Intercessory Language

I am due to conduct the intercessions at Parish Eucharist on the Last Sunday after Trinity, which is to be celebrated as 'Bible Sunday'. Our Vicar has kindy sent me the officially recommended text to assist my drafting. I'm afraid after reading this I gave up and used my own judgement. What normal person ever says 'May the word of Christ dwell richly in our hearts', or 'Speak your word of peace in our midst?' Why can't those writing prayers use ordinary language instead of Holyspeak?
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Comments

  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Because they are stuck in the past.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I suspect a midway between so-called ordinary and holy is about right ... intercessory language, at least when not extempore, is a representative prayer, a formal calling together of themes and desired divine action, rather rather than a quick chat with God (an equally valid form of prayer, but in a different context).

    Though I think "hey God, sort Covid" has some validity.
  • Eirenist wrote: »
    Why can't those writing prayers use ordinary language instead of Holyspeak?

    What you call ordinary language, what I call ordinary language, and what Bob down the street calls ordinary language aren't the same.

    Intercessory prayer is corporate prayer. The intercessor is leading the body of the church in prayer. To me, it is an advantage to not use language that is personal to the intercessor, and I find adopting a formal, poetic register ("Holyspeak", if you will) achieves that.

    The opposite of Holyspeak is the much-decried "Jesus weejus" style of prayer - and frankly, nobody normal speaks like that to anyone but God either.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited October 15
    I think a lot of people find comfort in the formal poetic stuff--esp. if by Cranmer--and that's okay. The trouble is, the writer has to do it well, and that's not easy. I have heard some horrid specimens of flying language with a sudden THUD! into "bananas and babies" or some such right in the middle, and have had to stifle giggles.

    But as for me, if I'm tasked with praying or speaking in public (or writing for someone else) I go for the plainest style I can come up with, and take all possible care against the "Lord we just wanna" stuff. I suspect that stuff comes from nervousness (it's the equivalent of um er) or terrible example and habit. Which is why I avoid impromptu in public as much as I can.
  • CyprianCyprian Shipmate
    I think liturgical language should draw from Holy Scripture and patristic expression so that the theology that underpins our faith in and our relationship to God may underpin the prayers through which we address Him. When we enter into the liturgical prayer that draws us into prayerful communion with God, we are to be taken from the mundane to the sublime.

    That means that language will not be the same as that use when having a chinwag with the cashier at Tesco, but I don't see that this is a bad thing. It certainly isn't a matter of being stuck in the past; it simply means that we, in the present, are fed and nourished by the past, and have our grounding in the Holy Tradition that we have received from those before us and which we have a duty to pass on intact to those who come after us.

    The rich theology and imagery of Scripture and the patristic witness is a blessing in the prayers that draw on it and all who take part in those prayers. When I think of things like the Anaphora of St Basil or the blessing of rings at the Marriage service, I think of how impoverished they would be if these things were to be expunged.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    'May the word of Christ dwell richly in our hearts' is from one of Paul's letters in the New Testament, and I like to pray a few things from his letters. I'm quite specific and concrete in my langage in general, but this sentence makes sense to me and is something I want for myself, so I am quite happy to pray it. As for 'Speak your word of peace in our midst,' I have never heard that prayed, in the Bible or at churcb and wouldn't pray it. Because it feels a bit prescriptive and also a bit vague. What is a word of peace, and what would we be hoping to get from it? God might have a word to say that isn't peaceful. He might be wanting to tell people to get their heads out of their arses, for instance. And I want God to say what he wants to say.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited October 16
    Cyprian wrote: »
    I think liturgical language should draw from Holy Scripture and patristic expression so that the theology that underpins our faith in and our relationship to God may underpin the prayers through which we address Him. When we enter into the liturgical prayer that draws us into prayerful communion with God, we are to be taken from the mundane to the sublime.

    That means that language will not be the same as that use when having a chinwag with the cashier at Tesco, but I don't see that this is a bad thing. It certainly isn't a matter of being stuck in the past; it simply means that we, in the present, are fed and nourished by the past, and have our grounding in the Holy Tradition that we have received from those before us and which we have a duty to pass on intact to those who come after us.

