New Zealand: missal in 2010 already?

The Catholic Bishops of New Zealand have released a statement on their introduction of the new missal in Advent 2010. How can they do it with that little turnaround time?


  1. The timetabling issue is indeed interesting. But I’m also struck by the odiously complacent tone. I do hope that other bishops will do a bit better than this.

    They’re quoting in two places an article by Fr Tom Elich, the editor of their liturgy commission bulletin, which is in fact pretty scathing about the whole sorry saga (, scroll down a bit). Perhaps that’s meant to be a way of reaching out; but the flagrant diregard of Elich’s overall tone is insulting.

    Weasel words and spin are going to get us nowhere, and will make ‘catechesis’ a dirty word (if it isn’t already). An honest and open discussion of the issues might enable us to move forward, somehow–preferably by starting again with the 1998 version.

  2. But the recognitio of April 30 does not apply to them, unless we are lacking an essential piece of information. Do they realize that they have to have a final text sent to them, accompanied by recognitio for their country?

    Tom Elich is a good man, and does not deserve out-of-context quoting like this.

    They are bypassing publishers. They will send materials directly to the parishes for printing there. So much for the dignity of an altar missal, then. Loose-leaf binders, anyone?

    In England and Wales, it is now probably too late for recognitio to be received before the summer break, as most of the conference have already left on vacation or are about to do so.

    1. Given that the publishers require 12 months to produce the books (after the final version of the text is approved) most places are going to need to utilize loose-leaf pages of some kind if they plan to begin implementing the new translation in the early or middle part of 2011.

  3. RE: Fr. Elich: “. . .these texts seem to be primarily about the Latin; the Second Vatican Council tried to get beyond the Latin by introducing the vernacular and encouraging local expression.”

    Latin is the official language of the Church. We don’t get to add “lucid poetic prayers” that sound nice to the trained ear if they aren’t a reasonable translation of the Latin..

    Encouraging vernacular and local expression has resulted in many thousands of prima donna celebrants making up their own words to the Sacramentary. Some have made up their own words to the Baptismal Rite, thus rendering it invalid!

    1. Unfortunately, Ray, the very wierdness of this new translation will inevitably encourage priests to even greater forms of liturgical creativity and hybrid phraseology where they can in attempts at accessibility.

    2. How can you say a Priest changing a few words makes the Baptism invalid when literally, anyone can baptize in the event of an emergency by “I baptize you in the name of the Father…”

    3. Ray said “We don’t get to add “lucid poetic prayers” that sound nice to the trained ear if they aren’t a reasonable translation of the Latin.”

      But we did, from 1967 to 2001. That’s precisely the point. Comme le prévoit 43 said that translations alone are clearly not sufficient and that new, original texts, composed in the same school of prayer, will be necessary.

      The new texts that have been composed are in fact much more beautiful and much more nourishing than most of the translations in the 1973 version. To jettison them now is iconoclasm of the first order.

    4. And Ray is misinformed. Liturgiam authenticam still allows for locally composed prayers not based on Latin. It specifies that these must come from bishops’ conferences (i.e., ICEL, you can’t do this anymore). Why did no conference submit original prayers this time around? Cardinal Arinze said “I’m not going to accept any now.” I guess it’s based on the Cardinal Prefect’s mood – whether he’s feeling generous or not. I’ve heard one national liturgy office say it would like its conference to submit the 1998 lectionary-based collects at a future point, since LA allows for it. They just have to strike at the right moment, when the guy making arbitrary decisions is disposed to do what the official documents allow.

  4. Latin is the official language of the church, but it shouldn’t be. Everything about this translation and the implemntation of it reeks of a culture that is ignorant of the people it serves.

  5. Gregg – no one, not a priest or anyone else, may change the essential formula -“I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. The only acceptable changes I can think of are “thee” for “you” and “Ghost” for “Spirit”; otherwise…no baptism. This stuff really isn’t rocket science but some people just don’t seem to be able to stick to the script.

    1. Uh, this is a bit stricter than the Church, and than God, I think. The Eastern churches say “N. is baptized in the name…” and the Roman church has never questioned the validity of that.

    2. Quite a lot stricter than the church, actually. Thomas Aquinas is a good representative of church teaching on this topic:

      He confirms the validity of the Eastern form “since the action performed by the minister is expressed with the invocation of the Trinity” and adds “As to the addition of ‘Ego’ in our form, it is not essential…” (ST III.66.5 ad 1)

      Even more striking are his comments on the sacraments in general and the importance of form (III.60.7-8, excerpt below):

      One cannot add to the form “something that destroys the essential sense of the words: for instance, if one were to say: ‘I baptize thee in the name of the Father Who is greater, and of the Son Who is less,’ with which form the Arians baptized…. But if the addition be such as not to destroy the essential sense, the sacrament is not rendered invalid…”

      He gives several other examples which are not invalid, a mistake “[in nomine] patrias [fatherlands] et filias [daughters]” (because, he argues, we know what the priest meant) and some additions: “I baptize thee in the name of the Father Almighty, and of the only Begotten Son, and of the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete”; “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and may the Blessed Virgin succour thee,” for example.

      “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” depends on participants’ interpretation (it must be prayer for BVM’s assistance).

