Nov 21, 2011
One of the most refreshing changes in the new translation of the Mass is the translation of perturbatio as “distress” instead of anxiety. This new phrasing brought back a very good memory for me of a professor I had in seminary, a most interesting man with an interesting history.
His name was Nicholas Sprinc. He was one of three foreign faculty members that the future Archbishop Whealon of Hartford had contracted for Borromeo Seminary College. Unlike the two others, he had been born in what is now Slovakia and had been a part of the history of the short-lived Slovak Republic, a protectorate of the Third Reich of which a priest, Jozef Tiso was first Prime Minister and then President.
Fr. Sprinc, according to seminary lore, had been the official poet laureate of the Slovak Republic. A collection of his poems translated into English, entitled "Driftwood" was seen around our college in a self-published edition with spiral binding.
He taught Foreign Languages and Literature. In the French literature courses I had with him, he shared the tremendous breadth of his culture and a very particular and subtle wit. Apropos of this article, I remember he made a very ironic reference to the prayer after the Our Father. Modern culture was obsessed with existential angst, he said, and modern man had so much “anxiety”. He looked up at us and his eyes twinkled, “They put it even in the Mass.”