    The rich theology and imagery of Scripture and the patristic witness is a blessing in the prayers that draw on it and all who take part in those prayers. When I think of things like the Anaphora of St Basil or the blessing of rings at the Marriage service, I think of how impoverished they would be if these things were to be expunged.

    Don't get me wrong, I love this sort of thing, but speaking as a missionary, I cannot defend it UNLESS there is an option equally available to those who cannot access this sort of language. Virtually none of the people I care for have any Christian background whatsoever--they are adult converts, and some of them still in the conversion process, and most of them of mediocre educational background--and in this, they resemble the majority of Americans IMHO. If the only worship and liturgy available to them is this, 8 out of 10 of them will go away utterly confused.

    I've been a writer (including for worship resources) for more than 30 years now, and my understanding is that your average English-speaking adult has a reading level of about junior high (so 12 to 13 years old, then). For many it's lower. Which is why I attempted to shoot for third grade (8 years old) in the hopes of actually hitting fifth grade (10 years). This is maybe the impossible dream, but we've at least got to provide people with something adult, substantial, and meaningful that is at the same time accessible to them. And though it makes the language lover in me weep, that usually forces sacrificing things like "May the word of Christ dwell richly in our hearts', or 'Speak your word of peace in our midst." Unless, of course, an accessible service is held an hour later or earlier, that sort of thing.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Cyprian wrote: »
    I think liturgical language should draw from Holy Scripture and patristic expression so that the theology that underpins our faith in and our relationship to God may underpin the prayers through which we address Him. When we enter into the liturgical prayer that draws us into prayerful communion with God, we are to be taken from the mundane to the sublime.

    That means that language will not be the same as that use when having a chinwag with the cashier at Tesco, but I don't see that this is a bad thing. It certainly isn't a matter of being stuck in the past; it simply means that we, in the present, are fed and nourished by the past, and have our grounding in the Holy Tradition that we have received from those before us and which we have a duty to pass on intact to those who come after us.

    The rich theology and imagery of Scripture and the patristic witness is a blessing in the prayers that draw on it and all who take part in those prayers. When I think of things like the Anaphora of St Basil or the blessing of rings at the Marriage service, I think of how impoverished they would be if these things were to be expunged.

    So what about modern translations of scripture being reflected in prayers that also use modern language?
  • As ever, @Lamb Chopped 's commitment to her congregation in her choice of language is hard to argue with, so I won't. My only thought is whether there is a middle ground between the archaic poetry of Coverdale, Cranmer and the AV, and the more leaden prosaicisms of The Message or the Good News Bible (and some modern language liturgies).
  • CyprianCyprian Shipmate
    Cyprian wrote: »
    I think liturgical language should draw from Holy Scripture and patristic expression so that the theology that underpins our faith in and our relationship to God may underpin the prayers through which we address Him. When we enter into the liturgical prayer that draws us into prayerful communion with God, we are to be taken from the mundane to the sublime.

    That means that language will not be the same as that use when having a chinwag with the cashier at Tesco, but I don't see that this is a bad thing. It certainly isn't a matter of being stuck in the past; it simply means that we, in the present, are fed and nourished by the past, and have our grounding in the Holy Tradition that we have received from those before us and which we have a duty to pass on intact to those who come after us.

    The rich theology and imagery of Scripture and the patristic witness is a blessing in the prayers that draw on it and all who take part in those prayers. When I think of things like the Anaphora of St Basil or the blessing of rings at the Marriage service, I think of how impoverished they would be if these things were to be expunged.

    Don't get me wrong, I love this sort of thing, but speaking as a missionary, I cannot defend it UNLESS there is an option equally available to those who cannot access this sort of language. Virtually none of the people I care for have any Christian background whatsoever--they are adult converts, and some of them still in the conversion process, and most of them of mediocre educational background--and in this, they resemble the majority of Americans IMHO. If the only worship and liturgy available to them is this, 8 out of 10 of them will go away utterly confused.

    I've been a writer (including for worship resources) for more than 30 years now, and my understanding is that your average English-speaking adult has a reading level of about junior high (so 12 to 13 years old, then). For many it's lower. Which is why I attempted to shoot for third grade (8 years old) in the hopes of actually hitting fifth grade (10 years). This is maybe the impossible dream, but we've at least got to provide people with something adult, substantial, and meaningful that is at the same time accessible to them. And though it makes the language lover in me weep, that usually forces sacrificing things like "May the word of Christ dwell richly in our hearts', or 'Speak your word of peace in our midst." Unless, of course, an accessible service is held an hour later or earlier, that sort of thing.

