Pope Shocker: New Ecumenical English Missal!

Longtime Pray Tell friend Rev. Bosco Peters sends from New Zealand news of this surprising announcement:

A rumour has been growing about a possible review of the Roman Catholic missal translation, but no one anticipated the announcement of a New Ecumenical English Missal Project, which will mean that the words for the whole Eucharist will be the same across a number of significant English-speaking denominations.

Pope Francis, ever taking people by surprise, in only the second year of his papacy, pointedly, on the feast day of a woman saint, St Theodora (April 1), is formally signing the declaration that he has the agreement of significant English-speaking churches and ecclesial communities to work towards a new Ecumenical English Missal.

Real dissatisfaction with the recent English-language missal translation has been present from the start.

See the full story here.

Editor’s note: Pray Tell is publishing several posts on translation and the new missal in coming days, including the eventual release of the final results of a national study of the attitudes of clergy and lay leaders on the new missal commissioned from the CARA research center.


  1. Very Funny, Fr. Anthony. I became quite emotional as I read this as the implementation of RM3 is a real source of pain for me as a Catholic. These last two years have been quite a period of introspection for me trying to decide if I really have a place at the table of the Lord. Introspection is not a bad thing but suffering from Eucharistic famine, somewhat self-imposed because I cannot abide some of the wording especially the words “for many” instead of “for all”, has been a trial. I attend Mass when a retired priest I know celebrates mass in his home using the previous translation. I wrote a letter to Pope Francis recently. I pointed out that when he says Mass in Italian, he says “per tutti” in the words over the cup. I asked him if Jesus died for all Italians put for only many English-speaking people.

  2. If the Eucharistic Prayer were in Latin we wouldn’t be fighting over this. We wouldn’t understand it, but we wouldn’t be fighting over it! :o)

    1. @Adam Chapman – comment #7:
      And I doubt I would remain a Catholic at all…..I prefer to understand the prayers when I participate in the liturgy. Been there, done that as far as Latin goes. At best it was always mumbled and usually faster than an ear could detect the pronunciation.

  3. We can always keep hoping and praying that Francis does take the kind of action this pseudo story purports. If Francis has done nothing else he has a lot of us praying more!!

  4. I was so happy when I saw that Katharine Jefferts Schori was going to be part of it, before I realized it was a joke. Now there’s someone who could advise the pope on his supposed plan to give women a greater role in the church 🙂

  5. I really do not find this funny at all. The Church is on Hers deathbed in many places and I do not see anything connected to the Faith as a laughing matter.

  6. What is this with folks who say they will only go to Mass or stay Catholic if they have things their way? Do you or do you not believe in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church? If you do, nothing could drive you away from the Church which has the fullness of Truth!

    1. @crystal watson – comment #15:
      Crystal – They are not alternatives. And the Nicene Creed is not an a la carte menu.
      ‘I believe in the Holy Catholic Church’ is an article of that Creed. You seem strangely unfamiliar with it, for a Catholic.

      1. @William Byrd – comment #16:
        I think I share some of your concerns. Like you, I believe that affirmation of the Church is part of Christianity.

        But I find the tone of your response rather unhelpful. Many people in our day have difficulties with organized religion and the institutional church, including church-goers. Those of us within the system of authority give them all too much reason for their skepticism. Official Catholicism seems to some insensitive, uncaring, unbending, judgmental, and the like.

        Your accusations of Chrystal only reinforce the stereotypes and exacerbate the problem. A little understanding for others might be more helpful.


      2. @William Byrd – comment #16:
        FWIW, “I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church” is a mistranslation of the Latin text. The word “in” is omitted there. The Roman Catechism explains that we believe IN God, and we believe the Church, but we do not “believe IN” the Church:

        “We are, therefore, bound to believe that there is one Holy Catholic Church. With regard to the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, we not only believe them, but also believe in them. But here we make use of a different form of expression, professing to believe the holy, not in the holy Catholic Church.”

      3. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #21:
        I must confess that when saying the creed I make a little pause at that point and omit the “in.” It’s such an egregious mistranslation, and one (as the Catechism points out) that has theological significance.

      4. @Fritz Bauerschmidt – comment #22:
        I’ll have to find my source again, but I read somewhere a supposition that the original Greek was meant to mean that “[the Holy Spirit] has spoken through the prophets and [through] one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”

      5. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #21:

        Interestingly, until the latest modern revisions the BCP has got that translation detail right but, puzzlingly, miss an easier translation matter: it leaves out “holy” in what is still the legal version in the Church of England!

        And I believe in the Holy Ghost,
        The Lord and giver of life,
        Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,
        Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified,
        Who spake by the Prophets.
        And I believe one Catholick and Apostolick Church.
        I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.
        And I look for the Resurrection of the dead,
        And the life of the world to come.

  7. Pray Tell is another one of those websites where the comments are more revealing than the article. How telling that the only place one reader can get to a “traditional” mass is clandestinely on the coffee table (presumably) at the house of a retired priest. You traditionalists will never be happy

    1. @Robert Rossi – comment #17:
      I hope you were making an April Fools joke calling me a traditional!!! Far from it….don’t want anyone thinking that about me.

  8. I thought the one on Facebook about the King’s College Choir no longer using boy trebles was funnier; but kudos for celebrating the adoption of the Gregorian calendar!

  9. I think in this day and age, it would be more effective, not to have the same translated text in use among all English-speaking liturgical Christians, but translations of the same dimensions: same vocabulary, same length, etc.

  10. @William Byrd – comment #16

    Believe in that instance is akin to stating, “I trust in one holy catholic and apostolic church.” And for many, that trust has been long betrayed.

  11. Is there not a Roman tradition where speculative yet plausible news stories are leaked with the intention of stirring conversation on a topic? Perhaps with the hope of making the story come true? I seem to remember hearing that, but I don’t know if that’s the case here.

  12. You do realise that Fr Z has picked up this story and doesn’t realise it’s a spoof. He’s even fisked it (angrily).

  13. Sorry, I shouldn’t have been so flippant. I guess I don’t understand what the phrase in the Creed actually means. I’ve crossed my fingers metaphorically when I’ve said it, worried that it meant that I agree with everything the Catholic church has ever said and done (which I don’t).

    1. @crystal watson – comment #30:
      I guess I don’t understand what the phrase in the Creed actually means.

      Not to tease you or poke fun at you, but this is one issue where the 1973, 1998, and 201x translations all fall flat. It’s not a matter of translation, it IS a matter of catechesis, of explanation.

  14. We believe that the church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Each of those terms requires catechesis to bring out their true meaning. Our belief that the church is catholic has nothing to do with the term Roman Catholic which emerged much later. All of the historic churches believe the church is catholic.

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