Hewing to Latin roots, Church orders return to old-style 'Our Father'

The Church is going back to the Lord's Prayer from the days of Shakespeare. Starting December 2, 2012, the first Sunday of the Advent, Filipino Catholic faithful will return to reciting the 16th century English version of "Our Father" as ordered by the Vatican.

Our Father, Who art in heaven Hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

This was after the Catholic Church decided to implement the new English translation of the Roman Missal, the book that contains the prayers and instructions for the liturgical celebration. The Roman Missal was revised to make it more faithful to the original Latin text.

Vatican’s Ratio Translationis for the English Language, which outlined the specific rules for translation of Roman Missal in English, stated that the unique style in which the prayers of the Roman Rite are expressed should be maintained in translation.

“The principal elements of such a style include a certain conciseness in addressing, praising and entreating God, as well as distinctive syntactical patterns, a noble tone, a variety of less complex rhetorical devices, concreteness of images, repetition, parallelism and rhythm as measured through the cursus, or ancient standards for stressing syllables of Latin words in prose or poetry,” it stated.

Father Anscar Chupungco, OSB, said in his "Primer on the New English Roman Missal" that the new English translation is much more literal than the previous translation.

“The chief aim of literal translation is fidelity to the individual words and phrases and even word order of the Latin text,” he said. “In consequence, the new translation may sound unfamiliar in several instances, but as the Instruction has explained, this setback will be resolved through catechesis.”

Chupungco said people may initially feel uneasy with the new wordings, but “as time goes by the clergy and faithful will get used to them and the uneasiness will disappear.” Here is a table of comparison of the present responses in Masses and the new responses: Source: Saint John Bosco Parish Church website

In the Philippines, different dioceses have started using the revisions in the Roman Missal as early as February.

In June, the Archdiocese of Manila, for example, started replacing the response “and also with you” with “and with your Spirit” in the greeting, gospel, preface and final blessing parts of the Mass.

Changes in the penitential part of the Mass started in July, followed by changes in Gloria in August, in Nicene and Apostles’s Creed in September, in Mystery of Faith in October, and invitation to communion in November. Here is a copy of the new Order of Mass: Source: Saint John Bosco Parish Church website

In the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, parishes started using the new English version of the Lord’s Prayer in February.

Chupungco said that since the mandate of the revised English version is to translate everything literally with no additions or subtractions, “priests are not allowed to paraphrase the texts, much less improvise them, or to add or omit rubrical directives.” The return to prayers that hew closer to the literal translations from the original Latin is part of a Vatican-led church effort to rediscover its ancient roots. Pope Benedict XVI has started a new Vatican department to promote the use of Latin by the Church all over the globe and has urged seminarians to study the language. Latin is rarely spoken in ordinary conversation anywhere and is often referred to as a "dead language." — Amita O. Legaspi/KBK/HS, GMA News

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