    Thank you for these thoughts, @Lamb Chopped . I do have some sympathy with this, and can understand how, in the missionary frontier, there might be a need for initial contact to involve simplified language in prayer, but I would imagine that to be transitory, with an ultimate view to full participation in the Church's regular liturgical life. I say that, of course, speaking from a tradition where the liturgies are as they have been handed down to us, and where ex tempore prayer within a liturgical context is unusual. It might not apply universally.

    I'm perhaps not a missionary in the same way that you are but my mission parish was set up particularly with a view of bringing to Christ those who have previously not had a church home for one reason or another. We too have people who have come to Christianity from other faiths or who have never had any faith background at all, and while I have no basis to comment on differences with the average American's reading ability, we too have those whose secondary education has been wanting due to various circumstances, and I have found, both through this and through my professional life (in L&D) that non-advanced reading ability does not necessarily map onto a lack of ability to comprehend complex ideas. I also spent ten years in a previous existence battling (with little success) a nostalgic penchant for faux Elizabethan English among those in authority within a context where a large proportion of the congregation did not have English as a first language, if they spoke it well at all. The response I often got was, 'Well, in Russia most people don't understand Slavonic', as though this were some sort of ideal for us to be aspiring to duplicate. So I have some understanding of the need to strike a balance with these things.

    However, I think that there's an important distinction to be drawn between accessibility and an expectation for immediate and full comprehension. At least in my tradition, the services are immersive. That is to say that we enter into the words, and the music, and cycle of feasts and seasons, all over time. No one service stands alone but the Church's liturgy forms a journey, a cycle, and a unit, and anybody experiencing a snippet of it and expecting to comprehend it all immediately will be disappointed. However, for those who regularly take part, initial unfamiliarity gradually gives way to increased understanding and learning through taking part in that cycle, where these things are often repeated and given context.
    Alan29 wrote: »
    So what about modern translations of scripture being reflected in prayers that also use modern language?

    Forgive me, @Alan29 . I don't mean to be wilfully obtuse but I'm not sure what you mean. Are you asking about what my own preference is?

    My church is based in France and all of our services are in modern French. So, looking after the only English-speaking mission that uses our rite, I have been responsible for producing the translations of the services. For the psalms, which form a large proportion of our services, we use the translation of Archimandrite Lazarus (Moore), (sensitively adapted to try to be gender inclusive where humankind is referred to - as opposed to in the messianic psalms). We also use his translation of the Gospels. For all other Scripture, we use the OSB. Our canticles have the ELLC texts as a starting point but are edited in line with our style and norms. So we're a thoroughly contemporary-language parish. Personally, I have no truck with ye olde worlde englyshe.

    You can see examples of the texts of our regular services here and here.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited October 16
    Do you have to guard against - or consciously use - the tendency for unfamiliar language to inherently seem profound?

    If you stood at the altar and solemnly intoned:

    "In taberna quando sumus,
    non curamus quid sit humus,
    sed ad ludum properamus,
    cui semper insudamus.
    Quid agatur in taberna,
    ubi nummus est pincerna,
    hoc est opus ut queratur,
    sic quid loquar, audiatur."

    I wonder what impression it might create.

    The text means, for the benefit of any non-fluent Latin speakers who may have accidentally wondered in:

    "When we are in the tavern,
    we do not think how we will go to dust,
    but we hurry to gamble,
    which always makes us sweat,
    What happens in the tavern,
    where money is host,
    you may well ask,
    and hear what I say."

  • :lol:

    ISTM that the intercessions or Prayers Of The Faithful at the Eucharist are always best kept short, and to the point.

    The C of E produces a lot of suitable material for this part of the service, which can be adapted as required, BUT it does tend to sometimes be a bit prolix.

    The RCC, though, produces (via Universalis or the Redemptorist Fathers, for example) much less wordy intercessions related to the Sunday readings and, often, current happenings or concerns. For the congregation at Our Place, many of whom do not have English as their first language, these short prayers are just the job.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Cyprian wrote: »
    Cyprian wrote: »
    I think liturgical language should draw from Holy Scripture and patristic expression so that the theology that underpins our faith in and our relationship to God may underpin the prayers through which we address Him. When we enter into the liturgical prayer that draws us into prayerful communion with God, we are to be taken from the mundane to the sublime.

