Monday, October 31, 2011

Obligatory “Everything You Know About Halloween Being Pagan-Inspired Is Wrong” Revelation

Mark Shea, who was among those to bust the balloon on the "Saturnalia-became-Christmas" theory a few years back, found another gem of similar ilk:

We’ve all heard the allegations. Halloween is a pagan rite dating back to some pre-Christian festival among the Celtic Druids ... [t]he origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a pope, and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety.

Later this evening, yours truly will be at the doorstep of Chez Alexandre, freezing his tukhus off, and handing out treats. There was no time to prepare a jack-o'-lantern for the event. Otherwise, we know what we would have wanted, don't you think?

Or don't you?

UPDATE: I bought four bags of discounted candy at the drug store on the way from the bus stop tonight, and I only went through one of them. I even called a bunch of kids from across the street by convincing their parents I could save them two or three stops. That's the bad news. The good news is, it could have been worse.

The #liturgy Daily

... has been following our series on the new English translation of the Roman Missal (ordinary form). This week's installment, devoted to the Offertory (Presentation of Gifts) of the Mass, can be found "above the fold" today. Click here.

As we said yesterday, next Sunday's installment will be devoted to the Consecration. Stay tuned ...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Guided Missal 6: Offertory

The Liturgy of the Word is followed by the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the second of the two major components of the Roman Mass. The latter has been traditionally divided into three parts: the Offertory, the Consecration, and the Communion. The extent of their significance to the Mass, and the extent of changes in the English translation, are such that we will treat them separately here as well.

Although this part of the Mass is popularly referred to as "The Preparation of the Gifts," it is still known in the official books by its traditional name as the "Offertory," as we shall see in the quotation below.

Offertory Antiphon (Offertorium)

In our installment on the Introductory Rites, we gave attention to the role of the official chants that are proper to certain parts of the Mass of the Day (hence their being known as "Propers"). We were referred to an excerpt from the newly translated GIRM, which underscored this specific preference, as opposed to the conventional metrical hymn selected by a musician or committee. It is the same for the Offertory Chant.

74. The procession bringing in the gifts is accompanied by the Offertory Chant (cf. no. 37b), which continues at least until the gifts have been placed on the altar. The norms on the manner of singing are the same as for the Entrance Chant (cf. no. 48) ...

It should be noted that the chant for the Offertory was never included in any of the official translations since the promulgation and publication of the Novus Ordo Missae in 1969 and 1970. The reasons for this having escaped us, it now appears in its rightful place with the 2010 translation.

The matter of proper musical texts, as opposed to constant reinvention from one occasion to the next, could not be clearer. And so, one should ideally expect the chant in the video clip here, the "At te, Domine, levavi," to be sung on the First Sunday of Advent, as the gifts of bread and wine are being brought to the altar.


The Jewish prayers of blessing for both bread and wine form the basis for presenting the gifts for sacrifice. They would have been the prayers spoken by Christ Himself at supper on the night He was betrayed, albeit amended in each instance by a sign of the New Covenant: “Take this, all of you ...”

ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולם,
המוציא לחם מן הארץ.‏

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu
melekh ha-olam,
ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.

Blessed are You, Lord, our God,
King of the universe,
Who brings forth bread from the earth.

ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולם,
בורא פרי הגפן.‏

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu
melekh ha‑olam,
bo're p'ri hagafen.

Blessed are You, Lord, our God,
King of the universe,
Who creates the fruit of the vine.

These blessings, in turn, are the basis for those used in presenting the gifts at the altar. As before, we present the original Latin text, the incumbent 1973 translation, and the improved 2010 translation.

Benedictus es, Dòmine,
Deus univèrsi,
quia de tua largitàte
accèpimus panem,
quem tibi offèrimus,
fructum terrae
et òperis mànuum hòminum:
ex quo nobis fiet
panis vitae.
Benedìctus Deus in sàecula.

+ + +

Blessed are you, Lord,
God of all creation,
Through your goodness
we have this bread
to offer,
which earth has given
and human hands have made.
It will become for us
the bread of life.
Blessed be God forever.

+ + +

Blessed are you, Lord
God of all creation,
for through your goodness
we have received the bread
we offer you:
fruit of the earth
and work of human hands,

it will become for us
the bread of life.
Blessed be God forever.

That "Deus univèrsi" is translated as "God of all creation" and not "God of the universe," as is consistent with Jewish practice, may have something to do with what is lost in translation. Even the word "universe," as understood in English, could be understood in turn as finite in length and breath, as opposed to "all creation."

The above notwithstanding, by adhering more closely to the Latin text, we clarify the relationship between those who offer the gift of bread -- "for through your goodness we have received the bread/wine we have to offer you ..." -- and He Who makes the offering possible through His bounty.

Benedictus es, Dòmine,
Deus univèrsi,
quia de tua largitàte
accèpimus vinum,
quod tibi offèrimus,
fructum vitis
et òperis mànuum hòminum:
ex quo nobis fiet
potus spiritàlis.
Benedìctus Deus in sàecula.

+ + +

Blessed are you, Lord,
God of all creation.
Through your goodness
we have this wine
to offer,
fruit of the vine
and work of human hands.
It will become
our spiritual drink.
Blessed be God forever.

+ + +

Blessed are you, Lord
God of all creation,
for through your goodness
we have received the wine
we offer you:

fruit of the vine
and work of human hands,
it will become
our spiritual drink.
Blessed be God forever.

It is curious that "et òperis mànuum hòminum" could ever have been translated two different ways -- "human hands have made", "work of human hands" -- in such close proximity, for no apparent reason. Other inconsistencies in the translations of offering the bread versus the wine are also reconciled. "fructum terrae" and "fructum vitis" are both "fruit of the earth" and "fruit of the vine," respectively. Both are "et òperis mànuum hòminum" -- the work of human hands.

Overall, the two blessings are clearer, and more harmonious with one another, if only by virtue of fidelity to the original.

Oràte, fratres,
ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium
acceptàbile fit apud
Deum Patrem omnipotèntem.
Suscìpiat Dòminus
sacrificium de mànibus tuis
ad laudem et glòriam
nòminis sui,
ad utilitàtem quoque nostram
totiùsque Ecclèsiae suae sanctae.

+ + +

Pray, brethren,
that our sacrifice
may be acceptable
to God, the almighty Father.
May the Lord accept
the sacrifice at your hands
for the praise and glory
of his name
for our good
and the good of all his Church.

+ + +

Pray, brethren,
that my sacrifice and yours
may be acceptable
to God, the almighty Father.
May the Lord accept
the sacrifice at your hands
for the praise and glory
of his name
for our good
and the good of all his holy Church.

It is here that we come to a resolution of that which has long been deemed theologically problematic, as "ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium" makes a clear distinction between the action of the priest ("my sacrifice") and that of the people ("and yours"). Only the priest can offer sacrifice, and only he can act "in persona Christi," in the person of Christ. Further, the omission heretofore of "holy" in describing the Church was inexplicable, and further evidence of what had become the desacralization of our worship.

Even so, it could still have been improved and rendered more accurately. In the mid- to late-1960s, as certain parts in Latin were gradually changed to the vernacular, the latter part of the response was provisionally translated thus ...

... for our welfare
and that of all his holy Church.

... which is a more accurate rendering of "utilitàtem" (that is, "welfare" or "benefit"), in addition to being less redundant. On the other hand, if that were not bad enough, consider the official translation of the "Suscìpiat" response in French:

Pour la gloire de Dieu et le salut du monde. (For the glory of God and the salvation of the world.)

