Standing in the Liturgy

Standing in the Liturgy

Here’s why you have to be a little skeptical when self-appointed experts begin dissecting what’s going on in the Church, and everyone else—including apparently some mainstream media—accept what they say uncritically. For instance, Rocco tried his hand at translating some Latin in the liturgy, apparently trying to make the point that those who insist on kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayer are missing the fact that Prayer II uses the Latin word “astare” and the whole line is translated “We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you.” Or is it just another straw-man argument in which he is claiming that liturgical conservatives are engaging in a liturgical abuse of their own by substituting the word “stand” for “be”? It’s sometimes hard to tell through his purple prose.

If this is what he’s claiming, I’ve never heard priests doing such and even if it does happen it’s certainly much rarer than the more common politically correct freelancing in the other direction.

In any case, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, who is in fact an expert on the liturgy and Latin, tells us that the basis of Rocco’s argument is wrong.

I read in some blogspot out there some dopey comments about “standing” verbs in Latin in the context of the meeting of bishops at the Millennium in LA … .

In another post today I looked at what circumstantes really means.  Building on the work I did a couple years back when writing on the Eucharistic Prayers, I think we can safely say, based on some serious sources, that circumstantes and circumstantes was a Biblical and Patristic way of addressing in a generic way those who were present, without literal reference to where they might physically be located.

The bottom line is that the Eucharistic Prayer is not referring to a literal “standing around,” but refers to those present at the Liturgy, like figurative “bystanders.”

Let it be said that adsto in the context of the Eucharistic Prayer cannot be rendered in a facile way as “standing” or circumstantes as “standing around”.  These words refer to the presence of participants in the midst of the sacred action of Holy Mass.

Incidentally, he also had an earlier post about the translation of omnium circumstantium in the 1st Eucharist Prayer as well.

All this goes to show that if you want expert information, you go to the real experts.

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Domenico Bettinelli
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