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The "experience of the heavenly liturgy has been lost since Vatican II."
Insight Scoop ^ | May 14, 2011 | Carl Olson

Posted on 05/14/2011 2:02:50 PM PDT by NYer

Here is an excerpt from a lengthy and very thoughtful address on the new translation of the Roman Missal given last month by Auxiliary Bishop James Conley of Denver at the Midwest Theological Forum in Valparaiso, Indiana:

The key point here is that the words we pray matter. What we pray makes a difference in what we believe. Our prayer has implications for how we grasp the saving truths that are communicated to us through the liturgy.

For instance, our current translation almost always favors abstract nouns to translate physical metaphors for God. If the Latin prayer refers to the “face” of God, “face” will be translated in abstract conceptual terms, such as “presence.” References to God’s “right hand” will be translated as God’s “power.”

This word choice has deep theological implications. 

The point of the Son of God becoming flesh is that God now has a human face — the face of Jesus. Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Whoever sees him sees the Father.vi 

Yet if in our worship we speak of God only in abstract terms, then effectively we are undermining our faith in the Incarnation.

As Archbishop Coleridge says:  “The cumulative effect [of abandoning human metaphors for God] is that the sense of the Incarnation is diminished. God himself seems more abstract and less immediate than ever he does in Scripture or the Church Fathers.”

I want to say this again: I don’t believe there were bad motives involved in the translations we have now.

I think the root problem with the translations we have now is that the translators seriously misunderstood the nature of the divine liturgy.

Our current translations treat the liturgy basically as a tool for doing catechesis. That’s why our prayers so often sound utilitarian and didactic; often they have a kind of lowest-common-denominator type of feel. That’s because the translators were trying to make the “message” of the Mass accessible to the widest possible audience.

But Christ did not give us the liturgy to be a message-delivery system. Of course, we pray what we believe, and what we pray shapes what we believe. Lex orandi, lex credendi. But the liturgy is not meant to “teach” in the same way that a catechism teaches, or even in the same way that a homily teaches.

On this point, the words of the great liturgical pioneer, Father Romano Guardini, are worth hearing again:

The liturgy wishes to teach, but not by means of an artificial system of aim-conscious educational influences. It simply creates an entire spiritual world in which the soul can live according to the requirements of its nature. ….

The liturgy creates a universe brimming with fruitful spiritual life, and allows the soul to wander about in it at will and to develop itself there. ….

The liturgy has no purpose, or at least, it cannot be considered from the standpoint of purpose. It is not a means which is adapted to attain a certain end — it is an end in itself.vii

This is the authentic spirit of the liturgy.

As Guardini says, the liturgy aims to create a new world for believers to dwell in. A sanctified world where the dividing lines between the human and the divine are erased. Guardini’s vision is beautiful: “The liturgy creates a universe brimming with fruitful spiritual life.”

The new translation of the Mass restores this sense of the liturgy as transcendent and transformative. It restores the sacramentality to our liturgical language. The new translation reflects the reality that our worship here joins in the worship of heaven.

The new edition of the Missal seeks to restore the ancient sense of our participation in the cosmic liturgy.

The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the Eucharist bringing us into the heavenly Jerusalem to worship in the company of angels and saints.viii The Book of Revelation starts with St. John celebrating the Eucharist on a Sunday. In the midst of this, the Spirit lifts him up to show him the eternal liturgy going on in heaven.ix

The message is clear: The Church’s liturgy is caught up in the liturgy of the cosmos. And our Eucharistic rites have always retained this vision of the cosmic liturgy.

The Gloria and the Sanctus are two obvious points of contact. In the first, we sing the song that the angels sang at the Nativity. In the latter, we sing in unison with the angelic choirs in heaven; we sing the song that both St. John and the prophet Isaiah heard being sung in the heavenly liturgy.

The oldest of our Eucharistic Prayers, the Roman Canon, lists the names of the 12 apostles along with 12 early saints. This is meant to correspond to the 24 elders who John saw worshipping around the heavenly altar.x 

The Roman Canon also includes a prayer for the holy angels to bring the sacrifices from our altar up to God’s altar in heaven.

And of course the Communion Rite includes the Vulgate’s translation of the invitation that St. John heard in the heavenly liturgy: Blessed are those who are called to the Supper of the Lamb.xi

Yet we need to recognize that this experience of the heavenly liturgy has been lost since Vatican II.

Read the entire piece, published today by ZENIT.



TOPICS: Catholic; History; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; latin; liturgy; mass; tlm; traditionalmass; tridentine; tridentinemass
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1 posted on 05/14/2011 2:02:52 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
The key point here is that the words we pray matter. What we pray makes a difference in what we believe. Our prayer has implications for how we grasp the saving truths that are communicated to us through the liturgy.

