Indiana Jones and the new translation

Referring to the climactic scene in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” Deacon Bill Ditewig makes some compelling points about the new translation of the Roman Missal — and one word in particular, “chalice.”  For his jumping off point, he uses a new essay by Rev. John Donahue, S.J. on the topic.

Snip from Deacon Bill:

After seven months of the “new” translation, what is being communicated via that “feedback loop”? Fr. Donahue mentions the stumbling over prayers (especially, I would note, the Collects) by presiders, the “resignation” of all to the various archaic English expressions which were supposed to evoke a sense of elevation, reverence and awe, according to the proponents of the translation. Instead, the language in many cases simply sounds and feels remote and artificial according to the many comments made by parishioners. Furthermore, and this is something not mentioned by Fr. Donahue, but something that I feel is quite significant: From what I have experienced over these months in assisting as deacon at many Masses presided over by many different priests has been a tendency to “re-write” (especially the Collects) the prayers, usually on the fly, in order to help them be more understandable in proclaimed form. While I applaud the pastoral sensitivity involved, I would simply point out that this opens the door to increasing adaptation of the very texts which its designers sought to avoid!

More disturbing, of course, is the further “distancing” caused by many of the choices made in the new translation. By focusing exclusively on the Latin text, and despite the claims of proponents to the contrary, we have distanced our liturgical language from our more ancient scriptural and liturgical roots. “Faithfulness to the Latin” — and even how well that claim stands up to scrutiny is a matter of debate in itself! — has undercut the intentions of both Dei Verbum and Sacrosanctum Concilium by cutting us off not only from the more ancient terms found in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew, but from the rich tapestry of meanings those ancient terms sought to convey. Vatican II wanted the sacraments to be characterized by a “noble simplicity”, and in language accessible to all with ease.

Turning to Fr. Donahue’s specific question, I would only add that, in my opinion, the repeated use of “chalice” constitutes an anachronism. The term “chalice” in modern times has come to mean the kind of liturgical vessel familiar to many at Mass; we don’t speak of wine “chalices” in our homes, or even in fancy restaurants. The term is almost exclusively used in reference to a church vessel. As Fr. Donahue points out, there was a Greek version of a more ornate liturgical vessel reflected by its own Greek word, but the fact is, such a Temple cup was NOT what Christ used, nor is that what is referred to throughout most of Judeo-Christian scriptures! What IS referred to is a cup, plain and simple. To retroject the word “chalice” into the liturgical language is, in short, anachronistic, misplaced, and misleading. Put simply, the focus of the translation seems to be on the first half of the communications loop: finding the right symbols and meanings to translate the Latin text, without paying any real significant attention to the second half of the loop: How will all of this be received, translated and interpreted by the people receiving the message?

Read it all.

And check out Donahue’s essay for more.

I’ll just add: from my experience, I’ve also heard priests “make up” some of the prayers in the new translation, or just edit them to make them easier to speak and hear.  (One priest I know flat-out refused from Day One to use the word “dewfall.”  Not sure why.)  I’ve also heard priests soldier through the prayers — and yes, as Deacon Bill indicates, it’s usually the Collect causing the most problems — with results that sound less like sacred worship and more like a train wreck.


  1. Seriously? Oh, I can see where too literal a translation from the Latin causes problems, as in “visible and invisible”, but getting rid of the patronizing sixth-grade English pseudo-translation, is, on the whole, a very good thing.

  2. Katie Angel says:

    I have to believe that there had to be a middle ground – a way to keep the beauty of the language without making it so remote as to lose any connection between God and His people. I also am particularly taken aback by the use of “chalice” – and the scene from Indiana Jones is indeed the one that flashed in my mind. I am glad I am not the only one.

  3. Midwestlady says:

    I agree, Gerry. I like the new translation.

  4. Midwestlady says:

    I think this thread is just agitating for trouble. Or maybe it’s a slow news day.
    The translation is here. We’ve got bigger issues to think about than this.

  5. I do not see it as that important, a slight negative if anything. It certainly is not the great improvement some said it would be. It has made a challenge with the new service music.

