And With Your Spirit

Oh, happy day! After 35 years of the sleepy and uninspiring English translations of the Latin Mass, it seems we are finally on a path to correct the language and allow the liturgy to have a bit of poetry and supernatural inflection!

William Oddie (wonderful name) gives us the latest in the UK Spectator as he wonders Whose Rite is it, Anyway.

It seems John Paul II is serious about correcting the prayers and responses of the liturgy, although he is – predictably – encountering resistance from the usual suspects. If some of these bishops could put aside their egos and agendas and think first of the people in the pew, perhaps we would no longer have to endure language that has no depth, no heighth, no breadth, perhaps we would be allowed to remember that there are things ‘seen and unseen’ and that there are things ‘holy’ and ‘unholy’ – ideas which are still true within the church but largely untaught and de-emphasized.

I was young but I remember the initial translations to English, which came out around 1968, and they weren’t that bad. When the priest said, “The Lord be with you!” we would respond, “And with your spirit!”, rather than, “And also with you.” To this day I still catch myself saying not, “Lord, I am not worthy to recieve you, but only say the word and I shall be healed,” as is proscribed but the much more meaningful, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof; speak but the word, and my soul shall be healed.” The newer translations lack nuance, a sense of time, space, proportion.

I rejoice to think we may see these translations corrected in my lifetime. Perhaps – perhaps – we will also be permitted to once again chant our responses a bit, as the documents of the Second Vatican Council urged us to continue to do. It would be such a relief (and a nice change) to be able to intone the music and hyms that inspired us for 2000 years once in a while, instead of having to endure – unendingly – the campground-like, dumbed down music we’ve been fed for the last thirty years. Dare we dream?

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