Saturday, March 21, 2015

1998 ICEL: a twitching dead horse

The things which create a barrier to immediate, word-by-word comprehension are the same
things that create a sense of awe in the liturgy.
Fr Gerald O'Collins SJ, one of the translators of the 1998 translation of the Ordinary Form Missal which was rejected by the Holy See, is so enraged by the attempt to use language with an appropriate dignity in the 2011 translation approved by the Holy See, that he has written an open letter to the Bishops calling on them to use the 1998 version anyway. There is, of course, absolutely no chance of that happening, and the letter comes across as rather forlorn.

Never one to wait before jumping on such a bandwagon, Mgr Basil Loftus has this weekend weighed in, to explain that the 2011 translation was a conspiracy by traditionalists. Yes, really. (The Catholic Times, 20 March 2015.)

The present English translation was sired by a Roman Curia Divine Worship Congregation which in all but name was a Trojan Horse for the infiltration of the Tridentine-rite Mass into the wider Church. At that time you had more chance of finding a needle in a haystack than of identifying one of its senior officials who celebrated Mass in any other rite.

There were no priests who only said the EF at the Congregration at that time. This is just a paranoid swipe at Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, its then Prefect, and its secretaries Cardinal Ranjith (until 2005) and Archbishop di Noia (from 2005), each of whom say the EF occasionally.

Loftus goes on to explain their motivation.

Like the Gestapo in the Channel Islands during the last war who had to admit that they couldn't make everyone speak German, but forced them to drive on the right-hand side of the road, that Congregation had, regretfully, to admit that it could no longer make everyone worship in Latin, but by means of an unintelligible translation it would force them to conform to an alien culture in order to demonstrate its own superiority.

I'm not sure this paragraph actually makes sense. But comparing Cardinal Cañizares to the Gespapo does not, at any rate, appear to be an example of treating prelates with the respect due to their office. Loftus has the gall to claim, in this column, in parenthesis:

I do listen to my critics, at least the polite ones!

I suppose he's not expecting anyone to listen to him. But there is some point in asking why he has to come up with such a strange and incoherent explanation for the 2011 translation. He cannot bear to confront the fact that it was, in response to the 2001 Instruction Liturgiam authenticam, an attempt to use a language whose dignity and beauty made it appropriate for use in the sacred liturgy.

It is impossible, really, to deny that beauty and dignity should have anything to do with it. The idea that the Mass should be said in words appropriate to teaching small children to read created something in the 1973 ICEL translation which did nothing to stop the massive lapsation of adult Catholics in the English-speaking world in that decade, and has done nothing to stop young people leaving the church since. It was embarassingly banal. But it gave the translators the power to impose their theology on the rest of us: leaving out key words and phrases, with tendentious translations of others. The Holy See had to act, and so, in its characteristic way, it did: 25 years later it rejected a 'more of the same' version and, 12 years after that, it approved a genuine improvement.

But the argument about beauty and dignity is not one Loftus wants to have, because it opens up too much. Taken to its logical conclusion, we'd just use Latin: the most beautiful, particularly as it allows us to use the Church's patrimony of Sacred Music; the most dignified; the most closely associated with the liturgy.

Loftus spends a lot of his column banging on yet again about how Pope Benedict XVI was wrong to insist on 'for many' as a translation of 'pro multis'; I have addressed that here.

See also the Position Paper on Latin as a Liturgical Language, and, on the question of translation, on the Vulgate.

St Edmund's College, Ware
As a service to the public, I have put together quotations on a range of themes from Loftus' published writings, mostly his Catholic Times columns, in a dossier here, and made one of his most theologically egregious articles, on the Resurrection of Our Lord, available here.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.


  1. The 1998 Brigade is certainly a persistent bunch.

    Let there be no mistake: the objection to the 2011 MR3's clunkiness in spots (which, it must be conceded, does exist) is not his most profound objection. It is a partial smokescreen for what really outrages Frs. O'Collins and Loftus, to wit: 1) the refusal of Rome to agree to the expansion of ICEL's writ to compose entirely new prayers and liturgies; 2) to deny the ability to work closely with Protestant liturgical bodies to produce common texts; 3) to deny the effort to saturate the translations with inclusive language, even to the point of altering references to God; and 4) the simple loss of virtually unrestrained power to the old ICEL and its self-perpetuating bureaucratic structure. What they want, in short, is the power to continue the project of fundamentally changing the Church's self-understanding by changing its worship language - a self-understanding that clearly includes universalism.

