Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Is This What You Believe?

I came across a copy of the latest revisions proposed by ICEL -- here's where the Creed is at....
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 following words, up to and including and became man, all bow.)
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

Crucified also for us 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.
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.
I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Amen Amen and Amen?



Blogger pazdziernik said...

Will "all bow" be clarified as well? From what I can tell most U.S. Catholics take this to mean a 3mm movement of their chin down and up again.

27/9/05 09:22  
Blogger Un Séminariste said...

It's clear enough what "all bow" means; it's up to individual pastors now to enforce it. But in many parishes there are much larger issues to address. We'll get there eventually.

27/9/05 09:24  
Blogger Todd said...

A tough piece, not because it is closer to the Latin original, but what it means for people who aren't used to consulting a book for something they've memorized.

As a practical matter, words added or lost like "and" will be more tongue trippers than "consubstantial."

If the Church were serious about a "new" Creed, it would commission musicians to write about five musical settings and encourage parishes to sing it (which they now only rarely do). That would get the new text firmly in people's minds, at least at the sung Masses.

Other than that, I predict broad stubbornness, even more than when I introduce plainsong hymns in my parish.

27/9/05 09:35  
Blogger Jon said...


I know this stuff is supposed to be super-secret, but is there any way you can post the entire Ordinary somewhere or provide a link to it?

I have a copy of the original draft saved on a pdf file (the one that was leaked and then yanked from the Internet last year), and I'd love to compare the two.


27/9/05 09:35  
Blogger Jeff said...

Not bad.

This was always one of the better ICEL translations in the first place. I never saw a problem with "one in being" instead of "consubstantial"--both are fine with me.

The one thing that really seemed to be pushy and off was the "We believe" instead of "I believe." That looks like it's going to be fixed no matter how much some bishops groan about it, so I'm satisfied.

27/9/05 09:45  
Blogger Rev Fr Who said...

WHy oh why do they want to change the word "Creator" to simply "maker"?

The Latin original is "factorem" -- yet we should hold and teach God's power "to make something out of nothing"! That's "create"!

Not simply "make" ... yecch!

27/9/05 10:01  
Blogger justplaincath said...

So what was wrong with the OLD creed?

Not to mention the OLD OLD OLD creed--you know, the one the Great Schism was about?

27/9/05 11:07  
Blogger George Collie said...

For us men?

In most churches, that's inaccurate. The majority are women.

Oh, I keep forgetting it's the 21st century. During Mass, women are honorary men, unless the men are homosexuals. :-)

Remind me, why are women supposed to refer to themselves as men? Should they do so when they engage in private prayer? What happens if I refer to "us women" when I pray in private. Would it disqualify me for the priesthood?

It sure is confusing.

27/9/05 11:23  
Blogger Ben said...

To give a simple answer to the last post I would like to mention that our Creed should be as clear theologically as possible. If it has to use "big" words or "uncommon" words then so be it. The Latin is precise and the engilsh should be as well. The "Creater" and "Maker" debate is a good example. When we teach the next generation using our Creed in english we must teach why specific words were used. The sloppier the translations the weaker the catechisis. God is truely the only one who creates. I can make something. I've heard many times priests explaining the Mass while thinking to myself "man I wish he had what the Latin really says because it is much richer". The priest didn't know better and the understanding of the Mass wasn't fully known. Then when priests know their Latin they have to constantly say, "well in the Latin it says..." Our liturgy should be full of teaching moments by having the deep meaning of our faith expressed in Catholic words instead of dead, plain, daily language. We must always keep in mind that we are not getting (through the new translations) "a new creed" or a "new mass". We are just getting what we deserved from the beginning...a proper translation.

27/9/05 11:30  
Blogger Ben said...

In english "men" means all men either male or female. The Vatican has written on this before and have explained the problems with other words being used in its place. Unless there is an agenda, no woman should have a problem with this. I can't remember right now but there are reasons why words like people, mankind or just saying us and leaving out men won't work. But to claim that "men" means male is just plain ignorance of the english language.

27/9/05 11:36  
Blogger Jimmy Mac said...



27/9/05 12:05  
Blogger Todd said...

Ben, sometimes it does mean male. At any rate, if the word were "vir," it would've been translated in the same way.

An inscription on a seminary building included the word "men," and a feminist once remarked, "Oh, does that mean men and women?"

I don't have an agenda, but I think "men" could be avoided for clarity's sake. English has words that will cover the base, and if that is less offensive to some, why should there be a problem? (Unless, to begin with, the agenda is to alienate certain Catholics.)

27/9/05 12:22  
Blogger George Collie said...

As a man, it is not offensive to me that men in this context actually means men and women. It is just confusing. Or worse, meaningless. This is no longer the meaning of men in modern English.

