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Contemporary Lord’s Prayer forbidden

I recently received the Prayers of the Mass, the RC NZ mini-sacramentary from Pentecost to Advent this year. Regular readers here will know that the NZ RC church has kept putting off introducing the full new English Mass translation. Last it was going to have been introduced by now. Currently it has been pushed further back to Advent.

This latest sacramentary I’ve just received has both the Elizabethan-language Lord’s Prayer (“Our Father, who art…”) and the contemporary, ecumenical, international English one (“Our Father in heaven…”)

The recent announcement of the Vatican’s “recognitio” includes:

The ICET text of the Our Father was not among the texts given recognitio. This means that all English-speaking countries will now use the same text of the Our Father. The ICET text of the Our Father will still be able to be used in devotions outside the Mass, for example, in the Rosary.

I’ll just translate the Vatican-speak: the contemporary Lord’s Prayer is now forbidden. This means that this English Mass translation is now completely in contemporary English except for the Lord’s Prayer. (OK the discussion about of some the translation being English as is it the never spoke – but that another issue is …)

Of interest is that after the liturgical embolism (“Deliver us, Lord,…coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”) it continues in contemporary English, “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever.” rather than consistently, “For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.”

My Lord’s Prayer gift to the Vatican appears to be strenuously ignored πŸ˜‰

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20 Responses to Contemporary Lord’s Prayer forbidden

  1. To be honest with you, I wouldn’t even be able to recite the contemporary version of the Lord’s Prayer without actually reading it; however, I can recite the ‘Elizabethan language’ Lord’s Prayer from memory. And honestly, I prefer it over the contemporary.

    But then again, I also prefer ‘And with *thy* spirit’ as opposed to ‘And with *your* spirit’. Maybe I’m just weird that way…

  2. As I understand it, the contemporary version was put into use without the permission of the Holy See. Having NZ brought back into the international Catholic fold is a good thing.

    • Are you suggesting, Lucia, that the individual recognition of each different English translation by each separate Bishops’ Conference is actually a pretence, and there is really only one international English translation that all the different Bishops’ Conferences are “presenting” to the Vatican for recognition? πŸ˜‰

        • OK, Lucia, so the different English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences are each separately presenting a different translation to the Vatican for recognition.

          Can you give an example of some differences please?

          And also: does having these differences not go against your comment that linguistically there is an “international Catholic fold”?

  3. I’m a bit confused on how I feel about all this. (We’re not starting in the US until Advent either.)

    1) On one hand, I don’t care for change to the familiar words, in general.

    2) On the other hand, I recognize that’s just my feeling and I know that I’ll adapt to whatever is there.

    3) On the other other hand, I personally would feel more comfortable with, hence prefer, the Latin over an English translation.

    4) On the third-other hand, that again is me, and I don’t really know what would be best for the English-speaking Church in general.

    So I’m not quite sure where that leaves me. :-/

    • Matt, on lots of issues I end up like you, holding together lots of different perspectives. I like to pretend there’s an element of Christian maturity in being able to see and listen to a variety of perspectives πŸ™‚

  4. One might give thanks that it is in English and not in Latin!

    This desire to go backwards in language (archaic Lord’s prayer, Latin mass) is extraordinary. For me – an outsider – it raises questions about a hesitancy in the midst of many signs of a confident faith in the 21st century.

    If there is a hesitancy about present day language, is there also a hesitancy about the power of the Incarnate One to be fully present in every age, including this crazy one?

    • Thanks, Peter. I think your point is such an important one about the incarnation of the Divine able to be present in the fully human – including our ordinary, everyday language. Your point is worth much reflection.

  5. All,

    I have a few different unrelated thoughts here.

    Has anyone pointed out to the Vatican that the text the Lord’s Prayer is taken from was originally written in Greek and not Latin and so we should be translating that instead … :0)
    Jesus also would have originally said it in Aramaic, which makes the Latin a translation of a translation and so errors have probably crept in.

    Actually I’ve heard some beautiful versions of the prayer when it has been translated from English into other languages and then back to English – only last week I heard this done using the local Australian Aboriginal language.

    In the (Anglican) Diocese I am currently in, the Archbishop invites everyone to say it in their native language when we pray it together at church (including Holy Communion services).

    As a result of this I tend to use the old language – except I say “sins” instead of “trespasses”, and as I don’t like the current “save us from the time of trial” (the old “lead us not into temptation (which I also do not like)) I tend to say “aid us in the time of weakness” which to me is more correct that the other two options (no, I am not an expert in Theology).

    Finally, I find the concept that to some, the exact wording of the services is an important mission of the church, very .. umm .. sad.

    Dave :0)

    • Dave, your point certainly applies in New Zealand – it will be interesting when the Vatican gives its recognition to the Maori translation (I’m not sure how they do this – I don’t expect there’s a lot of fluent Maori-Latin speakers in the Vatican). Just for starters, the Maori is “Matua” – “Parent”. I’ll be interested to know if one can switch between languages – using the Maori Lord’s Prayer in a predominantly-English Mass (Latin and Greek are allowed – encouraged).

  6. As an Anglican I happily can switch between versions – and (being a Londoner) I have been to services where everyone uses their own language version.
    By the sound of it we should all strictly be using the Greek – but would Jesus have actually spoken the original words in Aramaic?
    I often wonder what He would make of most of our services.

    • Thanks, Sue. I also have no difficulty whatsoever switching between English versions from memory. I’m very comfortable from memory in Greek and Maori also, and some other modern languages. Aramaic – sadly, not. Had you spotted this? As to what Jesus would make of our services, church life, world…

  7. Hi, Bosco. I can’t resist pointing out, as devil’s advocate, that the retention of the familiar wording of the Lord’s Prayer actually follows the lead of the Latin missal, which retains the traditional Latin wording.

    Admittedly, only one lemma gives this away: “Give us this day our daily bread” is, in the approved Latin text, Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie. But in both Jerome’s Vulgate and the Catholic Church’s modern text, the Nova Vulgata (to Jerome what the RSV is to King James), the text is Panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie (Matt. 6:11; the source of the liturgical version is Matthew, not Luke).

    How daring it would have been to insert the (Neo-)Vulgate’s reading in the revised missal! It reminds me of the CofE’s 1968 suggestion to ICET, “Give us today the bread of life” (Colin Buchanan, An Evangelical Among the Anglican Liturgists, p. 22). The Vulgate certainly gives some room for the many shades of meaning that have been attributed to epiousios.

    But no, it’s panem cotidianum, “daily bread”. This is the Vetus Latina (“Old Latin”, pre-Jerome) rendering quoted by the Fathers and preserved in the Latin liturgy. Its ubiquity led to contaminations in not a few manuscripts of the Vulgate.

    In short, the revised Roman Missal preserves a traditional Latin text for the Lord’s Prayer, hallowed by generations of use. And so does the new translation. (And as for the doxology, this of course is a recent intrusion in the Catholic liturgy, so there is no “traditional” wording to be preserved.)

    I haven’t checked to see if this phenomenon can be observed elsewhere in the Missale Romanum editio typica tertia, nor indeed in the new English translation. I don’t have a strong personal preference either way! (My last parish used the “new” translation; my current one uses the old; and in my private prayers I also use both 1662 “which art… them that…” and the traditional Latin.) But let’s be fair to Vox Clara: the Latin original invited a traditional English version. πŸ™‚

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