Prefaces

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The Latin Expression and Theological Meaning
of Selected Prefaces

 

Pontifical Liturgy Institute

optional course offered in English: 94171 (3 ECTS): 

Taught byDaniel McCarthy

 

Brief description

This course comprises a detailed study of selected prefaces of the Missale Romanum using the methodology of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute. The Latin expression, structure and dynamic of the prefaces will be made clear and four pairs of interpretative keys will be used to appreciate the meaning of the prefaces in their liturgical-ritual context. Students will grow in their ability and confidence to understand the Latin texts of these prayers and render them into standard English, and to discuss their theological meaning.

Aims

By the end of the course the student will be able:

  1. to follow a method presented in understanding and interpreting a different preface during each class session,
  2. to apply the given method to one named Latin preface, accounting for its Latin expression, and rendering it into standard English,
  3. to explain the principles behind the four pairs of interpretative keys:
    anamnesis (narration – ritual programme);
    presentation – epiclesis;
    eschatology – moral life and personal maturation.
    theandric – theosis (personal communion in freedom and love).
  4. to interpret the named Latin preface in its liturgical-ritual context according to these four pairs of interpretative keys.

 

Structure of the course

During each session we shall follow a determined method in examining together a preface. New elements of this method will be presented each session according to two major areas:

First, the Latin expression of the preface will be considered to understand the function of each word in the sentence and the literary structure of the preface, its timeline of events, the interpretative categories of its clauses and its presentation of the divine human exchange.

Second, the interpretation of the preface begins with an understanding of its liturgical-ritual context and continues with an application of the four pairs of interpretative keys to distern their expression in the preface.

 

Learning activities

  1. The instructor will present the elements of the method gradually each session, beginning first with an analysis of the Latin text and literary structure of the prayer, and then continuing with the interpretation of the prayer’s liturgical-ritual context and the four pairs of interpretative keys.
  2. A student will be asked to assist in the presentation of each preface guided by the instructor, and all students will participate in applying gradually more elements of this method to a different preface each session.
  3. At the beginning of the course each student will select an agreed upon preface from the Missale Romanum. As each element of the method is presented, the student will apply it to the named preface during private study

 

Schedule

The course is scheduled for Tuesday afternoons of the Spring semester 2017, which begins on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 and continues through Friday XX May, followed by the exam period. Sessions begin at 15:30 and continue until 17:05 (with a short break) on each of the following days:

14, 21, 28 February
7, 14, (21?), 28 March
(Easter break)
4 April
2, 9, 16, 23 May

 

Hours: 15:30-17:05

First session 15:30-16:15

Break: 16:15-16:20

Second session 16:20-17:05

 

Office Hours

Please do not phone the instructor. Rather email him at danielmccarthyosb AT mac DOT com. He is available outside of class time by appointment.

 

Bibliography

♦ Latin-English dictionary such as D.P. SIMPSON, Cassell’s English Dictionary, New York-Oxford 1968;

♦ Appreciating the CollectAn Irenic Methodology, ed. J.G. Leachman – D.P. McCarthy (Documenta rerum ecclesiasticarum instaurata, Liturgiam aestimare: Appreciating the Liturgy 1), St. Michael’s Abbey Press, Farnborough 2008.

♦ FOSTER, R. – D.P. MCCARTHY, Ossa Latinitatis Sola ad mentem Reginaldi rationemqueThe mere bones of Latin according to the thought and system of Reginald (Latinitatis Corpus 1), Catholic University of America Press, Washington DC 2016.

♦ MCCARTHY, D., “The Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer”, in Transition in the Easter VigilBecoming Christians. Paschali in vigilia Christiani nominis fieri, ed. D.P. McCarthy – J.G. Leachman (Documenta rerum ecclesiasticarum instaurata, Liturgiam aestimare: Appreciating the Liturgy 2), St. Michael’s Abbey Press, Farnborough 2011.

♦ MCCARTHY, D., “Seeing a Reflection, Considering Appearances: The History, Theology and Literary Composition of the Missale Romanum at a Time of Vernacular Reflection”, Questions Liturgiques / Studies in Liturgy 94 (2013) 109-143.

