The “Received Text” – leaked

OMG. One of our readers just discovered excerpts from the 2010 Received Text of the Roman Missal – leaked at WikiSpooks. This was bound to happen. It is an exact copy of pages from the Missal which Pope Benedict received on April 28, 2010, at a luncheon with officials of Vox Clara and the Congregation for Divine Worship.

Keep in mind, this is not the final text. (I know, I know, we’ve had so many final texts already, it’s getting hard to keep track of them.) After this “Received Text” version was produced, the Congregation screwed up the doxology and changed a few other things. We’re pretty sure that the final version of the Order of Mass is really final – it’s posted at the USCCB website and publishers have printed up Mass settings based on it. But the final version of the proper prayers (collects, prefaces, etc.) is now being revised in Rome. So the value of this leak of an earlier “final text” is that it documents how bad a text approved by Rome can be.

I’m sure many of you will have comments on this text. For now I’ll just note two things.

Check out the music on page 328 (text 2 in the leaks). Does the priest chant “baptized in John…” in two-part harmony, and then chant “the fountain of baptism” without any pitches?? This doesn’t quite look like the restoration of beauty and holiness some were expecting under Pope Benedict XVI.

Then check out the intonation of the Credo on page 479 (text 3 in the leaks).  The term “Intonatio communis” does not appear in any Missal since Vatican II – with one exception. The Latin Missals published by Midwest Theological Forum, which is run by Opus Dei, retain the old term for some reason. And here it is in the Received Text!

Msgr. Moroney told me that Opus Dei had nothing to do with the printing of the missal presented to the Pope, and so I deleted the claim from one of my posts last summer. Hmmm, it seems they left behind some rather damning footprints. But I suppose they didn’t print it – that was probably done in Rome.

Do you ever get the feeling you’re seeing a Dan Brown novel transpire around you??


    1. Translators work from either a Latin text given them by ICEL or from the 2002 Latin missal printed by the Vatican. Neither has “Intonatio communis” – that is found only in Opus Dei missals. Plus, no translation as approved by ICEL would ever have had “intonation communis” in it, so someone added it at a later point.

  1. How about this Sam? Maybe an American reviser anxious to impress Rome rushes to get the same people who produced his DVD on the Missal to print up a translation that was even then in the process of being messed up with no review or correction by the bishops whose job it is to supervise these things and then with some more corrections to save total embarrassment and because they got caught dumped on the whole English language church to use. Is that completely innocuous or completely disgusting?

  2. …and before your majesty without end we acclaim…

    The English prose is as inferior as I feared, the syntax weak, the semantics ambigious or obscure, the style simultaneously pompous and cringing.

    It’s so maddening that I have to wait twenty years to look back on this moment, and on the next twenty months, to put it all in context.

    1. It is truly horrible. I sat down and compared it with the 2008 texts and kept shaking my head. At least in the 2008 texts, even through they were constrained by LA and the Ratio Translationis (which Rome inconsistently applied) they tried to make it comprehensible English.

  3. Given the concurrence of Christ the King and Thanksgiving Day in the same week, here’s a timely gem from the Received Text’s ineffably inexhaustible Treasury of Gaffes, buried in a Preface I’ve not yet seen leaked online, the Preface of Christ, King of the Universe:

    aeternum et universale regnum
    immensae tuae traderet maiestati:

    he might present to your infinite majesty
    an eternal and universal kingdom

    he might present to the immensity of your majesty
    an eternal and universal kingdom

    By mistranslating the dative maiestati as a genitive, then choosing the least appropriate translation of immensae (cf. Lewis & Short; Bennett on cognates; and NB: 2008 uses “infinite,” the standard biblical-liturgical alternative to “ immeasurable, boundless, endless, vast, immense”), our fearless “reformers” rally to Luther’s: Peccate fortiter to come up with this “Vintage 2010 Classic”:


    Forsooth! In days of old when knights were bold, calling attention to His or Her Majesty’s immensity could have sent a hapless knave to the Tower – or block! Appropriate destinations in this case?

