Don’t Forget: New Liturgical Responses Begin Palm Sunday

March 21st, 2013 by sjl+

New Liturgical ResponsesAs was announced two weeks ago, this Sunday, Palm Sunday, we will begin using a new (to us) response to “The Lord be with you.”  Now, since Church of the Messiah has been using “And also with you” for as long as there has been a Church of the Messiah, and many of us have used it for years, if not decades, before that, a little bit of explanation is reasonable.  The explanation of the change is two-fold.

First, at a recent conference Fr. David attended, Archbishop Craig Bates, the Patriarch of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church said, “Change it.”  Since all of your priests and deacons have taken vows of obedience to their bishops, that just about settles it on our end.

Secondly, for those who have not taken vows of obedience, the fact is that the new response of “and with your spirit” is an infinitely better translation than what we are using now.  In the 4th century, when St. Jerome first translated the Bible into Latin, the phrase “Dominus Vobiscum” appeared in Ruth 2:4 and II Chronicles 15:2.  The phrase was picked up and included in the Latin liturgies along with its response, “Et cum spiritu tuo,” which, of course, spread throughout all of Europe.

In the very first Book of Common Prayer ever was written in 1549, English scholars and priests very accurately translated the response as “And with thy spirit.”  The translation is simple, clean, and straightforward.  That usage continue in the Anglican and Episcopal Churches for 430 years!  It is still in use today in the Rite 1 or traditional language of the current (1979) Book of Common Prayer.

In 1963, when the Roman-Catholics convened the Second Vatican Council, known as Vatican II, one of their decisions was to update their liturgies by translating them into the language of the people.  That is when the Latin Mass fell out of common usage.  In order to do so, they established a body called The International Commission on English in the Liturgy or ICEL.  When ICEL translated the liturgy into English, they decided “Et (and) cum (with) spiritu (spirit) tuo (your)” should be rendered “And also with you.”  They believed, I assume, that their translation captured the spirit of the phrase better than a direct translation.

Sixteen years later, when the Episcopal Church in America revised the Book of Common Prayer, the editors of the new prayer book decided they would follow the Roman-Catholic usage.  Episcopalians in America have been using “And also with you” ever since 1979.

Starting with the First Sunday of Advent in 2011, the Roman-Catholics revised their liturgy again in order to render the translation more faithful to the original.  The correction has spread and is finding wider usage.

In essence, we have been doing a poor translation for as long as we have been doing it and this Sunday, along with a large portion of the broader Church Catholic, we will start translating the line more faithfully.

Or, we are doing it because the Patriarch told us to do so.  Take whichever explanation works for you.

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