Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Miles Coverdale's translation of the Roman Canon of the Mass

Note: Miles Coverdale, Anglican Bishop of Exeter who had Protestant leanings translated the Bible into English for the first time. His translation of the Roman Canon is noted for its accuracy and majesty and is authorized for use by the Roman Catholic Church for the Anglican Use. 
The Roman Canon
Most merciful Father, we humbly pray thee, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord.
[He joins his hands and, making the sign of the cross once over both bread and chalice, says]:
and we ask, that thou accept and bless + these gifts, these presents, these holy and unspoiled sacrifices.
[With hands extended, he continues]
We offer them unto thee, first, for thy holy Catholic Church: that thou vouchsafe to keep it in peace, to guard, unite, and govern it throughout the whole world; together with thy servant N., our Pope and N., our Bishop and all the faithful guardians of the Catholic and apostolic faith.
Commemoration of the Living
Remember, O Lord, thy servants and handmaids [N. and N.]
[He prays for them briefly with hands joined. Then, with hands extended, he continues]
and all who here around us stand, whose faith is known unto thee and their steadfastness manifest, on whose behalf we offer unto thee, or who themselves offer unto thee, this sacrifice of praise; for themselves, and for all who are theirs; for the redemption of their souls, for the hope of their salvation and safety; and who offer their prayers unto thee, the eternal God, the living and the true.
United in one communion, we venerate the memory, first of the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ; of Joseph her spouse; as also of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddaeus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian and of all thy Saints: grant that by their merits and prayers we may in all things be defended with the help of thy protection.
[Through Christ Our Lord. Amen]
[With hands extended, he continues]
We beseech thee then, O Lord, graciously to accept this oblation from us thy servants, and from thy whole family: order thou our days in thy peace, and bid us to be delivered from eternal damnation, and to be numbered in the fold of thine elect. [Through Christ our Lord.]
Vouchsafe, O God, we beseech thee, in all things to make this oblation blessed, approved and accepted, a perfect and worthy offering: that it may become for us the Body and Blood of thy dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
[He joins his hands].
Who the day before he suffered, [On Maundy Thursday he says:
Who the day before he suffered to save us and all men, that is today],
[He takes the bread and, raising it a little above the altar, continues]:
took bread into his holy and venerable hands,
[He looks upward]
and with eyes lifted up to heaven, unto thee, God, his almighty Father, giving thanks to thee, he blessed, broke and gave it to his disciples, saying:
[He bows slightly.]
Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you.
[He genuflects, shows the consecrated Host to the People, places it on the paten, and again genuflects in adoration. Then he continues]:
Likewise, after supper,
[He takes the chalice, and, raising it a little above the altar, continues]:
taking also this goodly chalice into his holy and venerable hands, again giving thanks to thee, he blessed, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
[He bows slightly.]
Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.
[He genuflects, shows the Chalice to the People, places it on the corporal, and again genuflects in adoration].
[Then with hands extended, the Priest says]:
Wherefore, O Lord, we thy servants, and thy holy people also, remembering the blessed passion of the same Christ thy Son our Lord, as also his resurrection from the dead, and his glorious ascension into heaven; do offer unto thine excellent majesty of thine own gifts and bounty, the pure victim, the holy victim, the immaculate victim, the holy Bread of eternal life, and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.
Vouchsafe to look upon them with a merciful and pleasant countenance; and to accept them, even as thou didst vouchsafe to accept the gifts of thy servant Abel the Righteous, and the sacrifice of our Patriarch Abraham; and the holy sacrifice, the immaculate victim, which thy high priest Melchisedech offered unto thee.
[Bowing, with hands joined, he continues]
We humbly beseech thee, almighty God, command these offerings to be brought by the hands of thy holy Angel to thine altar on high, in sight of thy divine majesty; that all we who at this partaking of the altar shall receive the most sacred Body and Blood of thy Son,
[He stands up straight and makes the sign of the cross, saying]
may be fulfilled with all heavenly benediction and grace. [Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.]
Commemoration of the Dead
[With hands extended, he says]
Remember also, O Lord, thy servants and handmaids, [N. and N.], who have gone before us sealed with the seal of faith, and who sleep the sleep of peace.
[The Priest prays for them briefly with joined hands. Then, with hands extended, he continues]
To them, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, we beseech thee to grant the abode of refreshing, of light, and of peace.
[Through the same Christ our Lord.]
[The Priest strikes his breast with the right hand, saying]
To us sinners also, thy servants, who hope in the multitude of thy mercies,
[With hands extended, he continues]
vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship with thy holy Apostles and Martyrs; with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia and with all thy Saints, within whose fellowship, we beseech thee, admit us, not weighing our merit, but granting us forgiveness;
[He joins his hands and continues]
through Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom, O Lord, thou dost ever create all these good things; dost sanctify, quicken, bless, and bestow them upon us;
[He takes the Chalice and the paten with the Host and, lifting them up, sings or says]
By whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end.
The People respond: Amen.


  1. Superb stately and precise language!
    If only the new English translation came close.

  2. As a person who has studied the Latin language for many years, this comes about as close as possible to a verbatim translation of the venerable Roman Canon. It is unfortunate that in the desire to simplify and "vernacularize" the liturgy, that the nuances of the Roman Canon have all but disappeared when it is incorporated into the typical Sunday parish Mass.


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