Beatitudes

Martin Foster, from the Liturgy Office, asks for your opinions on a proposed core repertoire

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VML
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Core repertoire- Beatitudes

Post by VML » Sat Sep 11, 2004 1:06 am

If we are going to sing the Beatitudes, please can they be Beatitudes, not Happitudes. I have to confess I don't know any settings of them, but I cringe at every funeral where they are the chosen gospel.

Surely blessed and happy are very different words, Benedict and Felix in all their forms are not the same. How come the Jerusalem Bible came up with such a ghastly notion? :?

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Re: Core repertoire- Beatitudes

Post by mcb » Sat Sep 11, 2004 11:19 am

VML wrote:please can they be Beatitudes, not Happitudes... Surely blessed and happy are very different words, Benedict and Felix in all their forms are not the same.


Quite a hard word to translate, I think. The Greek is makarios, and in Latin it's not benedictus or felix but beatus. Maybe it's hard to translate because English just doesn't have enough different words for this area of meaning. Happy corresponds best to felix, I suppose – perhaps because both carry overtones of good fortune (I think the ‘hap’ in happy is the same as in happen). And blessed conjures up the same meaning as benedictus, involving an action of God rather than a condition of the individual. So with these two words not exactly fitting the bill, there doesn’t seem to be another word that comes closer in English to the sense of ‘you are on the right path’ which seems to me what the beatitudes are about.

I wonder whether French might have the same problem. It looks as though you can have heureux or bienheureux or béni (and the translation used in the French Missal opts for heureux). I don’t know whether there’s a difference in meaning between heureux and bienheureux, though. So maybe there’s more room for manoeuvre in French.

So if you have to choose between the English words my gut feeling is that blessed is a little closer to the meaning (because being on the right path is something that comes about only with God’s help?) but that happy is a simpler and more direct word that maybe succeeds better in speaking to and from the heart. I’m the co-author of a setting of these words, and we opted for happy after thinking about both choices, though without spelling it all out quite like this!

This looks good: http://www.incommunion.org/Blessed1.htm

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Re: Core repertoire- Beatitudes

Post by Canonico » Sun Sep 12, 2004 2:25 pm

VML wrote:If we are going to sing the Beatitudes, please can they be Beatitudes, not Happitudes.


In the 1966 original English edition of The Jerusalem Bible, Fr. Alex Jones used the word 'happy' rather than 'blessed' in the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:1-12). In The New Jerusalem Bible which was published about 1985/90, the word 'blessed' has been restored.
When the new Roman Missal finally reaches the presses, I wonder if the word 'blessed' will be used instead of 'happy' in the sentence, "Happy are those who are called to his supper?"

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Post by mcb » Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:12 pm

"Restored" from..?

M.

Gabriel
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Happy with happy

Post by Gabriel » Fri Sep 17, 2004 6:10 pm

I have no real preference either way except I would not want to lose 'happy' from any understanding of being 'blessed'. I'm hoping the beatific vision is about joy and happiness rather feeling blessed.

Gabriel

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Happy Blessings - is there any other kind?

Post by sidvicius » Sat Sep 18, 2004 9:34 am

Well, if I was blessed, then I'd be happy.

There again, If I was happy, I'd consider that a blessing. :?
ooh look, my first 'emoticon'...

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Post by VML » Wed Sep 29, 2004 7:02 pm

I was thinking of some of the beatitudes: Blessed are the peacemakers, ...or. ..those who hunger and thirst after justice. Blessed maybe, but trying to keep up with e.g campaigning with Pax Christi, Amnesty, or pro-life work, or trying to help addicts, homeless or hardened drinkers who don't want to be helped.. .. sometimes blessed seems more realistic than happy.

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