Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) at the Oratory of St. Ignatius in Loyola House of Studies on 26 Jan 2012

Latin Mass at Oratory of St. Ignatius in Loyola House of Studies on Jan 26, 2012

Did Felix Manalo and Iglesia ni Cristo ministers receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?

Comment:  Ivan
January 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

….My stand on the Bible is this, Mr. Sugon. The Bible, as we have it now, is complete, in the sense that it provides man the basis of his faith, including the understanding on who to worship as the true God, who the Lord Jesus Christ is, and His teachings. It is therefore not necessary for it to be supplemented with other things, including the so-called Catholic traditions. This is written in 1 Cor 4:6 —

” Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for you benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, ‘Do not go beyond what is written’…”

NOW, who must we seek to understand the Words of God in the Bible? Of course, a messenger or a preacher from God… That is why common members of the Iglesia ni Cristo are not encouraged to argue about their faith, although, we are expected that we know very well how to defend it. We are being taught to invite nonbelievers to attend various Bible expositions held by the INC; Or, we can accompany them to visit a church locale where they can ask questions to a minister.

In 2 Cor 5:18-21 — this we can read –

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

In Romans 10:15, –

“And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”

In seeking for the preachers or ministers of God’s Words, we must also be guided. In 1 John 4:1, this is written —

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

And, this, in John 14:26 –

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Response: Quirino M. Sugon Jr
January 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm


You mentioned the Holy Spirit, the Advocate in Jn 14:16. The Holy Spirit was sent by Christ to the Apostles during the Feast of the Pentecost:

“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together.a 2And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind,* and it filled the entire house in which they were.b 3Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,* which parted and came to rest on each one of them.c 4And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues,* as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” (Acts 2:1-4)

In the upper room the following were present:

“When they entered the city they went to the upper room where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.l”

Did you see the name of Felix Manalo there? No. The power of the Holy Spirit was given to another person through the laying of hands:

“Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, 16for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.* 17Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit.g” (Acts 8:14-17)

“So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the holy Spirit.” 18Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, 19and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.*” (Acts 9:17-18)

“Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word* with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate.i” (1 Tim 4:14)

For the case of the Catholic Church, this we are sure: Pope Benedict XVI is the 255th successor of Peter as Bishop of Rome . Before he became Pope, Benedict XVI was first a priest, then a bishop and he received the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying of hands by bishops before him.

So, did Manalo receive the gift of the Holy Spirit from the Protestant Ministers who laid hands on him? Then why does INC despise the Protestants? INC should honor its spiritual father. As Christ said,

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand.” ()

If no one ordained Manalo, then he was not sent, so therefore he could not preach:

“14* But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?m 15And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written,n “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring [the] good news!”* 16But not everyone has heeded the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?”o 17Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.p” (Rom 10:14-17)

Why would you believe someone who has no authority to preach?

The truth of the Bible is founded on the authority of the Church

Comment by Ivan January 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Mr. Sugon:

I expected the discussion would come to this. Now, you question the infallibility of the Bible, the very source of knowledge that awakens the consciousness of man in understanding the purpose of his existence. We know that the Bible is the basis of man’s faith.

I do not claim to know everything about the Bible, the history of its compilation, or even the original manuscripts from which the Bible came from. But, in this, I am sure — that the Bible (the compilation of Scriptures, that we have now) contains the Words of God made known to men through His prophets, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through His Apostles….

Response: Quirino M. Sugon Jr
January 21, 2012 at 7:54 pm


Since you do not know the history of the Bible, how it was compiled, then you must read history (which is not in the Bible). And you will learn that it is by the authority of Catholic Church that the Old and New Testament was compiled to a single book (or list of books). And the Catholic Church base its selection of books not on the Bible, because there was no complete Bible yet, but on Tradition: the teachings handed on by the apostles. As the Apostle Paul said:

“Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” (Thes 2:15)

Notice that traditions are either written (like the books of the Bible) or oral (taught by the apostles though not written). The Bible itself speaks that it is not the pillar of truth but rather the Church:

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” (1 Tim 3:15)

Christ did not command his disciples to settle disputes by reading the Bible (because there was only the Old Testament in His time), but rather to the Church:

“If your brother* sins [against you], go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.16* i If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’17j If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.* If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.18* k Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.19″ (Mt 18:15-18)

So next time that you pick up your Bible and start quoting its verses as truth, then you abide by the authority of the Church for stating that what you hold in your hands is truth. Felix Manalo did not compile the Bible, so he has no authority to interpret what he did not gather. The best that he could have done is to make his own Bible, e.g. replace the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John by the Gospels of Peter, Thomas, Philip, and Mary Magdalene. But Manalo did not do so, but believed the Bible as true.

Fernando Hofilena, MD, Lux-in-Domino Awardee (26 Dec 1919 to 10 Jan 2012)

Fernando P. Hofile?a, M.D. (December 26, 1919 – January 10, 2012)

Fernando “Doc” or “Nanding” Hofile?a, M.D., Ateneo alumnus HS ’37, AA Pre-Med ’39, academician, administrator, pediatrician, child
psychologist, writer and Lux-in-Domino awardee, passed away on Tuesday, 10 January 2012, at the age of 92.

His remains are at the Rolling Hills Memorial Chapel, 27 Lacson St., Bacolod City, until 16 January 2012, Monday. Interment will be on 16 January after a 9:00 AM Mass at the Rolling Hills Memorial Park Chapel.