    That means that language will not be the same as that use when having a chinwag with the cashier at Tesco, but I don't see that this is a bad thing. It certainly isn't a matter of being stuck in the past; it simply means that we, in the present, are fed and nourished by the past, and have our grounding in the Holy Tradition that we have received from those before us and which we have a duty to pass on intact to those who come after us.

    The rich theology and imagery of Scripture and the patristic witness is a blessing in the prayers that draw on it and all who take part in those prayers. When I think of things like the Anaphora of St Basil or the blessing of rings at the Marriage service, I think of how impoverished they would be if these things were to be expunged.

    Don't get me wrong, I love this sort of thing, but speaking as a missionary, I cannot defend it UNLESS there is an option equally available to those who cannot access this sort of language. Virtually none of the people I care for have any Christian background whatsoever--they are adult converts, and some of them still in the conversion process, and most of them of mediocre educational background--and in this, they resemble the majority of Americans IMHO. If the only worship and liturgy available to them is this, 8 out of 10 of them will go away utterly confused.

    I've been a writer (including for worship resources) for more than 30 years now, and my understanding is that your average English-speaking adult has a reading level of about junior high (so 12 to 13 years old, then). For many it's lower. Which is why I attempted to shoot for third grade (8 years old) in the hopes of actually hitting fifth grade (10 years). This is maybe the impossible dream, but we've at least got to provide people with something adult, substantial, and meaningful that is at the same time accessible to them. And though it makes the language lover in me weep, that usually forces sacrificing things like "May the word of Christ dwell richly in our hearts', or 'Speak your word of peace in our midst." Unless, of course, an accessible service is held an hour later or earlier, that sort of thing.

    Thank you for these thoughts, @Lamb Chopped . I do have some sympathy with this, and can understand how, in the missionary frontier, there might be a need for initial contact to involve simplified language in prayer, but I would imagine that to be transitory, with an ultimate view to full participation in the Church's regular liturgical life. I say that, of course, speaking from a tradition where the liturgies are as they have been handed down to us, and where ex tempore prayer within a liturgical context is unusual. It might not apply universally.

    I'm perhaps not a missionary in the same way that you are but my mission parish was set up particularly with a view of bringing to Christ those who have previously not had a church home for one reason or another. We too have people who have come to Christianity from other faiths or who have never had any faith background at all, and while I have no basis to comment on differences with the average American's reading ability, we too have those whose secondary education has been wanting due to various circumstances, and I have found, both through this and through my professional life (in L&D) that non-advanced reading ability does not necessarily map onto a lack of ability to comprehend complex ideas. I also spent ten years in a previous existence battling (with little success) a nostalgic penchant for faux Elizabethan English among those in authority within a context where a large proportion of the congregation did not have English as a first language, if they spoke it well at all. The response I often got was, 'Well, in Russia most people don't understand Slavonic', as though this were some sort of ideal for us to be aspiring to duplicate. So I have some understanding of the need to strike a balance with these things.

    However, I think that there's an important distinction to be drawn between accessibility and an expectation for immediate and full comprehension. At least in my tradition, the services are immersive. That is to say that we enter into the words, and the music, and cycle of feasts and seasons, all over time. No one service stands alone but the Church's liturgy forms a journey, a cycle, and a unit, and anybody experiencing a snippet of it and expecting to comprehend it all immediately will be disappointed. However, for those who regularly take part, initial unfamiliarity gradually gives way to increased understanding and learning through taking part in that cycle, where these things are often repeated and given context.
    Alan29 wrote: »
    So what about modern translations of scripture being reflected in prayers that also use modern language?

    Forgive me, @Alan29 . I don't mean to be wilfully obtuse but I'm not sure what you mean. Are you asking about what my own preference is?

    My church is based in France and all of our services are in modern French. So, looking after the only English-speaking mission that uses our rite, I have been responsible for producing the translations of the services. For the psalms, which form a large proportion of our services, we use the translation of Archimandrite Lazarus (Moore), (sensitively adapted to try to be gender inclusive where humankind is referred to - as opposed to in the messianic psalms). We also use his translation of the Gospels. For all other Scripture, we use the OSB. Our canticles have the ELLC texts as a starting point but are edited in line with our style and norms. So we're a thoroughly contemporary-language parish. Personally, I have no truck with ye olde worlde englyshe.

