Pray Tell has learned that Archbishop Dolan will delay implementation of the revised translation of the Roman Missal in the US.

Seemingly picking up on a recommendation of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland, where he recently served as member of the papally-appointed visitation team, Dolan will decree that missal implementation be delayed five years. This will allow time for consultation at all levels of the Church, with a view toward attaining as broad a consensus as possible on the translation issue. Sources close to the New York chancery report that Dolan will push for a trial run of proposed texts to ascertain their pastoral suitability.

This development is a major game changer, and reactions are falling out in some unexpected ways.

Helen Hull Hitchcock, co-founder of the Adoremus Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy, welcomed the announcement and placed it in the context of Pope Benedict’s battle to bring back holiness and sacredness to the liturgy. “Clearly this represents a violent shift away from vernacular in the liturgy and toward greater use of Latin,” she told Pray Tell. “The Supreme Pontiff is applying a sledge hammer to the present texts by highlighting them – they’re not holy or Catholic or traditional, and not everyone has seen that clearly yet.”

Fr. Michael Ryan, on the other hand, originator of the “What If We Just Said Wait?” movement, expressed serious concern that this delay will take the wind out of the sails of the WIWJSW petition, which he no longer supports in any way.

Over at Chant Café, Jeffrey Tucker is ecstatic. “Make no mistake,” he emphasized, “this isn’t about liturgical texts. It’s about copyrights. They should be done away with, and people are starting to see that. This is the beginning of the end of copyright tyranny, and that’s a good thing. I predict this will bring lots and lots of people back to the Church.”

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf at What Does the Prayer Really Say allowed that he had known about this development for several days from his contacts inside the Roman curia, but hasn’t had much time to blog in recent days. He welcomes continued contributions from his readers to give him more time to blog.

Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, was out of the country and unavailable for comment, amid rumors of an impending appointment in Rome.

On the left, the dissident organization Call to Action expressed discomfort at finding itself supportive of a member of the patriarchial hierarchy, alongside relief at the implications of Dolan’s decision for them. “Now at least we’ll still have an accessible, useable official text to ignore when we write our conference liturgy from scratch,” said the CTA leadership team. “People were extremely upset around having to ignore a proposed text which is so archaic, Latinite, elitist, and sexist.”

Officials at the Congregation for Divine Worship expressed consternation at learning of Dolan’s decision from the blog world. “First the leaked internal report on the Received Text, and now this,” sighed an unnamed undersecretary. “The Church finds herself in a transitional stage of not little difficulty, until such time as the Holy See elaborates adequate mechanisms by which the competent dicastery of the Holy See will regulate the blogosphere, including the timely approval of posts destined for electronic dissemination.”

Many observers expected that other bishops’ conferences will follow the lead of the Church’s largest English-speaking conference. (The U.S. has some 85% of the world’s English-speaking Catholics.) Interestingly, Ireland might be the lone exception. Officials of the Irish bishops’ conference told Pray Tell that the gravity of the church crisis in their land makes it all the more pressing that the healing, unitive power of the new texts be unleashed as soon as possible.

April 1, 2011