Lux-in-Domino Awardee
15 July 2008
Henry Lee Irwin Theatre, Ateneo de Manila University

Students who have entered the hallow halls of the Ateneo leave with a seed planted in their hearts that contains the possibility of service, generosity and greatness, all for the greater glory of God. St. lgnatius of Loyola recognized that for the seeds to grow into a generous heart, they must be nurtured by God’s grace. There are those who have answered the call to serve so completely that their spirits become pillars of light that shine upon the rest of humanity and make us know that God truly is present in our lives. Today, we honor such a man – a man who has embraced service again and again with courage and trust in God’s love. This man is Dr. Fernando P. Hofile?a.

Dr. Hofile?a was born in Bacolod City on December 26, 1919 to Atty.
Roque Hofile?a and Angeles Puentevella. He was an exemplary student at the Ateneo de Manila, finishing High School in 1937 with First Honors and graduating from his Associate in Arts – Pre Med, summa cum laude in 1939. He pursued his medical degree at the College of Medicine of the University of Sto. Tomas. His studies were interrupted in his third year of medical school when the war broke out in 1941. He set aside his stethoscope and books to fill his politician father’s shoes and became acting mayor of Free Silay when his father was incapacitated by a venomous insect bite. He was only 22 years old. When the war was over he finished medical school and in 1952 was given a Fulbright grant to specialize in Pediatrics and Child Psychiatry in New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Upon his return he shared his expertise in a multitude of ways. Besides opening a private practice, he taught mental hygiene in infants and children in the graduate schools of the Ateneo, UST and La Salle. He also began a child guidance clinic in the outpatient department of the UST hospital. He gladly accepted the offer of the Principal of La Salle Grade School, to begin a consultancy in Child Development in the La Salle Grade School. He wrote the chapter on child psychiatry in the textbook of Pediatrics by Fe del Mundo and wrote a column, “A Page for the Young at Heart” in the Manila Bulletin. ln the 1980s he shared his knowledge and recounted his experiences in his practice in schools, and in various symposia and seminars in and outside Metro Manila through his own weekly column “Child Care” in the Times Journal. At this time he was also a lecturer at Miriam College.

One of his most significant accomplishments is his contribution to the field of special education in the Philippines. Fresh from his studies broad, he chose to serve as pediatrician and clinic head of the special child study center, the first school for special children in the Philippines. Ten years later, the Center developed into the St. Joseph of Cupertino School for Retarded Children, the initial project of the country’s first Foundation for Retarded Children. lt is now known as the Cupertino Center for Special Children.

Dr. Hofile?a’s accounts of the Cupertino School emphasized the generous spirit of his fellow pioneers and the interactions between Cupertinians and Ateneans in arts and crafts. His writings brought attention to the inspired partnership between faculty members and students as they began programs such as music therapy, theatre therapy and therapeutic sports. He also defined a modern concept of volunteerism, set down a profile of the Filipino down syndrome, and developed the first curriculum for trainable retardates, providing researchers, doctors and the general public a window into the world of special education.

Dr. Hofile?a also explored his artistic self. He also took an interest in the cultural growth of medical and nursing students. With the intention of enriching their educational experiences, he wrote and directed four full-length plays about the lives of nurses and doctors. These plays are Vignettes from the Medical World, The Best Words, Curse or Blessing, and Carry the White Lamp.

His delight in performing in plays and operettas as a child in Silay grew into a passion for dramatics and oratory as a student of Ateneo and UST and motivated him to be involved with the publications of the Ateneo Children’s Theatre, Dulaang Sibol and Tanghalang Ateneo. His love affair with the Ateneo Glee Club began in the 1950s when he lent his tenor voice to their ensemble. ln 1978, he accepted their invitation to become their moderator. His presence and support moved the Ateneo Chamber Singers, a choir formed by alumni members of the Ateneo Glee Club, to ask him to be their moderator as well. His love for the arts, commitment to excellence, and faith in the Lord have inspired the members of these groups to be generous themselves.

His artistic spirit constantly finds new ways of expressing itself as when, at the turn of the millennium, he rediscovered his poet’s pen when he saw the exhibit of paintings by a former patient of his, Joven lgnacio.

Dr. Hofile?a took on another role that chronicled the spirit of Atenean service. As part of the Atenean Heroes Memorial Committee, he brought honor not only to Ateneo war heroes but also brought to light those Ateneans whose individual acts of courage are not officially recognized by the nation. ln his 9th year as Chairman of the committee, he had 127 Ateneans recognized for their valor and enshrined in the memorial launched by Fr. Pacifico Ortiz, SJ in 1969. He was finally given due recognition in 2005 at a pre-lndependence Day program hosted by the Ateneo called Sa Piling ng Mga Bayani (Heroes in our Midst) for his courageous leadership and embodiment of lgnatian ideals in World War ll. When he heard that Japanese forces occupied Negros, he returned to his hometown to join his parents and twelve siblings in the resistance movement.

Now in his twilight years, he is still a Eucharistic Minister at the Sta. Maria della Strada parish and continues to find new ways to serve others and continue Cod’s work. He is the founder of the Lector’s Guild at the della Strada parish and has volunteered to train the lectors of the Our Lady of Pentecost parish.