    You can see examples of the texts of our regular services here and here.

    Got you.
    Sorry I misunderstood your post completely!
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    As one who grew up with the complicated language of Wouldst Thou…and later “Lord, we just want to….….. “ I am now so very fond of Celtic liturgies. They are written in modern but meaningful language, with a measure of beauty.
    If I may quote a few phrases, to speak for themselves?

    We come in faith to gather before you
    - for our God is faithful
    We come with hands outstretched
    - for there are no barriers between us…..

    Faithful God, we confess that sometimes we tell ourselves that we are engaged in your life, when our actions have become an empty shell of habit. Forgive us, loving Father…….


    ….setting our wisdom, our will, our words aside, we long for the healing, the holding, the accepting, the forgiving which only Christ can offer.

    … so take this bread and this wine, for in them God comes to us so that we may come to God.


  • It is entirely possible to write in very simple language (meaning: vocabulary, avoidance of complex/compound syntax, decrease in number of subordinate clauses, refusal to invert usual syntax in the interests of being ... interesting) while at the same time being as profound as you like. See, for example, the Gospel and Letters of John.

    I admit that this takes a great deal of hard work. It is well worth it, though. Because immersion only works when you have a person who is unusually accepting of situations where they don't understand what is going on--or else the person is under some constraint to be there (e.g. "My parents make me").
  • Cyprian wrote: »
    I think liturgical language should draw from Holy Scripture and patristic expression so that the theology that underpins our faith in and our relationship to God may underpin the prayers through which we address Him. When we enter into the liturgical prayer that draws us into prayerful communion with God, we are to be taken from the mundane to the sublime.

    That means that language will not be the same as that use when having a chinwag with the cashier at Tesco, but I don't see that this is a bad thing. It certainly isn't a matter of being stuck in the past; it simply means that we, in the present, are fed and nourished by the past, and have our grounding in the Holy Tradition that we have received from those before us and which we have a duty to pass on intact to those who come after us.

    The rich theology and imagery of Scripture and the patristic witness is a blessing in the prayers that draw on it and all who take part in those prayers. When I think of things like the Anaphora of St Basil or the blessing of rings at the Marriage service, I think of how impoverished they would be if these things were to be expunged.

    Don't get me wrong, I love this sort of thing, but speaking as a missionary, I cannot defend it UNLESS there is an option equally available to those who cannot access this sort of language. Virtually none of the people I care for have any Christian background whatsoever--they are adult converts, and some of them still in the conversion process, and most of them of mediocre educational background--and in this, they resemble the majority of Americans IMHO. If the only worship and liturgy available to them is this, 8 out of 10 of them will go away utterly confused.

    I've been a writer (including for worship resources) for more than 30 years now, and my understanding is that your average English-speaking adult has a reading level of about junior high (so 12 to 13 years old, then). For many it's lower. Which is why I attempted to shoot for third grade (8 years old) in the hopes of actually hitting fifth grade (10 years). This is maybe the impossible dream, but we've at least got to provide people with something adult, substantial, and meaningful that is at the same time accessible to them. And though it makes the language lover in me weep, that usually forces sacrificing things like "May the word of Christ dwell richly in our hearts', or 'Speak your word of peace in our midst." Unless, of course, an accessible service is held an hour later or earlier, that sort of thing.

    You may not already be familiar so I will offer: There are webpages where you can plug in your text and it will tell you what (US) grade level it's at.
  • Oh yes! I do that ALL THE TIME. It works wonders when you're talking to exec type people and explaining why you need to rewrite the whole freaking sermon or what-have-you, because it's on a 15th-grade-level (late university, non-Americans). They look at the print out, grit their teeth, and say "Do whatever you have to do." :lol:
  • As @Puzzler says, the Celtic liturgies are a good place in which to find modern but meaningful language, and the Taize community daily prayer provision is similar (as well as also being short, and to the point - unlike the homilies of some priests I could mention... :naughty: ).
  • CyprianCyprian Shipmate
    edited October 17
    Alan29 wrote: »
    Got you.
    Sorry I misunderstood your post completely!

