The latest ‘final version’

Several sources confirm today that the Holy See is making changes to the 2010 Received Text of the new English missal. Seems they’re responding to the outcry about grammatical errors, mistranslations, poor English usage, and the like. I suppose they can cover over the worst of the problems, leave the rest, and still get it to press on time.

This story is far from over. I look foward to the full story seeping out eventually. A key piece of that story is the highly problematic 2010 Received Text: who commissioned it, who prepared it, and why  did the CDW approve it?

We’re happy at Pray Tell that the Received Text is being improved. But we still think it’s newsworthy to comment on the unimproved, original and authentic Received Text. Kind of interesting, what sort of translation is able to get approved by Rome. Watch this space for further comment on RT-10.



  1. I certainly hope that it will be improved as Fr. Anthony says… this story certainly makes for a good thriller.. maybe a mini-series.

    I really wonder if they will be able to get it to press on time. These days anything around this story is up for grabs… hope we get some resolution on this.

  2. Fr. Ruff;

    Thanks for the update on this. This would seem to be at least a good development.

    I do have a question though; While it is being claimed that the Holy See is making changes, and this may well be true, how is it known that these changes are being made “in response to the outcry” as you claim? This could well be the case, but could it not just as easily be the case that the Holy See intended to make these changes from the start? If that weren’t true, and the Holy See in fact would rather have the original 2008 text, it would more likely simply designate that as the text and override changes made since then.

    My point is this… in the end, the Holy See will propose the text that it ultimately wants… it has no reason to do otherwise… although we may be cluless as to why it wants that specific translation. There is a very specific paragraph in LA that permits the Holy See such a unilateral decision, leaving the local conferences to implement…(LA 104). I think it’s unwise to suppose that the concerns of the Holy See as regards translation would line up with those of a liberal liturgy blog. We are all hung up on timelines, deadlines, implementation dates, catechetical programs… which are really secondary concerns in this process of translating the Missal.

    1. We are all hung up on timelines, deadlines, implementation dates, catechetical programs… which are really secondary concerns in this process of translating the Missal.

      I’m not so sure these are secondary concerns. Timelines, deadline and implementation dates have to do with matters of honesty, transparency, and promise-keeping; catechetical programs have to do with enabling God’s people to celebrate the liturgy in as worthy a manner as possible. These are hardly secondary matters.

    2. That paragraph should be read in a very limited fashion since LA is a product of the CDWCS and was only approved in forma specificia, so it doesn’t have the force of law.

      The bigger point is that the implementation of a text is still the prerogative of the conference of bishops, they are not required to implement a text approved by Rome. In fact the German bishops, exercising their authority, removed an approved text and authorized a return to the older text.

      The only case where a liturgical text could be imposed on a specific country is if it were through a legislative act of the Supreme Legislator, or if he were to delegate that authority to the CDWDS, which has not been done.

    3. Jeffrey – many good points. But I didn’t say the Holy See did anything in response to a “liberal liturgy blog” (whichever one you might mean… 🙂 ). The outcry with effect is from bishops in more than one country, as well as from other officials and offices.

  3. Jeffery – good point but, in reality, not sure that conferences are really able to exercise “implementation” power/authority.

    From a big picture perspective, this translation escapade only highlights what Rita Ferrone has said so well: “this is an ecclesiological question and issue at heart.” Fr. Ruff has posted a number of excellent resources that underline the very validity of this project:
    – LA is, at best, a weak document and in a hierarchy of church documents; it is the weakest of them all;
    – some experts question whether LA is even legal
    – LA itself basically nullifies a number of principles both articulated and lived out since VII’s SC (is this really how we want to do things as a church?)
    – there continues to be disagreement around “approval, confirmation, implementation, etc. in terms of curia, papal authority, and conferences
    – not sure that the delineations among “original latin – 1962 Missal” as the foundation; how/who translated this for 2008 – do we have an agreed upon latin original?; despite LA’s “as close to latin as possible” translation directive…we continue to hear differences between the “original latin foundational document” and how this needs to be translated into poetic and better english (does not appear to have been many skilled liturgists, poets, linguists on this effort; continued tension between literal and dynamic equivalence)
    – is there some plot behind the 2010 revisions?
    – we have had some but not a whole lot of discussion around other languages and how english impacts..

    1. “…but, in reality, not sure that conferences are really able to exercise “implementation” power/authority.”

      Isn’t that what the German and French conferences are doing each in their own way? The German conference actually withdrew a text approved by the Holy See and I suppose their own structures (either before or after the recognizio – I’m not sure), but withdrew the text after it had been “put on the market”. The French are just plodding along for a few decades it seems to avoid the entire mess.

      1. Maybe we would see individual bishops implement the text anyway, especially since an implementation date has already been announced. Don’t forget that many active and informed Catholics are looking forward to Advent 2011. Think about how many are pleased that 2010 are pleased that this will be the last Advent with the current text.

      2. “Maybe we would see individual bishops implement the text anyway”

        Leo, I’m not sure given the effort by which bishops attempt to present “unity” among themselves and Rome on the public front that it would make individual implementation desirable. More to the point, I’m not sure its possible as I wonder if a bishop’s liturgical authority by right includes such a diocesan decision. SC declares the authority of liturgical translations and implementations to be the purview of national conferences with the recognizio of the Holy See. I would therefore think that its a “National GO” or a “NO GO.” Besides, I think such a move would be a liturgical and ecclesial pandora’s box for these reasons and more. But, I’m no cannonist!