We don't want to make the Nicene Creed confusing or meaningless to the majority of English-speaking Catholics. Or do we? Maybe I am offended by this purposeful mistranslation.

27/9/05 12:35  
Blogger Ray from Minn said...

For the life of me, I do not understand why the translators of Church documents do not know that the English language is "word deprived."

English uses: men; man

Latin has: homines; homo

French uses: nous [us]; homme

German uses: Menschen; Fleisch; Mensch

Surely the translators can do something in English so that the 80% of my parish who are offended by "men" can follow the liturgy.

Work needs to be done on the Gloria in this regard also.

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.

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.

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.

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.

27/9/05 12:37  
Blogger Un Séminariste said...

"For us human beings and our salvation" is a mouthful, so we can rely on the old standard, using the masculine plural to refer to both men and women. This is still the standard in other languages such as Spanish and French, but for some reason we take such great offense to it in this country. The problem with leaving out "men" is that it opens up to another problem, namely that the congregation is saying "for us here in this church and for our salvation..." rather than for the whole human race. Perhaps it's a minor point, but in any case the word "homines" in the Latin should be translated, and using the masculine plural to do so is accurate and really only offensive to those who choose to read something into it, i.e. "those patriarchal pigs in Rome used that word to lord their patriarchal piggishness over us!". Does this really have to be a big deal?

27/9/05 12:43  
Blogger Un Séminariste said...

Maybe I am offended by this purposeful mistranslation.

The nice thing about the liturgy being in Latin is that the meaning does not change. If we had to update the sacramentary every so many years when the meaning of certain phrases in the vernacular had changed, it would be tedious indeed. If we are going to stick with the vernacular, the better thing is for it to be an accurate translation (which "men" is, going by what has always been the standard in English until only recently when those with an agenda have aggressively gone after it -- and it is still the standard in other non-Latin languages to use the masculine to encompass both male and female). With only minimal education, people will come to understand why we speak that way in Church, and they should accept it unless, that is, they are choosing to read something sinister into it like an anti-feminist agenda or something. Furthermore, there is a whole 'nother argument that could be introduced about why liturgical language should be "higher" than everyday language anyway. FWIW, then-Cardinal Ratzinger has written extensively on subjects like this. In any case, "men" is not a "purposeful mistranslation", unless you mean to bracket out the entire history of the English language and focus only on what has been standard for the past 20 years or so (really not even that long, since we learned the traditional way [masculine encompassing both genders] in public elementary school in the 80s).

27/9/05 12:51  
Blogger Gotpraecht said...

Latin and Greek both have two words which English has traditionally rendered with "men."

Vir/aner: specifically male human or "man" with the male gender.

homo/anthropos: "men" in the non-gender-specific sense.

In the creed homo/anthropos rather than vir/aner is the word/root used for the incarnation ("homo factus est") and for the "propter nos."

For this reason I think "for us" or
"for us humans" and "was made/became human" is a far more acurate translation, however awkward either may sound.

The clause begining "Crucified..."
pretty much follows the syntax of the clause "Crucifixus" but is tortured as English prose.

And what benefit is conferred by swapping "visible and invisible" for seen and unseen?

I have to say I find this translation utterly capricious and depressing.

27/9/05 12:54  
Blogger Gotpraecht said...

Woops that should be:

homo/anthropos: "man" in the non-gender- specific sense (or homines/anthropoi in the nominative plural)

27/9/05 13:00  
Blogger Talmida said...

for some reason we take such great offense to it in this country.

Which country would that be?

America? Canada? Great Britain? Ireland? Australia? New Zealand? South Africa?

I suspect that people in all English-speaking nations take offense at inaccurate translations.

MAN is inaccurate today. It was NOT inaccurate before. The meanings of words DO change over time in spoken languages.

Yes, the Latin does not change, but the English MUST! That is why it is great to have the original prayers preserved in a DEAD language that does not evolve. English, however, is a LIVING tongue and it HAS evolved. It will continue to evolve.

Does it make more sense to change one word, or to try to teach billions of people (present and future) to understand an archaism?

Most English speakers may have heard of Shakespeare, but not too many of them know that "Wherefore art thou Romeo" means "WHY are you Romeo". Will our statement of faith be reduced to poetic words whose meaning noone really recalls?

27/9/05 13:41  
Blogger Jeff said...


I know a lot of women--including my wife--who are absolutely INFURIATED at the idea that women don't like to be included in "men", "mankind" etc. They consider it demeaning and patronizing to have people tell them that they should be offended.

I can easily round up a roomful of women who would be far more vocal and furious about this impoverishment of the English language over silly feminist stuff than I would.

