No, the claims of 10,000 changes to the missal text aren’t being modified downward. If anything, the number will probably go up when we discover that the final text shows further slight fiddling with an already fiddled-with text. I leave to someone else the tedious (but important) work of documenting and tallying that.

The title of this post refers to this: In an interesting article in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, Msgr. Moroney points out that “about 7,000 individuals ranging from bishops to poets and musicians have been involved in the revisions” leading to the final text of the newly translated English missal.

7,000 is a lot of people. Let no one think that this translation was completed by a small conspiracy of 3 or 4 people, or by a blue ribbon commission of 30 or 40 people. Let no one think that the work was done only by members of the hierarchy, with no involvement from lay people. Let no one think that the Holy See or national episcopal conferences or individual bishops did not consult with others along the way. Lots of people from lots of countries with lots of differing levels of authority created this translation.


There are about 90 million Catholics in English-speaking regions. The 7,000 collaborators, then, represent about 0.000 78 % of the total. Or, since we’re dealing with rough estimates, let’s suppose it’s only 75 million English-speaking Catholics but 7,500 collaborators. That brings us to 0.001 % direct involvement. The defense of the process is getting stronger now.

I realize that translating is highly specialized work that can’t be carried about by tens of millions of people. A subcommittee with, say, 10,000 members around the table is unwieldy. When a parish needs a composer for a commissioned anthem, or a lawyer for a legal defense, the pastor goes to a specialist. The whole parish doesn’t compose the choral piece or prepare the legal documents.

True enough. We need competence for a good translation, and that requires the selection of experts. Not everyone can or should do the translation.

But as much as possible, everyone needs to use and accept the translation. It is difficult to see how the Body of Christ can be built up otherwise.

We lack buy-in on the new translation because of the way in which collaborators and consultants, however numerous, are engaged. Engagement is top-down and by invitation only. At each level of authority, the people on top select which people from below to invite. (Think for a second of those excluded from involvement in principle on the upcoming missal because they were tainted by having worked on the 1997 translation.) In our system, only when the translation is a done deal is it unveiled officially to 99.999 22 % of the church. (Or, to put out the more favorable estimate, to 99.999 %.)

I recently heard Paul Westermeyer at Luther Seminary speak on the reception of the new hymnal/worship book Evangelical Lutheran Worship by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Lutherans can be very attached to their hymns, and altering the denominational hymnal is a political minefield. But they did it, and it worked. By and large, the new book is being accepted and welcomed by the broad middle of the church, albeit with some inevitable grousing from the more extreme innovators or conservators.

Specialists did the work in the Lutheran process. But their work – draft liturgical texts, draft service music, draft hymn lists – was made public to 100% of the church membership at every stage. The specialists were open at every stage to comments and suggestions from 100% of the church membership. Most importantly, 100% of the church membership was given a vote in the election of the delegates who gave final approval to the worship book. Direct involvement in the process was necessarily limited to the few, but delegated involvement was open in principle to “the many” –meaning, here as elsewhere, all the people, 100%.

I’m not proposing that we Catholics become Lutheran, or that we adopt in toto the policies and procedures of them or any other Christian body. Nor am I suggesting (please note, would-be commenters) that we should all vote on the Trinity or the ordination of women or any other doctrine. I’m talking about how we prepare liturgical translations.

Our system doesn’t seem to be working as well as it could. It seems unlikely that our new English missal will be accepted and welcomed by the broad middle of the Church. At best it will be tolerated, put up with, endured.

Our Church has had many different organizational structures since the first century. It will be interesting to see how our structures continue to evolve, drawing on models from earlier periods in our history, and perhaps carefully developing new models to meet our needs under changed conditions.

Our newly translated missal might turn out to be a helpful prod in that process. Even if its implementation doesn’t go very well. Especially if its implementation doesn’t go very well.


P.S. Since we’re talking about statistics, here would be an important one: the number of people who hijacked our translation at the last stage and did the massive rewrite. 3? 4? more? They’re not telling us, so we’re still waiting for the full truth to leak out. Even if it is, say, 5 people, that would still only be a percentage of the total English-speaking Catholic Church of… oh, never mind.


  1. perhaps carefully developing new models to meet our needs under changed conditions.