Also recommended:

♦ LEACHMAN, J.G. – D.P. McCarthy, “Preparation for the Piazza. The Preface of the Second Scrutiny (the Fourth Sunday in Lent): The Mystagogical Formation of the Neophytes and the Assembly”, Societas Liturgica Conference, 11 August 2007, Studia Liturgica 38 (2008) 114-133.

♦ LEACHMAN, J.G. “A New Liturgical Hermeneutic: Christian Maturation by Developmental Steps”, New Blackfriars 90 (2009) 219-231.

♦ MCCARTHY, D. – J.G. LEACHMAN, “Listen to the Word” Commentaries on the propers of selected Sundays and feasts”, The Tablet (28 November 2009 – 13 November 2010).

♦ MCCARTHY, D. – J.G. LEACHMAN, “Listen to the Word” Commentaries on the prefaces of selected Sundays and feasts”, The Tablet (20 November 2010 – 27 November 2011).

♦ GILDERSLEEVE, B.L, – G. LODGE, Gildersleeve’s Latin Grammar, Bolchazy-Carducci, Wauconda IL 2003, reprint of 31895.

 

Works by other authors on the prefaces:

♦ ASHWORTH, H., “Praefationum fontes novarum liturgici, biblici et patristici“, Ephemerides Liturgicae 82 (1968) 430-444.
♦ BEALL, S., “Mirabilia Dei: Style and Translation int he Prefaces of the Missale Romanum“, Antiphon 8:1 (2003) 10-21. (download PDF here)
♦ DUMAS, A., “Les préfaces du nouveau missel”, Ephemerides Liturgicae 85 (1971) 16-28.
♦ RUSSELL, N., The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford Early Christian Studies), Oxford UP, Oxford 2006.
♦ TRIACCA, A.M., “La strutturazione eucologica dei Prefazi. Contributo metodologico per una loro retta esegesi. In margine al nuovo ‘MIssale Romanum”, Ephemerides Liturgicae 86 (1972) 233-279.
♦ WARD A. – C. JOHNSON, The Prefaces of the Roman Missal: A Source Compendium with Concordance and Indices, Congregation for Divine Worship, Centro liturgico vincenziano edizioni liturgiche, Rome 1989.
♦ WARD A. – C. JOHNSON, “The sources of the Roman Missal (1975) II. Prefaces”, Notitiae 24 (1987) 559-568.
♦ WARD A. – C. JOHNSON, “Fontes liturgici. The Sources of the Roman Missal (1975), 2. Prefaces”, Notitiae 23 (1987) 409-1009
Enter an inflected form of your word in the field under the heading “Dictionary Entry Lookup”, located in the column on the right.
Parsing tool with Lewis and Short Dictionary♦ LEWIS and SHORT dictionary available here: Enter the dictionary entry for your word in the field under the heading “Dictionary Entry Lookup”, located in the column on the right.

 

Examination in detail

Explanation: During the oral exam the instructor chooses one of the four interpretative keys. The student both demonstrates an understanding of the theory involved in the chosen interpretative key and then applies the interpretative key to the preface in its liturgical-ritual context. Only if there is doubt, will the instructor ask the student about the function of any Latin word of the preface and its literary composition.

Criteria for evaluation: Both the regular participation of the student in class discussions and a final oral exam are assessed based on the following criteria:

  1. a clear understanding of the function of each word and the literary structure of the Latin preface,
  2. a clearly developed presentation of the selected interpretative key,
  3. a well considered application of the selected interpretative key to the text of the preface in its liturgical-ritual context.

This is an open book exam, so students may bring their notes and printed resources. The exam is timed, so the student is advised to prepare the material well and then to focus on the essential elements for presentation. The instructor may ask questions to help the student provide a fuller response.

Academic program

The program of studies, course descriptions and calendar for the academic year 2016-2017 is available for download here.

Place

This course is offered in English at the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy housed at:

Sant’Anselmo
Piazza Cavalieri di Malta, 5
00153 Roma, Italia

See map below.

