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Saturday, August 22, 2009


Dan Deeny

Why change "And also with you." to "And with your spirit."?

Charles E Flynn

Because if someone taking an eighth-grade Latin class tried to suggest that "Et cum spiritu tuo" could be translated into English as "And also with you" they would be told to turn off their iPod and cellphone and start paying attention. This translation, with which we have had to suffer for decades, is a defective consumer product and a disgrace to the standards that the Roman Catholic Church expected even of impoverished and illiterate people in the 1950s.

Steve Cianca

The original Latin text is "Et cum spiritu tuo". This is more accurately translated as "And with your spirit." For a translation of "And also with you," the Latin text would have read "Et tecum."

Mark Brumley

Re: "And also with your spirit":

1. "And also with your spirit" is more accurate.

2. There is an acquired meaning to "Et cum spiritu tuo" which involves the "spirit" of the ordained minister and the invocation of the Spirit of the Lord to be active not simply in the life of the person addressed but in his ministry.

Dan Deeny

Thank you all for your responses, even including Mr. Flynn's somewhat testy response. I'm glad to hear that the translation will now be correct. Unfortunately, to my way of thinking, the new, correct translation doesn't quite fit ordinary English. Our normal response to someone who says, "The Lord be with you." would certainly be "And with you too," not "And with your spirit." Why then did the early Christians use the form they did? Was there some sort of secret code among the Christians?
Does this fiddling with the liturgy lead to doubt, cynicism, and rancor?

Rich Leonardi


It isn't supposed to sound like "ordinary English."

Liturgical languages, even the Latin used in the Mass, is supposed to be more elevated to reflect the sacrality of the occasion.

Charles E Flynn

Search for this expression (with the quotation marks) at Google:

"and with your spirit"

Go to the seventh hit, the one from the The page has been removed. The page Google cached has some good information, including this:

4. Where does this dialogue come from?
The response et cum spiritu tuo is found in the Liturgies of both East and West, from the earliest days of the Church. One of the first instances of its use is found in the Traditio Apostolica of Saint Hippolytus, composed in Greek around AD 215.

5. How is this dialogue used in the Liturgy?
The dialogue is only used between the priest and the people, or exceptionally, between the deacon and the people. The greeting is never used in the Roman Liturgy between a non-ordained person and the gathered assembly.

6. Why does the priest mean when he says “The Lord be with you”?
By greeting the people with the words “The Lord be with you,” the priest expresses his desire that the dynamic activity of God’s spirit be given to the people of God, enabling them to do the work of transforming the world that God has entrusted to them.

7. What do the people mean when they respond “and with your spirit”?
The expression et cum spiritu tuo is only addressed to an ordained minister. Some scholars have suggested that spiritu refers to the gift of the spirit he received at ordination. In their response, the people assure the priest of the same divine assistance of God’s spirit and, more specifically, help for the priest to use the charismatic gifts given to him in ordination and in so doing to fulfill his prophetic function in the Church.

8. What further reading could you suggest on this dialogue?
For those who wish to pursue this issue from a more scholarly perspective, they might consult:

* J.A. Jungmann, S.J., The Mass of the Roman Rite: its Origins and Development, trans. F.A. Brunner C.Ss.R. (Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1986), 363.

* Michael K. Magee, The Liturgical Translation of the Response “Et cum spiritu tuo”: Communio 29 (Spring 2002) 152-171.

* W.C. Van Unnik, “Dominus Vobiscum:” The Background of a Liturgical Formula: A.J.B. Higgins (ed.), New Testament Essays (Manchester, University Press, 1959) 270-305.


'having studies made on the possibility to recover the orientation towards the Orient of the celebrant'

Having studies made? There were no studies made when they all installed nave altars and started up the Father Show. It's very simple: if the altar was pulled out from the wall, put it back. It should take the same number of strong men to do the latter as it took to do the former. If it's a nave altar, get rid of it and use the high altar, which, incidentally, is usually easier for those at the back to see. Surely it's not all that hard.

Dan Deeny

Thank you to everyone. Mr. Flynn: Much better! Good explanation!
I didn't understand Salome's phrase "the Father Show." What is she referring to?

Mark Brumley

Dan wrote:

Unfortunately, to my way of thinking, the new, correct translation doesn't quite fit ordinary English. Our normal response to someone who says, "The Lord be with you." would certainly be "And with you too," not "And with your spirit."

Perhaps, but what of it? The point is that the "ordinary response" is not the one called for by the liturgy.

Does this fiddling with the liturgy lead to doubt, cynicism, and rancor?

I'm not sure to which "fiddling with the liturgy" you refer. You mean the "fiddling" that translated the phrase incorrectly to begin with? Or do you mean that accurately translating the text amounts to "fiddling" and it is about that that you wonder whether it leads to doubt, cynicism and rancor?

Dan Deeny

Mark, thank you for your response. The ordinary response might transfer the events of the Mass into our lives, just as the language of antiquity transferred the events of the Mass into the lives of the people of that time. Learned scholars agree and disagree about these matters. When I refer to fiddling with the liturgy, I refer to the too rapid change in ceremony. It approaches novelty, which may sometimes help, but may sometimes not help. Before, we didn't have guitars, now we do. Who are we to tell those who grew up with guitars that their tradition is wrong? The doubt, cynicism, and rancor enter when change seems to be attached to novelty rather than truth.
I hope to read your response!


Sorry, Dan. "The Father Show" is the way Mass looks when the priest puts himself on display facing the congregation both from the altar and from the President's Chair. The priest then becomes the object of attention (even when he doesn't want to).

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