    Perhaps the solemnity of Christ the King can be retired and replaced by Christ the President.

    1. Bobby, only if we can replace the second greatest commandment with your approach to everything: Thou shalt be sarcastic to thy neighbor 24/7 and snarky in thy every posting. Lift up your heart pal and charity up your act. It’s getting tedious.

      1. Jeremy, this thread is about participatory democracy in governance and administration of the Church. It’s my observation that democracy in the Church is tolerable only within limits. In my view, these have long since been violated, to the detriment of many souls who no longer know Our Lord as he wishes to be known. My speech is pointed because it’s meant to penetrate. No uncharity is intended. I thought that was obvious.

      2. Christ the President: Exactly. You read my mind, RBR! Your charity is exceded by your prescience, free of snark or lampoon.

        Not. Actually, you’re habitually disrespectful and it’s bothering several participants. Change your tone if you wish to be permitted to participate further in this blog.


    2. You nailed it: old-style monarchist thinking lies behind the dysfunctional communication-system of our Church.

      1. Might have replied differently. What RBR seems to be skipping over or minimizing is the church’s goverance in the first centuries; its governance in parts of the world where Rome was rarely heard from. Thought that VII was also about “ressourcement” – in this sense, trying to learn and incorporate some of the early church’s experience in terms of governance, leadership, how bishops (were they called that) roles were, etc. There were attempts to incorporate some of this in broad principles and directives e.g. collegiality. But, since VII, we seem to have reverted back to the governance style characterized by Vatican I – which many church experts point out is not a very long tradition; skews how the church managed itself for generations, and has begun to concentrate power in the pope/papacy beyond anything seen in our history.

  2. You wrote:
    Most importantly, 100% of the church membership was given a vote in the election of the delegates who gave final approval to the worship book.

    That’s not entirely correct, though I appreciate the way in which you commend the Lutheran process for how we developed our new worship book. Yes, the process was unusually open for comment and feedback, with forums held in every synod (akin to a Roman Catholic diocese) and feedback requested from laity and clergy and musicians. A trial song book and trial liturgies were available online and through our publishing house.

    However, those who voted to commend the book to the church at our Churchwide Assembly were “Voting Members” to the Churchwide Assembly, who were elected by voting members to local Synod Assemblies. Voting members to synod assemblies are variously elected by congregations or named by congregational councils. Thus, church members didn’t vote on the delegates who gave approval to the book, but they (or their congregation’s leadership) voted on people who voted on people who gave final approval to the book. Less direct than what your words suggest, but still an open and good process, to be sure.

  3. Even before figuring out how to get input from a bigger number of people how about figuring out how not to fire TWO PRIESTS who had concerns about translation errors and English mistakes and were honest enough to say so. How tough should that be.

  4. Both “authority” and “competence” are referred to in the post. While there is the need and place for both, they are neither synonymous nor simultaneous. “Having” or “being” one does not assure the other… except in the minds of some who have the one but not the other.

  5. For organizations with a good product, leaks to blogosphere generate excitement. On the other hand, Rome seems so paranoid that they must know that their product is inferior. A product that is so obviously over-promised and pitifully behind schedule calls into question the competence of its managers. Some people must be under a lot of stress right now.

    1. If only their stress would lead them to desist — and to spare the People of God a disheartening and stressful experience.

    2. Hence the return to Fortress Catholicism. All bridges up and get the sharks released into the moat. Man the battlements and give the panzer divisions their marching orders.

  6. I can’t help but remember the adage “Too many cooks…” and “it looks like something designed by a committee.” 7,000 seems enough for me.

    1. Oh I agree, 7.000 is a great number. I don’t have an issue with that.

      This is probably clear already, but just to be sure: the issue I’m raising is not how many are involved, but how they are chosen and who ratifies their decisions. I’m longing for the right kind of power relationships in Christian structures which would really build up the Body of Christ.


      1. awr,

        I admire your insight in all things liturgical, but with all respect your math is not that great.

        From the study of statistics I have learned that a sample of 7,000 can indeed be generalizable to an extremely large population. Thus a sample of 5,000 can do an extremely good job predicting the results of a presidential election.

        The only problem is, for this to be true, the sample must be entirely RANDOM. Thus, your insight above (“raising … how they are chosen”) is exactly the point. Bravo!

