New assignment for Msgr. Moroney

Msgr. James Moroney has announced to his parishioners at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Worcester, MA that his term there as rector is ending. Moroney is the name most mentioned in association with the 10,000 changes made by some Vox Clara folks to the missal text submitted to Rome by all the English-speaking bishops’ conferences. The announcement below tells us that Vox Clara will continue working into the future! Let us hold Jim, and Vox Clara, in our prayers. UPDATE 1-10: The Worcester Telegram and Gazette has an article on Msgr. Moroney here.

For these past several years I have … taught all of the Liturgy courses to the seminarians at Saint John’s Seminary and served as Executive Secretary of the Vox Clara Committee and responded to the calls of Bishops all over the United States and Canada to teach their priests about the new Roman Missal. It’s been a lot.

It is for this reason that I began discussions with Bishop McManus several months ago in order to figure out how best this aging cleric can balance these multiple responsibilities. I am deeply grateful to Bishop McManus, to Bishop Kennedy, and Cardinal Pell for their kind support and guidance in this discernment process.

I am therefore happy to let you know that Bishop McManus will announce this week that, effective January 24th, that he is appointing me to the faculty of Saint John’s Seminary and to service as Executive Secretary of the Vox Clara Committee. While I will dearly miss the wonderful folks who go to make up the Cathedral Parish, my heart will never leave the Cathedral.


  1. Hey Jeff based on the great job he and Vox Clara did turning 2008 into 2010 would you like to see that happen?

    1. Jeremy;

      I wasn’t asking about my opinion… I was wondering if anybody had any information regarding whether or not this change of post is so that he may take up work on the Lectionary project.

      I’m fascinated that, regarding the work by Vox Clara and Moroney’s responsibility in particular, so many are able to construct a complete 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle from the few random pieces they have seen. I will be as fascinated as anyone to eventually read the actual story of what has occured with the 2008-2010 translation. Until that story is told, with actual documentation and facts, all we have are insinuations and accusations by individuals with various axes to grind.

      1. Gee the people who commented on here didn’t just have axes to grind Jeff they actually had years of study of Latin and English and copies of the Vaticans rules on translations and leaks of the version that was done the right way and the version done by the committee the Monsignor was running. How come your such a cheerleader for such a messed up project you seem like someone who would be rooting for a translation thats true to the Latin. you going with the oh well at least it’s better than the old one? That’s how you come across.

  2. According to an article about him and his new assigment(s) in the local (Worcester, Massachusetts) diocesan newspaper (The Catholic Free Press), the (his?) future of (with?) Vox Clara will include “facilitat(ing) the translations that the International Commission on English in the Liturgy does of other liturgical books” (thus, a Rituale Moroney and a Breviarum Moroney?) and “refining the Ratio Translationis, a book which gives the rationale for how words or types of words are translated” (to conform to the rationale of how the 2008 Missal translation became the 2010 one?).

  3. I suppose we must be grateful that the move means that “this aging cleric” is clearly not (or perhaps not yet) going to be made a bishop, something he has ardently desired for a long time….

    1. Sebastian;

      How exactly does your conclusion follow from your premise? At least you added the ambiguous “not yet” to your statement. If you mean he won’t be made a Bishop in the next few months, chances are that you are right. I wouldn’t put money on it past that however…

      1. Hey Jeff based on the great job he and Vox Clara did turning 2008 into 2010 would you like to see that happen? lol

    1. I don’t think it is fair to bring Bishop McManus’s views on the ethics of certain extraordinary medical situations into play as some sort of evidence of bad faith in the matter of Msgr. Moroney. They are quite separate issues. Moroney has nothing to do with medical ethics. We should not be judging his bishop in this thread. Let’s let Msgr. Moroney’s own actions with regard to the Missal project stand on their own.

      1. I think Janet’s point is that if someone who taught the exact opposite of what the church teaches can manage to get himself made a bishop it shouldnt be too tough for someone who just messed up a translation to manage the same thing. Guess it’s all in who you know like any other organization. Kind of sad.

  4. “It’s written in a language that people can understand and its words are rich and thick,” [Monsignor Moroney] said. “The new translation is more memorable and nourishing. I really think people will be moved by it.”

    “Its words are rich and thick . . . people will be moved by it.”

    One hardly knows what to say except, perhaps, that this is rich indeed. Thick, too.

  5. Hmmm, when contemplating food, I cannot but note that too much thickness can lead to choking, and too rich may cause indigestion. . . .

  6. I come to this blog only rarely, and almost every time I am shocked by the lack of Christian charity found here and I promise myself I won’t return. Yet like a moth to a flame here I am. James Moroney is a *person* created by God. The tone in this thread is amazingly unChristian. This blog would have a lot more credibility (and influence) if the comments were written only after their writers presented themselves to the Holy Spirit with the questions: “Is this edifying? Will it build up the Body of Christ?” Does sarcasm really help promote dialogue? Does the clear calumny make us love each other or the Church more? Disagreement is fine, but this blog has become known as the place where angry people go to say unhelpful things. It could be so much more than that!

