Ubi caritas e....something something.

Ubi caritas e....something something.

Postby inthegobi » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:13 pm

I got a little shneaky-shneaky this Sunday. We sang the Hurd version of *Ubi caritas*, and then had time for a verse of the old chant version. I have been introducing traditional, well-known chants just here and there over the months. No accompaniment. It works well enough, especially this congregation, which likes to sing.

But a small change in the hymn has bothered me. We all know the opening sentence as:

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.

It has been changed recently to:

Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.

The change is found in 'certain of the oldest texts' say the sources I read. That phrase suggests certain *other* of the oldest texts also have et amor.

Why make the change if only some of the oldest texts have it? What's wrong with the traditional phrase? In its favor I thought it meant 'Where God's love and human love are, there is God.' For the two words are not synonyms: some might recall that in Chaucer there is a nun whose fault is just that she is too focused on amor (and lap dogs), not caritas.

Against the change, caritas is a sort of 'success' word like 'teach' or 'learn': to use it implies it is real. To speak therefore of 'true charity' is superfluous. And a search of my mind doesn't come up with a verse or litrugy that ever speaks of *false* charity.

So, to speak technically, what gives? Why the change? I quick search turned up very little except the bald assertion that the new phrase is older - but only in 'certain' texts.

C Kirk
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Re: Ubi caritas e....something something.

Postby Rose West » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:45 am

Sounds like a "What does the Prayer Really Say" question. I had thought it was a Bible verse, but it's actually a bit of commentary on 1 John 4. Someone must have said it first, and it's likely that a church father is responsible for the original wording, which would provide some insight.

I have no difficulty with the expression "true charity," myself. God will not be deceived after all, and in a "Love is love" world, it seems apt.
Rose West
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Re: Ubi caritas e....something something.

Postby inthegobi » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:53 pm

Rose,

The main difficulty to me is that my quick search only produced a very careful claim: 'some' of the oldest texts have caritas est vera. To my overly-logical ears that is an admission that some other of the *oldest* texts have caritas et amor.

As for commenting on 1 John 4, note that nowhere does the epistle speak of 'true' love, only love. Further, 'true X' is not a very common way of speaking in older Latin. By the late Middle Ages/Renaissance it occurs more often, but it still is not common. (At least, so sez my own limited reading in Latin.)

Finally, the itch to fiddle with texts among our clergy and religious is no secret, and frequently solves an imaginary problem with a problematic solution. My baloney-antennae perked up immediately at the change.

I do not frequent WDTPRS, but it seems you do. I know I would forget to check up on a potential answer; would you submit it and get back to us if it gets answered?

C Kirk
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Re: Ubi caritas e....something something.

Postby Rose West » Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:09 am

I'm not actually a registered member of that group. It's too often too much of a near occasion to sin for me, so when he went to requiring registered comments, I declined to register.
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