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Online Edition - Vol. VIII, No. 2: April 2002

About Letters to the Editor

READERS' FORUM

Readers' Forum -- the lively "Letters to the Editor" of the Adoremus Bulletin provides a forum for exchange of ideas, comment and information on the sacred liturgy -- but the letters column is not published online. (See below for a sample letter and response from the current issue)

If you are reading the Adoremus Bulletin in the "online edition" only, you are missing one of the most popular and useful features of the journal. To become a member of Adoremus -- and receive the "hard-copy" edition, including the "Readers Forum", see Membership page.

We are grateful for your letters. While we read every letter, we get so many that it is impossible to answer or publish all of them. In selecting those to appear in "Readers Forum", preference will be given to subjects of widest interest. Letters should be 250 words or fewer, preferably typed. They may be e-mailed. Please include your name, address, city and state (which may be withheld on request). If a letter refers to a previous issue of AB, please include the date of that issue and name of article. All letters may be edited for publication. Be sure to indicate clearly if your letter is NOT intended for publication.

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Letters in the April 2002 Adoremus Bulletin:

Neo-Vulgate and Liturgiam authenticam - Pins and Needles - Speaking the truth in love - Unauthorized Memorial Acclamations - Feminizing the Holy Spirit - Background music -- again - Kneeling and clapping - Silence at Mass - Do rules have no authority? - "Reconcilation rooms" required? - Words and tunes - English "Gloria" found wanting (appears below)

Letter:

English "Gloria" found wanting

I know that you are fully aware of the poor and compromising translation of the Gloria that we are saying week after week.

In the ICEL translation, the praise and worship ("we worship you, we give you thanks") is addressed to the Father only; not to Jesus Christ, who is mentioned after this litany.

In the original Latin and in the translation of older Missals, however, these prayers of praise and worship are addressed to the Father and the Son equally, together. Both the Father and the Son are God.

The ICEL Gloria translation separates Jesus from these prayers of praise and worship.

I would give ICEL an "F" on this translation. I think it undermines the Divinity of Jesus Christ -- not acknowledging Him to be God.

Agnes Commack
Leesburg, Virginia

Response:

This translation of the Gloria is that of the ecumenical group, the International Consultation on English Texts (ICET) - as is the current translation of the Nicene Creed. (ICET, which ICEL helped to found in 1964, is now the English Language Liturgical Consultation [ELLC]). These ecumenical translations, produced in the late 1960s, were incorporated into the 1973 ICEL version of the Missal we have been using ever since.

As you observe, the word order is changed in this version, placing the "Rex Caelestis" (Heavenly King) and "Deus Pater ominpotens" (Almighty God and Father) before the "Laudamus te", etc.

The change does emphasize that this part of the Gloria is addressed to the First Person of the Trinity, as are the Eucharistic Prayer, the Collects, and most other prayers of the Mass -- through the Son and the Holy Spirit. This does not diminish the Son, however. The Three Persons of the Trinity, of course, are inseparable.

The difference in punctuation in the three versions that follow is interesting. (Originally, Latin was not punctuated.) You will see that the second part of the Gloria -- the petition for mercy -- is addressed primarily to the Son, ("with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father"), as is the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and the "Christ have mercy" of the Kyrie.

Many have criticized the inaccurate translation of "in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis" as "peace to His people on earth".

ICEL/ICET:
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth.

Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us....

1964 Roman Missal:
Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace to men of good will.
We praise you.
We bless you.
We adore you.
We glorify you.
We give you thanks for your great glory.
O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.
O Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son.
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.
You, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us....

(Though other texts are in Latin in this short-lived version of the Roman Missal, the Gloria is in English.)

Roman Missal (1970):

Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.

Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te, gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam, Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.

Domine Fili unigenite, Iesu Christe, Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis...

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