Nope, not even close.

Prayer Over the Offerings (Secreta)

This prayer (once known as the Prayer Over the Gifts, but which is now rendered closer to the Latin "Oratio Super Oblata"), along with the Opening Prayer (Collect) and the Prayer After Communion, comprise the orations for the particular Mass. It was at one time known as the "Secret," from the Latin word "secreta," which actually means "set apart." The prayer was known by this name, not because the priest formerly said it silently, but because it was for that which was "set apart" from all else, namely the gifts to be offered in sacrifice.

It is that sacrifice, the part of the Eucharistic Liturgy known as the Consecration, which will be the focus of our seventh installment.

Friday, October 28, 2011

While Leaves Are Turning

Earlier this week, I was on the phone with my sister, talking about Mom and Dad. I told readers of Mom's accident back in September, and how I was planning to visit in early October. It's been nearly three weeks now, and I have yet to chronicle my most recent trip to Cincinnati.

IMAGE: Mom and Dad, Pikes Peak, Colorado, August 1961.

The visit stirred more memories than usual, which is what happens when the mortality of your parents becomes all too apparent. Mom goes in and out, wondering what she's doing in a rehab facility, and when she can go home; like, oh, tomorrow maybe. But it's not going to happen, not that easily anyway. Dad continues to fade, and it's so hard for him to talk, we don't talk much on the phone anymore.

IMAGE: The four of us on the front porch, Easter Sunday, 1963. Mom made Mary's dress. "Kevin" was in the middle of his bow-tie phase.

My brother and sisters have, to greater or lesser degree, put their lives on hold for this chapter of it, and it's getting to them, maybe a little. But when they're together, it's all for one and one for all, and any sibling rivalry will have to wait until it's over -- whenever that is. Another visit is already planned for the week of Thanksgiving. I should really write about the previous visit by then, shouldn't I?

In other news ...

Our series devoted to the new Roman Missal has been the most ambitious work in the nine-plus-year history of mwbh. This is why, more often than not, each installment is published in an unfinished state, to be completed by Tuesday or Wednesday. I've already started gathering material for the next installment, devoted to the Offertory (Preparation of the Gifts). One blogger who has publicized this series very widely on social media (for which I am grateful) has called it the "Best Series on the New Missal translation out there!" That's pretty high praise, and I'm not sure how I earned it. But I am sure of what distinguishes the series from others:

1) it does not focus exclusively on the "new words," but also upon the greater role that music, specifically plainchant, will play in the celebration of Mass,

2) it delves into the clarification of both the rubrics (the red-lettered instructions within the main text), as well as a recently re-translated General Instruction, and finally

3) it sheds light on challenges that remain in using the new Missal, even if all goes as well as can be expected.

Some will provide a greater presentation than yours truly, in one area or the other, but I do not know of any writer or blogger who has attempted to do all three.

IMAGE: It's not quite this bad. Really.

There has been a lot of work to do around Chez Alexandre. I come from a long line of packrats, and the year has been spent taking measure of what's in the house, and in storage, and clearing a path therein. I lot has changed in the last ten years or so. My present wardrobe has, well, matured a bit, to the point where I rarely wear blue jeans anymore. I'm not even sure why. I got used to the pockets on cargo pants, and it sort of went from there. I don't need as many shirts for as many types of occasions, and there are several dozen books that I've either already read, will never get around to reading, or would be embarrassed to read now (like books on "expanded lay ministry" or hymnals that will be obsolete by the end of the year, or political commentaries that were old news by the time the last election was over). If there are enough hours in the day, I can send one or two bags per day to Goodwill, and notice the change after a few weeks. "Sal" enjoys cooking at the house, but she says my kitchen needs to be redone. Now, when she's happy, the whole world is happy, but "if wishes were horses, beggars would ride." I'm tired of arguing with her, so I ask her where the money's going to come from.

That's when the discussion sort of lays there.

IMAGE: The Traditional Latin Mass at "Old Saint Mary's" in Washington DC. We're just as good as these guys.

Meanwhile, over at Saint John the Beloved, the only weekly Traditional High Mass in or around the Beltway continues to draw a crowd, not to mention a few new servers. I have started a program of training three or four of the older boys to be "Associate Masters of Ceremonies," to fill in for me when I'm not there, and eventually, to become the nucleus of a rotation of MCs on the monthly schedule. I figure it will take the next six to eight months to complete that process. It will also take an additional one to two years, to get the program to the point where it is self-sustaining -- which is to say, it won't fall apart if I were to leave. Still, I will be at Saint John's for as long as they need me, or can stand me, or both.

IMAGE: Yours truly, Baltimore, Maryland, 2004.

And now, the time for true confessions ...

Since I began going to school to study web design seven years ago, I have gradually cut back on guitar playing. I was playing a lot at the time. In fact, I was on a roll, sitting in with a number of bands for house parties, and at dances when the promoters were not looking. (A rather tightly wound bunch, they were.) But school took a lot of time, and the promoters took at least some of the fun out of it. So I may have trailed off a bit, picking it up only now and then. Recently I got one of those "pocket books" that fit in the "neck" portion of guitar cases. This one has practice exercises with scales. Sometime in the next month, I'll work on the fundamentals, then go from there. I could be wrong, but I feel a change coming on, as if my already-busy schedule will clear an opening. Call it a hunch.

IMAGE: A Scout Is Helpful, by Norman Rockwell, as appearing in Boys' Life magazine, 1941.

My work with Scouting continues. Our district (a segment of a local council, the latter covering a metropolitan area or its rural equivalent) got a new District Commissioner. They usually serve for three years before moving on, and invariably up. I had the chance to speak freely with the guy. He seems like a good egg. My biggest challenge has always been trying to find my niche in Scouting. I don't have any boys in Scouting, and (if you are an active adult in Scouting, you don't have to ask why I'd make a point that) I'm not a Mormon. So it's not always easy fitting in. We'll see what happens, but right now I'm pretty optimistic.

The leaves are falling here on the east coast, and Arlington Village, the townhouse neighborhood where Chez Alexandre is located, includes a designated nature preserve with walking paths. Naturally, the foliage is beautiful this time of year, and if you can't make the trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, this is the next best thing. There is talk this weekend of freezing rain, and possibly snow. We go through this very short lifetime of ours, knowing that few things ever stay the same.

The leaves display the full array of their beauty, even as they are dying. And with their death, and following the slumber of winter, there is the promise of spring, of new life in their place. Our loved ones remind us of how they loved us, and move us to return that devotion to them in the course of this life.

“O son, help your father
    in his old age,
and do not grieve him
    as long as he lives;
even if he is lacking in understanding,
    show forbearance;
in all your strength
    do not despise him.
For kindness to a father
    will not be forgotten,
and against your sins
    it will be credited to you.”

(Sirach 3:12-14)

Thus says the word of the Lord. Thus says the falling leaves.

FAMW: Neutraface

For all you designers out there, we've been seeing some new developments in typography in the last few years. Between the Obama presidential campaign (vaguely Futura-looking), the movie V for Vendetta, and who knows what else, a lot of typographers out there are vying for the claim to invent "the next Helvetica." Inspired by the work of modernist architect Richard Neutra, his son Dion assisted designer Christian Schwartz for House Industries, an American type foundry, to develop Neutraface, which is the subject of this (yet another) Lady Gaga parody, not to mention this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

Too bad it's actually pronounced "NOY-trah". Don't ask me why.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Guitar Workshop: Celtic Grooves
for Intermediate Players

It was as good a time as any today, to get back to our heretofore-regular Thursday midday feature, the Guitar Workshop.

