The latest final version of the missal text

As the Missal Mess has leaked into the public sphere, this much has become clear:

1. The 2008 text prepared for the national conferences of bishops by ICEL was approved by the conferences and sent by them to Rome for approval.

2. The CDW in Rome approved the final text on March 25, 2010, and this missal was presented to Pope Benedict on April 28 as the “Received Text.”

3. But the Received Text – leaked here – is very different from what the national conferences approved. It has thousands and thousands of changes from the 2008 text, most of them of the sort one wouldn’t expect from a national conference.

4. In summer 2010 it became known that the CDW had made changes to the final version – for example, rewording the doxology to the Eucharistic Prayer.

5. An internal report – leaked here – goes on for 35 pages outlining the errors and problems in the Received Text.

6. A November 18 statement of the US conference, intended to give us “the calm needed to welcome and implement the new text,” asserted that the CDW listened carefully to the bishops in approving the final version. It also asserted that the leaked report failed to take into account the more recent corrections made by the CDW.

Corrections? What sort of corrections? The Received Text has been heavily critiqued, even ridiculed, online in recent months. We all have been curious how the CDW would respond. Would they make only minor corrections, leaving the problematic Received Text intact for the most part? Or would they make drastic corrections and improvements, giving us a better text but necessarily admitting their previous mistakes?

Now we know. As conferences receive the final text from the CDW, some eight months after it was supposedly approved in its final form, we can now compare the Received Text to the final text.

It’s the former – only minor corrections, the Received Text pretty much stands. All the punctuation errors are fixed. But apart from that, the Received Text is pretty much what we will get in our new missals next year. Here is a small sampling of changes made or not made.

It is very surprising that no change was made to the Easter prefaces: “but [in this time] above all to laud you …, when Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.” The cum-clause is clausal, not temporal, so it means “since,” not “when.” The wording suggests that it is in this time (of the other possible wordings, “on this night” or “on this day”) that Christ has been sacrificed, which borders on heresy. Oh well.

This is in the “Throw Mama from the train a kiss” category. A fellow monk thinks the end of the preface should run:
We acclaim without your glory
end we sing of the hymn as:



    1. Sorry, the headline was maybe overdone to get everyone’s attention. This is the FINAL text as sent to conferences. Because publishing deadlines are looming (or already past, really), it is unlikely that they’ll make any more changes because it’ll be at the printers very soon. Experience shows one should be hesitant to call any text from the Vatican really final. But I think this one probably is.

  1. Does this mean that the constructive criticism of the leaked texts, as done by Xavier R. for example, does not have a concrete purpose any more?

    Does it mean that the texts available on wikispooks are now of academic interest only, serving as documentation of the process that led to the version now sent to the conferences?

    Or is there another point?

    1. Claire – In a sense, I suppose only the very final text matters. But this post shows that the final version is mostly the 2010 Received Text with very changes, so most – but I admit, not all – of what Xavier Reinfleisch wrote would still apply.

      I grant that much of this is of academic interest, and some folks are drawn to the details of textual translation more than others. I think it all remains relevant because it gives us a clearer picture than ever of the workings of the CDW.


    2. Yes, Claire, and Anthony, there’s another HUGE point.

      All through this process, the fear (among bishops, translators and others) has been about the “reception” of the new translation – by the people, for sure, but especially by the priests.

      Even the likes of Cardinals George and Pell know that the days of bishops saying “Here it is; use it and none other” are over among their dwindling, ageing, depressed clergy – and so resources such as “Become One Body One Spirit In Christ” sprung up round the world, ostensibly to “renew” our understanding of and love for the Eucharist, but in reality to smooth the path of the new translation’s reception.

      And the LAST THING any of them wanted was for us to see what MIGHT HAVE BEEN.

      So ICEL sent threatening letters to eBay sellers who were offering the 1998 Vatican-rejected Sacramentary texts, and people who worked on the translation process were threatened with all kinds of things (usually lack of continuing income was sufficient to buy their compliance) if they were found to have leaked documents or texts at any stage.

      And it was all going so well.

      But the bishops didn’t take into consideration the Internet, and wikispooks, or whatever site/s it is/are – nor did the incompetent, ambitious hacks working on the process.

      And now, EVERY STAGE will be there, online, for ALL to see.

      And the pastors, and their people, will be able to see and compare WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.

      And what they eneded up with will be found SEVERELY lacking.

  2. Anthony, when was this final text sent to Conferences? It says in the document “November” … was this given at the meeting in Baltimore before the holidays?

    1. Steve – I suspect so but I honestly don’t know for sure, hence my rther open-ended wording “some eight months after [the March 25 approval].”

  3. “But the bishops didn’t take into consideration the Internet, and wilispooks…”

    I believe Chris is right on target. The internet is becoming an enormous agent of change in the way church bureauracy works – not unlike having video cameras in police cars. The internet names names, unveils secrets and abuses of power, and highlights incompetence in a way never before possible. Down the line the power elite will be forced to be more respectful to the values of transparency, thorough consultation, subsidiarity and charity. Too bad things have to happen this way, but the internet, despite its downside, is a powerful agent for change and an effective pastoral tool. How many contributors to this blog would have such fire in the gut about the quality of liturgical texts if not for the wold wide web?

  4. Anthony said This is the FINAL text as sent to conferences. Because publishing deadlines are looming (or already past, really), it is unlikely that they’ll make any more changes because it’ll be at the printers very soon. Experience shows one should be hesitant to call any text from the Vatican really final. But I think this one probably is.

    As of last week, no final text of the Missal had been received by the England and Wales Conference. The previous week, however, the Conference received what purports to be the final text of the Order of Mass (only). It appears to be identical to the US text.

    Additionally, the England and Wales Conference is still awaiting (a) its National Propers and (b) a response from the Congregation concerning the modifications to the Missal requested by the Conference.

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