Missal: A Work in Progress

In a brief report in The Tablet, it is reported that the Vatican’s approval of Missal was for a work in progress (click to read.) The June 12 edition of The Tablet which just went online (subscription needed) reports that the Roman Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship “had entrusted Mgr James Moroney, former secretary of the US Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, with the task; … alterations to the 1,300-page Missal were being made even to the Order of Mass, which received the recognitio from the CDW in June 2008.” The article states that “the new changes will wreak havoc for ICEL, which has invested money and time in producing a catechetical resource, ‘Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ,’ for what was thought to be the final translation.”

56 comments

  1. What exactly does this mean? I think the article is too vague. I assumed recognitio was granted, and we would be given the final texts in the near future to start teaching to folks. What types of additional changes are they talking about here? Just translation changes, or more?

  2. From the earlier post on this topic at this blog, it would appear that the alterations have come about because the Congregation for Divine Worship is responding to (trying to placate?) the many critics of the proposed translation. I am sure that the staff of ICEL are throwing up their hands in frustration, but if there are certain turns of phrase that are making some folks apoplectic, and if there is an alternative everyone can live with that still satisfies Liturgiam Authenticam, this will all be for the best.

    1. I wouldn’t assume that the changes will placate anyone, nor that that was the goal. Nor would I assume that the changes satisfiy Liturgiam Authenticam. Maybe they will later, but that remains to be seen. Keep in mind that in an absolute monarchy, office and personal connection can trump publicly announced ground rules at any point, and no one is accountable to anyone below (eg to the whole Church). It’s the nature of the system. Maybe a lot will change and good results will come about yet. I hope so, but I’m not assuming so.
      awr

      1. Keep in mind that in an absolute monarchy, office and personal connection can trump publicly announced ground rules at any point, and no one is accountable to anyone below (eg to the whole Church).

        Wonderfully put! The words might as easily be applied to preparations for a papal visit. 🙁

      2. I’m basing my assumptions about the nature of the changes on the post on this blog from June 2, which made reference to a few apparently known specifics:

        -“the absolution of the Penitential act has reverted to the current wording.”
        -“Each section of the Profession of Faith will begin “I believe in…” rather than “And in…””
        -“Same with the Prefaces – complete sentences beginning with “For he” rather than “Who.” (The howls of protest that it was ungrammatical, injustified in this case in my view, apparently caused a rethinking.)”

        Some people here appear to know more, but if without more examples it’s difficult to know what’s going on.

        Hypothetically, even if a bunch of changes were made that made the “What if we just said wait?” block and Bishop Trautman happy, who would still be unhappy? Probably publishers, authors and composers, who are being hit in the pocketbook by the delay and who are now facing the prospect of not receiving any return on the money and time they’ve invested preparing for what they expected to be the new texts. I sympathize, but I take the gripes about process and claims that the changes are for the worse cum grano salis.

      3. I think a hybrid text, with things drawn from all over and no consistent principles, would make most everyone unhappy – those who wanted Liturgiam Authenticam followed, those who wanted an accurate translation, those who wanted a beautiful text, those who wanted a comprehensible text, those who wanted a text which proclaims well. It’s possible, if you work at it, to create a text which alienates everyone. Stay tuned.
        awr

      4. Fr. Ruff;
        Regarding your 8:28 posting… AGREED!! It is much easier to create a text that displeases everyone than it is to create one which pleases everyone. If the tinkering continues, the former is the inevitable outcome.

    1. Is there evidence? That they tapped Moroney is interesting I think. He was never an idéologue – thus possibly a positive development.

      1. While it would be possible to give an idea of the many changes in the presentation copies that are floating around (a list would take up far too much space), the point is that the final texts to be delivered to bishops’ conferences may well be different again. We simply don’t know, and neither does ICEL.

  3. I didn’t think it could get any worse…is Rome so totally out of touch with the rest of the world or what?

  4. The whole thing is chaos. Monsignor Moroney &; Co. triumphant.

    Hardly a text left untouched. Some for the better, and should please Bishop Trautman and the team at whatifwejustsaidwait.org. Others, hard to believe, just make things worse.

    The new ICEL has been trounced on, but even more the bishops’ conferences whose CANONICAL votes in the end had little meaning. But the bishops are clueless, and will probably just go along. So it’s yet another watering down (or ignoring, or worse) of everything Vatican II said about collegiality etc.

    No bishops’ conference has yet had the text officially transmitted to it. Copies are passing around in samizdat form. Errors abound. The story has a whole other dimension yet to be revealed.

    The ‘new ICEL’ has received the same treatment it dished out to the old ICEL, and at the hands of the nasties in Pox Clara!

    Truly there is no honour among thieves.

    And consider: the person now re-writing the Roman Missal to his own design, Monsignor Moroney, is the rocket scientist who came up with HABEMUS EPISCOPAM! as the headline for the Worcester Free Press (Diocesan Newspaper) to announce the appointment of Bishop Daniel Reilly a number of years back . . .

      1. Yes indeed!

        (Incidentally, if you google “habemus episcopam” you’ll find he’s not the last to have done it: it’s amazing that the generally younger clergy who prefer the ‘extraordinary form’ – what an interesting term! – and the lace and accompanying bits and pieces, nearly always can’t manage anything better than basic schoolboy Latin.)

  5. This reminds me of an old TV quiz show:

    “Will the real Missal please stand up?”

    Oh, excuse me.

    “Will the authentic Missal please stand up?”

  6. Seems like it’s time to break out the ole “big bad men in Rome taking away our Vatican II” talking points.

      1. How much more devastation has to occur to piety and liturgical tradition before we realize that the way Vatican II was implemented was a bunch of hog wash? Check the stats…belief in transubstantiation, vocations, etc…
        Yet FSSP is seeing an increasing number of seminarians. Times they are a’changin’.

      2. Indeed – those negative tendencies had started in Europe already several decades before Vatican II. And also in the US, btw, if you look at the proportion of seminarians to larger Catholic population in the 1950s. But vocations to the Legion of Christ have been very numerous – numbers prove everything, really. I never cease to be amazed that Vatican II could cause so much harm before it even happened. But then again, causality can be very complicated – or very simple, I guess, if one prefers.
        awr

  7. And this implementation will be any different? I seriously doubt it. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing…

  8. Are you suggesting that the issues we’ve seen in the church cannot be attributed in some way to how Vatican II was implemented? Liberating liturgy and adherence to doctrine at the same time of the sexual revolution…when we needed strong moral guidance and tradition the most. Removing everything sacred from the churches and dumbing down the liturgy, shooing the tabernacle into a side room to make room for the drum set… None of this affected attitudes about mass and the presence of Christ? I find that hard to believe.

    1. Hello Brad – Yes, or at least I’m suggesting extreme caution. No matter how good or how bad the liturgy is, it seems that socio-economic and other cultural factors trump most other causes internal to the Church. Historically the liturgy in Ireland (no offense to anyone out there, or to my father’s side of the family) was abysmal – and the churches were packed. I’ve been to very beautiful, reverent, traditional liturgies in European cathedrals where the choir members or chant singers almost outnumbered the congregation. I believe that much or most of the decline in church attendance in the U.S. probably would have happened anyway as Catholics climbed socially. I know it SEEMS like the decline came with the liturgical changes and because of them – but the evidence is weak for causality.
      awr

      1. I think the decline in Mass attendence is a loss of faith in what we believe about the Eucharist which accelerated after Vatican II when “mystery” was stripped even from the poorly celebrated Low Mass . In Ireland, even with low Masses finished in 15 minutes, the people had a sense of obligation toward God and that they were receiving our Lord. If you really believe that you are receiving our Lord and have a reverence for Him you’ll show up every day. After Vatican II with everything changing and in flux, I think people just simply loss their faith and I think the simplification and desacralization of the holy caused it. In the minds of many not touching the host, kneeling, quiet reverence were all tied into the transcendent awesomeness of God; once these were stripped and new ways of reverence substituted, the rank and file simply didn’t buy it any longer, not to say that those who did and do stay don’t have reverence, they do, but it doesn’t appeal to the masses.

  9. It is clear that nobody really knows what is going on and what the final text will look like at this point. Therefore, it seems like everybody should just take a deep breath and wait and see. Reading this website it sometimes seems like everything that happens is just an excuse for some to beat up on that supposed evil old hierarchy, magisterium, Vatican, whatever and those evil people who are allegedly trying to reverse Vatican II. Whatever the final product is, it is not the result of the imposition of an “absolute monarchy”, but an effort combining both episcopal collegiality and Petrine supremacy, both of which have a legitimate role in preparing liturgical translations. ICEL (established by bishops) as reconfigured in line with Liturgiam Authenticam (a Petrine document) is actually more closely an episcopal creature after the restructuring than before, since the bishops take a more active role and don’t merely rely on self-appointed litugical “experts” that may have a particular ideological agenda to push. Yes, the Petrine ministry, ie CDWDS and Vox Clara (who are just English language episcopal consultants to the CDWDS) may have made some changes, but I doubt it will radically change ICEL’s and the English speaking bishops’ conferences collective work product, and may actually lead (I’m hoping) to some stylistic improvement without sacrificing translation accuracy. I’m sure we’ll be able to assess the situation soon enough when the new texts are publicly…

    1. WEll to be fair and accurate in your charecterizations – there are just as many here who blame any perceived catastrophe, be it liturgy or sexual mores, on Vatican II, the Consilium, Paul VI and Bishops’ Conferences. So lets have them participate in our Lamaze session as well.

