How we got the current GIRM

For those interested in how the Roman Church manages to produce and translate documents, here is the history of how we got the current General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Déjà vu?

(1) The document was actually signed by the Pope on 11 January 2000, but carried the date of Holy Thursday of the same year.

(2) The Latin text was made available in advance to the US Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy (BCL), as it then was called.

(3) A draft English translation was hastily produced by a small group, including Moroney and McManus, cutting and pasting from the 1982 revised ICEL translation and the 1997 ICEL translation, with amendments.

(4) This defective document was then looked at by CDWDS and it was noticed that there were inadequacies in the Latin. (Amusing that the Latin of those in Rome was not good enough to realize this until they had the English in front of them!)

(5) A revised Latin text was then produced, based on the errors picked up in the English version.

(6) A revised English text was then produced, incorporating revisions and additions to the Latin. Both these texts were still defective.

(7) However, the revised English text was released in the last week of July 2000, at a time when perhaps it was hoped that many would be away on vacation (as the Romans were about to be). They had not reckoned with the internet, and international contacts between liturgists. News of the Engish text spread around the world in a matter of hours.

(8) Defects in the English included the omission of words or phrases, or even entire sentences appearing in the Latin, the addition of words or phrases, or even entire sentences not appearing in the Latin, inconsistencies, mistranslations and actual errors, misinterpretation or political bias (e.g. using “even” instead of “certainly”).

(9) By mid-September the total number of faults listed by liturgists around the world totalled 189, with more instances of dubious work coming to light on a weekly basis.

(10) In the midst of all this, a Latin text dated August 2000 appeared.

(11) At this point, ICEL was asked to produce a revised and corrected English text, which first appeared in June 2001 and was formally released in July 2001.

(12) In March 2002 the complete Missale Romanum editio tertia was issued in Latin, incorporating a version of GIRM with a large number of further modifications.

(13) In August 2002 ICEL issued a further translation of the text, this time with an apparatus criticus, glossary, and parallel Latin and English texts. This was essentially the July 2001 text, amended in the light of revisions in the Latin March 2002 text, and incorporating other changes made in the light of comments received by ICEL from episcopal conferences.

(14) With particular derogations and adaptations, this was the text submitted to Rome for recognitio by both the US bishops in November 2002 and (with different adaptations and derogations) by the England and Wales bishops, also in November 2002.

(15) US recognitio and final text came through from Rome on 17 March 2003, released by the US conference on 19 March 2003.

(16) England and Wales recognitio was not given until 17 August 2004, received in London on 6 January 2005 [sic] and the text was published in London on 14 April 2005.

(17) Both the US and E&W versions contained modifications from the text submitted for recognitio, particularly in paragraphs 48 and 87.

(18) I do not have the date when Australia received their version, which is different again. I believe it was 2006.

(19) All the current texts still contain inconsistencies of style, which might be attributed to work carried out after a heavy Roman lunch or two!

The whole sorry episode is an object lesson in how not to proceed, which is why I have previously written on this blog that what is now happening with the texts of the Order of Mass and the Missal is completely in comformity with this crazy way of trying to do things. In years to come, no doubt, historians will sit down and wonder why no one thought at the outset to establish an operating procedure which would have avoided all this angst.


  1. In his book What Happened at Vatican II, O’Malley gives a Council Organization chart (pp.168-169) with the comment “It is impossible to depict adequately the complicated organization of Vatican II.” His book gives many instances of the unpredictability of things.

    That seems to describe all the operations of the Vatican including the management of sex abuse cases as well as producing any documents. There seem to be overlapping processes such that no one is really responsible for anything, and anything in the end may happen.

    Obviously the Vatican administration needs to be reformed. The bishops at Vatican II wanted this, but Paul VI said that was his job and not job of the bishops. Unfortunately that has meant no real Curial reform and continues to mean that everybody competes to influence the Pope and so there is no real organizational process that feels it is responsible to the bishops of the world let alone God’s People.

  2. Thanks, Paul, this is immensely helpful. I’m still very confused, but now I at least know why I’m confused!

  3. Thanks – this is excellent. Is there any way you can extend this to the past 24 months and the various english speaking conferences such as the USCCB which finally approved the final texts last November. If my memory serves me, the USCCB was given the “grey”
    book earlier – 2008? returned revisions/suggestions which then were returned in 2009 and finally approved in Nov. 2009. Sure I am missing something?

    1. But the bishops as deliberate bodies meet only 2x a year (it’s an expensive proposition). ICEL and VC and Curial staffs can meet much more frequently. Your comparison fails.

  4. In relation to what Bill was saying. Don’t forget the Green Book of Sep 2007 and Grey Book of Oct 2008 of the Introductory Material of the Missal which ICEL once again translated, which contains the GIRM.

  5. In item #3, you’re saying that instead of simply taking the new Latin document and translating it, the small group basically made up their own English GIRM inserting elements of previous translations?

    Regarding #7 and the timing of the release to coincide to vacations, you suggest an ulterior motive. Do you have any evidence that the document was finished at an earlier point but held up for release?

    In general, could these processes be better? Of course. But do we know of any institution that has to develop and translate (into many languages) legislation to apply to all cultures, survive the political hubbub of all the various bishop conferences, respect 2000 years of developing tradition, and ensure some amount of global consistency in practice on the same scale as the Catholic Church? To think that these processes are going to be anything but messy is foolhardy. If one were to outline the legislative process of a bill in congress or parliament, it would look equally laughable as the outline above.

    So, I ask myself two questions. As far as the new translation of the Missal, do I think it better than what we currently use. My initial answer is yes, while I reserve full judgment until it is in practice. I recognize many will have a different answer. Second, has there been any improvement in the process by which these things happen in the Church? Sadly, the answer seems to be no. I would expect the process to be messy, but would hope for some improvement.

    1. Jeff adds a good note of realism. Still, I would voice this concern. If Rome isn’t really able to handle such things competently, then why does it insist on being in charge of all these national/local issues? Someone close to the translation process recently told me, “The problem is that Rome is taking on way more than it can handle.” If they don’t have 50 or so highly competent staffers in the CDW, if they don’t have the resources for top-notch consulting, then why do they insist on taking the translation process away (more or less) from all the bishops’ conferences around the world and doing it themselves? If you want to micromanage, you’d better make darn sure you’re able to do so. Otherwise, get out of there. I think many would say that the results were higher quality in the 1997/98 translation – which was done mostly without Rome.

      1. Perhaps the Pope feels that a) bishops’ conferences have sometimes been manipulated by staffers and consultants who hand them a fait accompli to be rubber stamped, and/or b) the theological poverty of locally produced translations suggests the need for an overhaul of the process.

      2. As for (a) I recall a significant debate on both overall aspects and any number of particulars through the nineties. Perhaps Rome wanted to get into the “fait accompli” business itself.