  6. Eugene Pagano says:

    If an Episcopalian can be allowed to comment: When the Episcopal Church modernized its Book of Common Prayer in the 1970′s, it offered the Eucharist in two Rites (“forms” is probably the equivalent Roman Catholic term). Rite I keeps much of the classic 16th century language, while Rite II is in modern language. Why can’t your church allow such a choice?

  7. It was a beautiful day where I am. I try not to spend too much time on the computer.

  8. IntoTheWest says:

    “Dewfall” is more than a bit twee…I completely get the reluctance to utter that term.

  9. Kathy Schiffer says:

    Perhaps Deacon Ditewig doesn’t like it– but the liturgy belongs, not to an individual priest or deacon, but to the Church. If it’s possible to change the word “chalice” or refuse to say “dewfall,” then it’s possible to bounce down the aisle with helium balloons and throw kisses to the cheering crowd.

    One of my first blog posts addressed this, when I was particularly irritated about a grousing priest:

  10. Barbara P says:

    Chalice is the wrong word.

  11. Barbara P says:

    Also, I would like to go back to the former Exultant sung at the Easter Vigil Mass. And the communion invitation prayer (ie come under my roof) doesn’t have the rythym to be recited as a group prayer and the cadence is all off. It’s distracting

  12. Deacon Don says:

    Actually, Gerry, the “visible and invisible” is about the only part of the translation that really works (it describes the qualities of creation rather than whether or not they are observed). I have no idea how people feel that something that was made to be understandable was “patronizing…pseudo-translation”. The whole “elevated language” thing is, in my mind, so contrary to the way that Jesus taught his disciples to pray – in common language, with clear meaning and short sentences.

  13. There is a choice. There is still the Latin Mass from 1963 (date?). Some would like to eliminate the English Mass and have everyone go back to that. This “modernization” is actually going back to a more rigid translation of the English version.

  14. Dcn Luis says:

    Yes! I love the old Exultet- I love singing it and love the rhythm of the words. I know some were enamored because the bees are back but over all the new Exultet is a musical nightmare to those with moderate musical talent – like most of us deacons.

    You might be right on the “Lord I am not worthy… ” I’m not sure that I have gotten it right, yet.

    We use the Heritage Mass Gloria and I don’t know if it is us but it comes off more like a funeral march than a great hymn of joy.

    But this is what the PTB in the Church have given us and there are much worst things to complain about than simi bad translation.

    I took 4 years of Latin in HS and I believe my teachers would’ve graded this translation with a “C”

    “Traduttore, tradittore”

  15. I must live in a peculiar diocese. I recall reading in various places how the sign of peace has turned into a free for all social hour, how extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist keep botching it when people want to receive on the tongue, and other liturgical horrors that, supposedly, are common everywhere. Now, the uproar of negative reaction to the new translation: priests “stumbling” over the prayers, or “winging it” with the prayers according to what they assume the people prefer which, coincidentally, always reflects what the priest prefers (golly, yes, THAT never happened with the previous translation!). Yet, here in my tiny diocese, I’ve never experienced the sign of peace as a social break dance, I always receive on the tongue with never a hitch, and I’ve never heard a single priest stumble over the new translation, or heard even a whisper of comment on it, one way or another. It seems that the people have moved on with the new translation. Sadly, some of our clergy seem intent on beating a dead horse.

  16. Notgiven says:

    “Come under my roof” is scriptural. We had the cadence when it was “Come under my roof” many years ago. We will get it again.

  17. I would say that as a priest ordained 18 years now, I like the new translation. Is it perfect, no as no translation will ever be. But it is a marked improvement. In my experience, my parishioners on a whole embraced it! There are a few who like the older but most when they understand it prefer it! As the pastor I went out of my way to prepare my people. Starting with the bulletin inserts produced by the Dominicans of the Eastern Province, Which were outstanding, this was followed by workshops for each of the liturgical ministries, as well as school teachers at the school, then the lay faithful. I found that the parishes that have the most difficulty with the translation is first and foremost the Priests’ attitude and secondly the lack pf preparation the parishioners received. Obviously if priests are going to wing it or ad lib they are missing the point of the purpose of the translation. Time will show how good the translation is but to be fair to that rule the clergy especially should embrace it!

