Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can o' News

Today a few news items caught my eye so I thought I would open up a small can o' news for this entry.
Canned goods
 © 2002 Jonas Smith | more info 
First, my former Congresswoman, Jane Harman, lost her husband of 30+ years, Sidney Harman.  I have said here before that I have a real fondness for Congresswoman Harman.  I am sad for her loss and initially wondered if she left her office to spend more time with him at the end.  He died  from complications of AML, a form of leukemia which reportedly was only found a month ago.  She gave up her office in December so I am likely wrong but I want to think that her decision to leave was affected by her personal life.  Mine would be.

AML was a centerpiece of the wonderful nonfiction book, Emperor of All Maladies, A Biography of Cancer, which apparently is being turned into a documentary movie by Stand Up 2 Cancer and Spider-Man producer, Laura Ziskin.  I really enjoyed reading the book and I suspect a well done documentary about the history and treatment of cancer will only help us all as this disease affects more and more people we know.  Ziskin, incidentally, is a stage 4 cancer survivor or as she says, "living with cancer."

But, as usual, I digress.  Cancer, as always, is on my mind.

The other piece of news that intrigued me today was the announcement of a new American English translation of the Latin Mass for Roman Catholics.  Now the Nicene Creed includes words like "consubstantial" rather than "at one in being" to replace the Latin "consubstantialem" ( a great word to sing in Latin, by the way, in one of the numerous Latin masses out there--like the Bach B Minor or a Haydn Mass).  And some, of course, blame the use of the word "consubstantialem" as an imperfect  translation of the Greek word, homoousian, on the absence of a word for "being" in Latin.
However, it seems fitting that such an obtuse word would be used to describe one of the most complicated concepts of Christianity-- the unity of the Trinity.

Another change involves  the response to "the Lord be with you".  The current response is "And also with you". The new (old) response will be "And with your spirit" which mimics more directly the Latin "Et cum spiritu tuo".  I remember the Latin mass from my childhood and I have this vague memory of the first translation of this particular phrase being "and with your spirit".  According to the NY Times article, this particular change is being made to signify more formality in the relationship between priest and supplicant, and to harmonize the response in English with how it is translated in other countries.  I am not sure how it makes it more formal but I do recognize the paternalism.  After all, priests are called "Father" in a religion that does not allow women to be priests.

As I was running the latin phrases through my mind while reading the article, I had a moment of confusion in my dotage about the Latin phrase that yield the "et cum spiritu tuo" response.  At first, I only could think of Dominus Nabisco and when I typed it out, my autocorrect on the iPad changed it to Dominos Nabisco.  A tasty alternative to the correct "Dominus Vobiscum" although perhaps a bit fattening.

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