Question for Welsh Catholics

I just happened upon this magazine of a Catholic parish in Wales, written in a mixture of Welsh and English (mostly English).

Interestingly,it contains an article (in both languages) by a bishop who was looking forward enthusiastically to participating in the Eisteddfod, not apparently for the first time.

Which got me to thinking: is the mass ever said in Welsh at all, anywhere in Wales?

People of my generation will well remember that the mass going from Latin to English (or the language of whatever country) was quite a big deal when it happened back in the 60s. It would actually be a fairly big deal for it to be translated into Welsh…I wonder if it has been, but more importantly, is this version of the service ever used?

(Just to make it clear, this is a purely academic question on my part: although I was born into and brought up by a very strongly Catholic family, I have not been a practising Catholic for many decades).

To answer my own question, it appears that it does happen in some places:

(I had a supplementary question which was: is there a Welsh version of any “Catholic approved” bible, to which the answer, I strongly suspect, is no).

Well well: The Welsh Liturgy:

(and Bishop Regan’s name crops up again. Da iawn iddo).

Why Mike? My experience of Catholic education is that someone in the Church would translate it and try to get as many plant Cymraeg reading it as possible!! There is a Greek Orthodox Priest and Church somewhere in Cymru as I recall. There must have been a lot of Catholic churches set up when the potato famine drove lots of Irish to migrate. OK, Cardiff was never exactly a hot-bed of yr hen iaith, but the Irish spread far when building railways and such!! Surely some ended up learning Cymraeg?? Yes? No?

Well, I’ve never lived in Wales, and have no “feel” for how many Catholics there might be, but one tends to associate religion in Wales with the strong non-conformist chapel tradition, and after that, the Church in Wales. Compared with those, Welsh-speaking Catholics would seem to be a minority-within-a-minority-within-a-minority, so to speak, so I just wondered if anyone would have the resources to even accomplish such a task.

But as I posted above, it evidently has been accomplished, and apparently one can even attend Welsh mass in Cardiff:

(How many people actually attend is another matter).

Oh sorry @henddraig I think you were talking about the Bible, not the mass.

Well, my reasons for thinking that there is not a special Catholic version of the Welsh bible is that these days, the RC church accepts e.g. The Revised Standard Edition with only some small changes to the New Testament. (I found a list of other versions they will accept as well, but the RSV is one I know about).

I don’t know if there is a Welsh version of the “normal” (un-Catholicised) edition of the RSV, but if there is, my guess is that the Catholic church in Wales would just use that, and quietly ignore the tiny differences.

Who would really go to the trouble of translating the “Catholicised” edition, when it’s not very different to the “normal” edition in the first place? (Well, there wouldn’t be much to re-translate, but there are still expenses in actually getting it done, published and printed, and you’d only do this if you could guarantee that copies would sell. So would the “minority-within-a-minority…etc” buy enough copies to make this worthwhile?

Pwy â wyr!

I suppose, what I’m saying, is that it depends on when! At first, I think, everything was in Latin in the RC Church, even the Bible readings, making it really easy to teach people what the Church wanted them to believe, rather than risk them reading the Bible themselves! In fact, at first, about the only folk who were literate were Priests!! So, when was the Bible translated into English by a Catholic? If it was before the Reformation, there is a good chance it was translated into Cymraeg. If after, much less likely!!
Thinking about it, I believe Liz 1 of England (and grr… Wales) organised the translation into Welsh, so probably you are right and an ‘approved’ translation never happened.

I had only been thinking in terms of modern times, but your interesting reply has got me thinking. Will do some digging. I also have an idea about how to find out what modern Catholic Cymro Cymraeg do if they want to read an “approved” beibl. Will report back if I find anything. Hwyl. M.

This link might be of help‘much-to-learn-from-others’,-dr-morgan-says-on-st-davids-day

It is a about a statement signed by all of the main Church leaders in Wales including the Catholic church, celebrating the anniversary of the Beibl Cymraeg Newydd

This doesn’t really answer your question, or mind, but an interesting article, and makes a change from Wikipedia:

@cap - diolch yn fawr…will go and read that now.

Diolch yn fawr unwaith eto Cap. I see Bishop Regan is mentioned. He seems enthusiastic for Welsh culture and the language. (I hope there are more like him). So, the BCN is ok with him, and also presumably the more modern version. Someone told me about this a while ago, but I’ve only just got around to looking at it. It does indeed seem to be somewhat more understandable than the older, more literary, versions.

On a related theme. Rhian Evans is Cymraes who is very supportive of the SSIW group in Carmarthen, and me personally, in my journey to being a Welsh speaker.

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I’d guess the 1588 one its the one Liz ordered!! I thought this was the first known, but met a mention of a translation from the Latin Vulgate in 1470!!! I don’t know if the Douay was translated into Welsh. However, my original point was that, when I was in school in York and being taught from the Douay, I find it hard to believe that Convents in Wales didn’t have a Welsh version to teach kids from!!!
So that would date from between 1588 and 1952 unless the 1470 one is real and lasted!!

It would seem strange. Perhaps there were copies of that 1470 one around, or perhaps they used the William Morgan one, and ignored the fact that it was “Protestant”.

We had a Douai/Douay version at home. No idea what used to be used at school, but eventually, in around the 5th form (probably in 1966), we were all given copies of the Revised Standard Version (in a “Catholic Edition”). I gather it had just come out and was probably all the rage at the time.