        All we need is a look at the English version of MR2 to judge (b). Somehow, I don’t get the idea that theological riches are on Rome’s radar these days–there’s enough poverty in the MR3 Latin edition to give evidence of that.

      3. Quite a sweeping statement there. If the Pope is ready to write off hundreds and thousands of scholars, I wish he’d just come out and say it.

      4. Somehow sweeping statements and speculations about Vatican motives don’t seem out of place on this thread.

        But that’s not the point. The only important question to ask about the new translation is whether the Liturgy has the power to put us into direct contact with God, and whether our words and comportment at the Liturgy attest to that FACT, or to a watered-down, Schleiermachian version of highly derivative Rahnerianism.

      5. “The only important question to ask about the new translation is whether the Liturgy has the power to put us into direct contact with God…” Kathy, sorry, the classic Catholic answer to that question is a firm No. Our contact with God is mediated—by the sacraments.

      6. And I would add that the use of “Rahnerism” as a shibboleth-s[m/n]ear like “socialism” may have certain uses like a high-pitched dog-whistle to rouse the like-minded in the choir, but at the risk of reducing the credibility of one’s arguments in the eyes and ears of the audience that one is ostensibly trying to persuade. More importantly, when smearing someone like like Rahner, one should be careful (as a matter of justice under the 8th Commandment) to limit one’s one’s condemnations to teachings of his that have in fact been condemned (one may question and disagree with them as one prefers, but do not presume to treat as condemned that which is not in fact condemned by the Magisterium). So far as I am aware, Karl Rahner is not someone whose oeuvre has been condemned in such a way as to treat him as, let’s say, Marcion or Arius. But maybe I missed a fax from Rome or just misunderstood the syntax, being an Amurcan rube and all that. Doctors of the Church might get away with that level of invective, but we mere mortals should be careful not to think we are fit to ape them in this regard.

      7. Liam, who said anything about Rahner? Rahnerians are not Rahner.

        Rita, I suppose it depends on what you mean by “mediate.” The sacraments are the occasions of grace, but the grace given is the presence of the living God. The angels and saints attend the Mass–or rather, we attend theirs.

      8. Well Karl Liam is probably one of those watered down Schleiermachians – everyone knows that they always confuse their highly derivative Rahnerianism with Rahner. Typical. 🙂

        Just to clarify – and I think Rita is dead right on this – the angels and saints in heaven don’t have the mediation of the Church or the sacraments between them and God We on earth, no matter how closely we’re united with the angels and saints during the liturgy, only have mediated access to God. Sorry, but we humans here below can’t get absolutely outside of space and time, no matter how hard we try.

      9. Kathy,

        I am so glad to know Marx is back in the Church’s good graces, and that we need not confuse him with Marxism.

        I just ask that you avoid referring to Rahnerism, since it’s obvious it is at least an equivocal term when you use it, and gets in the way of your arguments.

        Fr Ruff,

        Since I last read snatches of Schleiermacher (in English translation) in 12th grade humanities, which is over 30 years ago, I can vouchsafe he had little influence on my thought. I was more fascinated by Flannery O’Conner at that point in time, IIRC. And you can see what *that* did to me!

      10. Well, I’m gratified that at least we’re talking about something important now 🙂

        I’m really not sure that mediation is the right word. Usually a mediator is a third party who changes the contact and makes it indirect, less direct. I don’t think that’s the case with sacraments. Although I’m certainly willing to hear about doctrine to the contrary, my understanding is that sacraments make direct contact possible by moving us into the realm of grace, without moving us out of time and space. Christ is that kind of mediator between us and the Father.

        “Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, “the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross”, but especially under the eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes. He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20) .” SC 7a

      11. I suppose I should explain what I mean by my shibboleth. It seems to me that every age has its imaginative constructs of the world. (So far I follow Bultmann, haha.) There have been ages, governed by fear of immediate death from plague, in which devils and angels played an even bigger role in the imagination than they do in real life. Our age is not normally overly credible regarding the supernatural (although for some reason vampires are currently believable among the young. Go figure.)

        I think that many in our age cannot believe in what I call “the permeability of the firmament.” The modern mind cannot find a way through the barrier of the outer hemisphere. God is in heaven. We are here. Alone.

        There is nothing in Catholic doctrine to support this view. However, someone who studied theology in the past 30 years might have been taught by someone who studied Foundations of Christian Faith. Someone in that line of teaching might well have been turned on to the idea that God is unknowable, like a distant horizon of consciousness. It’s a cool thought, somewhat mystical (actually I do think that Rahner’s impulse was mystical in this regard.) Taken as a starting point for theology, it can lead to serious theological problems, including a tendency to esteem human thought higher than revelation, and human effort in the world higher than sanctification. Doctrinal precision is neglected.

        I think the 1973 collects manifest (shibboleth) in this…

      12. You’re not sure if “mediation” is the right word for what sacraments do?? It’s the word used by every sacramental theologian I know of. I you want to take on all of them, you have your work cut out for you. I think “mediation” is exactly the right word.

      13. Let me register my objection to this characterizaton of Rahner. It is inaccurate, I submit. When I read lines like this, I don’t even know where to begin.

      14. Perhaps someday you would like to enlighten me about Rahner, Fr. Ruff. But that’s not the point.

        My question is whether prayers are directed to God as to someone present, and listening.

      15. OK, if you want to change the subject, I’ll go there. I thought your question was whether sacraments mediate.
        I’m not sure why you’re changing the subject now to this question, since, as far as I know, there is complete unanimity among Catholic theologians and the Catholic faithful that God is present and listens. So what is your point? Do you see lots of people, or anyone you can cite, teaching that God is not present at the liturgy and God does not listen?
        I’m still trying to figure out how this is related to Rahner, or to any other theologian, since as far as I know, everyone from Rahner to Schleiermacher to the neo-Scholastics to everyone in-between is in agreement on this point. What is your question here?

      16. I could happily talk about Rahner and Schleiermacher all day, but as I’ve mentioned, more than once, that isn’t the point.

        The point is this: directionality.

        One of the issues that has been raised regarding the new translation is the memorial acclamation Christ Has Died. I agree with one prominent American liturgist that this would be better omitted. But our reasons are opposite. Unlike the other acclamations, it is not addressed to Christ–that is my reasoning. Unlike the other acclamations, it does not refer to the gathered assembly–that is the liturgist’s reasoning.

        Another prominent American liturgist recently, publicly, defined liturgy. In the entire definition there is not one suggestion that God might actually be present, listening.

        I do not understand your claims to some utopian degree of unanimity about theology or liturgy. It seems to me that the differences are real and fundamental. I’d love to think they are a matter of degree or emphasis, but that would have to be shown.

      17. Oh, so now it’s “directionality”? First it was “direct contact.” Then it was whether “God is present and listens.” Now it’s “directionality.” I think you simply don’t know what you are talking about.

        In a comment at 4:06, you said, “at least we are talking about something important now.” I would like to comment on this. What came before your slighting references to Rahner may not have been the dialogues of Plato, but I would suggest it is indeed a discussion of something important. Precisely because our encounter with God in the liturgy is mediated, the “things” of the liturgy matter. Words matter. How they are translated matters. Furthermore, precisely because we are a community of faith in this same incarnational sense, interactions matter. Justice matters. Procedures matter.

      18. The consultative process is important, particularly concerning bishops. But arguments about consultation neglect the underlying cause of the rift which is not ecclesiological but theological and, if I’m correct, imaginative. There are two different systems of the world and two astoundingly different orientations towards liturgy at work here:

        “The liturgy of the group is not cosmic; it thrives on the autonomy of the group. It does not have a history; precisely the emancipation from history and autonomous creativity are characteristic for group liturgy, even when it works with historical settings in the process. And it does not know mystery because in it everything is and must be explained.” Cardinal Ratzinger, A New Song for the Lord, p. 150.

        My personal stake in this is simply as a Catholic. I feel that for my whole life there has been a pressure, working against my experience of the liturgy as cosmic. Whether it’s a church in-the-round that actively diffuses attention, or a resurrection crucifix, or All Are Welcome, the art and music at Mass detract from my experience of the liturgy as cosmic.

      19. “(I)f I’m correct, imaginative.”

        Yes, I think we do have a lack there. What I see is two popes who have inspired a certain cult of personality, and in the latter, a sort of theology by political loyalty has cropped up. Even when Pope Benedict offers a caricature of an analysis as in the quote above, it is taken as a fifth Gospel. He seems to have latched on to a certain western pragmatism and decided that if he doesn’t like it it must be akin to other things he doesn’t like. A very simplistic approach. If it’s not the hermeneutic of continuity, it must be obstruction. And nonsense like that.

        Sometimes when we encounter something we don’t like in the liturgy there’s no theology behind it, just clumsiness. And sometimes, that which we don’t like is an opportunity. I find your comment about worship in the round a bit incredible, for two reasons. Christ remains central in Christian worship of any sort. And a similar orientation has been employed in monastic liturgy for centuries.

        While I know that the best of human effort in art will never place the earthly liturgy into the sphere of perfection, it is still a worthy effort to be made. My sense is that Pope BXVI doesn’t have a handle on post-conciliar Catholicism, let alone liturgy. And the CDWDS seems willing to sacrifice beauty and quality at the altar of ecclesiological aristocracy. All in all, not a healthy situation, except perhaps for a certain element of Catholic fandom. And that might be the most modernistic trend of all.

      20. Kathy writes: “I could happily talk about Rahner and Schleiermacher all day, but as I’ve mentioned, more than once, that isn’t the point.”

        Says who? Kathy, you made some rather startling claims about R&S and others thought this was a very interesting point and challenged you on it. I don’t think you now get to make a new rule that says R & S isn’t the point and we can’t talk about it…just because can’t respond to the challenge or back up your claims.

      21. “I feel that for my whole life there has been a pressure, working against my experience of the liturgy as cosmic. Whether it’s a church in-the-round that actively diffuses attention, or a resurrection crucifix, or All Are Welcome, the art and music at Mass detract from my experience of the liturgy as cosmic.”

        I think we found bottom here.

        I applaud your zeal for retaining the cosmic nature and liminal dimension of liturgy. If you stopped caricaturing what you think progressives think, you might find you have hearty allies among us. Many of us for years have said that prosaic, pragmatic, earth-bound liturgies (which, btw, long preceded Vatican II – this is not about the edition of Missal) do not only deaden spiritualities but also the fruitfulness of apostolates we espouse, among many other things.

        I would, however, say that your examples are not, individually, indicative of a rejection of the cosmic nature of liturgy. It appears you’ve learned to interpret them that way. You and others could learn to interpret them differently, as others do.

        This is the shibboleth problem: when certain practices or words become associated with ideological attitudes, then those who do not share those attitudes hearken to practices and words that have differing associations.

        Thus, when I’ve labored long with fellow progressives about their hardening concepts about what being progressive necessarily “looks” or “sounds” like, it’s not very different from dealing with the more traditionally minded. The funny thing is that, the recourse to traditional-ism (which is different from tradition) is NOT cosmic, but a very earthbound signal of that kind of shibboleth. It may look as if it were traditional, but it is in substance not so.

      22. Liam,

        Of course you are right. Traditionalism is fond of cliches and the most bloody awful 1920s hymnody. The Low Mass invented the 4-hymn sandwich. Visually, tradiitonalism is flat. Flat facing the wall. Its expression is stoicism, not recollection.

        For praxis and pastoral habits, I do think your sense is right, that the key is to avoid play acting, and be responsible. Think through the trends and what is received. Consider, read a lot, and pray.

        For more lasting contributions on a macro level, however, the considerations have got to be theologically consonant with the whole of our religion. The words we say at Mass must reflect, in their own specific mode, the doctrine. Lex….

    2. Regarding # 3, what happened was basically a time-saving device. Where IGMR was essentially the same as previously, the group simply transferred over chunks of the two previous ICEL translations, modified where necessary in accordance with the Latin.

      Regarding # 7, Rome often shifts things off its desk before going off for the summer. It is a well-known practice in the case of anything controversial, and means that the Romans are not around to answer any questions until after the summer break, by which time it is hope that any furore will have died down. Similarly, if a bishop wants to respond to a Roman congregation without drawing attention to his response, he will often delay sending the response until towards the end of July, when it will get buried in the accumulation of mail waiting when the Romans get back in September.

      1. There are those who thought this was exactly what was behind the timing of last week’s announcement of clerical sex abuse and attempting to ordain women becoming grave crimes!

  6. In regards to the Australian recognitio, the process was extraordinarily long. Apparently Rome LOST the first Australian submission. A second submission was made on 7 June 2006. Recognitio finally arrived on 24 May 2007, as Clare mentions above.

    1. This reminds me of the occasion when the Scottish bishops out of the blue received a recognitio that they had not even requested…..

      You couldn’t make it up.

  7. Maybe Rome should focus more closely on getting the Latin right!

    One of the most stunning changes in the flipping backwards and forwards from Latin to vernacular to Latin was the “clarification” of the location of the Sequence being prior to the Alleluia. The original Latin IGMR and its first English translations (1969, 1975) clearly list the Sequence after the Alleluia (par 40) and the Alleluia was specified to follow the second reading (par 37). The Introduction to the Lectionary (1969, 1981), the Ordo Cantus Missae (1974, 1987), the Graduale Romanum (1974), and the Graduale Simplex (1867,1974) are all in harmony on this.

    But numerous English language publications of lectionaries incorrectly showed the sequence prior to the Alleluia, creating confusion and encouraging the practice of singing the sequence prior to the Alleluia.