  7. Amen John Kreuger.

    Not only is the Monsignor a human person who has been baptized, with several dignities (including (1) image of God; (2) priest; (3) prophet; and (4) king), but he is also twice a recipient of Holy Orders, receiving two additional indelible marks on his soul to conform him to Jesus Christ. One would think that a Catholic liturgical blog would show some respect to a Priest of the New Covenant of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    1. Hey John and Dylan, could you guys comment on Fr Ruff and Fr Griffiths. Made in God’s image and likeness? Priests of Jesus? Servants of the Catholic Church? How about the way they were treated? How about the Pope who thought the people working in the translation were going to follow the translation rules he approved? You guys are pretty selective in your outrage as they say.

      1. Yes, of course Fathers Ruff and Griffiths are also deserving of charity. That is my point. I cannot control how these two Priests of Jesus Christ were treated by others; but I sure can control my conduct toward them and hold them in genuine charity as my Fathers-in-God. If someone on this blog were to fail to show charity to them, then I would be outraged toward that as well. I seriously doubt anyone whom you, Mr. Stevens, would allege treated Frs. Ruff & Griffiths without charity reads this blog, so it would a fruitless gesture to call them to account.

      2. Never fruitless to go on the record for what is right. Remember St Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons: silence gives consent. So he went on the record.

    2. So were hundreds of priest pedophiles. Respect doesn’t outweigh truth, honesty, integrity. Nor does respect demand that we remain silent or complicit. We live in a different world and church than even 50 years ago. If anything, have learned that every catholic in the pew needs to speak up and fully live their baptismal promise – that is even more foundational than the institutional priesthood. Your priestly theology is outdated, at best; at worst, it continues to play on the fringes of clericalism, careerism, etc. that has plagued our church since Vatican I.

      1. (1) Priests who mortally sinned by violating young boys should be subjected to the discipline of the Church as the consequence for their sin.

        (2) Former priests, even homosexual pedophilic priests, retain their Baptismal Dignity as priests, prophets, and kings of the New Covenant, and should be treated as such.

        (3) Moreover, former priests, even homosexual pedophilic priests, retain their dignity as human beings created in the Image of God and should be shown charity.

        (4) Do truth, honesty, or integrity demand that you fail to treat a Priest of God who has neither sinned nor violated the discipline of the Church without charity? I think not.

        (5) I fail to see why you are trying to connect Monsignor Moroney to the mortally sinful actions of others. Why not raise the 9/11 bombers, the Inquistion questioners, the Crusading chaplains, and Judas Iscariot while you’re at it? My point was regarding the lack of charity being shown to a man of God who has done his best to offer the Church of God a beautiful, faithful book of prayer. You may disagree that his attempts were successful, but the homosexualist pedophilia is a red herring.

        (6) I wouldn’t know about the Church of fifty years ago, except for what I have studied in Christian History classes as an undergraduate; I was born in 1983.

        (7) Frankly, I wouldn’t know much about the Church of ten years ago, again, except through what I have studied both in class and on my own (and, of course, through the wonderfully acidic world of the Catholic blogosphere): I converted to the Catholic Faith at Easter 2009 after a year-long RCIA class beginning in 2008.

      2. (the following should be read after nn. 1-7 in my previous quote)

        (8) Explain to me how the Baptismal Promises relate to “speaking up” and “fully living” vis à vis the “institutional priesthood,” recalling that we promise to:—(1) To renounce Satan; (2) To renounce all [Satan’s] works; (3) To renounce all [Satan’s] empty show; (4) To believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; (5) To believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death & was buried, rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father; and (6) To believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting?

        (9) My priestly theology is based upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church (cf. ¶¶ 1536-1600), which was published in 1992; it’s Latin typical edition (from which the present, second English edition is derived) was promulgated in 1997.

    1. honoray title that fell into disuse in the US in most dioceses after VII… we are seeing a resurgence even to the point that Chicago made 20+ monsignors at the cost of about $2 million last year. For what reason when the church has so many pressing needs?

      1. Getting the Vox Clara monsignors bumped up to bishop is going to end up costing the ordinary parishes a lot more than that

  8. “Does the clear calumny make us love each other or the Church more? ”

    This sounds like St Sarah Palin the Martyr. What “clear calumny” are you talking about? Note that it is calumny to accuse others of calumny without due cause.

    Such dancing about the debacle of the new translations is an admission that they are indefensible on their “merits” — as will be patent when they are eventually foisted on the clergy and faithul.

  9. Fr Ruff is another messenger who has been shot. But if you keep shooting messengers you end up finding yourself in a frightful mess. They clearly learnt nothing from the sex abuse debacle.

  10. “Someone” was not confusing monsignors with bishops.
    My tongue was in both cheeks at the same time. Of course the designation is not sacramental; sacraments are necessary.
    I can well recall attending the investiture of a dear friend as a Prelate of Honor, and hearing another friend of the Reverend Monsignor call to his attention the wording of the papal rescript, which speaks of “choosing, naming and creating.” Perhaps also with tongue in cheek (at least in that case) the definition of “create” was also given: “to make something out of nothing.”
    Sometimes, I’m afraid, even when the sacrament is involved, that is the case… or attempt.

