[Milton-L] New Missal and Mass Language

Nancy Charlton nbcharlton at comcast.net
Thu Apr 14 16:08:26 EDT 2011

You may be interested to know that the Merriam-Webster web site 
features the word "consubstantial" as one of its most frequently 
looked-up words on April 12, which I just discovered on my daily 
foray to Word Games.


The controversy reminded me of E.B. White's "little book" of 
English usage that was such a fad some years back.  One of his 
rules went something like this:  never use a big word where a 
small one will do; never use a Latinate word where an Anglo-Saxon 
one will do."

The Mass revisers fail on both counts, unless they are making the 
distinction that Michael suggests.  If worshippers fail to make 
the connection with the well-known doctrine of 
"transubstantiation" may we conclude that people's verbal 
knowledge is being so dumbed down that there is a failure to 
recognize rudimentary Latin derivatives such as "con" and 
"trans"?  And at the same time to recognize a theological nicety 
such as the distinction between "being" and "substance"?

I don't recall Milton ever taking up this question, at least in 
the poetry, but he may have in DC or one of the tracts, even 
though the latter are mostly political rather than theological.

Nancy Charlton

On 4/12/2011 1:06 PM, Michael Gillum wrote:
> Is the following correct?
> Referring to the change from "one in being with the Father" to 
> "consubstantial with the Father": the translators are restoring 
> the metaphysical distinction between substance and essence. It 
> is surprising that the translators of the current version would 
> have obscured that distinction. Granted that most modern lay 
> people reciting the Nicene Creed would not understand the 
> distinction nor think it important, the distinction would have 
> been important to the authors of the creed, who were trying to 
> state doctrine in a  philosophically precise way.
> Milton would approve the change because he thought Father and 
> Son were distinct individual beings (not coessential). Since 
> Milton thought the Father created everything out of himself, 
> maybe he would not mind the claim of consubstantiality.
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