Msgr. Moroney on the new translation

The Georgia Bulletin runs today another interview with Msgr. Moroney on the new missal, the second in a four-part series. It concludes with this intriguing sentence:

The Bishops’ Conference of the United States has indicated the possibility that the texts will begin to be used sometime around Advent of 2011.

Maybe it’s just that the interview was done long ago – before last August 20th when Cardinal George announced the definitive date. But it seems more likely that officialdom is back-pedaling on the start date. Sure wish we knew.



  1. ” We will never have a clear idea of what we believe until we have a clear idea of the texts we have prayed in the Sacred Liturgy for over a millennium.”

    A very frozen idea of faith, which would have prevented the innovation represented by the introduction of Eucharistic Prayers II-IV. The banishment of Scripture through the restoration of the Extraordinary Form shows how estanged our current Vatican is from the tradition of faith. The other day I heard that Archbishop (Cardinal) Burke’s liturgical dress costs $30,000 dollars; now I am assured that a proper liturgical set (for celebrant and assistants) costs something more like $300,000. I find this hard to credit, but then when I see the Pope having historical copes of Renaissance Popes reconstructed at enormous expense and when I see Cardinals prancing about in “cappa magna”s like deranged brides, I see not a concern with the historic faith of the Church but an idolatry of a dead past.

      1. John:

        That argument is pretty weak and it doesn’t even seem like the author believes it: in the second paragraph he references the claim that the expanded Lectionary exposes the laity to *too* much Scripture. Also, the Novus Ordo has proper introit, offertory, etc. antiphons that are from Scripture.

        As for other Scripture in the EF, I love the Iudica me and the Last Gospel, but they’re fundamentally private, devotional prayers of the priests that were obviously grafted onto the beginning and end, respectively, of the Mass proper. That said, I think it would be laudable if priests (in the Novus Ordo) prayed the the Iudica me and the Last Gospel privately before and after the Mass. I do regret the loss of Psalm 25 at the Lavabo. In any event, in terms of gauging the quantity of Scripture read, the loss of these elements is more than compensated by the expanded Lectionary.

        This website does a good job of showing just how much more Scripture is covered in the new Lectionary:

      2. As Mr Crouchback notes, that argument is feeble. It is patronising to claim that the laity will be unable to learn from more of the word of God, and the table clearly shows that the riches of scripture are better opened in the new lectionary.

        It’s also not the case that the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and and Communion antiphons are never used in the OF. Many of our priests say them, though a few don’t. It would not be difficult for a parish priest to bring them into regular use.

    1. I like English; I like the increase in the Old Testament readings; actually I like Latin, in the N.O. and in the EF, now and then. I am in a chant schola once a month where the Mass is said ad orientem and quite a bit of Latin is used, including the Confiteor and the Eucharistic Prayer.. Who says you have to do one thing? Many options are now authorized.

      What really brought about this new translation was the “unauthorized” practice of priests’ saying Mass facing the people, versus populum, that turned many thousands of priests into wannabe Dick Cavett’s, David Letterman’s and improv performers.

      If priests had stuck with the words and the rubrics as they now are required in the GIRM, the pressure to change the bad translation would probably not have come about.

      And even I, who had two years of Latin 55 years ago, know some of the current translation is awful.

  2. Msgr Moroney still thinks that “It is right and just” is a correct translation of “Dignum et iustum est”, yet one of Britain’s leading scholars of classical Latin assured me that it is not.

    1. Dignum et iustum est

      dignum = proper/fitting
      iustum = right/good

      in suitable English:
      It is right and proper
      It is right and fitting

      1. Or perhaps…

        dignum = proper/ fitting (right?)
        iustum = righteous/ just

        and as such, in also suitable English

        It is right and just.