        I enjoyed the article at the head of the post, but the reality is less about the percentages and more about who the participants are and how they are selected.


      2. Dear Allen Corrigan,

        I appreciate your supportive comments. However, I didn’t speak at all to the question of representative sample and true randomness. My post was entirely about how participants are selected. I’m glad you agree that that is an important point.


  7. Moroney has spoken like this before, and he is being disingenuous once again by deliberately not specifying what he’s talking about. The 17 drafts reviewed by about a dozen “constituencies” is a far more interesting statistic.

    It’s quite easy to come to a figure of 7000 if you add up the total membership of English-speaking episcopal conferences, their advisors and commissions and consultants, all of whom were “involved” in the new translation if you adopt one particular definition of the word “involved”. By not specifying that definition, Moroney is setting up a smokescreen, and hoping that he will be believed.

    The fact is that the aspects of the translation and its process which have drawn the ire and criticism of so many on this forum and elsewhere are the responsibility of a comparatively small number of people. And the fact that entire episcopal conferences are saying privately that the whole affair is “disgraceful” is a fair indication that they do not feel their “involvement” in the process has been anywhere near satisfactory.

    1. Exactly, Paul. Another adage that may be apposite to this thread — “exaggeration weakens the point.”

      In the end, it came down to several priests (“secundi meriti munus”). Dedicated, scholarly, faithful, loyal, I don’t doubt. But with one exception, a modicum of pastoral experience.

      And not a lay person among them.

      Poets? Well, I guess it’s all “sub secreto.” Seamus Heaney, Dana Gioia, Patricia Hampl, I don’t think so. Maybe a versifier or two.

  8. Fr. Ruff – Paul raises an interesting issue here that gets at the overall context in which Moroney and others operate. While I agree with Rita that we need to examine and comment on Moroney and his liturgical skills only, a wider context might connect some of the disparate dots such as Paul is raising here. This type of “disingenous” behavior reflects a pattern – a pattern we have seen often in terms of clericalism, careerism within the priesthood, and what appears to be a lack of integrity which is covered up and positioned as “loyalty”.

  9. I never before heard anyone boasting of the huge number of authors a text had. Did he ever hear of the adage, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Not to mention too many kooks and too many crooks.

  10. One bit that’s been floating about for years is that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. . .

    This may explain much, come to think.

    1. and to think so many were concerned about the
      Committee of 30 under archbishop Bugnini and PPaulVI, and their creation of a “manufactured” liturgy.

      1. Was this comment meant to be sarcasm? If you know the history of Bugnini, the committee of 30, etc. then you will know that you are comparing apples to oranges. You also have taken a name/title – committee of 30 – and imply a whole, imagined scenario based on that name. The history tells a much more detailed, expanded, and wonderful story. Manufactured – again, your opinion and your term – deragatory at best. Depending upon how you define this term, all liturgy is “manufactured”.

        Do your homework.

  11. 1. How many were involved in Vox Clara’s final 2010 version that “improved”/”disfigured” (depending on your point of view) the work of the 7000?

    Two? Three? Five?

    2. Is Mgr Moroney including all the uninvited commentators who have contacted ICEL and the CDW directly about the new translation over the last several years? That number may not be insignificant. But is that real participation, because I wonder how many of these laity and priests ever received an acknowledgement, let alone a response to their comments? I never did.

    3. I find it hard to believe that poets were involved in any meaningful way given the stilted and ungainly texts we have, and the stifling rules of Liturgiam Authenticam that doesn’t give room for poetry.

  12. 4. Collaboration requires dialogue.

    How much dialogue was there among the 7000? Or was the communication largely one way only, upwards? That’s not collaboration, or even real participation: it’s involvement, which is the word Mgr Moroney uses.

    So, it appears that 7000 could have been involved. But how sufficient and satisfactory is that?

  13. If 7000 would be a GOOD number of people to be involved, why not 70,000? Or 700,000? Why not just have every Catholic involved? Does the involvement of more people make the result better? Or is it just that it would have the appearance of being more just or some such thing?

