11 November 2019

Life in the Lower Fourth

At least Four Genuine Cheers are due to PF for putting our Lady of Loreto onto the Novus Ordo Universal Calendar (albeit optionally; December 10). I like to think of him spending his leisure hours, as so many of us have, browsing through the dear old pre-1962 Appendix pro Aliquibus Locis. It makes him seem more human.

We of the Anglican Patrimony have a soft spot for this observance because of our devotion to OL of Walsingham and her Holy House. Less than a couple of months ago I pointed out that the September 24 Mass for OLW in our Ordinariate Missal is an English translation of the old Mass (temp. Innocent XII, ob 1700)  for  the Holy House at Loreto. It is therefore just a tadge sad-making that the new PF Mass for this day is a new composition. (Or is it? They must have been using some propers in Loreto since 1969 ... are these they? Or have these just recently been confected de novo? I suspect the latter, because in the early 1970s there would still have been enough people around in Rome who knew enough Latin to avoid the monstrous, the appalling, grammatical mistake in the Collect ... de quo plura inferius.)

Earlier in this pontificate, Cardinal Sarah had to endure the sacking of a number of competent scholars from his dicastery, and their replacement by staff rumoured to be ... er ... This can harrdly have helped the maintenance of standards in that dicastery. (I have been unable to find an account of this coup on the Internet. Can anybody help?)

But, out of respect for fact, I would have to admit that the problem of illiterate Latin at the CDWgoes back to well before the appointment of Cardinal Sarah.

Things ... I am sorry to have to announce to you ... haven't got any better.

As if to make this point very powerfully and programmatically, near the top of the new Proper is the phrase Ad Calendarium Romanum Generalem. When I was teaching Latin to the young, that was the sort of howler I might have expected of the Lower Fourth. Not that I actually ever taught Lower Fourth Latin. Perhaps I am doing them an injustice.

And there are the usual minor typos ... 'Dei' rather than 'Die' ... a missing full stop ... Why doesn't anybody ever check though these things?

But on the other hand, I do like the use in the Homily of the Plautine verb minito (not its deponent form). I take this as top level Magisterial encouragement for the greater use of slapstick humour in our Latin Catholic culture. Three cheers for Mgr Laurel and Canon Hardie.

But ... Oh dear ... I can procrastinate no longer ... the new Collect ... and the Collect is of course the most prominent text of any Proper. It is used in the Divine Office and sets the tone and the themes at the start of Mass.

Here is the authorised and published text. I have highlighted the clausulae for discussion later.

Deus, qui promissa Patribus adimplens beatam Virginem Mariam elegisti, ut matrem fieret Salvatoris, concede nobis illius exempla sectari, cuius humilitas tibi placuit, et oboedientia nobis profuit.

To begin with ... I will not insult you by implying that you might not have noticed the really massive grammatical howler in the first half of this composition. Even kindergarten classics teachers would have a right to expect to be spared  things like that. What a 'clericalist' insult to the Holy People of God that they should have this sort of thing disrespectfully thrust upon them by disdainful ecclesiastics. Very unsynodal.

Instead, having shuddered, let us move hurriedly on to look at the clausulae as highlighted.

The first is a trispondaicus (or a planus if you insist on elision); the second a velox; the third a planus. So far, so good. But I find it hard to fit the last two into the main options found in the old sacramentaries (Planus, Tardus, Velox, Trispondaicus). Probably you could could find them in Cicero; but there, of course, the game is a somewhat different one.

Not that I'm denying that there is some elegant patterning in those two concluding clauses!

These curial documents tend to be signed or countersigned by some chappy called Arturo Roche (pronounced 'Rockay'??).  I don't know how good Arturo's English is, but as far as his Latin is concerned, he might benefit from attending the Latin Mass Society's Latin Summer School. He could earn his passage by doubling as our Drinks Steward ("Hey, Arturo, mine's a G and T").

I would be gentle with the poor fellow. Everybody has to start somewhere. I have always been a patient teacher.


frjustin said...

In the General Appendix of Volume I of the Marquess of Bute's 1908 translation of The Roman Breviary,there is an entry for December 10 which is intituled (sic) "Translation of the Holy House of Loreto". The Collect as there translated reads:

"O God, Who in Thy mercy didst hallow the house of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the incarnation of Thy Word, and hast wondrously given unto the same a resting-place in the midst of Thy Church, grant us the grace to be cut off from the tents of wickedness, and made worthy to dwell in Thine holy house. Through the same..."

The new Collect seems to have been cobbled together from two Collects for the Mass of the BVM, Chosen Daughter of Israel, which is the first Mass in the Sacramentary volume of the "Collection of Masses of the BVM", for use during Advent. These read:

Collect A - "Lord God, you chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, [queen of the humble and the poor,] as mother of the Saviour; grant that, by following her example," etc.

and especially Collect B - "Lord our God, to fulfill the promises you made of old, you chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, [the noble daughter of Zion;] grant that we may follow her, whose humility won your favour and whose obedience brought us your blessing."

John Patrick said...

Alas I am unable to distinguish the howlers from the non-howlers.

I really should know better having had 4 years of Latin at a very good school in Boston that even had "Latin" in its name and was well qualified to teach this subject. Perhaps if I had paid attention more and spent less time carving things into the wooden desk top ...

PDLeck said...

One would hope Arthur Roche’s English is good. He’s bishop emeritus of Leeds. He’s a Yorkshire man by birth. Perhaps, on second thoughts perhaps his English won’t be that good.
PDL (a Lancastrian)

Cherub said...

I'm with PDLeck. Yorkshire English is ... well ... different!

Andrew Malton said...

If, as Fr Justin suggests with references, the collect was pasted together from bits, how did they manage to make that case change? For the sources seem to have it right...

frjustin said...

Andrew, all things are possible to her who believes.