Surprise Development: USCCB delays missal implementation!

Pray Tell has learned that Archbishop Dolan will delay implementation of the revised translation of the Roman Missal in the US.

Seemingly picking up on a recommendation of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland, where he recently served as member of the papally-appointed visitation team, Dolan will decree that missal implementation be delayed five years. This will allow time for consultation at all levels of the Church, with a view toward attaining as broad a consensus as possible on the translation issue. Sources close to the New York chancery report that Dolan will push for a trial run of proposed texts to ascertain their pastoral suitability.

This development is a major game changer, and reactions are falling out in some unexpected ways.

Helen Hull Hitchcock, co-founder of the Adoremus Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy, welcomed the announcement and placed it in the context of Pope Benedict’s battle to bring back holiness and sacredness to the liturgy. “Clearly this represents a violent shift away from vernacular in the liturgy and toward greater use of Latin,” she told Pray Tell. “The Supreme Pontiff is applying a sledge hammer to the present texts by highlighting them – they’re not holy or Catholic or traditional, and not everyone has seen that clearly yet.”

Fr. Michael Ryan, on the other hand, originator of the “What If We Just Said Wait?” movement, expressed serious concern that this delay will take the wind out of the sails of the WIWJSW petition, which he no longer supports in any way.

Over at Chant Café, Jeffrey Tucker is ecstatic. “Make no mistake,” he emphasized, “this isn’t about liturgical texts. It’s about copyrights. They should be done away with, and people are starting to see that. This is the beginning of the end of copyright tyranny, and that’s a good thing. I predict this will bring lots and lots of people back to the Church.”

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf at What Does the Prayer Really Say allowed that he had known about this development for several days from his contacts inside the Roman curia, but hasn’t had much time to blog in recent days. He welcomes continued contributions from his readers to give him more time to blog.

Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB, was out of the country and unavailable for comment, amid rumors of an impending appointment in Rome.

On the left, the dissident organization Call to Action expressed discomfort at finding itself supportive of a member of the patriarchial hierarchy, alongside relief at the implications of Dolan’s decision for them. “Now at least we’ll still have an accessible, useable official text to ignore when we write our conference liturgy from scratch,” said the CTA leadership team. “People were extremely upset around having to ignore a proposed text which is so archaic, Latinite, elitist, and sexist.”

Officials at the Congregation for Divine Worship expressed consternation at learning of Dolan’s decision from the blog world. “First the leaked internal report on the Received Text, and now this,” sighed an unnamed undersecretary. “The Church finds herself in a transitional stage of not little difficulty, until such time as the Holy See elaborates adequate mechanisms by which the competent dicastery of the Holy See will regulate the blogosphere, including the timely approval of posts destined for electronic dissemination.”

Many observers expected that other bishops’ conferences will follow the lead of the Church’s largest English-speaking conference. (The U.S. has some 85% of the world’s English-speaking Catholics.) Interestingly, Ireland might be the lone exception. Officials of the Irish bishops’ conference told Pray Tell that the gravity of the church crisis in their land makes it all the more pressing that the healing, unitive power of the new texts be unleashed as soon as possible.

April 1, 2011


  1. I wonder if there’s any significance of the date this statement was released? Isn’t today the Feast of Sts. Iphingenia and Cunegonda?

  2. I think Pray Tell has a great sense of humor. Happy April Fool’s Day! It brightened up my dreary rainy NY day!

  3. I loved it, especially the comment concerning Fr. Anthony, and the “pending appointment” I laughed and laughed. April fools!!

  4. Very funny. You had me going even after the Helen Hull Hitchcock comment. Phooey, I’m a little sad now. And it’s snowing up in Washington Heights. That’s not funny.

  5. I guess since this is just an April Fools’ joke it means we’re still getting the Vox Clara Fools’ Missal …. speaking of jokes!:-)

    1. Speaking of “Vox Clara Fools” (to quote you, Jeremy) and continuing in the same vein as the original post here:

      Msgr. James Moroney of Vox Clara, widely suspected as the mastermind behind the massive rewrite of the missal text approved by the world’s English speaking bishops, told Pray Tell, “At my presentations, close to 20,000 priests and deacons in recent years have heard the views of Vox Clara and I at the invitation of more than a hundred bishops. In whatever direction the position of the Church’s officials change, I can assure you that that will be my position. I look forward to reading the actual episcopal decree, and hearing the Holy See’s reaction, about which I must understandably maintain complete confidentiality, as I discern my position. Not just 10,000 – more than 20,000!”

  6. same fate as happened to the German funeral rite lately( well, this was and is a real story…)

  7. For a moment I thought the Vatican was announcing the appointment of Cardinal Pell as Primate of Alice Springs.

  8. read it on my handheld walking through airport, and laughed and laughed very hard, which alarmed many passersby! As with all great caricatures, the fun is how oddly true it is!

  9. I suppose the thing could have been worse, like, for instance carrying one (or more) of these headlies:

    “Cardinal Rigali made Co-Archpriest of Santa Maria Maggiore”


    “John Paul II Beatification Called Off”


    “James P Moroney named Bishop”


    Whispers In The Loggia Finally Mentions Missal Debacle”

    1. Though I think the third one might actually happen. Either that or ” . . . is awarded thirty pieces of silver.”

      1. “Fr Jim Blue:”

        Some of us have been wondering who you are (and indeed, whether you’re a person or a recollection) and now you’re sounding like you might be the subject of your comment!

        In any event, you’re being too kind to poor Jim, equating him with Judas . . . after all, Judas MUST HAVE had better Latin than Jim (and who doesn’t?) – for Judas was, of course, a Bishop!

        (Fancy, the first acts of the episcopate were denial – Peter – and betrayal – Judas – and the episcopate, for the most part, has continued just as it started! … yeah, you might have something about Jim being destined to join their ranks!)

  10. Thanks, Chris. It is fun to be wondered about. Alas I am merely a simple parish priest.

    The good Msgr. was one of a parade of “experts” solicited by our bishop to conduct workshops on the implementation of VC2010. (You can find pretty much the same talk on “Web Catechesis” from Notre Dame alongside Frs. Ruff and Turner.)

    As you can see, Jim had little to say about the subject of the workshop but reflected on the spirituality of the priest with respect to matters of loyalty and subservience. It seemed a well-packaged, self-serving campaign piece rather than a helpful workshop.

  11. Well done you! I was this close to forwarding it on…until I looked at the calendar on my wall. Happy April.

Leave a Reply

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