Vox Clara and Opus Dei release missal texts

Today the Vox Clara  commission announced the release of Roman Missal: A Study Text with Excerpts from the New English Translation, published by Midwest Theological Forum, Opus Dei’s publishing house in Chicago.

It is fascinating to observe the ongoing evolution of ecclesial structures in all this. Vox Clara is an advisory committee to the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship in its approval of liturgical translations submitted by national conferences of bishops. It is significant that this advisory body is now publicizing liturgical texts. It would be more conventional for such texts to be released by the International Commission on the Liturgy (ICEL), or by the national liturgy offices of bishops’ conferences. Does this portend a greater role for Vox Clara in coordinating and supervising liturgical translation?

And Opus Dei. Hmmm, I wonder who forged that connection?


  1. +JMJ+

    “Vox Clara is also refining the Ratio Translationis, a book which gives the rationale for how words or types of words are translated.”

    That’s not a good sign. I think this is what is implied:

    “Vox Clara is also revising the Ratio Translationis, a book which gives the rationale for how words or types of words were translated.”

    Face-palm, fail, insert your Internet meme here…

    1. Why is that a fail? If they didn’t learn something or find possible improvements in the process of carrying out a project of the magnitude of the Roman Missal, I’d say that would be the fail. That reminds me of the attitude of the critics of the Pentagon during the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns who would greet every announcement that the army had learned something from the fighting and improved their battle tactics and equipment with, essentially, “Facepalm! Fail!”

      1. “If they didn’t learn something or find possible improvements in the process of carrying out a project of the magnitude of the Roman Missal, I’d say that would be the fail.”

        So WHICH of the 10,000 “corrections” made to the 2008 texts shows that they have “learnt something”? All the evidence points to a deeper level of incompetence in the Moroney revisions than in the original mess.

        ” That reminds me of the attitude of the critics of the Pentagon during the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns”

        Rather unkind of you to equate the missal mess with the worst politico-military blunder in US history.

      2. Did you take a look at Ratio translationis? Over a hundred pages of detailed rules. That is obviously overly constraining for any translator. It’s like a straightjacket. It is what you do when you assign a task to someone you don’t trust: you try to give them such detailed directions that they will have no freedom but will be like a remote-controlled robot.

      3. Actually, not all the changes made were in the wrong direction. There will be legitimate disagreement of style and word choice here or there.

        But generally, it seems that most of the changes were made with the intent to make them easier to understand. In some cases, they may have backfired, but the overall quality of the text for prayer is still there.

        But to those stuck to the 19xx ICEL versions, neither the 2008 nor the 2010 texts (or 2011?) will suffice. I’m happy to give the new texts a try.

      4. Simon the 19xx texts aren’t an issue anymore they’re done. Those of us who have been in favor of a new translation that is accurate and beautiful have every right to say how disappointed we are that somebody or a group of people stepped in and messed up in lots of places as they turned 2008 into 2010. Overcome with paschal joy even the powers of heaven rejoice. Come on Simon you can’t claim that’s either accurate or beautiful and it’s going to be used at every Mass every single day from Easter to Pentecost. And the point is it wasnt as if good and dedicated priests working on the project didn’t point out to the higher ups where these mistakes were. They did. First they were ignored then they were fired. That your idea of how the holy Church should operate? And don’t worry about being willing to give the new texts a try. You got no choice brother. Nobody does.

      5. Jeremy,

        There’s always a choice. People might choose to simply not attend Mass, for example. Whether that is a better choice than enduring the mess of the new translation is another question.

      6. Lynn

        It’s very clearly the hope of some that there will be people who wil cease “pretending” to be Catholic and leave a holy remnant rump of a Ctholic Church. They are hoping to demoralize those who are not persuaded to become like them.

      7. Karl,

        Claiming my own snarkiness, I think the operative word in your last comment is probably ‘rump’. I think that because I think what you said is so true, at least in some circles.

        Is there anything more un-Christian [never mind un-Catholic] than the “I’m more Christian [Catholic] than _you_!” game?

    2. +JMJ+

      If they had revised the R.T. after one of the iterations of the translation process, I could understand that. But this is essentially grandfathering in whatever deviations from the R.T. exist in the final 2010 text.

      They are now crafting “legislation” to match their conduct. It will result in a “flawless” product: a translation that perfectly abides by the R.T., because the R.T. will have been crafted to permit every idiosyncrasy in the text.

      The 2008 text shows a steady adherence to the existing R.T., and X.R. (among others) has shown how the 2010 text deviated from the R.T. Why, then, did both the 2008 text and the R.T. need revising? What are the flaws of the 2008 text and the R.T. that needed revision, and why?

      I’m really disappointed with these unilateral actions.

      This is not a military campaign that requires constant adaptation to enemy forces. (At least, I hope it’s not.)

      1. Not at the level of the smart people on here but I’ve followed this on Pray Tell from the start. This is the same thing they did with the 1998 translation right? The 1998 was prepared according to one set of rules contained in an official document. Can’t remember it’s name. They didn’t like how 1998 came out so they changed the translation rules by writing LA and then produced 2008. The people who turned that into 2010 broke some of the LA rules so now they are changing the rules again to make their end product OK. In my neck of the woods we call that moving the goalposts. It works. It’s just not honest. And in this case just like in 1998 some good people get hurt and the company men go on there merry way. No way to run a church in my opinion.

  2. This is the same place that has produced the Monsignor Moroney DVD introducing the new translation, “A New Translation for a New Roman Missal.” $20 for 37 minutes. Wasn’t he involved in the “One Body, One Spirit” DVD that is supposed to be “official”? It is pretty clear from the pictures and, those who know these things have said on this blog, from the fonts used, that this is the publishing house that produced the presentation Missal for the Pope and presumably the copies people have been “studying,” although a number of people, including bishops, have said publicly that they’ve been trying the texts out at Masses (cum permissu?).

    I guess when Monsignor said in that interview that the text was “rich and thick”, he wasn’t kidding.

  3. Jeffrey, bingo.

    Jeremy, also bingo.
    The guidelines followed in producing 1998 were called Comme le Prevoit.

  4. I’m just a simple country priest and the turmoil and tempest that seems to have erupted on the part of those on this site to the new translation of the Roman Missal is not taking into account that the changes made when I was a server in grade school were much more of a shock to the people in the pew than what this new translation will do. Yet, we got used to it. The comments that appear on this site seem to be mainly those who want to blame the Church’s leaders for insensitivity. But these same commentators have no problem with delay when it has taken over 10 years to finally come up with an English translation that can be understood by the folks in the pews despite what “experts” might claim to be too elevated language. I’m tired of the clunky and weak language that diminishes the sense of the sacred, in the current translation that will thankfully be abandoned, especially since this involves the central act of the Church. I’m tired of all of those who think they know and understand these matters simply because they have a degree in Liturgy. Come on, get off your high horse and give the new translation as much time to become familiar as the 1970 translation was for me when I was growing up.

    1. At least the current translations are mostly sensible, if not particularly beautiful, English. These new and allegedly improved ones are a big pile of very _bad_ English, with probably a few gems tossed in.

      If it takes me 3 minutes to parse one horribly convoluted sentence, I’m going to tune out, guaranteed. Even if I don’t tune out, I’m quite hopelessly far behind, so I’m pretty much disengaged. At that point, why should I bother being there at all, then?

      The argument that twisty, convoluted sentences are okay because it keeps things mysterious is a silly excuse, at best, for bad work.

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