Page 5, 6th November 1970

6th November 1970
Page 5
Page 5, 6th November 1970 — BAD ENGLISH AND BAD SPEAKING

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Locations: Rome


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-111" WAS interested' in the talk between Auberon Waugh and I find the phrase "Lamb of God you take away the sins of the world" silly and unpleasing. Why, one asks, the wholly unnecessary abolition of the relative pronoun which was there in the Latin crying out to be translated by the word "who" — Agnus Dei qui wills peecata mundi?

No one seems to know who was actually responsible for the English version — which indeed to me sounds like not very good Americanese. One feels that we were treated with less respect than is our due, for after all. English was originally and still is substantially the language of the English!

I must say that the "Brothers and Sisters" bit falls unpleasantly on my ears—as though someone was over-conscious of sex, at a moment when sex can be quite a distraction.

My heart goes out to the distinguished lawyer Sir Peter Rawlinson having to listen to the average Sunday sermon in his parish church. The clerical body has not yet learned that even a moderate competence in the small art of reading and speaking requires rather more than moderate training.

Unfortunately the majority of priests are under the illusion that "they are not so bad." It is, I fear, a sad and painful illusion.

Seminaries should employ a professional to teach reading and speaking to the students. This particular work is sometimes in the hands of a priest who really has not much else to do and it is felt that he can earn his keep in this way. It would seem that some of the people in Seminaries do not think that preaching is very im

portant. How wrong ,hey are!

There is then the matter of proximate preparation. This means reading round the subject, preparing perhaps several drafts before the final version is reached. This is hard work and one sometimes has the impression listening to sermons that the work has not been done.

(Fr.) R. Velarde Northwich, Cheshire.

MAY 1, as a lifelong vernacularist, put in a word of support for those who bemoan the acute scarcity of the Latin Mass?

In the Auberon Waugh interview (October 23), I was impressed by Sir Peter Rawlinson's genuine concern for the passing of the old liturgy. And in the same issue, Major Hurst tells us that he cannot adequately participate in the Mass in a foreign church unless Latin is used.

Yet in England our churches have been as good as foreign churches for fourteen centuries, since all along we had to suffer art alien tongue in the Mass until Rome decided to permit the vernacular -a decision which to my mind was fourteen centuries overdue.

But this should not blind us to the fact that long-standing traditions die hard, and the passing of a language — even one incomprehensible to most of us — is viewed with sorrow and misgiving in some quarters.

The Church is One, but it is Universal also, so surely it is big enough — big in every sense of the word — to accommodate all the Faithful, including that loyal, substantial and outraged minority who, for reasons best known to themselves, experience difficulty and distaste in the practice of worshipping God in the vernacular.

Cyril Myerscough London, S.E.3.

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