Schedule in detail

Here is the subject matter for each class session

Session 1: Tuesday, 14 February 2017
We shall examine the preface for Palm Sunday

We shall meet one another.
The instructor will introduce the course, and explain the method of exam.
We shall also begin our method of understanding a preface using the following steps:

  1. write the prayer out
  2. read the prayer outloud
  3. underline the action words
  4. the relative pronoun opens a clause (see: Ossa, Encounters 10-11, 23, 28, 33):
    1. where is its verb
    2. where does the clause end
  5. draw a tree showing how the dependencies of clauses (see: Ossa, Encounters 11.4)
  6. establish the times of verbs and their English equivalents (see: Ossa, Encounters 7)
  7. draw a timeline of the actions and goals (see: Ossa, Encounters 44)
  8. discern the interpretative categories of the prayer
    1. Latin text, divided into three parts
    2. function in the Latin sentence,
    3. interpretative category (see De Zan)
      1. address
      2. amplification
        1. relative clause (see: Ossa, Encounters 10-11)
        2. in apposition
      3. confession
        1. relative clause (see: Ossa, Encounters 10-11)
        2. accusative with the infinitive (see: Ossa, Encounters 71-73)
      4. motor driving the prayer to its conclusion
        1. participial phrase, active or passive (see: Ossa, Encounters 50-53)
        2. relative clause (see: Ossa, Encounters 10-11)
        3. ablative absolute (see: Ossa, Encounters 54-57)
      5. purpose expressed in 14 ways (see: Ossa, Encounter 84)
      6. goal (ad + object) (see: Ossa, Encounter 6)

DOMINICA IN PALMIS
De dominica Passione

Vere dignum et iustum est,
aequum et salutare,
nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere:
Domine, sancte Pater,
omnipotens aeterne Deus:
per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Qui pati pro impiis dignatus est innocens,
et pro sceleratis indebite condemnari.
Cuius mors delicta nostra detersit,
et iustificationem nobis resurrectio comparavit.

Unde et nos cum omnibus Angelis te laudamus,
iucunda celebratione clamantes: Sanctus …

Session 2: Tuesday, 21 February 2017
We shall examine the preface for Palm Sunday

DOMINICA IN PALMIS
De dominica Passione

Vere dignum et iustum est,
aequum et salutare,
nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere:
Domine, sancte Pater,
omnipotens aeterne Deus:
per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Qui pati pro impiis dignatus est innocens,
et pro sceleratis indebite condemnari.
Cuius mors delicta nostra detersit,
et iustificationem nobis resurrectio comparavit.

Unde et nos cum omnibus Angelis te laudamus,
iucunda celebratione clamantes: Sanctus …

We shall note the three parts of the prayer.

We shall examine the subject of est in the first line.

We shall examine both relative pronouns (see: Ossa, Encounters 10-11, 23, 28, 33):

  1. Name the relative pronoun?
  2. Where is its verb?
  3. Where does the clause end?
  4. Put ( rounded parentheses ) around the relative phrase, including phrses that depend on it.
  5. What is the function of the relative pronoun within its own clause?
  6. What is the gender and number of the relative pronoun?
  7. Where is the antecedent of the relative pronoun, if expressed?

The et in the eighth line joins two equal elements; name them:

The et in the tenth line joins two equal elements; name them:

Name and explain the form of the two objects of dignatus est:

What does innocens agree with?

Give your English rendering of the prayer:

Session 3: Tuesday, 28 February 2017
We shall examine the collect for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

PRAEFATIO PASCHALIS II
De vita nova in Christo

Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare:
Te quidem, Domine, omni tempore confiteri,
sed in hoc potissimum gloriosius praedicare,
cum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus.

Per quem in aeternam vitam filii lucis oriuntur,
et regni caelestis atria fidelibus reserantur.

Quia mors nostra est eius morte redempta,
et in eius resurrectione vita omnium resurrexit.

Quapropter, profusis paschalibus gaudiis,
totus in orbe terrarum mundus exsultat.

Sed et supernae virtutes atque angelicae potestates
hymnum gloriae tuae concinunt,
sine fine dicentes: Sanctus …

We shall examine the four participles (see: Ossa, Encounters 50-53):

  1. contemporaneous active
  2. antecedent passive (antecedent active – deponent)
  3. futurity
  4. passive necessity

We shall examine the construction of the Ablative Absolute and its role in the sentence, and how to render it into clear English.

We shall briefly consider causal clauses that use:
quod, quia, quoniam (see: Ossa, Encounter 59)
quandoquandoquidemsiquidem (see: Ossa, Encounter 59).

