Where’s the text??

You’ll enjoy Jerry Galipeau’s report on what we know about the state of the new missal text. Almost nothing, it turns out. And while you’re enjoying this read, you might also be troubled by the Church’s handling of all this.

Reliable sources tell me “any day now.” PrayTell only reports trustworthy info from reliable sources. We know the insiders. But one lesson we’re all learning from this saga – we’ve seen it all summer – is that even the reliable sources aren’t reliable. Very strange.



  1. +JMJ+

    I too am eager (trying not to be anxious) for the final text.

    I appreciate your honesty in acknowledging that sometimes “reliable sources aren’t reliable.”

  2. Jerry Galipeau wrote:

    “I have been speaking with several people who are always “in the know.” And, it seems, right now, there is no “in the know.”

    Certainly someone is “in the know” but they may not be part of the usual crowd liturgical professional are used to talking to. In other words, the usual sources are not in the know any longer. Human nature being what it is, I wonder how much of the resentment toward the new missal originates in the personal slights people who used to be on the inside may feel now that they are no longer there.

    “Most people wonder openly about who is actually doing the work on theses (Missal) changes….This behavior is a marked departure from the processes that our own bishops have set up with the Vatican and which have been in use since the Second Vatican Council.”

    In my opinion, the history of the post-conciliar period tells a different story. The earlier ICEL process that brought us the vernacular translation for the Mass and the other sacraments in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s was full of controversy, confrontation, and contortion that included the banishment of the secretary of the consilium that brought us the OF to Iran (as Apostolic Delegate), resignations and other turmoil within ICEL itself, and the Agatha Christie indult providing for the traditional RM in England & Wales after 1970.

  3. These things take time. Part of the problem with society today is that of expediency. Be patient, and wait for the official word from the USCCB when they have official text and when it will be officially published. The last I saw, it isn’t supposed to be implemented until the first week of Advent, 2011, so we are still a year away.

    1. Tim, the publishers have said over and over again that because of the time it takes to get texts reviewed by BCDW and ICEL, not to mention the editing and printing process, they need the text by the end of this week for the implementation date of Advent 2011. This applies to the printing of the actual Roman Missal itself, as well as hymnals, missalettes, catechetical resources, and other materials. Jerry has been saying for a while that usually by this point in the calendar year, they already would’ve started creating all the necessary files and databases.

      At this rate—and since Rome takes a vacation in August—the date will almost certainly have to be pushed later.

  4. Mr. Dibdale:

    Forgive this challenge, and perhaps an apology from me will be in order. Robert Dibdale was declared Blessed by John Paul II in 1987. If your name indeed is Robert Dibdale, the other blog readers will no doubt delight in such an ironic, if not fun, coincidence. But hiding behind a psuedonym in these forums seems a little dishonest. I’m a little sensitive to pseudonyms in blogs and e-mails; in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis where I work, there is a well known group of frequent posters on matters liturgical and ecclesial who hide behind the name of dead saints. It’s just not pleasant to read posts from people who don’t have the personal integrity to identify themselves. If you are using a pseudonym, let us all know the circumstance that precipitates such a practice. This will support the credibility of your posts. And if you truly are Robert Dibdale – perhaps you were born on the day he was declared Blessed – please accept my apology and be grateful you weren’t born on the observance of Theodore of Mopsuestia.

    Michael Silhavy
    Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

    1. +JMJ+

      Perhaps this is double-tangential, but are you referring to “Athanasius” and “Boniface” and “Anselm”? If so, they have recanted— I mean, it has been some time since they revealed their actual identities. They simply retain use of their handles, I imagine, because it’s easier than changing them.

      1. Actually, the local posters in the Twin Cities seem to have a predeliction for dead Jesuits!

  5. I think Christian is correct. It’s already too late now. ICEL say it will take them up to 60 days to check whatever text emerges from the bowels of Rome. And even the folks at ICEL have to take a summer break, presumably. That means that the very earliest date for the publishers to have the text in their hands is the end of September, which in turn means that they’ll be hard pushed to have everything printed — and distributed, which takes at least another two months — in time for the 1st Sunday of Advent 2011.

    If recognitiones do not blossom forth by tomorrow, the whole enterprise will be delayed. Everyone will be away. The dog days of August. (But don’t forget that GIRM came out at the very end of July.)