  18. Notgiven says:

    Bob–I’m not in your diocese. Our pastor (single priest parish) never wings it; he does it as prescribed. You’re absolutely right. The people have moved on with the new translation. It’s a lot more work for the clergy to relearn the words because there is a lot more of it to relearn. There will always be a small percentage who would rather not put in the effort. They, of course, cry the loudest while the rest of the men in black soldier on.

  19. Notgiven says:

    Amen! Thank you for that Fr. Paul.

  20. We don’t go all the way though and refer to “my servant.” The previous version was an appropriate transposition of the Scriptural passage to the Mass.

  21. naturgesetz says:

    A man I know who grew up with the former translation one day expressed his extreme distress with the new translation. He felt as if the Church had taken away his ability to pray by changing the familiar words, which is similar to how a lot of us felt when they took away the Latin and gave us an English paraphrase instead of a translation. He even thought he might need to attend an Oriental church (apparently not bothered that they wouldn’t be using the words he was used to either).

    IMO “chalice” is a mistake.

    But …
    if there is stuff in there that needs to be explained (such as “under my roof,” “dewfall,” “consubstantial,” or “a death like his”) instead of grousing that the people don’t understand it the priest should do his job and explain it to them, and
    if the priest stumbles over the collects, or other prayers, he is just showing that he needs to take some time to prepare (just as lectors need to prepare their readings ).

  22. naturgesetz says:

    But it didn’t accurately translate the official Latin text of the Mass, and that inaccuracy obscured the allusion to scripture.

  23. Deacon Bill says:

    Dear Kathy,

    It’s not just me, and I never said the liturgy belongs to me. Then again, as a member of the Church, I have as much right (obligation?) to express concern as anyone else.

    God bless,
    Deacon Bill

  24. fr. Boniface says:

    There are some infelicitous aspects of the new translation, I occasionally stumble on the opening collect, or, like Ascension, I couldn’t get the special Hanc igitur quite correct. That said, I like the new translation better than the old. I find it more prayerful, and the allusions to scripture jump out more clearly. The older one was too often eliptical and/or more like paraphrasing. Most often, the mistakes I make in the new translation happen when I have come into the sacristy in a hurry, without time to read through the collects.

    With regard to my parishioners, we spent a lot of time preparing them. We had articles, workshops, and so forht. I also think that it made a difference that the priests here, who all vary in their opinion about the new translation, chose to take the approach that it is coming and so we should help our people learn to pray it rather than grousing about it, which, in the long run, would be counterproductive. I think, on the whole, it went well here.

    One thought that does occur to me is that, where it truly is infelicitous or a simple rearranging of the text as translated would help make the syntax easier and the meaning clearer, it might be worthwhile to keep track of suggested corrections and submit them to the Bishops Committee on Liturgy, because I am sure that a revision will come one of these days.

  25. It pretty much went off without a hitch in my parish. We have adapted to the changes much faster than I would have anticipated a year ago.

    Wow…people REALLY need to get over this.

  26. Deacon Norb says:

    Now consider this:

    That translation was a product of over four years of hard work by a number of bishops from across the English Speaking world. Yes, there were U.S. and Canadian bishops on this team but also Australian, South African, East Indian, British, Irish etc. Considering how diverse and idiomatic English locally has become throughout the world, the ICEL mandate to come up with a “English-as-a-Universal-Language” translation has to be something like Speaker John Boehner’s famous “trying to keep 285 frogs in wheelbarrow” descriptor of the current Republican Party in Congress.

    They did meet their self-appointed goal — a “English-as-a-Universal-Language” translation. The problem is simply this: while the Vatican can rule on what is correct Latin (since it is a dead language anyway), there is no universal arbitrator as to what is correct every-day English. It is “sensum fidei” at its best” !

    Compromise ? Absolutely! How long will it last ? Probably a generation of more before it becomes so difficult to use that ICEL — or its equivalent — starts over.

