Liturgiam Authenticam


How strong is the Vatican’s commitment to Liturgiam Authenticam? I’m asking because I attended a Byzantine Rite Divine Liturgy a few weeks ago and was surprised to find that the texts they use in their Liturgy were neutered. I couldn’t find the priest to ask but I asked one of the parishioners about this and she said that about 5 years ago their bishops rejected LA and promulgated new texts for the liturgy containing neutered language. She also said the Vatican directed them to use neutered texts. Is Pope Benedict supportive of the teaching in LA? She said the reformed liturgy was promulgated on his orders. Can any one explain why there are two different directions going on at once? Is Pope Benedict going to undo the new texts of the Mass? I think they are so beautiful.


Please consider being explicit about the allegations of “neutering”: this idea carries many different levels of meaning, so you need to be explicit rather than using such a broad brush. And is this the only ostensible violation of LA that you saw, or were there others?

In any case, you should know that the text went through an approval process in Rome.

There are some in the BC - and some onlookers too - who didn’t like the new text for a variety of reasons, ranging from the fact that it was made changes that were deemed unnecessary, that it was not complete, that it was rendered from Greek texts rather than Slavonic, that the prose was not very poetic, that it didn’t use the faux Elizabethan English that they fancy, that the music settings were done by a non-nash, among other issues such as you bring up. Some even undertook to prove that there were violations of LA, but the discussions were tendentious at best.

The allegation that the bishops set out to reject LA is nonsense.

There was much discussion of these matters at Not so much now, but I am sure that there are some people there who would love to rehash this with you.


In the Creed they replaced “who for us men and our salvation” with “who for us and our salvation”. I know that LA is against this and the Vatican reformed ICEL over things like this. In the rest of the liturgy there was a systematic change from “man” and “mankind” with neutered words (like “for us all” or something like that). In the new translation of the Mass they made sure to keep all references to man and mankind. I hope the Byzantine Rite bishops update their texts to obey LA.

By the way, the Orthodox do not use “faux Elizabethan English”. Since the first translations over a hundred years ago they’ve always used traditional language.


You are partially correct but also partially wrong.

When used to mean mankind in general, without a gender specific overtone, the language used is broad and without gender reference. Also in the Beatitudes - Children of God, rather than sons of God - but that is traditional back to Douay-Rheims. However, you are dead wrong about a systematic change, and should think more carefully about making such a charge. How, for example, did you miss “… and became man…” in the Creed?

Is this a violation of LA? I suppose that that is subject to interpretation, and people will be happy to make interpretation. But I am not sure how directly applicable LA is to translation of Greek expressions. And, as I noted, there is no question about the use of Son or man or and gender-specific noun or pronoun when the meaning of gender-specificity is intended.

You may have noticed, btw, “And with/to your spirit”. We’ve always done it that way in English.

By the way, the Orthodox do not use “faux Elizabethan English”. Since the first translations over a hundred years ago they’ve always used traditional language.

I am not sure what the Orthodox have to do with your question, nor what you mean by “traditional language”, in particular in a “first” translation. But I have heard and read so many different English translations for Orthodox churches, that I am sure that whatever you mean by “traditional” it is not the case the "the Orthodox “always used” it.


Does Liturgium Authenicam apply to Byzantine liturgies? I would think not, though certainly some of the general principles should probably be applied.

And by the way, I think it’s very inappropriate and disrespectful to call the elevated, traditional language of prayer in English “faux Elizabethan.”


If you look at Liturgiam Authenticam on the Vatican’s website, you’ll see that it’s subtitled “ON THE USE OF VERNACULAR LANGUAGES IN THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOKS OF THE ROMAN LITURGY”. So the document doesn’t apply to the Eastern Churches.

It was also promulgated through the CDW, an office of the Curia that only deals with the Roman Catholic Church. Partiarchs (or Major Archbishops) of any of the 22 Easter Catholic Churches have large amounts of autonomy from the Pope. After all, they are Churches that are in communion with the Bishop of Rome (the Pope). I believe they have full control over their own liturgical rights and have been explicitly encouraged to de-latinize their liturgies.


Sorry, I apologize and should have avoided anything that would be considered disrespectful.
But I cannot say that I agree about elevation, and have trouble with the unnatural and inconsistent way in which verb forms tend to be modified in such settings.


Thanks for the link. Last night I read a bunch of posts there in a forum dedicated to the revised divine liturgy. It looks like it is the same old problem with liberal bishops who force their silly ideas onto their dioceses and then scream bloody murder when people complain or leave. Sad. Anyway, the divine liturgy we attended was sort of like a much abbreviated version of the Orthodox liturgy re-designed to mimic the Mass. As for neutering the language, there was a systematic replacement of “man” and “mankind” with “all” and “all of us”. Probably a search and replace in Word by someone affected by the disease of political correctness. The Orthodox liturgies all have no problem with translating the Greek terms as “Lover of Mankind” and “who for us MEN and our salvation” in the creed.


The document is for the Roman Liturgy but I can’t imagine anyone rejecting it’s directives. All it says is to translate accurate, retain the poetry and stay away from political correctness.


It is not binding though. It’s persuasive (to use a legal term), but each Patriarch of an Eastern Catholic Church can choose to reject it without penalty to their communion with the Pope.


Your conjecture about our bishops missed the mark. As to abbreviations, our liturgy parallels that out ACROD, our sister Orthodox church; different EOCs have different usages. On the matter of systematic replacement, you are wrong on the facts; I pointed the contradiction to this idea out in an earlier post.


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