Maybe you're finished with "beginner" status and are ready for the next level. Maybe you're an acoustic player who hasn't picked up the axe in a dog's age, and you need something to do after you've gone over a few (dozen) scales. In this clip sent to me by noted online guitar instructor Claude Johnson, we feature a segment of the "Acoustic Enlightenment" blog with Jimmy Dillon. He demonstrates an original piece in "dropped D" tuning. Basically, the sixth (low E) string is dropped from E to D, to enable a quasi-modal tune in D, without the hassle of DADGAD (total modal) tuning. Recommended for open mic night, when you've got fifteen minutes and don't want to spend five of them retuning.

I've seen this happen. It's not pretty.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Behind the Biretta

I got wind of this from a priest-friend of mine, one who travels and lectures all over the country. It has also been covered at WDTPRS. Father John Trigilio is president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. He comments on the publication of a recent book.

Recently, I attended a symposium on the priesthood at Catholic University of America. The keynote speaker was Msgr. Stephen Rossetti. He spoke on the data he included in his recent book “Why Priests Are Happy: A study of the psychological and spiritual health of priests.” The evidence speaks for itself. Most priests are in fact happy BEING priests. A few, in fact a very small minority, are unhappy and regret making promises … Where I take variance with Monsignor Rossetti is that while most priests are happy being priests, which includes celibacy and obedience, not all enjoy how priests are treated ...

Personally, I don't get to see priests being mistreated all that much, at least not at the parish level. Maybe it's just my part of the country, I don't know. (The diocesan level is something else again.) I suspect that Father Z will hear from any number of them, don't you think?

Or don't you?

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre:
William Shatner “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature. William Shatner is a great actor, one of the few from the Star Trek family of sagas not to be saddled with the dreaded label of "typecast." Here's where he proves the full range of his talent -- or at least his sense of daring.

Get ready to let the head banging begin.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Mighty Macs: Behind the Movie

This writer went to see The Mighty Macs at the theater yesterday afternoon. (An aside here; I learned something about matinee times. AMC matinee rates go up at 4pm, but Regal Theaters show admirable restraint in waiting until 6pm. Saving two bucks with a family of four gets one big-@$$ bag of popcorn with change.) The movie is worth seeing, about a time when women's organized athletics were barely taken seriously. That they presently are in the USA, is because of Title IX (requiring equal access to athletic programs in public schools), and because of Cathy Rush.

You can read all about her, and the team she built to legendary fame, at a page called The Real Mighty Macs. From there, you are directed to a page at the Immaculata University website, where they have videos of the team playing, including this segment produced by ESPN.

The movie lives up to its G rating. There is nothing with which to take offense here, and the movie still keeps its edge, without getting too sentimental.

One recurrent theme in the movie (besides the wearing of conspicuously plaid outfits), is how some young women in those days appeared to identify themselves in terms of whether they'd marry, or who. To challenge this is not to call marriage or motherhood into question, but the value of self-identity. In high school, I knew girls who only dated jocks, some having the boy's jacket before the end of the first month of ninth grade, and who would find a ready replacement (again, another jock) when things went south.

What happened to them? Do I really wanna know? Nah. I don't need to. I saw this movie. You should too.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Guided Missal 5: Liturgy of the Word

The following from the Second Vatican Council's Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy summarizes the role of the Liturgy of the Word at Holy Mass:

Sacred scripture is of the greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from scripture that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and psalms are sung; the prayers, collects, and liturgical songs are scriptural in their inspiration and their force, and it is from the scriptures that actions and signs derive their meaning. Thus to achieve the restoration, progress, and adaptation of the sacred liturgy, it is essential to promote that warm and living love for scripture to which the venerable tradition of both eastern and western rites gives testimony. (24)

Verbum Domini

The only approved translation of the Lectionary for the Dioceses of the USA, is based upon the New American Bible (NAB) of 1970 with the Revised New Testament of 1986. No other translation (that goes for the one approved in Canada) is approved. Let's just get that out of the way, shall we? Because not only has it been true all along, but the example that we would show for your consideration (two pages to the right) is how the First Reading for the First Sunday of Advent will appear this coming November, if it were chanted.

The reading or readings before the Gospel are proclaimed, as a normative practice, if not a common one, by a man who is installed to the Ministry of Lector (generally limited to a phase of candidacy for Holy Orders). In his absence, and in what is the usual practice, the task is performed by a competent laic who is deputized by the parish or celebrant for said purpose.

If the readings are to be chanted, so much the better.

The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The tone used for the reading here is similar for any other -- the reciting tone, the mendiant, and the full stop -- and this model would serve as an example for the others. Unfortunately, we could not find an appropriate video clip of an entire reading. But we do have both the announcement for the Gospel, as well as the versicle/responses for the ending of all readings. It is conceivable (if not as ideal) that these parts would be chanted, while the text of the reading itself is spoken.

The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to N.
Glory to you, O Lord.

+ + +

The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

(Quietly) Through the words of the Gospel may our sins be wiped away.


The Vatican Edition contains seven Gregorian chant settings of the Creed in Latin -- I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and the Credo ambrosiano -- but the most familiar are I and III. The latter is included in the "Jubilate Deo" compilation of Pope Paul VI, but both are included in the video clips here, and in the New Roman Missal. Even in Solemn Traditional Masses with elaborate polyphonic settings, a Credo is not included therein, and so is still chanted by the faithful, inasmuch as it has historically been theirs to proclaim.

The "Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed" (or simply the "Nicene Creed") was the result of the first two ecumenical councils, in 325 and 381 respectively. The opening statement was referred to and elaborated upon in the second installment of our series. We present it here again; the definitive Latin text, the 1973 translation, and the 2010 revised translation.

Credo in unum Deum,
Patrem omnipotentem,
factorem caeli et terrae,
visibilium omnium et invisibilium ...

+ + +

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is seen and unseen ...

+ + +

I believe in one God,
the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible ...

Please note how the change takes into account that one can be unseen without being invisible. A declaration of faith in these circumstances must be without ambiguity. That we say "I believe" rather than "We believe" makes it a declaration of belief on the part of each person saying it as an individual, not merely part of a collective. That the latter was used in the original Greek text is irrelevant here. At its writing, it was the profession agreed upon by the council assembled. At our Holy Mass, it is the profession by each baptized Christian of his own volition.

Et in unum Dòminum Jesum Christum,
Fìlium Dei unigènitum,
et ex Patre natum ante òmnia sàecula
Deum de Deo, lumen de lùmine,
Deum verum de Deo vero,
gènitum, non factum,
consubstantiàlem Patri:
per quem omnia facta sunt.

+ + +

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.

+ + +

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.

The 2010 revision clarifies two points that were dealt with in refuting the Arian heresy of the fourth century. One is that Jesus Christ is God; who as Creator cannot be made, hence His Son cannot be either.

Another point to consider is how the Latin text defines the nature of God the Son as "consubstantialem Patri." The 1973 translation is rendered: "one in being with the Father." The 2010 translation renders it thus: "consubstantial with the Father" (thus bearing a striking resemblance to its Latin origin, which is one way to ensure accuracy, n'est ce pas?). In other words, the Son is of the same substance as the Father. This is what it means to say "one in being," but with greater precision; the very essence, as opposed to mere existence. And, to say exactly what you meant about the Son in relation to the Father, was a really big deal in the early fourth century, when a heresy that said otherwise was overtaking the majority of the Catholic world.