  11. Mr. Howard – my comment stated $2 million not $20 million. Doubt that we will agree on this and would like to use an approach articulated by Radcliffe, the former Dominican Order leader. He purposely uses the terms “kingdom” and “community” as basic frames or lens through which many of us view and analyze things. Kingdom in his definition are folks who are focused on external, forward looking things; community are folks who are focused on internal, inward looking things. In many ways, monsignor titles have to do with internal matters.

    That being said, allow me to link to actual statements from priests/pastors in Chicago about naming monsignors:

    In terms of money, the archdiocese did acknowledge that Francis Cardinal George gave a “gift” (payment) to the Vatican of an undisclosed amount (but more than $2 million). 20 monsignors – that comes to roughly $100,000 per title minimum. That diocese paid Rome for the naming of monsignors (sort of like a “sacramental fee” was a shock to many)

    Finally, a little historical context in terms of Chicago. Most priests/pastors in Chicago demanded that the naming of monsignors be curtailed dating back to the “troubles” with Cardinal Cody. His personnel/financial/personal problems and his attempts to name monsignors via his authority and power outraged most Chicago clergy. Cardinal Bernardin continued this unwritten policy which continued until August, 2010. Beyond contacting the nominees, there appears to have been no attempt by George at consulting with his priests. Interestingly, an article had been published in July which showed that there were more bishops in Chicago than monsignors; oh well.

    1. My slip of the fingers, but three thousand vs. two million is still a rather large difference. You’re still guilty of relaying guesswork as fact: “Chicago made 20+ monsignors at the cost of about $2 million last year”.

      You could have written “at the cost of what some people guessed was about $2 million dollars”. But you didn’t. The way you play fast and loose with the facts in order to score points against the reputation of Cardinal George is rather disturbing.

      1. Cardinal George would be the bishop of Father Michael Pfleger, friend of Jeremiah Wright and Minister Farrakkan, who made a spectacle of himself ridiculing Hillary Clinton on international TV during the 2008 campaign and who has “Services of Word and Table” with Protestant homilists at Saint Sabina’s Church instead of Catholic Masses for going on what 30 years now? What reputation were you talking about?

      2. Samuel, give it up. Bill knows what he is talking about. Besides, estimates and guesswork are not the same thing. One may be lacking a precise dollar amount but know that it is in the millions.

        Also it’s plain to see that the matter of a “donation” makes formal “costs” nugatory, while the actual money that changes hands may be considerable. If the Macial affair didn’t impress that on us, it should have.

  12. Thanks, Rita. Mr. Howard – keep in mind that this same Cardinal played fast and loose as head of the USCCB in terms of approving this liturgical translation effort – in fact and it is recorded and posted, you can hear some bishops question him about parts of the translation effort that were never voted on by the USCCB because (per George) he had already approved it – his excuse was that it was an administrative oversight. That alone probably should be a post here.

    George is no saint – his record on handling priest abusers since 2002 is frightening.

    When trying to drill down in terms of any dioceses’ budget – spending, costs, collections, assets – there is no demand for transparency; there is no oversight audit teams; there are no US laws, rules to abide by. You have to take what you can find – not exactly reassuring in these times. Yes, in your opinion I seem to be playing fast with my facts but given the lack of truly knowing or finding out what the actual money is, one can also have an opinion that others can also fudge, alter, change actual figures – who would really know?

  13. I cannot believe the lack of charity in these comments. I am literally sitting here shocked. Msgr. Moroney is a fantastic priest, a brilliant scholar, and would do any diocese well if the Holy Spirit chose him as a bishop. Perhaps rather than complaining about priests like junior high students, you should pray for them and support them, build up the Body of Christ. Some of these uninformed comments are nothing less than slander and calumny. Just…wow.

    1. Ben have you followed the discussion on here for months on 2008, 2010, LA and RT and seen all the mistakes 2010 has in it some of them now changed by Rome? What’s your background for thinking he’s a brilliant scholar? If someone whos a priest messes up their job you just keep quiet and say your prayers?

    2. Dear Benedict Casey,

      If there are comments you want the editorial team to review, don’t hesitate to email me at

      There are serious questions, I think, about Msgr. Moroney’s competence and careful attention to detail, his forthright honesty, and the rightness of some of his behind-the-scene machinations.

      I was disappointed in this interaction with Msgr. Moroney. He told me that Opus Dei (Midwest Theological Forum) was not involved in producing the “Received Text” missal presented to Pope Benedict, so I removed the claim from a post. I later was able to confirm that they in fact did the entire layout– but it was then printed up by someone else in Italy. The technical theological term for Moroney’s communication to me, I think it is fair to say, is “a lie.”

      Any criticisms of Msgr. Moroney or anyone else should certainly be done with charity. Please do inform me if you think that didn’t happen in particular cases.


      Fr. Anthony, OSB

Leave a Reply

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