    We've had almost four years with the new translation, and the expected exodus hasn't happened; most of the exodus happened years ago, under Fr. Loftus's cherished 1973 translation. But as you said back in 2013 in your linked post: "Loftus, of course, knows all about what alienates the young: he's been an expert at doing it for half a century at least."

  2. One of the advantages of the present translations is that it gives an opportunity to hear the authentic translation of the Paul VI Mass, something the 1973 translation obscured. Even if you hate it, or regard it as 'rootless', it is an example of pure genius from the 60s/70s.

  3. We should really stop referring to the "old translation" of the Mass as a translation. It is really a paraphrase, with some theologically dubious extras added.

    Meanwhile, is Loftus auditioning for a remake of 'Allo 'Allo? He could be the old man who pays the piano.

  4. If we take the argument about beauty and dignity to its logical conclusion, does that entail we should use Latin? Only if you think that Latin in itself is a more beautiful and dignified language than others such as English. Ecclesiastical Latin is in fact a very poor relation of the Classical form and its great practitioners - Cicero, Livy, Tacitus.
    If you read a master of classical English prose like Oliver Goldsmith you might conclude that English too has immense powers of beauty and dignity. What a sad come-down is the 2011 version of the Mass, which gives the impression of having been produced by a committee of robots consulting an internet translation engine. This is why lovers of our beautiful English language prefer 1998.
    The redoubtable Fr. Z. asks if those who support 1998 would support those who wish to use the 1962 Latin missal. I for one certainly would, but I am not holding my breath to see if they will reciprocate.

    1. Ecclesiastical Latin is in fact a very poor relation of the Classical form and its great practitioners - Cicero, Livy, Tacitus.

      Unfortunately, I'm afraid that this is the sort of thinking that got us the disaster that was the 1945 Bea Psalter.

  5. Sorry, Sav, but I'm a lover of our beautiful English language, and I am very happy with the new translation. You could write a "translation" of the Mass in the style of Oliver Goldsmith, Lewis Carroll, P.G. Wodehouse, or any other great user of language, but it would not necessarily be appropriate for its purpose.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I would call the new translation a paraphrase which preserves and accentuates some highly theologically dubious inherited notions - the constant emphasis on earning and deserving God's rewards for instance, which contradicts the gratuitousness of his grace.
      What is the purpose of language in liturgy if not to communicate (in the broadest sense of the term)? If one is constantly distracted by its rebarbative uncommunicativeness how can the language be fulfilling its purpose>
      It is hard to gauge people's reception of 2011. Most Catholics I guess go along with what the Church gives them except when it impinges on them in a very direct personal way, e.g. if they wish to use contraceptives, in which case they simply ignore what the Church says. All I can say is that hardly anyone I have spoken to about it actually likes 2011, but then they shrug their shoulders and say there is nothing we can do about it and nobody is going to listen to us anyway - and since for most it is only an hour or so a week out of their lives why should we bother. This does not seem a healthy state of affairs.

    3. You are making the same mistake as Loftus, Savoranola. There is indeed more to liturgical language than word-by-word communication.

      You may not like the silent Canon, but it has been part of our liturgical tradition since at least the 6th century. Does it communicate? Certainly. But not through (audible) words.

      As for beauty etc., I addressed that point in the post by referring to the Church's musical patrimony. Unless you can allow Latin in the liturgy, this is cut off from us. We can argue the merits of Cicero vs. Fortunatus, but no one is going to say, surely, that Chant, Palestrina, Faure *and every other Western composer of sacred music from 7th to the 20th centuries* lacks beauty.