So to apply the root meaning, as opposed to a less accurate tangent, is all the better to explain the nature of God. And if we pray what we believe, aren't we better off getting it right the first time?

Father Peter Stravinskas has written eloquently on the difference a word can make:

[W]ords are important for they bear meaning. Think, for instance, of this situation: You are living in a house. Does it matter whether you are the tenant or the owner? I don’t know anyone who would respond in the negative. And if that little example from daily life holds true, how much more so in philosophy and theology. After all, the Nicene Creed we pray at every Sunday Mass was the direct result of an apparently "petty squabble" over not a word but a letter – homoousios ["same essence or being"] versus homoiousios ["similar essence or being"]. The little letter "iota," hence, our common expression, "It doesn’t make an iota of a difference."

Except that it did in 325 AD. And words continue to make a difference seventeen centuries later.

Another bone of contention with Arianism was the nature of the birth of Christ Himself. It was therefore necessary to reinforce the role of the Holy Spirit in the incarnation -- both in the original Greek text, and in the 2010 translation today.

Qui propter nos hòmines et propter
nostram salùtem descèndit de caelis.
Et incarnàtus est de Spìritu Sancto
ex Marìa Vìrgine,
et homo factus est.

+ + +

For us men and for our salvation,
he came down from heaven.
By the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

+ + +

For us men and for our salvation,
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit
was incarnate of the Virgin Mary
and became man.

Granted, the order of wording is not slavishly accurate in the 2010 translation, but preserves the essence of the text while remaining faithful to the Latin. It was not enough for Jesus Christ to be of a divine nature at birth, but rather to have been conceived by Holy Spirit, after which the Virgin Mary carried the Son of God in her womb as the "Theotokos" or "God-bearer." Thus, as both God and man, He was "incarnate" from the beginning, not merely "born" nine months later.

Crucifìxus etiam pro nobis
sub Pòntio Pilàto;
passus et sepùltus est ...

Et in Spìritum Sanctum,
Dòminum et vivificàntem:
qui ex Patre Filiòque procèdit.
Qui cum Patre et Fìlio
simul adoràtur et conglorifcàtur:
qui locùtus est per prophètas ...

Confiteor unum baptìsma
in remissiònem peccatòrum.
Et exspècto resurrectiònem mortuòrum,
et vitam ventùri sàeculi. Amen.

+ + +

For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered, died and was buried ...

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
With the Father and the Son
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets ...

We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

+ + +

For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried ...

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is adored and glorified,
who has spoken to the prophets ...

I confess one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The remainder of the Creed is nearly untouched from before, but four relatively minor corrections do not escape us. The first is the change from "died" to "death." Christ did not merely die, but suffered death in order to triumph over it through the Resurrection, thus opening the doors to eternal life for those who believe. The second is the reference to the Holy Spirit being "adored" rather than "worshipped." Again, this is in deference to fidelity to the Latin text. The third is a reminder that we do not merely "acknowledge" our baptism in forgiving our sins, but "confess" it, as in "confiteor." Finally, "exspecto" implies anticipation, so we say that we not merely look, but look forward to the End.

Prayer of the Faithful

This final part of the Liturgy of the Word can be traced to apostolic times. It is mentioned in the writings of Justin the Martyr, who made reference to faithful who would together “offer prayers in common for ourselves, for him who had just been enlightened and for people everywhere.” Eventually it fell into disuse in the Roman liturgy. Following the Creed, the priest would turn to the people ...

Dominus vobiscum. (The Lord be with you.)
Et cum spiritu tuo. (And with your spirit.)
Oremus ... (Let us pray ...)

... and the Mass would proceed, not to the intercessions, but straight to the Offertory Antiphon. All that remained of them was to be found in the Presanctified Liturgy of Good Friday. At the Second Vatican Council, their restoration was called for in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

Especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation there is to be restored, after the Gospel and the homily, "the common prayer" or "the prayer of the faithful." By this prayer, in which the people are to take part, intercession will be made for holy Church, for the civil authorities, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world. (53)

These prayers are ideally led by the deacon, or in his absence, a competent layperson.

It would surprise most people to learn, that an appendix of the Sacramentary has up to now contained "Sample Formulas for the General Intercessions." Some are for general use, others for seasons of the year or particular occasions. Given the inferior literary quality of the homemade formulae rendered at the parish level, some at times even broaching errors against the Faith, a wise bishop might consider mandating the use of this appendix in his diocese. To wit, its appearance is retained in the new Roman Missal.

Below is what might be termed the "default" formula for general use. It appears here first in the definitive Latin text, followed by the 1973 translation, and finally the new 2010 edition.

Ad Deum Patrem omnipotentem,
qui vult omnes homines salvos fieri
et ad agnitionem veritatis venire,
tota mentis nostrae, fratres carissimi,
dirigatur oratio.

1. Pro Ecclesia sancta Dei:
ut eam Dominus custodire et fovere dignetur,
Dominum deprecemur.
Praesta, aeterne omnipotents Deus.

2. Pro totius orbis populis:
ut inter eos Dominus concordiam servare dignetur,
Dominum deprecemur.
Praesta, aeterne omnipotents Deus.

3. Pro Omnibus qui vriis premuntur necessitatibus:
ut omnes Dominus sublevare dignetur,
Dominum deprecemur.
Praesta, aeterne omnipotents Deus.

4. Pro nobismetipsis ac pro nostra communitate:
ut nos omnes Dominus hostiam sibi acceptabilem
admittere dignetur,
Dominum deprecemur.
Praesta, aeterne omnipotents Deus.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
qui salvas omnes et neminem vis perire,
exaudi preces populi tui, et praesta;
ut et mundi cursus pacifico nobis tui ordine dirigatur,
et Ecclesia tua tranquilla devotione laetetur.
Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

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My brothers and sisters,
God our Father
wants all mankind to be saved
and calls us to the knowledge of the truth.
Let us pray to him with all our hearts.

A. For the holy Church of God:
that the Lord guide and protect it,
we pray to the Lord:
Lord, hear our prayer.

B. For all the peoples of the world:
that the Lord unite them in peace and harmony,
we pray to the Lord:
Lord, hear our prayer.

C. For all our brothers and sisters in need:
that the Lord assist them,
we pray to the Lord:
Lord, hear our prayer.

D. For ourselves and our community:
that we offer an acceptable sacrifice,
we pray to the Lord:
Lord, hear our prayer.

God of love,
our refuge and our strength,
hear the prayers of your Church,
and grant us today
what we ask of you in faith.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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To God the Father almighty,
dear brothers and sisters,
may every prayer of our heart be directed,
for his will it is that all humanity should be saved
and come to the knowledge of the truth.

1. For the holy Church of God,
that the Lord may graciously watch over her and care for her,
let us pray to the Lord.
Grant this, almighty God.

2. For the peoples of all the world,
that the Lord may graciously preserve harmony among them,
let us pray to the Lord.
Grant this, almighty God.

3. For all who are oppressed by any kind of need,
that the Lord may graciously grant them relief,
let us pray to the Lord.
Grant this, almighty God.

4. For ourselves and our own community,
that the Lord may graciously receive us
as a sacrifice acceptable to himself,
let us pray to the Lord.
Grant this, almighty God.

O God, our refuge and our strength,
hear the prayers of your Church,
for you yourself are the source of all devotion,
and grant, we pray, that what we ask in faith
we may truly obtain.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Notice how the holy Church is referred to, not as "it," but as "she.")

