What happens after the 2010 translation?

It seems to me that some processes of refinement will have to take place before we have an English translation of the Roman Missal which everyone can agree is acceptable for liturgical use. Whenever we begin using the 2010 version, there seems to be emerging a view that eventually it will have to be substantially revised.

This process might and probably should take time, but it might be helped if the public domain contained not only the 2008 and 2010 Missal translations, but also the text of the 1998 ICEL Sacramentary.

My sense is that this latter version would add a dimension to any longer term review. The text of 2008, and to a lesser degree that of 2010, are more literal versions respecting the donor language to some extent over the receptor language. 1998 might be thought to be more accommodating to the receptor.

We might then see what could be done to the 2008/2010 text to bring it more into line with the conventions of modern formal English in the many areas where there is no particular theological point at issue.

I think I understand from Pray Tell that 2008 and 2010 have been leaked and can therefore be read. If the 1998 Sacramentary is already in the public domain, then perhaps someone will indicate where it can be accessed. If not, what might be the possibilities of getting it available? Both as a tool for revision and an historical source, it would be useful to have it.

Why not set up a dedicated website constructed so as to enable the three texts to be read in parallel, so that comparisons might be more easily made?

Fr. Alan Griffiths
Portsmouth Diocese, UK


  1. Wonderful comment and idea, thanks, Fr. Alan. Your direction, IMO, is the classical “Both/AND” and is what we pastorally and theologically and eclesiologically need.

  2. Can I take this good suggestion a step further?

    What if, following Wikipedia, Wikileaks and Wikispooks, someone were to create a Wikitrans (Wikimass?) where

    (1) all of the texts were posted, starting from the Latin and going through the 2010;

    (2) anyone could edit the translation, as they do Wikipedia articles;

    (3) a “discussion” page kept track of the changes.

    Perhaps a crowd of liturgy enthusiasts could do more, faster, better than a secret Vatican committee made up of people whose native language isn’t English.

    I have no clue how easy or difficult it is to create a Wiki of this sort, but it might generate some interesting material.

      1. Indeed, and we can project the texts on a big screen behind the altar, so the congregation knows exactly what to say.

      2. And the Drakester could hack on in and put the 2010 into the system and have a good laugh!

    1. Funny you should say this, Jonathan. We discussed this possibility at the last PrayTell editorial board meeting. Think of it as a coming attraction — as soon as I get free of papers to grade, I’ll be working on it!

  3. We are planning to use the 1998 version, especially where the new prayers are really bad. Just insert them in a nice Ceremonial binder and you’re all set.

  4. I’ve been using the alternative opening prayers for Advent at home, before our evening meal. Because they were written with the Sunday scriptures in view, they are a beautiful reminder of the themes of the scriptures in the liturgy!

    1. I’ve often wondered why the 1998 alternative prayers weren’t promoted as collects for use at the end of the prayer of the faithful. Given that the assembly would have at that point heard the scriptures proclaimed and preached, they would be quite effective there — indeed, more effective there than as opening prayers.

    2. Having spend some time with these prayers, Fritz, I would disagree. They would work well as collects. In fact, they recommend themselves so well that I think jealousy was at least one motivation for suppressing them. How many priests would pick the Roman collect over these more idiomatic ones? Not many.

      On the other hand, to have this much specific scriptural content at the end of the Prayer of the Faithful would overburden that (intentionally brief) concluding prayer.

      You’re not the only one who has made the remark about using alternative opening prayers to conclude the prayer of the faithful (I think Paul Turner said that in Sourcebook), but I am not persuaded.

      Perhaps you meant this in some way more subtle, but the rather obvious thought that the people haven’t heard the readings yet doesn’t really make the prayers less accessible. They do stand on their own.

      Now, for completeness, I should say that when 1998 was in draft and we were commenting, I hated a lot of the alternative prayers and critiqued the sense (or lack thereof) embedded in those initial texts. I haven’t gone back to see the fate of each of the ones I critiqued, but my impression is that they reworked and improved their clarity and precision a great deal, while keeping a very good, proclaimable style.

      1. Thanks, Rita – would agree with you. John Robert Francis should be able to comment on how and if comments were incorporated into the 1998 alternate collects?

      1. John Robert Francis (below, posted at 12:32 am) is correct: then it would have to be misereatur.

  5. Isn’t “miserere” the imperative of “misereri” as in “Miserere mei, Deus, secundum misericordiam tuam, etc”? Or, “Domine (the vocative as Father Anthony has kindly pointed out) Deus, Agnus Dei, … … …, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis ….”? The expected form of the subjunctive in ecclesiastical Latin, as opposed to Livy, for example, would, I think, be the more regular “misereatur” as in “Misereatur nostri omnipotens Deus, etc.” Just as another example, “Dominus nos benedicat, et ab omni malo defendat, et ad vitam perducat aeternam.”

    But in the small hours of the morning, perhaps I have missed the point altogether. A blessed feast of St. Ambrose.