    But there IS a practical, salutary application in the Dioceses of the United States, from which our bishops should take some comfort as they wonder whether CDW will bother answering their latest letter and where the Vox Clara folks have disappeared to all of a sudden:

    On Thanksgiving Day, as you dive into the turkey, its “fixins” and the third slice of pumpkin pie, remember this uniquely translated Preface of Christ the King, and see to it that you do not inordinately expand the immensity of your own majesty!

    1. Yes, that’s pretty bad, Xavier. Good thing that preface won’t be heard every day of the year. Unlike “for all” for the past 40 years, as translation for “pro multis”.

      1. It’s more a matter of being faithful to the scriptural passage in which Jesus says “for many.”

      2. Hey Bobby and Drakester! Jesus said for many? All this time I thought he spoke Aramaic. Who knew. While I’m at Merry Christmas to many and to many a good night.

      3. Good point Jeremy, the fact many here are missing is
        that we are supposed to have a translation of the Latin missal not someone’s biblical exegesis on Aramaic.

    1. Jeffrey, I think you can say accurately that it’s not a transliteration. But at least it followed the rules of the day. What can we say about this mess?

      Say, does anyone have speculation that this new leak is a response to Bishop Seratelli’s full-speed-ahead pep talk to his brother bishops? Additionally, do you think the bishops are getting more e-messages on this than on Bishop Kicanas?

    2. Is replacing paraphrase with mistranslation-cum-unintentional-comedy your idea of an improvement?

      Is the fact that this debacle could have occurred after 1) the purge of the old ICEL, 2) establishment of the new ICEL, 3) convocation of Vox Clara, 4) the Congregation’s recognitio, and 5) presentation to the Holy Father as a final Missal a text that clearly was not final, your idea of justifying the Holy Father’s trust and carrying out his manifest will?

  4. Since I am in my doddering old man mode, let me tell another possibly apocryphal story.

    Pius IX, toward the end of his life, was discussing the Syllabus of Errors with someone. He mentioned a particular condemned proposition, and was told it was not in the Syllabus. When he was insistent, they checked the text, and the proposition was not there!

    Investigation revealed that someone in the curia, probably a Cardinal or close to it given the audacity, was taking the text to the printer. On the way he stopped for “coffee”, and looked over the text. He crossed out a few propositions that looked like duplicates of others, and took that amended text to the printer.

    I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this story, but it sure seems more believable today than it did a before I heard the saga of the new Roman Missal.

  5. Personally, my only surprise is that I’m suprised by this unholy mess. I should have known that something like this would happen. I should have remained perfidious: without faith in the Vatican process, that is, with its dithering, compromising, asserting, and back-stepping. I should have relied upon Doom and Gloom and Pessimism to be my faithful guides.

    This is not a rhetorical question: Why, oh why, these changes from 2008 to 2010? I simply can’t figure it out. What’s the motive, good or ill or misguided? Am I searching for logic where there is none?

    Not that pleasing one side or another should be a guide, but now no one is happy.

    “. . .the restoration of beauty and holiness some were expecting under Pope Benedict XVI.”

    I am one of the the “some.” I support LA, but this 2010 mess is certainly not LA. Many here do not support LA. Okay. What the Vatican has done or countenanced has successfully united all, or many, or the many, or even most, of us against them. Amazing.

    “he might present to the immensity of your majesty
    an eternal and universal kingdom”

    Completely, absolutely, utterly inflated and ridiculous.
    It sounds more like Czarist Russia than anything from the culture of the English-speaking world. King James’s translators wouldn’t have dreamt of putting something like that in print.

    Now, I’m all for “Let us . . . ” instead of “May we . . .”, but this isn’t in the same ball park at all.

    And why do the readers ACCLAIM, instead of say, “The Word of the Lord.”?

    I could go on, and on, and on, but I’ll stop. But I’m still asking, “Why?”