Dr. Hofile?a wrote that although he left Ateneo after graduation, Ateneo never left him. lndeed, the Ateneo is fortunate that no matter what path he takes, he always makes his way back to her halls and classrooms. Many Ateneans recognize him as the dignified elderly gentleman whom they see walking around the campus and up and down Katipunan. lf that is all they will ever know about Dr. Hofile?a, it is enough. For his very presence is enough testimony to his ideals.

To quote Dr. Hofile?a himself, “Nothing is better now than expressing in all sincerity our gratitude, which is never sufficient.”

For his inspired leadership and immense contribution to the fields of Pediatrics, Child Psychiatry and Special Education in the Philippines; for his pioneering spirit in creating medical, educational and spiritual programs and institutions; for his dedication to holistic education by inspiring his students to employ all their talents for the greater glory of God; for shining his light on the acts of heroism and contribution of his fellowman; for constantly answering the call to serve with a resounding ‘yes’; and for embodying the lgnatian spirit of ‘magis’ in the twenty-first century, the Ateneo de Manila University proudly confers on her son, Dr. Fernando P. Hofile?a its Lux-in-Domino Award.

Lux-in-Domino Award

The Lux-in-Domino Award is a special recognition of an extraordinary individual who has incarnated in life, and perhaps even in death, in an exemplary manner, the noblest ideals of the Ateneo de Manila University. Recipients of the award are chosen exclusively from the ranks of alumni or alumnae of the Ateneo de Manila University.

The title of the Award is taken from the motto of the Ateneo which
appears both in the old and new seals. Taken from St. Paul (Ephesians 5:8), the phrase Lux-in-Domino, “light in the Lord”, traces an ideal and sketches a way of life which the Ateneo holds up to her sons and daughters as their path of Christian discipleship. These words illuminate the purposes and aims of the University which point that the Ateneo is FILIPINO, CATHOLIC, and JESUIT:

FILIPINO, in that she seeks service to the nation and the objectives of genuine national development.

CATHOLIC, in that her fundamental charter is the Gospel of Jesus and the beatitudes; that her guidelines are those of the teaching of the Catholic Church. In the contemporary perspective, those guidelines focus on service to the Faith which today includes the Promotion of Justice as a constitutive dimension of the task of evangelization.

JESUIT, in that she seeks to live the Filipino and Catholic marks in the spirit of the magis (the “ever more”): to seek the ever more generous, the ever more “totally given” service; nothing held back, in the spirit of the Ignatian prayer,

to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to seek for rest,
to labour and ask for no reward . . .

To be “light in the Lord”, in all fullness may demand a following of Christ even to the offering of one’s life.


Thank you, Fr. Nebres, members of the Board of Trustees and Mr. Capistrano.

I am in my twilight years but on this occasion I can see the sunrise.

The honor I am receiving today is so great that if I were much younger, I would feel a surge of joy and pride, and I would be euphoric for a long time, but as I’m an Octogenarian I can only say soberly that I feel a mix of contentment, fulfillment and gratitude.

Recalling the title of the Homecoming concert of the Ateneo College Glee Club, the harbinger of the Ateneo Chamber Singers, after the group won a string of 1st Prizes, including the Grand Prix in the European competition in 2001, I now pray to the creator “Non Nobis Domine” – meaning: Not to us, Lord, but to Your name, give the glory. I cannot claim the honor they’re giving, it’s Yours.

I cannot thank You enough, Lord for having gifted me with the talents and other qualities that enabled me to become an Atenean with a passion for excellence in academics and the arts, an ideal stated in The Ratio studiorum as Sapientia, Eloquentia et humanitas.

I am also grateful to my alma mater for the holistic education and the effort to inflame my heart with The Ateneo spirit. We old alumni have always carried this spirit in our private lives. It has morphed into what some of us call “spirit of dedication to a cause”. Not a few have sacrificed their lives for it. I believe this can explain why we tell people that though we have left the Ateneo, the Ateneo has never left us.

It is this spirit intertwined with love of God, devotion to Mother Mary, obedience to St. Ignatius, love of country and fellowman instilled in us by our Jesuit mentors that can explain why 34 Ateneo ROTC cadets defied the order to disband all cadets in the country early in the Pacific War and volunteered to fight in Bataan; and why my brother Cris, also an Atenean, and I led our family in escaping from the Japanese at high noon and trudged for hours until we reached the mountains of Negros and joined the Resistance Movement. It was there that I had to carry out the duties of the Mayor of Silay because my father was incapacitated by the bite of a venomous insect.

Unknown to many is the fact that my desire to serve the Ateneo community has been strengthened by the beauty of nature, the God-given beauty I’ve always loved, the beauty that has made the Ateneo campus in Loyola Heights a paradise, a home away from home.

I will always treasure the awards I receive from my alma mater: summa cum laude in 1939; Irwin award from the Ateneo Children’s Theater two decades ago; and now the Lux-in-Domino, the greatest of all.

* * *

Ateneo de Manila HS ’37, AA ’39

Walking in the Hero’s Footsteps
By Joel Navarro

From the book “To Give and Not to Count the Cost”

“What is a hero without love for mankind.” – Doris Lessing, 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature

We celebrate the sacrifice of many overseas Filipino workers who risk spousal estrangement and dysfunctional family dynamics in order to provide for their struggling families. We are particularly drawn to these ordinary women and men who do extraordinary feats in the name of love. What profoundly humbles me is when I meet extraordinary individuals who choose to divest themselves of recognition and become true servants to minister in such invisible yet incarnate ways. Their acts of heroism are hardly ever noticed by the ordinariness of duty and routine that cloak these acts. We who glimpse these kindnesses are touched and transformed.