  6. First of all, lest some here forget, the debacle that was the 1998 translation resulted in the formation of the Vox Clara Commission, the restructuring of ICEL and the promulgation of Liturgiam Authenticam.

    As for the alternative prayers, these do not appear in the Latin Roman Missal and were, as I see it, ICEL innovations (or, at least someone’s innovations). Down here in South Texas, we use the Spanish translation of the Roman Missal approved for usage in Mexico. There are no alternative texts for the Collect.

    Regarding the disobedience issue, since the 1998 texts are a moot point, there is really no use in having them side-by-side since these were rejected by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

    Adoremus has an excellent archive chronicling the translation progress. It might prove enlightening and edifying to read it.

    1. To consider the Roman texts all-sufficient is of course to ignore the propitious nature and human advantages of bringing the liturgy more into the mainstream of the people of God in their native idiom.

      Preservation of the roman texts is not the only value of the Roman Missal. Promoting the prayerful encounter with God that constitutes and shows forth the true nature of the Church, and enhancing the deep and heartfelt prayer of God’s people are some of the purposes these texts serve.

    2. Looks like Vox Clara are the ones who messed up 2008. Time to appoint a commission called Vox Even More Clara I guess. LOL

      1. Jeremy, this is wonderful: Vox Even More Clara, presiding over the Reform of the Reform of the Reform! LOL

    3. Michelle,

      Did you know that Liturgiam authenticam explicitly allows Bishops’ conferences to commission and approve original prayers not found in Latin and submit them to Rome for approval? But Cardinal Arinze at CDW said he didn’t feel like approving any such prayers and told everyone not to submit them.


      1. “Technically, it’s allowed, but I don’t want to be bothered with it, so don’t send anything in because I won’t approve it.”

        Gee, how wonderful a servant!

  7. Fr. Allan – here is an article from today’s NCR that I hope may point to a both/and resolution of the english translation mess. To those who think that the curia and B16 have set the reform of the reform in stone, there are more and more indications recently that B16 is changing or modifying initiatives that have polarized, angered, and isolated faithful catholics.

    Let’s compare the wrongly implemented investigation of US women religious and the LCWR (interestingly led by a Vincentian) based upon a few speakers at an event years ago in NY – the damage, loss of trust, etc. is significant and now it appears that Rome has appointed a Redemptorist who just may “save” this situation.

    Compare these steps to the 1998 rejection; 2008 translation, and now the mess with the 2010 received text (pending, we think)…..could not the women religious investigation and 180 degree turn not also happen with the english translation project?

    Link: http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/vatican-must-hear-anger-and-hurt-american-nuns-official-says

    Highlights: “That addresses a central concern of many women religious, who have objected to what some perceive as the secrecy of the process. Tobin said that as a matter of “justice and charity,” he will “strongly advocate” for feedback and a right of reply.” (would that this could happen via english speaking bishops’ conferences or even the church in general)

    “I also don’t think the answer is just with me. I think my dicastery and others have to hear the experience of women religious, and women religious too have to hear the experience of pastors and this dicastery. We have to try to heal what can be healed.” (suggest that “healing” is the goal; not LA)
    There’s another side to this, which is that if anybody needed to be convinced of the complexity of the United States, just do an apostolic visit! There are stereotypes of Americans in the air sometimes, and there’s a risk of falling victim to those…

      1. Sorry, Allan – just trying to bridge a couple of posts in the last two days. Technically you are correct but, as Rita says about me, I make leaps and connections that am sure are confusing. Hang in there – like you, still trying to get my life together. Unlike you, my period of adolescence seems to have extended into my dotage.

  8. Thinking of the future last Mass before the new words come into force reminded me of the short story “The last class” by Alphonse Daudet, see http://litgloss.buffalo.edu/daudet/text.shtml for those who can read French. (or http://www.ksbooks.com/thelastclass.html for a translation). The story is set in Alsace in 1870-71, right after the French lost the Franco-Prussian War. It describes a French teacher telling his class that he was being replaced and that this would be the last day that their class would be taught in the French language. German would be the language starting the next day.

    1. What a touching and beautiful story, Claire. Thanks for sharing this; I’d never read it.

      “That we must keep it ourselves and never forget it, because when a people if they hold onto their language it is like holding the prison key …”

  9. However, Mr. de Haas, I fail to see the connection that you are trying to make between th Vatican’s visitation and the issue of the Roman Missal.

    What LA set out to do was to correct some very serious problems that arose as a result of the 1998 translation. Furthermore, just because something is in the NCR, that is not necessarily everything that it is cracked up to be.

    The NCR does not necessarily have the reputation of being the bastion of orthodoxy.

    1. Then can you explain why whoever made the 2010 revisions to 2008 which was prepared according to LA have violated LA in making the revisions? As for “debacles” it looks like 2010 is shaping up to beat 1998 as a major debacle of its own. Boy the people at Adoremus must be pretty mad that they had everyone looking forward to the big orthodox and perfect translation only to have one come out that doesn’t even follow LA. Maybe that’s why we haven’t heard anything from them lately. Wait till the whole 2010 comes out and they and Fr Z have to start analyzing it the way they did old ICEL and show that the prayers still don’t say what the Latin says. It will be time for a reform of the reform of the reform.