    When the 2000 IGMR was received and confirmed the order of Alleluia – Sequence, the draft English translation tried to twist it to conform to the growing practice of singing the sequence prior to the Alleluia. The 2002 edition of IGMR then CHANGED THE LATIN to harmonize with the draft English translation. This change still stands today, though there has been no attempt to “harmonize” the Ordo Cantus Missae, the Gradule Romanum or the Graduale Simplex.

    So we now have established a new “discontinuity” with the pre-Vatican II liturgy, which had a tradition of the Sequence following the Alleluia for more than a thousand years.

    1. Slightly mystified by this comment, Paul. The “growing practice” of singing the Sequence prior to the Alleluia was in fact laid down in the liturgical books.

      The 1969 Ordo Lectionum Missae certainly gave the Sequence as prior to the Alleluia, which was a change from centuries of previous practice. This is where the discontinuity began, and is the reason why many English-language lectionaries in fact did print the Sequence as coming before the Alleluia, following OLM.

      NB: This also appears to be the reason why the word “Alleluia” was dropped (in OLM 1969) from the end of the Sequence following the Amen — presumably because the word was going to follow immediately in the Alleluia and verse. The US Lectionary for many years had this wrong (and maybe still does — I do not have a copy of the most recent edition to hand) and retained the word “Alleluia” at the end of the Sequence, though the UK and Australian lectionaries were correct in this regard.

      When IGMR 2000 first came along, to everyone’s consternation it incorrectly repositioned the Sequence after (post) the Alleluia, correcting this within two months to before (ante). I think you are right in recalling that it then flipped back to post and finally back again to ante before this mini-saga was over.

      1. Paul, I don’t agree that Rome laid down that decision in the liturgical books of the 60s. I think this is probably an example of where praxis has become law.

        There’s no doubt that Ordo Cantus Missae (OCM), the authority for the order of the chants in the Mass, specifies that the Sequence comes after the Alleluia (no 8). Moreover the GIRM, the Graduale Simplex, the Graduale Romanum and the Praenotenda of the OLM are in harmony with it. The OLM even refers to the OCM as the authority for the order of the chants (OLM 23, cf footnote 42, which refers to he authority of 7-9 of OCM).

        Here is a translation of relevant sections of 7-8, courtesy of Richard Chonak:

        7. The second reading is followed by the Alleluia …..

        8. The Sequence, if there is one, is sung after the last Alleluia, in alternation by cantors and a choir, or by two parts of a choir, omitting the Amen at the end. If the Alleluia is not sung with its verse, the Sequence is omitted.

        The only point of difference has been in the typographical interpretation of the listings in the OLM in the production of the lectionaries.

        No one can deny the praxis that arose; the published lectionaries were readily available and the chant books weren’t. But it wasn’t what was initially intended. The “post” insertion in the 2000 IGMR was meant to correct this praxis. The “ante” was the rule of praxis having its day.

      2. There’s no doubt that Ordo Cantus Missae (OCM), the authority for the order of the chants in the Mass, specifies that the Sequence comes after the Alleluia (no 8). Moreover the GIRM, the Graduale Simplex, the Graduale Romanum and the Praenotenda of the OLM are in harmony with it.

        But the Ordo Cantus Missae did not appear until 1972, three years after the 1969 Ordo Lectionum Missae had already changed the centuries-old practice. By the time OCM came along, the new practice was already “in possession” — hence the English-language lectionaries. The Graduale Romanum did not appear until even later in 1974. The Graduale Simplex (1967) appeared before OLM 1969 changed the practice.

        IGMR 40 (1969/70) does not mention the positioning of the Sequence at all, simply saying that Sequences are ad lib except at Easter and Pentecost, and the same is true right up to IGMR 2000 which mentioned the positioning for the first time, in disagreement with OLM 1969, hence the consternation. Both US (2003) and UK (2005) editions of GIRM today are quite clear (para 64) that, in accord with OLM 1969, the Sequence is sung before the Alleluia.

      3. The crucial factor in all this is the omission of the word Alleluia from the end of the Sequence in OLM 1969. If the Sequence was really intended to come immediately before the Gospel, OLM 1969 would have retained the Alleluia, since this is the last word to be uttered before greeting the Gospel. It did not retain that word precisely because the Alleluia + Verse was to follow.

        Paul, I think we’re going to have to disagree on the original intention of OLM 1969!

      4. Well, we may have to agree to disagree. After all, there are few occasions in the year when this really matters and the key word about sequences is “optional.”

        But if it was the intention to change a 1,000+ year tradition by mere typographical placement of 3 texts in the published lectionaries without supporting instructions in the OLM, if this wasn’t simply typographical error, then there are some lingering questions:

        (1) why? What was the compelling imperative to change such a long held tradition?
        (2) why was this assumed intention not reflected in the Gradual Simplex, published two years prior to the OLM?
        (3) why was this assumed intention not confirmed in the Ordo Cantus Missae published three years later in 1972?
        (4) why did the second edition of the OLM (1981) specifically refer to the authority of the Ordo Cantus Missae on the question of order of the Alleluia – Sequence?
        (5) why did the IGMR 2000 insert the “post” clarification?

        And while we might like to hope that the harmonisation of the new GIRM with the published lectionaries and current praxis is the end of the story, what is to become of the other authoritative liturgical documents currently in force that place the Sequence after the Alleluia?

        And do Paul Ford (“By Flowing Waters”) and the Monks of Solesmes need to produce revised chant editions to conform with the new instruction in the 2002 GIRM?

      5. Paul Mason: Here’s my guess as to why it was changed.

        From my little experience attending Mass in the Extraordinary Form, the congregation does not stand for the long (and often melismatic) Alleluia, but only at the “Dominus vobiscum” preceding the Gospel reading. In the Ordinary Form, we do stand for the Alleluia. Perhaps it was considered unwieldy to have the congregation stand while listening to the Sequence (despite the fact that we stand for the Exsultet), and it was considered just as unwieldy to stand for the Alleluia and then sit for the Sequence, only to stand again for the Gospel.

        Thus, to get around either issue, the Sequence was moved to before the Alleluia, when the congregation is still seated.

        That’s just my guess.

      6. Jeff

        The other thing to keep in mind is that, in the EF, the posture of the congregation was technically irrelevant to the ordering of things because the Missal governed the postures of the celebrant, ministers and schola, but not that of the congregation. Sensibilities on this point shifted in the wake of the Council.

      7. Thanks, Jeffrey and Karl. I think your assessments of the situation are on the money. There were some other practical issues too, coming from the mindset of the low Mass – e.g. who would read the sequence when not sung (the reader), who would say the Alleluia when not sung (everyone). In the low Mass all these were previously spoken by the priest. And as Paul points out, everyone expected the last word before the Gospel to be Alleluia. In her inimitable way, necessity became the mother of invention.

        Regarding the dropping of the “Amen. Alleluia.” from the end of the sequence: this also occurred in the previously published Graduale Simplex and subsequently in the Graduale Romanum, both of which retained the original order Alleluia-Sequence, so I don’t think that was the indicator for changing the placement of the Sequence in the published lectionaries.

