Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More thoughts on services in English
Ever notice that as awful and bowdlerised as the language is of the Mass in RC churches and the official books for the RC office, the Our Father and the other prayers used in the Rosary are invariably traditional? In the office the lit-niks (as the late Fr Gommar De Pauw dubbed them) say a modernised Glory Be unknown to Joe and Mary Gubbins in the pew! Those prayers have a long vernacular tradition among Roman Catholics. (Yes, they usually say ‘Holy Spirit’ for ‘Holy Ghost’ but that was how 1950s missals for the laity usually rendered it.)

Other places have tried to modernise the Lord’s Prayer but AFAIK the people won’t have it. Taking that further, those with the longest, most comprehensive and most venerable tradition of praying in English are or at least once were famously resistant. The revisers of the American Episcopal Prayer Book wanted to get rid of Cranmer’s idiom outright but had to back-track and came up with Rite I to appease the people in the pews! (Source of that information: Charley Wingate.) Common Worship in the Church of England retains a Tudor-style option as well.

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