More on Mass changes

6 Responses

  1. David says:

    “Look, we pray, upon the oblation of your Church and, recognising the Victim by whose death you willed to reconcile us to yourself”

    Could Bishop Risi explain why we need such tortuous and contrived English constructions in the first place and how these can aid the prayer of English and non-English speakers alike.

  2. Martin Keenan says:

    Let’s start with the word “oblation” which has an honoured place in Catholic culture.

    Bishop Risi belongs to a world-wide religious congregation called “The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate”, and in South Frica there are also Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, and Oblate Sisters of St. Francis de Sales. Benedictine tertiaries are known as Oblates of the Order of St. Benedict.

    In Story of a Soul (autobiographical essays by St. Thrse de Lisieux) we find her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love. When we make a gift of goods or money for some pious purpose, it is an offering. When we offer ourselves, it is an oblation an entire giving of self.

    We need to re-acquaint ourselves with the concept of “oblation”.

  3. Martin Keenan says:

    As for the grammatical construction of the prayer, in the new translation it comprises two requests (in the old version there were three):-

    (1) look, we pray, upon the oblation of your Church and
    (2) grant that we . . . may become one body, one spirit in Christ

    The first is in simple form and requires no further treatment. But the second is complex, because the main verb grant is framed by two subordinate constructions [recognising X, grant that we who are A and B, may become C].

    The construction which follows the word grant takes substantially the same form in the new translation as it did in the old version and raises no grammatical issues. Compare:

    old version [grant that we, who are A, may be B and become C];
    new translation [grant that we who are A and B, may become C].

    The only structural novelty in the prayer, therefore, arises in the participial phrase which precedes the word grant. Broken into its elements, it reads:

    recognizing the Victim || by whose death || you willed || to reconcile us to yourself .


    old version [A, whose P has Qd us];
    new translation [A, by whose P you willed to Q us]

    The construction [willed + infinitive with to] is unusual, but that hardly justifies a complaint that the prayer (in whole or part) is tortuous and contrived. The economy of salvation is the deliberate working out of Gods will and plan for us, and it is salutary to have this truth impressed on us.

  4. Martin, your comment about Catholic culture, if to be taken seriously, needs to be fleshed out.

    Whose Catholic culture, which era, which country gave birth to this Catholic culture you so glibly parade as a flag in an issue which affects the spiritual and religious lives of so many?

    Furthermore, why should we HAVE to reacquaint ourselves with any concept that does not bring us closer to the God of our understanding?

    Your response under (3) promotes the need for ordinary people to become schooled in the language of science, (genetics), not philosophy, in order to pray effectively to the God who deemed us so valuable that the Christ not only incarnated from the same dust as humanity but died to show us how almightily beloved we are of God.

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