  6. A question for Fr Endean – if he cares to answer it, of course – I agree a lot of the changes seem to be being undertaken in a less than sensitive manner but I’d be interested in his take on what I, as an average layman, think is going on here in terms of end goal. I think the Vatican has realised that a lot of Catholics may talk of the Real Presence but in a way that redefines it without expressly accepting Transubstantiation. I understand, rightly or wrongly, their goal is to underpin belief in Transubstantiation (as traditionally understood) – without reference to the methods (so fully discussed on here), I’d be interested in his (or anyone else’s) take on that goal.

    1. I’d be doubtful that ‘transubstantiation’ as such is at the centre of the Vatican’s concern. I’m close to Fr Anthony’s May 31 post on this one: the mystery of the real presence cannot be explained, only named; ‘transubstantiation’–in straightforward Aristotelianism a nonsense word–is an appropriate way of naming the transformation, but the idea of ‘explicitly accepting it’, with the connotation that we know what we are talking about, is just senseless. We’re not meant to understand it.
      I think the issues are more about the nature of holiness, and hence of reverence: holiness is both surrender to God and the full realisation of our humanity, but a liturgical style will differ depending on which of those is primary. The Vatican, for multiple reasons, is nervous of the latter. There’s also a question about the relationship between the priesthood of the ordained and the priesthood of all the baptized. The Tridentine liturgy was something that you participated in by watching and praying an event that the priest did on his own (not unlike Luther’s theology of justification); the post-conciliar alternative requires all to be involved, even in the saying and the doing. The former generates an aura of mystery and otherness; the latter worships a God-made-flesh through everyday human fleshiness, even when this isn’t particularly attractive. There’s always a tension here; doctrine requires both/and, while liturgical practice inevitably has to imply an either/or.

  7. I stand corrected by Fr Ruff but I think the concern is use of the name of each member of the Holy Trinity – I read somewhere about reference to Creator, Redeemer etc instead of Father Son etc – and that apparently does render the baptism invalid. Sorry I can’t remember the source so I am again open to correction.

  8. A Bishop in Australia for years was baptizing babies “in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier.”

    He was ordered to inform the parents and re-baptize all of those children.

    I have heard that some priests in my archdiocese were using some or all of those three words, but I have not seen the documentation on it.

    1. I believe it was the pastor of St Mary’s in Brisbane, not a bishop.

      For the CDF explanation of the invalidity of the formula:

      The pastoral and ecumenical dimension that is largely ignored is that irregularities like this create uncertainty the baptisms certified are in fact baptisms; what this leads to across the Christian oikumene is decreased trust in the baptismal praxis of pastors across the board (it was one thing when Christians bickered over Mormon baptism or baptism in the name of Christ only, or the Russian Orthodox Church not recognizing the baptism of Western denominations; but this opened a whole new frontier of mistrust), so that conditional baptisms become more likely in the event of reception into a new denomination. If someone had bothered to think through ramifications such as this, it should have been enough to realize that the pastoral solicitude of the practice was cheaply bought, and not worth it.

  9. It was the pastor of the parish of St. Mary’s, South Brisbane who was doing the baptisms with the dodgy words…he has since moved down the street.

  10. The baptismal violations I referred to in my last comment took place over many years at St. Mary’s Parish in South Brisbane, Australia.

    I was not aware that “prayers” could be added to the Mass. Mostly because I don’t believe that I have ever heard a prayer added to the Mass.

    What I hear in parishes that I have attended are extemporaneous modifications of the words of the Mass as given in the Sacramentary. That surely is a violation. Mostly, they seem to come at the Kyrie, the Consecration, the Agnus Dei and the Communion rite.

    I agree that disobedient priests will continue to extemporize and act as entertainers and masters of ceremonies. That’s really sad that they feel that the Mass is imperfect without their additions. A sin of pride? But maybe as the older ones retire, these violations will begin to be minimized.

    1. Ray,

      Are you aware that the Missal contains numerous instances of variations on the rubric “in these or similar words” ?

      As far as the Kyrie is concerned, extemporization is expressly permitted in Penitential Rite III, where the Missal provides a number of models.

      Similarly, some bishops’ conferences have permitted ‘tropes’ in the Lamb of God. Yours may be one of them.

      You say you have never heard a prayer added to the Mass. I wonder whether the General Intercessions ever take place in your parish?

      While I agree that a disregard for the words of the rite can in extreme cases lead us into heresy, an obsessive preoccupation with words can lead to a quasi-magical view of the rite. What we have now is extreme codification and control, compared with the earlier Church when the standard of presiding was judged precisely upon the priest’s skill in improvising on a basic structure.

      In the early centuries, anyone who stuck religiously to a text, particularly a Eucharistic Prayer text, was a lousy presider. Today, when we have realized how much liturgy is about communication of the mysteries rather than the punctilious performance of the rite, these human characteristics of liturgy need to be promoted, not repressed.

  11. “Are you aware that the Missal contains numerous instances of variations on the rubric “in these or similar words” ?

    There are not as many of these instances as some suggest.

    “an obsessive preoccupation with words can lead to a quasi-magical view of the rite”

    And the inverse is minimalism. If only those troublesome laity who pay (too much) attention would just “pray, pay, and obey” and leave decisions about the liturgy to those experts who are “on the inside”

    “Today, when we have realized how much liturgy is about communication of the mysteries rather than the punctilious performance of the rite …”

    Leaving us to didactics coupled with minimalism – so much for the liturgical movement. Time for reform of the reform.

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