Msgr. Wadsworth talks new missal translation in New York — Part I

Ed. note: On June 22, the Archdiocese of New York sponsored a music workshop at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Scarsdale. Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, executive director of ICEL, was a featured speaker. Thanks to the archdiocese for sharing the audio files of Msgr. Wadsworth’s presentations. A transcription of Msgr. Wadsworth’s first talk is below. The second will be shared here at Pray Tell on Thursday.   –ca

Msgr. Wadsworth @ NY Archdiocesan music worskhop, Part I


  1. Just loved it – he managed to distill 15 years of ICEL work and the 1998 approved revisions and dismiss them in less than two sentences.

    And “why” did the “HOLY SEE” need to do the MR3 in 1998 – because of the three survey ideas that “some” responded with?

    1. Ha! In this instance, he’s an “improvement” on his predecessor Monsignor Harbert who, in giving the history of the translations in the all-singing, all-dancing “Become One Body One Spirit In Christ” resource, indicates that absolutely nothing happened between about 1975 and 2000 – to the great embnarassment of many of his co-presenters on that resource, who were themselves involved in a whole lot that went on during that (to him) non-existent quarter century.

      As WInston Churchill is alleged to have said “History is written by the victors.”

  2. This was essentially the same talk he gave at our convocation last November with a few additions of things that have arisen since then.

    Bill… the talk wasn’t about the 1998 rejected translation. There was plenty enough to talk about regarding the actual translation, and most of the attendees at these events would be totally unaware that there even was a 1998 project. I’m amazed that he even devoted two sentences to the topic.

    1. Well, Chironomo, I’m surprised he didn’t devote anytime at all to your cheerleading of the heretical Vox Clara Pell-Moroney-Ward-Johnson Missal!

      Tell me, when the Missals are finally in the hands of the priests and the hilarity ensues as they stumble through the incomprehensible Collects and Prefaces and the inevitable “corrections” begin being issued, will you be cheering still or hiding in your choir loft?

  3. Monsignor – since you appear to read this blog, was hoping that you could respond to some questions in the interest of getting facts straight:
    a) the original ICEL kept copious records about their meetings, activities, surveys, decisions, etc. These records are public and available. So, ICEL only did two surveys – you mention three?
    b) You also skipped over the fact that the original ICEL implemented Vatican II, SC, Consilium and 11 english speaking conferences directives; they carefully provided minutes of their decisions and directions. Those two surveys (at a parish, diocesan level) actualized VII’s collegiality and subsidiarity empowering local bishops in terms of liturgy and asking the people of God, significant diocesan liturgical folks, etc. questions about the liturgy. They carefully compiled and acted upon those survey results giving the 11 conferences the 1998 missal. You make it appear as if those efforts never happened and instead those results led to the MR3 – can you explain how that happened?
    – also, unlike the first ICEL, the current ICEL and Vox Clara have clearly stated rules that oblige a participant to make a promise of confidentiality and secrecy. This seems to contradict some of your comments about this MR3 and 10 year process to get to 2011? Can you comment?
    – you cite a “cute” story of a funeral. It appears that other attendees have a very different memory of this event – given that funerals can be emotional, they do not remember a presider “making” up his liturgy (he may have not read ever word correctly but, using the ars celebrandi at that time, the presider followed correct liturgical and pastoral practice. You seem to elevate “reading the black and doing the red” to a new level of sanctity. BTW, this new translation really will not solve the “ars celebrandi” question – in fact, would suggest that it will only increase presiders who do not technically read/follow every word precisely.

    Inquiring minds want to…

  4. I attended another ad-libbed Mass this weekend in a church in the Archdiocese of Detroit. I know this is common practice here in Chicago as well, even in the cathedral: constant embellishment, decoration, expansion, and alteration of the Mass texts by the celebrant. I’m not sure of the reason, but I think that no matter how much energy and effort is put into a new translation, the most common practice will be for celebrants to put their personal spin and personality on the texts, even in cathedrals of (arch)bishops who have had a lot to do with the official texts themselves.

    In my experience, the on-the-fly rewrites add little to the text but wordiness.

    1. Well, if you’ve ever been to a Mass celebrated by Cardinal George Pell, you’ll find the very same thing happening!

      None of his fans ever complain about it, though, because to whom would they go?

      And anyway, his fans like the things wherewith he “embellishes!”

      And I’ve been to more than one Tridentine rite Mass where the celebrant provdied a running commentary, none of which appeared in the missal texts!

  5. Just give the people the Roman Rite as it is their baptismal right to have, without the embellishments and manipulation of the priest. Who do they think they are anyway? They wern’t given the mandate to reform the Sacred Liturgy; the concillium was.

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