When I assumed the mantle of leadership of the Ateneo College Glee Club in June 1979, I was immediately introduced to Dr. Fernando Hofile?a, the choir’s moderator. We struck up a good conversation. He knew I had just begun a second college degree at UP after a self-interrupted career as a mathematics instructor at the Ateneo. He knew I spent some years in Bacolod which became second home to my family. As people in Negros Occidental are wont to do, he would ask if I knew a Gamboa, a Jalandoni, a Lacson, as Ledesma, a Lopez, or a Montelibano. Being a transplanted Manile?o who really had no pedigree, I could only answer that I knew some of them but was not related to any of them. I was nonetheless treated like Ilonggo royalty with his usual charm, kind grace, and elegant demeanor. I’ve always been fascinated with this penchant for genealogies and associations as hyper-typical of our intricate social networking which saves the day for Filipinos when our politics and social services fail. Doc, as we in the glee club fondly called him, was a happy reminder that our connectedness was our salvation as a people.

Doc was always the hero to the glee club batches that I directed. Home after a day’s work at Cupertino, he would often walk to the Loyola Heights campus to hear us rehearse. He was always ready with his encouragement, his gracious smile, and steady prayer. My first years with the glee club were rather tumultuous, given the combination of strong personalities within the choir, my authoritarian demeanor then, the relentless drive to chart musical history, and the existential desire to make meaning out of the meaninglessness that was martial law. He would say the glee club was his therapy. In my view, his presence gave thera-peutic balance and ease to an otherwise tense rehearsal. His selfless love for the choir was a counterweight to our selfish ambitions. His undiminished loyalty to our music making anchored our belief in ourselves and in our missioin of excellence in music and faith.

Always generous with his praise and encouragement, Doc was a dependable friend and guide, I would often be incredulous at his gracious speeches to the choir after what I thought was a concert of disastrous renditions. He often saw the big picture while I sweated and nitpicked on the minutiae. Surely the devil was in the details, but Doc saw the angel in the broader brushstrokes.

During my years with the glee club, I had many days of unuttered
self-doubt and self-loathing, often wondering if I was the right person for the job. He could hear those thoughts clearly. Surely my knitted brow and vacant gaze gave them away. Yet, he never mentioned a word of criticism. As a listener, he completely trusted that things would be resolved by an Unseen Hand, certain that people like me who ranted about our misfortunes would eventually find our way back.

Doc was also hero to many. He gave selflessly in his work with children who had learning challenges, and in his work with patients who had psychological disorders. He loved the Ateneo basketball teams and often watched them practice at the Loyola gym. He gave his support to the choir at Barangka, the plays of Dulaang Sibol, and just about everything Atenean.

When he became the recipient of Ateneo’s Lux-in-Domino Award in 2008, many of us in the glee club were in awe to learn for the first time about his stellar accomplishments as a student, artist, academician, administrator, pediatrician, child psychologist, writer, and lay worker. He never spoke about them. He was, by all accounts, an exceptional human being who chose a life of service so that others may learn the goodness of God. Doc embodied the spirit of giving beyond measure simply because he loved unconditionally.

Conductors can be overrated, this one included. We try to lead by
example only because we have examples whose footsteps we merely follow. Dr. Fernando Hofile?a was one such exemplar. We are who we are only because of the people who shape us – students, colleagues, associates, administrators, parents, and family members who mirror our frail humanity but who remind us of our godly inheritance and heavenly citizenship.

Dr. Fernando Hofile?a’s moderating influence, loyal love, and generosity of spirit will always be remembered as selfless acts of heroism to many he served. He will be ninety years old on December 26, 2009. More than a third of his life has been spent in a love affair with the glee club. Many of us have walked behind this hero’s footsteps and have become better children of the Light. May this honor crown his ninetieth year with a hero’s laurels and a trumpet sound of praise from a grateful chorus who are learning to serve others just as he has served us in fullest measure.

Fr. Timoteo Ofrasio, SJ: The New English Translation of the Roman Missal and Liturgical Renewal

Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ gives a talk at the Theological Hour of the Loyola School of Theology

Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ gives a talk at the Theological Hour of the Loyola School of Theology

by Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ

(This talk was given this January 11, 2012, 10:30-12:00 at the Cardinal Sin Center, Loyola House of Studies, Ateneo de Manila)


Forty-seven years after Vatican II and 43 years after publication of the Roman Missal of Paul VI, a new English translation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal is now in use in the English speaking world.  The role of the Roman Missal is vital in the ongoing liturgical renewal desired by Vatican II.  PCP II twenty years ago also listed ‘liturgical renewal’ as one of the tasks of the Church in the Philippines in its goal of renewed integral evangelization. It lists the Eucharist, particularly the Sunday celebration, as among the more vital areas of renewal.[1]

As early as 2009 when the new translation of the Ordinary of the Mass was made available on the web by the USCCB, voices of alarm were raised from all quarters.  Rumours of a reform of the reform had been circulating since Pope Benedict became pope in 2005 and the new English translation was seen as part of that alleged reform.  The issuance of the Instruction Summorum Pontificum issued motu propio in 2007 which allowed the more liberal use of the pre-VAtican II Tridentine Latin Mass further buttressed the belief in a perceived papal policing of the Roman liturgy.  There were fears of a return to the pre-Vatican II liturgy, and that the new English translation would revert the Church back to the old Latin Liturgy.  The truth of the matter, if we care to look back, is that Liturgicam Authenticam is a product of Pope John Paul II’s document Vigesimus quintus annus, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of Sacrosanctum Concilium, which called for an opportune stock-taking, not least in the area of faithfulness in translation.  The editio typica of the Missale Romanum on which the new English translation is based, was published by the Holy See in 2002, when Blessed John Paul II was still gloriously reigning, and Liturgicam authenticam on which the new English translation was based, was published by the Holy See in 2001, again during the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II.  If anything, the present pope, Benedict XVI, is only implementing, and continuing, the changes set in motion by his predecessor.