        Sure, it’s a bit stilted and we don’t normally refer to our actions (“giving thanks” in this case) as being “just”, but then again, we don’t ordinarily speak in translated Latin either. To say that “It is right and just” is an incorrect translation is a stretch… it is one particular translation of that phrase which may or may not be the best for this use. We also seldom use the words “fitting” or “proper” in this context, and both of those options sound rather out of place as well. This is what happens when you translate from a language with a fixed vocabulary with defined usage (Latin) into a language, such as English, with a large and constantly changing vocabulary, particularly as regards word usage.
        The old translation “it is right to give him thanks and praise” was such a statement of the obvious (well duh!) as to be laughable. It was far too simplified.

        Joe O’Leary…. this isn’t classical Latin, although I am sure that such a Latin scholar would know what they’re talking about. You don’t need to be a Latin scholar to translate the Missal….a translation that will endure usage over time and be worthy of liturgical use…. that’s something completly different.

  3. One more point, if I may: “I am not worthy that you should come under my roof,” suggests a tasteless double entendre in English — a reference to the roof of the mouth. Did any of the new translators reflect on this difficulty?

    1. Clearly it is not an improper reference. The sacred host is indeed coming under the roof of our mouth. But, a little catechesis should make clear the scriptural reference.

      1. Improper? Probably not; it does come from Scripture.

        But it’s a lame usage for the Mass, one that hopefully can be retired for the next edition of the Missal. I can think of a half-dozen Scriptural texts more suitable for acclamation, and perhaps the top of the list is the post-resurrection acclamation of the apostle in Jn 20:28b.

  4. Has anyone yet compared the 2010 translation with the earlier versions of the 2008 translation (e.g., the grey or white books) to see if the Roman revisers were working off earlier drafts and not the actual text which was sent over for the recognitio?

  5. “Joe O’Leary…. this isn’t classical Latin, although I am sure that such a Latin scholar would know what they’re talking about. You don’t need to be a Latin scholar to translate the Missal….a translation that will endure usage over time and be worthy of liturgical use…. that’s something completely different.”

    Actually my informant’s principal specialty is Neo-Latin (Latin writing since the Renaissance). And you DO need to be a Latin scholar to translate the Missal. ALL previous translation of dignum et iustum est take iustum in the sense of meet or fitting. “Just” just makes no sense in this context.

  6. In 1969, Paul VI approved the new Lectionary without reading it.The three-year cycle of Scripture readings had no known antecedent in the Mass of the Roman Rite.
    The new legislation governing the Liturgy of the Word introduces further deregulation and options into official public worship. It allows individuals to formulate their own texts for liturgical use (the Introductory Comments,
    the Prayer of the Faithful) or to choose from a wide array of texts provided (the Scripture readings in the new Lectionary), parts of which are themselves
    optional. This deregulation: (1) destroys the universal character of the liturgy, and (2) subjects the liturgy and worshippers to individual initiatives rooted in
    caprice, ignorance, foolishness or even heresy.
    • Despite the reformers’ claim that the that the new cycle of readings presented a comprehensive exposition of New Testament teaching (a claim never made for the traditional cycle of readings) the prefatory material for the new
    Lectionary hints at a hidden agenda: “difficult” Scripture passages are not employed on Sundays, certain passages “of little pastoral worth or involving truly difficult questions” have been omitted, and some individual verses are optional.

    1. So, following the very broad mandates which Vatican II gave, the reformers made good pastoral decisions, not all of which have precedent because not everything needs it (this is also according to Vatican II) – but you don’t like their decisions? OK.

  7. What I like or dislike is of no consequence here, of course. What matters is whether the new lectionary is what its creators and defenders repeatedly claim it is: a fuller presentation of the Gospel message. Recent books about this have shown that regardless of the scriptural breadth of the three-year cycle (cf. the link about stats cited above by Mr. Crouchback), the depth, the authenticity of the Scripture readings have diminished significantly in the new book. That’s because the reformers intentionally either gutted many passages of Scripture because of the “negative” messages they sent — ideas like hell, punishments for sin, shunning of unbelievers, that sort of thing; or they consigned them to days in the liturgical year when most of the faithful would never hear them.

    1. +JMJ+

      Example: 1 Cor 11:27-29 is never heard in the Ordinary Form. It was excised from the readings. It was (and still is) heard on Holy Thursday and Corpus Christi in the Extraordinary Form.

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