Credo III in English (Free Score)
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    Greetings all,
    We have long desired to introduce a sung Credo at our parish, and with the Lenten suppression of the Gloria, it seemed an opportune time to do so. I was not particularly happy with ICEL's version which can be found in the appendix to the Missal, hence I made my own transcription. Their approach was to alter the melody (sometimes recycling common melodic elements—which is clever, to be fair) to fit the text, whereas I wanted to marry the text as closely as possible to the original melody with as few alterations as I could manage to still fit the text.

    I don't believe one approach to be more "correct" than the other; they are simply different, so please don't read me as disparaging the ICEL version in any way. Their version is very straightforward to sing, which I suspect was the overarching goal. However, with an eye toward potentially shifting our parish to the original latin in the future, it seemed prudent to me to leave the melody as unmolested as possible. I believe that learning the ICEL version would make such a future transition more difficult since certain passages do not line up.

    Now, I'm sure that my transcription is not beyond its own criticism, not least of all my preferred method for transcribing chant into stemless notes where I use the generic "black = short, white = long" approach. For congregational use I tend to suppress certain things that other editions show, such as tied repeated notes or "squiggly" notes which can be retained between two black notes. Nothing is perfect, but this approach seems the most straightforward for congregations that are only nominally musically literate. (I am more detailed in my transcriptions intended for the choir.)

    Keen eyes will also notice that I did not keep the original barlines, although I did retain their placement. The original latin has the text divided into many independent sentences, whereas the english combines certain phrases together. This changes punctuation and emphasis. In an effort to provide a subtle cue to a preferred method of breathing (so as to not lose momentum) I suppressed a number of the double barlines, in particular. Anyone who is used to singing chant (original or transcriptions) was libel to be thrown by double barlines when they occurred in the middle of a compound sentence in the english version.

    I also realized after finishing all my engravings that I did one thing which could be considered a mistake, (or undesirable, at any rate) and that was suppressing one melody note in the incipit. I had maintained the ICEL model as it seemed quite natural in english, but to anyone already habituated to the latin, that missing note jumps out to the ear. Those desirous to do so, could easily add back in the missing note and sing two notes on "in" as in the original incipit. As I said, I felt I was a little too deep in to go back and change it once I noticed it.

    So with all of those caveats out of the way, I wanted to offer this score to anyone who might wish to use it at their parish as well. I've also made a practice video and mp3 recording. These resources and a PDF of the score (formatted in columns 5.66" wide which perfectly fit 11x17 trifold worship aids) are available for free on my website:

    https://www.psallitedomino.com/blog/singing-the-creed
  • Serviam,

    I am probably not the best person to comment your work, since English is not my first language, but I find your adaptation very successful. It preserves the original melody without doing violence to the English text - quite the contrary.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    Merci mille fois, Jehan. I hope it helps some people, somewhere.

    To my delight, our parish sang it for the first time this past Sunday. For two weeks I have been advertising the practice track with a QR code in the back of the worship aids; it appears that some people really took me up on the offer, because without any rehearsal, a large number of people in the pews were singing it (I could hear them from the loft). This is a triumph, because this is a novus ordo parish, not a trad parish, so they are absolutely not familiar with this tune. (Granted, it's not the hardest tune to sing, but considering it was the maiden voyage, it was way better than it deserved to be.) We will continue at least through Lent, although I'm hoping it just becomes a normal part of our 11am "choir mass". Undoubtedly, we must be one of the only churches singing the creed for quite some distance, excluding, perhaps, the fssp parish.
  • ntnch1776
    Posts: 12
    A nice transcription. An error: "begotten, and not made" should be "begotten, not made."
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    Sure enough... I'm in too deep now!

    This saddens me. Multiple rounds of edits, and at least three different pairs of eyes and we all missed it.
  • Serviam,

    A job well done. A true service.

    Just one quibble (if that's the right word), and I don't know if it's with you or with ICEL, since I attend the Traditional form, and don't cope with the question regularly: should you say "became" man, or "was made" man?
  • I would say factus est would be more correctly rendered with "was made" rather than with "became"
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    I have many quibbles with the current translation... and I agree Jehan. And CGZ, "became" is the official [updated] translation in use right now.

    Frankly, they've butchered the whole thing if you ask me. The latin is very straightforward, whereas the english takes certain little liberties ("became" being one of them) and also combines multiple distinct latin phrases into longer compound sentences. I find it wholly unnecessary, but no one asked me lol. I had to work with what I had.
  • Consider also that earlier in the Creed, ICEL translated "Genitum non factum" as "Begotten not made."
  • "became" is the official [updated] translation in use right now.