  27. So the poetic images are not allowed to move us to prayer? sad all this hostility. Is ther e a problem with “his holy and venerable hands” too ? please.

  28. question to the clery who read this blog — how many of you actually read over the prayes of the missal before mass to get the “cadence” and be able to pronounce everything properly? if you ask of that of your lectors, why not do it yourself ?

  29. As a deacon who assists many different priests on the altar, I have found the new translation, on the whole, very beautiful. I work with several priests who have “liturgical presence.” I have not expereinced priests creating their own language. But it is very obvious to me and the congregation at Mass which priests have truly practiced the new prayers, whether Collects or otherwise, because they flow very well. It is also apparent when the priest/celebrant is looking at the prayers of the day for the first time, or nearly so, as he stumbles haltingly through the liturgy. I personally think we should give the new missal a real chance before we jump on the criticism bandwagon. All of us, priest/celebrants, assisting deacons and the lay faithful should do our best with it for the time being. This is not the time to be grousing about a new missal that really has not had a chance to be learned and properly incorporated into our liturgical tradition.

  30. Oh for goodness sakes, Deacon. Does everything have to be dumbed down into ‘common language, with clear meaning and short sentences”? Have we entered the age of Twitter in our liturgical language so much so that we cannot understand nor appreciate translations that are a bit more wordy but full of complex meaning? I happen to love the new translation. I think all of this criticism is needlessly dis-unifying. We have much bigger fish to fry. Honestly!

  31. I totally agree with you, Midwestlady. See my post in answer to Gerry and Deacon Don above.
    God bless.

  32. You have as much right to express concern, but no priest has the right to change the words or the prayers in the Mass. That is the height of clericalism. We’ve had enough of that in the past 50 years.

  33. Amen to that.

  34. Catherine says:

    The changes were explained to us very well in the parishes we attend (we go to more than one), and i think the use of the new/old translation is going smoothly now. My only complaint is that some of the new musical settings are hard to sing, but that’s not the fault of the translation. I like the word “chalice”. I have to admit that I didn’t even notice that change. I also like that we’ve gone back to the “under my roof” translation that I remember well from the period just after Vatican II. In fact, I remember just about this entire translation from that era. I wish they would fix the Kyrie — i.e., insist on the straightforward translation of the actual Greek. Some of the versions I hear seem to assume that the “Lord” in “Lord have mercy” is Christ. It isn’t. As for priests editing as they go along, I find that appalling. When I was in grad school, I went to the (non Catholic) college Catholic community Mass, where you never knew which strange new canon of the Mass would be used. There was a large xeroxed booklet from which the choice was made. One of the versions used on occasion had the congregation join the priest in saying the words of consecration. I think it was called the “Dutch Canon” or something like that.

  35. Instead of the priest “doing his job” and explaining it, why in this age of technology can’t those who are grumbling do a little research on the net or read something. There is an abundance of info that has been written on the new Translation. I guess it is easier to moan than to think.

  36. I agree with you 100 per cent! Great post Laura!

  37. Catherine says:

    Amen, Deacon Tom!

  38. “infelicitous”

    I am sure some are happy you didn’t do the new translation!

  39. ron chandonia says:

    As I recall, this translation was imposed on the English-speaking world because the revision the bishops actually proposed and preferred did not sound Latin enough. It appears that most people here are soldiering on with it, but I would bet it will have the shelf life of the Edsel or the New Coke. When Pope Benedict goes to his reward, perhaps we will get a pontiff who speaks English as his first language, or maybe one who realizes that he is a member of a college of bishops that includes native English-speakers. In either case, the mangled syntax replete with Chalices and Dewfalls will not last long.

  40. oldestof9 says:

    So what?

  41. Barbara P says:

    Sp we can no longer say that the Priest is quoting Jesus during the consecration.

  42. Catherine says:

    What does “the PTB in the Church” mean, please? I cannot figure it out.

    [Methinks he means Powers That Be. DGK]

  43. The earlier English translation more naturally expressed the sense of the liturgical allusion. Granted, it was a less formally accurate translation of the Latin text, but I think that, if anything, that illustrated the deficiencies in the Latin text.

