“A funny thing happened on the way to the 2010 Received Text”

by Xavier Rindfleisch

Editors’ note: This article examines the Received Text, i.e., the text of the English Missal which the Pope received on April 28, and which had been granted recognitio (Roman approval) on March 25. It seems that further changes were made to this text before it was sent out as the final approved text, e.g., to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop in August. There are unconfirmed rumors that further changes are now being made to this latest final version. Whatever the most recent state of textual revision, and however much the Received Text continues to be improved, it remains relevant to examine the Received Text and to ask how it came to be.

Click here to read the article “A funny thing happened on the way to the 2010 Received Text” by Xavier Rindfleisch


  1. Wow, setting aside for the moment the challenges the 2008 translation presents, the 2010 Received text is just fundamentally flawed. When you have the parties involved in the translation trying to live up to the requirements of LA and the Ratio, which CDWDS has demanded and then you have the same Congregation making modifications to the English text that makes it worse and flies in the face of LA and the Ratio, it is hard to escape the hypocrisy that is readily apparent. I know it is a strong word, but what is one left to say after all that has happened. I am becoming more and more in favor of Bishops’ Conferences responsibly using their authority to reject the Received Text and insist that recognito be granted to the text they approved.

  2. One of the more amusing (?) things that happened to the 2008 text occurred because of the capabilities of word processing technology. Just imagine what the results will be if you make the mistake of doing a global search-and-replace in an entire document, substituting “everlasting” every time that “ever-living” appears, or indeed vice versa! “Almighty and everlasting God…” or “ever-living life”….

    Yes, it happened, and it necessitated a laborious word-by-word check of the entire text to make the necessary corrections, since the Congregation did not realize what it had done.

    As far as the authority of episcopal conferences is concerned, at what stage will one of them state clearly that 2010 is not the text they approved, and that it must now be voted on again?

  3. Somehow I feel there is poetic justice in this most recent twist in the farce. It is like watching the last wizened and crippled scions of some decadent imperial dynasty caught in the throes of progressive decrepitude. The bishops sold the pass, failed to assert their authority, now even what they thought they had authority over has been taken away from them, and they are mocked by irresponsible underlings who merrily make an even more total mess of the shoddy product they so obediently, so virtuously rubberstamped. Surrender your authority and your dignity, and this is how you are treated. When this dreck is dumped on the faithful, who will be blamed? Not the Vatican, and not the illiterates who put the finishing touches to the ghastly texts, but the bishops — and rightly. Care for the liturgical texts is the responsibility of the bishops and they have not fulfilled it. They will hear thousands repeat the immortal words of one disgruntled South African Catholic: “I hate you, hierarchy.” I remember Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds telling the US Bishops that when he first took on responsibility for the new translations he thought it was “a relatively straightforward matter”; obviously the mistranslators of the last hour share that bishop’s delusions of competence.

  4. +JMJ+

    I find myself agreeing with many of Xavier’s observations about changes from the 2008 to the 2010 translation. Please, please tell me that this well-researched and example-rich article of his is also being sent to Whom It May Concern.

  5. +JMJ+

    I think the only comment I have to make about any of his examples is “made him Christ and Lord”. He is, of course, correct that the Latin constitui does not mean “made” but “constituted”. But in his explanation of the error in the 2010 text, perhaps Xavier is unaware of the Scriptural precedent for a phrase like “made him Christ and Lord”:

    But the 2010 is just plain erroneous. The Only Begotten Son was always Christ and Lord.

    “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36)

    1. While Jeffrey makes a useful observation, in the case of the translation of Missal orations, “it is always the text of the Latin editio typica itself that is to be translated” (Liturgiam authenticam, n. 23).

      It seems to me that in this case, the fact that the ecclesiastically-composed text uses a different verb than that in the Vulgate and Neo-Vulgate (fecit) should argue even more strongly against the translation “made.”

  6. Quite right about Acts 2:32, a verse much invoked by the Arians, and to which the orthodox tried to answer that he was always Christ and Lord but becomes so publicly only at his post-paschal exaltation when he is recognized as Christ and Lord. I myself think that this is a handful of very important verses (quoted by Paul and Luke from earlier sources) that reveal the quasi-adoptionist structure of the first Christology (see also Romans 1:3-4; Hebrews).

  7. Even with Acts and Paul wouldn’t this later prayer represent a post-Nicea affirmation of the orthodox faith of the Church? Also don’t those instructions on translation require exact translations of what is there not paraphrases? Seems to me if you use made after the anointed by the Holy Spirit information you are at least opening the door to adoptionism and the constituisti is there to rule that out?

  8. +JMJ+

    This question might be out-of-bounds, so I will understand if the editors feel the need to remove it, but here goes:

    Xavier’s article asks: “Is someone trying to sabotage the reception of the new translation by making a series of changes that are sometimes gratuitous and often clumsy?”

    Rita Ferrone, in her first comment on Tiaragate, said, “The idea that this was a gift, and they hung it up because no one noticed the ‘mistake,’ will convince only the credulous. They certainly knew what was on the banner. It is inane to suggest otherwise. How stupid are we to believe the pope’s staff really is?”

    In all seriousness — I am trying to be very clear that I am not poking fun or being flippant — could there be some sort of a conspiracy being carried out by certain members of the Church hierarchy to ruin the vernacular, to damage the credibility of the Pope (and/or other bishops), etc.? And if this is the case, is it possible that the Pope — being one target among many — is not fully aware of what they are doing, even as he is standing over the tiara-banner and praising the collegial effort that went into the new translation?