    2. Hi Charles – I’m not an insider to Vatican halls of power, but Bishop Taylor is. If you think you see “an effort combining both episcopal collegiality and Petrine supremacy,” you might want to read his article, “A Cold Wind from Rome,” which is now a Featured Post on this blog.
      awr

  10. J.Thomas: Good point. Neither Vatican II, the Consilium, Paul VI nor Bishops’ Conferences should be seen as the source of all evils, IMO at least.

  11. A deep breath? Haven’t there been enough YEARS of deep breathing already? As my mind reels with confusing terms-Authenticam, Petrine, precious, Clara, magisterium, agenda, stylistic, dynamic, ICEL-I find nothing to connect me with these words: Do this in memory of me.

  12. “it sometimes seems like everything that happens is just an excuse for some to beat up on that supposed evil old hierarchy, magisterium, Vatican, whatever and those evil people who are allegedly trying to reverse Vatican II.”

    Actually we don’t need an excuse. They deserve it anyway!!

    “since the bishops take a more active role and don’t merely rely on self-appointed litugical “experts” that may have a particular ideological agenda to push.”

    I’m afraid this is hogwash. The Bishops’ Committee of ICEL before it was reformed actually took a far more active part in the work of ICEL than the present bunch of prelates. They were party to all the decisions that were made, and worked hand in glove with the Advisory Committee (the experts, not self-appointed but appointed by those same bishops).

  13. The suggestion that socio-economic factors had more to do with the drop in religious practice in North America than the implementation of the 1969/70 RM fails to recognize how abrupt the decline really was after so many year of uninterrupted growth in every measurable area. Ken Jones’ “Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church Since Vatican II” examines the numbers in a dispassionate way.

    The liturgy impacts the lives of priests and seminarians & their formation profoundly. According to the “Index” in 1920 there were 8,944 seminarians, in 1930 there were 16,300, in 1940 there were 17,087, in 1945 there were 21,523, in 1950 there were 25,622, in 1955 there were 32,394, in 1960 there were 39,896 but the current missal was implemented in the US in 1970 and almost immediate decline followed: : 1970: 28,819 seminarians, 1975: 17,802. 1980: 13,226, 1985 11,028, 1990 6,233, 2002 4,719. Notice that the decline began rather abruptly after many years of consistent growth. Don’t forget that Catholics can be seen to have climbed the social ladder significantly in the generation prior to 1970 yet religious practice continued to increase consistently throughout that period. I don’t think anyone claims that Ireland’s religious decline waited for the arrival of the Celtic Tiger (mid 1990s).

    1. In 1950 in the US there was one priest for every 652 Catholics. By 1960 it was one priest for every 766 Catholics. By 1965, one priest for every 777 Catholics. By 1970 one priest for every 824 Catholics. Why did ordinations fall so much in the 1950s, or 1960-1965, relative to Catholic population? The Mass was still in Latin, still old rite. The 1950s saw a 17% drop in priest ratio; the 1960s saw an 8% drop. Why did the proportion drop more in the 1950s than the 1960s? By 1980 the ratio was 1:857. This means the 1970s, after the introduction of the new rite, saw only a 4% drop in ratio – much better than back in the 1950s. I’m pretty sure that many things, including ritual changes, were at play in all this – mostly the huge changes in society and continuing changes in RC socio-economic status. Contemporaneity does not show causality!
      awr

      1. The huge change in the 50’s , through 60’s. 70s was the transition from an industrial to post industrial economy. The fundamental fact of life for vocations and every thing was more options:

        In the 50’s as a high school student I liked science and math. The Benedictine priests who said the extra masses at our parish were the only college professors I knew. As a nation merit finalist I chose the Jesuits; they were the intelligent ones. Psychology as discipline and profession was just coming alive as a result of WWII. They were not yet on my radar screen.

        Before entering novitiate, I had discovered the Divine Office, and Thomas Merton (more options). These two loves caused great problems for the Jesuits who were trying to fit me into industrial age models. One said Benedictine; another said Trappist, a Jesuit psychologist said diocesan priest. They had the problems not me. They were really poor at a primary Jesuit charism, spiritual discernment.