    Not to mention that such a project (involving widespread input) would never conclude. It would simply become the battleground for the exact same issues that are debated here. I don’t really understand how 7000 individuals having their hands in a translation project results in a better translation than perhaps two or three competent translators working on their own. Is there any instance where a committee acheives better results than an individual? I’ve been around committees long enough to know the answer to that question beyond any doubt…

    1. Jeffrey,

      I agree, there’s no magic number, and more people isn’t necessarily better.

      My point concerns buy-in. I’m very concerned that we lack that, and this will hinder the implementation and cause resentment. For greater buy-in, imho, we need some sort of consultation and approval process that isn’t top-down and secretive. Every single Lutheran has an indirect vote of delegated power, and their new worship book is uniting and building up the church instead of dividing and wounding it.

      The only case for our monarchical system of consultation-by-invitation-only would be that it successfully secures the best experts and produces a superior product. This would be an argument for elitism in the service of aesthetic excellence. But we’re not getting that. We’re getting the worst of all possible worlds: abuse of power combined with incompetence.

      I suppose we could try to convince our people that they should accept the authority of the hierarchy because of their Catholic faith, and stop expecting democratic involvement. Two problems with this. First, theoretically, we know that there have been less centralized and monarchical structures in the history of the Church. Second, practically, it’s virtually impossible for an authority lacking credibility to regain it by insisting more strongly on its exclusive claim to power.


    2. Father Ruff: Jeffrey should read your posting on the Monsignor Moroney thread where you describe how he told you that the Midwest Theological Forum had nothing to do with the Presentation Missal given to the Pope when it turned out that they did ALL the technical work on it but the actual printing which was done in Italy. That’s the issue with this whole process: the lies, the shell game approach, the politics. It stinks. And Jeffrey seems to have dedicated himself to being the voice that says Nothing to see here folks go back to your cars when really there’s a 10,000 car pileup on the highway to 2010 and at least two dead bodies in the road. One of them yours.

      On another blog he’s still saying that the essays that started pointing out all the errors is Latin translation and English usage were really the work of a secret liberal who’s afraid his Vatican II NewChurch is slipping away.

      Give it up Jeff buddy. If you wanna keep swimming in De Nile be my guest but thanks to Pray Tell and the honesty that cost Fr Ruff and Fr Griffiths plenty, everyone knows that the process stunk and the product is defective. And hopefully the people that hijacked the Missal won’t get their hands on anything else liturgical.

      1. Jeremy;

        You really have no idea what my view is, so don’t try to give it in detail. As for the reference to a “secret liberal”, I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I certainly don’t believe what you’re claiming. And there are no “secret liberals”…. that would be something like a “stealth elephant”. I do however think that the NewChurch advocates see their time coming to an end and they are really upset about it, so the new translation has become something of a Waterloo for them. I am not, however claiming that everyone here is a NewChurch advocate, so leave that line of reasoning alone. It is telling however that you seem to have to make your point by trying to characterize what I believe in a way that suits your criticism. Clever.

        My point was this. While calling for increased involvement, has it accured to anyone here that it was the “increased involvement” that caused the problems being cited? Is there an existent model (in the Catholic Church) of democratic participation and broad consultation that has WORKED? Everybody cites the 1998 translation, but…uhhh… that didn’t really WORK now, did it?

        I’ll put it here in writing for you. I don’t think the New Translation is perfect. Some things in the 2008 version would have been best left alone. Some things could have been done more to my liking, but they weren’t. And besides, it isn’t really about “my liking”. We have a New Translation. If I actually thought that some kind of grass-roots activism would result in a better translation, I would be out there at the front of the line. But it won’t, and you and I both know that. I also know that engaging in the kind of protest and opposition that some (not all) here have advocated will harm, not help the effort. Obedience may not be fashionable, but it really was meant for situations exactly like this. And I don’t mean the kind of “obedience” that covers up sexual abuse or whatever. Have some sense.

      2. Here’s the quote from Chant Cafe. If you’re not Chironomo over there, I apologize:

        “The orinal post at PT that spurred this article was so transparently made from the point of view of a discouraged progressive who sees the time of the NewChurch coming to an end, wishing with all her strength that her unlikely predictions might come true. The reasoning goes like this:

        If I think this translation is an abomination intended to solidify clerical power, surely EVERYONE must believe this.”