How true! This is precisely what I found in the Divine Liturgy celebrated in the Maronite Catholic Church. Words matter ... as they express our heartfelt emotions.

2 posted on 05/14/2011 2:05:36 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: NYer; stfassisi; annalex; kosta50
" The liturgy wishes to teach, but not by means of an artificial system of aim-conscious educational influences. It simply creates an entire spiritual world in which the soul can live according to the requirements of its nature.

…. The liturgy creates a universe brimming with fruitful spiritual life, and allows the soul to wander about in it at will and to develop itself there. ….

The liturgy has no purpose, or at least, it cannot be considered from the standpoint of purpose. It is not a means which is adapted to attain a certain end — it is an end in itself." Excellent and exactly correct.

3 posted on 05/14/2011 2:12:00 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated)
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To: NYer; stfassisi; annalex; kosta50
" The liturgy wishes to teach, but not by means of an artificial system of aim-conscious educational influences. It simply creates an entire spiritual world in which the soul can live according to the requirements of its nature.

…. The liturgy creates a universe brimming with fruitful spiritual life, and allows the soul to wander about in it at will and to develop itself there. ….

The liturgy has no purpose, or at least, it cannot be considered from the standpoint of purpose. It is not a means which is adapted to attain a certain end — it is an end in itself."

Excellent and exactly correct.

4 posted on 05/14/2011 2:12:31 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated)
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To: NYer

Without deliberate exercise of the Spirit, the flesh will eventually overtake.


5 posted on 05/14/2011 2:12:34 PM PDT by Jim 0216
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To: NYer

Agreed. And I’m not so sure there were no bad motives.

For instance, “Et cum spirito tuo” in the ICEL translation is, “And also with you.”

What was wrong with the obvious translation: “And with thy spirit”?

“Thy” is no longer commonly used in English, but everyone knows what it means. Its equivalent is still is in use in most modern European languages other than English, and represents the familiar form of the second person, as opposed to the more polite and distant “you.”

More significant is the omission of the word “spirit.” It would hardly seem accidental that the word “spirit” was omitted EVERYWHERE from the Mass. Could it be that the chief translaters such as Donald Trautman didn’t believe in such a thing as “spirit”? It certainly looks like it.


6 posted on 05/14/2011 2:16:53 PM PDT by Cicero
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To: NYer

British Catholics sometimes refer to this as the loss of Smells and Bells.


7 posted on 05/14/2011 2:23:29 PM PDT by miss marmelstein (.)
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To: Cicero

The end of the latin mass was bad. You could go into any church in the world and say the prayers along with others as there was a common language in the Mass....Now you have to speak in hundreds of languages to follow Mass...


8 posted on 05/14/2011 2:29:06 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: NYer
Latin was blessed of God?

That's a new one to me.

9 posted on 05/14/2011 2:36:17 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: knarf

You wrote:

“Latin was blessed of God?”

Its usage in the Church most certainly was. I could be in New York or Japan or Argentina or Rome or Nigeria or Bombay and I would have been able to fully participate with ease in the Mass when it was in Latin.


10 posted on 05/14/2011 2:39:56 PM PDT by vladimir998 (When anti-Catholics can't debate they just make stuff up.)
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To: NYer

Sed contra: ...

Sure, we should always give God our best, and the liturgy ought to be an instance of that.

Sure, the words, the setting, the music all matter.

BUT the gift of the Secred Body and Precious blood is beyond all else. And in a pig-sty, with words written by inarticulate clowns or, worse, even by the translators of the NAB it is still the “still point” of the turning world, the focus of the saving act of God.

So, let’s make the setting as excellent as possible. But this diamond would shine in a ring from a Crackerjacks box.


11 posted on 05/14/2011 2:39:58 PM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: goat granny

Agreed.

As I mentioned on another thread, I was a Catholic convert in college. But it took practically no time at all to learn all the Latin responses and also learn to be a Mass server.

For those who grew up as Catholics, it was no problem at all.


12 posted on 05/14/2011 2:40:56 PM PDT by Cicero
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To: NYer

**But Christ did not give us the liturgy to be a message-delivery system. **

Great statement!


13 posted on 05/14/2011 2:47:39 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: vladimir998
If you knew it ... that was what all the fuss was about prior to KJV.

Why were they cslled "The Dark Ages" ?

14 posted on 05/14/2011 2:48:03 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: NYer
The liturgy creates a universe brimming with fruitful spiritual life, and allows the soul to wander about in it at will and to develop itself there.

Here we go with the real purpose of the Liturgy of the Mass!

15 posted on 05/14/2011 2:49:12 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: goat granny

“You could go into any church in the world and say the prayers along with others as there was a common language in the Mass....Now you have to speak in hundreds of languages to follow Mass...”