        A lay English professor, great Catholic intellectual and moral leader, introduced me to the whole civil rights movement, anti-war movement, and Catholic worker movement. The discovery of psychology and sociology suggested a home in academia for those interests. The developing public mental health system in 1980s became an even better home.

        I became a contemplative solitary (Merton) serving the poor (Jesuit) with a huge music collection to celebrate the Divine Office (Benedictine). God and the postindustrial world are great.

    2. Notice too that the decline began rather abruptly after Humanae Vitae in 1968.

      Another set of statistics will show us that number of priests leaving the priesthood sustained a massive acceleration after Humanae Vitae.

      Church attendance also started to decline rapidly in the wake of Humanae Vitae.

      These phenomena are not disconnected. Tempting as it may be to attribute all the current woes of the Church to the post-Vatican II liturgy, there are other factors in play.

      If you want to talk about seminarians, surveys conducted over the past 30 years have shown that the two primary reasons for seminarians leaving before ordination are (i) the realization that they cannot cope with mandatory celibacy, (ii) the realization that they cannot accept papal infallibility. It’s nothing to do with the liturgy at all.

  14. Maybe the Offertory Prayers and the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar are being put back in to the missal. The return of Sundays after Pentecost would be nice too. Dum spiro spero.

    1. Uh, no, that would involve a change to the current editio typica of the Misale Romanum itself…not merely the English translation thereof. Dum dum dum.

    2. Well, if they were to change the typica and put back the Prayers at the Food of the Altar they will need to take out the Penetential Rite as it was a creation added to the “traditional” Kyrie when bishops were uncomfortable loosing the Foot of the Altar accresions and Confietor – both of which began their liturgical life as personal prayers of the celebrant.

    3. Maybe they are coming up with more options! Rite A, which would be the EF form of the Mass in the Vernacular and Rite B which would be the OF Form of the Mass in the Vernacular, both with the modern calendar and lectionary. Do I hear a , hear, hear?

  15. No one really knows the liturgical future, but I don’t think it beyond the realm of imagining that the Tridentine offertory prayers might be made an alternative to the current one’s in some future missal.

  16. Fr. Allen’s suggestion is interesting. It reminds me of the Byzantine usage with the Liturgy of St. Basil during Lent and St. john’s for most of the year. After tweaking the lectionary differences we could do something similar. The 1970 ordo is probably best for Holy Week and Ordinary Time but perhaps we could use the EF for Advent (the O Antiphons) and Lent. We would naturally use the EF on Ember and Rogation Days.
    I also think we would be better off following the example of the Maronites and use our liturgical language for the words of institution in the OF.

    1. I am not enthusiastic about a sudden switch to Latin for the institution narrative or even the entire anaphora. While it would be valid, it smacks too much of a magical approach to language choice, like we’re only confident the sacrament is confected if we use Latin. Then again, I have yet to be persuaded by advocates of what might be termed the “veiling argument” that represents a post-hoc rationalization of certain developments of the early medieval era.

  17. I don’t think the Maronite retention of Aramaic for the institution narrative has anything to do with a presumption that Aramaic is necessary for validity suggesting that we wouldn’t react that way either. Latin is about identity. SC requires that Latin be retained in our rite anyway and the requirement that one portion of the Mass be in Latin would fulfill the requirements of SC while also working to provide us with liturgical continuity between the OF and EF and a strengthened identity as “Latin” Catholics.

      1. Having a truly “Latin” part of the Mass other than the Eucharist Prayer may be a challenge.

        The Kyrie is Greek. Both the Gloria and Agnus Dei were brought over from the Greek with perhaps some Semitic background. Perhaps we could put all them back into the Greek to remind people that our Rite was originally in Greek, as well as our NT Scriptures.

        The Sanctus and Lord’s Prayer are Semitic in origin. Sound rather good in Aramaic. Let’s put them back into that language. Remind us all that Jesus did not speak Latin or Greek.

        I would nominate the Confiteor to be in Latin. The chant version should be required.

        We are a world Church why not reflect the multi-cultural origins of the Latin Rite in our liturgy.

  18. Jack,

    I imagine you could make similar observations about the other ritual Churches in the Catholic communion, Byzantine, Maronite, Assyrian, etc…. The fact remains, however, that we are part of the Latin Church and the most recent ecumenical council was clear, the patrimony of the particular Churches are to be respected. That includes the Latin Church. Multilingual liturgies are diverse but are not universal – that is probably why the Church recommends that Latin be used in multilingual liturgies.

    1. It is the Roman Missal and we are the Roman Rite.

      My point is that our heritage is much deeper than Latin, and includes Greek and Semitic elements, which at some point in the future we might want to emphasize again.