On the other hand, the English translation of the editio typica of the Missale Romanum of 1969 and the editio typica altera of 1975 was based on the translation principle of dynamic or functional equivalence as elucidated in the document Comme le prevoit— On the Translation of Liturgical Texts for Clebrations with a Congregation issued by the Consilium for Implementing the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy on January 25, 1969.  Dynamic equivalence attempts to convey the thought expressed in a source text (if necessary, at the expense of literalness, orginal word order, the source text’s grammatical voice, etc.)

The new English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal of 2002, is based on the principle of formal equivalence as explained in the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on 28 March 2001 requiring that in translations of the liturgical texts from the official Latin originals, “the original text, insofar as possible, must be translated integrally and in the most exact manner, without omissions or additions in terms of their content, and without paraphrases or glosses.  Any adaptation to the characteristics or the nature of the various vernacular languages is to be sober and discreet.”

The two approaches represent emphasis, respectively, on readability and on literal fidelity  to the source text.  There is no sharp boundary between dynamic and formal equivalence.  All the polemics and reactions for and against the new English translation are based on these two principles of translation.

Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds in England, and Chairman of ICEL, notes that objections to ICEL’s translation work are really objections to Liturgiam authenticam.  Stipulations of this instruction differ markedly from those of the earlier document, Comme le prevoit.  These two documents do not have the same status: the earlier document was issued by the Consilium, the latter by the Congregation.  At the heart of Comme le prevoit was the idea of “dynamic equivalence”, as achieved when a translator detaches the “content” of an utterance from the “form” in which it is expressed.

Bishop Roche cites, for example, the Third Eucharistic Prayer when we say ‘so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made,’ to translate the Latin ‘ut a solis ortu usque ad ocasum oblatio munda offeratur.’  The poponents of dynamic equivalence say that ‘from east to west’ conveys the same information as ‘from the rising of the sun to its setting’, which is how the new translation renders it.  But the meaning of this phrase is richer: it is an expression found in Malachi 1:11:

See from the rising of the sun to its settinbg all the nations revere my Name and everywhere incense is offered to my Name as well as a pure offering.

The expression is likewise found in the Psalms.  It has been said by those who did not understand the context of the expression that to complete it, it should be rendered as ‘from north to south, and from east to west…’ whcih is not exactly the point of the expression; certainly the original Latin text does not have that sense in the expression.

Another example cited by Bishop Roche is found in the Fourth Eucharistic Prayer in the phrase, ‘ex genimine vitis repletum’ rendered in the new translation as ‘the fruit of the vine’ in the Institution Narrative.  The present translation says, ‘He took the cup filled with wine.’ Some argue that ‘the fruit of the vine’ means the same as the single word ‘wine,’ and that the simpler expression should be preferred.  But the words ‘the fruit of the vine’ are said by the Lord Himself in all three synoptic Gospels–this phrase has a powerful salvific resonance because of the symbolic value accorded to the vine and the vineyard in Scripture, as recalled by  Jesus’ elaboration in John 15 of the image of Himself as the true vine, His Father as the vinedresser, and ourselves as the branches.  This echoes back an even earlier usage in Isaiah 5–the famous “Song of the Vineyard”–and the Lord’s lament at the degeneracy of his once choice vine in Jeremiah 2.  Of course, the word wine connects with this Scriptural patrimony, but it does so les evidently than does the phrase ‘fruit of the vine’ which, upon each hearing, encourages us in our imaginations to see the particular Eucharistic event as part o fthe unfolding of God’s universal plan within history to rescue us from the destruction and chaos occasioned by our sinfulness and bring us into communion with Himself and with each other in Christ.[2]

And so, the new English translation of the Roman Missal is not meant to revert the Churchback to the old Latin liturgy, as many fear.  Forty-eight years after Sacrosanctum Concilium, and thirty-eight years after the first publication of the English Sacaramentary, the Holy See through the new International Commision on English in the Liturgy (ICEL)[3] and Vox Clara Committee[4] thought that it was now time to revise the English translation of the Roman Missal which was published as the English Sacramentary.  ICEL and Vox Clara both felt that there was a need to make a new translation that would be more thorough, clearer and nearer to the Latin original text.  Why this preoccupation with fidelity of the vernacular translation to the original Latin text?  We will shortly answer this sensitive question.