  6. Xavier, your zeal is…admirable, I suppose, and no one would dare disagree with you for fearing of a memorable cyber-tongue lashing. But even so, having spent a total of 15 mins with the received text as versus my copy of the existing Missal, and spot checking here and there, I must state the incredibly obvious, which is that, yeah, well, it is indeed a vast improvement and obviously so. I hope you were sitting down when you read that and didn’t have hot tea in your mouth.

  7. What’s the motive, good or ill or misguided? Am I searching for logic where there is none?

    All of a sudden, this comes into focus. Look:

    he might present to your infinite majesty
    an eternal and universal kingdom

    he might present to the immensity of your majesty
    an eternal and universal kingdom

    As a mathematics professor having spent so much time explaining the concept of “infinity” to freshmen with eyes glazed over, it seems clear that we’re seeing the results a rampant and misguided attempt to be pastoral by simplifying the language for the poor dumb Catholics in the pews, thereby replacing words that look too difficult with ones that simply look silly.

    They should have just held the line at 2008, ignoring the criticisms then of it just as numerous as the criticisms now of 2010.

    The ancient lesson: There’s nothing quite so bad as an excess of good intentions.

  8. I meant to add the irony that none of the erudition being squandered so lavishly here will make any difference to the average Catholic in the pews, because 2008 or 2010 or received or whatever, any of these will (as Jeffrey points out) seem such a vast improvement over what we’ve had that none of these quibbles matter, however fascinating they be to PrayTell cognoscenti.

    1. CHE is correct, but not in his reasoning.

      It won’t make any difference to the average Catholic because the language is not only still churchspeak, which the average Catholic is conditioned to tune out, but is not very good English. With the 1998 translation, at least you could justify it as being (a) accurate and (b) decent English. 1973 fulfils (b) but not (a); 2008 fulfils (a) but not (b); 2010 is apparently going to fulfil neither of these.

    2. The real issue is for texts to facilitate prayer, rather than be an obstacle.

      Over the past forty years, Catholics have latched onto Scriptures and vernacular texts of songs as the core of their liturgical engagement. Now we will have two forms of language at Mass. The point is not beauty , accuracy, or faithfulness for its own sake, but the union of the worshiper with God.

      With sadness, I predict few of these new texts will engage a few people–maybe select clergy who prepare and utter them at Mass. It’s not bad for the laity to rely on the Bible and song lyrics. But it’s not as good a situation as it could have been. But as the president assures us, we’re not in crisis mode, so why should anybody care?

  9. awr posted We’re pretty sure that the final version of the Order of Mass is really final – it’s posted at the USCCB website and publishers have printed up Mass settings based on it.

    Well, we’ve been caught like that before…. And I weep for the huge amounts of time, money and effort that the publishers have already expended, so far in vain. I personally am not prepared to count any chickens until they are hatched. And others have already pointed out discrepancies between the Order of Mass text and the same text in the ICEL chants.

    Call me pessimistic, but I’m delighted I didn’t release a setting including the doxology earlier this year. And if the earlier thread on the doxology on this blog is anything to go by, perhaps someone will see sense and revert to what we have now…..

  10. “It is good to note also that the catechetical preparation for implementation is already underway and has proceeded with much enthusiasm and wide acceptance by both clergy and laity. It is clear at this point in time that there is an attitude of openness and readiness to receive the new text.”

    Really? What ever happened to reality? Why must the church too fall victim to the post-modern attitude of trying to create realities via spin?

    …although the manner in which the press release indicates that the translation process is intended to work is even more absurd. A “canonical” vote on a non-finalized text? A recognizio of non-finalized text. Obviously Radical Sanation rules the day in the church.

    1. Here’s my candidate for “Best Spin from Bishop Serratelli’s Statement”:

      “The Congregation followed the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam faithfully but not slavishly.”

      What on earth does that mean?

      I must try that out, next Confession, as an explanation for my nuanced relationship with the Commandments.