      For example if we reunite with the Orthodox we might want to reemphasize the Greek, e.g. to enable us to have a Byzantine Pope. If the Indian Thomas Christians should become the prominent religion of India a century or two from now and we start to have Indian Popes of that rite, Aramaic might make that easier. We got a lot of our Eastern heritage from the 7th and 8th centuries when we had a lot of Eastern Popes. That could happen again.

      The point of Vatican II about heritages was to affirm the non Roman Rite heritages which had often become Romanized.

      My point has nothing to do about multi-cultural Masses, the assumption is that English or some other culture is the main language.

      My comment is mainly a witty remark about the past and future of the Roman Rite inviting people to think more broadly and creatively.

  19. Jack Rakosky :
    Having a truly “Latin” part of the Mass other than the Eucharist Prayer may be a challenge.
    The Kyrie is Greek. Both the Gloria and Agnus Dei were brought over from the Greek with perhaps some Semitic background. Perhaps we could put all them back into the Greek to remind people that our Rite was originally in Greek, as well as our NT Scriptures.
    The Sanctus and Lord’s Prayer are Semitic in origin. Sound rather good in Aramaic. Let’s put them back into that language. Remind us all that Jesus did not speak Latin or Greek.
    I would nominate the Confiteor to be in Latin. The chant version should be required.
    We are a world Church why not reflect the multi-cultural origins of the Latin Rite in our liturgy.

    I vote for the original Aramaic “our Father”…beginning of course with the word “Abwoon…..” . I’m sure everyone will get used to it…

  20. I believe the final Third Edition Roman Missal was just given in recognitio by the Vatican, but the Bishops conferences have to determine an implementation date. And before the Third Edition of the Roman Missal is published, there is the final editing process before it is sent to the countries and territories to be printed.
    They are already meeting at my parish within the Worship Commission to begin to plan how to catechize the parish on that. Part of the catechesis will be bulletin blurbs, and part of that is liturgy lessons and part of that will be training sessions on why the changes are being made. This is what happened when the GIRM was changed and our diocesan liturgical rite was changed. My liturgy planning partner is the head of the lay liturgy planners and she said that when these training sessions were held, and the reasoning for the changes were delineated, people were more accepting of the changes, and she feels that is the case here.
    But there is no other in recognitio to be done, as the final in recognitio has already been given. There is only the final editing to take place before it is given to the various territories to be printed. Please, don’t misinterpret what this blog is alluding to.

  21. The blog stated:
    “The article states that ”the new changes will wreak havoc for ICEL, which has invested money and time in producing a catechetical resource, ‘Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ,’ for what was thought to be the final translation.”

    Until the CDW gave it’s in recognitio for the final translation, it shoudn’t be assumed that the catechetical resource ‘Become, One Body, One Spirit in Christ” was “thought to be the final translation”. Don’t forget that the Bishops CDW had to approve the translation, and the Bishops Conference had to grant the translation in recognito status before it was submitted to the the Vatican CDW for final in recognitio. This is all delineated in Litugiam Authenticam. ICEL is NOT the final step in the translation process.

    1. Tim, the point is that the translation of the Order of the Mass, which was approved by the conferences and given the recognitio by the CDWDS in Rome back in late 2008 or early 2009 (I can’t remember which), has now been modified somewhat.

  22. Tim keeps talking about the ‘final editing process’ as if the text itself is a done deal. It isn’t. It is apparently still being rewritten even as we type. Until the final text is delivered by Rome along with the recognitio for the territory concerned, no one can say with absolute certainty what the final text will be, nor whether it will be the same as for other countries. What Rome gave recognitio to was a generic text, not the text for a territory. It’s a similar situation to the generic universal GIRM, which is not identical to the national versions of GIRM given recognitio for the US, for England and Wales, and for Australia, all of them different in some details.

    Everyone assumed that the text submitted for recognitio by the bishops’ conferences would be the last word. But Rome changed the rules in LA, and is now flexing its muscles. It can, and apparently will, impose whatever text it feels like wherever it likes, and the bishops have been caught on the hop with the DVD. I am on a committee which was planning a national DVD for my country, and we decided to (a) wait to see if “Become one body, one spirit in Christ” was any good, and if so we would adopt it, and (b) wait to see if the text changed still further. I’m very glad we did.

  23. We should not be so surprised by this. I believe that Rome institutes many of these changes and last minute changes, because THEY CAN. They are not bound or sensitive to or by any of our concerns, publishing deadlines, and other issues. While it may drive us mad, I would not be surprised if the implementation and use of the missal would be even more delayed than we think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *