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Even further delays in English Missal?

This site, as one of the most significant English-language ones on liturgy, has tried to keep people abreast of developments in English-speaking Roman Catholicism in relation to the new English missal.

There has been the news that the new English translation was approved by the pope.

The New Zealand RC bishops announced that the new translation would come into effect here Advent Sunday 2010. Apparently collects/opening prayers and other propers would not be used yet. But priests and bishops met for days with the new approved texts. Laity also had special meetings. A liturgical expert, Fr Paul Turner, led these meetings.

In other countries it appears that nothing will happen for at least a year later than in New Zealand. So in comments here, and emails, people were astonished, and in some cases incredulous that this actually was going to happen here.

Well, those people may yet prove to be correct. It appears impossible to ascertain what is actually going on. But it appears that the new translation has actually not received papal approval. Behind closed doors there are mutterings of … embarrassing… anger… ICEL… Vox Clara… sham… show…

The New Zealand Catholic, a fortnightly newspaper I subscribe to, states on its current front-page story:

… despite Vatican approval for the new translations in April, the final texts had yet to be released by Rome at the time NZ Catholic went to press. Fr Turner told a national workshop … that the delay was unexpected. “No one expected that this would happen and everyone is feeling a bit confused by it,” Fr Turner said, adding that he was sure the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments was simply making a few final corrections and changes.

Call me slow here, but I thought that the Vatican’s approval (recognitio) on April 30, 2010 was of English texts which had previously been voted on by the different Roman Catholic regional Bishops’ Conferences. That being the case, those texts are in the hands of the bishops and others already. Does it not now appear that the process is being reversed? Rather than the Vatican approving texts voted on by English-speaking Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, does it not now appear that the Vatican is altering those texts and that these altered texts are not being sent back to the Conferences for their consideration?

Does this not give further weight to the concerns expressed by Marilyn Elliston in the latest Tui Motu, a NZ Roman Catholic magazine, in which in her article “do this in memory of me” she laments the shortcomings of the new translation and also reminds the readers of the teachings of Vatican II that the bishops of each region have the authority to produce local liturgical translations, subject to Vatican approval. She also reminds us of ICEL’s 1998 translation which was rejected by Rome.

In all this confusion, it is once again from overseas that we hear that all that may be altering in New Zealand in November is the congregational parts. This is termed “the New Zealand Plan”. Old priest’s parts with new people’s parts – a mongrel Mass.

Loss of ecumenically agreed texts
Delays in new missal

Update: returning to the overseas site, Gotta sing gotta pray, from which I got “the New Zealand plan” above, I notice that they have just now received from the Vatican “the final text of the Roman Missal for the Dioceses of the United States” (does anyone have the link to the mentioned press release?). My understanding would be that this will be, barring spelling differences, the same text for New Zealand and elsewhere – but I might be wrong. Different English speaking Roman Catholic regions use different translations for the readings and the Divine Office. Keep an eye on the NZ National Liturgy Office site for developments. Alterations the Vatican made to the American (presumably all) translation included in the absolution, creed, and Eucharistic prayers. The people’s response, “Christ has died,…” (again very popular internationally ecumenically following RC lead) the Vatican has forbidden.

Sample of a Eucharistic prayer – other texts can be found from the links there.

Update 2: Here is a pdf of the text approved for USA, I’m assuming that, except for changes (corrections? ;-)) to the spelling of “Savior” the English/NZ/Australian text will be the same?

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10 thoughts on “Even further delays in English Missal?”

  1. The problem may be with the minor (or major) adjustments or alterations that are being requested by NZ. I don’t know what these are, but I suspect they are to do with the postures (some want more standing and not so much kneeling), and then there’s the version of the Our Father in NZ, which no one else in the world uses…

    Meanwhile, various rebels are at work in the parishes adding this, that and the next thing, trying to get the people used to crazy stuff that would not be approved. Maybe they are thinking that they’ll be able to continue the crazy stuff (and maybe even get some of it approved).

    But, I don’t know what is going on.

    1. Thanks for your points, Lucia Maria. Especially reminding us of the Lord’s Prayer issue. I think, for readers beyond NZ, you mean that NZ uses the internationally agreed ecumenical English Lord’s Prayer in many places. So I don’t know what you mean by “no one else in the world uses”. I checked the authorised texts for USA, and the Lord’s Prayer authorised there is the Anglican (1928) Book of Common Prayer version. So that is fascinating to have a “thee” and “thou” Lord’s Prayer in the middle of a totally “you” text. Also, with every other text having gone through careful re-translation from the Latin, why has the Lord’s Prayer not been corrected?

  2. Hi Bosco,

    By no one else in the world, I mean no one else in the Catholic world. And I’d guess it hasn’t been corrected because there is nothing wrong with it, ie the meaning is clear. Not so with the version we use in NZ.

  3. Thanks for that clarification, Lucia Maria. It is fascinating that every one in the English-speaking Roman Catholic world uses the Anglican (1928) Book of Common Prayer version Lord’s Prayer. Why do you think that is the case? The NZ RC Bishops’ Conference must have had permission from the Vatican for this?

    “there is nothing wrong with it” – I understood the new translation was more than seeing if there’s nothing wrong with a text, but being a more literal, accurate translation from the Latin, even if there was “nothing wrong with” the previous translation. Why, I wonder, was this not similarly done for the Lord’s Prayer.


  4. Looking at some of the changes in text, from this word to that, it all seems so nonsensical to me. Change for the sake of change, which is peculiar for a church which tries not to change. I know it is supposed to be a more accurate translation of the latin, but after 2000 years, who knows what is really accurate anyway, so if the current wording is quite acceptable, why put everyone through unnecessary grief for the sake of change?

  5. Change always brings resentment,confusion,misunderstanding and wonder.

    We have participated in the prayers of the Mass as they are today since Vatican II, we understand what is being said and what it means why do we have to change the wording of the Mass just because some don’t think it translate the same way in Latin. All it is going to due is cause trouble and discontent in the Catholic Church.

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