    3. Fr. Ruff & all,

      I don’t think the new hymnal is being received warmly in every quarter in the ELCA, quite the contrary it seems.
      “Scott M. Grorud, pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Redwood Falls, Minn., and a board member of the WorldAlone Network, a renewal movement in the ELCA, wrote in the group’s newsletter that the new hymnal “introduces practices that are not consistent with Lutheran theology and worship…” (The Lutheran-Oct. 2006).
      Visions of a consultative process can be deceiving. Consider that a certain group-think often prevails even with the appearance of diversity when clerics, laity, men, women, or various ethnic groups are assembled to discuss change in the Church. The voice of tradition can be easily silence in such assemblies, something Pastor Grorud would seem concur. Selections of representatives for Church assemblies can be easily manipulated to achieve a preordained end.
      The result of the Lutheran hymnal process can be compared to our own translation in one respect, Michael Burke, their Executive for Liturgy and Musical Resources said of Lutheran critics of their new hymnal “There are those who may be skeptical (of the new ELCA hymnal). We hope they will discover what matters to the church…”. I imagine Catholic skeptics of the new translation might choose to do the same.

      1. World Alone? I thought those people were trying to avoid harmful influences from the secular world. 🙂

        I didn’t claim that everyone is accepting it, but rather that the broad middle is. I wouldn’t expect anyone in Word Alone to accept much of anything done by anyone in their church. They’re a protest group. And they’re having trouble getting their own hymnal off the ground because they can’t agree with each other about anything.

        But thanks for the news. Redwood Falls is about 12 miles from the farm I grew up on.



      2. Jack;

        I was involved in the process for the compilation of the “New Century” hymnal for the UCC back in 1994. The “consultation process” had quite a few layers, and the “consultation” consisted of sub-sub-sub groups compiling lists of “favorite hymns”, voting on their top 100 or so, and passing the list up to the next level who would make their list from these lists, vote on them and pass them up the line… you get the idea.

        In the end, the UCC got a hymnal that some thought was too liberal (and that’s saying something in the UCC!), others thought was too conservative, and nobody entirely liked enough to replace their Pilgrim Hymnals with.

        But in the case of a hymnal, each church has a choice whether to buy it and change or not. Some did, others didn’t.
        That choice doesn’t exist with the new translation we are dealing with. Some parishes (pastors actually) might try, but in the end, they will be gone and their efforts will have just meant delay. The process of creating a hymnal and the new translation are nothing alike.

  14. Was this comment meant to be sarcasm? If you know the history of Bugnini, the committee of 30, etc. then you will know that you are comparing apples to oranges. You also have taken a name/title – committee of 30 – and imply a whole, imagined scenario based on that name. The history tells a much more detailed, expanded, and wonderful story. Manufactured – again, your opinion and your term – deragatory at best. Depending upon how you define this term, all liturgy is “manufactured”.
    Yes, I was sarcastic, I admit. My implication was that liturgy by committee, as many traditionalists see it, is “inorganic” and, therefore, “manufactured”. They don’t realize the Trentine liturgy came from a committee.

    My point is the numbers really don’t matter for the purposes of reforming the RMissal or the liturgy. The effort within the Bugnini committee and outside (Cardinal Lercaro, Ottaviani, etc), together with the pressure placed on Pope Paul with respect to the anaphora, the objection to the Swiss canon, and many other issues, all point to the fact committes, irrespective of their size, can be subverted, manipulated, and shaped inside and outside byforces to meet someone’s agenda. This need not be entirely bad, depending upon one’s perspective.

    Following the Council, the powers knew how to undercut it. This isn’t a lesson in liturgy, but a lesson in power politics.
    Consider what happened to Fr. Cipriano Vaggagini OSB, author of EP IV. He had a vastly different and far more expansive anaphora in mind , painstakingly researched, shot down by Bugnini and outside forces fearful of his Byzantine tilt. The character assasination of archbishop Bugnini by the radical right, with help from arch traditionalists shows how desperate many were to stop any further reform. Soon Bugnini is sent to the boondocks.

