23 December 2019

Chinese Whispers??

A rumour is going round that, in this year's new Italian translation of the Missal, the Holy Spirit has been removed from the Eucharistic Prayer [EP] and replaced with "Dewfall".

Here is my own hypothesis about what may really have happenned.

(1) In EP 2, the Latin version authorised in 1968 epicletically sought the consecration of the elements by the 'dew' (rore) of the Holy Spirit.

(2) The consequent Italian translation, understandably nonplussed by this silliness, set it aside by 'translating' 'rore' as 'effusione' (pouring out) of the Holy Spirit.

(3) The new 2019 translation, attempting to get closer to the Latin, replaces 'effusione' with 'rugiata', dewfall.

Well, that is my wild theory. I will await evidence either of its veracity; or that I have missed the mark.

If that theory is correct, one has to commend whoever said "We need to get closer to the Latin". That has to be a sound instinct.

Sadly, however, this closer approximation to the 1968 iuxta typicam Latin moves away from Scripture and from the immemorial liturgical theology of the Roman Church.

There is no evidence that, at the Last Supper, the Lord called the Holy Spirit down upon the elements. And the Roman Canon dates from well before the invention of the idea of consecration by epiclesis. Instead, it assumes that the Great Change happens simply because the acceptance by the Father of the offered elements itself transmutes them.

Except for its Doxology, the Roman Canon is effectively binitarian, containing no mention, no summoning, of the Spirit.  Epiclesis-enthusiasm is the product of a later revolution of thought in the East ... and not definitively reaching the West until 1968.

The incorporation of Eucharistic Prayers with epicleses in them was not mandated by the Council, and Anglican liturgical revisers (strangely, wiser and more authentically 'Roman' than the clique of post-Conciliar fiddlers in the Vatican) were still drafting Eucharistic Prayers without mention of the Spirit in the 1960s. (Sadly, that generation of Anglican liturgists was replaced by others who had caught the Bugnini, Vaggagini, virus and began to scatter epicleses around.)

It is an offence, in my view, against the British 'Trade Descriptions Act' to print volumes claimimg to be Roman Missals, but containing these corrupted, byzantinised formulae.

They should be very neatly and carefully cut out of Altar Books, and burned. (Keep the tabs; you may be able to recycle them.)

[I am not criticising Byzantines or their Liturgy. It is my view that we should all value our own liturgical traditions; know them, live by them, find salvation with them. Byzantines should not latinise, nor should Latins byzantinise.]


Matthew said...

Of course Anglicans north of the border were using an epiclesis well before 1968. Although my Pisky prayer book only dates from 1929 I believe the usage had been established a good two centuries earlier, and as in Orthodoxy it followed both the institution narrative and the offering to God of the Holy Gifts.

PM said...

Dear Father

You are indeed right about the wording of the Roman canon, which attributes the consecration to the Father's acceptance of the sacrifice - just as the Mass is the sacrament of the Cross in which the Incarnate Son offers himself to the Father. (And the Father's acceptance of the sacrifice of Calvary is ,to quote a marvellous sermon by Herbert McCabe which I reread recently, the Resurrection and the redemption of the world.)

The theological understanding of the Western church would, however, I think allow some role for the Spirit. At a minimum, there is the principle that all the Persons are present in the works - because of the divine perichoresis, or circumincessio as St Thomas calls it. Where the Son is, there the Father and Spirit are.

And the thought is part of the magisterium of Gregory VII, who was no orientaliser (it was one of his strongest supporters, Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, who pronounced the 1064 excommunication).

While browsing recently through the edition of the Register of Gregory VII by that fine scholar (and Staggers man, I believe), HEJ Cowdrey, I came across the decree of Gregory's Lenten synod of 1074 condemning the errors of Berengar of Tours who denied the real presence.in the course of expounding the true teaching, the decree uses the phrase 'Spiritu Sancto assistente'. Now I agree entirely that that is not the primary causality implied by an eastern epiclesis, but it does seem to suggest some role for the Spirit. It may only be in the minimal sense that it it is impossible for the Spirit not to be where the Father and Son are, as the Spirit is the bond of love between them.

And this is a magisterial act, though of what weight I am not sure; a certain type of Jesuit is very good at parsing magisterial acts with a view to ignoring them, as I recall, but I am not one of fhem.

I also vaguely recall Christine Mohrmann explaining that rationabilis, which appears in the Canon in the accusative, did duty until the twelfth century for 'spiritual' as well as 'rational' in the modern sense. Again, it would be over-interpreting to turn that into a epiclesis (as the 1970s English missal tried to do with 'in Spirit and in truth', but might it be consistent with the idea that the Spirit is there?

Liam Ronan said...

Archbishop Vigano seems to be particularly incensed by inserting "Dew" in the Eucharistic Canon (see below), concluding "The advent of the Antichrist is inevitable..."


Colin Spinks said...

Father - I wonder: is there such a difference between consecration by "acceptance" of the Father and by the "Sending down" of the Spirit? St Paul teaches that it is the Spirit which guides us in making our prayers and petitions acceptable to God. Furthermore the appearances of the Spirit at Our Lord's Baptism, and more importantly its dramatic arrival at Pentecost, signify a total acceptance by the Father, both at the beginning and the conclusion of his Incarnate work on earth, of His Only Son. 2 Corinthians 1.22: "He has set his seal upon us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge of what is to come" The legalistic tone of this reminds me of your own remarks on the legalistic language of the Roman Canon. So, if we understand that "sending the Spirit" is the Father's way of showing his total satisfaction with what Christ, and now His Church, offers, does that not make "accept..." and "send your Spirit upon.." virtually synonymous?

Liam Ronan said...

As they say in the States:

"If it ain't broke don't fix it."

Paul G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul G. said...

If I understood correctly, it was Fr. Louis Bouyer himself who entered the "ros" into EP2 as "his only means of beautifying" the Anaphora of Hippolytus which he otherwise criticized as somewhat historically inauthentic. That may even have been his only real contribution through his entire participation with Consilium. I think he says so in his Memoirs. Since then, I always sympathize with the pain of Fr. Bouyer's soul anytime I hear the part about "dewfall" in EP2.

Scribe said...

Dear Father, One of our clergy utterly detests the "dewfall", asserting that there is no such word; he, too, thinks that an epiclesis is alien to the Roman Rite. Of course, he says the word, as he is bound to do, but has a delightful way of hissing it, as though his own voice is accompanied by that of the Tempter. Incidentally, I was always taught that the Consecration is effected by the Words of Institution, and will continue to hold to that belief.

PM said...

Better still, the priest in question could stop using EPII. Often deployed for 'pastoral' because it is short (i.e. let's get out of here asap, or we need to make time for the dancing girls), the amount of time it saves when compared to the Roman Canon is, I understand, less than three minutes. As a layman in the pews I find it jarring: the consecration is upon us before we have even had time to blink, let alone compose ourselves in prayer.

PM said...

A PS to my last about priests wanting to get through Mass as fast as possible. A friend who attended in the late 1950s a boarding school run by an order of priests claims that there were some who could clip through a Missa privata in thirteen minutes. That tallies with my own childhood memories of priests (mainly Irish, I have to say) who slurred the words together at such a speed that we couldn't tello from another. The 1950s were no golden age in that respect; by contrast, the EF Masses that I have attended since Summorum Pontificum have been marked by an evident concern to avoid such a slapdash approach.