What Did Last Thursday’s Collect Mean?

Regarding the Collect of Thursday last week, Xavier Rindfleisch writes,

 “I heard from about a dozen priests by noontime, asking, What the hell did today’s Collect mean?”

O God, by whose grace,
though sinners, we are made just
and, though pitiable, made blessed,
stand, we pray, by your works,
stand by your gifts,
that those justified by faith
may not lack the courage of perseverance.

Here’s the Latin:

Deus, cuius gratia
iusti ex impiis et beati efficiamur ex miseris,
adesto operibus tuis,
adesto muneribus,
ut, quibus inest fidei iustificatio,
non desit perseverantiae fortitudo.

And here’s what the world’s English-speaking bishops approved, before Vox Clara and the Congregation for Divine Worship changed it:

O God, by whose grace we sinners are made just
and from our misery made blessed,
stand by your works,
stand by your gifts,
that those in whom there is the justification of faith
may not lack the strength of perseverance.

Xavier comments:

In the Vox Clara version, “though sinners” becomes a kind of dangling modifier hanging between grace and sinners. At the very least, the text should read, “we, though sinners, are made just.”

There is no “we pray” in the Latin. What happened to “translate in the most exact way” (Liturgiam authenticam)? And surely, if one felt the need to add to the prayer (remember the “paraphrase” accusation against the old ICEL), the non-existent-in-Latin “we pray” should have gone after the first complete phrase: “stand by your works, we pray, stand by your gifts.” The conclusion is paraphrase, pure and not so simple; 2008 is “exact” and superior both in rhythmic cadence and comprehensibility.

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.

Whoops! Heresy in that “your”? The collect for Trinity

As we know, Liturgiam authenticam’s n. 51, “in the most exact manner,” has become, as Bishop Serratelli put it, “faithfully but not slavishly.” But on certain days, like Trinity Sunday, it might have been good to be a bit more “exact” – and get the doctrine right…

Latin Missal:
Deus Pater,
qui, Verbum veritátis et Spíritum sanctificatiónis
mittens in mundum,
admirábile mystérium tuum homínibus declárasti,
da nobis, in confessióne verae fídei,
aetérnae glóriam Trinitátis agnóscere,
et Unitátem adoráre in poténtia maiestátis.
Per Dóminum.

2008 (approved by the bishops’ conferences):
God our Father,
by sending into the world the Word of truth
and the Spirit of sanctification
you made known to humankind your awesome mystery;
grant us, in professing the true faith,
to acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory,
and adore the Unity, powerful in majesty.
Through our Lord.

2010 (after Vox Clara/CDW redid what the bishops submitted):
God our Father,
who by sending into the world the Word of truth
and the Spirit of sanctification
made known to the human race your wondrous mystery,
grant us, we pray, that in professing the true faith,
we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory
and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty.
Through our Lord.

If you wanted to be a real stickler, you could say that 2008 is more exact in translating the two infinitives agnoscere and adorare as infinitives. But the 2010 text paraphrases them, after adding “we pray,” which is not in the Latin. Hmm, paraphrase and additions: shades of the old ICEL, eh?

But it seems that a bit of heresy occurs in the final line of the prayer: “your Unity.” Note, there is not a “your” in the Latin. And this for a very good doctrinal reason. The prayer is addressed to God the Father: it is not HIS Unity that we adore but the Unity of the TRINITY.

Small point? Apparently not: see Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 255 on the relationship between the divine persons. In fact, despite its paraphrase, the old ICEL got the doctrine right!

Part of the presentation of the new translation emphasizes the lex orandi, lex credendi dictum – as we pray, so we believe. If so, one of the first and easiest corrections is for priests to cross out “your” in the last line and insert “the” – as was approved in 2008 by all the conferences of English-speaking bishops, before Vox Clara’s  7,000 consultants and experts fiddled with the decrees of Nicea and Constantinople.

Xavier Rindfleisch

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.


Preface of the Annunciation: 2008 and 2010

At the abbey church here in Urbe, where I am wont to hide behind a pillar and “hear Mass” on major feastdays, the celebrant of this morning’s conventual Mass, Ordinary Form, Latin, chanted (in the impeccable style acquired during his youthful days at Solesmes), the Preface of the Annunciation.

Hearing a number of “flagged words” in that Latin Preface, I decided (although Lenten penance is suspended for this Solemnity) to check the “Final Text” against the ill-fated 2008 translation prepared by ICEL. I suspect the readers of Pray Tell will be as surprised as I was at the text that obtained the recognitio of the Holy See. (Note: in the posting of the Latin text, I have rearranged  its phrases, the better to show how each translation renders them.)


1.  In their zeal to “de-inclusify” the 2008 translation, the Vox Clara team has inexplicably lost the Archangel Gabriel!

2. Perficeret veritas is surely rendered more adequately as “fulfilled” and not simply “come about,” a pedantic expression if ever there was one, and one that does not convey that in the mystery of the Lord’s incarnation we see the truth of those ancient promises verified in the Truth Himself taking our flesh.

3. If homines in the early lines need to be changed to “men,” though we know that homo, hominis means “human beings,” “people,” (as in the new Gloria: “peace on earth to people (hominibus) of good will,” then why does filiis not need to be changed from “children” (2008) to the more literal “sons”?

4. It may be noted that in the conclusion of the preface, the Vox Clara version does not convey the divine agency as explicitly as 2008 does (and Liturgiam Authenticam requires). Surely, ut admitti iubeas is more adequately translated “(that you would) bid our voices join with theirs” (2008) than Vox Clara’s reversion (odd, in light of all the criticism!) to the old ICEL’s “May our voices join” (old ICEL: blend): iubeo has disappeared entirely, and with it, God’s action!

Our amazement continues at the work that has merited the Holy See’s recognitio! Well, from all the ads we’ve seen, at least the new Missal will look nice!

Xavier Rindfleisch