        The only other thing worth saying is that, while most places follow the lectionary order, there are still many places, including many cathedrals, where the original Alleluia-Sequence order is maintained. And there have been new settings that integrate the Alleluia and Sequence.

        Here is a recent survey of Easter celebrations:

      8. Another possible explanation: as I understand it, the Sequence grew musically out of the alleluia (I may be wrong about this, in which case ignore what follows), as a kind of extension of it. Thus, historically, it only makes sense that it would follow the alleluia. In the current rite, the alleluia serves as an acclamation welcoming the Gospel, so it only makes liturgical sense that it immediately precede it.

  8. Isn’t there some way that the tune Yackety Sax from Benny Hill can play in the background while this page comes up?

    Yes, the Latin in Rome is sometimes quite problematic. In the ordinary of the post-VII mass, the nonsensical “Offerte vobis pacem” persists. Why thank you, I would like to offer myself peace!

    One question I have is whether the Latin IGMR is normative for anybody. That might partially explain why its tex was rather fluid (incompetence would partially explain it too). Presumably every bishops conference, even Italy, has a translation in its vernacular with its own set of modifications and adaptations that are normative in that territory.

    Although the Latin text of the whole missal was available in 2002, could it even be purchased in a book format before 2008 (ISBN-13: 978-88-209-8120-4)? I suppose that it can be used everywhere, though if you want to use it on a local saint’s day, you may be out of luck.

    1. I believe the “Offerte vobis pacem,” is characteristically Roman and was derived from the Ambrosian Rite.

      The Latin Missal was available in 2002, when I ordered my copy. Many things are available from

      1. How can something be characteristically Roman and derived from the Ambrosian rite (Milan)? You are right that the current directive hails from the Ambrosian rite. The old Cath. Encyc. says in its article on the Ambrosian rite:

        The present form from the “Pax” onward dated from the revision of St. Charles Borromeo, and appears for the first time in print in 1594. In 1475, 1560, etc., the form was as follows:

        V. Pax et communicatio D. N. J. C. sit semper vobiscum.

        R. Et cum spiritu tuo.

        V. Offerte NOBIS pacem.

        R. Deo gratias. Pax in cælo, pax in terra, pax in omni populo pax sacerdotibus ecclesiarum Dei. Pax Christi et Ecclesiæ maneat semper vobiscum.

        What a nifty little exchange! Apparently the bad Latin fix took place in Milan in 1594, when nobis was mechanically changed to vobis when the rite was simplified. :^( Correct Latin would be either, “Offerte inter vos pacem,” or, “Offerte invicem pacem.” Then Abp. Bunigni et al. cut and pasted the wording into the Roman rite. Still, it should have been caught.

        You may be right about the availability of the 2002 MR now that I think about it. Maybe the issue wasn’t that it was unavailable but that it cost $800 or something similarly prohibitive. I do think that there were a couple years there before 2008 when it was completely unavailble.

      2. Characteristically Roman in the classic sense, as in going back to the Romans. Like the dismissal the exchange for the peace has a military feel to it.

    2. Johannes Andreades INTP too, are you the same person as Johannes Andreades? What’s up with the Myers-Briggs? I thought we didn’t have pseudonyms on this blog.

      1. Rita – I started the Myers-Briggs by identifying myself as an INTP in my final NPM comment. I think we NTs don’t ‘bond’ because we only deal in ideas and not relational emotions, but I took it that Johannes and I were doing something approximating ‘bonding.’ 🙂

      2. Yep, that’s me. I just didn’t want Fr. Anthony to think he was alone. I was told once that I should think of others’ feelings.

  9. Wonderful, Paul.

    I can’t wait to read ‘How we got the current translation of the Roman Missal’!!!

  10. In light of the forthcoming Missal Mess, my favorite is #3 “A draft English translation was hastily produced by a small group, including Moroney and McManus, cutting and pasting from the 1982 revised ICEL translation and the 1997 ICEL translation, with amendments.”

    Apparently that’s how the current Missal in its final form is being put together.

    And what exactly is it with the MORONEY-MCMANUS team?

    Look at how McManus introduced Moroney for the Spiritus Liturgiae award at the recent Mundelein Liturgical Institute celebration:

    “Monsignor Moroney has labored tirelessly for years in helping to renew the Church’s liturgy,” said faculty member and Assistant Director of the Liturgical Institute Dr. Denis McNamara. “He has taught and studied from the heart of the Church–and always accompanied by enthusiasm and good cheer.”

    Kind of like the Oscars – isolated elites getting together to congratulate each other on how classically timeless their performances are!

    Where is Archbishop DiNoia in all of this? Didn’t he work with these jokers in Washington before landing the Roman gig? Being first and foremost a scholar, surely he knows that the Moroney Revisions that appeared on this blog recently show . . . to be kind . . . an imperfect knowledge of Latin and an imprecise knowledge of English.

    The GIRM is one thing: a reference document. The Missal is quite another: an official liturgical book. Two buddies “cutting and pasting” doesn’t cut it.


  11. Thanks, Paul Inwood. As others have asked, can you expand and explain why it took another 7-8 years for the grey book/Roman Missal v.3 to be approved by the various english speaking conferences? You indicate that the GIRM was in place/approved by most conferences with Australia being the last (2007?)

    Also, interesting information about other language groups – is this accurate that the current Italian project is years behind the english (why? is this because Italy is in the backyard of the Vatican and push back is expected?

    I also understand that the spanish is even further delayed? Not sure why? Have often wondered what happens in the US when the new RM v.3 is used in a bilingual mass and we are still using the “old” spanish lectionary or Roman Missal if parts are being rotated, exchanged, etc.?

    Thanks, Rita – your response to Ms. Pluff was gentle but hit the nail on the head. Even more, we are sacraments to each other (little s). Hope that this comment is not too much “a watered-down, Schleiermachian version of highly derivative Rahnerianism.” Kathy – you might want to link up with Rev. Schlemmlier (sp).

  12. At least in my diocese, we were oriented to GIRM 2002 in 2003. But it is natural for there to be several drafts before the final draft is submitted to the bishops for final approval. And this is precisely why LA was promulgated so there would be more uniform norms on liturgical translations.

  13. I know we have talked about the changes LA brought about, the challenges faced with the CDWDS, especially since the 1990s. I am wondering how Canon 838 is applicable in all this?

  14. I can’t help but wonder if some of the posters here are using mistakes made by the Roman Congregation as an excuse for disobedience.

    1. Actually, most of the people critiquing the process have stated their intention to comply in letter and spirit. (Over the past few months, I think there’s been one Australian priest who indicated that he wanted to resign so that he would not have any occasion to disobey, but he was an outlier.) So that ad hominem is unnecessary.