While their use is not officially mandated by current liturgical norms (which should not stop a bishop), one can see the advantage of texts that are consistent in style and quality with the rest of the Mass. That such prayers might be joined with others praying in kind around the world, in whatever language, further reinforces the unity of the Church's worship, and therefore the beliefs of her faithful.

And on this note, we end our study of the Liturgy of the Word with respect to the new translation of the Roman Missal. For the coming three Sundays, we will study the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Our next installment will be the first of the three major parts, that of the Offertory, or Presentation of the Gifts.

The Mighty Macs: It’s Not Working Out (Clip)

Last Friday, we announced that a movie about the comeback kids of women's college basketball, The Mighty Macs, opened in theaters across the USA. In this scene from the movie, Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino) is challenged by her husband, NBA referee Ed Rush (David Boreanaz), as to whether her effort is worth the trouble.

The movie is rated G, for general audiences. Stay tuned for the story behind the story, when we introduce the real players that inspired this movie.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a matinee to catch.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Mighty Macs: Trust (Clip)

Yesterday, we announced that a movie about the comeback kids of women's college basketball, The Mighty Macs, opened in theaters across the USA. In this scene from the movie, Coach Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino) asks the question: “Why do teams win?” Meeting her players for the first time, she teaches them the importance of trust.

More scenes from the movie are to follow over the course of the weekend. The movie is rated G, for general audiences. Stay tuned for the story behind the story, when we introduce the real players that inspired this movie.

The Mighty Macs: Dreams (Clip)

Yesterday, we announced that a movie about the comeback kids of women's college basketball, The Mighty Macs, opened in theaters across the USA. In this scene from the movie, Coach Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino) inspires her star player Trish (Katie Hayek) to follow her dreams. After all, “dreams are for everyone.”

More scenes from the movie are to follow over the course of the weekend. The movie is rated G, for general audiences. Take the wife and kids. And stay tuned ...

Friday, October 21, 2011

FAMW: Nightmare @ Occupy Philly

If you haven't been watching over the last week, the “Occupy” protests are being taken to a whole new level. This one occurred in Philadelphia just this past Monday. It's completely "potty mouth" free, so you can show the kids, although I don't know why you would. It won't matter, though. Neither of you will get it. But you just might, which makes it a timely choice for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

The Mighty Macs Come To Town

The Mighty Macs is a movie based on the true story of Cathy Rush (Carla Gugino), who in 1971 became coach of a failing basketball team at the all-female and all-Catholic Immaculata College, a school run to this day by the Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Naturally, the team has an established reputation for losing every game, and the administration is not much help, given not only the dire financial straits of the college, but in refusing to take any notion of serious competition -- well, seriously. That all changes, of course, when Coach Cathy gets help from the most unlikely of places. (I'm thinking of Ingrid Bergman in The Bells of St Mary's in 1944. You'll find out why soon enough ...)

There's all the usual locker-room-pep-talk schtick, along with a reminder of just how ridiculous girls' gymnastic outfits looked back then (and I thought they had it bad at my old high school), not to mention the deplorable state of home furnishings in the early 1970s. It opens TODAY at (ostensibly) a theater near you.

It's also rated G. What could go wrong?

We here at mwbh will continue through the weekend, to show additional clips from the movie, as well as video and other material from the real team behind the story. Stay tuned ...

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NOTA BENE: Since the period depicted in the film, Immaculata became a university in 2002, and co-educational in 2005.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Memo to Pro-lifers: Raise Cane With Cain!

For more than three decades, the pro-life movement has been the b**** of the Republican Party -- or does somebody have to spell it out for them?

With the growing popularity of former pizza magnate and nomination candidate Herman Cain, one which even the mainstream media finds harder to ignore in their quest to stealthily push Mitt "Presumptive Front Runner" Romney, those who would defend the unborn are getting ready to set themselves up once again. They are the first to admit to making up no small part of the conservative base that generally votes Republican (even if they have to hold their noses to do it), and it is just that base that is even now warming up to the man from Georgia.

But first, they need to get their heads out of the clouds and read what Cain actually says (or doesn't say, at least not very clearly) on the issue of abortion. Writing for New York magazine, Dan Amira portrays a candidate who is being less than forthright, citing recent interviews with both Hannity of Fox News Channel, and Gregory on NBC's Meet The Press:

It was as if Cain had no familiarity with or understanding of the role that government plays in the debate over abortion rights. He had simply gathered some common abortion-related words and phrases — "her choice," "government's decision", "sanctity of life" — then randomly assembled them into sentences ... Cain tells Gregory that he's against abortion without exception, even in cases of rape or incest (putting him to the right, by the way, of both Mitt Romney and Rick Perry). But when asked whether his opposition also applies to cases in which the life of the mother is at risk, Cain repeats this vague response three times: "That family is going to have to make that decision."

This is simply a more nuanced form of the personally-opposed-but approach, one that hasn't been applied since Ross "I'm Just A Businessman" Perot ran as an independent in 1992. It's also every bit as disingenuous. Just how is abortion either wrong, or none of the government's business? And just which government does he mean? Is he framing it as a strictly Tenth Amendment issue, one which should be left to the states, with only Washington staying out? Would he support an amendment to that same Constitution extending "equality under the law" to the unborn? And if Cain takes the typical East-Coast-establishment-country-club-Republican laissez-faire approach, as it would appear, uh, maybe, will that include vetoing any attempt at taxpayer funding for abortion or abortion providers? And if he does support such funding (thereby making it the Federal government's business), what kind of "business model" does he have in mind for the rest of the Federal budget?

We don't know, do we?

He needs to bring clarity to his position. And the social conservative base (including the Catholics among them) needs to take a moment from touting his admittedly remarkable life story, long enough to settle for nothing less than clarity -- unless, of course, he already has, in which case we need to call for an alternative. This is not a case of the Church playing politics; but one of people of faith calling for an end to the slaughter of innocent children.

The office of President of the United States may be a little like running a business, but only to a point. It is a "business" with an obligation to protect its citizens, including the most defenseless among them. And if Herman Cain thinks that's none of his business, then by his own admission, neither is the Nation's highest office, don't you think?

Or don't you?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Sly Stone
“Thank You (Falenttinme Be Mice Elf Agin)!”

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday ...

Okay, so we ran a little late this week. It's just that we have priorities here. You have to admit that a town like Zanesville, Ohio, hasn't seen that much excitement since ... well, ever. We close out the day by presenting a medley of hits from Sly and the Family Stone, in a clip first seen live by yours truly on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1969.

Closer to the present, and according to the latest issue of TIME magazine, after years of drug use and poor financial managment, Mr Stone presently “lives in a van parked on Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles.” Can anyone give this man a job, doing custodial work, teaching piano lessons, whatever he's got left to offer? This man gave us music and laughter, and (as seen in the clip) in the middle of audience full of stiffs. (Check the "hambone" action at 02:55.) It's time for us to give back to the man who gave us da funk!

Just sayin.'

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Ohio!!!

Yep, you've heard it by now.

Schools shuttered and some frightened residents said they were hunkering down in their homes as sheriff’s deputies hunted lions, tigers, leopards and grizzly bears that escaped from a preserve after the death of the owner.

Police have not yet said how Terry Thompson died, but Zanesville Mayor Howard Zwelling told CNN Wednesday that Thompson freed the animals from their pens and then shot himself.

Thompson owned 48 exotic animals. About 30 to 35 of them had been found, said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz. Those that had escaped from their pens were put down.