  44. Sorry, Deacon, I value my pastor’s opinion and knowledge of this matter more than yours. I’m no Latin scholar, but I could see the dumbing-down even if the pastor hadn’t carefully noted where the pseudo-translation had given the people a poor understanding of what the prayers really said.

  45. I think there are multiple issues that shape an individual’s reaction to the translation. There are certainly problems with syntax and comprehensibility, particularly in the Collects, which maintain not only Latinate word roots but also Latin grammar. The previous translation was much easier on the tongue and on the ear, and that should not be dismissed as “dumbing down.” Complex grammar and ornate language do not in themselves make a text more intelligent. For the priest, it is not merely a matter of becoming more familiar with the texts, as it has been for most of us in the pew with the congregational responses. No matter how many times one rehearses, an English-speaking brain will stumble over Latin syntax. That accounts for the great number of priests who are making subtle or not-so-subtle amendments to the texts in order to make sure the subject of the sentence is still clear by the time one reaches the end of the tortured clauses. This defeats the purpose, as others have noted, of using the new translation to curb ad libbing.

    Then there are the politics of the translation. ANY liturgical text is political, both in the situation out of which it emerges and in the theological worldview it seeks to impose. Lex orandi, lex credendi—the law of prayer is the law of belief. New translations always reflect pendulum swings. The 1972 missal reflected Vatican II’s swing toward the immanence of God, his presence within the community at work in the world to help bring about the fulfillment of the Kingdom. That in itself was a reaction—necessary and unavoidable for its time. This new translation attempts to redirect the pendulum swing toward God’s transcendence and awe-full majesty, and stresses not this world but the next. Neither emphasis is full or complete, because new translations are by nature overcorrections.

    Instead of wasting time bemoaning the loss of the previous texts or triumphing in their condemnation, we would do better to talk more freely about what the texts say about how we pray and worship, and recognize that they will never say it all. Every human “translation” of the mystery of faith is flawed in some way, and will appeal more to some than to others. My wish is that we could have made of this a more unifying teachable moment, but then that’s always my wish and it’s hardly ever granted. :)

    Personally, on the “chalice” issue, I just let my mind hear the root “calyx,” and think of the simple, light-filled cup that is the calyx of a flower. Adorned with gems or earthen vessel, it’s still a cup.

  46. David J. White says:

    Did Jesus, as a devout Jew, not read the Scriptures an d pray in Hebrew? In Jesus’ time, Hebrew was not the vernacular language of the people, which by that time was Aramaic; rather, by that time Hebrew had become a special language used for sacred, ritual purposes.

  47. IntoTheWest says:

    The sign of peace thing is different from parish to parish. Thank God for Asian Catholics (seriously). Here in SF, we have so many Asian Catholics in most parishes (not just Old St. Mary’s) that very few people shake hands at the sign of peace due to good old fashioned Asian reserve (and germophobia). It’s a polite nod and slight bow and that’s it. No racket, no hugging, kissing, back and forth across the aisles. Such a pleasure.

  48. Okay, David. Let’s switch to Hebrew then. Or even Aramaic.

    If people understanding the Mass and it seeming “real” in their own language (as opposed to throwing in words like “dewfall” and “consubstantial,” two terms that few human beings are likely to use in any context outside of Mass, ever) is not such an important thing, let’s just go all the way. Let’s skip the translation from Latin and we can all take a course in Hebrew. Or Greek. The more original the better, I hear all the Latin-lovers saying. Latin was embraced way, way back because it was the language of the Roman Empire — which was, relatively speaking, just a blip in cosmic time. Let’s go back even farther than that, how about? Who cares if you end up stumbling over the words that are new to you and which seem not at all intuitive when you utter them while worshipping God?

  49. Deacon George says:

    Perhaps it makes no difference but the words “chalice” and “cup” are both part of the new translation.

    I attend Masses at our parish, Masses at several monasteries, along with Masses held in the chapel of one local public association of the faithful. Folks have moved on.

