3 September 2020

Humour in Heaven

Today, naturally, we remember and pray for the Society of S Pius X, and the laypeople who associate with it.

Without desiring to detract or distract from these happy duties, I can't help observing that the Mass for today is marked by an oddity.

S Pius X is regarded as the Hammer of the Modernists. But his Mass, authorised by Pius XII after the canonisation, is marked by ... Modernism! Its psalm texts, from the Introit onwards, are taken, not from any of the old Latin versions of the psalms, but from a completely novel translation confected under Pius XII by a chum of his called Cardinal Bea. And, yes, I am writing about the Mass in the EF, 1962, Missal! The publication of this psalter caused horror among those competent in Christian Latin, because it totally abandonned that form of the Latin language, replacing it by a new translation of the psalms as they might have been if Marcus Tullius Cicero had translated them. This translation, together with the vandaliation of Holy Week, was the beginning of the ruin of the Roman Rite begun under Pius XII and his appointee Bugnini, and carried to completion in the years after Vatican II. (Happily, the Council buried the Bea translation.)

Fortunately, the Bea version of the psalms is now forgotten ... except that it has left a few marks upon the Missal. As it has today!

Modernism to celebrate the anti-modernist pope!

And here is another evidence of heavenly humour, which I originally posted in 2015, together with the relevant parts of its thread. I had recently cited a post of mine about canonisation containing the words "... [Sanctus Spiritus] qui omni tempore supremum Magisterium erroris expertem reddit ... "

"expertem", indeed! What a charming piece of humour, that a phrase claiming the exemption of the Papacy from error should be expressed with ... an elementary grammatical error!! Notice the delicate skill with which it is the very word bearing the sense of "exempt [from error]" which actually constitutes the grammatical howler!!!

Something like the delicious logic in the joke about the Cretan who so truly said that Cretans invariably lie?


Dale Crakes said...

Fr as usual I pass your Latin post along to an RC trad Latin prof, of your vintage and received this response to which I was surprised as his usual response is something akin to an American Right On! "How very odd. Am I missing something? Expers with the genitive, as here, is a perfectly standard classical word much used by Cicero and meaning 'free from' or just 'without'. Cicero uses it with eg veritatis, humanitatis and eruditionis. To describe its use here as an 'elementary schoolboy howler' is incomprehensible. Is it possible that Fr Hunwicke is himself eruditionis expers?"

Dr Ludwig Ott said...

Your Prof has nodded: Magisterium is neuter, expertem isn't.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Mr Crakes

I had thought that, by now, there might have been another contribution from your 'prof' ... via you, of course.

We must do our best to keep this rolling!

Dale Crakes said...

Patience Fr I'm on the opposite side of the world, you know, time zones,sleep, grocery shopping. Anyway here is his Mea Maxima Culpa "Oh dear, how embarrassing. In so far as I thought at all I suppose I read it as magistrum and took it to be a reference to the Pope!

I don’t know anything about Fr Hunwicke or his knowledge of Latin: I assumed he misunderstood the word expers, as many beginners do, though I’ve since looked at his website and it is clear that he is very masterly.

Please convey my sheepish thanks to Dr Ott and Fr Hunwicke.Dr David Daintree." I have comment from another but mea maxima is the extent of my Latin it may be repetative.

Dale Crakes said...

And from another. "Dear Mr. Crakes,

Regarding this:


surely the error in "... [Sanctus Spiritus] qui omni tempore supremum Magisterium erroris expertem reddit ... " is that expertem, which is the m. and f. form (accusative case) of the adjective expers should be expers (neuter singular accusative) in order to agree with supremum Magisterium."

Stephen said...

If memory serves, Pope Pius XII had very much in mind to reverse the old adage "the rule of prayer determines the rule of faith" to "the rule of faith determines the rule of prayer." And who had the ultimately authority to determine the rule of faith?? None other than Pius XII of course. So it's no surprise to learn of this little twist.

This same hubris doubtless was part of what inspired Paul VI to consider changing the Symbol of Faith by Papal ukase. And why not? He already proved he was able to replace the ancient Roman Canon with other "Eucharistic Prayers" with little to no resistance (except for that pesky French bishop), so what could stand in his way?

Seems the issue is all about authority, from Pius XII to PF.

Protasius said...

Unfortunately, the Bea psalter is not as completely forgotten as one might like it to be. Many editions of the breviary of these days use not the Vulgate, but the Bea psalter, and so do not a few editions of the liturgical books such as the Ordo Hebdomadae Sanctae instauratus Bugnini confected under Pius' XII reign. Seminarians looking for an EF breviary at antique shops are well advised to check the psalter used.

As far as I understand the intention behind the Bea psalter was to produce a translation of the psalms which young priests and nuns would understand after their high school courses in Latin; another example that good intentions do not necessarily lead to good results.