Xavier Rindfleisch reprise

Pray Tell is hearing reports of displeasure with the new Missal translation among U.S. bishops. Seems that Pray Tell’s post from Xavier Rindfleisch on heresy in the collect for Trinity Sunday was an eye-opener for many. More than a few bishops had not realized that the Missal text they’re about to implement is not the text they approved. Now irritation is growing that the text got mangled so badly in Rome.

Pray Tell is proud to have run the impressive series of posts by Xavier Rindfleisch on the shenanigans in the final stages of Roman approval. For the interested reader, here are all Rindfleisch’s posts.  – awr

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the 2010 Received Text” (Oct 17, 2010)

Beauty & the Beast: 2008 vs. 2010, Page One” (Oct 27, 2010)

A Tale of Two Prefaces: I and II Advent” (Nov 3, 2010)

Bending slightly: The Prayers of Advent Sundays II, III, and IV” (Nov 6, 2010)

Preface of the Annunciation: 2008 and 2010” (Mar 25, 2011)

Whoops! Heresy in that “your”? The Collect for Trinity” (Jun 18, 2011)

For Pray Tell’s coverage of the missal translation, see our Missal Translation Directory.


  1. Pray Tell is hearing reports of displeasure with the new Missal translation among U.S. bishops. […] More than a few bishops had not realized that the Missal text they’re about to implement is not the text they approved.

    I’m surprised it has taken the bishops so long to realize the differences between the text they approved and the text being sent to the printers. Haven’t they been looking or at least listening?

    1. They threw in the towel long ago. No amount of somnambulism or zombieism from them surprises me.

  2. Yes, the Bishops need to be thinking contingency plan.

    Like individually, perhaps regionally, perhaps nationally, authorizing the continuation of the current Missal after Advent Sunday, 2011.

    Like if it has been good all these past years, it is still good today and tomorrow.

    It would send a message that the bishops role in the liturgy individually and collectively is still important.

    And remember if we give the people both options, we can let them vote with their feet for which one they want.

    So the bishop(s) can authorize both.

    Who says they can’t.

      1. They improved it in 1998 and their efforts were scorned. Now they have let it to Rome, who hands the faithful magnificent dreck. The bishops believe they cannot do anything to resist Rome’s destruction of the liturgy and poisoning of the spiritual lives of the faithful. Priests will be morally oblicated to boycott the new translations. If they throw in the towel as well, the laity will have to speak up and act up. Unfortunately, the laity are likely to vote with their feet.

    1. That is risky: first, it requires commitment and organization, else there is the risk of chaos. Second, if two camps emerge, each entrenched in their own positions, doesn’t that risk further dividing the faithful? Third, if the faithful clearly express their preference in one way and the Vatican in another way, what’s the bishop caught in the middle supposed to do?

      Here’s a better way: a bishop does nothing, but lets it be known to his clergy that he will not strictly enforce the new liturgy. It is, say, required that the new missal “starts being implemented” at the beginning of Advent 2011, but what exactly this “start of implementation” means is left to the judgement of each pastor, who does as he thinks best for his parish. He may or may not insist that people say the new responses, may or may not keep one of the weekend Masses celebrated using the 1973 liturgy, may or may not do various adaptations to the new missal, drawing inspiration from previous drafts of the missal, with the help of the internet, of brother priests, or of his liturgy committee. The new missal thus corrects itself in a natural, organic manner, and in a few years a corrected edition in proper English can be printed. It’s a time-consuming exit strategy, but is flexible and can be face-saving as long as the most ridiculous blunders do not explode in the face of the Vox Clara.

      1. Well, Father O’Leary, I know it’s far from perfect and it would not be my choice, but do you have a better suggestion? What can they realistically do at this point given the various limitations?

      2. Claire, I think the only solution will be to abandon the new translations when their badness has become apparent to all. I would then recommend interim adoption of the 1998 translations dumped by the Vatican, which are capable of self-correction and self-improvement, and will ultimately issue is a beautiful and satisfactory English missal.

        Meanwhile we must spread our nets wider and cultivate creative and inculturated worship more and more, not focusing so much on the Mass but more on the entire fabric of prayer, communication, and community within which the Mass becomes meaningful.

      3. Fr. Joe, what do you mean by saying that the 2010 translation is unlikely to correct itself but the 1998 translation is capable of self-correction?