  4. Sorry, JBB, but an instruction approved “in forma specifica” by the pope DOES have the force of law, papal law to be precise. See JM Huels’ “Interpreting an Instruction Approved in forma specifica” in SC 32 (1998), pp. 5-46

    1. Sorry, Paul, but the Pope didn’t approve Liturgiam Authenticam “in forma specifica.” He did it “in forma communi.” See Bishop Dunn’s featured article on this blog.

    2. You are correct, my error, LA was approved in forma generalis, which does not have the force of law. It is easy to get the two mixed up, its like the different in the Pauline and Petrine privileges.

      1. So the point here is: forma generalis (or communi), which is what LA has, doesn’t have the force of law.

  5. A “liberal liturgy blog” that published an article showing how a text worked on by Vox Clara and approved by CDW got translations from Latin wrong, English grammar wrong and violated the instructions set down by the Vatican in Liturgam Authenticm. Some “liberal” blog huh? The only thing liberal I guess is asking how the authorities could let it happen. Actually I think it’s kind of funny that the “traditionalist” blogs didn’t do anything on this stuff and last time I looked was full of people saying it doesn’t matter how bad 2010 is as long as it’s not as bad as 1973. These are people supposedly concerned about getting translations right. Looks like Pray Tell is carrying that ball this time around.

    1. Interesting observation. I never read the other side – too much hysterics and vitriol from what I’ve seen the few times I’ve perused.

      Such non-reaction re2010 is probably one reason why their positions continue to be held suspect by many for a lack of both academic rigour and historical-liturgical worldview. Is this just another case in which the RoR project looks like a post-modern pastiche of romanticism, antiquarianism and sentimentalism, held together by the glue of cynicism – with a dash of Norman Rockwell? A pastiche will never generate consistency nor critical analysis, its contrary to its form.

    2. I watch one blog that might be identified as on the other side of PT. Prior to a link today to an article about how “it doesn’t matter how bad 2010 is as long as it’s not as bad as 1973” that blog has been strangely silent about the new translation… or anything else except vestments, beeswax, and the occasional bit of architecture.

      Sad, really… I think that blog could contribute a lot to the discussion. Of course, it may be that they don’t believe there is a discussion and are just waiting (?!) for whatever gets handed down from on high.

      1. Yes, I as well suppose that its unfortunate since at times a sensitive and sane critique of the ars celebrandi of the reformed rites are worth something. Its the baby and the bathwater syndrome that I recoil from, or harping on some insane liturgy of 1967 that I’ve never come close to encountering.

        You are probably correct in questioning whether they believe there is a discussion taking place, or to take place, since ecclesiological estimations are often times very different.

  6. Fr. Ruff,
    Regarding editorial policy regarding “Commentary”-
    How did you determine that Mr. Steven’s observations advanced the issue of the final revisioning of the MR3, v.2010?
    Pogo still rules. “We have met the enemy…..”

    1. Which of his comments? There have been many.

      Note how this works: once your comment is approved, you are then free to keep posting until you post something meriting ‘spam.’ Then everything from you goes to spam, requiring individual approval again. So it’s possible that someone once approved would post an inappropriate comment that stay up for a while before someone here sees it. Which comment should we look at?


  7. “the RoR project looks like a post-modern pastiche of romanticism, antiquarianism and sentimentalism, held together by the glue of cynicism – with a dash of Norman Rockwell” — bravo!

  8. How different news sources report the same story in different ways! Like this story. Fr Ruff wrote: “Seems they’re responding to the outcry about grammatical errors, mistranslations, poor English usage, and the like.”

    Someone posting at another Catholic blog that always calls Pray Tell “that liberal blog” writes: “PrayTell is reporting today that still further changes are being made to the so-called 2010 received text, apparently in response to all the discontent.”

    Nothing about how the Roman authorities let all the mistakes slip through. Amazing huh?

  9. Jeremy and others who note the silence of other blogs, we reported nothing about this at the Chant Cafe because none of us have had anything to report. I’ve seen no texts, no on-the-record commentary, no news releases, no explanations or even acknowledgment of delays, and I’ve received not one word of “don’t-quote-me”-style commentary from anyone on any aspect of this. Everything I know about this I know from this blog, and while I have the highest respect for Fr. Ruff, everything I’ve seen has fallen into the category of suggestion and rumor, which is not to say that none of this not true but only to observe that it is usually wise not to comment much less condemn unless one has personal reasons to trust the authority of source that has spoken to the writer directly. None of us have had this at all. In trying to run some of these facts down, I’ve found myself in endless loops round and round.

    In fact, not only have I not heard anything myself, it is quite the contrary: I receive panicked calls from people trying to pump ME for what I know, which it amounts to nothing really concerning this 2010 text issue. It strikes me as unwise to comment, much less comment with passion, on a subject clouded in such mystery.

    If this blog has contributed to guaranteeing a better text, it deserves congratulations. These processes are not infallible and we do need people to agitate when doing so is necessary.

  10. “the Holy See will propose the text that it ultimately wants”

    The Holy See refers to a confused and divided Curia. It does not seem to know what it wants. Does it want 2008? 2010? the revised 2010 that we may call 2011? Does the Holy See really have time to read the texts, and do even the revisers it employs have time to reread and assess critically their own input?

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