      1. Karl,

        An ad hominem argument is, as the Latin suggests, directed at the person, attacking the person based on some supposed prejudice or deficiency. E.g., to belittle the pastoral activity of Pope Benedict XVI because he was a diocesan Bishop for only a short period of time is an ad hominen attack.

        I stand by my assessment that the tone and way some posters compound their criticism of the process (which could certainly be improved) suggests a disobedient mentality that is not compaitable with St Paul’s admonition to always do all things without murmuring or arguing.

      2. Simon,

        Your self-serving conflation of a disobedient mentality and actual disobedience is quite starkly in contrast to our Lord’s words on that subject; a person who shows a disagreeable attitude but actually obeys is still an obedient person.

        My admonition about the ad hominem stands; you smeared people without warrant.

      1. I don’t think Michael’s question was an “ecclesiastical courtroom” question. I think he was asking where the Australian priest would go to find a Mass (in English, one would imagine) that did not use the new translation.

    1. It is very common for people to choose to retire early when their organization is going through a big change, especially if they have little interest or stomach for the changes.

      Just attending Sunday Mass requires little or no effort, versus saying Mass or continuing in full time or part time ministry.

      The more interesting question than such early retirements is whether priests who have already retired but are still available either regularly or occasionally for saying Mass will continue to do so. May depend on how much time and effort they will need to put forth as well as their preferences. Many could easily say that they are just getting too old to learn the new stuff.

      Priests who retire early or cease to preside at public masses could easily hold a private Mass in a home for family and friends using the old missal. Probably would break a bunch of rules but who would know or care as long as the group is very small.

  15. My favorite church in the round is Santo Stefano Rotondo. But then it only goes back to the fifth century.

  16. Blimey! Missed the whole Rahner-debate subthread near the head of the thread until I went through the comments from the top. Actually, now that I’ve read it, I don’t think I missed too much after all… 🙂

  17. The original post inferred that this unnamed priest was getting out due to opposition to the changes. I was just wondering he might deal with them as a congregant.

    1. No, it was a clarifying aside in a comment of mine here (which I regret having made given the undue attention being given to it; I made the aside precisely as an example of something that was not illustrative of a trend), and just to close the loop, it’s way too tangential to address, since he did not, IIRC, address it. We’ve wandered very far afield here.

      1. In one US diocese recently, a priest who was acknowledged by all to be the ‘best pastor in the diocese’ went to his bishop to tell him that he did not feel able in conscience to implement the new texts when they finally came along. The guy was pulled out of his parish within 24 hours and sent into exile. He was not even allowed to go back and collect his personal belongings. Needless to say, the priests of that diocese are up in arms about it.

        So sad.

  18. Getting back to the original post and after reading Mr. Nixon’s thesis and Bishop Taylor’s book….can someone help explain:
    – starting as early as 1972 Ratzinger & Mendez voiced disagreement with some aspects of Consilium (at that time)…..does anyone know the specific questions he raised?
    – in the reform of the reform or as Nixon explains in chapter 4, Ratzinger bases his liurgical stance upon a theological basis best described as Triune and Christological. Can someone explain what this means? Examples are that the liturgy/translations moved too fast; were too inculturated; not focused on the vertical vs. horizontal aspect of worship; loss of reference, etc. (it appears that liturgy changes are equated with church membership changes?? – not sure that can be proven)
    – Ratzinger also became a bishop not long after his break with Consilium and then spent 30 years+ to date as part of the curia….what is his actual pastoral, liturgical experience beyond 3 yrs in Germany as bishop? What does he base his “hermenuetic” on vs. over 2,000 bishops at Vatican II supporting SC; the history outlined by Nixon in terms of conferences requesting Paul VI for vernacular, etc.

    Trying to understand his foundation for what appears to be a true disruption in terms of lack of collegiality; suppression of conferences over their own liturgies; suppression of ICEL after 30 years of dedicated work based on what – inclusive language? not latin enough?

  19. Bill said: “What does he (our Holy Father) base his “hermenuetic” on vs. over 2,000 bishops at Vatican II supporting SC…”

    One of those 2000 bishops supporting SC was the late ++Marcel-François Lefebvre.

    1. So Msgr. Lefebvre voted against originally but eventually signed it?

      Just curious, do we know who the other three “no’s” were. Was one of them Ottaviani?

  20. Paul,

    If a pastor is unwilling to celebrate the recognized & current liturgy of the Church for his people I see no reason to expect any different action by the bishop. The obstinate pastor would break down the unity of the Church. It might be helpful to survey diocesan bishops’ treatment of pastors after 1970 who refused to celebrate the now lame-duck ICEL translation. The case of Fr. Stephen Zigrang in Galveston-Houston comes to mind as late as 2003. Taking the position of the former pastor you mention would lead to chaos and turns the liturgy into the domain of the priest alone. The pastor you mention might use the existing translation, another the 1965 translation, and a third the new ICEL version.

    1. Whipping someone out within 24 hours seem completely disproportionate when set against a new text that won’t be in force for at least 18 months if not longer (some still say it’s never going to happen). Given that the guy is supposed to be the best pastor in the diocese, you’d think that the bishop would be better advised to have ongoing dialogue in the hope of persuading the pastor to adopt a different stance.

      As it was reported to me, he approached his bishop in the hope of initiating some dialogue. Instead, the door was slammed in his face. Quashing dissent smacks of totalitarian regimes, many of which we have thankfully left behind.

      1. Meanwhile, I’m aware of one _parish_ that has used the interim translation since 1965, without interruption so far as I’ve been able to ascertain: even at confirmations, etc., the bishop has permitted it. The pastors have just “gone with the flow”. I’m not sure what their plans are for the new missal when/if it comes out.

        It never ceases to amaze me how diverse things are from one diocese to another. There’s a lesson in that.

  21. Paul, the bishop you mention should have been more of a shepherd in this case, but I suspect we don’t know the whole story here. As for being the best pastor in the diocese, how is this determined? I think just about every parish thinks they have the best one. The bottom line here is that this priest felt that he knew better than his bishop and the leadership of the Church. I can detect nothing in the new translation (and yes, it will happen) that should provoke such a crisis of conscience. I think some really sell congregations short. They will learn this and eventually forget all about the older translation, which had its problems too.

  22. Cody,
    I cannot imagine a bishop permitting the 1965 OM being used in a parish. He would need an indult from Rome for that. Bishops can permit the 1962 ordo thanks to ED and SP but I’ve not heard of anything similar for the “65 ordo. The Agatha Christie indult is another example from the days before ED.

    Mr. Inwood, you are wrong about ++ Lefebvre. He did sign SC and the other documents of the council. That was my point-it would be incorrect to presume that the Council Fathers did not read the documents within the hermeneutic of reform and continuity. After all, if a bishop as liberal as ++Lefebvre signed on we can see how traditional the document really is. That is why it is improper in my opinion to pit the Holy Father’s hermeneutic against the Council Fathers as a group.
    For reference:

    1. Actually, if the 1970 Missal did not abrogate the 1962 Missal, how did it abrogate the 1965 Missal? The Motu Proprio leaves that nugget open.

