Monday, August 4, 2008

They didn't make the change in the Creed that many expected.

Well, the draft of the English translation from Latin of the "Ordinary of the Mass" (the parts that don't change with feasts and Church time) has been released by the Vatican for review. You can find it in a pdf file on the USCCB web page. Being mostly Catholics read my blog, I assume you all know what USCCB means.

Don't go there yet. I'd like to prepare you for another shock that awaits you. The apparatchiks at the USCCB have formed a "Secretariat of Cultural Diversity" in the Church. Didn't the Commies have Secretariats, too?

Yup I was correct! "Until September 1988, the Secretariat headed the CPSU's central apparatus and was solely responsible for the development and implementation of party policies. The Secretariat also carried political weight because many of its members sat on the Politburo. In 1989 eight members of the Secretariat, including the general secretary of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the CPSU, served as full members of the Politburo." [CPSU for you youngsters means Communist Party of the Soviet Union]. Soviet Union - Secretariat

Now you can go to the USCCB web page and savor the grammar and vocabulary and political correctivity of the Secretariat article.

Immediately beneath the Secretariat article (sigh), is Vatican Approves New English Translation For The Order Of Mass

It's been generally known that "Et cum spiritu tuo", currently translated as "And also with you" will be literally translated as "And with your spirit", as it was in the olden days.

But probably the most irritating words in the current translation of the Creed for some are "for us men." It was thought that the English translation would be changed to "for us", much as the French have done ("pour nous"). But I guess not.

To save you the link, here is the Vatican's new translation of the Creed into English. There's a few big words in it that some of our bishops object to as being too difficult, too.

English translation of The Order of Mass I
© 2006, 2008, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

At the end of the homily, the Symbol or Profession of Faith or Creed, when prescribed, is sung or said:
I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
At the words that follow up to and including and became man, all bow.
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
And one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Getting my personal preferences into print, I'd like to know why the initial letters of pronouns referring to the Father, the Son or the Holy Ghost (Spirit, for you youngsters) are no longer capitalized! Do you suppose if I capitalize them, would that be going against the Vatican, and thus a case of apostasy? I'd prefer to see "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic" capitalized, also, when it comes down to that.


Anonymous said...

'But probably the most irritating words in the current translation of the Creed for some are "for us men."'
I am glad they left this in there. You can tell who the dissenters are when they leave out the word "men" when reciting the creed. Although it is disturbing when the priest does this. Of course, when this happens there are usually other "alterations" of the Mass that are equally disturbing.

Fr. Andrew said...

I had a brief read-through and found it very edifying! I can't wait to start practicing...

Unknown said...

Fr. Andrew:

I like it too. But they could have saved themselves a lot of grief by using "for us" in the Creed.

It's really a problem with the English language.

Here is the entire passage in four languages using the Novus Ordo translation:

Latin: Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis.Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est.

The word for "man" in Latin is "vir." But the word used in the phrase is "homo/hominis" which means human being.

French: Pour nous et pour notre salut il descendit des cieux par le Saint-Esprit il a pris chair de la Vierge Marie et il s'est fait homme.

The French drop the word "men" and just say, "for us."

German: Für uns Menschen und zu unserem Heil, ist er vom Himmel gekommen, hat Fleisch angenommen durch den Heiligen Geist von der Jungfrau Maria und ist Mensch geworden.

In German, rather than use the word "Mann/Maenner" for "men", they use the word "Menschen" which means more like the Latin "hominis", that is "human being."

English: For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

In English "hominis" has been translated as "men" rather than a more literal "humans" or "mankind" or the phrase "for us."

Who made that decision and why it is so rigidly adhered to, I don't know.

Our Word said...


Something I read earlier today - can't remember if it was NLM or Fr. Z - suggested that the use of the word "men" in the Creed was intended to bookend the wonder of the Incarnation - in other words, "For us MEN and for our salvation...He became MAN."

I'm not saying that this is why it was done, merely that this is a suggestion. But if so, it makes a great deal of rhetorical sense. I like the symmetry that the repetition sets up; the cadence and the flow of such rhetorical devices is something that was glaringly missing in the previous translation.


Fr. Andrew said...

You might be linguistically correct, Ray, but for whatever their reasons they chose this translation. From Fr. Z's reporting this is the binding text. Can it be changed, yes, just not by me. I just have a hard time getting worked up over mistakes/errors that I am not in position to amend.

Is there more to why you did such research on this issue? I was surprised at you describing a translation as rigid and being disappointed.

Unknown said...


Thanks. I couldn't find it on a quick skim through Fr. Z or NLM. But no doubt it's elsewhere. And it might make some sense. Why else would they keep it.

I'm more a pragmatic politician (DFL) than a poet, but I do love poetry. The French, who omit "men", may find their poetry in other words. English is a bitch to be poetic in.

And being a pragmatist, results are important.

I still am intimidated by my mind's eye recollection of a visit to St. Kate's one Sunday to attend Mass to hear a friend who was singing in their choir at the time.

I was surrounded by several of the school's senior staff, in "civvies" of course, and when I blurted out "for us men" in the Creed, I shudder at the thought of the glare I received from one of them who was ready to follow up with a punch if I dared do that again.

I can't remember if we acknowledged each other in the "handshake of peace" or not.

Unknown said...

Father Andrew:

That is a fair question.

First of all, I did the research on that question two or three years ago.