As early as 1992 when the old ICEL issued a proposed new translation of the Ordinary of the Mass of the Missal of Paul VI (presumably that project is now moot and academic since the disbanding of the group) until the appearance of “semi-offcial” English translation in 2009 of the Ordo Missae of the Missale Romanum editio typica tertia, I was hopeful for the revision of the Missale Romanum editio typica of 1969, and the editio typica altera of 1975, both under the pontificate of Paul VI.  Both earlier typical editions appeared in English translation of the Roman Sacramentary published by the old ICEL, and in Tagalog and other vernacular translations published by various diocesan liturgical commissions.

Reasons to be Hopeful

Hopeful, because

  1. I thought that finally some needed corrections could be put into place in this latest edition of the Roman Missal, vis-a-vis the presidential prayers: the axiom lex orandi, lex credendi could be applied to the text of the prayers.  This is my response to the question I just posed concerning the fidelity of the vernacular translation to the Latin original.  With the present translations–in English, Tagalog and Cebuano–I somehow have the feeling that they were hurriedly done given the exigency in 1969 of coming up with a workable translation for use in Masses in the vernacular[5].  In the process, the truths of the Catholic fraith were watered down in paraphrases and generalizations, and the results are vague statements and platitudes that do not explicitly express the Catholic faith.  In other words, some truths were somehow “lost in translation.”
  2. I am also hopeful for the revision because I have always felt even before my priestly ordination in  1979 that the language of the Missal in the vernacular, since it is addressed to God, should be above the casual manner of human speech.  In other words, it should be elegant and dignified, respectful but not distant, nor detached, or cold.  With the new translation I thought that this situation could finally be remedied.

These are the two main reasons for my high hopes for the new Englsih translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.  There is reason to hope that the postconciliar liturgical renewal will continue with, and be enhanced by, this new English Missal.

At the time I wrote this article, I had not yet seen the entire published Englsih Missal.  I have a soft copy of some parts of it which also includes the new Ordo Missae.  I have noted the verbal changes in various parts of the Ordinary of the Mass, and as a whole, I like them.  I have also read quite a number of articles pro and contra published in the web, and have noted the merits and demerits of the points they raised.

The Case of the Tagalog Missal: Aklat ng Pagmimisa sa Roma

It seems to me that the present situtation of the new English translation can be compared to the introduction in 1981 of the then new Tagalog translation of the Missal, the current Aklat ng Pagmimisa sa Roma spearheaded by my friend and classmate in the minor seminary, the late Monsignor Moises Andrade.  I was a young priest then, and I remember how fellow priests protested and created stir against the new translation which was so different fro the translation then in use, the Misal Romano of Monsignor Jose Abriol.  For one I questioned the quaint title of the book: Aklat ng Pagmimisa sa Roma.  I realized it was a literal translation of the Latin, Missale Romanum, which was formerly translated as Misal Romano (from the Spanish).  Then, too, I thought the language of the Aklat ng Pagmimisa was archaic and difficult to proclaim, the sentences/phrases of the orations were in many places convoluted, such that by the time one got to the end of the prayer, one did not know exactly what one prayed for.  The Aklat also used a somewhat stilted, poetic style–with measure and rhyme–which I felt was rather too contrived and artificial.  One of the disputed words in the Aklat was ‘hinawakan Niya ang tinapay’ for ‘He took the Bread’ in the Consecration formula, which many of us then thought would have been better translated as ‘kinuha Niya ang tinapay,’ which is the more accurate translation of the Latin accepit panem.  Another word that was disputed was ‘pagindapatin,’ for ‘to make worthy’ which we felt would be more naturally translated as ‘marapatin’.  These expressions and others like them might have sounded familiar and normal speech in Bulacan, but certainly not in all of the Tagalog-speaking regions.  When I asked Monsignor Andrade why the Tagalog translation did not undergo a trial period for corrections and reactions the way the old ICEL did with its green and gray books, he told me that the process was tedious and would take long.  Let the priests wrestle with it, he said; there is no other offical Tagalog translation approved by the Holy See.  Thjat was thirty years agao.  Today, the Aklat ng Pagmimisa is the standard liturgical book in all parishes in the Tagalog region, and while there are still occasional complaints about the Tagalog vernacular translation, all seems quiet on the pastoral front.

First-Hand Experience of the New Translation

Since Advent 2011, the whole English-speaking world-except the Philippines–has started to use the new English translation.  In the Diocese of Novaliches, where I serve as pastor in a subdivision parish, the Local Ordinary, Bishop Antonio Tobias, decided to have the new English translation used in English Masses in order to, in the bishop’s own words, “slowly acquaint the parishioners with the language of the new translation.”  Although I would have preferred the this were done more systematically withy proper catechesis, I plunged into it head-on, and the results were unexpected.

For one, the change was no big deal for the Mass-goers.  They responded to the dialogue without difficulty; there was no big deal about ‘And with your spirit…,’ no big deal about ‘through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault’ in the Confiteor, no big deal about ‘consubstantial,’ about ‘sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall‘ in the Eucharistic Prayer II, about ‘I am not worthy that you enter under my roof…’  They were quite attentive and conscientious in their responses.

What I myself found out was because I was so familiar with the old translation to the point of having committed to memory the Ordinary of the Mass–three of the Eucharistic Prayers included–realized that I could very easily trip on the words of the new translation for the simple reason that I thought I knew exactly what was coming, but o my surprise the phrasing was different from what I have gotten used to.  Hopefully this will eventually be remedied with constant use.