    2. Robert,

      Just because an internet article says so does not make it true. Read Yves Congar on Lefebvre.

  23. Joannes – please excuse my tardiness in replying. Your link to Fr. K’s article on Ratzinger/liturgy & comments by Fr. K & Fr. Imbelli do enlighten my questions. If I may also add in Peter Nixon’s final chapter conclusions, I continue to struggle with understanding the “reform of the reform”. Peter Nixon expresses the fact that there is a tension between the 40 year approach to translation, adaptation, collegiality, subsidiarity and the “hermenuetic of continuity” or, as Peter says, the concern about church unity and dogmatic fidelity.

    Nowhere can I find concise examples or explanations of this hermenuetic of continuity. LA seems to have gone too far; realize that the 1990’s were filled with tension but there was a 40+ year experience of handling translations and inculturation without having to knee jerk to LA? without having to knee jerk to over-centralization? and why bury the ICEL & its 1998 efforts? If there truly was “too much left on the cutting room floor” – there was a system to handle that. Actions have been taken by a minority which, as Peter says, he does not think would have been supported by the bishops at VII.

    Left with questions best summed up from J. Allen: “The insufferable part isn’t whatever conclusion one advocates, but the blend of ignorance & certitude in which they usually come wrapped. One yearns for somebody to enforce Senator Moynihan’s dictum: “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, but nobody’s entitled to their…

  24. cont……”More or less the same observation, in my experience, applies to debates about the Vatican. In recent weeks, the air has been filled with competing opinions on various Vatican matters – e.g. liturgical translations.”

    My opinion only but seems to be supported by “facts” outlined by Peter Nixon, Bishop Taylor’s book, the taped meeting/vote of the USCCB in November, 2009 on the Roman Missal, the article in Commonweal by Fr. Komonchak, etc. leads me to see this reform of the reform as the actual “disruption” – it appears to throw the baby out with the bath water; it is a cure that is worse than the disease.
    VII’s principles as articulated in its documents and played out over 40 years in its liturgical experience indicate a viable and healthy articulation of liturgical growth. That is not to say that there have not been anecdotal stories about abuses; efforts that weakened the unity of the church, perhaps too rapid change, etc. but nothing that seems to support rewriting the principles or “re-interpreting” the principles in an attempt to regain control.

    What did happen with Ratzinger from the end of VII, the student riots in the late 60’s, his subsequent 180 degree turn, being made a bishop, and then 30+ years in the curia? Kung says fear and a reaction to groups from below – thus, imposition from above. David Gibson does not agree with this? On the other hand, unity is not uniformity. LA appears to be an illegitimate papal document that…

    1. But was Razinger’s turn around 180 degrees? Strictly speaking, I’m not aware that he has relented on any of this criticism of the Tridentine liturgy, for instance. I am not sure that any of his criticisms of the substance of the Missal of Paul VI contradicts what he voiced earlier.

      OTOH, could he have foreseen in the mid 60’s that vernacular translations might introduce problematic theology? That could modify one’s thinking on whether the Holy See should exercise some sort of oversight upon episcopal conferences.

      How disruptive the ref. of the ref. could be has yet to be seen. Benedict XVI has made it clear that nothing should be done too hastily. It seems clear that for the most part he’s happier with modeling than legislating.

      Remember, just because one has problems with the Tridentine liturgy and embraces Vatican II does not necessarily entail that such a person prefer the Missal of Paul VI, even in its most conservative manifestation.

  25. Sorry – some cutting/pasting issues. Monyihan’s quote ends – to their own facts. Then, J. Allen picks up again.

  26. I’m still surprised that some feel that 40 years of developing an approach to liturgy that has veered from from its foundational documents is preferable to revisiting (reforming the reform) the stated intentions of the Council fathers. LA is simply a firm guide towards putting things back on the proper path. Some may not agree that this is the right path, but they cannot ignore the path carved out in the final documents of the council.

    1. But there are some people who take issue with the letter of the council documents, seeing them (esp. Sac. Conc.) as “compromise documents” which were meant to be exceeded once they had garnered a passing vote.

      Thus, to re-reform according to a more strict reading of Sac. Conc. is to resist what was meant to be reformed but which couldn’t be included in the words of the document.

      For example, if you were to seek to reform Communion under both kinds (reducing its frequency), you might be taken to task for “going against Vatican II”. But the document trail shows that Vatican II said it should be permissible on certain occasions determined by the Apostolic See; post-conciliar documents expanded the permission somewhat, but still only for homogeneous and well-catechized groups (not blanket permission), and yet bishops’ conferences went well beyond the restrictions put in place, to the point where eventually Rome caved. And now there are people who think Communion under one species is somehow incomplete or even sinful!

      Sorry, that was a bit of tangent. My point is, any return to the documents of Vatican II risks being seen as “turning back the clock” or “going backward”, when it’s really just a “ressourcement”!

  27. Not sure that careful research would agree with your interpretation using communion under both species example. It appears to be your interpretation of what the documents said. Peter Nixon would place this in the category of a tension within both the council and the documents. Reality and fact – there may have been episcopal voters who differed in terms of the practical evolution of this one area but they overall supported the direction and gave the decision to the conferences with Rome’s ability to confirm.
    Other mixed signals:
    – to my knowledge, church practice was that once a new missal was promulgated, the old and older missals were suppressed. Yet, B16 seems to be changing that consistent church practice. Why? is this part of his effort to undo the Lefrebrite schism?
    – effectively, B16 has now posited two Latin Rites – extraordinary and ordinary. Using your term, is this ressourcement, adaptation, evolution. Does this really encompass the intent of SC and VII?
    – inculturation and translation…..tensions continue on this. It is hard for me to see how the 2, 147 bishops who voted in favor of SC at VII would feel that what they set in motion has gone off the tracks 40 years later. In fact, if a council was called now – you would have over 5,000 bishops and more than 65% would be from outside Europe/Italy. Do you really think that they would agree with some of the “reform of the reform”?
    – LA was written by Anthony Ward and signed by JPII. So, equal to…

    1. Bill, I’ve done a bit of research on the concession of the chalice. You can read it here (for the summary) and here and here (for the document trail). If people want the short version, here it is:

      Rome’s rules excluded blanket permission and large numbers of communicants, and required “specific, structured, and homogeneous assemblies.” Despite this, US Bishops allowed concession of the Chalice at weekday Masses (at least as of 1975) and at “Masses on Sundays and holy days of obligation” (as of 1978). In 1980, Rome pleaded with bishops and conferences “not to go beyond what is laid down in the present discipline: the granting of permission for Communion under both kinds is not to be indiscriminate, and the celebrations in question are to be specified precisely; the groups that use this faculty are to be clearly defined, well disciplined, and homogeneous.” (Inaestimable Donum 12) To no avail, of course.

