So many Latin versions - but only one English version?


 - Part I  -


LATIN has been, and remains,  the official language of the Roman Catholic Church.  The official  language of the Church's liturgical texts and rites is also - still - Latin. 

But,  after the Second Vatican Council, the "vernacular "(the language of a particular people) was permitted.  The reason for the change from a long tradition of Latin liturgy was that it was thought that people might be better able to participate in liturgical worship. The change was gradual, but eventually, each language group had its own set of liturgical texts. 

Much of the text contained in the Divine Office comes from the Bible.  And while Latin has been  and is the liturgical language, there are several Latin versions of the Bible, as well as the Psalter and the canticles which are prominent features in daily use in the Divine Office (also called "Liturgy of the Hours", or the  "Breviary", or just even  "Office".

The Church recently promulgated a new Latin version of the Bible,  the "Nova Vulgata",  and the Psalter, the "neo-vulgate",  is taken from that version.  At the same time, other versions of the psalms, for several reasons, have been used alongside the current Psalter, for varying lengths of time: some since the 4th century, and one, since 1945.

The "neo-vulgate" is the "official" translation at this time, but the standard "Vulgate" or "Gallican" Psalter (which was termed the official Psalter in the 16th century) is also still in use, as is the Psalter of Pius XII,  called the "Psalterium Vaticanum" or  "Novum Psalterium" and the "Romana", which is the first translation made by St. Jerome in 383.

The simultaneous co-existence of all these versions (and perhaps more) is a fact, and continues without difficulty.

Here are some comparisons of Psalm 129 (De Profundis). 

(Jerome I - ca 383 AD)
(Jerome II - "Gallican")
Pius XII
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine; * Domine, exaudi vocem meam.
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: * Domine, exaudi vocem meam:
De profundis clamo ad te, Domine, *  Domine audi vocem meam!
De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine; * Domine, exaudi vocem meam.
Fiant aures tuae intendentes * in vocem orationis meae.
Fiant aures tuae intendentes, * in vocem deprecationis meae.
Fiant aures tuae intentae *  ad vocem obsecrationis meae. 
Fiant aures tuae intendentes * in vocem deprecationis meae.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine; * Domine, quis sustinebit?
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine: * Domine, quis sustinebit?
Si delictorum memoriam servaveris,  Domine * Domine, quis sustinebit?
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine, * Domine, quis sustinebit?
Quia apud te propitiatio est; * et proper nomen tuum sustinui te, Domine.
Quia apud te propitiatio est: * et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Sed penes te est
peccatorum venia, * ut cum reverentia serviatur tibi. 
Quia apud te propitiatio est, * ut timeamus te.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo tuo; * speravit anima mea in Domino.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo eius: * speravit anima mea in  Domino.
Spero in Dominum, * sperat anima mea in verbum eius;
Sustinui te, Domine, * sustinuit anima mea in verbo eius;
A vigilia matutina usque in noctem * speret Israel in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: * speret Israel in Domino.
Exspectat anima mea Dominum, * magis quam custodes auroram. 
speravit anima mea in Domino * magis quam custodes auroram.

Magis quam custodes auroram, * exspectet Israel Dominum,
Magis quam custodes auroram * speret Israel in Domino,
Quia apud Dominum misericordia est, * et copiosa apud eum redemptio,
Quia apud Dominum misericordia: * eet copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Qui penes Dominum misericordia * et copiosa penes eum redemptio;
quia apud Dominum misericordia, * et copiosa apud eum redemptio. 
Et ipse rediment Israel * ab omnibus iniquitatibus eorum.
Et ipse rediment Israel, * ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.
Et ipse rediment Israel * ex omnibus iniquitatibus eius.
Et ipse redimet Israel * ex omnibus iniquitatibus eius.

 Continue to Part II

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Added August 3, 2000