Second of all, in many respects I would classify myself as an appeaser, seeking agreement. If getting rid of "men" would bring many feminists back into the fold, I would vote for it.

But I have no problem with any thing that Rome says. I hope and pray that others would feel the same.

I was raised on the Tridentine Mass, I have a Missal, I like the Novus Ordo primarly because I don't need to bring the Missal and I get to hear readings from the Old Testament.

But I understand enough Latin that the Extraordinary Form does not intimidate me and I can sing a bit of Gregorian Chant.

More than anything, the music of the Novus Ordo Mass really turns me off.

I was at a Polka Mass last Sunday. The second time in my life. The first time 15 years ago, Superior, WI, or so was awful. I am half Polish.

This one, at St Anthony of Padua in northeast Minneapolis, was very nice. The six piece ensemble was very Catholic and very proficient. Their selections, "The Angelus", "Beloved Mother", "Chapel in the Valley", "We Offer Bread and Wine", "Let the Sun Shine In", At This Sacrifice", "Under the Skies of Blue", "Adio", and "God Bless America" were far better than most selections I hear at Novus Ordo Masses. Mostly, they were waltzes, not polkas.

I wouldn't go to one more than a time or two a year, but I don't see any problem with them done for special occasions, if done well.

Fr. Andrew said...

I wasn't calling you "Lit Cred" into doubt, just curious as it seemed a strong reaction. Maybe I was insulated a bit as I knew professors who were helping their bishops with this effort.

I certainly understand the conciliatory effort and am more inclined that way myself.

The text really is kicking. I do enjoy "dewfall" in the second canon.

Craig Berry said...

Looking forward to the changes...I agree with an earlier poster that it is edifying...however...

Maybe it's a deficiency in the English language but it doesn't seem to roll off the tongue quite as well. That could just be that it's new...and accuracy is far more important than 'aesthetics'...I'm just saying. Perhaps once it's approved by the Vatican, the Holy Spirit will dispose us to a (currently hidden) greater beauty. topic a bit...

The Apostles Creed...the origin story has always amazed me...

From The Catholic Encyclopedia:

Origin of the creed

Throughout the Middle Ages it was generally believed that the Apostles, on the day of Pentecost, while still under the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost, composed our present Creed between them, each of the Apostles contributing one of the twelve articles. This legend dates back to the sixth century (see Pseudo-Augustine in Migne, P.L., XXXIX, 2189, and Pirminius, ibid., LXXXIX, 1034), and it is foreshadowed still earlier in a sermon attributed to St. Ambrose (Migne, P.L., XVII, 671; Kattenbusch, I, 81), which takes notice that the Creed was "pieced together by twelve separate workmen".

The Ironic Catholic said...

Ray, I'm with you on the "for us men" translation. It's an English problem; many other languages would grammatically handle it better. I honestly think it comes off as stubborn and a tad mean-spirited (take that, you feminists! Even if you're actually right about this particular single solitary point). Is the meaning really hurt by translating "for us"? And if so, how???

Then again, this is all over the catechism too.

The rest of it--I can either live with it or I like it. Dewfall is growing on me.

Anonymous said...

Yes, English is problematic when making reference to the set of creatures home sapiens. However, practice and context do clarify what is referenced in the use of the word.

In the context of the Creed it is clear that "for us men" is equivalent to "for us humans", and "became man" is equivalent to "became human". Why was it not rendered as "for us humans" and "became human"? Probably because they are not common usage. Perhaps one day they will become common usage, but currently they are not. Until they do become current usage (outside the liturgy) the historical usages stand as common.

Go take a look at and lookup the word "man". You will see the following:

1. an adult male person, as distinguished from a boy or a woman.
2. a member of the species Homo sapiens or all the members of this species collectively, without regard to sex: prehistoric man.
3. the human individual as representing the species, without reference to sex; the human race; humankind: Man hopes for peace, but prepares for war.
4. a human being; person: to give a man a chance; When the audience smelled the smoke, it was every man for himself.
[additional number entries snipped]

That should clearly indicate that "man" for "human" is a pretty save usage. Can this change? Yes, English is a dynamic language. Should it change? Not for any reason of language, only for reasons of politics could the case be made to change. To make such a change for politics could be argued as the enslavement of language to ideology. Rather, any change must be organic rather than decreed processes.

Can the Vatican be called misogynistic for their insistence on the use men and man? Certainly not in this case, rather they insist on common usage.

With regards to Latin...

The use of "homo" to mean "human person" and "vir" to mean "adult male person" was true in literary Latin they merged in Vulgar Latin such that "homo" satisfied both definitions. A similar merge exists in other languages, for example the Slavic languages.

Clearly mankind used to be much more adept at geography spanning misogynistic conspiracies.

Unknown said...

Good comment, Sam.

Well thought out and put together well.

Nobody could disagree with it. . .

except a feminist with an agenda.

Anonymous said...

Agreed Ray, only a feminist with an agenda would disagree. Thus showing their enslavement to an ideology - their gleaming, precious false idol. To give in to the pressure to satisfy their ideological predilections is to become slaves to their false idol.

Something each of us must consider when "giving in" to another "point-of-view." What will we lose in the process?

That isn't to say a good argument can't or shouldn't change they way people see through an issue, but before bowing to an argument everyone should be aware of what they will be giving up in the process.

What do we give up in bowing to the feminist ideology?