Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's Wrong? Weekly Q&A- Glory Be edition

"Did I do something wrong?" asked my friend Judy after we prayed Morning Prayer at church today. "There was something I was saying that you weren't saying, but I forget what it was."

I knew. It was another case of the Mismatched Glory Be.
People who are used to praying the Glory Be after each decade of the rosary (and in other places) use the traditional translation of the last half of this prayer: as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.  

When the Liturgy of the Hours was revised by Rome in 1970, the English translation made of the Glory Be was different: as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.  It's basically the same as the traditional form, but the "world without end" bit was hacked off.   It's not wrong to use the older form--it's the same prayer. The problem comes when you are praying the Liturgy of the Hours with a group, and different people have a preferred Glory Be. Out of sheer habit (rosary, etc.) and a touch of modified traditionalism (defined as not changing traditional Catholic customs until there's a darned good reason) I use the old Glory Be when I'm praying the office by myself or with my husband. When praying with a group I use the newer one to avoid confusing the people around me. But sometimes I forget. Hence poor Judy's confusion when I lapsed into traditional mode this morning.

There are some slow-moving plans afoot to re-translate the English Liturgy of the Hours, as was recently done with the mass. It is possible the Glory Be will be put back to the older form, OR it might be re-translated in yet another new version. And there might be a good reason for this.  If you look at the Latin ending, et in principio et nunc et semper, et in  omnia saecula saeculorum, it literally says something like,as it was in the beginning, and now and always, and in all, a century of centuries. I know that in the French and Spanish versions of the Glory Be, that saecula saeculorum  is indeed translated "for centuries of centuries".  But in English, we don't use this phrase. Instead we might say "forever and ever". In the collect at mass we translate the ending saecula saeculorum this way. (who lives and reigns with  you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.)   So, when the English breviary eventually gets it facelift, we might end up with the traditional "world without end.Amen" for the sake of preserving long standing custom (not a bad reason.) OR we might get new Glory Be translation of "forever and ever.Amen" in the interest of greater fidelity to the Latin. I doubt we'd get a hyper-literal "century of centuries", since the art of translation encompasses more that sheer literalness.

If any of you found the above a fascinating discussion rather than a nitpicking exercise in tedium, you may want to read more about it on Wikipedia., which discusses the Latin and Greek roots of this phrase as found in the Bible.

Which Glory Be do you use? And if you have any Divine Office Difficulties this week, bring them on, cuz' its weekly Q&A time.

P.S. Welcome new follower, Theresa.



  1. Here's one reader who finds it fascinating :)
    I typically use the older version also.
    One thing that I often find myself doing, however, is saying the form used by the Trappists when they are praying the Office:
    "Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. The God who is, who was and is to come, at the end of the ages." I've been on retreat so often at a trappist abbey that I find myself involuntarily using this doxology quite often.

  2. I have been mostly listening to the Hours on my Kindle (while working about the house, driving or knitting), and they say it the newer way. Hearing it so often throughout the day, I get used to it, but when I pray the rosary before Mass or with my family, I find myself groping for >those< words! I, for one, would like it to be the same as I get too confused :-) Our pastor has is PhD in many languages, Greek and Latin in particular. He could tell them what's what in the translating. ;-)

    I would also just like to mention how beautiful the Hours were on Monday for the solemnity. I wish I had started praying them years ago!!

    God bless, Michele

  3. I have used the older form of the "Glory Be" for years, and, now that I think about it, the translation of the "Glory Be" in the LOTH is one reason I stopped using the LOTH and went back to the Roman Breviary. I simply found it uncomfortable.

    However, this is not the first time a change to a commonly used pray has happened. In the interim version of the LOTH, the "Prayer of Christians" from 1971, the "Our Father" was that version with "Forgive us our debts as . . ." In the Liturgical Press three volume version of the Roman Breviary of 1960, the version of the "Hail Holy Queen" is not the traditional one, but a literal Latin translation.

  4. I've never seen an interim 1971 LOTH. I'm glad "forgive us our debts" didn't gain traction. That fact that the Hail Holy Queen was fiddled with in 1960 shows that this translation issue is not purely a post-Vatican II phenomenon. Another tidbit: I recall the interim mass of the mid-sixties very well, since it came when I was just at the age a child starts paying attention to mass. That was the mass that I memorized. Our recent new translation
    went back to much of the language of that interim mass. One exception: in the Creed, where we now say "consubstantial with the Father", we used to say "of one substance with the Father." We have to remember that on the one hand, the only official language of the Church is Latin. No English translation is "de fide", much though we grow to love what is familiar. "world without end" really isn't that accurate, much as I am used to it. Should this eventually be re-translated as "forever and ever" I'll try to accept that gracefully.

  5. Daria, The interim LOTH of 1971 is interesting. The psalms are not the Grail, but the Pian psalter, Olinger translation found in the Liturgical Press Breviary. There is no Office of Readings, as it was not yet finished. Psalm 94 (95) is used before every office. I gave my copy away.

    The earliest English version of the LOTH is the short Saint Columba Breviary from Ireland of 1970. It has the Grail psalms. Before every office Psalm 94 (95) is used as an introductory psalm. It has bits an pieces of the old calender, showing that the new calender was not quite finalized when this Calender was put together, so St. Joachim is still by himself on August 16, the Motherhood of Mary is still on October 11,and so on. I kept this one, as it is an interesting liturgical artifact.

    The use of Psalm 94 (95), before every office reflects how the Benedictines started Lauds in those days with Psalm 66 (67) and the Roman Breviary of 1960 used Psalm 94 (95) before the Office of Matins. The move to put it before every office was deemed unsuccessful and so it stayed with the Office of Readings.