So how do I find the English of the new translation, particularly the presidential prayers?  The first thing I observed is that the translation has mostly retained the courtliness and stateliness of the Latin original.  Compared to the simple and direct language of the former translation, the language of the new translation bespeaks of a healthy recovery of formal language, the language we address to God.  There is in the prayers a rich theological density or complexity, a whole theology that makes us attuned to God and thus transfigures us, in contrast to the accessible, bland, flat and abstract language of the former translation.  Another obvious quality of the prayers is the poetry, the Biblical metaphor and concrete imagery they contain.

The Importance of Language in Worship

At this point the obvious argument in favour of the translation based on the principle of dynamic equivalence would be the use of simple, succinct and direct language which so appeals to our postmodern sensibilities.  Why use a language pattern in worship that is so estranged to the speech of the ordinary person?  Should not the language of worship reflect a speech pattern identical to that of the ordinary person’s in his communication?

In response to this, liturgical scholar Uwe Michael Lang comments that “[l]anguage is not only an instrument that serves to communicate facts, which it seeks to do in the most simple and efficient way, but it is also the means to express our mind in a way that involves the whole person.  Consequently, langauge is also the means by which we express thoughts and religious experiences.[6]

The use of the sacred language–and this rightly includes Latin–in the liturgical celebration is part of what St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologiae calls ‘solemnitas’.  The Angelic Doctor teaches: “What is found in the sacraments by human institution is not necessary to the validity of the sacrament, but confers a certain solemnity, useful in the sacraments to exercise devotion and reespect in those who receive it”[7].  Sacred language, being the means of expression not only of individuals, but rather of a community that follows its traditions, is conservative: it maintains the archaic linquistic forms with tenacity.  Moreover, introduced in it are external elements, in so far as associated to an ancient religious tradition.  A paradigmatic case is the Hebrew bibilical vocabulary in the Latin used by Christians (Amen, Alleluia, Hosanna, etc), as St. Augustine already observed.[8]

The Old and the New Prayers Compared

At the beginning of this talk, I said that there is much hope for the continuation of the postconciliar liturgical renewal with the new English translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal.  It attempts to capture concepts of the faith contained in the Latin text more accurately, and thus embodies the axiom lex orandi, lex credendi, specifically in the euchology of the Missal.  The prayers we pray at Mass ought to clearly express what we believe.  By way of example, let us take a look at the Collect Prayer for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time.  This Collect was in the pre-conciliar 1962 MR, the so-called “Tridentine” Missal, for the 5th Sunday after Epiphany.

Collect–Latin text (2002 MR):

Familiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, continua pieta custodi, ut quae in sola spe gratiae caelestis innititur, tua semper protectione muniatur.[9]

A quasi-literal English translation would render it as:

Guard your family, we beseech you, O Lord, with continual mercy, so that that (family) which is proppingt itself up upon the sole hope of heavenly grace may always be defended by your protection.

The Old ICEL, using the principle of dynamic equivalence in 1973, rendered it in English translation as:

Father, watch over your family and keep us safe in your care, for all our hope is in you.

The new, corrected version of the new Roman Missal, using the principle of formal equivalence, renders the prayer thus:

Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care, that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace, they may be defended always by your protection.

Comparing the two versions of the Collect prayer, it is quite obvious that the version used in the 3rd edition MR has more substance to it than the rather lame and bland rendition of the 1970 MR.  For one, the idea expressed in the ut-clause–reliance on the hope of heavenly grace–in the 3rd edition MR is absent from the 1970 MR.

In general, with the new translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal, the Liturgy will be more formal and theologically deeper, more evocative emotionally and intellectually.[10]

Conditions for the Continuation of Liturgical Renewal

For the liturgical renewal to continue, however, it will need more than just the third edition of the Roman Missal.  Several factors play an important role in achieving this renewal.  There may be others, but these are the more obvious ones:

  1. instill love and respect for the Liturgy, especially the Mass, in the seminary training of candidates for Orders–in the classroom, in the chapel and in the apostolate;
  2. review the ideas/concepts behind the ars celebrandi of priests when they celebrate the Mass;
  3. fidelity-not rigidity–to the directions or rubrics in the Roman Missal.
In terms of directions or rubrics, aside from the suggestion for adlibbing, as in “in these or similar words,” all three editions of the Roman Missal are clear and if adhered to by celebrants (“say the black, do the red,” as they say) can contribute to a reverent, God-centered celebration of Mass.
For postconciliar liturgical renewal to continue, the seminary formation of candidates for Orders will have to be seriously looked into, both in classes on sacraments and liturgy and in seminary community liturgical celebrations.  What is taught in the classroom must be practiced must be practiced in the seminary daily liturgical celebrations so that a tradition of ars celebrandi is established and imbibed by seminarians preparing for Holy Orders.  It is from the healthy interweaving of sound theologico-liturgical studies and praxis that we can produce priests who have a sense of the sacred, a sense of awe and wonder before the majesty of God, a sense of the mysterium tremendum in the liturgical action they carry out for God’s people in the Church.  If seminary liturgies are sloppily and carelessly celebrated; if seminarians are allowed to “tinker” with, and make unauthorized changes in the Mass, chances are, after ordination, they will repeat the same abuses in the parishes where they will be assigned.  Qualified professors of liturgy and sacraments who know Church Tradition and have a healthy respect for it, need to instill in the hearts of the candidates for Ordination a respect and love for the Liturgy, especially the Mass.