    I grew up in a very fundamentalist tradition and the arguments about some of the words in the liturgy remind me of arguments we used to have. Baptism means immerse, not pour, the early church only sang, they didn’t play instruments, etc., etc. What I have discovered is that you don’t have to be conservative to be a fundamentalist. Fundies come in all theological shapes and sizes.

  50. Catherine says:

    Ah! Of course. Thank you!

  51. Diakonos09 says:

    I like and applaud the translation in the majority of cases (except “chalice”) but it’s the composition that drives me crazy and yes, it is primarily (but not exclusively) in the Collects. The composition seems like a perfect example of a text written by a committee with subgroups assigned to various parts. It also seems like it was put together by someone for whom English is not the first (or perhaps even second) language.

  52. naturgesetz says:


    “Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall …” is how the new translation renders, “Haec ergo dona, quæsumus, Spiritus tui rore sanctifica ….”

    If they had translated it literally, it would have come out, “Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray by the dew of your Spirit …” or some other ordering of those words. Can you imagine what the reaction to “the dew of your Spirit” would have been? First of all, it would have sounded, when spoken aloud in this country, exactly like “the doo of your Spirit,” which would have proviked unfortunate thoughts on the part even of well-meaning congregants. And then what a field day Commonweal and others would have had joking about “the doo-doo of the Spirit.” It was definitely prudent of the translators to rephrase it slightly for the sake of reverence.

    Apparently none of those who object to the word “dewfall” have heard the song “Morning Has Broken,” with its line, “Like the first dewfall on the first grass,” or else they think it’s a stupid line.

    To recover the reference to dew, which is in the official Latin text, but was ignored in the older translation is worthwhile, IMO. The manna the Israelites ate in the desert — a type of the Eucharist — was the product of the dew which fell each night. Less directly connected to the Eucharistic, but still indicative of God’s action, is the story of Gideon’s fleece in Judges 6:36-40, where God promises his support to Gideon by first sending dew on Gideon’s fleece, but not the ground, then on the ground but not the fleece. And then there is the partial quote from Isaiah 45:8 which the Church has used for centuries in Advent to express longing for the Redeemer: “Let justice descend, O heavens, from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth ….” In the ancient Latin Vulgate, which the Church used, the Messianic sense is clearer. “”Rorate, cæli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum [not justitiam]; aperiatur terra, et germinet salvatorem [not salvationem] …;”

    If the priests would explain these things, instead of writing articles to complain, it would be helpful. But even if they don’t, there can still be a subconscious resonance when people have become accustomed to “like the dewfall” in EPII and then they hear these texts on occasion.

  53. it’s still a cup.

    Maybe it would help to consider that the very fact of its use in the institution of the Sacrament has raised a former cup to the dignity of chalice. Its use by the Lord — not our pious elaboration — is what endows it with the higher dignity.

  54. Joanne K McPortland

    Re: translations

    In high school I was privileged to have been taught Latin for four years, three years by a scholar from Italy. It was my favorite subject. She would always critique my translations with the admonition to “not” translate literally but freely, that is, find the essence of the meaning and put it in good English.

    My thoughts (with no “insider information”) is that the ICEL translators were trying to make the English translation correspond to that more literal translation of the Latin Mass that used to be on the right hand pages of the pre-Vatican II Missal. I think that, perhaps, they were trying to establish more unity with the Tridentine (extraordinary form of the Mass).

    The one thing that I would have liked to have seen kept is “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” Now it is, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” But, of course that would have defeated the purpose of going back to the English translation of the Tridentine Mass.

    Some have said that the words are more Scriptural since they come from the passage about the healing of the centurion’s servant: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:8) However, the Scripture words have already been changed in the Tridentine Mass from “my servant” to “my soul” (“alma” in Latin).

  55. Deacon Steve says:

    I had been practicing the deacon’s parts and the other responses for months prior to Advent. I was doing information sessions on the new missal at my parish as the change approached. Even with practice some of the longer prayers and responses don’t flow as smoothly as I would like because they are used only once per week, but it is getting better as I use them more. I do feel for the priests because so much changed for them, but I do see things getting better for them as well.

  56. Is every-day English the goal?

  57. Fiergenholt says:


    You miss the point entirely!

