reason; let the darts of ill-treatment be shattered, and the chidings of the tongue be bridled; let thoughts of revenge fall through, and injuries be given over to oblivion. In fine, let every plant which the heavenly Father has not planted be removed by the roots (Matthew 15:13). For then only are the seeds of virtue well nourished in us, when every foreign germ is uprooted from the field of wheat.Simply put, we should replace every vice with the virtue it offends.

Instead of seeking to separate the wheat from the chaff in the Church (which is for the angels to do at the end of time, cf. Matt. 13:24ff), let us straighten out our own gardens.
If any one, therefore, has been fired by the desire for vengeance against another, so that he has given him up to prison or bound him with chains, let him make haste to forgive not only the innocent, but also one who seems worthy of punishment, that he may with confidence make use of the clause in the Lord's prayer and say, Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12). Which petition the Lord marks with peculiar emphasis, as if the efficacy of the whole rested on this condition, by saying, For if you forgive men their sins, your Father which is in heaven also will forgive you: but if you forgive not men, neither will your Father forgive you your sins (Matthew 6:14-15)The measure we give will be the measure we receive (cf. Matt. 7:2), and so we must forgive others — the innocent and the guilty alike — if we (who are guilty) wish to receive forgiveness from the Father.
VI. The right use of Lent will lead to a happy participation in Easter
Accordingly, dearly-beloved, being mindful of our weakness, because we easily fall into all kinds of faults, let us by no means neglect this special remedy and most effectual healing of our wounds. Let us remit, that we may have remission: let us grant the pardon which we crave: let us not be eager to be revenged when we pray to be forgiven. Let us not pass over the groans of the poor with deaf ear, but with prompt kindness bestow our mercy on the needy, that we may deserve to find mercy in the judgment.Our forgiveness of others is fruitful for us, because we do need God's forgiveness, due to our many faults.
And he that, aided by God's grace, shall strain every nerve after this perfection, will keep this holy fast faithfully; free from the leaven of the old wickedness, in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:8), he will reach the blessed Passover, and by newness of life will worthily rejoice in the mystery of man's reformation through Christ our Lord Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.God's grace is what enables us to desire to reach that perfection of faith, hope, and charity which finds us welcome in His kingdom; it gives us the power to keep the holy fast of Lent faithfully and so participate worthily in the Paschal banquet on Easter, on earth as it is in heaven.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Documents on the Liturgy - Latin

DOL 1: Sacrosanctum concilium (constitution on the liturgy), 4 Dec 1963
(36) 36.1. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites.

(54) 54. With art. 36 of this Constitution as the norm, in Masses celebrated with the people a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue. This is to apply in the first place to the readings and "the universal prayer," but also, as local conditions may warrant, to those parts belonging to the people. Nevertheless steps should be taken enabling the faithful to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass belonging to them. Where a more extended use of the mother tongue within the Mass appears desirable, the regulation laid down in art. 40 of this Constitution is to be observed.

DOL 23: Inter oecumenici (first instruction on the orderly carrying out of the Constitution on the Liturgy), 26 Sep 1964
(351) 59. Pastors shall carefully see to it that the Christian faithful, especially members of lay religious institutes, also know how to recite or sing together in Latin, mainly with simple melodies, the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass proper to them.

(379). 87. [...] Nevertheless, this faculty [use of the vernacular in individual cases by those clerics for whom the use of Latin constitutes a serious hindrance], conceded solely to make the recitation of the divine office easier and more devout, is not intended to lessen in any way the obligation of priests in the Latin rite to learn Latin.

DOL 332: Doctrina et exemplo (Instruction on the liturgical formation of future priests), 25 Dec 1965
(2686) 15. The language of the liturgy in the Mass and divine office in seminaries will be Latin, the language of the Latin Church, which all clerics are required to know (SC art. 36.1 and art. 101.1). It will be advisable, however, to use the vernacular in the celebration of Mass on some specified days (for example, once a week) -- to the extent permitted by the lawful authority for each region and confirmed by the Holy See -- so that the clergy will be better prepared for the vernacular celebrations in the parishes. Thus use of the vernacular must never become the general practice at the expense of Latin. In granting the use of the vernacular, the Church does not intend that clerics think themselves freed from going to the sources or that in their preparation for the priesthood they neglect even slightly the universal language of the Latin Church.

DOL 32: L'heureux developpement (letter on problems in the reform of the liturgy), 25 Jan 1966
(424) It is only right that where the use of the vernacular in the liturgy is concerned, one should be guided not only by the spirit of the Liturgy Constitution, but also be an awareness of the given situation in different places. Here and there, in fact, the adoption of the vernacular in the Mass has given rise to some signs of disquiet. It would be good if local Ordinaries were to consider the eventual suitability of preserving in some churches, especially in big cities and in places where they are large influxes of tourists, one, or more if necessary, Mass in Latin.

