Thursday, December 29, 2016

"look not on our sins, but on the fidelity of your Church"

Ecclesia. From an
Ecclesia et Synagoga.
"Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles:  Peace I leave you, my peace I give you; look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and graciously grant her peace and unity in accordance with your will.  Who live and reign for ever and ever.  Amen."

"Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis:  Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis:  ne respicias peccata nostra, sed fidem ecclesiae tuae; eamque secundum voluntatem tuam pacificare et coadunare digneris.  Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum.  Amen."

     Prayer for peace articulated by the priest on behalf of the entire congregation in the plural, Missale Romanum.  This derives from the prayer articulated by the celebrant on his own behalf in the singular at the head of an intraclerical and strictly hierarchical exchange of the peace in the Tridentine missal of Pius V (1570):

"Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis:  Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis:  ne respicias peccata mea, sed fidem ecclesiae tuae; eamque secundum voluntatem tuam pacificare et coadunare digneris.  Qui vivis et regnas Deus per omnia saecula saeculorum.  Amen."

     According to Robert Cabié, "Donnez-vous la paix," Bulletin de littérature ecclésiastique 103 (2002):  275-276 (269-280), this prayer appeared first in early 11th-century Germany, and was only later incorporated into the Tridentine Missale Romanum.  See also Robert Cabié, “Le rite de la paix,” in Les combats de la paix:  Mélanges offerts à René Coste (Toulouse:  Institut Catholique de Toulouse-Bayard éditions/Centurion,1996), 67 (47-71).
     But according to Eligius Dekkers, an early 11th century priest would not have been offering the faith (fides) of the Church (whether objective or even subjective) in place of his own infidelities, but rather its fidelity (fides).  Contrary to the universal ("sans aucune exception") tendency of the various nations to render fides as "faith" ("foi, faith, fede fe, f
é, Glaube, geloof, feiz, Wiara", etc.) since at least 1751, fides here would have meant, in the context of early 11th-century German feudalism, not "faith" but "faithfulness" or "fidelity" ("Une erreur de traduction dans l'ordinaire de la messe?", Memoriam sanctorum venerantes:  Miscelleanea in onore di Monsignor Victor Saxer, Studi di Antichità cristiana 48 (Città del Vaticano:  Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana, 1992), 245-250).   Though I have not yet looked for a counter-argument published in the wake of this article by Dekkers, and though I have always loved (unsuspectingly) the standard translation (as opposed to, say, the lack of "faith" (or "faith"-lessness) that lies at the root of personal sin (as distinguished from the Holiness of the Church)), this makes a lot of sense to me.
     See also Marie-Thérèse Nadeau, Foi de l'église: évolution et sens d'une formule (Paris:  Beauchesne, 1988), which I have not yet read, and esp. pp. 103 ff.  For section X.8 of the Ritus servandus, see this English translation for 1962, that same section in a Latin missal of 1920, and so on.

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