We shall begin to apply a basic semiotic analysis to the prayers asking the following two questions, being mindful of both active and passive events:

  1. Who does it?
  2. Who does what?
  3. Who does what to whom?

From this analysis, we shall develop an interpretation of the divine-human exchange in the prayer.

Session 4: Tuesday, 7 March 2017
We shall consider the collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

PRAEFATIO III DE DOMINICIS “PER ANNUM”
De salvatione hominis per hominem

Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare,
nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere:
Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens aeterne Deus:

Ad cuius immensam gloriam pertinere cognoscimus
ut mortalibus tua deitate succurreres;
sed et nobis provideres de ipsa
mortalitate nostra remedium,
et perditos quosque unde perierant, inde salvares,
per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Per quem maiestatem tuam adorat exercitus Angelorum,
ante conspectum tuum in aeternitate laetantium.
Cum quibus et nostras voces
ut admitti iubeas, deprecamur,
socia exsultatione dicentes: Sanctus

We shall examine the 14 ways to express purpose ((see: Ossa, Encounter 84; Appreciating the Collect). Of these, we shall give specific attention to the construction of ut followed by the subjunctive. We shall examine the full time frame of verbs in the first and second subjunctive.

We shall consider the construction of goals, especially the preposition ad followed by an object.

Session 5: Tuesday, 14 March 2017
We shall consider the collect for the Sixth Sunday of Easter

DOMINICA II IN QUADRAGESIMA A
De transfiguratione Domini

Vere dignum et iustum est,
aequum et salutare,
nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere:
Domine, sancte Pater,
omnipotens aeterne Deus:
per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Qui, propria morte praenuntiata discipulis,
in monte sancto suam eis aperuit claritatem,
ut per passionem, etiam lege prophetisque testantibus,
ad gloriam resurrectionis perveniri constaret.

Et ideo cum caelorum virtutibus
in terris te iugiter celebramus,
maiestati tuae sine fine clamantes: Sanctus …

We shall consider the mode of speaking in indirect discourse, and the function of object sentences.

Session 6: Tuesday, 21 March 2017
No class due to the solemnity of St. Benedict.

Session 7: Tuesday, 28 March 2017
We shall consider the preface for the First Sunday of Advent

PRAEFATIO I DE ADVENTU

De duobus adventibus Christi

Vere dignum et iustum est,
aequum et salutare,
nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere:
Domine, sancte Pater,
omnipotens aeterne Deus
per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Qui, primo adventu in humilitate carnis assumptae,
dispositionis antiquae munus implevit,
nobisque salutis perpetuae tramitem reseravit:
ut, cum secundo venerit in suae gloria maiestatis,
manifesto demum munere capiamus,
quod vigilantes nunc audemus exspectare promissum.

Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis,
cum Thronis et Dominationibus,
cumque omni militia caelestis exercitus,
hymnum gloriae tuae canimus,
sine fine dicentes: Sanctus …

We shall next begin the second half of the course:

We will focus on the four interpretative keys for understanding a ritual action, or in this case a collect offered in its ritual context. We present each of these four interpretative keys as a pair:

anamnesis is understood according to the presentation of Prof. De Zan in terms of the narrative of the saving works of God and celebrating the ritual programme

Epiclesis is understood in terms of the presentation of one’s self to God in prayer at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and the invocation of God. As we process to meet Christ the one coming, this double procession leads to an encounter in which the human person is changed in the following two ways

Eschatology is the graced process of transcending one’s former self in order to become one’s self anew in a greater communion. By such stages of human maturation a person cooperates in one’s own graced transformation into the body of Christ. This is lived in daily life, according to the Gospel of Matthew chapter 25, by our moral behaviour in the world

Theosis is the graced experience of coming to full human personhood, that is to share on a human level in the personal way of being proper to the Divine Trinity. This is experienced in the personal exercise of freedom in a bond of love.

For the discussion of Theosis, see the comments of Norman Russell on the contribution of John Zizioulas in N. Russell, The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford Early Christian Studies), Oxford UP, Oxford 2006, 318.

In this session we shall begin to consider the interpretative key of anamnesis.