    You are absolutely right. God does not care which language we use when we pray to him in a personal and individual way.

    What this issue is about is the way a specific culture of humans — a community — worships the Lord High God as a community.

    –Common Aramaic was the native human language of Yeshua-ben-Yusef — Jesus of Nazareth. He probably was bi-lingual/bi-cultural (as all Galileans of that time were — See John 12:20-21). The Greek he spoke was “Kione Greek” — the everyday “blue-collar” Greek of that era.

    –He probably personally prayed in Aramaic. If Jesus did pray in Hebrew, it was just as if he was an American Catholic in the 1940′s and 50′s praying in Latin. At his time on earth, Hebrew was a “dead” liturgical language only.

    –All of the books of the New Testament were written in Kione Greek — not Aramaic nor Hebrew.

    –Kione Greek was the initial common language of Christianity. Latin only replaced it in about AD 400 — but it was NOT classical — learned — Latin but everyday blue-collar “VULGAR” Latin. That word is carried over into the “VULGATE” translation. The language of the Holy Bible in Latin from 400 to the present was in a common-everyday-blue-collar dialect.

    I hope that explains why I prefer the Today’s English Version/Good News Translation of the Bible (TEV/GNB). It is far more “common-everyday-blue-collar” than anything used in Catholic liturgies.

    BUT the Catholic Church follows the same theory — sort of. The scriptural readings in the Lectionaries for Children’s Masses are all excerpted from the CEV — the “Common English Version.” That one is even more laid-back than the TEV/GNB.

  58. Midwestlady says:

    Laypeople aren’t that stupid. A lot of them did get on the net and figure it out. If great numbers of them can learn to operate whatever new electronic gadget is the fad of the year, they can figure out a few new words… And they do. I have no idea why a few people are still beating this dead horse.

  59. Midwestlady says:

    Agree. The people in my diocese took to it like a duck to water. They do it perfectly now. It’s no issue here.

  60. Midwestlady says:

    They’re not soldiering on. People here like it. They think it sounds more reverent. And hello: to hear Church is why they go to Church. Obvious, but some people don’t get the obvious, I guess.

  61. Midwestlady says:

    Having an easy-to-understand version that’s been eviscerated of recognizable content is not better than having a slightly more complex version that contains the content.

    For instance, many younger laypeople never connected “I am not worthy….” with the story of the centurion in Scripture. A lot of them were able to do that for the very first time ever after hearing the new translation.

  62. Midwestlady says:

    Amen, Dcn. George.

  63. Midwestlady says:

    Calling laypeople stupid all the time is obnoxious, Dcn. And it’s getting old, old, old. We’re not having trouble with the new translation. It’s a done deal. We like it. I’m wondering who is having trouble with it?

  64. Midwestlady says:


    It just cracks me up that some people just can’t get over the word “dewfall.” What I can’t get over is shaking hands with some guy who blows his nose in his hand, does who knows what in the bathroom, and doesn’t ever wash, about 2 minutes before going up to the front to receive Holy Communion in my newly grubby germ-infested hand. People tell me that that’s cleaner than receiving on the tongue. You know what? I don’t believe it for one minute. Not one.

  65. I received my first holy communion in 1966, on the tongue. Somewhere along the way, Communion in the hand became the ‘norm’. Af the ripe old age of 51 I began receiving on the tongue again — wanting a more reverent way of receiving after 12 years of being an EMHC and fighting to call the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord the ‘bread and wine’ . I will never go back. I love receiving on the tongue and I love the new translation. I encourage people to try it in their own parish! It is OUR LORD. And receiving on the tongue just feels RIGHT.

  66. Laura:
    I heard a priest on a retreat answer a question years ago: “How can I receive the host in my unworthy hands?” He said (and I am paraphrasing) “Perhaps the most unworthy part of your body comes the words from your mouth.”

    For me when I receive the host in my hand, I feel more responsible for the Body of Christ on every level that we understand the “Body of Christ”.

