3 September 2016

September 3 Anno Domini 2116: a family dialogue

An old favourite of some appreciative readers, reprinted by request with one or two tinkerings. 

Literate and Latinate six-year-old: Papa, why was the psalmody of this morning's Mass of St Pius X so odd? I mean, in the psalmus of the Introit, why did we have Gratias Domini in aeternum cantabo, rather than Misericordias ...? And why has ecclesia been replaced with coetus?
Papa: Well, my child, when that Mass was added to the Missal, the Holy See was rather keen on the Bea psalter.
Literate ...: What was the Bea, Papa?
Papa: It was an evil German Jesuit who ...
Literate ...: What, Papa, is 'Jesuit'?
Papa: I think you'd better ask your Mother ... not many people nowadays know the answer to that question ... I'm not sure I do ... but the Bea had acquired the confidence of Pius XII ...
Literate ... (fiercely): Ah, the pope who appointed Hasdrubal Bugnini who engineered the Great Liturgical Deformation of the twentieth century?
Papa: Exactly, best beloved, except that his name was Hannibal ... Hasdrubal was his brother ... sort of ... perhaps I allow you to read too much Livy ... and the Bea began its evil work by doing a new translation of the Psalter into Classical Latin and ...
Literate ...: But surely, Papa carissime, St Christine Mohrmann, the great Dutch Latinist and Doctrix of the Church, had just demonstrated that Liturgical Latin was an exquisite deeply Christian form of Latin expressly crafted to convey in all its transcendent beauty the Catholic Faith?
Papa: Indeed she had, but Pius XII, a weak and foolish pope, ignored her scholarship and allowed the Bea to do its worst. And ...
Literate ...: But why was today's Mass not subsequently corrected when St Benedict XVII completed the Great Liturgical and Doctrinal Restoration in 2066 by promulgating the anathemas against Kasperism?
Papa: Because the liturgy, learned offspring, bears within it marks of all the periods through which, in its triumphant march across the centuries, it has passed. These harmless if profoundly eccentric details provide a powerful incentive to historical research such as that upon which you, after your Seventh Birthday, will embark. Now run along and finish your doctoral thesis on the de Beatificatione et Canonizatione of St Benedict XIV. Then you can ask your Mother what 'Jesuit' means before I read you your bed-time story from the newly recovered Hecale of Callimachus.
Literate ...: Thank you, Papa. I warmly anticipate each of those three agenda.


Unknown said...

Ah, Father, you have made my day! Or, perhaps I should say your little 'fierce' Literate has made my day. I have often thought of what would be fixed in such a "Great Restoration". Certainly the Holy Week changes of the 50's. Also the Breviary song changes of Clement and structural changes of Pius X. Sts Phillip and James need move to their rightful May 1st location. Assumption propers would fit, also...

My only regret here is I did not get to hear Mother's definition of Jesuit!

fr. Thomas said...

It trips me up every year, even though I know it's coming.

David said...

What a delightful post; thank you, Father!

In a somewhat related question: I seem to recall that the whole argument in favor of new translations such as the Bea or the new vulgate is that they are truer to the original texts.

Has anyone studied these various Latin psalters in light of the Dead Sea scrolls? I seem to recall reading that the Dead Sea psalm scrolls seem to match up better with the Septuagint psalter than with the extant Masoretic texts (a book by Peter Flint, as I recall). However, I don't know Greek or Hebrew, so all I can so is read the analyses and conclusions of others.

Just curious if you've done any studies or reading on the topic.

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

In reply, two years on, to "David", surely the whole point of the Vulgate is that the Tradition of Holy Mother Church has always regarded S Jerome as being divinely inspired, and thus the Vulgate Psalter as forming part of the deposit of Faith.

The academic argument of authenticity to earlier texts this misses this, and is thus inherently non-Catholic. This is not, of course to deny the value of the study of earlier texts, but the Divine Office is not an academic, but a spiritual, exercise.