      1. I don’t mean this to be flippant. My strong language comes, rather, from my strong convictions about the integrity of the sacraments (and repairing what has been lost in the course of history). In my opinion, the US bishops were correct and Rome was dead wrong. Communion under both forms is gift and command of our Lord. I think there is an ecclesiological problem in thinking of the cup for all the baptized as a special permission which Rome, if it is feeling generous, concedes. Oh how I wish we could move toward real episcopal collegiality, and real synodal elements in church governance. The whole church would benefit.

      2. Jeffrey, your document trail completely ignores what GIRM has been saying since 1969 about the fullness of the sign being enhanced when communion is received under both kinds. That’s the basis for the practice, and folk now have that theology under their belts.

        I think it was very wise of Rome to phase this practice back in gradually, and it is normative in the UK — not just the naughty American bishops.

        Here are the E&W Bishops (Celebrating the Mass, 2005, para 209): ‘Faithful to the Lord’s command to his disciples to “Take and eat,” “Take and drink,” the assembly completes the Eucharistic action by together eating and drinking the elements consecrated during the celebration. It is most desirable that the faithful share the chalice. Drinking at the Eucharist is a sharing in the sign of the new covenant (see Luke 22:20), a foretaste of the heavenly banquet (see Matthew 26:29), a sign of participation in the suffering Christ (see Mark 10:38-39). (GIRM 72.3, 85, 281, 282, 283)’

        Historically, of course, there have always been concessions for lay people, right across the centuries. The Church now realizes that these were not aberrations but a good thing.

    2. As for your other points:

      1. I do not know how “consistent” the suppression of older missals was. As far as I know, Trent was the first instance of that being made clear, but I could be mistaken.

      2. He doesn’t say there are two rites, but two forms of one rite. But that might be band-aid language, I don’t know. I’ll let him fill in the details in his time. He has written before about the process by which the Pauline Missal was produced. I’m sure you’ve heard the “banal fabrication” quote before. Have you read this one? (It is quite lengthy, so as to provide plenty of context.)

      Maybe he “restored” the 1962 missal because he wants to apply Sac. Conc. to it. Maybe he did it to exert “gravitational pull” on the new missal, slowly re-introducing elements which, if I might be so bold, “have suffered injury through accidents of history.” Maybe he did it to show that the 1962 missal, despite being in need of reform, was not a broken lex orandi. Maybe he did it to assist in the reconciliation with the SSPX. I doubt he did it because he wants to just return to it totally.

      3. I’ve read anecdotes of bishops who were shocked at one of the “test Masses” held in the 60’s. But the reform of the liturgy was out of their hands; it was placed in the hands of a select few.

      4. Your comment is incomplete…

  28. Bill asked,

    “if a council was called now – you would have over 5,000 bishops and more than 65% would be from outside Europe/Italy. Do you really think that they would agree with some of the “reform of the reform”?

    Yes, I do. Don’t forget that this is precisely what the 1985 extraordinary synod of bishops called for and our Holy Father was elected by the most international collection of Cardinal Electors we’ve had for a long time.

  29. Dibdale – some other reactions. Since JPII, there have many episcopal appointments and Cardinals that were chosen for their loyalty to JPII and B16 and, by extension, to their agendas. Not sure that proves anything. The 1985 Synod, like all Synods since Vatican II, have been a stunted version of what VII intended. I could also marshall other Synods which indicate a very different emphasis – the Asian/Oceania bishops; the gatherings of the Americas starting with Medellin (until JPII limited these); Africa too a point is a mixed bag – you have bishops who are very loyal to Rome; you have missionary bishops, you are beginning to have 2nd generation native bishops. Time will tell what impact that has.

    My final unfinished thought – LA is a papal document – at what level? It is not dogma (despite curial efforts to make all papal pronouncements the same) – is that ressourcement, development?

    What most concerns me is that SC was discussed openly; debated and voted on publicly with an overwhelming majority vote and then its implementation was supported and directed by Paul VI. This seems to be lost in the last 15 years – sorry, but what I see is not gradual reaction to 30 years of liturgical experience – rather, I see revisionism (not positive) based on preconceived notions; based on questionnable conclusions about secular/society/church patterns (good documentation shows that many of these patterns started well before VII and yet now revisionists ……

  30. cont…..are picking and choosing sections; lines, etc. from VII documents to reinforce their agenda. Peter Nixon does a good job of showing that what happens is that both sides eventually reinforce their view of history – that is what I mean by saying revisionism throws the baby out with the bath water. Your quoting about eucharist under both species – you are skipping over the fact that essential SC principles gave conferences in all wisdom the ability to do exactly what the NCCB did – it was a wise pastoral decision and evolution/application of VII principles. To stay mired in only allowing incultration and adaptation on a very limited basis and only with centralized, papal oversight/approval rewrites the nature of VII and its goals.
    That is why I continue to not understand the theology of the reform of the reform – it impedes, delays, and refutes the ecclisiology of VII. Why? What is the fear driving this? If anything, we know that within a few years the majority of catholics will live in the southern hemisphere; will be non-European…..what impact does this have on liturgy? It seems that the VII & SC principles lay a foundation to prepare for this future church? Reform of the reform does what….bring us back to a Trenten view of society, secularism, etc.

  31. Bill, my question for you regards your claim about Catholics in the Southern Hemisphere. Without limits on inculturation, how do you know when syncretism has emerged instead? Of course one might say that our current practice is just that, but then where does one draw the line going back into history? Will a Latino or African Charlemagne come forth to take the Church into the next phase of its existence? I am culturally nervous about such things but I do trust the Spirit to lead continually, but like a lot of traditionally-minded Catholics, I have to wonder where that leaves the Old World that Benedict wishes fervently to evangelize. Say what you will about the positive aspects of the VatII world, but the loss of Europe to secularism happened during this time.

  32. Bill,

    The reform of the reform stems from a great love for the traditions of the Church, not fear. As an Asian, I would say the greatest potential for inculturation is in the field of sacred music – there are rich traditions for chants in many of the religions present in Asia.

    Vatican II envisioned that any adaptations would be approved by the Bishops and confirmed by Rome. The current practice is simply faithful to the expressed directions of that Council.

  33. some feel that 40 years of developing an approach to liturgy that has veered from from its foundational documents is preferable to revisiting (reforming the reform) the stated intentions of the Council fathers.

    It should not be so surprising, since it is a classic Catholic principle. We revere our past, whether it is the past 40 years or the past 2000. The future will be influenced by these last years, as Pope Benedict expressed when he spoke of the OF and the EF influencing one another. We will be influenced too by the Book of Common Prayer if the Anglican Use flourishes. Even things like the extra collects may continue in some form under the principles Benedict has expressed.

    NB France was secularized in 1789, Spain in the 1930’s, Eastern Europe when the Communists took over. All of these took place before VII, and VII was arguably a response, rather than the cause.

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