April 23, 2007

I'll post it again: "Banish one of the mysteries of faith!"

The Missale Romanum is the Latin book of prayers (and some readings) that priests use in the celebration of the Mass. The English translation of it that we use in the United States is called The Sacramentary.

At every Mass, after the consecration of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, the priest is to say,
Mysterium fidei, “The mystery of faith.”
The people then respond.
In the Missale Romanum, the first option for their response is,
Mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine, et tuam resurrectionem confitemur, donec venias,
“We announce your death, O Lord, and we confess your resurrection, until you come.”
[Note. Before Vatican Council II, these words were part of what the priest alone said as part of the consecration of the wine into the Blood of Christ, and the people made no acclamation after the consecration.]

The Missale Romanum offers two other options for the people to use, but these appear in the Appendix towards the back of the book.
They are listed in the following numbered order.
1. Mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine, et tuam resurrectionem confitemur, donec venias. (Already translated above)

2. Quotiescumque manducamus panem hunc et calicem bibimus, mortem tuam annuntiamus, Domine, donec venias. “Each time we eat this bread and drink this chalice, we announce your death, O Lord, until you come.”

3. Salvator mundi, salva nos, qui per crucem et resurrectionem tuam liberasti nos. “Savior of the world, save us, you who by your cross and resurrection have freed us.”
In all the options the Missale Romanum offers, the people speak directly to Christ himself.

However, things are not so in The Sacramentary of the U.S.A.

The first option to appear in The Sacramentary is,
“Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”
It receives emphasis by being listed as the first option (“A”) out of four, and by being the only one printed with a musical setting (unless one turns to one of the appendices in the back of the book, and finds all four of the options set to music there).
Option A, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”, is a failure in several ways.
It fails completely to be a translation of any of the options the Missale Romanum provides; rather it is simply an invention.
It prevents the people from speaking directly TO Christ himself. Instead, they are speaking ABOUT Christ. To whom are the people speaking when this option is used? To themselves? To each other? To the priest? To non-Catholics? To non-Christians? No one really knows.

That is the so-called “mystery of faith” that needs to be banished. It simply is a failure.

What about the other options in The Sacramentary?
B. Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.

C. When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.

D. Lord, by your cross and resurrection you have set us free. You are the Savior of the world.
Notice that not one of them is a translation of the first option of the Missale Romanum.
The closest is “B”, which manages to contain the themes of Option 1 from the Missale Romanum, but is really not a translation of it.
Option 1 of the Missale Romanum is simply missing from the translations or options appearing in The Sacramentary.

Option C in The Sacramentary is acceptable as a translation of Option 2 from the Missale Romanum.

Option D in The Sacramentary is a PARTIAL translation of Option 3 from the Missale Romanum.
What’s missing is the people’s request, “Save us!”— salva nos.
The one advantage of Option D is that its first word immediately makes it clear that we are speaking directly to Christ.
“LORD, by your cross and resurrection you have set us free. You are the Savior of the world.”

Are you a music director? Banish Option A!

In Masses without singing, I always lead the congregation into Option D.


4 Comments:

Anonymous cjmr said...

We usually do C or D at spoken Masses. Sometimes A. I haven't figured out if there is a pattern to when we do which.

Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be banishing A at Sunday Mass any time soon. Maybe if it isn't in the new translation...

9:51 AM  
Blogger beez said...

It wasn't in the new translation I saw recently...

10:08 AM  
Blogger Gregory said...

I'm a convert from a denomination that used the 1979 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (BCP). "Christ has died..." is the acclamation for Rite II Prayer A in the BCP, so I wonder if the producers of the American Sacramentary put in Option A as an ecumenical move. That is no excuse for adding to what is supposed to be a translation of an authoritative source, but it might be an explanation of where it came from.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I have read that "A" is not a translation at all, but an acknowledged and copyrighted original composition by the ICEL.

The ICEL had/has no authority to produce original compositions.

11:37 AM  

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