  3. We all know that the bishops are counting on priests and the folks in the pews to receive the new translation with an acquiescent spirit. It sort of parallels their own acquiescence to just about anything that is preceded by the words “The Holy Father wants us to…………” We have a great many bishops who are not only bright but who spent enough years in parish life to know that there are many aspects of this translation adventure which were not a good idea. This began with the proposal to alter the people’s responses just to make them more Latin like. But after several years it dawned on the prelates that no one over there was really that much interested in their reservations and so they voted to approve. After seeing collects and prefaces composed in nearly strict Latin word order, they had to have known this would pose grave problems for them and their priests in terms of public proclamation. But no one at the Vatican was offering them a choice of doing this or that. The choice was to approve the texts as proposed or not approve them.

    I also think that the “chanters” among liturgists and curial authorities rather thought that the language would not be a problem (or as much a one) when the texts are chanted. It’s what they do in Rome you know. Anyway, the whole thing is quite a mess…..just like so much of life over which we so often have little or not control. We will get through this because there will be a number of ways to do that. Parish priests who have been praying with people for decades will use good sense. I’ll bet more than a few bishops will employ the same good sense. If I were a member of the liturgical police, I might want to check and see how many troops can be counted on. But I may be wrong.

  4. Jeffrey: Haven’t they been looking or at least listening?

    No, they haven’t. The vast majority still think the changes from Vox Clara are to do with punctuation — commas and periods. That’s what they’ve been told, and that’s what they believe. When you tell individual bishops that this is not the case, either their jaws drop, or they don’t care. Nothing in between.

    When the grand majority discover what has really happened, it remains to be seen if they will roll over with their legs in the air and comply, thinking that enough money has already been spent by publishers on successive versions of the Order of Mass and outlay on missals, or whether they will have the cojones to stand up and say “This is not what we approved — what’s going on? We must go back and go through the approval process all over again.”

    Very difficult decision for them to make, this late in the game. Rome has kept them in the dark, and they don’t like reading blogs (and who can blame them?) because so many of those blogs are critical of bishops, so they won’t have been aware of this blog, nor of the facts that we have all known for months now.

    1. Bishops standing up to Rome? Bishops with cojones?

      Why is this so inconceivable? Is it that Rome has tabs on all the guilty secrets of those bishops? Is it that the Roman bureaucracy can make a bishop’s life a hell?

  5. It is great news that the people with authority are becoming aware of some of the problems. Perhaps some of them are coming to read this website. It is not helpful for comments to voice our negative opinions about them here. I’m as willing as the next person to do some bishop-bashing, but this is a singularly ill-chosen place for it. If some bishops have concerns about the new missal and are reading these posts to learn more about the problems, then there is hope that somehow, somewhere, someone will do something about it, and that is great!

  6. The Missal itself is cause for enough sadness on its own, but the real tragedy here is the obvious fact that the bishops do not know their people. They are entirely oblivious to the needs of their people. They are so desperate over their careers that they neglect those whom they are supposed to be serving. As far as the Missal is concerned, as grotesque as it is, the truth is that many won’t really pay attention – they will pay even less attention than they do now. What is truly devastating to the church is the incompetence and malfeasance of its supposed “leaders.”

    1. “The bishops do not know their people”

      One would think that Father Ruff’s statement regarding the new translation might have raised a red flag!

  7. Can’t add anything to what Fr. Blue and Paul Inwood have stated. They summarize my own experience with classmates that I have asked about this.

    OTOH – a very good friend has related that there have been recent meetings with the B16, the new head of religious life, and US reps (male/female). Here is a link that describes this newly appointed bishop: http://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/vaticans-point-man-religious-life-weve-started-listen-again

    This small group has related that B16 is aware that some in the curia are completely out of touch with the every day catholic; that their “ideology” is just that; and that Rome/B16 need to begin to “listen” and appoint bishops who do not lecture but are pastoral leaders and listeners. Who knows – this might eventually impact this “new translation”….it sure has changed the Rode led investigation of US women religious.

    (Why won’t someone consider this bishop as papabile?)

  8. Most bishops probably still live in a paper world, and therefore will not have the possibility of looking at the Missal until it arrives in October. Even then they may not take a look at the New Missal unless it is on the agenda for the November bishop’s meeting.

    Would not be surprised that many if not most of them might get their first look at the Missal a few days before Advent I Sunday when their MC reminds them that they might want to take a look at it, especially the Eucharistic Prayer they plan to use.

  9. My impression is that they have seen the Order of Mass, but not the full Missal, which is a very different story.

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