Sunday, 25 September 2011

And With Your Spirit

Back to Mass for the first time since the new translation came into use, I am struck by the extent to which, apart from the absence of thou/thee/thy/thine, parts of it closely resemble the Book of Common Prayer. This is especially true of the Gloria, parts of the Creed, and of course the response "And with your spirit".

Although it is probably too late to do anything about it now, vernacular liturgy would have been much better gone about by reference to those Protestants who were in the 1960s maintaining in the vernacular something approaching the classical liturgical life of the Western Tradition. Instead, it was the decision of Catholics to render the Sacred Liturgy into the language of the public house and the betting shop that moved Anglicans and Lutherans to do likewise, not without bitter resistance and significant loss of attendance. They copied us once, though not very happily, because they felt that it was ecumenical to do so. To far more edifying effect, will they now do so again?

Useful though the Jerusalem Bible’s footnotes are, the text itself is awful. The Revised Standard Version is preferred by all sensible people, and certainly not the New Revised Standard Version with the masculine pronouns taken out to the ruination of the sense; if the Bible is that bad, then why use it at all? At least until such time as anyone has the wit to reissue the RSV Edition of the Missal, authorisation of which has never been withdrawn, those reading at Mass (or, of course, on other liturgical occasions) should read out the appointed passage from the superlative Ignatius Bible, which no English-speaking Catholic should be without. Nothing could better accompany the move to a more accurate translation of the Mass, suitable for properly educated people. It must be said that if those entering the Catholic Church under the aegis of the Ordinariate were everything that they are held up as being, then the RSV Missal would never have gone out of print.


  1. No link to the book in which much of this is one of any number of brilliant passages? Loving it, by the way. Giving it to several peopel for Christmas, including three who are very highly placed, one of them in Rome.

  2. You are very kind.

    I am receiving a lot of requests for review copies from people raving about it because they have already read it, i.e., they already own it. But they still want review copies. Very odd, but there we are.

  3. I think you'll find that the RSV is used at Ordinariate masses.

    And the Ordinariate liturgy (whose publication is reported to be imminent) uses thee/thou English.

  4. Which any of the Ordinariate priests below retirement age has never used in his life, having insisted on the Modern Roman Rite for as long as there has been such a thing, which is as long as he can have been in public ministry.

  5. "Which any of the Ordinariate priests below retirement age has never used in his life ..."

    As they did when they were rebellious Anglicans. Now they are obedient Catholics, they will do as the Ordinary tells them.