15 June 2016


This is only comprehensible to those who have read part (1).
Notice the word in the psalm which I put in italics I am going to use it as a 'litmus paper'.

When the Pian psalter appeared, it changed that second laudate to praedicate. Why? the meaning in each case is "praise". I am not a Hebraist, but I suspect that the reason was that, in the original Hebrew, two different words were used for "praise" ("O praise the Lord, all ye heathen: praise him all ye nations"). I have of course my trusty Brown Driver & Briggs beside me, but I can't see any difference in meaning between these two words. The first was the usual Hebrew verb for praising: HLL (which gives us Halleluia, and Hallel and is the first word of the 'Laudate' psalms). The second was a rare word, an Aramaic importation: SBH. So Bea and his merry men decided to reproduce this difference by using two different Latin words.

As I said, the Wicked Bea translation was so hated by the Good and True that, when under Bl John Paul II a revision of the entire Vulgate was taken in hand, it was unceremoniously dumped and replaced by a translation which paid proper respect to traditional Christian Latin. Hooray.

So did praedicate disappear to be replaced by the 'original'  laudate?  Er ... no. It was replaced by collaudate ...

Bear with me; we're nearly finished. Let's go back to the time when the Latin Bible first appeared, translating Scripture from the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. We need to know that two versions (at least) emerged. The first, commonly called the Versio Romana, was probably constructed by S Jerome using the even earlier Latin translation called the Vetus Latina. The Versio Romana survives to this day in the snippets of psalms which we get in the Mass propers of the Missale Romanum of S Pius V. So check - if you feel inclined -  the Mass of the Pentecost Ember Saturday. It has collaudate in the text of this psalm ... because that is what the Versio Romana had. But a later version by S Jerome, commonly called the Versio Gallicana, is used in the Breviary. It gives us laudate at this point; which is why this word is familiar to those of you who say the Breviary ... from which it was borrowed for the nice, snappy, happy psalm which we sing at the end of Benediction as Father manipulates the lunette back into the standing pyx and returns our Blessed Lord to the Tabernacle.

So you see: those responsible for the Neovulgate of Bl John Paul II sadly, in my own view, did not give us back the words which many of us were familiar with from the Breviary or from Benediction. But by looking back at the Versio Romana they did at least conduct themselves within the boundaries of the authentic Latin Christian tradition.


Pius XII, in 1945, two decades before the Council, behaved himself in a way exemplifying the Hermeneutic of Rupture. He may be the favourite Pope of the Sedevacantist Tendency, but, in this respect ... BAD

S John Paul II, in 1987, two decades after the Council, behaved himself in a way rooted in the Hermeneutic of Continuity; his change was 'organic'. Despite the fact that this pontiff is a bete noire among some traddies ... GOOD

Well, there you go. But I do have one more, very tasty, detail, relating to Good Popes and Bad Popes, to share with you.


Hannes said...

Fr, one detail question: As the versio gallicana was the Latin Psalter - were those Mass propers composed in later Medieval and modern centuries also taken from the Romana or does this only refer to the oldest propers? And were they taken from the Romana indeed or are they rather remnants of the Vetus Latina?

Donna Bethell said...

Well, now I am confused, although I am happy to sing "Laudate... Laudate...." at our solemn Vespers and Benediction on Sundays. But where is the Vulgata in all this? Is it the Versio Gallicana?

John Nolan said...

It should also be remembered that Pius XII was not a particularly good Latinist.

jack p said...

A comment has to be made concerning a misuse of the term “continuity” as a positive argument, where it only concerns the level of the continued changing reality of the modern world. This concerns me. With the introduction of the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in continuity it can be found that the term “continuity” has been misused more and more to justify a pastoral approach which is in contradiction to the Depositum Fidei.
(a) Is it correct to consider that regarding the term “continuity” a distinction has to be made in relation to the distinguished levels?
(b) That the continuity regarding the level of the Depositum Fidei can only be in one direction leading to a better understanding the Faith and can never be contradictory?
(c) That the continuity regarding the level of the modern world can be observed as working in two opposite directions?
(d) That interchanges between these two opposing directions exist by continuous processes characterized by certain counterpoints called conversion if turning towards the Faith, while it is a loss of Faith if it turns into the contrary direction?
(e) That, therefore, what objectively determines the specific character of a pastoral act is not simply its continuity, but its intrinsic orientation towards or away from the Depositum Fidei as the law of Faith, such that the pastoral approach must never be in contradiction to the Depositum Fidei?

Chatto said...

Has St. John Paul been 'demoted'? Or do you refer to him as 'Bl.' in the same way as you do for blessed Charles Stuart?

Christopher said...


New chant propers typically reflect the scripture versions currently in use, so one can even find excerpts of the Bea psalter in Masses promulgated by Pius XII. The oldest chants don't only derive from the Roman Psalter but also from other early Latin versions. Curiously enough, the introit antiphons follow this pattern but the introit verses mostly follow the Gallican psalter. I imagine the latter were updated by the Carolingians to conform to the psalter they used in the Office, but they had the good sense to keep the antiphon texts as they received them.