      As someone attached to the EF, I would like to say that I don't have a dog in the fight over the translation of the OF. What I find, however, is that this debate has a lot to do with the attempt to denigrate theological concepts which those who dislike the EF don't like in the EF and in the OF alike. 'highly theologically dubious inherited notions': exactly. You may think they are dubious, but they belong to the Church, and it behoves me - and all good Catholics - to defend them.

    4. Are you saying that anything that belongs to the Church must ipso facto be defended? And are you consistent in this? Or do you not find some things dubious and question them? But that is not the only reason for preferring one form of liturgy over another.

      I did say 'communicate (in the broadest sense of the term)' which of course goes far beyond word for word and certainly includes silence.

      I think a bad mistake was thinking that if Mass is in English we cannot have traditional music in Latin or Pater noster etc. Why not? That would be highly desirable, but you don't need a wholly Latin mass to find beauty and dignity.

    5. Savonarola,

      ...some highly theologically dubious inherited notions - the constant emphasis on earning and deserving God's rewards for instance, which contradicts the gratuitousness of his grace.

      Are you suggesting that the translations do not accurately convey the meaning of the Latin?

      Which passages do you have in mind?

    6. They do accurately convey the meaning, that is the trouble.

      Examples taken at random from Sunday Propers in ordinary time: ‘what you grant as the source of merit may also help us to attain merit’s reward’ (sic); ‘we may please you by our resolve and our deeds’; ‘we may gain the prize of salvation’; ‘we may merit to receive your very self’; ‘we may merit an eternal share in life’; ‘the prize of everlasting happiness.’
      If God's grace is freely, gratuitously given to us (as I think we believe it is), why this emphasis on earning it by our merits? If this is not really how we see it, why should we preserve this type of language just because it is there in the tradition?

    7. This is not Pelagianism, Sav, because of the emphasis on grace through the texts of the ancient liturgy. Merits come only from actions done with the assistence of grace. To equate mention of merit with Pelagian error is to make the same mistake as Luther.

      Grace has all but disapeared from the reformed collects, and it is the OF, not the EF, which has been accused of a tendency to Pelagianism by, for example, Josef Ratzinger.

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. Look at Pristas' book on the collects. This goes into a lot of detail about the effect of the reform. The OF collects are radically changed.

    10. But do not the OF collects here preserve ancient wording? The tendency is a long-standing one in the Western tradition, and mention of grace only shows that the theology expressed in our liturgy, ancient and modern, is not nearly as consistent as one might like to think, just as Scripture presents contradictory images of God.

    11. No, they don't: the Latin has been changed. It is not just a matter of translation. For an example, see Pristas in an article here, or best of all read her book: review; Amazon.

    12. Hello Savonarola,

      Now we’re getting somewhere. Unfortunately, where we’re getting seems to be that your real objection isn’t just to the translation, but to the original prayers of the missal – and to their theology.

      1. You say that ”They do accurately convey the meaning, that is the trouble. “ So your objection is to the prayers themselves, in the original Latin of the Pauline Missal (composed and arranged by the Consilium in 1965-69)! But ICEL’s writ was merely to translate, not to rewrite the thing. If the missal is the problem, then that needs to be taken up at a higher level, to demand a rewriting of the missal itself. But that was not for ICEL to do, either in 1973 or in 1998 (or today). It may be fair to thrash Vox Clara over the style of the final translation, but NOT for attempting to translate these propers accurately.

      2. Where did these collects come from, anyway? One of the strongest criticisms (alluded to by Dr. Shaw here) of the Consilium’s work in the composition of the new missal in the late 60’s is that it carried out such a radical reworking of the Mass propers, a project without precedent in the history of the Latin Rite Church. As Fr. Hunwicke has pointed out recently, only 2 of the 52 Sunday Collects – a stable set of Collects unaltered in the Roman Rite going back to Late Antiquity - survived the Consilium’s work. What replaced them were not entirely de novo compositions but centonizations of orations from older, sometimes even ancient sacramentaries. As Dr. Shaw rightly points out, based on the work of Lauren Pristas, the execution of these new propers was done in such a way as to shift the theological emphases of the new missal some considerable distance away from the traditional Roman Rite – specifically, to greatly reduce references to grace, sin, the Four Last Things. Thus, it’s quite striking that you have . . . managed to dig out some of the few surviving exemplars of such references in the new propers for your criticism.

