Letters: On the rite
RJ Ryan (Classical Latin? Letters CW 27/7) is in error on several counts regarding the Latin of the so-called Tridentine rite and the rite itself.
The Roman Missal of St Pius V (the Tridentine Missal) published in 1570 was a conservative reform of the immemorial Roman rite, much of which was in place during or before the Pontificate of Pope St Gregory the Great (590-604).
The medieval Western rites such as the Dominican, Carmelite and Carthusian rites and, in England, the pre-Reformation Usage of Sarum (Salisbury) were simply local variants of the Roman rite and certainly not “in some cases older and more significant”. The Ambrosian rite of Milan is an exception.
The Latin of the Missal of 1570 is the Patristic Latin of St Cyprian (3rd Century), Popes St Leo the Great and St Gelasius (5th Century) and St Gregory (6th Century), not “proto-Italian”.
The translation of the Psalms most often found in the 1570 Missal (e.g. in the Introits and Graduals) is an Old Latin version which pre-dates any of St Jerome’s three major Latin translations - his Roman Psalter, a revision of the Old Latin version, his Gallican Psalter, a new translation of the Greek, and his ‘Hebrew’ Psalter, a direct translation from the Hebrew text of the Psalms.
The new Latin Mass and Lectionary and the new Latin Breviary (Liturgy of the Hours) introduced from 1969 onwards employ the Neo-Vulgate - a careful revision of St Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Bible in the light of the best modern textual evidence.
St Jerome’s “dreadful translation” of the Psalms, RJ Ryan (Classical Latin? Letters, CW 27/7) seems not to be aware of the terms of reference under which St Jerome worked.
He himself was far from satisfied with this recension and made a fresh translation from the Hebrew. Through no evident fault of his, this translation was not generally adopted liturgically. (The reader will find it in the Clementine Vulgate.)
Further, Pius XII had ordered a new recension which was published in 1945 and approved for liturgical use; however, given the time at which it appeared it, like St Jerome’s second version, did not succeed in establishing itself.
This version may also be found in contemporary editions of the Clementine Vulgate; and, in the 1950s, it was readily available in pocket-size format, accompanied by Mons Ronald Knox’s translation.
To condemn the Latin of the Tridentine Mass simply on the evidence of the Psalms is to overlook the strength and beauty of the Leonine Collects which, for brevity, balance, pungency and theological depth, are models of their kind.
Again, the Roman Canon cannot be dismissed at “proto-Italian”. On the contrary, its phrasing and cadences reflect the best rules of Latin oratory.
Finally, has RJ Ryan ever studied (and relished) the beauty, the magnificence and verbal harmonies of the Te Deum, a work of early 5th century origin and so beautiful that it was attributed to the St Ambrose whom RJ Ryan commends?
Br Christian Moe FSC
In Neocatechumenate priest for Redfern (CW 27/7), Fr Bob Irwin, provincial of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, is quoted as saying that he asked the MSC priest at Redfern to withdraw because he had been “placed in an intolerable position that is most unreasonable for any parish priest”.
As a member of the community at Redfern parish, I would like to say that there is always the other side of the story.
The community at St Vincent’s was also “placed in an intolerable position that was most unreasonable” for any parish community.
Sr Sheila Quonoey PBVM
People who complain about the cost when they are searching for the person that they think God wants them to marry, like the person who said $4000 for an airfare to the US is a lot to pay to meet someone for coffee (Checking to see if Mr Right’s in site, CW 27/7), should ask themselves: Am I putting obstacles in God’s way to finding the partner that he has made for me?
Marriage is a vocation. Yes. That word is often associated with religious life and the priestly vocation, but marriage is a vocation.
The common complaint I have found is that there is no one out there who is like-minded, or, if they are, they are too old/young, too career minded, too set in their ‘single’ life ways, etc.
Internet dating services are not for everyone and it also may not be how you eventually find your partner - someone I know literally travelled the world to find her husband, only to find him in her Bible study group - but I challenge you to consider if God would like you to try other means to find your match.