Religion and Ethics Newsweekly on the New Missal

Here is Religion and Ethics Newsleekly on the forthcoming English missal. You know some of the people here  – Moroney, Foley, Ruff…

Watch the full episode. See more Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

And here is an extended interview with Fr. Ed Foley:

Watch the full episode. See more Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Fr. Foley also expressed his views on the translation at the most recent NAAL meeting:
“Implementation of the new Roman missal” by Edward Foley, Capuchin.


  1. What Father says in the second video about the “attitude that Priests bring to the text” will help determine the levels of acceptance is paramount to a successful implementation. Something very important that the new translations have done is to push people to understand. A form of active participation in a sense. What words I did not understand fully, such as oblation, I have “googled” and now have a full understanding. It isn’t so hard. If people are interested in something they have the resources of the net to further understanding. People should be encouraged to bring the Mass into the lives fully, which would include on your own time looking up a few words for better understanding. Too many people “fast food service” at Mass so they do not have to cook, gather the ingredients and review a recipe.

    1. I think the feedback from priests in the Diocese of Kerry probably reflects the situation throughout the entire English-speaking Church:

      The question of the New Missal. There was a wide-ranging discussion on this topic, and the main points that arose were the following:

      * There was a sense of inevitability about its introduction.
      * No great enthusiasm was expressed; no sense that people had energy for preparing for the introduction in Advent.
      * There seemed to be a sense that this is part of a larger agenda being pursued by the Vatican authorities. Those who spoke were not happy that it was being imposed in this way.
      * The problem of music was raised. What will happen all the music associated with the current Mass; for example, the Bodley Mass, which people are so familiar with.

  2. I saw the program at 6:30 AM this morning and thought it was very good and balanced. Fr. Foley highlights what we need to do in terms of teaching the more difficult words which will become second nature over the course of time. I was a bit put off by the snide remark about altar railings coming back, in many places they’ve never gone (although I removed the one from my current historic church, but that was before I was broadsided with SP 🙂 ).
    While any translation can be better, I appreciate a more literal translation and so the Franciscan should only speak for himself, apart from me I know quite a few priests who like the new translation for the most part. Thanks for posting the videos!

  3. Both the sister in the first video and Fr Foley give a nauseating exhibition of the double talk and double think that have become so much a part of Catholic culture and that have come out in a virulent rash in the sales pitch for the ghastly new translations.

  4. No one is fooled by the linguistic quibbles. The new, more orthodox trend in liturgical theology in the Church is the dog, the translation is the tail of the dog. If you belong to the theologically more orthodox the translation is just fine. Otherwise…….

    1. A few comments:

      The alternative to ‘orthodox’ is ‘heretical.’ I really, really wish you wouldn’t refer to some factions in our Church as ‘orthodox,’ because it tends to imply that others are not orthodox. I know of no heterodoxy in mainline progressive liturgical circles; I’m not aware of any heterodoxy ever promoted in, e.g., Worship magazine.

      Anyway, to go with your term – you say that the translation is “just fine” for the “theologically more orthodox.” Really? Do the “theologically more orthodox” not care about aesthetic beauty, or poetry, or good grammar, or elegance of language? All these are key concerns for Pope Benedict. And what about basic accuracy of translation, and all the blatant errors in the coming text? See our earlier report:

      I sincerely hope that this ‘new orthodoxy’ now ascendant in the Church isn’t really about blind obedience to authority, no matter how inadequate its decisions. That would portend dark days indeed for the life of the church.


      1. Obedience is a much maligned word/concept. After all, the minister of the liturgy, the priest and perhaps others assisting him too, are servants of the liturgy. In most organizations one is allowed to make suggestions how to do the work. However, once a decision is reached how to proceed the only form of honorable dissent is resignation.

    2. Actually the translation has been faulted for orthodoxy as well. Unigenitus, 1715, has been invoked.

      1. The best way to support a translation of pro multis/ὑπέρ πολλῶν/περὶ πολλῶν is through a comparison of New Testament and eucharistic prayer examples with secular hellenistic literature of the 1st and 2nd CE. A thorough comparison of πολύς in prepositional phrases across genres might yield a better understand of “for many”. A study along these lines would likely support those who consider “for many” to include all people. I am of the personal conviction that “for many” means “for all”. Yet, this conviction must be proven and not merely proposed. Unigenitus and the question of Jansenism should follow a philological study and not constitute the starting point for an examination of “for many”.

        The translators of MR3 would have done well to provide philological justification for their translations. This is especially true in critical areas such as the translation of eucharistic prayers. I am disappointed that the translators did not publicize their time investment in Greek and Latin study before and during the translation process. Sadly, I suspect that background philological research might not have been carried out before the commencement of translation.

    3. I suppose if you espouse that right worship(doxology)follow from right believe(orthodoxy) then you are correct. If right belief follows from right worship that orthodoxy would need to flow from the Liturgy. I suppose I would ask where does what you describe as “orthodoxy” exist?