      (Cont'd in next post)

    13. (Cont's from last post)

      3. So let’s look at one of the examples you provide. “What you grant as the source of merit may also help us to attain merit’s reward’ (sic); ‘we may please you by our resolve and our deeds.” This is the Prayer over the Offerings from the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time. This collect actually comes from the Veronese, or Leonine Sacramentary (494) – from the 5th century – and this passage seems to have been lifted roughly intact from an oration in it. So the answer to your question – “But do not the OF collects here preserve ancient wording?” is “Yes” - at least for this passage.

      4. Which leads to the other troubling point you seem to be making. An oration from an ancient sacramentary is not automatically guaranteed from error or defect – especially if it doesn’t seem to have a long track record of use in an ancient rite of the Church (like, say, virtually all of the collects in the 1962 missal) – but it is hard to see the validity of the criticism you have here. As Dr. Shaw says, “merit” in this context is not to be understood in a Pelagian sense, but in the classical Augustinian sense long embraced by the Church – the first motion of grace is always from God, undeserved, but we are given the choice to cooperate with it. There’s nothing in these passages inconsistent with the treatment of merit in the current Catechism (CCC 2006-2011) or the Council of Trent (DS 1546, 1548).

      In conclusion, I think you have a right to make a case about the style of the new translation, which is indeed at times an awkward attempt to too closely follow a Latinate structure. But the theology of the passages you highlight is unexceptionable, and more urgent to preserve, given that the Pauline Missal has too little in the way of emphasis on grace and the Four Last Things as it is. And if you really mean to fight for the exclusion of these prayers, your real beef is not with ICEL or Vox Clara, but with the Holy See itself (and the hardly traditional Consilium!) for the issuance of the original missal. Only they have the right to change the missal text itself. ICEL and Vox Clara were merely charged with faithfully translating what was there.

    14. One final thought for Savonarola: Your candid objection to the original missal orations themselves - not just the translation - brings to mind the criticism lodged by Bryan Cones of U.S. Catholic in April 2011 ("What kind of God do the new Mass texts imagine?"):

      "To me it seems not only that we shouldn’t be using these translations, we shouldn’t be using most of these prayers at all anymore. They simply reflect an approach to God--a distant, imperial God to whom we must beg for mercy--and an understanding of the church--sinful, unworthy, unredeemed--that I think we have left behind."

      This highlights to me, again, one of the more interesting ironies of the long battle over the 2011 MR3. The Consilium, in drawing up the new missal, managed to hack out so much of the theological richness of the traditional Roman Rite, especially the emphases on sacrifice and the Four Last Things. Yet there were, here and there, a few survivals (many lodged in the Roman Canon, which Bugnini sought unsuccessfully to abandon, even if it is rarely used by celebrants today), albeit often moved to obscure places or ferias. The new translation, by faithfully translating these orations, brought this reality home to many progressives, who were horrified to discover that remnants of this theological outlook had somehow survived into the new missal. They had just been obscured by the paraphrasing, bowdlerizing 1973 translation.

      Well, if that's the case, you need to overhaul the missal, not the translation. But it leaves the rest of us wondering if the real objection isn't to traditional Catholic soteriological dogma itself.

    15. Okay - one more final thought: I do wish make clear that I second Dr Shaw's response to your question, Sav: "But do not the OF collects here preserve ancient wording?"

      The Consilium replaced nearly all of the collects in drawing up the Pauline Missal, as Lauren Pristas, among others, has shown. They did this,as I said, through centonization, weaving together ancient orations, often with their own considerable modifications and additions, to create new collects. Often, passages and fragments do survive intact from ancient sacramentaries, albeit placed in new contexts, and directed to new ends.

      I cannot verify the origin of all the examples you provide, since I do not have intact Leonine and Gelasian Sacramentaries on hand at present. At least the one I highlighted appears mostly intact, at least. At any rate, there's nothing about its theology inconsistent with or even insufficiently affirming of Catholic dogma on grace, which is not something that can be easily said of every collect in the new missal, alas.