I travel abroad a lot and experience the loss of the Latin Mass profoundly. Vat II was hijacked...today we have a separation into groups, not only in the secular world, but also in the Church. I went to a Mass in the Bronx a few weeks ago and it was in Spanish...hence the congregation and Mass was in Spanish...how I wished it was in Latin.


16 posted on 05/14/2011 3:04:16 PM PDT by bronxville (Sarah will be the first American female president.)
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To: goat granny; Cicero
The end of the latin mass was bad. You could go into any church in the world and say the prayers along with others as there was a common language in the Mass.

When I was a child, my mother worked for Scandinavian Airlines, which entitled her to discounted travel benefits. (this was pre VCII). On each of our trips to Europe, no matter which city we visited, we could follow the Mass as it was universally in the Latin language. It always struck me odd that as international travel began to grow in popularity, beginning in the late 60s, the Catholic Church should adopt the vernacular language for its celebration. That meant that foreign visitors could no longer follow the Mass in the countries they visited. On the other hand, it also resulted in a greater participation by the local laity.

In so doing, the Eastern Catholic Churches have also adopted the practice of offering the liturgy in the vernacular. This has opened their doors to other catholics who can now understand and participate in their liturgies. Personally speaking, I have been most blessed at the opportunity to grow deeper in my catholic faith while also returning to God a portion of His gifts through parish activities.

Every coin has two faces. As Catholics, our goal should be to use our God given talents to assist the church, rather than critique it, regardless of the liturgy offered.

17 posted on 05/14/2011 3:04:43 PM PDT by NYer ("Be kind to every person you meet. For every person is fighting a great battle." St. Ephraim)
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To: knarf; vladimir998
The KJV didn't exist until almost 100 years after the first modern English Bibles. Your statement rests on a variety of false presumptions.

In 1611 printed material was common and inexpensive, because printed material was inexpensive literacy was high, and because printed material was inexpensive more literate people knew English than knew Latin.

In 1400 manuscripts were scarce and expensive, because manuscripts were scarce and expensive literacy was low, and because manuscripts were scarce and the vast bulk of manuscripts were transcriptions of Latin originals if you were literate in 1400 it meant that you read Latin.

By 1648 Europe was divided into ethnic states that had their own separate languages as instruments of nationalism. In 1400 Europe was a patchwork of multiethnic kingdoms and princedoms and republics that used Latin as the common language of communication among the educated.

Between 1450 and 1550 you had the rise of nationalism, the wide availability of paper (as opposed to expensive animal skins) and the invention of printing - developments that completely altered European notions of education, literacy, language and politics.

18 posted on 05/14/2011 3:09:40 PM PDT by wideawake
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To: knarf

oh, my gosh.

You wrote:

“If you knew it ... that was what all the fuss was about prior to KJV.”

1) If I understand you - and that takes effort because you’re apparently collapsing two very different things into one - as recently as 1970 anyone who could read any important modern language (with the help of a hand missal) could easily attend and understand the Latin Mass just about anywhere you found Catholics anywhere in the world. If you did not have a hand missal, you could still understand most of the Latin Mass simply by past experience.

2) The KJV has nothing to do with the Latin Mass nor supposedly making things formerly in Latin more understandable to people who didn’t know Latin. Several English language Bibles were available - including the Catholic Douay Rheims - BEFORE THE KJV EVER CAME INTO EXISTENCE in 1611.

Then you posted: “Why were they cslled “The Dark Ages” ?”

They weren’t. People today refer to times before their own as the Dark Ages. No one living in those supposed Dark Ages really referred to them as Dark Ages, however. The Dark Ages are largely a myth. Ignorant people - usually products of government schools - often claim the Dark Ages were the whole Middle Ages. That is the result of ignorance and bigottry. Scholars are increasingly uneasy about using loaded terms like “Dark Ages” for there is less and less evidence or reason to use such a term. Oddly enough, and of course ignorant people would never know this, during the “Dark Ages” (which no scholar today dates longer than from about 600 to 1000 give or take) there were vernacular translations of scriptures in Anglo-Saxon England. Most likely more of them would have been produced and circulated since Anglo-Saxon England had a particularly strong vernacular culture, but that was radically changed by the events of 1066. Gee, you probably understand all of that, right?


19 posted on 05/14/2011 3:10:32 PM PDT by vladimir998 (When anti-Catholics can't debate they just make stuff up.)
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To: knarf
Oh, and they were called "The Dark Ages" because, amusingly, people who lacked any education about the cultural accomplishments of Europeans between the years 500 and 1500 assumed that those accomplishments didn't exist.

The Carolingian Renaissance, the Scholastic revolution, the Italian Renaissance and the Sicilian School didn't fit into their liberal agenda - so they were ignored.

20 posted on 05/14/2011 3:17:28 PM PDT by wideawake
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