      While the Congregation may feel it deserves praise for not approaching its “review responsibilities” like slaves, surely the Latin and English scholars who produced the 2008 translation have well and truly merited to hear: “Well done, good and faithful servants.” Too bad that when they had done with their service, the task wasn’t considered all done.

  11. Thankss, J. Thomas – was also going to post this link to Seratelli’s statement.

    So, then looked at Aymond’s new members and consultants looking forward (hopefully?)


    This gets us nowhere with the likes of George, Rigali, Seratelli, Braxton (do you believe it? – between his financial irregularities, his alienating his whole diocesan priests requiring professional intervention; his lack of any liturgical expertise, his diocesan abuse problems) – oh well, same ole; same ole.

    On the other hand – nice mixture of consultants including one nun, one lay female, one scriptural/homiletic expert. Link:

    1. Agree with this. Two members (Aymond, Herzog) who know what they’re talking about — the rest, forget it. Most of the consultants are fine, however. Unfortunately, prelates do not often listen to consultants.

      On we go.

    2. As someone who was at one point a resident of the Diocese of Austin, I always thought very highly of the leadership of Abp. Aymond. He was a model bishop…except in the Liturgy! While I am sure he does love the liturgy, he consistently improvised/paraphrased the orations at Mass. I don’t mean to pick uncharitably, but this was the first thing I thought of when he was appointed. Whether or not you agree or disagree with any given translation, I believe it’s always laudable to exercise a little docility and read them as they are given.

  12. This is way beyond my level of knowledge but I wonder if this is one area where otherwise differing elements form the Church can come together? I note Fr Z has expressed his concerns too – perhaps we don’t need to (and in this case shouldn’t) see everything through a “conservative v. liberal” lens? I plan to post likewise on Fr Z.

  13. Just to be clear, Fr. Anthony. The CDWDS amended the 2002 Missale Romanum in 2008 under the authority of Pope Benedict. That year an issue of Notitiae had several pages of errata for the 2002 Missale. If you were to purchase the 2008 amended Missale third edition now from paxbooks, I suspect you will find the “intonatio communis” as well as many other changes in the Latin.

    Rumor has it that the CDWDS took the opportunity of reviewing the MTF Missale for publication to once again comb through the Latin and find the errors in the original edition.

    1. Fr. Thomas,

      Nope. “Intonatio communis” is not in the 2008 Latin. It came from the English-language publisher.


  14. “With the 1998 translation, at least you could justify it as being (a) accurate and (b) decent English. 1973 fulfils (b) but not (a); 2008 fulfils (a) but not (b); 2010 is apparently going to fulfil neither of these.”

    I suspect Paul honestly expressed the hidden sentiments of many people on this blog – the rejection of LA and the restoration of the mutilations in the 1998 edition of the “Roman” Missal. While there are indeed some imperfections in the leaked texts (which according to Bishop Serratelli is of an earlier form of the text), the indignation and ridicule expressed by many on the otherwise good and decent text are really only masks for rejecting the very principles of LA.

    If in the final text, some/all of these imperfections are still not ironed out, the text will still be an overall good and decent text that is an infinite improvement over the existing text (and a great improvement over the 1998 version, which included adaptations that I’m glad never saw the light of day). We can all lament the missed opportunities here or there to make a superb text as famous as Cranmer’s, but we can recognise a bit of all of us even in the texts we will pray: each striving for perfection but with many lapses and failing and scars and blemishes.

    Let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good, and let us all persevere in unity in faith, hope and charity.

    1. The translation of the 1998 Missal is something distinct from the structural adaptations contained therein. Rome could easily have accepted the former while rejecting the latter. And one can certainly admire the former (as I do) while being on the whole appalled by the latter (as I am).

      1. +JMJ+

        I’ve mentioned this before, but I think the 1998 translation didn’t go far enough in some regards (leaving the people’s words essentially unchanged) while going too far in some others.