    2. To provide a counterpoint, I don’t believe the 1998 Sacramentary is a moot point. It was an effort to provide a noble translation of the Missale into English following the translation rules that were in effect at the time and based upon the experience of the 1973 translation. In my view the results of the 1998 Sacramentary was a good balance between fidelity to the Latin and ineligibility in English. I think the great tragedy is the all the time and effort undertaken by faithful people was cast aside because of a sudden change in approach in Rome. LA introduces its own set of challenges and the result has been some serious problems. In fact the entire theory of translation proposed by LA has been demonstrated to be flawed.

      1. +JMJ+

        “In my view the results of the 1998 Sacramentary was a good balance between fidelity to the Latin and ineligibility in English”

        I think you meant “legibility” or something similar here, no?

        And let me say that, other serious issues with the 1998 Sacramentary aside, I do think its translations should have been seen as a starting point, along with the Latin texts, for the LA-based translation efforts.

      2. I think “intelligibility” is what was meant. Let he who is without typos cast the first stone.

      3. Let he who is without typos cast the first stone.

        Since our host has endorsed the practice of correcting grammatical errors in case, it’s : Let him, etc. The pronoun’s the object of the imperative verb, as well as the subject of the infinitive “cast”. If we’re going to uphold the vernacular, let’s be at home in it.

      4. Let the grammatical pedant who is without typos cast the first stone.

        (Point noted, JP. Thanks.)

    3. Michelle, basic logic:
      Orthodoxy and truthfulness are two different things. That someone is not (in your view) orthodox does not prove that therefore what they say isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. The term for this logical fallacy is ad hominem.

  10. Michelle – your comments reveal your lack of depth and understanding. LA is the lowest level of papal pronouncement and most experts indicate that it is a deeply flawed document that completely mishandles the science and art of translation. Yes, it is a reaction – by a small group; done in secret; and being ramrodded over the bishops’ conferences.

    NCR’s article is an interview with the head of the curia in charge of the visitation. It is NOT an opinion piece; nor is it anything else but interview statements. How do you miss that simple fact?

    Most on this blog try to read, study, and interject facts, opinions, timelines, statements – would encourage you to do the same.

  11. Robert! Where were you when Vox Clara and the Congregation needed you?!

    Robert B. Ramirez :

    Let he who is without typos cast the first stone.
    Since our host has endorsed the practice of correcting grammatical errors in case, it’s : Let him, etc. The pronoun’s the object of the imperative verb, as well as the subject of the infinitive “cast”. If we’re going to uphold the vernacular, let’s be at home in it.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

    1. My experience has been that mastery of English is pretty much impossible without at least a nodding familiarity with Latin.

      1. So that tells us two things about the people who revised the 2008 and came up with the 2010 text. Now what we need to know is how did they get appointed and who thought their product was good enough to deserve the recognitio.

      2. No it doesn’t. To say that A is necessary for B is not to say it’s sufficient.

  12. With all due respect, Mr. de Haas, inasmuch as the NCR piece was based on an interview with a Prefect, you are still trying to connect dots concerning the revised translation of the Roman Missal where none exist.

    1. So with all of 2010’s mistranslations from Latin, mistakes in English grammar and syntax, and violations of LA, you must be pretty upset that the old defective ICEL is being replaced by a new defective ICEL especially now that everythings out on the Internet for us regular people to compare. Bet the Vox Clara and Congregation people never thought that would happen! They always say how come the old ICEL people didn’t know Credo meant I believe not we believe or that pro multis meant for many not for all. I just looked back at the Advent I Preface where the Latin has primo and secundo and 2008 has first and second coming of Christ but 2010 wrecks the parallel by putting first coming and comes again. So couldn’t we ask how come Vox Clara doesn’t know that secundo means second and not again?

  13. Well, Vox Clara’s lack of Latin and English was sufficient to make 2010 a mess! It is necessary only to read it out loud to see that! LOL

    Robert B. Ramirez :

    No it doesn’t. To say that A is necessary for B is not to say it’s sufficient.

    Only comments with a full name will be approved.

  14. Michelle, I think Bill deHaas’s point is that in both cases, visitation and new translation, the Vatican mandarins are trying to impose something on a Church that doesn’t need it.

  15. Actually, visitations probably should have happened a long time ago. This probably would have averted a lot of problems. Regarding the translation issue, Mr. Inwood, I do not think that the “Vatican mandarins”, as you call them, are doing nothing wrong. The previous ICEL versions were problematic and lost a lot of the beauty that the coming translations are trying to restore.

    What we pray is just as important as how we pray.

    1. Michelle Marie Romani writes:

      “I do not think that the ‘Vatican mandarins,’ as you call them, are doing nothing wrong.”

      I agree!
      Or to clarify, I don’t not agree.


    2. If, as you say the previous translations were problematic, that I hope you will acknowledge that the 2010 version is equally problematic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *