Informed of multiple errors, Congregation for Divine Worship did little or nothing

You still remember the Gray Book and the Received Text and the number 10,000 and the internal report “Areas of Difficulty,” right? How’s that? You want a refresher? OK, here we go.

The Gray Book is the final version of the missal translation ICEL sends to the national bishops’ conferences, after having worked for many years with the conferences in developing it. Then the conferences approve the Gray Book, sometimes as is, sometimes with a few amendments, and send it to Rome for recognitio (= approval).

Last summer the story leaked that Rome allowed a few people on Vox Clara to redo the final text. They made over 10,000 changes – introducing all sorts of mistranslations, contorted English, and even theological errors. Since Vox Clara had received every draft translation over the previous years with opportunity to give feedback, it was especially puzzling that they held back all the way through, and then at the last stage undid and redid whatever they wanted.

Perhaps we’ll never know who was responsible for this mischief, but in some circles they speak of the Missale Moronicum. Its other name is the “Received Text” – the text received by Pope Benedict at a luncheon on April 28, 2010 with Msgr. James Moroney and everyone else from Vox Clara.

Xavier Rindfleisch wrote four articles for Pray Tell (part one, part two, part three, and part four) comparing the ICEL 2008 Gray Book text to the 2010 Received Text.

Enter the internal report, “Areas of Difficulty in the Received Text of the Roman Missal,” reported on by Pray Tell and later leaked by someone on WikiSpooks. Whoever wrote it – we’re sure it’s someone within the translation machinery – knows his stuff. The internal report is a devastating critique of the problems in the Received Text.

The final text which will appear in our missals next November has been leaked at WikiSpooks.

Put these three things together:
* the Received Text,
* the internal report showing the problems in the Received Text,
* and the final text,
and you have a rare opportunity to examine how Rome responds to highly competent critique of its work. Does the final text correct the problems? Does it address the grave concerns of the report?

Pray Tell is happy to report that Xavier Rindfleisch is back! And he has done exactly this work. He lays out in summary form each problem identified in the internal report, noting whether or not the problem is corrected in the final text. See Xavier’s full report here:

The 2010 Received Text, the Internal Report, and the Final Text” by Xavier Rindfleisch.

According to our math, the internal report identifies some 208 examples of problems in the Received Text. Of these, the Congregation for Divine Worship of the Holy See has corrected 49 in the final text. That is to say, most of the constructive assistance has been ignored.

Further examination reveals some patterns in the 49 corrections made: they tend to be rather minor. Six of them involve changing a semicolon to a comma. Eight of them concern capitalization of “Lord.” One of them involves changing a pronoun back to exclusive language – “him” instead of “them” – to be consistent with the rest of the final text. Thirteen of the changes in the prefaces are doubtfully an improvement. The Received text had
…as we sing the hymn of your glory,
without end we acclaim:
– which confuses what is modified by “without end.” That has been made clearer in the final text, but the word order of the last line is still clumsy:
…we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim:

Readers can examine the other 28 changes for themselves.


Final text of missal – leaked

A reader writes that he has discovered the final text of the missal over at WikiSpooks. This is the text the US national liturgy office (BCDW) sent to US publishers on 12-30-10.

This is interesting. The so-called “Moroney Missal,” the one Pope Benedict received from Vox Clara on April 28, 2010, had two translations of the very same Prayer after Communion:

#1: First Sunday of Advent:
May these mysteries, O Lord,
in which we have participated, profit us, we pray,
for even now, as we walk amid passing things,
you teach us by them to love the things of heaven
and hold fast to what endures.

#2: Thursday of First Week of Advent:
May these mysteries in which we have participated
profit us, we pray, O Lord,
for even now, as we journey through this passing world,
you teach us by them
to love the things of heaven
and hold fast to what will endure.

I’m sure you see the problem with #1 – “them” seems to refer to “passing things,” as if we should make  use of transitory and superficial things to learn to love heavenly things. It would be hard for the listener to guess that “them” refers to “mysteries” way up in the first line.

Although the antecendent for “them” is too far away in #2, at least “them” can only refer to “mysteries,” which makes sense. #2 is a better wording.

In any event, the inconsistency had to be corrected. And correct it they did. They eliminated #2 and used the wording of #1 in both cases.


US Order of Mass FINAL text – leaked

The FINAL Order of Mass – US has been leaked at WikiSpooks. This is the text that the BCDW mailed to publishers at 3:16pm CST yesterday. Hmm, this one took over 24 hours to leak. You’re slipping, whoever you are.

As you perhaps recall, the Order of Mass in its “final” form received recognitio (Roman approval ) on June 23, 2008 when Cardinal Arinze was CDW prefect. So it has taken only 2 years, 5 months, 21 days, with so many final versions since then that we’ve long since lost count of them, for Rome to issue the revised final text, approved for publication.

Yup, “bend” has now been changed to “bow” in the rubrics. So there is some consultation of the People of God by the Roman Curia. It works like this: Rome issues a top secret confidential liturgical text… someone leaks the text at WikiSpooks within a day or so… the blogs light up with humorous mockery of the most objectionable howlers in the “final” text… Rome, sometimes, changes some of the parts which got ridiculed.

So the system does work. At least sometimes. I propose but a few modest reforms – these could easily be mandated motu proprio. Let’s clarify how long the leaked text must remain in the public realm, let’s ensure that the leaked texts come out in manageable blobs, let’s get some working definition of how much ridicule is needed to trip the amendment mechanism. All this would tighten up an already good process. Most important is that all final authority remain firmly in Rome’s hands. Quality control.


The ICEL Progress Reports – leaked

Here are the ICEL progress reports – three of them from 1988, 1990, 1992 – giving updates on the project which led to the 1997 ICEL Sacramentary rejected by Rome. Uploaded by a certain Jat. You’ll have to guess who Jat is.

On another topic, I was talking about chant in a café the other day with my brother – one of my brothers is a farmer named “Jeff” – and he recalled how Mom would tuck us in and put us to bed. Nice childhood memory, that.

And here someone – I won’t say who – has emailed this to me:

I’ve uploaded and shared ICEL’s progress reports from 1988 and 1992. I’m doing this openly because it is a credit to ICEL to see all the work they’ve done and also because openness is critical to the understanding of this crucial chapter in modern liturgical history. These are not private documents but they are pointlessly difficult to obtain.

I’m sure many of you will have comments about the work of the “Old ICEL.”

Like a sieve. . .

If your attention — like mine — has been utterly transfixed by the WikiSpooks leaks of the 2010 Receieved Text of the Roman Missal translation, you might not have noticed that the Catholic Church isn’t the only organization of global influence currently leaking like a sieve. Massive amounts of top-secret, top-level U.S. Embassy cables were leaked in the past few days via WikiLeaks — which seems at the moment to be embargoed and unreachable. Coverage of the latter leak, including a massive amount of archiving of the embargoed information is available via The Guardian.

If you thought the present “Roman Missal Crisis” (as I’ve seen it called in a couple of forums) is wreaking havoc in your world. . .

As Jeffrey Tucker has written, “Transparency is not the enemy of truth; it might even be its precondition.” That’s a lesson still to be learned, inside the church and out.

UPDATE 12/01/2010: WikiLeaks, which has been unavailable for much of the day, has become available again.