    As Fr. Zuhlsdorf would say, "reason 24353578 for" avoiding the Missal of Paul VI.
    Thanked by 2MatthewRoth tomjaw
  • Elmar
    Posts: 502
    From a purely linguistic point of view of a Latin-English translation both are 'equally' correct because the passive infinitive of facere, which is fieri, is commonly used in the meaning of 'to become' (which hasn't a verb for itself in Latin). Therefore, saying has become in Latin would be factus est as well.

    Serviam already pointed to the fact that the current liturgical English wording of the Creed...
    https://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe
    ... is indeed "and became man". As the Latin text of the Creed is a translation from Greek,
    I suggest to rather consult the latter; where homo factus est reads ἐνανθρωπήσαντα which (according to my 'expert at hand') is a participle aurist active.
    Therefore 'became' seems to be closer to the Greek text than 'was made'.

    So IMHO "and became man" is not a case of 'taking a liberty' wrt. Tradition.

    (This touches on the hot topic of what should be regarded as a good translation of an ancient text... our pastor tends to write long sentenced prose for our bulletin that any latinist would enjoy as especially elegant, but normal people get completely lost in the syntax...)
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    To be clear, I have no axe to grind with compound sentences (you should see my emails lol); my main issue was that the new translation strays from the formatting and syntax of the Latin, which COULD have been more closely retained.

    But, if the new translation is based on the Greek, rather than the Latin edition, that makes much more sense. But this also complicates adapting the Latin version into the vernacular…
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,044
    Mgr Wadsworth would be the one to ask… because the whole project gets slippery if we have to refer to the Greek…
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    I tend to prefer "and became man" to "and was made man" : the first ("became") seems to me to be more correct as indicating that the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity of His Own Divine Will and Prerogative condescended to "take our nature upon Him and to be born of the pure Virgin"; whereas the second ("was made") sounds more like something was put upon Him by an outside force, possibly against His Will (as if such a thing were even possible), and He was merely a passive recipient of our human nature, which I would consider to be "smacking of heresy": though not being a theologian, I could be wrong in this regard, but that is my initial reaction.
    Thanked by 2Elmar ServiamScores
  • Elmar
    Posts: 502
    To be clear, I have no idea whether the new English text is actually based on the Greek, and I cannot tell wether my observation holds for other discrepacies wrt. the Latin text as well. This was a rather easy 'case' where (by bad luck) Latin just cannot give a linguistic clue whether 'became' or 'was made' is what is meant to be said.

    Salieri, good point to discuss the matter theologically! Sounds profoundly correct to me.
    I remember that in the filioque question, it is said that procedit has a slightly different connotation in Latin and Greek, making a rather huge difference when it comes to (not) adding filioque.

    In addition, it's not obvious at all that following as closely as possible the syntax of the source languange makes a good translation. I dare to say that most people (including myself) who love Latin liturgy, are not competent enough in matters of Latin prose and poesy styles for a well-founded judgement.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    I did not mean to imply that individual word order should necessarily be followed strictly. It's just the little things:

    QUI propter nos homines... = 'For us men' in the new translation (rather than: 'Who, for us men...')

    It's perhaps petty, and certainly rather little a thing. But there's no reason it couldn't have been translated, "Who, for us men and for our salvation..." just as in the original. I'm bilingual, and to me it is sloppy translating to change things that don't need to be changed, or that work equally well in both languages. Of course there are certain things that literally cannot translate 1:1, and choices have to be made. But for the things that can be 1:1, I think it's wrong not to do so.

    The other thing about the Latin is that many of the original phrases are complete thoughts:

    Crucifixus etiam pro nobis: sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus est. [full stop]
    Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas.

    In english this is all combined into one:
    For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, He suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the scriptures.

    There's nothing wrong with this translation textually speaking and in isolation, but it made certain things frustrating to transcribe musically. It has an impact because certain phrases of music reflect the more segmented understanding of the text, and so it doesn't feel as natural to have certain phrases of music in the middle of the [now] longer compound sentences. (Or as one friend who is only nominally musically literate but traditionally disposed, "it's actually easier to sing in the Latin". No surprises there, really.)

    Ultimately, it's me splitting hairs and no one really needs to worry about it. You only really notice when you literally hold the two versions in your hands side-by-side, and anyone who is not familiar with the original latin version will be none-the-wiser.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • My favorite clumsiness (the result of two forces) is
    "May Almighty God bless YOU: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

    It implies (accidentally, I trust) that you, the recipient of the blessing, are the Blessed Trinity.

    People have argued that most people in the pews don't think themselves divinized by this blessing, but the argument misses the point: sloppy translations lead to weak faith, sometimes intentionally.