  15. Ok, having spent a bit of time with the Leaked Text today, I fear that I might have to start eating some humble pie. The propers are a serious problem, essentially a total methodological abandonment of tradition. It would appear that they have completely rejected the Vulgate and the expertise of the whole of the English speaking world in favor of a version quickly thrown together from other sources. I am beginning to understand the demoralized tone I’ve read on this blog.

    1. Just saw your posting, Jeffrey, after having read Simon Ho’s a while back and thinking in despair: Dear Lord, HOW does one convince people of one’s sincerity, or that the threat to the Church’s peaceful unity isn’t this blog or those who took the time and risk to criticize the Received Text, but rather those who were responsible for that text in the first place?

      So thank you for your words! Speaking of “good and decent” (Simon’s charitable estimation of the Received Text), you are both of those for saying what you’ve just said so concisely.

      That Vulgate issue has barely been addressed. Cardinal George seemed not even to remember any questions regarding the antiphons. And what does this bode for the Revised Grail Psalms after the same people (?) who worked on the Missal have worked – or not (who knows?) – on them? The really sad thing in this Missal matter is that, with those Vulgate antiphons, for instance, the 2008 text had translated them all with scrupulous fidelity to the Missal’s Latin BEFORE TRUSTFULLY SENDING THEM FOR REVIEW to the obviously incompetent people who opted for an alternate source text. Amazing.

      And whatever does it mean to say that the official document (LA), responsible for the wholesale reorganization of an international commission and a decade-long retranslation of the Church’s principal liturgical book has been followed “faithfully but not slavishly” as these same “authorities” revised a text that the translators had prepared so “faithfully and precisely” according to its directives?

      The old Novice Master used to say that it was because so many of us were content to settle for the status quo while sighing “at least,” rather than striving for the heights while exclaiming “if only,” that there were so few Saints in the monastery.

    2. +JMJ+

      I agree with you, Mr. Herbert. (You’ll forgive me for going by last names, but there are too many Jeffs here for me to keep track of.)

      I can understand the demoralized tone at this blog, but not the general sentiment of defection.

      1. Well, I do not partake of the sentiment of defection. I’ve had way bigger issues with the quotidian operations of the One Holy Roman And Apostolic Church (TM) over the years to defect over crapola like this. The Church is a hospital full of sinners (myself very much included) working out our sinfulness in gory detail. And Christ was born, suffered, died, rose and is glorified for the same.

        I *expect* Mother Church to be a very unlovely sight. (And, I believe that is the actual spiritual practice of our Church in its best self, as opposed its ideological self. The Church may find it hard to square but the older I get, the less difficult I find it to square up to that extent.) It is the “[L]ove to the loveless shown that they might lovely be” that makes it and us (the Church, that is) lovable all the same. Lovable does not , however, mean enjoyable. I don’t have a need to make the Church look prettier than it is, either. Sentimentality about the Church (whether progressive, centrist or traditionalist in origin) is toxic to faith in cumulative doses.

  16. Mr. Ho – do you know the history of Cranmer’s text? LA is bad law; bad principle; bad liturgy. You have contorted various partial facts to support your opinion.

  17. LA was presumably produced ‘faithfully but not slavishly’ following Vatican II’s orientations on the roles of local bishops and their conferences in making translations.

  18. I have compared the 2002 and 2008 editions of the MR on the question of the intonation of the Creed. On p. 512 in both editions in the Ordo Missae at #18 both read: “Homilia expleta, cantatur vel dicitur, quando praescribitur, symbolum seu professio fidei:” followed by notation for two intonations of the Creed, the first in IVth mode with the single notes sol mi fa re mi sol la appearing over each of the syllables of “Credo in unum Deum”, the second in Vth mode with single notes do la fa te la appearing over the syllables of “Credo in unum” la-sol-fa appearing over “De-” and fa over “um.” The text then indicates: “Toni integri in Graduali romano inveniuntur.” I don’t see any direct mention of an “intonatio communis”, but perhaps it appears in the Graduale Romanum.

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