  9. Though my sense of a desirable outcome is different, I think I share Jeffrey’s suspicion. I wonder if ‘Rome’ is trying to provoke some bishops’ conference to the point of saying that it ‘approved’ the 2008 text, not the 2010 one, and won’t accept the arbitrary changes secretively made. The lack of unaniminty between the conferences would then give ‘Rome’ a way of putting a stop to the whole sorry nonsense it itself perpetrated while shifting the odium to the bishops and not looking as if it were climbing down. Here’s hoping … (even if one can’t approve the deviousness and the obsession with bella figura that this hypothesis implies)

  10. The Holy Father to whom you swore allegiance, the Holy People of God to whom you swore lifelong sacrificial service, and the God who searches our hearts, deserve nothing less.

    OMG! How delightful to read such a brilliant article and what a pleasure to encounter such a lovely ascending tricolon.

    I shall run Xavier’s article off so that my Latin students may see how meticulous one has to be in translating. They’ll also be amused that they can translate better than the Vatican scholars.

    Gratias multas!

    1. +JMJ+

      I knew the name sounded peculiar and familiar, but I could not remember where I’d heard it. I assumed it to be a pen-name, but have no guess as to the writer’s actual identity.

    2. Since Fr. Francis X. Murphy (the original Xavier Rynne) is, I believe, deceased, this is probably a disciple in the school of – this Xavier, pretty cleverly, has a “beef” (Rindfleisch) with what’s gone on!

    3. All I can say is that “it’s by Xavier Rindfleisch.” And that this is definitely NOT awr. I think you can tell that already by the style, though.

      I was surprised when this piece came in, verified its accuracy, and ran it. Some editing, but I didn’t want to do too much because I rather liked that the writing style is so different from mine.


  11. A couple of innocent questions that reveal my ignorance of machinations at this level:

    Is this the sort of thing that would naturally find its way into the the hands of Msgr. James Moroney? Who, in view of his role in “selling” the new translation, ought to take an interest. (And is a consultant to Vox Clara?)

    Or into the hands of Ab. Raymond Burke, who might be in a position to pursue it appropriately?

  12. Just sayin’, it would be really advantageous to a publisher were it to be given a heads up that there is a version of the Missal with lots of surprise changes while all the other publishers were working off of an unedited version.

  13. Has anyone else noticed who’s missing from these comments? Where are all the traddies who are usually hassling Pray Tell for being too negative about the new translation? I guess it’s one thing when liberals who want what we have now or the 1998 translation criticize the new translation, but when even conservatives who want the original 2008 criticize it too, somethings got to be wrong with the Vox Clara process.

    Was Monsignor Moroney praising THIS mess of a Missal? Oh that’s right, he’s a Vox Clara advisor! Yikes!

  14. Is Archbishop Burke part of Vox Clara or is membership a secret like everything else about this group? Mgr Maroney is an advisor to Vox Clara it said in the interview with him so shouldn’t all this stuff be in his hands already. Maybe he wrote some of it. Who knows. That’s one of the problems no one knows who did what when why.

  15. I have to say here that I really do agree with Paul Inwood on this issue.. while one part of me just wants to have this all done, because of the fatigue around all of this… I also agree that the US Bishops would have every right to say, that this is not what they voted on, and that we are going to take another look.

    I know it will not happen… but it would surely be justifiable.

  16. Could we just get the English right and identify who got it so wrong? Were all these mistakes and all this awkward English in the book they gave the Pope? The article’s main point as I see it Is that everyone should be demanding to know how the perfectly usable 2008 work got transformed into something as full of mistakes as the 2010. One thing I noticed was that the 2010 Easter Preface changed liturgical season to time, and Monsignor Moroney talked about the Proper of Time instead of Seasons. Maybe that’s why he’s so enthusiastic about this project. Maybe he worked on the final version.

  17. Were we not told that the last minute corrections would be made by Msgr Moroney? Like so many people involved in this debacle he is obviously devoid of stylistic sensitivity.

    Many priests won’t talk about the new translations now, because they want to avoid contentious and divisive topics. This makes the much-touted catechetical preparation impossible. On the day the translations are sprung on the faithful, I expect to hear clerical voices the world over say: “You’ll find the new responses in your leaflet” and proceed without more ado.

  18. “I also agree that the US Bishops would have every right to say, that this is not what they voted on, and that we are going to take another look.”

    It could be argued that they have not only the right, but the duty, if they wish to fulfill their episcopal responsibilities as defined by Vatican II.

    You need to have more faith in our bishops… hmm.

  19. Fr Z is saying today that ” The discontents who are whining about the new translation as being deficient or flawed or ugly etc ” should just use Latin. Think he will like this new translation with its mistakes in Latin translation and simple English?

  20. I have been told that adstare coram te in Eucharistic Prayer II was rendered “to be in your presence” in the new translation because a Cardinal member of Vox Clara felt that translating it as “to stand in your presence” would encourage laypeople to stand rather than to kneel after the consecration.

    Does anyone know whether this was, in fact, the reason for this non-slavish translation i.e. the intervention of a high ranking prelate who felt that translating according to Liturgiam Authenticam in this case would promote uppityness on the part of laypeople? Or is it simply true that it’s a rumour?

  21. Thanks, Mr. Day – excellent point and suggestion. Following on your idea – there is going to be published probably the last sociological report from Andy Greeley about young people in Chicago and their faith practices. It is very interesting in terms of numbers, suggestions, and he continues his instictual insight about religious imagination – consider now from the perspective of our teenage children. The focus is not on quantity at all – it is on how faith is responded to and how sacraments are expressed by today’s youth. Some surprising conclusions given the PEW study.

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