    I suspect that keeping the world dangling is yet another instance of Rome’s childish way of saying “We‘re in charge here”. Alternatively, can it be that Msgr James has simply not done his homework fast enough?

    1. “I suspect that keeping the world dangling is yet another instance of Rome’s childish way of saying ‘We’re in charge here.’”

      As Fr. Anthony has said elsewhere but inexplicably not here, “Why do you assume the worst in others, and impute motives in the absence of evidence? It’s not helping the conversation?” (http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2010/07/26/a-grassroots-view/)

      Aren’t the CDWDS and Vox Clara folks trying to expedite matters. I’ve heard complaints that they’re rushing things. They’re so eager to get the book printed that they took over the antiphon translation process. Haven’t they said several times that they are unhappy with how long this is all taking? What’s your evidence that Rome is keeping the world dangling, and by the world, I assume you mean English-speakers?

      1. Ioannes,

        Well, yes, maybe I was a bit petulant, but really the whole procedure is a complete mess. Rome simply has no concept of the kind of timelines that are normative in the real world. And it doesn’t care, either.

        However, it’s not true to say that CDWDS/Vox Clara took over the antiphon translation process because they were so eager to get the book printed. The problem there was that the antiphon translators were given the (almost impossible) brief of conforming to LA while at the same time producing a translation which was good for setting to music. Negotiations with Rome were delicate but positive, and in the end the ICEL translators actually made a very good job of it, given the limitations imposed on them. The translation was a little ‘freer’ than the rest of the Missal, but Rome had OK’d that.

        The antiphons were the last segment of the Missal to be worked on, and everyone was surprised that Rome suddenly took this part of the project unto its bosom. It certainly wasn’t for added speed. The most commonly-held theory is that they changed their mind about the type of translation they wanted to see, and decided to rework all the antiphons themselves. This theory is bolstered by the fact that it was only at a comparatively late stage that Jim Moroney discovered what others had always known: that the mind of those who worked on the original 1969 Missal was that these antiphons were not themselves intended for singing. (Where had he been all this time?)

      2. Paul,

        The antiphons weren’t reviewed only by the American Bishops. The rest of the Bishops (e.g. in Australia and the UK) were able to review the translations of the antiphons before sending the texts on to Rome for the recognitio. The grey books has been ready since end-2008.

      3. Simon, I know. That wasn’t my point. I’m well aware that other conferences also saw the text. How do you think I saw it?

        As stated, my suspicion is that Rome suddenly realized they wanted to change the translation rules that they had already previously agreed with the antiphon translators. It wasn’t as Ioannes thought, to speed up the process.

  6. It was reported a while back that the NZ Bishops will be implementing the new translation in Dec this year. Has anyone’s “reliable sources” managed to shed light on that statement?

    I was also wondering, with some parishes using projector screens nowadays (not that I’m a fan of those), could the required time lag be not as critical? Or what about just a supplement to hymnals that contain (gasp) the chant setting of the new Mass translations. I know altar missals won’t be ready yet, but what is there to prevent publishers from putting out a bound Order of Mass supplement for the existing missals and Priests slipping in a sheet with the propers of the day, if push comes to shove? Not ideal solutions (save maybe just having the chant settings), I recognise, but the implementation could still proceed as planned then, right?

    1. Simon – these far-fetched solutions are possible, I suppose, but highly unlikely. I rather doubt that national liturgy offices would now starting approving policies and practices they never have before. They have a well-established plan for how liturgical books are produced and implemented, and no one expects them to abandon all that now.

      1. In a mission diocese, some of those things aren’t so far-fetched actually. And remember that Rome also published a supplement for the Missale Romanum so that people don’t have to buy a new altar missal with the revisions introduced by Pope Benedict XVI. Sacramentary supplements aren’t exactly unheard of in the US either.

        But I guess the transition period can allow for some interim measures.

        Chris, many people have been expecting a new translation. I, for one, am looking forward with great enthusiasm and joy at this new gift from God.

      2. For such guidelines from the USCCB, see the Committee on Divine Worship’s Newsletter, Vol. 45, May-June 2010…these guidelines were updated & adopted by the Committee on Divine Worship on April 23, 2010.