    16. Thanks for all of that. One final thought: our understanding of God, it seems to me, does and must develop in the course of time. If we are still using ancient texts which do not express how we understand God, what will happen to our faith? and what should we do about it? I am only raising these questions, not saying that any particular answer is right.

    17. Savonarola,

      Thanks for the reply. I would say that our theology *does* develop; but it does not contradict itself. The Christology of Chalcedon deepened that of Nicaea (which did not plumb the natures of Christ), but it did not contradict it.

      We're left to face the prospect that prayers that were employed in the normative rite of the Latin Rite Church for 12-17 centuries (depending on which one one we are talking about) are now said to be too problematic to use any longer. If that is so, when did they become obsolete, and how? If it was at Vatican II - a 'pastoral council' - why is there no express promulgation of the new theology? If it was long before, what does it say about the truth claims of the Catholic Church that it could employ so many problematic "understandings of God" for so many years in its central act of worship?

    18. Athelstane (and anyone else interested): with regard to the work of the Consilium, there are a few resources that may be of interest to you:

      1. A kind soul by the username divinumofficium has uploaded copies of the Leonine and Gelesian Sacramentaries (among other things) on the website Scribd: see (You may have to register to download the books as PDFs)

      2. The same user has also uploaded a scan of a French language article published in various issues of Notitiae by Antoine Dumas, O.S.B., entitled "Les sources du nouveau missel romaine". As one can surmise from the title, it is a list of where each prayer in the post-conciliar Missal - collect, super oblata and postcommunion - can be found in the older liturgical texts. With the above PDFs of the sacramentaries, you can get a long way in finding out how the source texts were edited by the Consilium. There are one or two errors, but it is a vital resource!

      3. (Dr Shaw, please forgive the self-promotion!) On my blog, Lectionary Study Aids, as well as lectionary-related material, you can find two volumes of a project I am currently working on entitled The Postcommunion Prayers of the 1970/2002 Roman Missal: Translations and Sources, in which I am going through all the postcommunion prayers of the reformed Missal and giving a comparison of official English translations of them, plus the source texts (with English translations) side-by-side for easy reference. So far, I have done the Proper of Time, Proper of Saints, and the Commons. In the blog's sidebar are also links to various PDF scans of related books and articles that you may find useful and interesting.

      Hope all this is helpful! :-)

    19. Don't apologise! That sounds very useful indeed.

  6. From my personal observation in my local chapel there seem to be more people prior to 2011 hardly anyone used a missal but many have bought the excellent new missal brought to us by the CTS.

    As someone with a degree in Modern Languages which involved studying the developments from Latin onwards I welcome the 2011translation which is a serious attempt at translating the Latin which is not easy when moving from a morphological language to a syntactical one. The previous translation should have earned a gamma double minus when it was not deliberately changing the sense of the Latin. You only had to read Father Zuhlsdorf in the Catholic Herald each week to see this.

  7. Savaranola: your comments on Ecclesiastical Latin as the 'poor relation' of the classical language are commonplace among classicists: I recall my A-level Latin teacher saying precisely that. It's an attitude which stems from the Renaissance, the original cultural 'ressourcement', which nevertheless shows a complete lack of linguistic understanding, on a par with people who consider that English is continually going downhill (something which Jean Aitchison described in her 1996 Reith Lectures as the 'crumbling castle' attitude: the idea that English was somehow perfect at some unidentified period in the past, and needs to be preserved unchanged).

    Languages change and develop. No one argues that French or Italian is somehow defective because they differ from classical Latin, nor that English should return to the language of Shakespeare or Chaucer or the Beowulf poet. In the same way, 'ecclesiastical' Latin - which was, of course, the common language of all European scholars for a millennium - is certainly different from the language of Seneca, Cicero or Virgil; but it's no more 'inferior' to the latter than modern English is to that of our ancestors.

    I would certainly criticise the current translation of the OF in quite a few places: too often one's conscious of a clumsiness caused by over-Latinate lexis and syntax. However, since (as Mr Bellord notes) the previous translation was only too frequently not a translation at all but a loose and inaccurate paraphrase (examples on request), the 2011 translation is massively preferable.