    Looking at reactions over the years, the Church ends up with a liturgy few, traddy or otherwise,…

  15. No one is going to be happy with this process it seems. “Slow, behind schedule” is frowned upon. Maybe they were taking into consideration what has been said, critical of the translation. And yet it is being foisted upon us with no thought. How can it be both? 7000 people seems more than enough, brought from all spheres of the Church. Certainly those of us without liturgical or theological backrounds should not be involved. Would you want a few hundred opinions and participants in a surgery you may need? The more transparent Rome is the more people complain simply because they don’t like what the transparency reveals. A general consensus that this is the best way to go forward and that the old translation was highly defective. Even if we know it like the back of our hands, it has been called defective and examples given as to how. As a simple lay person with no liturgical backround I can read the old translation, read the new and see that the newer gives us a fuller picture, or message as to its’ content and meaning. That is enough for me. The older translation often does not invoke the imagery in our minds that it is supposed to after it has been pointed out to me or I take the time to look it up on the internet. Again, that speaks volumes. It seems the more time given to this project which has been decades already, the more time people want to stall it. Revision is not always a “better” way but often just a different approach which in turn will alienate another group, previously on the fence or supportive. So you see it goes nowhere. Better to maintain a Latin Ordinary, teach lay people their parts, and only worry about minimal translations for the parts that change daily or weekly for the people who benefit from the vernacular. It will also keep to bickering to a minimum.

    1. +JMJ+

      Better to maintain a Latin Ordinary, teach lay people their parts

      I’m curious why the retention of Latin and its use by the faithful at Mass (or at least the ability of the faithful to use it) from Vatican II, one of the specific decrees on the liturgical reform from SC 51-58, is the only one of those eight which really has not be realized in the typical parish experience.

      1. +JMJ+

        Todd, I have read many of the post-Conciliar documents. My concern is why, of SC 51-58, when it comes to implementing the specific reforms decreed by the Council, SC 54.2 seems not to have been implemented, despite Eucharisticum Mysterium 19, Iubilate Deo (and Voluntari Obsequens), Varietates Legitimae 40 (fn 84) and GIRM 41, among others.

        And Optatam Totius 13 calls for seminarians to “acquire a knowledge of Latin which will enable them to understand and make use of the sources of so many sciences and of the documents of the Church” because “study of the liturgical language proper to each rite should be considered necessary.”

        It would appear this part of the Council’s vision for liturgical and priestly reform is still waiting to be realized. Unless… the realization of this part of the Council’s vision is not to implement it. Or else… how much longer will it be until this can actually be received and accomplished?

        Is this really all that can be said about it in retrospect? SC 54.2: “The Mass ordinary should be known in Latin.” OT 13: “Good suggestion, but one not taken too often.” And what makes it a suggestion to be taken or left, rather than an objective to be accomplished?

      2. Todd,

        We could read the post-conciliar docs. all day and none would explain this glaring failure in the implementation of the council’s specific decrees on the subject. Pope Paul VI’s Iubilate Deo and the 1983 code suggest that Latin is very much a part of the post V2 liturgical life of the Church. We’ve failed pastorally in this area and the Church’s liturgical crisis is evidence of it.

      3. Strictly speaking this isn’t a critique of the reform, since the reformers aren’t in every parish selecting music for every Mass. The reform has carried out the wishes of the Council in giving people resources for the use of Latin in the liturgy (while, of course, also permitting vernacular for every part of the liturgy, following the procedures given in AS 22.2). Everyone is free to do all the Latin chant they want since Vatican II. People in parishes are responsible for making use of what the reform gave them.

        But the admonition “do more Latin chant” is rather like the admonitions “use beautiful objects in worship” or “love your neighbor” – the ideal will always be higher than the reality of our fulfillment.


      4. Fr. Ruff & all,

        I for one agree with your charitable comments on this subject. The ideal is clearly higher than our reality. My continued concern is the highly specific directive from SC on the subject of Latin’s retention in the liturgy. It seems too specific to be reduced to an admonition along the lines of beautiful vestments, chalices, or other objects used in worship. The pointed directive from SC on this topic is what makes the failure to use Latin more regularly in worship seem to be a failure in the post-conciliar implementation and the widespread dismissive of Latin among progressive Church professionals an apparent rejection of part of the council’s call.

      5. +JMJ+

        Strictly speaking this isn’t a critique of the reform, since the reformers aren’t in every parish selecting music for every Mass.