        The guidelines are also available on the USCCB web site:


  7. Simon:

    I really wonder why you addressed those lines to me. I am fairly well aware that many people have been expecting a new translation. I am one of them. I am glad you’re looking forward to it ‘with great enthusiasm and joy’ and, while I’m sorry ‘this new gift from God’ has taken so long and been the subject of so much politicking, nastiness and downright ungentlemanly behaviour on the part of several members of the clergy and hierarchy (the latter having had the entire years-long to-and-fro drawn-out process of editing and voting taken out of their hands, over-ruled and ignored by Vox Clara’s erm ‘advisers’ in the past few weeks), much of it detailed in this blog and elsewhere, I really don’t see why you’re telling ME these things.

    I’m old enough to remember an altar edition of THE ORDER OF MASS used with separate books, and booklets, and print-outs, for prefaces, eucharistic prayers, orations and so on, and it was an absolute disaster.

    One book only please, even if it is the Missale Moron-ey.

  8. For us layfolk, the whole thing may go right over our heads, as Pope Benedict XVI said in his ad limina address to the Brazilian bishops in April that the main role of the Christian faithful at Mass is not “to do” but to “listen, open up and receive”…ah, back to the passive days of doing our own thing (rosary, gazing at stained glass, working out a Sudoku in our head) while the fiddlebacks move to and fro with their backs to us. What ever happened to liturgy as the “work of the people”??

    “Listening” to unintelligible English doesn’t spur an active spiritual life nor a decent response in thanksgiving…once a person tunes out, they’re tuned out…there’s no “opening up” nor “receiving”…

    One of the dismisal rites I read was an improvement over the simple dismissal we now have…but who knows if it made the final cut or if people can listen to 10-line sentences and still be listening until the final bell?

    1. In ancient Greece, a liturgy was a public work done not by the people but for the people, e.g. restoring a temple, paying for a chorus, building triremes. They were acts done by the wealthy (the poor often paid no taxes) and required by the state. The wealthy would compete with each other over who could do such tasks the best and had the ability to advertise themselves by leaving inscriptions about themselves. Similarly, in the Greek Bible, nowhere does one find the idea that a leitougia is something for which everyone pitches in.

      I do believe that actuosa participation is important, but its quality shouldn’t be measured by how many people get to stand up and do as many things as possible. Since it is hard to measure how conscious the congregation’s participation is, I sometimes wonder whether actuosa participation is sometimes used to gauge the fullness of the participation. Unfortunately, I think that actuosa participation is thought of more in quantitative rather than qualitiative terms.

      If the missal is unintelligible it will have failed. Otherwise, why put it into the vernacular? What I have seen does from the ordinay does not make me concerned, but as you point out, we haven’t seen the final cut of the rest.

      1. So if you haven’t seen it, and you therefore don’t know what you’re talking about, what are you saying? Or is this just what it looks like: an exercise in condescension.

      2. I honestly tried not to be condescending, and I only tried to speak about the ordinary, which has been approved and public for some time and unlikely to be changed. After I wrote my comment, I actually removed some words that could have been taken as condescension before I posted it. I apologize to Ms. Gonzales if I was not wholly successful.

      3. Thank you so much for your critique…I would like to see what you removed, feeling it could possibly be more condescending.

        I do believe you have demonstrated my point…plain spoken English can better make a point without using uncommon language.

        My criticism of the Missale Romanum text which has come to light so far could be compared to reading/watching a Shakespeare play…there is a tiny majority who just lap it up & love it…the far majority, however, are so turned off by the archaic language that they are never able to fully engage with the text (let alone with the meaning)!

        The majority of us would rather engage in & be engaged by the liturgy, not be turned off by convoluted & archaic (and simply ungrammatical, in some cases) language.. the language will be a hindrance to our participating fully, whatever the posture, gesture, song, chant, or silent pondering. When it is a turn-off or a distraction, it takes away from the liturgy and our role in that liturgy.

  9. Chris,

    I thought you were the one who wrote that no one expects was the motto for the whole thing, no? If you only meant to refer to the delay in receiving the final texts (which is a fair comment), then you could be more specific to avoid people misreading your comments.

    The rest of my comments are regarding another matter, that’s why your name only appeared in the 3rd para. Hope this helps.

  10. Lynne Gonzales :
    My criticism of the Missale Romanum text which has come to light so far could be compared to reading/watching a Shakespeare play…there is a tiny majority who just lap it up & love it…the far majority, however, are so turned off by the archaic language that they are never able to fully engage with the text (let alone with the meaning)!

    That should’ve read “a tiny minority” lap up Shakespeare…

    Work deadlines cramp the brain…

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