  67. pagansister says:

    A teacher I taught with preferred the Latin Mass and had to go Mass away from her closest Church in order to find it. Not many Catholic churches in the very Catholic area of the Northeast I lived in had Mass in Latin—Spanish and English, not Latin.

  68. HMS: Unfortunately that is a misunderstanding of the use of communion in the hand. Receiving on the tongue is still the norm in the Universal Church. Receiving in the hand was an innovation brought about by dissenters after Vatican II. Seeing this go on without permission, Pope Paul XI said he feared the disobedience would lead to “…both the possibility of a lessening of reverence toward the august sacrament of the altar, its profanation, and the watering down of the true doctrine of the Eucharist” (Memoriale Domini). (Of course it did.) Disobedience continued and then an indult was given bishops in France — that was the beginning of the widespread promulgation of the practice around the world — in disobedience — so much so that people now think it was an change made in the documents of Vatican II! It was not.

    As to the assertion that our mouths are dirtier than our hands. I will simply say, we say and do sinful things with both body parts. We are human and sinful as a result of the fall. That is why Jesus came to earth and gave us a vicar and a church (Happy birthday to us!) — so that we flawed humans can be saved. I for one hope to be a better person, Catholic, Christian, by striving to be obedient to Holy Mother Church. Even these seemingly small things have eternal implications.

  69. Deacon Norb says:


    “Norm” it is not. I have traveled fairly extensively in Canada and in Europe; been “on ceremony” as a deacon at Masses in England, Germany and Poland; attended masses sitting in the pews in Canada, Germany and Italy. Never been to Africa or Asia however. Maybe other folks from those points can chime in with their experiences.

    From my experience in my travels, receiving Holy Eucharist on the tongue is only the “norm” in Poland.

    In fact, I recall way back in the late 1970′s our parish hosted a visiting team of Roman Catholic community leaders from France. This was several years before “Communion in the Hand” was approved here in the United States. Our pastor, the week-end before our visitors arrived, made a point of mentioning at all the Masses that our visitors would be using the “Communion in the Hand” protocol and he and the other clergy in our parish would willingly participate in that practice.

  70. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Those interested can find a good overview of the issue at this link, complete with dates when different countries were granted permission to receive in the hand.


  71. Thank you for the link, Deacon Greg. Very helpful. “Communion-in-the-hand is approved by the Holy See as an option for the United States, and for many other countries, including Italy.”. I stand by my assertion. It is an OPTION. Not the norm. Just because many people do it, does not make it the norm.

  72. No one ever said we were. In fact, in 2001, the Holy See ruled that the Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari (used in the Syriac Tradition by at least 2 Eastern Churches) did not need to use the narrative Words of Institution, as they sufficiently stated that the sacrifice truly was the Body and Blood of Christ, in accordance with Catholic belief. Now, the Chaldeans and Syro-Malabar Catholics generally include the Words of Institution, but the Assyrian Church of the East (yeah I know not in communion, but they often are the only priests around these days in parts of Iraq) doesn’t have to insert the Words of Institution.

  73. My priest chanted it; yes it’s longer, but he loved it.

  74. Um, if it didn’t reflect the Latin, then it didn’t capture the Scripture. Go take a look at the prayer in the 1962 Missale Romanum, and its English translation, the 1970 Missal, and the 2011 Missal. The 1962 and 2011 Missals get it right; the editions used until 2011 are lacking.

  75. People complaining need to check out Father Zuhlsdorf’s blog, WDTPRS? (What does the Prayer Really Say?) He does his own translations and compares them to the 1970 Missal, and the current edition…they usually match much more closely with the 2011 Missal.

  76. Fiergenholt says:


    “I stand by my assertion. It is an OPTION. Not the norm. Just because many people do it, does not make it the norm.”

    OK — stand by your assertion. Your use of the English word “norm” may be the stumbling block here. Most of us everyday folk define “norm” as “normal/ average/ standard/ accepted/ common usage.” You seem to be restricting your use of “norm” on your own to a private definition as to something that is “rubric-defined.”

    Rubrics can and do change — often are different from one culture to another anyway. The GIRM in use here in the United States has many differences with its equivalent text in use in almost any other country in the world.

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