    The only place I can think of in which I prefer the English is in one form of the Confiteor. It begins, "O my God...." and continues "because I fear the loss of heaven and the pains of hell", which are, of course, just punishments. Modern Americans, however, being both modern and American, frequently believe that "justice" = "I won", and a "just punishment" is an oxymoron.
    Thanked by 2ServiamScores Elmar
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    I was just explaining to someone last weekend that the Just shall praise God for the torments of hell. It was a totally new concept to her. There will be joy... in heaven... over suffering, because the punishments are totally just, and therefore beautiful and rightly to be praised.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,044
    They combine thoughts, and then they separate them with "I believe in the Holy Spirit," which is a part of the long sentence that is the entire creed…
  • fcbfcb
    Posts: 334
    As long as we're b****ing, "I believe in one, holy, catholic..." for Et unam, sanctam, catholicam drives me crazy. Numerous theologians throughout history have made the point that while we believe the Church, we do not believe in the Church the way we believe in God. I'll be honest, I just skip the "in."
  • I was just explaining to someone last weekend that the Just shall praise God for the torments of hell. It was a totally new concept to her.

    I'll be honest, while it's not new to me, it seems disgusting.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    You aren’t delighting in the torment, but rather the perfect justice of God. In that sense, the suffering is a ‘good’ insofar as God is honored for His perfection. But you definitely aren’t delighting in suffering in se.
  • Elmar
    Posts: 502
    Thanks Serviam for your thoughts with most of which I fully agree. Still I beg to differ on the following:
    Of course there are certain things that literally cannot translate 1:1[...] But for the things that can be 1:1, I think it's wrong not to do so.
    I even believe that this is a perfect counter-example:
    "Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven" is of course possible, but this kind of separation between subject and predicate sounds rather odd to me (I stand corrected, I'm not a native speaker) while it is perfectly normal in Latin.

    Chris, same for "Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus: Pater, Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus" becoming "May Almighty God bless you: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit"; inverting the order of subject and predicate is hard in English (and French, not so in Latin, German or Dutch)... "May bless you Almighty God" anyone?
    Just like "Zegene u de almachtige God" which is perfectly fine... and the longer I live in the Netherlands, the more I encounter examples that a 'perfectly possible' litteral translation of a German sentence isn't the best one.

    BTW I doubt that the punctuation of the Latin Creed (like full stop before "Et resurrexit") is original, and the rules differ considerably between languages; not sure how this is in English, in German starting with "Und" after a full stop is possible but considered bad style - no one in his right mind would copy this in a translation of the Creed although it 'can be done 1:1'.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 2,044
    Splitting a relative clause like that is done routinely in English though I can't think of an example off of the top of my head. I know that I do it all the time in speaking, and some of that is perhaps due to having many thoughts racing at once, it's perfectly grammatical. Maybe it's a little odd, but so is "consubstantial."
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Elmar,

    There are ways of rendering the final Benediction which avoid doing violence to the original.

    "May Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, bless you."
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 2,766
    I even believe that this is a perfect counter-example:
    "Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven" is of course possible, but this kind of separation between subject and predicate sounds rather odd to me (I stand corrected, I'm not a native speaker) while it is perfectly normal in Latin.

    Elmar, I think that translation sounds excellent, and is perfectly natural to my ear (and is grammatically correct). As a result, I can't see why it shouldn't be presented that way since it is so faithful to the original.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Chris, my guess would be that they translated the blessing as they did to preserve having the trinity named at the end. Unfortunately, it does yeild some poor English.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,775
    You aren’t delighting in the torment, but rather the perfect justice of God.

    Now I'm no longer quite sure how I should feel about the perfect injustice of the Cross.
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 3,177
    There are certain constructions in the 2010/2011 Roman Missal that sound as if someone took a collect from the 1661 BCP and tried to turn it into "modern English" by simply changing the Thous to Yous and removing the -eths; which creates very clumsy wording. (One priest I know has complained that he feels like he's had a stroke every time he says Mass.)

    I find the per ipsum at the end of the Canon particularly jarring.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,397
    Blame Cdl Pell and his committee, they took ICEL's text and made, it is said, 10,000 changes.
    The Vox Clara Committee is chaired by Cardinal George Pell, Sydney (Australia). The participants in the meeting were Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, Emeritus Mobile (USA), who serves as First Vice-Chairman; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Emeritus Westminster (England), who serves as Secretary; Cardinal Justin Rigali, Philadelphia (USA), who serves as Treasurer; Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Chicago (USA); Archbishop Alfred Hughes, Emeritus New Orleans (USA); Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Ottawa (Canada); Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Emeritus Kumasi (Ghana); Archbishop Kelvin Felix Emeritus Castries (Saint Lucia), and Bishop Philip Boyce, O.C.D., Raphoe (Ireland). Also a member of the Committee, though not present at this meeting, is Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Bombay (India), who serves as Second Vice-Chairman.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,176
    When giving credit or blame for the features of the new Missal, we should know that, besides ICEL and Vox Clara, the bishops' conferences were also involved.
    Here's a document leaked in 2010 that compares ICEL's version with the version approved by the bishops' conference, and lists numerous points of difference.
    https://wikispooks.com/w/images/4/45/Areas_of_Difficulty.pdf