  5. Perhaps the most disappointing part is Fr. Foley promoting the incredible claim that the reason the 1998 was rejected was the issuing the Third Edition of the Missal. Does anyone actually believe this?

    1. I wouldn’t believe that, actually. I did recall hearing that the 1998 translation was in preparation with texts from the Third Edition made available in advance to facilitate the translation.

    2. Deacon Fritz, that was exactly one of the main reasons given at a meeting in Dublin some six weeks ago, to prepare for the new missal. While many of those present were very critical of the new risible translation, very few wanted to shoot the messenger who was charged with presenting it.

      Fr Anthony went some way towards nailing that lie.

      Perhaps another tour de force is required from him.

  6. As a pragmatist, the new translation is what it is and while not perfect English and while it could have been nicer and while the process of getting it could have been better and less rancorous, I do think that you can use the term “orthodox” in appreciating at least the desire to have a literal translation of the reformed, post Vatican II Latin Missal. I think most people, unaware of the “equivalency” approach to the English translation of the current missal would have thought that if you translated the current English Missal back to Latin it would be the Latin that is in the reformed Latin Mass–but it wouldn’t be. In other words, you could have a Latin Mass translated from the current English and it would look nothing like the current official Latin reformed Mass.
    Apart from elegance of language and the process of power plays (which 99.9% of Catholics could care less about), we will have an “orthodox” English translation that preserves right doctrine and the spirituality of the Latin Rite, reformed Latin Mass which in fact is the spirituality of the Latin Rite no matter the language.

    1. Fr. Allan,

      A dynamically equivalent translation can be, by its own standards, as “literal” as a formally equivalent translation. The problem with the current translation is not that is it done according to the principles of dynamic equivalence, but that it fails to live up to those standards. That is, the problem with it is not that it proceeds by translating idea-for-idea from the source language rather than word-for-word, but that it omits or distorts (typically by dumbing-down) the ideas in the source.

      1. Deacon Fritz, I appreciate that clarification. I would have to clarify that since the current translation came into use before I was ordained and up until maybe 10 years ago at the most, I would not have thought there were any problems with it and I don’t think 99.9% of the laity did or do either. Most thought the biggest problem was the ad libbing so many priests do. But seeing a more literal translation up against what we have (like Fr. Z has done over the years) was very eye opening.

        With the new upcoming translation, I recognize from the outset that there are some problems with it, that in some places equivalency is used rather than literal and that the elegance of the English language is not maintained as it might have been. That will be for future revisions, time will tell.

  7. Fr Allan, is it really true that 99.9% of our flock care nothing about elegance of language and the running of the Church? Even if people are not conscious that flat, banal, or opaque language is hurting them spiritually, the resulting emptiness of the liturgical experience can well push them out the door of the Church. When people complain that they and their children are getting “zilch” from the liturgy, part of the problem is its language — part is sloppiness of celebration — and the latter is because of the power-structure of the church which makes priests unaccountable to the laity (at a time when university teachers are held very accountable to their students).

    And do you really believe that spirituality can be retained in bad and banal language?

    1. Actually, I can only speak for my own flock, so I stand corrected. For my flock it is 100% could care less about the process of this translation. That doesn’t mean they won’t like some aspects of the new wording. But they are mature and will do the best with it they can.

  8. “Could care less” — are they fully briefed on the process of this translation? Most people feel quite angry when they read about it. But where ignorance is bliss, etc.

    “They won’t like some aspects of the new wording” — indeed. But the phrase “they are mature and will do the best with it they can” shows again that we are putting a strain on their faith that we have already subjected to so much strain.

  9. My quibble is with the statement that the translation is trying to be more ‘biblical.’ If that were true, we would still be saying cup instead of chalice.

  10. I haven’t met a priest yet who feels that this is a good thing, that this is an improvement in the liturgy…From what I’ve seen they’re like sawdust in the mouth. They’re difficult to say.”

    And yet he knows that there are such priests, even if he hasn’t “met” them. This is propaganda not honest debate.

  11. Samuel Howard, I ask this question for the umpteenth time: WHERE are the alleged priest enthusiasts for the new translation? If you exclude its perpetrators and the puppet bishops and those who cherish the new translation as a weapon in a battle against “liberals” you will find few. I could name hundreds who are unhappy. Even Vincent Twomey, in his effort to defend the new translation, called it arcane, archaic, elitist and obscure!

    1. My Pastor…our associate… the two Priests who sit on the liturgical commisssion of our Diocese with me…the Pastor of the parish where I previously worked… our Bishop (who I just met with about the new translation)… those are all in the “pretty darned enthusiastic category”

      In the “it’s coming and we’ll buy the new books and learn as we go” category… most of the remaining Priests in our Diocese (yes… there are a few objectors, but by and large there is a practical approach that focuses on implementation, not opposition).

      Once again though, by your definition, such persons must be “puppet” Bishops, or “puppet” Priests because no one would support this of their own accord, at least in your mind that’s how it works.

      1. I thought your parish was more a fan of Latin.

        Have the priests you mentioned really studied the new translations and is their enthusiasm based on its linguistic merits rather than ideology?

