Liturgy translation (letter)

Liturgy translation (letter)

Jack R. Nyman

I note that some liturgical formulae in the Mass may be returned to their original forms. I welcome the restoration of the response "And with thy spirit" and the removal of the former barbaric mistranslation of "Et cum spiritu tuo" as "And also with you".

May we also have done with the total mistranslation "from east to west" in the third canon? The literal translation of the Latin is "from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same." I would settle for "from the rising to the setting of the sun." Not only are these barbarisms bad mistranslations, but the second conceals the beautiful meaning of the continual, worldwide celebration of the Mass.

While the restorers are at work, may we again have the nine-fold Kyrie? I cannot see why the earlier meddlers changed it to the six-fold Kyrie, except that perhaps they wished to remove the possibility of the use of some of the ancient musical settings of the Mass.

However, I am alarmed at the thought that they may restore "I believe" for the present "We believe" in the Nicene Creed. There are good reasons for the plural form. The Nicene Creed, which summarised the true faith at the Council of Nicaea, begins with "We believe" (Greek pistenomen) and not "I believe" (pisteuo). The Creed was originally in Greek and was intended for bishops, not for the laity. After the accession of Charles the Great (Charlemagne) in the late 8th century, the practice of reciting the Nicene Creed at Mass was generally introduced.

I suspect that the Latin form of the Nicene Creed was changed to the singular in the High Middle Ages when Nominalism became dominant. Nominalism holds that only the individual is real and it caused the doctrine of the Church as a community to decline. The old doctrine was replaced by an emphasis on personal piety and devotion. I suspect that the Latin version of the Nicene Creed was then changed to fit in with the new spirituality by altering "credimus" to "credo."

The Apostles' Creed, which is based on an old Roman creed and which we know existed before 400AD, always had the "I" form because it was derived from the giving of the Faith to each individual person at Baptism.

What a shame if the present revisions rejected the advance inspired by Vatican II by reverting to a medieval error.

Wallsend, NSW

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