Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (School of Philosophy and Theology)

Schools and Centres

Philosophy and Theology

First Supervisor

Sr. Moira Debono RSM STD


The thesis examines the English translation of the Roman Canon from the relevant Latin Typical Edition texts initially revised by decree of the Second Vatican Council and published by authority of Pope Paul VI and subsequently revised at the direction of Pope John Paul II as the Third Typical Edition. This examination will critique language, grammar, punctuation and syntax of the two translations to the Latin text of the Roman Canon. Included in the examination will be a discussion and analysis of the role of punctuation in the theological understanding of the content of the prayers of the Roman Canon. It will be shown that punctuation influences the meaning conveyed in a prayer. Secondly, the way that language and grammar are used has a significant influence on the theological interpretation and understanding of God and of the relationship of God and mankind in the translation of this Prayer. The words and phrases chosen to translate the idea as well as the subtle nuances of that word translated from Latin must also be incorporated in the translation. If one is going to be faithful to the idea of lex orandi, lex credendi (the law of prayer is the law of belief) then one has to be accurate in the way the prayers are translated from Latin into English because the meaning conveyed in the translation has implications on what one believes when one prays. The precise meaning of this term is taken from Prosper of Aquitaine (5th Century) – legem credenda lex statuat supplicandi (meaning “the law of supplicating [praying] establishes/fixes/set forth the law of believing”), which, in other words means prayers express belief. So, what I shall be arguing is that since ‘the law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays’ then the translations will have an impact on the expression of that faith. Finally, the thesis will demonstrate how the translation of the First Eucharistic Prayer may influence one’s understanding of the relationship of mankind and God. The focus of the thesis, then, is on the theological implications of the shifts that have occurred in the translations of the Latin text in the two versions of the Roman Canon as promulgated in 1969 and 2010 with the translation offered in 2010 being closer in content and theology to the Latin text that has remained constant throughout the revision.