    1. Well, I actually don’t go around asking every priest I meet whether he thinks it’s a good idea or not, but here are three:

      Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, Fr. George Rutler, Fr. Peter Stravinskas.

      Knowing all three of these men personally, I claim they are concerned with the good of souls and not “cherish[ing] the new translation as a weapon in a battle against ‘liberals’”. I know other priests who support the new translation, but cite these three since they’ve published on the topic. I don’t want to unilaterally draw others into public controversy.

      A priest who claims to know no one who favors the new translation should realize and acknowledge when speaking to the media that, like Pauline Kael, who knew only one person who voted for Nixon, he “live[s] in a rather special world,” not present this sample as representative.

      1. Samuel;

        Or the numerous commenters and writers who… despite a 49 state landslide “didn’t know anyone who voted for Reagan”…really? One has to suggest that maybe they need to widen their circle of associates to include other people.

    2. There’s something surreal about the milieu here. In my little corner of the world, I know a half dozen young priests and seminarians, and they’re all (no exceptions) enthusiastic about the new translation, though perhaps not anticipating so avidly as my pastor who is celebrating this week the 50th anniversary of his ordination, and has said he was holding out for this translation–with which he is already familiar, after a half dozen parish Lenten sessions with it. I certainly know there are priests opposed to it, but I hear of them only on the internet.

      Admittedly most of the non-clerical young folks I know personally are somewhat unconcerned with it, since they mainly attend the TLM. However, the folks I attend the OF with look like those in the seminar in the video (gray like me), and I’m not sure about them–well-intentioned. but now really into the kind of issues discussed here, so perhaps most of them not really fired up one way or the other.

    3. how many priests have YOU met who think it is a good thing?

      I know and collaborate with a great many priests. Two are studying for advanced degrees in liturgy. One is a seminary rector. Three are Jesuits. One is ex-LC. Another is my pastor. Of these and about 4 others, I know not one who has a negative thing to say about the new missal. Most are enthusiastically positive. Thanks for asking.

      1. “Most are enthusiastically positive.

        Based on my own experience (though not that of a priest) I should think so. Being devoted to the success of the OF as I am, every day since Ash Wednesday–75 consecutive days and counting–I’ve printed out on a sheet in Latin-English columns the Latin and new English versions of the day’s three orations. I recite them–both proclaiming aloud and praying spiritually–comparing carefully the Latin and the English for faithful translation–four or five times daily, at Mass and at the ends of the hours of the LOH. After 225 of these prayers, I’ve found that the vast majority proclaim rather smoothly, a few are poetic, some I could have translated better myself, but essentially none seem seriously defective in any way that ordinary worshipers will notice. And contrary to what I would have thought from complaints here, as a longtime WDTPRS follower, I find that few are “slavishly literal translations”. Instead, I’ve been continually surprised to see sometimes ingenious order of word changes to smooth out their reading and recitation.

        The bottom line–at least so far–after this detailed analysis of a specific sort (both linguistic and spiritual) that I’d be surprised to here anyone here has duplicated, I think that anyone who expects rioting in the pews is suffering from serious self-delusion (as understandable as this may be in such an echo chamber).

  12. I wonder what the average age of the people in that seminar room was? I don’t think there was a soul there under the age of 50, and many were clearly 70+

    The fabled young Catholics who are surging forward to embrace the new translation seem not to be in evidence. Rather, the retirees are being catechized.

  13. Rita;

    A few things… I wonder if this particular “seminar” was staged for the purpose of filming. I notice it is during the day… not a good time for younger individuals to attend. Secondly… those who enthusiastically embrace the new translation would have absolutely no desire to attend such a session. Perhaps this says something about the demographic of those who are concerned about the new translation more than those who are confident about it.

    1. Jeffrey, I continue to wonder about all the “Catechesis” entailed by the plan, and whether this is a euphemism for “neutralize opposition” or “make palatable.”

      You are surely right that the time of day makes a difference and the exigencies of the film makers play into the choice of venue. Agreed.

      Nevertheless, we often hear of the “great opportunity” offered by the translation to “really catechize” and this is coupled with laments about the younger Catholics who did not receive adequate catechesis. Well, you can’t have it both ways. If young Catholics wouldn’t come to a catechetical session, the promise of the “great opportunity for catechesis” is illusory.

      1. Also, in any activity that is related neither to work nor to family, one meets almost only people who are younger than 25 or older than 60, and those two groups don’t usually mix. In the US the 25-60 crowd seems to have no free time.

        Maybe that video should be balanced by a video of a similar event at some university campus Newman center, and then we would see mostly young people.

  14. The priests mentioned above seem to have persuaded themselves that the new translations are passable or bearable. Hardly a ringing endorsement. Of course the preces could not be worse than the current ones but they still fall far short of the level attained in 1998. Fr Zuhlsdorf never mentions this.

  15. Another priest very much for , and anxiously awaiting the new missal. I hope the priest in chicago is listening.
    Fr. Dan

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