Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

27 November 2011

Once Removed--but not Retracted

The author of "Whispers in the Loggia," a fine blog, invited his readers to comment upon their first experience of the new translation of the Mass.  I responded and my post was accepted.  Eagerly I checked the post, only to notice an egregious error.  Below is the amended post, currently listed as "removed by the author" because, in my neurosis, I couldn't stand to see my error in print:

If the reigning Archbishop of Philadelphia has likened his appointment to that see as an "arranged marriage," I feel free to use the same analogy with respect to the new translation of the Mass. Were I ordained in 1953 or 1973 rather than 2003--for that matter, were I born in 1926 or 1946 rather than 1976--no less would I be "in persona Christi capitis et sponsi [the original read, "sponsae," which would have rendered the Christ feminine]" and no less would I be willing to pray the Mass entrusted to me, no matter how I felt about its vocabulary and syntax.

As of last night's vigil Mass I have entered into a covenant with this text, like a young widower who has remarried. At times, lamentably, my execution of the last text became stale, and it may very well, at times, happen with this one. Thus for a human instrument! I shall capitalize upon the newness for the present.
If Mr. Palmo refuses to accept the amended comment, I should not blame him.  He has enough to worry about; I don't.  Furthermore, he asked about the reader's perspective, from wherever he or she sits, stands, and kneels.

My perspective, as celebrant at Holy Guardian Angels' 6pm Vigil and 10am?  As well as could be expected.  The signature phrase, "And with your spirit," was not rendered uniformly--nor were most of the other changes--but we'll get there.

It definitely is different.  Most of us are not accustomed to praying to God in that verbiage.  I'm not.  Whenever I use highfalutin words in personal prayer--as I am accustomed to use in formal writing--I sometimes imagine God telling me to knock it off.  But here's the thing: the Mass is formal.  It is the Church's preeminent modus orandi as Persons-in-Communion.  Entering into the sacred Mysteries, we depart earth and enter the Heavenly Sanctuary.  The Eastern Christian Churches portray this with the use of, for example, the iconostasis (icon screen).  Their liturgical language expresses the Inexpressible for who and what He is--which our translation, many have opined, failed to do.  Until now.

Americans, humans, that we are, we will all have opinions.  Thanks to the blogosphere, none need remain unpublished.  Amen, the days will come when all will be Truth and the many opinions will suddenly, in a flash, be so much straw.

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