Ultimately, however–and this is my conclusion to this paper–the right direction for liturgical reform depends on the individual celbrant and how he celebrates the Mass: his belief, his attitude, his devotion or the lack of it.  A priest is a steward of the mysteries of God in the Church.  Aas steward (other than acting in persona Christi capitis), the Mass is a treasure entrusted to him by the Church which he must cherish, guard, and preserve.  It is not something he is free to tinker with and make changes to, depending on his understanding or the need of the moment that he perceives.  The Mass he celebrates is not “his” mass; it is the Church’s.

If the priest does not honestly beieve that through his agency simple bread and wine become the precious Body and Blood of the Lord both during Mass and after it; in other words, if he does not dvoutly believe in Transubstantiation and the REal Presence as transmitted to us by the Church and Sacred Tradition, and instead interprets it according to how he understands it; if he does not believe that the Mass is above all the making present of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary in an unbloody manner, that it is also the sacrifice of the Church in union with that one sacrifice of Christ; if he sees the Mass solely as a community meal that memorializes the Last Supper; if he regards the Mass primarily as a feast, which celebrates the coming together of the community, and not as the highest form of worship that the Church can render to God under the headship of Jesus Christ the High Priest, then, no matter what revisions the Roman Missal undergoes, liturgical renewal as desired by Vatican II in Sacrosanctum concilium and as envisioned by PCP II will continue to be held hostage by pseudo-liturgists and celebrants who see the Liturgy and the Mass as their “property” and thus indulge in “creative” tinkering to entertain themselves and their audience.


[1] Secretariat, Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II), Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, 1992, Acts and Decrees, nn. 176-181, pp. 66-67.

[2] Cf. Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, Chairman of ICEL, Address to the USCCB, 15 June 2006.

[3] The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) is a mixed commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in countries where English is used in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy according to the Roman Rite.  The purpose of the Commission is to prepare Englsih translation so the each of the Latin liturgical books and any individual liturgical texts in accord with the directives of the Holy See.

[4] Vox Clara is a committee of senior Bishops from Episcopal Conferences throughout the English-speaking world formed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on July 19, 2001 in order to provide advice to the Holy See concerning English-language liturgical books and to strengthn efective cooperation with the Conferences of Bishops in this regard.

[5] The 1973 English translation of the Roman Missal was based on the principle of dynamic equivalence, which is the preferred model for translation in the Instruction Comme le prevoit.

[6] Uwe Michael Lang CO, “The Language of Celebration”

[7] Ibid, Summa Theologiae III, 64, 2; cf. 83, 4.

[8] Ibid., cf. “De doctrina Christiana” II, 34-35 [11-16].

[9] Custodio means “to watch, protect, keep, defend, guard.”  It is common in military language.  Innitor, a deponent verb, means “to learn or rest upon, to support one’s self by any thing.”  Innitor also has military overtones.  The thorough and replete “Lewis & Short Dictionary” provides examples from Caesar and Livy describing soldiers leaning on their spears and shields” cf. Caesar, De bello Gallico 2.27).  Munio is similarly military term for walling up something up, putting in a state of defense, fortifying so as to guard.  Are you sensing a theme?  We need a closer look.

We must make a distinction about pietas when applied to us and when applied to God.  When pietas is attributed to God, it means “mercy”.  Pietas gives us the English word “piety”.  L&S says pietas when applied to persons is “dutiful conduct toward the gods, one’s parents, relatives, benefactors, country, etc., sense of duty.”  It furthermore describes pietas in Jerome’s Vulgate in both Old and New Testament as “conscientiousness, scrupulousness regarding love and duty toward God.”   The heart of pietas is “duty.”  Pietas is also one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (cf. CCC 733-36; Isaiah 11:2), by which we are duly affectionate and grateful toward our parents, relatives and country, as well as to all men living insofar as they belong to God or are godly, and especially  to the saints.  In loose or common parlance, “piety” indicates fulfilling the duties of religion.  Sometimes “pious” is used in a negative way, as when people take aim at external displays of religious dutifulness as opposed to what they is “genuine” practice (cf. Luke 18:9-14).  (Prayer analysis by Father John Zuhlsdorf, What Does the Prayer Really Say blog, 07 February 2011)

[10] Jerry Filteau, “Liturgy will be more formal, theologically deeper” in Roman Missal, website of the USCCB.

Fr. Timoteo Ofrasio SJ, Theological Hour on Jan. 11, 2012: The New English Translation of the Roman Missal

Fr. Tim Ofrasio SJ on the New Translation of the Roman Missal

Fr. Tim Ofrasio SJ to give a talk on the New Translation of the Roman Missal

The Loyola School of Theology wishes to invite everyone to its Theological
Hour on the New English Translation of the Third Edition of the Roman
Missal with Fr. Timoteo Ofrasio SJ, Assistant Professor of Systematic and
Sacramental Theology, as speaker. It will be held on January 11, 2012,
Wednesday, 10:30 am to 12 noon, at the Cardinal Sin Center of LST.

In its Plenary Assembly held in January 2011, the Catholic Bishops?
Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) decreed that the New English
Translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal will be implemented in
the Philippines on December 2, 2012, the First Sunday of Advent.

For logistical purposes, non-LST students (individuals or groups) who wish
to attend the lecture should please send an email to by
January 7, 2011 at the latest, indicating the number of persons who will
attend the event. Admission is free.

Fr. Eric Eusebio SJ
Dean, Loyola School of Theology