    Ah. Pace.
    It is entirely possible to write in very simple language (meaning: vocabulary, avoidance of complex/compound syntax, decrease in number of subordinate clauses, refusal to invert usual syntax in the interests of being ... interesting) while at the same time being as profound as you like. See, for example, the Gospel and Letters of John.

    I admit that this takes a great deal of hard work.

    Oh, I quite agree with this. It doesn't come naturally for me because it isn't how I usually write, and it's all the more challenging in my situation in that I am not composing any of this but merely translating the services as they are, and in which I have no real say, but I entirely agree with your principle.
    It is well worth it, though. Because immersion only works when you have a person who is unusually accepting of situations where they don't understand what is going on--or else the person is under some constraint to be there (e.g. "My parents make me").

    Experience suggests this isn't that unusual: at our conventicle, people who turn up are there because they have usually already done a bit of research and are now at the point where they want the experience, but in any case this is a separate matter. My comment about immersion (which was perhaps not very clearly made) was not really about the complexity of syntax but rather about the whole richness of the liturgical experience, which includes but isn't limited to the biblical and patristic theological imagery of the liturgical texts.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Do you have to guard against - or consciously use - the tendency for unfamiliar language to inherently seem profound?

    If you stood at the altar and solemnly intoned:

    "In taberna quando sumus,
    non curamus quid sit humus,
    sed ad ludum properamus,
    cui semper insudamus.
    Quid agatur in taberna,
    ubi nummus est pincerna,
    hoc est opus ut queratur,
    sic quid loquar, audiatur."

    I wonder what impression it might create.

    I'd ask why you weren't singing it :naughty:

    (And then be a bit curious as to why you were reciting drinking songs in church.)

    I recognized it immediately, because it's from Carmina Burana.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited October 17
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Do you have to guard against - or consciously use - the tendency for unfamiliar language to inherently seem profound?

    If you stood at the altar and solemnly intoned:

    "In taberna quando sumus,
    non curamus quid sit humus,
    sed ad ludum properamus,
    cui semper insudamus.
    Quid agatur in taberna,
    ubi nummus est pincerna,
    hoc est opus ut queratur,
    sic quid loquar, audiatur."

    I wonder what impression it might create.

    I'd ask why you weren't singing it :naughty:

    (And then be a bit curious as to why you were reciting drinking songs in church.)

    I recognized it immediately, because it's from Carmina Burana.

    You did. For each person who did I bet a thousand wouldn't.

    We've got to stop thinking that we individuals who make up the collection of weirdos on the Ship are representative of anything.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Do you have to guard against - or consciously use - the tendency for unfamiliar language to inherently seem profound?

    If you stood at the altar and solemnly intoned:

    "In taberna quando sumus,
    non curamus quid sit humus,
    sed ad ludum properamus,
    cui semper insudamus.
    Quid agatur in taberna,
    ubi nummus est pincerna,
    hoc est opus ut queratur,
    sic quid loquar, audiatur."

    I wonder what impression it might create.

    I'd ask why you weren't singing it :naughty:

    (And then be a bit curious as to why you were reciting drinking songs in church.)

    I recognized it immediately, because it's from Carmina Burana.

    You did. For each person who did I bet a thousand wouldn't.

    We've got to stop thinking that we individuals who make up the collection of weirdos on the Ship are representative of anything.

    I sang in a concert of Carmina Burana many years ago and I didn't recognise it. :p

    Of course I went to a bog standard comp so never studied Latin.
  • We sang "C.B." at school.

    But, my voice not having yet broken, I didn't sing that bit!
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    To come back for a momet to a point made earlier in this thread, I do not think that because a form of words appears in the Prayer Book or in a particular translation of the Bible, it is necessariy appropriate to be used in intercessory prayers offered on behalf of a congregation. Surely the words used need to be appropriate, familiar, and understandable by them if they are to assent to what is said. This is not necessarily the case with a passage of Scripture, taken out of context, even if written by St Paul. I am now going on holiday for a few days.
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    Apologies for misstypings..
  • To me, the intercessor stands within the body of people who are praying, and prays with them whilst at the same time leading them in that prayer. I don't see the intercessor as being "over against" the congregation in the way described. Having been told at an impressionable age, or at least stage, to pray the readings, I find I can't help doing that, but it's a matter of lifting images that bring the prayers to life and focus them, not of creating a coherent argument that might consitute a second sermon.

    I am instinctively very careful about languages, and greatly love using it to paint pticures. I give myself a degree of licence to do this when writing intercessions, but only to the extent I can truly see helping people to pray.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Of course I went to a bog standard comp so never studied Latin.

    I didn't and I did and I failed.

    That may however have had something to do with them changing from nouns and declensions to "conversational Latin" mid way through my career. I mean WTAF?

    Carmina Burana always sounds to me like a car. The name, that is. The cantata sounds, I dunno, Big.
  • conversational Latin (scratches head)--I mean, are you supposed to wander out to the catacombs and talk to the dead?
  • Zappa wrote: »
    Carmina Burana always sounds to me like a car. The name, that is. The cantata sounds, I dunno, Big.

    My son's marching band used to play it to intimidate the opposing football team!

  • conversational Latin (scratches head)--I mean, are you supposed to wander out to the catacombs and talk to the dead?

    I saw a youtube video a while ago with some chap (American, I think) who wandered around the Vatican trying to strike up conversations in Latin. He had some limited success.

    Outside the church, I'd have said that Latin was the language of scholarship up until the latter half of the 18th century.
  • At my university, theoretically one was supposed to be capable of being examined for the PhD in Latin until quite recently, though I can't recall when they quit--the 60s, maybe? There's a good story of Theodore Roosevelt visiting one day and happening upon a PhD oral in process. He was invited to quiz the candidate on any topic (they still do that bit, it made me shiver in my shoes). He had the damndest time pulling any Latin question out of his head so as not to embarrass himself. :lol:
  • conversational Latin (scratches head)--I mean, are you supposed to wander out to the catacombs and talk to the dead?

    I saw a youtube video a while ago with some chap (American, I think) who wandered around the Vatican trying to strike up conversations in Latin. He had some limited success.

    Outside the church, I'd have said that Latin was the language of scholarship up until the latter half of the 18th century.

    Even after that it was expected that scholars would be competent in it. C S Lewis famously corresponded in Latin when that was the language he had in common with his correspondent.
  • a good story of Theodore Roosevelt visiting one day and happening upon a PhD oral in process. He was invited to quiz the candidate on any topic (they still do that bit, it made me shiver in my shoes). He had the damndest time pulling any Latin question out of his head so as not to embarrass himself. :lol:

    Hehehe.

    I've worked with people who had to sit remedial Latin classes in their first year, because their Latin wasn't up to snuff.

    In CS Lewis's day, Latin was compulsory for admission. Of course, the man himself read Greats, and so studied Latin and Greek as a student.
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    Patrick Leigh Fermor found Latin useful when visiting a Bulgarian monastery pre-war, and later in Crete sharing an Ode by Horace with the German General he had captured.
  • MrsBeakyMrsBeaky Shipmate
    We worship at a Cathedral and at the sung Eucharist we will often have the Mass setting and/ or anthem sung in Latin (with English translation alongside).
    I love it, the beauty of the structure of the language still delights me.
    But I'm a Classics graduate and am well aware that even as part of a liturgical service the use of Latin leaves many people cold.
    That said, my Latin and especially my Greek are so, so rusty it's really embarrassing!

    When it comes to "conversational" Latin I remember first realising it might be a possibility when I discovered a little book in my school library entitled "Winnie ille Pu".....
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    I saw a youtube video a while ago with some chap (American, I think) who wandered around the Vatican trying to strike up conversations in Latin. He had some limited success.
    To do that successfully, one would have to know how the RCC in Italy normally pronounces Latin. It may well be markedly different from how it is pronounced in a US classics department.
    Outside the church, I'd have said that Latin was the language of scholarship up until the latter half of the 18th century.
    Again, the same problem arises. I've read somewhere that in the nineteenth century Latin was pronounced so differently in different countries that diplomatics could use the Latin they'd been taught in school as a code language among themselves that other countries' diplomats who might know a bit of English, French or German couldn't overhear and understand.

    As for Classical and NT Greek, even I, who hardly know either, know that there are at least three pronunciations. It is also likely that Greek pronunciation changed markedly between the classical period and the first century AD.