At this writing, a mountain lion, a grizzly bear, and a monkey are still unaccounted for. The mountain lion has the best chance of getting away, if he gets far enough southeast and mixes with others. The grizzly is common to Alaska and western Canada, but not the eastern USA, never mind Ohio. As for the monkey ... well, expect a tall tale from more than one farmer before he's brought in. But the real challenge is for motorists who stray off of I-70 in that part of the state before the lion and/or bear are caught, as cell phone coverage east of Zanesville is some of the worst in the state. Believe me, you get on Route 22 out of Steubenville, and that piece of hardware may as well be a paperweight.

THIS JUST IN! We finally got video, courtesy of ABC affiliate WSYX in Columbus, Ohio, by way of the Associated Press, all without permission or shame.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What’s Left?

As a boy growing up in Ohio, I can still remember Dad being able to do 85 in Indiana, in that two-tone blue Pontiac. I seem to recall it had tail fins. Ah, the good old days ...

There are two things most people don't know about the Interstate Highway System. One is that it was designed to evacuate large populations, and carry vast caravans of troops and defense materiel, in the event of a national emergency. The other is that it was designed, as were the autobahns of Germany after which they were modeled, to handle minimum speeds of 70 miles per hour, and maximum speeds of up to 80 or 90 miles per hour, if not higher.

And speaking of driving in Germany, according to automotive columnist Eric Peters ...

If a Porsche turbo doing 140 comes up on a Fiat doing 80, the Porsche either better have excellent brakes (and its driver superior reflexes) or the Fiat driver had better notice the headlights getting much larger, much faster in his rearview – and get the hell out of the way in time.

Peters goes on to make a case for using the left lane ONLY for passing, as they do over there. My current record for the 500 mile trip from Arlington to Cincinnati is eight and three-quarter hours with a good tail wind.

I could do better, if only ... if only ...

The Only Single Issue Vote Worth Voting For

This recent political advertisement by Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul underscores why this writer is a "single-issue voter" when it comes to abortion. You can claim the right to free health care, free education, free housing, free trips to the Bahamas for all the hell I care. If you do not have the right to live, none of these rights are of any use to you. Never mind that anyone should be obliged to pay out of their tax dollars for you to put an end to a life.

If you claim to be pro-choice, or know someone who does, here is a question that I would defy you or them to answer: If your mother wanted to abort you, and you could talk her out of it, what would you say?

Take your time. Send me an answer. Don't ask me to hold my breath.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Guided Missal 4: Oremus

The introductory rites of the Roman Mass (ordinary form), following the entrance into the Holy of Holies, and acknowledging the mercy and glory of God as complementary (as opposed to conflicting, as some liturgists in the 1980s would have had us believe), culminate in the Opening Prayer, traditionally known as the Collect (from the Latin "collectio").

In a more ancient practice, the faithful would be called upon to pray together.

Dominus vobiscum. (The Lord be with you.)
Et cum spiritu tuo. (And with your spirit.)

The deacon would then present the invitation to kneel, then after a period of silence, to stand.

Flectamus genua. (Let us kneel.)
Levate. (Let us stand.)

The priest/celebrant would then conclude by "collecting" the prayers of those gathered into one.

Oremus ... (Let us pray ...)

In the second installment of this series, we made reference to how the opening prayer is constructed in the Roman tradition. What follows is that prayer for the First Sunday of Advent.

We will begin with the Latin text itself.

Da, quaesumus,
omnipotens Deus,
hanc tuis
fidelibus voluntatem,
ut, Christo tuo venienti iustis operibus occurrentes,
eius dextrae sociati, regnum mereantur possidere caeleste.

This is followed by the current 1973 translation.

All-powerful God,
increase our strength of will for doing good
that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming
and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven.

Next is the proposed text from 1998, based upon the earlier principles of "dynamic equivalency" as referenced in the document Comme le prevoit, approved by the bishops' conferences of the English-speaking world, but ultimately rejected by the Holy See. (More on that chapter of Church history later in our series.)

Almighty God,
strengthen the resolve
of your faithful people
to prepare for the coming of your Christ
by works of justice and mercy,
so that when we go forth to meet him
he may call us to sit at his right hand
and possess the kingdom of heaven.

What follows here is the text from the 2008 translation, which had initially been approved by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, but which was then subject to considerable correction; not only minor textual changes throughout, but thousands of typographical errors.

Grant, we pray,
almighty God,
that your faithful may resolve
to run forth with righteous deeds,
to meet your Christ who is coming,
so that gathered at his right hand
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.

Finally, we illustrate the 2010 translation which was given the recognitio of the Apostolic See in the summer of last year, for official use beginning in Advent of this year.

Grant your faithful,
we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth
to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds
at his coming,
so that, gathered
at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.

Through our Lord
Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

It is obvious that the 1973 translation is abbreviated, and deviates noticeably from the Latin original. The 1998 translation, while certainly a literary improvement from the 1973, remains somewhat of a departure from the Latin, which makes no reference to "works of justice and mercy." We could surmise from this rendition that such works are the primary means by which to "prepare for the coming of ... Christ." On the contrary, our works might possess such characteristics, but it is their nature as "righteous deeds" that makes us worthy to receive Him. This is made clearer, thus more faithful to the original Latin text, in both the 2008 and 2010 versions.

Here we shall again refer to the style of construction we presented two weeks ago, as elaborated upon by Christopher Carstens of the Liturgical Institute in Mundelein.

1) The address (to God the Father).
2) A short relative clause describing God.
3) The petition itself.
4) The conclusion addressed to the Trinity.

Do note that, while not in the exact order presented here, both the 2008 and 2010 orations faithfully present all four characteristics as outlined by Carstens, and through completion with the trinitarian reference, adhere to the literary style of "extended subordination" to which Carstens refers. But why the revision from one to the other in this instance? Could a case be made for one being an improvement over the other, and why? This is explored in great detail by Father John Zuhlsdorf, a priest who has made such commentary on liturgical translations his specialty, and which can be found here.

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We would be remiss if we did not mention the availability of Magnificat's Roman Missal Companion for further exploration of the new translation. It is available at many fine Catholic bookstores, or by direct order through the Magnificat website.

Next week we will explore the Liturgy of the Word, which will include further analysis of alterations to the text of the Nicene Creed, as well as video clips for the official chants. We will also provide illustrations for chanting the Prayer of the Faithful. Stay tuned ...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Admirable Restraint

I just got this from everybody's favorite Pew Lady, Kelly Clark Thacher. Originally from Detroit (really, I had no idea), she now lives in Boston, the Center of the Universe. (Go ahead, just ask them.) Anyway, this is the announcement that Nordstrom just sent out, at a time when stores are starting to stay open on Thanksgiving DAY, for pity's sake!

In case you can't read it, here's what it says:

At Nordstrom, we won't be decking our halls until Friday, November 23rd. Why? Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. From our family to yours,

Happy Thanksgiving

Nordstrom will be closed Thanksgiving Day.
On Friday, our doors will open to welcome the new season.

Just when you thought you could do your Christmas shopping early. Well, actually you can, but it's just not the same without the hype.

FAMW: Troy Boys “Don’t Stop”

Earlier this week, we introduced you to the marching band from the University of Southern California, by way of a performance with Fleetwood Mac. Said keyboardist Christie McVie near the end of the previous clip: “We’re not done yet. We’ve never done this with a brass section before, so this should be interesting.” So, what did they do for an encore? Well, they didn't stop thinking about tomorrow, since yesterday's gone. Makes perfect sense, at least until they invent time travel. And if Stevie Nicks could go back to 1982, she'd be hitting the gym already.