Session 8: Tuesday, 4 April 2017
We shall examine preface I of Christmas

PRAEFATIO I DE NATIVITATE DOMINI

De Christo luce

Vere dignum et iustum est,
aequum et salutare,
nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere:
Domine, sancte Pater,
omnipotens aeterne Deus:

Quia per incarnati Verbi mysterium
nova mentis nostrae oculis lux tuae claritatis infulsit:
ut, dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus,
per hunc in invisibilium amorem rapiamur.

Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis,
cum Thronis et Dominationibus,
cumque omni militia caelestis exercitus,
hymnum gloriae tuae canimus,
sine fine dicentes: Sanctus …

We shall turn our consideration to the interpretative key of epiclesis.

Session 9: Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Beginning with this session we shall review the prayers that students have chosen, prayers we have already examined as a preparation for the exam. This review includes a clear understanding of the Latin text and discerning the presence of the four interpretative keys in each prayer.

PRAEFATIO PASCHALIS II
De vita nova in Christo

Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare:
Te quidem, Domine, omni tempore confiteri,
sed in hoc potissimum gloriosius praedicare,
cum Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus.

Per quem in aeternam vitam filii lucis oriuntur,
et regni caelestis atria fidelibus reserantur.

Quia mors nostra est eius morte redempta,
et in eius resurrectione vita omnium resurrexit.

Quapropter, profusis paschalibus gaudiis,
totus in orbe terrarum mundus exsultat.

Sed et supernae virtutes atque angelicae potestates
hymnum gloriae tuae concinunt,
sine fine dicentes: Sanctus …

The interpretative key of eschatology is presented. We shall also consider how the prayer presents steps of human maturation.

Session 10: Tuesday, 9 May 2017

In this session we continue our review of prayers we have already seen, prayers which students have chosen in preparation for their exam.

DOMINICA IN PALMIS
De dominica Passione

Vere dignum et iustum est,
aequum et salutare,
nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere:
Domine, sancte Pater,
omnipotens aeterne Deus:
per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Qui pati pro impiis dignatus est innocens,
et pro sceleratis indebite condemnari.
Cuius mors delicta nostra detersit,
et iustificationem nobis resurrectio comparavit.

Unde et nos cum omnibus Angelis te laudamus,
iucunda celebratione clamantes: Sanctus …

The interpretative key of theosis will be presented.

Session 11: Tuesday, 16 May 2017

During this final session of our course, we shall review a final prayer in preparation for the exam.

PRAEFATIO I DE NATIVITATE DOMINI

De Christo luce

Vere dignum et iustum est,
aequum et salutare,
nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere:
Domine, sancte Pater,
omnipotens aeterne Deus:

Quia per incarnati Verbi mysterium
nova mentis nostrae oculis lux tuae claritatis infulsit:
ut, dum visibiliter Deum cognoscimus,
per hunc in invisibilium amorem rapiamur.

Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis,
cum Thronis et Dominationibus,
cumque omni militia caelestis exercitus,
hymnum gloriae tuae canimus,
sine fine dicentes: Sanctus …

If students have any questions about the exam they are invited to raise them during this session.

Exams: Tuesday, 23 May 2017: 15:30, 15:45, 16:00

Each exam lasts ten minutes, timed, so be prepared to say the most important elements right away.

Students are asked to bring a copy of the text of their prayer in Latin with them, and to provide a copy for the instructor.

Students are suggested to have already prepared their full translation of their chosen preface.

The method of examination and the criteria for the mark are given above.

After each exam the instructor will have a few minutes to write his notes.

 

Praefationes Missali Romani collectae
Collected Prefaces of the Missale Romanum

The Latin texts of the prefaces of the Missale Romanum are available on this separate web-page, so that this page may be more easily nagivable.

Praefationes ex Missali Romani editio MMII excerptae
Prefaces selected from the 2002 edition of the Missale Romanum

Materials continued

You may purchase our books from Sr. Bernadette or the English desk at:

Pauline multimedia
via del Mascherino, 94
00193 Roma
Tel. 06.6872354
Fax: 06.68308093
Sr. Bernadette: Inglese@paoline-multimedia.it
General enquiries: centro@paoline-multimedia.it
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Map:

Latin resources

I have begun to develop a page of resources for the Latin language including: dictionaries, grammars, resources, texts, links.