You still remember the Gray Book and the Received Text and the number 10,000 and the internal report “Areas of Difficulty,” right? How’s that? You want a refresher? OK, here we go.

The Gray Book is the final version of the missal translation ICEL sends to the national bishops’ conferences, after having worked for many years with the conferences in developing it. Then the conferences approve the Gray Book, sometimes as is, sometimes with a few amendments, and send it to Rome for recognitio (= approval).

Last summer the story leaked that Rome allowed a few people on Vox Clara to redo the final text. They made over 10,000 changes – introducing all sorts of mistranslations, contorted English, and even theological errors. Since Vox Clara had received every draft translation over the previous years with opportunity to give feedback, it was especially puzzling that they held back all the way through, and then at the last stage undid and redid whatever they wanted.

Perhaps we’ll never know who was responsible for this mischief, but in some circles they speak of the Missale Moronicum. Its other name is the “Received Text” – the text received by Pope Benedict at a luncheon on April 28, 2010 with Msgr. James Moroney and everyone else from Vox Clara.

Xavier Rindfleisch wrote four articles for Pray Tell (part one, part two, part three, and part four) comparing the ICEL 2008 Gray Book text to the 2010 Received Text.

Enter the internal report, “Areas of Difficulty in the Received Text of the Roman Missal,” reported on by Pray Tell and later leaked by someone on WikiSpooks. Whoever wrote it – we’re sure it’s someone within the translation machinery – knows his stuff. The internal report is a devastating critique of the problems in the Received Text.

The final text which will appear in our missals next November has been leaked at WikiSpooks.

Put these three things together:
* the Received Text,
* the internal report showing the problems in the Received Text,
* and the final text,
and you have a rare opportunity to examine how Rome responds to highly competent critique of its work. Does the final text correct the problems? Does it address the grave concerns of the report?

Pray Tell is happy to report that Xavier Rindfleisch is back! And he has done exactly this work. He lays out in summary form each problem identified in the internal report, noting whether or not the problem is corrected in the final text. See Xavier’s full report here:

The 2010 Received Text, the Internal Report, and the Final Text” by Xavier Rindfleisch.

According to our math, the internal report identifies some 208 examples of problems in the Received Text. Of these, the Congregation for Divine Worship of the Holy See has corrected 49 in the final text. That is to say, most of the constructive assistance has been ignored.

Further examination reveals some patterns in the 49 corrections made: they tend to be rather minor. Six of them involve changing a semicolon to a comma. Eight of them concern capitalization of “Lord.” One of them involves changing a pronoun back to exclusive language – “him” instead of “them” – to be consistent with the rest of the final text. Thirteen of the changes in the prefaces are doubtfully an improvement. The Received text had
…as we sing the hymn of your glory,
without end we acclaim:
- which confuses what is modified by “without end.” That has been made clearer in the final text, but the word order of the last line is still clumsy:
…we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim:

Readers can examine the other 28 changes for themselves.