All told, it's a lot to consider for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy. We won't stop nevertheless -- going to the gym, that is. (More on that later. Stay tuned ...)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Troy Does “Tusk”

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature, which is a video that I received a few days ago from one of my correspondents (on Facebook).

Tim Ferguson reluctantly extends congratulations to the Prime Minister of Poland, who has won a second term. Apparently this song was written with him in mind, presciently.

I have enough difficulty following American politics, never mind Poland's, so I don't know what's up. But I do remember watching this performance a few years ago. This is Fleetwood Mac's performance of "Tusk" accompanied by the University of Southern California “Spirit of Troy” Trojan Marching Band.

This band totally rocks. Fleetwood Mac's not too bad either. Check out that toy accordion.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Guided Missal 3: Introductory Rites

“Et cum spiritu tuo” and Other First Impressions

The following anecdote is an old one, related to the implementation of the Novus Ordo Missae forty years ago. I did not remember all of it, so I will give a link to the good Dominican friar who does.

There is a story about one of the first Masses where microphones were used. The priest began Mass is the usual way with the sign of the cross. However, he didn't hear his voice echoing throughout the church as he expected. So he tapped on the microphone and hearing nothing said, "There's something wrong with this microphone." Not hearing what the priest said, the congregation replied in unison, "And also with you."

Throughout this series, we will feature the official chants associated with the revised English translation of the Order of Mass (Novus Ordo Missae, the "ordinary form" of the Roman Rite). Unless otherwise noted, they are produced by the Church Music Association of America ( The reader will see and hear them, as they are to appear in the new Roman Missal.

Entrance Antiphon (Introit)

Some Catholics are old enough to remember when certain chants were assigned to the Mass of the day. These were known as "propers" because they were proper to that occasion. The chants were for the Entrance, the Offertory, and Communion. This is the Entrance Antiphon for Trinity Sunday, and is derived from the same antiphon in the Traditional (Latin) Mass. It will surprise people to learn, that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal presumes the use of these chants to be the norm, as opposed to metrical hymns which appear to fit the occasion.* The GIRM, last published in English in 2002, has been re-translated to accompany the new Roman Missal. The relevant paragraph says thus:

In the Dioceses of the United States of America, there are four options for the Entrance Chant: (1) the antiphon from the Missal or the antiphon with its Psalm from the Graduale Romanum, as set to music there or in another setting; (2) the antiphon and Psalm of the Graduale Simplex for the liturgical time; (3) a chant from another collection of Psalms and antiphons, approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop, including Psalms arranged in responsorial or metrical forms; (4) another liturgical chant that is suited to the sacred action, the day, or the time of year, similarly approved by the Conference of Bishops or the Diocesan Bishop.

Compared to the former translation (check them out side by side either here or here), the 2010 edition is more likely to translate the Latin word "cantus" as "chant" rather than "song." It can go either way, but in this context "chant" is more accurate, as it represents a clearer, more narrow interpretation of what is to be done. Unlike the Traditional Mass, these propers include more than one Psalm verse in the middle, restoring a more ancient usage, and one which allows the faithful to sing those verses as well. (An antiphon, that which begins and ends the chants, are themselves are more complex, and are best sung by the cantor and/or schola).


Arriving at the sedilia (the chair), the celebrant begins as always ...

In nòmine Patris,
et Fìlii,
et Spìritus Sancti.

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In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

... followed by three options for the greeting itself. For each example in this series, we begin with the Latin text, followed by the 2010 translation, with the changes highlighted. (To compare the revised translation with the current one, it is helpful to have the current text of the Order of Mass handy.)

Gràtia Dòmini nostri Jesu Christi,
et càritas Dei,
et communicàtio
Sancti Spìritus
sit cum òmnibus vobis.
Et cum spiritu tuo.

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The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the communion
of the Holy Spirit
be with you all.
And with your spirit.

This greeting (Form A) is taken directly from the conclusion of Saint Paul's second letter to the Corinthians. The replacement of "fellowship" with "communion" is more than just faithful to the Latin text. The gathering of the Church is more than just a gathering of people, but one that is in communion with the Divine.

Gratia vobis et pax a Deo Patre nostro
et Dominio Jesu Christo.
Et cum spiritu tuo.

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Grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ
And with your spirit.

With this greeting (Form B), the former translation did not distinguish between "grace" and "peace." In the scripture verse that inspired this greeting (Phil 1:2), there is such a distinction. Further, there was an original response composed for this greeting ("Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.") which could be used instead of "Et cum spiritu tuo." This is confusing, and possibly why this option was rarely used. Finally, unlike Form A, Form B does not invoke the entire Trinity. (Personally, I'd take it out, but hey, that's just me.)

Dominus vobiscum./Pax vobis.
Et cum spiritu tuo.

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The Lord be with you./Peace be with you.
And with your spirit.

This greeting (Form C) is best used in its latter form ("Peace be with you.") which is reserved for a bishop.

That there is more than one option -- this occurs at other times in the Order of mass as well -- invites the improvisation of celebrants who are not necessarily liturgists, or are just lacking in good judgment. If they asked me (and they didn't, no surprise there), Form A alone would be sufficient for Sundays and Solemnities, and Form C for both weekday Masses (especially those which are not sung, or are offered downtown during the lunch hour) and those celebrated by a bishop. Form B could well be eliminated from the original Latin text, and I imagine few would miss it.

Penitential Rite

There was always only one option in the Latin text for inviting the faithful to acknowledge their sins, so there is now in the English text as well. The following was definitely not one of the "adaptations" originally inserted by the previous translators:

agnoscàmus peccàta nostra,
ut apti simus
ad sacra mystèria celebrànda.

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Brethren (brothers and sisters),
let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves
to celebrate the sacred mysteries.

While the parenthetical address is acceptable, it is apparent that "Brethren" is preferred, as it is more suited to the formality of the text. It is also a generic term, not limited only to males. Most important is that the revision is a more faithful translation of the Latin text.

There are three options (there's that word again) for this part of the Mass, same as before. Form A is known as the "Confiteor," from the Latin "I confess."

Confìteor Deo omnipotènti
et vobis, fratres,
quia peccàvi nimis
cogitatiòne, verbo,
òpere et omissiòne,
mea culpa, mea culpa,
mea maxima culpa.
Ideo precor beàtam Mariam
semper Virginem,
omnes Angelos et Sanctos,
et vos, fratres, oràre pro me
ad Dòminum Deum nostrum.

+    +    +

I confess to Almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me
to the Lord our God.

Here, there is good news, and there is bad news. The good news is, the three-fold "mea culpa" striking the breast each time, long a feature of the Catholic heritage -- how many times have you heard or read someone refer to their "mea culpa," I ask you? -- has made its return. The bad news is that "cogitatiòne, verbo, òpere et omissiòne" is translated more accurately as "thought, word, deed, and ommision." The two lines that remain in their place -- "in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do" -- are not only less succinct, but are a remnant of the dumbing-down that the present wordsmiths wished (indeed, were directed) to avoid.

Form B has arguably been the least-employed of the three, if only because it was so awkwardly translated, as if deliberately. If only for this example (not to mention most of our readership's unfamiliarity with it), we will compare the Latin text to both the 1973 and 2010 translations.

Miserere nostri, Domine.
Quia peccavimus tibi.

Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.
Et salutare tuum da nobis.