    1. The 2011 translation may be preferable - but it is still not good. Simply providing an accurate word-for-word translation is only half the job, and my feeling is that insufficient care and time (and perhaps expertise) were given to the task of producing a version to be spoken, with proper attention to cadence and rhythm, 'voice' and lexical range. It is possible even today to write noble and dignified prose in English, but this translation does not get anywhere near it and an opportunity has been wasted.

  8. A commonplace observation may be true. I am well aware that languages change and develop. The argument here is that the Latin of the mass is more conducive to beauty and dignity in worship, but there is nothing very special about it, certainly in comparison with Classical Latin.
    People often admit that the 2011 tr. is over-Latinate, clumsy, clunky etc., but then say we've got it and it's more accurate as a tr. than the previous one, so we should prefer it. Why cannot we have a translation that is both accurate and good English? Is that beyond the wit of man? That is all I ask, because, being English, I am so alienated from worship and God by the clumsy clunky distortion of my mother tongue. Good luck to those who are not - chacun a son gout.

  9. Classical Latin is very difficult. Church Latin is Late Latin and was already moving to the syntactical which makes it a great deal easier to understand. If I remember rightly somewhere St Augustine deplored this or at least commented on it but why should it be regarded as inferior to Classical Latin?

    Incidentally was not the Mass in the vernacular originally? I seem to remember that the hymn to Saint Eulalia was regarded as having degenerated too far into Catalonian Provencal and was then retranslated into what was regarded as better Latin. Even today I notice how the Portuguese as used in Church is still remarkably close to the Latin - Deus is still Deus for example.

    Yesterday I attended a 'Day with Mary' at Westminster Cathedral mainly attended by people from the ethnic minorities and yet they seemed to have no problem attending a NO mass largely in Latin and singing hymns in Latin. It is curious that it seems to be the better educated and more articulated Catholics that have problems with the use of Latin. Why?

    1. I don't have any problems with the use of Latin. I just prefer worshipping God in my own language, because it makes me closer to God. A foreign language and contorted Latinate mock English distance me from him.
      But there is no reason why we shouldn't have some of the Mass in Latin, especially musical items or where different nationalities are together, and I am happy that those who prefer a wholly Latin Mass have it available to them. I wonder if they are happy that people who would like a Mass in good English are now deprived of it.

  10. I am puzzled that "Savonarola", in all he say to the discredit of liturgical Latin, never feels an obligation to face up to the scholarly work of Christine Mohrmann. I know she wrote a vast amount .... of amazing erudition ... but it would be nice to know that he'd read some of it. And if he really thinks that the collects of the ancient Roman Sacramentaries are inferior to Cicero, I can only profess myself mystified. And I speak as someone who for three decades regarded teaching Cicero, and training the young to be able to do Prose Composition in Ciceronian Latin, as one of my main pleasures.

    1. I am puzzled that "Fr. John Hunwicke" cannot accept differences in taste and expects everyone to concur with his favoured scholars. He must know that Mohrmann's views are not accepted by all other scholars, so I too can only profess myself mystified. And I also speak as someone who spent much time teaching Latin and training the young to be able to compose Ciceronian prose.
      My main point, however, is not so much the quality of ecclesiastical Latin, but the quality of ecclesiastical English as we now have it.

  11. Perhaps this is where a case should be made for sacral English and the ordinariates.

    1. That might make Savonarola happy, but it wouldn't placate Frs. O'Collins or Loftus, for whom everything about the Ordinariate is deeply vexsome.

      I do agree that the Ordinariate Use missal (and lectionary) demonstrates some promising possibilities for Catholic liturgy in a sacral vernacular.