However, I’ve since learned that in RC churches, they tend to use the Jerusalem bible, which seems to be in more everyday language. The original RSV was apparently not so far from the King James version, so Anglicans were happy with it, and in the new spirit of Ecumenism, it seemed good that we were all using (more or less) the same bible.

Apparently, the latest “Catholic Edition” of the RSV has changed the “thee’s and thou’s” to “you’s” etc.

Somebody kindly sent me this information, from the “Liturgy Office” in London:

There is/was a Welsh Sunday Missal – Llyfer Offeren Y Sul (1988). Biblical texts are taken from Beibl Cymraeg Newydd. There are regular Welsh Masses – mainly in North and West Wales. There is some liturgical material here:

So it looks like Welsh-speaking Catholics use, or used, the same Welsh bible as everyone else (at least after 1988).

Edit: While looking to see if it was available (perhaps second-hand), I found this, about one of the authors/editors:

Edit2: An interesting reference within this, also:

An interesting point about the thee’s and thou’s I heard is that at the time of the King James Bible thee and thou were already old-fashioned and starting to disappear from ordinary speech (apart from some regions where it still persists even today) but as the translators wanted to be as literal as possible they deliberately stuck to the original use of thee/thou for singular and ye/you for plural as the original Hebrew and Greek have this distinction, so it’s more accurate than modern translations in which it’s not clear whether one person or a group is being addressed. As Welsh still has this distinction I wonder if modern Welsh bibles translate the you’s to reflect the original Hebrew/Greek meanings?

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Good question. I have the 1988 Cymraeg Newydd version, and looking at random at Exodus, Chapter 33, Moses seems to be addressing Yr Arglwydd as “ti”. I haven’t found an example yet of Yr Arglwydd addressing Moses directly. (Of course, we don’t know what the Hebrew said, or I don’t!)…ah wait, I think I now have found some examples of Yr Arglwydd addressing Moses as “ti” as well.

…Now found (Genesis, Ch. 22) an example of Abraham addressing a group with “chwi” (which I think is literary-speak for “chi”, and the plural “you” form (well, imperative in this case) of a verb: “Arhoswch chwi yma …”.

So there does seem to be some singular/plural “you” distinction going on.

I don’t know about the Catholic church, but I don’t see why not, if there are enough Welsh speakers in the congregation.

Religion in Wales is traditionally very strongly non-conformist and Catholics have thus been a very small minority outside of the larger towns with Irish immigrants. At ‘Church in Wales’ (Episcopalian) churches, with Anglo-Catholic traditions (the supposed ‘high’ Church), Full Solemn Mass is often celebrated in Welsh, with all the bells and lots of incense, but a true Catholic would not recognise it as such!

I left the Convent school when we left York in 1956!! I wasn’t ever actually a Catholic, so never again really thought about the Douai version except when I became a practising Methodist and collected different translations. I always liked the Douai we had in school and would have liked one to compare, but never got one!! The New English is my favourite translation. I don’t know if there is an equivalent in Welsh.
Later, when I became a Preacher, I realised it made a big difference which version you read from and would try not to pick what made my point easier, but to explain differences to make the point that quoting, especially out of context, is a very dubious occupation!!

I haven’t read it for years, but I think the language in it must be not dissimilar to the King James, because a lot of the famous quotations that everyone knows (or used to know), that tend to come from the KJ, are also familiar to me, although I have rarely if ever actually read the KJ.

I briefly tried to learn biblical Hebrew in order to be able to go back to the “original”, but I wasn’t persistent or gifted enough. In the end I gave away my Hebrew bible to a nice Jewish lady who used to give me a lift back from an evening class, for the bookshelf at her synagogue, so it would hopefully get more use there than I was able to put it to.

If I remember correctly (probably not…) the Douai is translated from the Latin Vulgate, so it is already two steps away from the “original”. I think more recent translations went back to the Hebrew and NT Greek, and are considered closer to the original. But the Douai probably uses the sort of language that was still in use when (or not long after) the King James version was published, so people who like the language of the latter will probably also like the language of the former.

Oh, BTW, you mentioned the fact that Elizabeth I was responsible for getting the bible translated into Welsh (or authorising it anyway). I don’t think I had realised before watching a programme on BBC4 last night, that her Dad was responsible for the first English bible that was put into English parish churches. The programme was:

Very interesting. This is the bible he was talking about:

I think I should have known about this, but if I ever did, had completely forgotten about it.

Another interesting point that that programme brought out (and which I half knew, partly from the Hilary Mantell book / TV programme “Wolf Hall”), was that Henry never considered himself anything but a Catholic. He broke with Rome, but in most other respects was quite conservative in his religion. It was Thomas Cromwell who was the real Protestant reformer, of the two of them.

Just thought I’d look up the Douai/Douay version in Wikipedia, and it seems there is a good reason why the Douai version that has come down to us (which is not the original douai version, apparently), seems similar to the King James. It’s a bit more complicated than my theory, and too long to paraphrase, so here is the article:

I can’t pick a quote to comment on, but…er…yes. I didn’t see the programme, but I know Henry was persuaded…OK, I believe he was persuaded to allow a translation into English which he could check out, rather than risk the naughty Reformist translation(s) getting footholds into his nice English Catholic church!!!
I am actually surprised at the age of the Douai!! For some reason, it seemed much more modern to me, when I was at school, than the King James, which must post-date it!!
I did know about the difference between Henry’s rather cynical taking over as ‘Head of the Church’ so he could allow himself to marry Anne and Cromwell (and Anne’s) genuine belief in the Reformed Church!!