+    +    +

Lord, we have sinned against you. Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your mercy and love.
And grant us your salvation.

+    +    +

Have mercy on us, O Lord.
For we have sinned against you.

Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
And grant us your salvation.

The revised translation is, overall, a marked improvement in terms of fidelity to the Latin text (and we're not exactly dealing with a real brain-twister here, either). The exception might be the second versicle "Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam." The Latin word "miserecordiam" translates literally as "mercy of the heart," but even that does not do it justice. Some would translate this as "mercy and love" (as was done before) or "loving kindness." Although retaining "mercy" is preferable to omitting it, the translators might have been better to leave this line as it was.

(Ironically, this option was most commonly used when the Novus Ordo Missae was celebrated in Latin, especially when the "Liber Cantualis" book published by Solesmes was used.)

Form C uses a set of three invocations, each followed by the responses "Lord, have mercy. / Christ, have mercy. / Lord, have mercy." This is the most ancient use of the Kyrie, as responses to a series of petitions, which is still a prominent feature in the Eastern churches, most notably the Byzantine Rite. It is the only part of the Roman Mass which is in Greek, and the only text of the translation which, up to now, uses the option of Greek along with the vernacular.

Qui missus es sanare contritos corde: Kyrie elèison.
Kyrie elèison.

Qui peccatores vocare venisti: Christe, elèison.
Christe, elèison.

Qui ad dexteram Patris sedes, ad interpellandum pro nobis: Kyrie elèison.
Kyrie elèison.

+    +    +

You were sent to heal the contrite of heart: Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

You came to call sinners: Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

You are seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us: Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Note the third invocation, where "plead" is replaced by "intercede." The former implies the same appeal that any mere mortal would make. To "intercede" connotes a more proactive role, which is exactly what it is, as opposed to merely "plead." It also enforces the place of Christ as the Son of God, especially His relation as One Person of the Trinity. This is a typical case where the clarity of the Latin is actually supported, not lost, in translation.

It is generally known that the final prayer of the Penitential Act is unchanged from the 1973 translation. What is less well known, is how it was nearly approved in the 2008 "almost final" text. Below is the Latin, followed by the 2008 text, and finally the 2010 rendering.

Misereàtur nostri omnìpotens Deus
et, dimìssis peccàtis nostris,
perdùcat nos ad vitam aetèrnam.

+    +    +

May almighty God have mercy on us
and lead us, with our sins forgiven,
to eternal

+    +    +

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins,
and bring us to everlasting life.

The 2008 translation is hardly an improvement, thus any potential for awkwardness in its rendering is not reinforced by the need for fidelity to the Latin text. Unfortunately, the bishops conference in South Africa decided to use the 2008 version of the Order of Mass in their territory on a provisional basis, before the final recognitio. (Nice move, guys.)


Whenever the Mass uses Form A (the Confiteor), it is followed by the Kyrie. This melody, as printed in the new Missal in the main portion of the Order of Mass, is from Mass XVI in the traditional Kyriale. It was set aside for ordinary ferial day (regular weekday without a commemoration) Masses. It was also produced with the composite "Jubilate Deo" setting by Pope Paul VI in 1974, which explains its use here.

As was the case before, there are still three options to use. Unfortunately, the choice is left to either the celebrant, or a collection of dilettantes more commonly referred to as "the parish liturgy committee." This writer recommends that Form A be specifically reserved for penitential seasons (Advent, Lent, and WHEN they make a comeback, Ember Days)**, Form B for weekday Masses, and Form C for most Sundays and Solemnities.

Gloria (Incipits)

As with the Nicene Creed, the canticle first heard on the night of Christ's birth begins with the intonation of the celebrant, or the "incipit" (from the Latin "incipere," to begin. See also "inception"). As you can see and hear from the accompanying video clip, there are different incipits for different settings of the Gloria, which are variously used depending on the occasion. This demonstrates that options can be directed properly, and that such direction has a long history with the Roman Mass. If only ...


The 1973 translation of the Gloria was part of an ecumenical effort to standardize texts used among various liturgically-centered Christian confessions, ostensibly in the hope of Christian unity. It was also easier to adapt the text to metrical hymns, without the reliance on chant. Whether the soon-to-be-former translation facilitated accord among Christians is a matter of some conjecture, but it was disregarded here, once again, in the interest of fidelity to the Latin text.

(Glòria in excèlsis Deo)
et in terra pax homìnibus bonae voluntàtis.
Laudàmus te,
benedìcimus te,
adoràmus te,
glorifcàmus te,
gràtias àgimus tibi
propter magnam glòriam tuam,
Dòmine Deus, Rex caelèstis,
Deus Pater omnìpotens.

Dòmine Fili unigènite, Jesu Christe,
Dòmine Deus, Agnus Dei, Fìlius Patris;
qui tollis peccàta mundi,
miserère nobis;
qui tollis peccàta mundi,
sùscipe deprecatiònem nostram;
qui sedes ad dèxteram Patris,
miserère nobis.

Quòniam tu solus Sanctus,
Tu solus Dòminus,
Tu solus Altìssimus, Jesu Christe,
cum Sacto Spìritu in glòria Dei Patris.


+    +    +

(Glory to God in the highest)
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you,
we bless you,
we adore you,
we glorify you.
We give you thanks for your great glory
Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.


The reader will note from the video clip, that the choice of setting for this canticle is from Mass XV (Dominator Deus), which is traditionally for weekdays in Christmas season. This setting was chosen for a number of reasons, mainly its being relatively easy to learn the first time around, especially since the singing range is limited for the most part to three notes.

As for the text itself, roughly half of it has been changed, not only out of fidelity to the Latin text, but for theological clarity. As the psalmist wrote: "You are my son; this day I have begotten you." (Ps 2:7) Jesus Christ was not created, for He is God and Lord as is the Father, yet he was "begotten," which is to say that He really is the Son of the Father. Later in the text, Christ is addressed three times, not twice as in the 1973 translation, as a petition to "have mercy on us" and "hear our prayer." Sets of three petitions or other three-fold references appear throughout the Order of Mass -- in the Confiteor, the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I), and elsewhere.

The downside of this text is the concession to the politically-correct, in rendering "homìnibus" as "people" instead of "men," as has been the generic reference in English for over a thousand years. The result makes the first two lines a little less poetic. Like they say: "A camel is a horse designed by a committee." Fortunately, most such attempts for this new translation of the Order of Mass were prevented.


The introductory rites of the Order of Mass have been greatly improved here, but there is an opportunity that is still missed.

Find any parish or other faith community which tends to get "creative" with the liturgy, and you find that this part of the Mass is the most susceptible to unwarranted innovation. Leaving the options or "Form" to the imagination of the imaginative is a disservice, and may eventually give reason for a tightening, not only of the General Instruction, which has already been done, but of the rubrics within the Order of Mass as well.

Next week's installment of this series will continue our exploration of the Introductory Rites, with a special focus on that which concludes this part of the Mass, namely the Opening Prayer. Stay tuned.

* This was the result of a phenomenon known as the "four-hymn sandwich" that was popular in the traditional (extraordinary) form of the Low (spoken) Mass. The postconciliar liturgical reform was implemented on a practical level with little regard for any other approach to music in the liturgy, and the faithful do not so much sing the Mass, as they do sing at Mass.

** The Confiteor is, in the traditional (extraordinary) form of the Roman Rite, part of the "Prayers at the Foot of the Altar," and is a private devotion of the priest and his attending ministers. It was never intended as a public confession of sin, at least not in this location.