1 April 2022


I am immensely grateful to those of you who have troubled to respond to my plea; both on account of your erudition and of your wit. I am aware of the good fortune I enjoy in having such a readership!

There is, of course, the school-boy howler at the end. The output of that Dicastery ... I am not exaggerating ... more often has such a Howler than not! It is yet another example of the malaise at the heart of Bergoglianity, that the Worship of the Latin Churches should be so helplessly at the mercy of a poor thing like Roche and his associated illiterates.

But I also share the views of those of you who dislike victimis

When one is inducting students into the art of Latin Prose Compo, the first thing one has to cure them of is the assumption that they can take the English words one by one and look them up in an English-into-Latin Dictionary. They need to know that you have to put the sense of the English into an innate idiom of Latin. Thus, Meissner/Auden, via its index, tells you that if you need to render some such English phrase as victims of calamity, you will probably need a construction like calamitatibus affligi, 'to be afflicted by calamities'. 

The usage in modern languages of 'victims of' to mean 'those gravely disadvantaged by' would, I think, have puzzled readers even a couple of generations ago. Sister Doctor Ellebracht's learned Remarks (1963) know nothing of the idiom.

FINALLY ... using the word impiorum to mean Russian reaches new depths. Does anybody have contact with Metropolitan Hilarion? I think he should know about this detail so that, the next time PF goes angling for an invitation to Moscow, such a very striking lexical refinement can be taken into account in framing the reply! 


The CDW ... oops ... the Dicastery for Divine Worship and Innovative Latinity ... have issued the following optional addition to the Solemn Prayers for Good Friday. The addition, of course relates only to what PF has delightfully termed The Unicus Usus of the Roman Rite.

At least, I hope it does!


Deus pacis et misericordiae, qui humilium pauperumque misereris et oppressores eorum deprimis, praesta quaesumus, omnibus victimis violentiae belli salutem; ut, a te corde mutato impiorum, tuam praevaleat pacem.


God of peace and mercy, who take pity on the poor and lowly and put down their oppressors, grant, we pray, deliverance to all victims of war and violence, that as you change the heart of the aggressor, so your peace will prevail. 


Albertus said...

Usually, if the object of miserere is in the plural, then that object is in the ablative case (or is it the dative?), rather than genitive, more typical of the singular. Thus, "qui humilis pauperisque misereris". And doesn't praevaleat here demand the nominative instead of the accusative?" Tua praevaleat pax" rather than "Tuam praevaleat pacem". But I am only an amateur priestly latinist.

Joshua said...

Is this a second April Fool's day joke? I assume that as the word order, to say nothing else, of the Latin of the prayer is so similar in all respects to that of the the English version, that it indicates that the Latin is the translation and the English is the original. As to smaller details, the prayer does not begin as any solid traditional prayer would, with "Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui conteris bella" - Almighty everlasting God, who crushest wars – but with a simpering modern pacifistic address to the God of peace and love, which rather neglects certain portrayals of the Lord God of Hosts in the Scriptures. Glory to Ukraine!

Carol said...

Clunky Latin!
The last clause, introduced by "ut", is incorrect because they have put the subject of the verb "praevaleat" into the Accusative "tuam pacem" instead of the Nominative "tua pax".

Also, the Ablative Absolute (AA) construction "corde mutato" does not sit well with the rest of the clause. It may be Ablative, but it is hardly Absolute because instead of standing free and grammatically independent, it is connected with "a te".

Another construction could be used, perhaps with AA and a Present Partciple.Because AA has verbal force, it can govern its own object, thus: "Te corda mutante" would fit here. I have come across such a construction before.

We can ignore the omission of "et" between "violentiae" and "belli" as perhaps a typo.

It's a pity that the Vatican Latinist Fr Reginald Foster has died.

Colin Spinks said...

1) Why is "violentiae belli" translated "violence and war" and not "the violence of war"? 2) "tuam praevaleat pacem" - why is "pax" in the accusative? Or am I being stupid?

Aliquis said...

Now, you might insinuate that this is bad latin, however you are wrong. It is perfectly legitimate to be concerned about animals that are, as we all know, sacrificed in rituals by shamans across pagan nations such as Ukraine and Russia. To be fair I am not sure whether Latin allows for cor to be in singular where plural would be expected.
Tuam pacem is quite obviously accusativus respectus. Subject of praevaleat is therefore salus.

Thomas said...

Might I offer an improved English translation in the same spirit?

Peace's and mercy's God, who pities the humblies and poors and depresses their pressurisers, grant health, we pray, to violence of wars sacrificial victims, so that, with heart transplanted of the naughty by you, thouse peacey might prevail.

Frugifex said...

This has to do with transitive vs. intransitive verbs: I might use a transitive verb and say: "ut habeant pacem" but I have to say: "ut praevaleat pax".
To make an English example of the difference: "May we know HIM" (not "may we know HE") but "may HE prevail" (not "may HIM prevail)."
No big deal: perhaps someone changed the verb in the last minute and the Latinist tirunculus forgot to adjust the sentence accordingly.

Carol said...

Here are a few extra thoughts to help with some of the concerns expressed by the bloggers:

“oppressores” is a Latin word, but was usually associated with “tyrants”.

You are correct that “victima” means a sacrificial victim, a blood offering.
Seneca the Younger, for example, used this term in “Hercules Oetaeus” where Deianira, the spurned wife of Hercules, vowed to kill his new bride and then offer her own life as a sacrificial victim with the words: “me nuptiali victimam feriat die” (Let him strike me dead on his wedding day) – in other words, he would marry the other woman “over my dead body”. As it turned out, she was the unwitting cause of his death.

The CDW references in both Latin and English to victims and oppressors are ill suited to the liturgy because they evoke our modern victim culture, especially neo-Marxist shades of “capitalist oppressors” and their “victims”, the downtrodden masses.

“Praesta” can be used either intransitively (as in standing by, ready to help) or transitively as in bestowing a gift or favour. The former is often used with “ut” in the Postcommunion, translated as “grant that…”

An example of the latter is found in the versicle of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament: “panem de caelo praestitisti eis” (Thou hast given them bread from heaven.)

“misereor” can be followed by either the genitive (as is usual in Classical Latin) or the dative (as in later Medieval usage),irrespective of singular of plural object.
So, in addition to the example you provided, we have both “Miserere mei, Deus” and “Audivit Dominus et misertus est mihi”

Gaius said...

Also, the Ablative Absolute (AA) construction "corde mutato" does not sit well with the rest of the clause. It may be Ablative, but it is hardly Absolute because instead of standing free and grammatically independent, it is connected with "a te".

I think "a te" is supposed to be part of the AA: "with the heart of the wicked being changed by you".

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Speaking of Latin,

Preces, praecipue in Missa, de domina quadam Oxoniensi peto et gratias tibi, Magister Johannes, propter misericordiam tuam ago.


frjustin said...

Fr Zed comments: this reminds me of something a priest exorcist once told me about another exorcist whose Latin was awful. Apparently the demons – whose Latin is excellent – were tortured by it even more than by good Latin.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Fr Justin,

I've heard that the demon(s) will correct Latin errors.