    Regarding translation, I think a lot is personal preference. When I first started praying the Office in 1986, I used my grandfather's A Short Breviary of 1940, which contained the Confraternity translation of the Vulgate psalms. I found the Grail awkward compared to these, but found the Olinger translation of the Pian Psalter very comfortable. The new Grail translation is very nice and I believe it will be the one used in the revised LOTH.

    Daria, the new LOTH will be an exciting thing. The translation of prayers will match what is in the mass (I.e. collects, dominus vobiscums, etc.). We will have all the additional readings for new saints. There will be a three year cycle of antiphons for the Benedictus and the Magnificat. I am heard that there are Offices for Votive Masses, which will be provided. The liturgical hymns proper to the office shall be provided. I am not sure, but I understand that the non-liturgical hymns will be removed, as well as the psalm prayers.

    1. Yes, I already have the new grail translation and like it very much. And I've been pasting the new collects into my breviary as a temporary fix. Where did you learn about the 3 year cycles of antiphons and offices for votive masses, and about the correct hymns being put in? I hope you are right, about the hymns especially. It's so difficult to find any definite information about all this, so I'd appreciate whatever you can tell me, James.

  6. Daria,

    On a blog called "absolutely no spin" you need to look up the African LOTH. It has pictures of out and a review. The reviewer bought the set from a priest on e-bay. I know the priest who sold it, and he, a former ICEL member gave me the info. I bough from him the one volume African Morning, Evening and Night Prayer, which also has the 3 year cycle of antiphons. I gave it away to someone who needed it more (I probably have given away over 40 copies of the Breviary and LOTH in the past five years!), but it is all there. I will give you more info, but my wife is calling me to dinner!

  7. O.k., Now, another thing that will come out with the new LOTH is the fact that there are offices associated with votive masses, such as "Our Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest," or, the "Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ." I first learned about the former in a comment from Cardinal Burke, who mentioned its existence. THe latter is more complicated. Allegedly, the feast was suppressed in 1970. But, many religious orders devoted to the Precious Blood were quite upset, so they were allowed to retain the feast day (Still on July 1st) in the calender particular to their order. I believe the Passionists still have this feast, also. Now, the collect changed between the 1962 and 1970 missal, but otherwise, I do not know what changed in the Office. The old office, as found in the 1960 Breviary, is beautiful, and the readings are profound.

    Now, this brings up another point. In the old Office, pre-1960, there were three readings, one bilbical, and two patristic readings for every Sunday and feastday, and pre-1955, for every Octave. After 1960, it was a partial patristic reading for Sundays, but feasts, such as the Precious Blood, still had the three readings, with the two full patristic readings being from Chrysostom and Augustine. There has been work on creating a second cycle of patristic readings for the LOTH. The list has been published in Notiatiae (sic), and Cardinal Arinze told Father Z a couple of years ago that the work is being held up on translating Greek texts into Latin. There is also a second cycle of biblical readings that is already used in the Spanish version of the LOTH!

    Finally -- the hymns -- there are hymns for many saints days and fast that are not translated -- but they existed when the LOTH came out in 1975. The banned 4th edition of the Short Breviary of St. John's Abbey, which came out in 1975, had many of the hymns in it, or in abbreviated versions. There are some wonderful ones, old, and new. Many of the hymns are found in the British version of the LOTH, The Divine Office, and are regularly used by those areas which use (as required) that version of the office. Daria -- I believe there was an article in Adoremus about this, also.

    So, we have a lot to look forward to -- in fact, the LOTH is expected to become five or six volumes! It is six volumes in the Latin edition published by the Midwest Theological Forum!

  8. The Short Breviary of St. John's Abbey was actually the first one I used when I started praying it in 1979. Moved from there to the British Harper-Collins one-volume, supplemented with the Pauline Office of Readings which was once available in a single volume (and lead to the first book review I ever wrote). When I decided to add Daytime, I got the Pauline single volume. Now I've got the 4-volume CBP since it's the only 4-volume in print in America,supplmented with the Mundelein psalter for MP and EP. I am determined to stick with the LOTH as opposed to the 1960 breviary, for a number of reasons which I won't bore you with here. I would love to buy the African Pauline 4-volume, but at the moment can't justify the $100 plus shipping from overseas. It's currently not on any used book sites or ebay. If you ever come across one, let me know.

    I knew about the Precious Blood situation, but Eternal High Priest is a new one for me. Thanks for all the info.

  9. I find either Glory Be comfortable, as long as I remember beforehand which one I'm supposed to say! (That's the hard part: Catholic prayer, brain on auto-pilot, so forth...)
    I had read online somewhere--can't remember--but likely some kind of angry-trad site, that the "world without end" Glory Be should be scrapped because it came to us via Henry VIII. Don't know what to make of that.

  10. Count on a rad-trad for this sort of oneupsmanship.

  11. Yes, imagine how smug a person could feel during 95% of Catholic prayers, saying to himself, "That Glory be is INVALID!!" Just the way to keep one's mind on Christ!

  12. Well look how those sspx folks are rebuffing the humble, magnanimous condescension of our dear Pope Benedict. Makes one suspect that the whole organization is a cult of smugness. Clinging to the inner ring mentality that Lewis talked about.

  13. What Jesus showed me during prayer is that the phrase "world without end" is incorrect, as it goes against what He tells us in Matthew 24:35: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
    He corrected me to: "Rule without end".
    God bless you.

  14. I was just watching this video of Vespers at St. Vincent Archabbey (Latrobe, PA), the oldest Benedictine monastery in the U.S.: and surprisingly, they used the traditional doxology, not the "Glory to" LOTH version, even in public celebration. I wonder if they do so all the time.