Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Problems with the LOTH

I've let people know I don't like it, but never said why. Here's why:

1) Translations. They're horrible. No excuse. If a 17 year old kid with minimal training in Latin can produce a poetic, and linguistically pleasing translation of matins and lauds in five hours, I see no good reason why it should take ICEL five years to produce the crapola paraphrases we get officially. The grail psalter is very hard to use publicly, as there are no pause marks in the texts. This also makes using psalm tones hard. Occasionally, the translations are'nt even orthodox (The second responsory of matins in Corpus Christi for example.It appears to be Consubstantiation at best,or Impanation at worse.) Occasionally, things are added in translation that are'nt in the Latin.
Then there are the names of the hours. While other versions (The French, Italian, German and Spanish versions,for example) Have retained the traditional name for each hour in translation, the American version has changed them. The rest of the world calls it lauds, we call it "morning prayer". The rest of the world calls it Vespers, we call it "Evening prayer". The rest of the world has terce, sext, none, and compline, all in their respective languages. We changed them. The French version even calls the office of the triduum "Tenbrae", while there is no special name in the English version.

2) The Hymns.
It's not that they hymns are all bad,some of them are my favorite hymns. To use in church though. I would rather have the same hymns that we have in the Latin, translated into English. (And they do exist. Stanford abbey and J.H.Newman did all of the hymns that were in the old breviary, and it can;t be that difficult to translate new hymns.) Some of the hymns are old-fashioned (i.e., they were popular in the sixties, but few listen to them now) because of that, I don;t know they tunes to them. Other hymns I just hate,point blank. (anything by lucien deiss.)

3) The lack of illustrations.
The older breviaries, including those mass produced by printers almost always were beautifully illustrated (like This, This, or This. I like this one too.) But do we get anything like that in the LOTH? No. We do get some lovely stick figures, and some abstract symbols that could be the mongram of Christ's name, or a baby elephant. Illustrations help to keep one focused on what you're praying, or meditating about. Blank pages can help one's mind wander.

3)The distribution of the psalms
Now, I'll grant that they did continue to use psalms 109 (110) -114(115) for Sunday vespers, and as the psalms for vespers on the common. Also,the use of ps.62, and the benedicite on solemnities was kept, as was it being on Sundays (Though only every other sunday. Finally, psalms 1-3 are used on sundry week I at matins, as they were the psalms of the first nocturn in the old breviary. But other than that, the psalms are jumbled about in a way not consistent with the old breviary. It would have made more sense to simply have a three week psalter. That way, the psalms that were used for each nocturn in the old breviary for matins would still be used on their days, and the psalms that would not be used from lauds, prime, and vespers (Because prime was suppressed, and lauds and vespers have only two psalms) would go to the third week, and would be used for lauds and vespers then. How would this work?
In the old breviary, Sunday matins was: Pss. 1-3, 8 and 9, 10 and 11.
the compromise could have been: Week 1:Pss. 1-3, Week 2:Pss. 8 and 9, Week 3: Pss. 10 and 11.
That way, those psalms would continue to be the Sunday matins psalms.Lauds would be as it is in week 1of the LOTH, but the benedicite would be used every Sunday. It would also be possible to have varying psalms for daytime prayer. A penetential form of lauds would be nice also, though not neccesary.

4) The binding/type.
The binding isn't the best. I got mine last year, and that very same year, the binding of Volume II began to come loose around Lent III. The quality of the paper isn't good, and as I said before, the lack of pause marks in the psalms/antiphons makes communal recitation harder. It would also have been a good idea to make the first letter of each psalm or reading larger and bolder than the rest, as you see in the Anglican Breviary. The responsories don't actually have V. and R. markings in the English version, so you don't know how to do that antiphonally.

5) Finally, far too many options.
There are simply too many options to choose from in the office. there are 12 hymns to choose from for daytime prayer, and in the psalter, most days have an option of 2 or 3 hymns to chose from at matins/lauds/vespers.
Often, there are alternative prayers in the proper of time, and the commons usually have 3-6 prayers to choose from.On saint's days, often there will be listed two commons, and you have to pick which you'll use. Then when you get to the commons, there will be more than one reading to choose from at Matins, and in the case of the sabbath office of our lady, there are five!
Compline is a mess, with 12 hymns to choose from, the option to jsut say the sunday psalms everyday, and four or more marian antiphons to choose from.
I would rather THEY give me a precise rubric, so I don't have to waste time trying to figure out which is right.

So uhh... that's it.

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