Monday, 18 July 2011

Learning one's Pater Noster...

I went to a Roman church for Mass yesterday, rather outside the range of my experience (and sympathy) in many respects. The music was good (Byrd and Plainsong). I won't condescend to comment on anything else, though I was struck by the Rector's curious sermon, the general thrust of which seemed to be forgiveness as a necessary ordinance of the Gospel, though tinged with stuff reminiscent of Michael Davies and Traditionalist rhetoric for the TLM. Curiously he misquoted the Pater Noster, saying ''forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those,'' etc. It doesn't do to use this modern version of the Lord's Prayer. If one is accustomed to recite the Pater Noster in English (as I am occasionally, though not often), then one ought to recite it correctly, even so:

Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, in earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.


  1. Why is that version any more "correct" than the who/those/who version? Are these not insignificant differences?

    And if the Mass you attended was Novus Ordo, (or even Extraordinary Form with an English sermon), the quotation seems quite correct to me.

  2. Sheer pedantic nonsense, and giving preference to a Protestant translation, to boot.

    You will note that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America's website uses the translation with "who" typical to non-heretical Churches. The website of the OCA does, too.

  3. I think the "who art in heaven" version can be first found in the 1764 Scottish Prayer Book. The American Prayer Book, being derived from the Scottish one, has always used "who art in heaven."

    Since Evagrius Ponticus mentioned GOArch, what is particularly jarring to me is the use of traditional singular pronouns in the Lord's Prayer ("hollowed be Thy name") but modern pronouns, that is to say plural pronouns used as singulars, for everything else ("for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" &c.)

  4. Well, this Orthodox, when reciting the Lord’s Prayer in English, invariably uses, whether in public or in private, the traditional form with “which, in, them, that”. Furthermore, he attends a church where that form is always used. Moreover, up until only a few years, this was the form used at the cathedral church of his diocese, before the modernizers had their way.

    I (changing grammatical person) will also sometimes say the Lord’s Prayer in Old English. For those not familiar with it, here is the text:

    Fæder ure þu þe eart on heofonum,
    si þin nama gehalgod.
    To becume þin rice,
    gewurþe ðin willa, on eorðan swa swa on heofonum.
    Urne gedæghwamlican hlaf syle us todæg,
    and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum.
    And ne gelæd þu us on costnunge, ac alys us of yfele.

    For those with no knowledge of Anglo-Saxon, this is somewhat more recognizable when heard spoken rather than just seen as text. What strikes me is that the traditional Early Modern English form, as it appears in the Book of Common Prayer, really has only one significant word in it that is of Romance derivation. That is ‘temptation’, whereas the Old English has ‘costnunge’, a word now lost to us. Otherwise, the Prayer Book form can be seen to be of pure Saxon derivation.

    A literal rendering of the Old English text into something more modern might be:

    Father ours, thou which art in heaven,
    be thy name hallowed.
    Come thy rich (kingdom),
    worth (manifest) thy will, in earth as also in heaven.
    Our daily loaf sell (give) us today,
    and forgive us our guilts, as also we forgive our guilty.
    And lead thou us not in temptation, but loose (release) us of evil.

  5. I can think of more pressing issues of grammar and good form you might want to deal with. Your persistent (mis-)use of ellipses comes to mind.

  6. As Shakespeare wrote: much ado about nothing.

  7. To quote Ludovico, “I can think of more pressing issues of grammar and good form you might want to deal with. Your persistent (mis-)use of ellipses comes to mind.”

    Concerning questions of “grammar and good form”, perhaps we might begin by examining the ending of his own first sentence, which terminates in a preposition? His next—the second and last—sentence can only—I assume, Patricius—refer to your fondness for using ellipses on Facebook; perhaps his own misuse of parentheses, on this blog, has eluded him?