Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rutler on the Novus Ordo

After a brief description of what the Oakland, California School Board termed "ebonics," Fr. Rutler continues:
What I do object to is the suggestion that all this is the brainchild of the Oakland School Board. Thirty years ago, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy invented a proleptical and prolegomenous form of "Ebonics" for the new vernacular Mass.  Catholics in America have thus been speaking this way since Vatican II.
Mark Twain deftly mastered the syntax, as did the nineteenth-century repertoire of dialect songs, like those of Stephen Foster.  One might protest that these were affectations of an idiom, but so were the many wistful Irish songs written by the agile Jewish song masters of Schubert Alley.  The most distinguished precursor of ebonical syntax in drama, after Harriet Beecher Stowe, was Dion Boucicault, whose play The Octoroon opened in the Winter Garden in New York City on December 5, 1859.  By a strange coincidence, that was the day Senator Charles Sumner returned to his Senate desk after having been beaten with a cane by Senator Preston S. Brooks on May 22, 1856 during a debate over slavery in Kansas.  No such violence has yet been inflicted on a liturgical translator, not even on those responsible for the alternative opening collects of the ebonical Novus Ordo, the English translation of the Roman Rite which parses like Thomas Cranmer on Prozac.

1 comment:

Fr. Jay Watson said...

"...Thomas Cranmer on prozac" :)
I love the prose of Fr. Rutler!
Thanks Latif for sharing this post.
frW