DOL 508: Musicam sacram (instruction on music in the liturgy), 5 Mar 1967
(4168) 47. According to the Constitution on the Liturgy, "particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites."* At the same time "use of the mother tongue ... frequently may be of great advantage to the people."** Therefore "the competent ecclesiastical authority ... is empowered to decide whether and to what extent the vernacular is to be used. ... The acta of the competent authority are to be approved, that is, confirmed by the Apostolic See."*** These norms being observed exactly, there should be a wise use of the kind of participation that is best suited to the capabilities of each assembly. Pastors should see to it that, in addition to the vernacular, "the faithful are also able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass belonging to them."****
* Sacrosanctum Concilium 36.1
** Sacrosanctum Concilium 36.1
*** Sacrosanctum Concilium 36.1
**** Sacrosanctum Concilium 54, Inter Oecumenici 59

(4169) 48. Once the vernacular has been introduced into the Mass, local Ordinaries should determine whether it is advisable to retain one or more Masses in Latin, particularly sung Masses. This applies especially to great cities in churches with a large attendance of faithful using a foreign languages [sic].

DOL 512: Letter to the Italian conference of bishops (on liturgical music), 2 Feb 1968
(4199) [...] In any event we must not lose the important ecclesial bond that consists of a solid repertoire in Gregorian chant and therefore in Latin. THe national liturgical commission is responsible for a program that will include the Credo and the Pater noster among the Gregorian melodies that the people should know well (see SC art. 54; the instruction Inter Oecumenici no. 59; and Musicam sacram no. 47).

DOL 121: Address to Latinists (excerpt on Latin and the vernacular), 26 Apr 1968
(835) Today in the presence of this assembly of men of great wisdom, we desire to repeat: the study of Latin must still be cultivated in our times and above all in seminaries and houses for the religious formation of the young. In no way is it permissible to ignore this language if there is to be any genuine attempt to create keen minds in the young, to train them in humane letters, to probe and reflect on the words of the Fathers, and above all to prepare them to share fully in the ancient treasures of the liturgy. Without the knowledge of Latin something is altogether missing from a higher, fully rounded education — and in particular with regard to theology and liturgy. The people of our times expect such an education of their priests and the Fathers of Vatican Council II repeatedly endorsed it, in the Decree Optatam totius on priestly formation, in the Constitution on the Liturgy (art. 16), and in other conciliar norms. Because of the power and effectiveness of Latin to develop the mind and to open the way to the more advanced fields of study, we have the strong desire that it continue to receive the attention it deserves. At the same time the whole world knows that, in willing and eager obedience to the wise norms of Vatican Council II, we ourself have taken every step to have all the modern languages introduced into the liturgy. No lack of regard for Latin has moved us in this direction, but rather the keen awareness of our own pastoral responsibility and a deep sense of the need for pastors to provide plentifully the food of God's word contained in the liturgy. But it must also be presented in such a way as to be understood and in a way that will lead Christ's faithful to experience the loveliness of the liturgical rites and to take part in them eagerly and intently.

(836) We want to say something very plainly to those whose shallow minds or unthinking passion for the new lead them to the idea that the Latin language must be totally spurned by the Latin Church. To them we say that it is absolutely clear that Latin must be held in high honor and especially for the excellent and serious reasons that we have mentioned. On the other hand, we also address those who, out of an empty aestheticism that goes too far in seeking to preserve what is old or out of a prejudice against anything new, have bitterly denounced the changes recently introduced. To them we say that we must clearly never forget that Latin must be subordinate to the pastoral ministry and is not an end in itself. Any defense, thereofre, of the rights this language has acquired in the Church must avoid at all costs impeding or constricting the renewal of pastoral service mandated by the Council. In this matter, too, the highest law must be the well-being of souls.

DOL 545: Domus Dei (decree on the title of minor basilica), 6 Jun 1968
(4352) 8. As may seem advisable, in every basilica especially on holydays, one or more of the Masses, recited or sung, is to be in Latin.* When sung, such Masses are to have Gregorian melodies or sacred polyphony performed with great care and attention.
* Sacrosanctum Concilium 54, Inter Oecumenici 59, Musicam Sacram 48

DOL 212: Address to a general audience on the new Ordo Missae, 26 Nov 1969
(1762) Morever, the new Mass rite lays down the provision that the faithful "should know how to sing at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the profession of faith and the Lord's Prayer."*
* 1975 GIRM 19

DOL 216: Instructione de Constitutione (notification on the Roman Missal, book of the LOTH, and the Calendar), 14 Jun 1971
(1773) 4. Regarding the language used: a. For Masses with a congregation [...] It is for local Ordinaries to judge, with the good of the faithful as the decisive consideration, whether once use of the vernacular has begun it seems advisable to have one or more Masses in Latin, especially sung Masses*, in certain churches, especially those attended by people of a foreign language.
* Musicam Sacram 48

