Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ray Fisher 1940-2011

One of my great musical loves is gone.

MudCat obit thread; Telegraph obit.

Aiieee !!

My daughter (14) was shopping in the big city with her friends on her day off school. There was a demo on ...

Came back festooned in Unison sashes and waving an NUT flag ...

"Dad - it was great ! We wore the sashes as headbands and loads of people photographed us ! We were interviewed twice ! What do we want ? Fair Pensions ! When do we want them ! Now !"

Oh dear oh dear ...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Change For Change's Sake

(non-Catholics may skip this post if they wish)

Since the summer we've had the new super-duper revised version of the English Catholic liturgy - and, if a Baptist who married in is allowed a say - it's a change for the worse. The Catholic Church managed to survive for the last 500 years with one rite worldwide - before the 1960s arrived and Latin went out of the window (I think I'd have liked that, although brought up on King James, seeing it not only as a religious rite but as an introduction to a great language - not to mention the convenience of the same service wherever in the world you were - but parishioners tell me that many Catholics didn't actually understand what most of the words meant).

Now, nearly fifty years on, it's being changed to apparently bring it closer in translation to the old Latin Mass.

Trouble is,

a) much of the new stuff is infelicitous - from "Through him, with him, in him", which can be sung or chanted, to "Through him, and with him, and in him" which is the kind of English you'd get chalked off for at A-level, let alone creative writing classs. Or "it is right to give him thanks and praise" to "it is right and just" - too terse and staccato. How about "of all that is, seen and unseen" to "of all that is, visible and invisible"? Don't know about you, but I understood it perfectly well as it was.

b) some is a total waste of time. How about from

"He suffered death and was buried
On the third day he rose again,
in accordance with the Scriptures"


"He suffered death and was buried
and rose again on the third day,
in accordance with the Scriptures"

I ask you, what was the point of that change ? Or changing "this is the Word of the Lord" to "the Word of the Lord", and "let us proclaim the mystery of faith" to "the mystery of faith" ? No change in meaning, some loss in euphony and poetic power.

c) changes which are frankly painful. From "begotten not made, of one being with the Father" to "begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father" ! Who uses 'consubstantial' in their conversation? Stupid word. I always detested those hymns which chucked in stuff like "consubstantial, co-eternal".

While I take the point that there could be a shade of meaning twixt one and the other, no one surely would take "of one being" to mean "absolutely 100% identical" ?

And as for the change from "when supper was ended, he took the cup - again he gave you thanks and praise" to "in a similar way ...." - what, did he use the same arm movements ? That is just awful.

I suppose it's better for the Catholic Bishops Conference* to be tinkering with the liturgy instead of campaigning for all the murderers and thieves to be let out. But it does strike me that they have too many people with too much time on their hands. Change for the sake of change. In that sense the English Catholic Church is indeed a twenty-first century organisation.

"Change and decay in all around I see
Oh Thou who changeth not, abide with me"

* does not apply to Scottish Catholic bishops, who seem to be made of sterner stuff.