        Fr. Anthony, I’m not speaking of Latin simply in terms of Gregorian chant. There’s not enough singing of the Ordinary in most parishes anyway (that’s my experience, at least). Making the responses in Latin at all is my first target.

        People in parishes are responsible for making use of what the reform gave them.

        Except that I think most people are woefully malformed in this regard.

        Do they know the Council Fathers desire them to be able to make the responses in Latin as well as in the vernacular? Do they know that the Holy See (and by extension, their own bishops’ conferences) still has that desire?

        Do they know if their hymnal and/or missalette has the Latin responses? I’m almost certain that WLP’s “Seasonal Missalette” does not; if it does, it’s hidden away in some appendix, which makes it an obstacle for use — who wants to be constantly flipping back and forth in the missalette?

        And even if they do find the Latin responses, and a priest dares to make use of them, would the people be able to make them? I know a few people who bring up the obstacle of pronunciation. While I think the pronunciation of a few ecclesial Latin phrases can be picked up quickly, I don’t think Mass is the best time for that picking up!

        “do more Latin chant” is rather like “use beautiful objects in worship” or “love your neighbor” – the ideal will always be higher than our fulfillment

        Okay, but we hear the exhortation to love our neighbor with some regularity. Latin doesn’t (and shouldn’t, I admit) get the same degree of attention as divine commandments. But it is still a conciliar decree. Imagine of parishes were as half-hearted with the Lectionary, the homily, the Prayer of the Faithful, Communion, participating in the whole Mass, and concelebration.

    2. Mitch;

      You raise an interesting point. Transparency is fine so long as you are willing to accept that you have no idea what you’re seeing. The problem is that “transparency” never reveals the full picture, and the tendency is to then create theories about the parts we can’t see.

      1. I agree, this is an interesting and important point.

        This is a real problem for church authorities such as the CDW, and I don’t have a solution. The new player in all this is internet. Complete secrecy is probably no longer possible. Leaks and hearsay only give partial information. Will church authorities realize that secrecy doesn’t work, and start publicizing drafts and reports on committee meetings? Or will they continue to attempt to maintain secrecy, and live with all the grief they’ve had to endure during the whole missal saga?

        I’m sure they must have objected that some of the coverage on the blogs was misleading or unfair. But their only defense, it seems to me, is to provide their own coverage as a counter balance.

  16. I think Msgr. Moroney’s point is that this was a large group of talented people including both clergy and laity who worked for over 10 years on this project. Of course, they were appointed by a legitimate authority.

    The suggestion that there wasn’t enough participation or consultation is based on presuppositions that are yours personally and not part of ICEL. Moreover, in the Church, those bearing apostolic succession have the final say in matters of public worship.

    Ironically, your point seems to coincide with that of those who reject the Vatican II liturgical reform. It seems, mutatis mutandis, they could use your argument to argue that the present typical edition of the Roman Missal was itself formulated by a far far less representative percentage and group of Catholics and imposed by authority.

  17. You are comparing apples to oranges and it reflects your lack of information around the process from VII until 1998.

    What has occurred over the last 10 years replaced 17 years of work based on the 1973 english translation – one that most of us agree had complex goals and objectives and was an immense task in terms of translating and reforming the liturgy from the pre-VII missal. To state that 2008/2010’s task was of the same magnitude, challenge, etc. to 1973 indicates a complete lack of knowledge.

    Your argument works (mutatis mutandis) only if you pick and choose; leave out years of history and experience; and narrowly take 1973 and 2008. In fact, some on different blogs do exactly what you say and it fails in terms of accuracy, experience, the historical record, etc. It is rewriting history to support a pre-determined agenda.

  18. Jack N.– The pointed directive from SC on this topic is what makes the failure to use Latin more regularly in worship seem to be a failure in the post-conciliar implementation and the widespread dismissive of Latin among progressive Church professionals an apparent rejection of part of the council’s call.–


    That is why many people claim only ‘the spirit’ of Vatican II. To those people specific words don’t matter. They understand the ‘spirit’ as being: everything–especially the meaning of words– is in a state of flux therefore the Church should also reflect that. She should be constantly engaging modern culture much like a math professor I once heard of who would write notes with his right hand and erase them with his left as he progressed across the board.

  19. Pingback: REVISAL

Leave a Reply

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