As my wife, who has a doctorate in English from Chapel Hill, will tell you, in the English language "men" means "people", as does "man" and "mankind." So to your "I'm offended if you don't change it," I riposte with, "Tough. A lot of other people are offended if we do. And like it or not that's how English works."

27/9/05 14:24  
Blogger George Collie said...

The thing is unless you are a buff of traditional English, you don't know that "men" really means men and women. The rest of the English-speaking world thinks that it refers to only 49.8% of the population.

We could go into the reasons why men used to mean both sexes, but that is unnecessary. In any usage today, it does not mean that. Therefore, this is a mistranslation.

As I am beginning to understand, the new version is that way for a reason. This anachronistic translation of the Creed is somehow supposed to teach us that feminism is bunk. I am afraid it will have the opposite effect.

27/9/05 14:31  
Blogger Talmida said...



1. I didn't say what you quote me as saying.

2. When you say "Tough. A lot of other people are offended if we do. And like it or not that's how English works." do you mean that you believe English works by changing when people are (or are not) offended? Could you expand on this? I'm not sure I follow.

27/9/05 17:03  
Blogger RC said...

I like "maker" for factorem: to change it to "creator" would be an interpretation instead of a translation.

27/9/05 19:16  
Blogger pazdziernik said...

"Men" includes both sexes. Females get their own word in the English language: "women". Males do not get their own word. If anyone should be "outraged" it should be men! :) What world should men claim as their own to distinguish them from the generic "men"?

27/9/05 23:19  
Blogger Susan Peterson said...

I am one of those women Jeff mentioned who are infuriated by politically correct substitutions of "people" for "men"-or for twisting normal English usage and syntax, and even misquoting the Bible, in order not to say "he" or "him."

If some women are upset by this use of the word "men" it is because they have been taught to be upset by feminist academics.
These academics have almost completely won on this issue, I admit. Even I can't read my old college papers (from the early 70's) which say "men say" and "men think" with quite the innocence of any idea that these were statements about males rather than about our common human nature, that I had when I wrote them. And when my daughter went to that college in the 90's and wrote such papers, I felt I had to warn her, if she went to graduate school or any other college, she had better not write that way. Alas.

I still sing "And I will raise him up on the last day" while the rest of the congregation sings "And I will raise you up."

This past Sunday there was a "hymn" which had been altered from God will..something,Iforget what exactly...His people" to the redundant and awkward "God will blah blah blah God's people," obviously to keep from referring to God as "Him". I wouldn't do that either.

Surely this aberration which happened in only one generation does not have to be perpetuated. The writer is wrong who thinks only buffs of traditional English understand this. Everyone over about 40 knows it, although many of them are disingenuous about it because of ideology.

Susan F. Peterson

28/9/05 16:32  
Blogger Jordan Potter said...

"As I am beginning to understand, the new version is that way for a reason. This anachronistic translation of the Creed is somehow supposed to teach us that feminism is bunk. I am afraid it will have the opposite effect."

Um, you do realise, do you not, that "For us men, and for our salvation," is the CURRENT English version?

I'm only 37 years old, but when I grew up in the Midwest of the U.S.A., "men" and "mankind" still meant "humans." Unfortunately, as a child I also found everyone saying "peeple" when they meant "men" or "persons" or "souls." "Peeple" (by which I suppose they mean "people") is a singular word, synonym for "nation" or "tribe" or "populace" or "population." But we've been misusing "people" for so long that we now think its plural. If the Mass must be done in English, it ought to have something faintly archaic and hoary about how it sounds and feels, so by all means in the Mass we ought to use English accurately, properly, and include a good smattering of words that worshippers find somewhat unfamiliar, biblical, or sacral, that sends them to their dictionaries. Translating the Mass into the latest version of English is just wrong -- an English Mass ought always to use language that is 50 to 100 years out-of-date.

If the new English Mass translation can avoid all feminist corruptions of the English language, it will be one of the best things to happen to the English language in almost 40 years.

30/9/05 01:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Susan and Jordan...there is nothing that leaves a bad taste in ones mouth as much having to sing or say words that have definitely been altered with an agenda in mind. Especially a narcissistic agenda such as Politically Correctness. This is at odds with the way the Catholic church dictates our lives are to be oriented. Every time you go along with the emasculation of God or mouth supposedly "inclusive" language you support the "person as victim" or "me, me, me" mind set. Not to mention that these attempts at "inclusion" also make a mess of most existing prose or songs (eg. "Good Christian Friends rejoice?").

Mass is not the place for these kind of political word games and I think the call for moderinization is really based more on agenda then actual litergical necessity.

That said...who is translating this stuff? Are they even native english writers? These translations so far don't exactly roll off the tongue, and some of them are completely unsingable. Latin would DEFINITELY be prefered to these translations. At least the current ones are readable and singable.

30/9/05 09:22  

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