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.