DOL 329: Ecclesiae imago (directory on the pastoral ministry of bishops), 22 Feb 1973
(2656) 86e. Finally, it is up to the bishop to see that pastors make proper provision for the faithful coming from places where a different language is spoken, especially in the churches of larger cities and in populous vacation centers. These faithful are to have the opportunity to assist at Mass celebrated according to their own practices and in their own language or, in case there are many languages, in the majority language or in Latin. [...]*
* Eucharisticum Mysterium 19

DOL 521: Letter from Cardinal Villot to Cardinal Siri (on sacred music), Sep 1973
(4234) [...] [Pope Paul] notes the many requests worldwide to preserve the Latin, Gregorian singing of the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater noster, and Agnus Dei. The POpe again recommends, therefore, that every appropriate measure be taken to transform this desire into fact and that these ancient melodies be treasured as the voice of the universal Church and continue to be sung as expressions and demonstrations of the unity existing throughout the ecclesial community.

DOL 522: Address at an audience for choir members, 12 Oct 1973
(4235) [...] Furthermore, we must all commend the concern of those who are striving to keep in the repertoire of customary liturgical song at least the several texts that have always and everywhere been sung in Latin and in Gregorian chant. These texts make communal song possible even for people of different countries at certain special occasions in Catholic worship. The Gloria, Credo, and Sanctus of the Mass are examples.

DOL 523: Voluntati obsequens (letter to bishops accompanying Iubilate Deo), 14 Apr 1974
(4237) Pope Paul VI has expressed often, and even recently, the wish that the faithful of all countries be able to sing at least a few Gregorian chants in Latin (for example, the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei). [...] I also take this occasion to commend to your own pastoral concerns this new measure intended to ensure the carrying out of the prescription of Vatican Council II: "Steps should be taken enabling the faithful to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass belonging to them."*
* Sacrosanctum Concilium 54

DOL 208: General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 27 Mar 1975
(1409) 19. [...] Since the faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently, it is desirable that they know how to sing at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the profession of faith and the Lord's Prayer, set to simple melodies.*
* Sacrosanctum Concilium 54, Inter Oecumenici 59, Musicam Sacram 47

DOL 335: In ecclesiasticam futurorum sacerdotum (instruction on liturgical formation in seminaries), 3 Jun 1979
(2798) 19. A good knowledge of Latin and Gregorian chant is extremely useful for the students. There is a need to safeguard for the faithful the opportunity to join together in song and prayer at international gatherings, as Vatican Council II envisioned.* It is also right that future priests have a thorough grounding in the tradition of the Church at prayer, understand the authentic meaning of texts, and thus be able to explain vernacular translations by comparing them to the original.
* Sacrosanctum Concilium 54

Monday, March 07, 2011

Lent is coming! Lent is coming!

In addition to the five sermons of Pope St. Leo the Great on Lent (which I will be posting in their entirety, with my commentary, on the first five Sundays of Lent), I recommend reading this introduction to Lent at New Advent:
Origin of the customSome of the Fathers as early as the fifth century supported the view that this forty days' fast was of Apostolic institution. For example, St. Leo (d. 461) exhorts his hearers to abstain that they may "fulfill with their fasts the Apostolic institution of the forty days" — ut apostolica institutio quadraginta dierum jejuniis impleatur (P.L., LIV, 633), and the historian Socrates (d. 433) and St. Jerome (d. 420) use similar language (P.G., LXVII, 633; P.L., XXII, 475).

But the best modern scholars are almost unanimous in rejecting this view, for in the existing remains of the first three centuries we find both considerable diversity of practice regarding the fast before Easter and also a gradual process of development in the matter of its duration. The passage of primary importance is one quoted by Eusebius (Church History V.24) from a letter of St. Irenaeus to Pope Victor in connection with the Easter controversy. There Irenaeus says that there is not only a controversy about the time of keeping Easter but also regarding the preliminary fast. "For", he continues, "some think they ought to fast for one day, others for two days, and others even for several, while others reckon forty hours both of day and night to their fast". He also urges that this variety of usage is of ancient date, which implies that there could have been no Apostolic tradition on the subject. Rufinus, who translated Eusebius into Latin towards the close of the fourth century, seems so to have punctuated this passage as to make Irenaeus say that some people fasted for forty days. Formerly some difference of opinion existed as to the proper reading, but modern criticism (e.g., in the edition of Schwartz commissioned by the Berlin Academy) pronounces strongly in favor of the text translated above. We may then fairly conclude that Irenaeus about the year 190 knew nothing of any Easter fast of forty days.
Read the rest at New Advent.