    It's fairly odd that Latin should have been any use in a 1930s Bulgarian monastery, an Orthodox country with a Cyrillic script.


    I must admit that I find bits of Latin in cathedrals a bit irritating. It's contrary to the Articles and unless you're a Classics graduate, you can't mentally join in under your breath.

  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    It's fairly odd that Latin should have been any use in a 1930s Bulgarian monastery, an Orthodox country with a Cyrillic script.
    @Enoch You're right, of course. It must have been a Catholic monastery and earlier in his travels. But I no longer have my copy of Between the Woods and the Water so I can't check where it was.

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I've seen the video. The guy specifically used the ecclesiastical pronunciation as he's fluent in Latin using both that and the reconstructed Classical pronunciation.
  • PuzzlerPuzzler Shipmate
    In choral societies the pronunciation of the Latin texts can be a source of dispute ( Italianate? Germanic? Anglicised? ). Last night the Director of Music of the large choir I sing with ( which attracts university professors, music teachers, linguists and other such knowledgable people ) reminded us that he is He Who Must Be Obeyed in all matters.
  • Our Latin master at Grammer Skool was fluent in Latin, but that wos becuz he wos old enough to be a Roman...

    @Puzzler's DoM is sensible, of course, as it would sound awful if everyone went their own way as regards pronunciation.
  • Puzzler wrote: »
    In choral societies the pronunciation of the Latin texts can be a source of dispute ( Italianate? Germanic? Anglicised? ). Last night the Director of Music of the large choir I sing with ( which attracts university professors, music teachers, linguists and other such knowledgable people ) reminded us that he is He Who Must Be Obeyed in all matters.

    One advantage of my present location is that, on the rare occasions we sing in Latin, the chance of finding any classical scholars in the vicinity to argue the point is slim to none so we can merrily stick to the maxim that I have long applied to Biblical names in readings - it ultimately doesn't matter how you pronounce it so long as you all do it the same and do it with confidence.
  • Well, yes - you can fool all of the people some of the time etc. etc.
    :wink:
  • My experience in the US is that in terms of pronunciation, there are standard rules of pronunciation of Church Latin, which is what singers and choirs will use, and a standard pronunciation of Classical Latin, which is what those studying the language will use. So generally there is agreement here about how Latin is to be pronounced in a liturgical or musical context.

    But those musicians with wider experience are aware of the differences in pronunciation of Church Latin elsewhere.

  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    And there are professional choirs who alter pronunciation if the work they are singing is by a German or French composer as church Latin is subject to regional variations.
  • cgichard I think you are half remembering Leigh Fermor's visit to the Franciscan monastery of Maria Radna in Romania. It is near the town of Arad,where the majority of the inhabitants were Byzantine rite Catholics at that time with Hungarian speakers and Swabian German speakers following the Latin rite. In previous times there had been significant numbers of Bulgarians living in the area.

    On another topic Salzburg will almost always keep to the German pronunciation of ecclesiastical Latin even if the Mass,as was the case last Sunday,was the St Cecilia Mass by Gounod. The choir and orchestra of more than 50 were mainly parochial choirs from the surrounding area with an input from a group from Essen in Germany.
  • Frater Petre,possumusne kugli ludere post Vesperas ? Leigh Fermor
    Hodie non possumus,fili. Cras poterimus. Brother Peter
    Quando ? Qua hora ?
    Statim post Missam

    the above in English

    Brother Peter,can we play 'kugli' (German Kegeln,skittles) after Vespers ?
    Not today,my son. We will be able to do it tomorrow
    When ? At what time ?
    Right after Mass.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Quando? Quando? Quando?

    See ... I can sing liturgical Latin with Englebert and all the best crooners.
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    @Forthview Thank you so much for setting me straight about PLF's monastic conversation in Latin. I must get hold of another copy to re-read some day.
  • Two six-formers in my year at school used to go round conversing in Latin.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited October 20
    Two six-formers in my year at school used to go round conversing in Latin.

    That's quite impressive; Latin at school when I was there was totally taught in terms of translating passages of written language into written English. You could totally get the impression that it was virtually impossible to actually speak. Classical Latin writers tended towards very long sentences with the subject at the beginning and the verb at the end some five or six lines distant. If you spoke like that no-one would remember who you were talking about by the time you got to what they did. Probably including you.
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