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  13. At the risk of becoming a bore (!) may I say that I have nothing against ecclesiastical Latin. Anyone who learns Latin at all will probably read the great Classical authors - there is not much point today in learning the language otherwise - so one cannot help taking them as a standard. In comparison with Tacitus, one of my favourites, church Latin does not seem to me to have a similar degree of artistry or genius (if others want to disagree, fine), but I readily admit it has its own qualities, as all languages do.
    What some call the sacral character of the current English version of the Mass I find questionable. All liturgical language, Latin or English, is always going to be inadequate to the task. My own preference is for a reasonably evocative, but also quite plain style ofl language (which I think ecclesiastical Latin in its own terms is), because that can be a readier vehicle for our worship than a richer, more directive style of language. Good English prose tends to have a clarity and simplicity about it which make it very suitable for use in worship, but when you are constantly distracted by unidiomatic English and obscurity of meaning (as in the current English version) worship is impeded.
    To come back to our starting point I do not believe that Latin in itself is necessarily more conducive to beauty and dignity in worship than good English can be, but am perfectly contented if others do not agree.

  14. I do find that the Tablet and Mgr Loftus have become a dreadful bore on the subject of the supposed problems with the new translation of the Ordinary Form. Nobody I know has any problems with it and it has contributed to a greater dignity in the celebration of Ordinary Form Masses. However since the subject of the translation has been raised in this LMS Blog it is perhaps appropriate to mention the letter and corresponding discussion in the current issue of "Mass of Ages" where I wrote

    "Dear Editor

    It is now three years since the Church adopted the new English Translation of the Ordinary Form of the Mass which, despite regular bleatings from the Tablet and a certain Monsignor who writes for the Catholic Press, has settled in well with Catholics who attend the Ordinary Form. I wonder therefore whether the time is now right for LMS and others to look at the translations of the Traditional Mass which we use.

    Invariably at LMS events the old Red Booklets are used with a translation which is clearly 100 years old. As was said at the LMS conference in May 2014, Latin is now an eternal language with its meanings fixed whilst in a vernacular languages such as English the meanings of words change. As just one example ‘Spiritus Sancti’ is translated in the Red Booklets as ‘Holy Ghost’ but in the new translation as ‘Holy Spirit’. In English ‘Ghost’ and ‘Spirit’ used to have similar meanings, but over centuries the word ‘Ghost’ has evolved so as to have to have only the limited connotation of ‘Dead person, haunting’ and for that reason the title ‘Holy Ghost’ used in the Red Booklets no longer reflects the real meaning of the Latin ‘Spiritus Sancti’.

    Prior to the new translation of the Ordinary Form, I can well understand why LMS stuck with the earlier translations of the Traditional Mass since the 1974 translation of the Ordinary Form was so deficient. The new translation of the Ordinary Form, however, provides the opportunity for a re-think.

    CTS already produces a booklet for the Traditional Mass with a translation that is 90 per cent based on the new translation of the Ordinary Form. What differences there are, arise from the fact that the CTS booklet was published before the Ordinary Form translation was finalised. Looking at the CTS booklets on the Extraordinary and the Ordinary Form together, is quite instructive since it shows that most of the Latin in the Traditional Mass is also in the Ordinary Form. Can I suggest that local LMS groups and churches think about replacing the Red Booklets with the CTS Booklets. This would be of particular help to newcomers to the Traditional Mass or occasional attenders since it would provide them with an English translation that they are already familiar with. "

  15. Neil

    I am familiar with the CTS booklet and also the 'red booklet'. I think the CTS booklet is about twice the price. I might be wrong, it also lacks the 'commentary' that the red booklet has. I find that those unfamiliar with the EF appreciate the commentary and guidance on when to stand/sit etc.

  16. Petrus: The CTS booklet is £2.50 with reductions for bulk purchases. My point isn' t primarily about CTS but about the desirability of using the new ICEL translation of the OF to prepare a new translation of the EF. For those who are occasional attenders at the EF this will help since they will be dealing with a translation that uses they are already familiar with, more importantly the use of the ICEL translation brings out the fact that the words of the OF are so often the same as those of the EF and this emphasises the point that Pope Benedict made in Summorum Pontificum that the EF & OF are 2 forms of the same rite.

    Where the OF & EF share the same Latin there is absolutely no point in having different translations indeed in my view to have different translations is actively harmful to the cause of trying to make the EF more widely available within the Church as a whole.