National Pastoral Letter on the new translation of the Roman missal

National Pastoral Letter on the new translaton of the Roman missal
from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales


  1. Might we not have expected some tacit acknowledgement of the difficulties experienced by many in recent months as news of the detail reached the people?

    The silence of the hierarchy during this time has been deafening, their leadership nominal. There is almost the feeling in this text that the storm has blown itself out, now this is what you must do.

    The most telling line relates to the Latin adage.

    “There is an old adage in Latin which states
    that the way we pray forms the way we believe.
    So words and language are important for the
    teaching and handing on of the faith”

    Isn’t this precisely the argument that many of us have used in our critical comment of the New Translation?

    Words DO matter, and that is why pain is being felt.
    Chris McDonnell UK

  2. A pretty well written pastoral letter, its “ghost-writer” unmistakably Bruce Harbert.

    I note the bishops quote the Pope’s address to them at Oscott last year, but they leave out these words from that address:

    “I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the contribution you have made, with such painstaking care, to the collegial exercise of reviewing and approving the texts . . . “

    Given that many of them sat there listening to the Pope gob-smacked, having just discovered the very uncollegial 10,000 amendments made by James Moroney and his 7,000 faceless men (possibly Allan McDonald’s “veri probati”), it’s hardly surprising.

    And still, we all wonder if anyone’s told His Holiness (surely if he’s had lunch with James Moroney, Cuthbert Johnson and any of the other 6,999 faceless men, we’d have seen pictures of it online by now!) how farcical those words were.

  3. There is an old adage in Latin which states that the way we pray forms the way we believe.

    That’s a pretty dynamically equivalent translation of lex orandi stat lex credendi.

  4. Between reintroducing Friday abstinence and launching the new Fractured Fairytale (aka the Pell-Moroney-Ward Missal), the bishops are certainly doing their bit to make up for all the penance their people have been missing out on these last four decades! Speaking of penance, if Msgr Harbert was indeed the ghost-writer, can you imagine how it must have felt, writing a letter introducing what was left of his translation after an ecclesiastical hack from the Colonies got done messing with it?

    1. GMG: not just an “ecclesiastical hack” but also 7,000 of his closest pals” and, to answer your question about Bruce Harbert, well, it could not have happened to a nicer guy!

    2. Friday penance was never abolished The original guideline states: “After Ash Wednesday how should Catholics do Penance on Fridays? In one or more of the following ways:
      * By abstaining from meat or some other food
      * By abstaining from alcoholic drink, smoking or some form of amusement
      * By making the special effort involved in family prayer……
      The form of Penance we adopt each Friday is a matter of personal choice……”
      The 2011 decision reflects the “Bishops wish to re-establish the practice of Friday penance in the lives of the faithful as a clear and distinctive mark of their own Catholic identity.”

    3. Perhaps I’ll take the bishops up on their suggested acts of
      self-denial by abstaining from reading any more pastoral
      letters for the time being.

  5. This letter is good. It’s positive. It gives some good reasons for the new missal. It contains no obvious lies. It can’t be rebutted without a lengthy argument. It doesn’t talk about obedience but gently suggests receiving the new translation “as a gift”. It mentions “faithfulness” in an appealing manner, not “orthodoxy” in a threatening way. The paragraph starting with “So what does this new translation offer us?” explains well what the new missal was supposed to be about. Other letters we’ve seen were either damning with faint praise or blatent lies, but this one is much better. The only thing missing to go with this letter is a good missal.

    1. But Claire, didn’t Monsignor Moroney “wow” the priests of your Diocese just a couple of weeks ago, after being proclaimed by the priest who organized the workshop as “the most knowledgeable person in the world” regarding the new translation?

      Don’t tell me this was a “priests only” kind of gathering!

      I was told Monsignor specifically told the audience he did NOT want to see any quotes attributed to him on “certain blogs.” Fortunately, one of your diocesan clergy (apparently) recorded the Q & A session that led to the featured post on this blog!

      Hard to imagine the rest of the clergy NOT being “wowed” when clearly the director of the workshop and your Bishop were!

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