Motu Proprio development: “Where is it?”

I just received a "solid" on the status of Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio to derestrict the older form of Mass.

A source in the Secretariate of State says the MP is still in the office of Latin Letters.

If we are at this stage, then it is signed and it will be promulgated.

Keep in mind that translation issues have plagued this papacy and the last.  The letter to Chinese Catholics is also in the works.  The Post-Synodal Exhortation was long delayed by the translation problem.  Benedict XVI even referred to the problem with producing a translation.

The Motu Proprio will not need to express modern concepts like "marginal propensity to consume". 

The work ought to be straight forward.

I don’t think that one ought to read anything sinister into this.  First, the Latinists are constrained to work from the ITALIAN translation, no matter what the original draft was in.  I stipulate that there are not a few people who would prefer that this MP not happen at all.  Finally, it is important that they get this right: time is needed to coordinate well all the language versions which will need to be released simultaneously.

I would rather see a delay for the sake of gettin the translation right, than see mistakes and ideologically motivated "errors" along the lines of what appeared in the Post-Synodal Exhoration Sacramentum caritatis.

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95 Responses to Motu Proprio development: “Where is it?”

  1. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Indeed, Father, proper translation is important. Nevertheless, what does it say about the current state of the Vatican that translating this simple letter is so difficult? What hope is there for the work of Vox Clara?

  2. David says:

    Well, this is exciting, is it not? I was just thinking about something I’ve been studying (the persistent religiosity of America); and the argument was that because America never had an institutionalized Church, Churches of all denominations were required to be actively evangelistic or else they’d simply lose a congregation. I think that by injecting the Tridentine mass into the mix you’ll radically (though little by little) change the new one and increase the quality of both. For, both Latin rites will probably become more “evangelistic” in their attempts to “sell their product.” This may result in convergence, or it may result in divergence: either way, its hard to see how this could harm the Church.

    What do you think, Father?

    PS
    Two side notes. First, I love this blog and have been “trolling” for quite some time. Second, why does this not work with the Eastern rites? Well, I’m personally Chaldean, so I’m very sensitive to the Eastern rites; but from my experience they’re simply not widespread enough. Where they do exist, however, they have a tendency to be perfectly contented with “Chaldeans,” “Melkites” etc (most Latin Church people don’t even know whether or not they’re Catholic) and don’t reach out like I know the Tridentine rite people will.

  3. Cerimoniere says:

    Well, for one thing, translating into Latin is rather more demanding than translating from it. Translating into Latin involves composing prose idiomatically in a language not one’s own. One trusts that the members of the Vox Clara Committee are well used to composing English prose.

    I am interested in what Father says about the Office of Latin Letters being constrained to work from an Italian draft. I can see how this would be the case for a document which was the product of drafting by many hands. However, in the case of a document like this, which is the Pope’s own initiative and has doubtless largely been drafted by him personally, I could have imagined that he might have drafted it in Latin himself to start with.

    He is, after all, quite capable of doing so. I well remember taking the text of his first homily as Pope to the pub with me at lunchtime on the day after the Conclave, and being very struck by the density of the Latin text which had apparently been produced overnight and under what must have been the most extraordinary strain.

  4. Fr. Enrico says:

    This is driving me crazy. What kind of amateurism is this? Just say: ‘I need it by that date.’ Basta. If they don’t have enough translators, well: appoint them.

  5. John Polhamus says:

    So that makes this inforamation a “solid”…what? Delay is no guarantee of quality or rectitude in translating this document. If they’re having such difficulties, I’d like to suggest they mail it to Fr. Harry Neely, OSA, former Latinist at St. Augustine’s High School in San Diego, now resident at the Villanove Prep School in Ojai, California. He could knock it out for them in about 20 minutes. He’s only been at it for 70 years.

    No excuses Fr., not after Sacramentum Caritatis. The only problem here is getting someone to do it. It’s rather simple, really. For an experienced latinist, there aren’t that many options. The great virtue of Latin, with its highly limited vocabulary, is that there is no such phrase as “In other words”. There are no other words. In Latin, you say what you mean. Come to think of it, that would make a great modus-operandi for running either a Roman Empire or a Universal Church of Christ, One, Holy Catholic, and Apostolic, wouldn’t you think?

    The Vatican needs to cut the politically-correct ecumenical double-talk, and say what they really mean. With latin, they have no choice. I suspect that they are struggling against that very reality as we speak.

    Proud Recipient of Fr. Z’s Sour Grapes Award

    The Sour Grapes Award

  6. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    As someone who wrote his doctoral thesis on Virgil first in Latin, only to translate it into English…the point of the exercise being that the text would be more concise, more succinct, more immune from some of the verbiage English seems to have by nature (at least for its native speakers)…I must say, I am always troubled by the apparent problems the Vatican seems to have of late with translations.

    I expect problems in this area from local, diocesan level entities. I remember my shock when one diocesan tribunal needed me to consult for them on how to read annulment judgments they had received from Rome in Latin – apparently no one in their diocesan curia could handle the Latin.

    I still fondly remember my (Jesuit-trained) Latin prose composition final exam: the first page of the Boswell Life of Johnson…go render it in Latin, with a time limit, no aids. That was a workout I shall never forget.

  7. James says:

    What I don’t understand is why all documents in the Curia are not drafted in Latin in the first place. Draft it in Latin and then translate into other languages. Surely there are enough people in the Curia who can write in Latin?

  8. Father Z,

    Why doesn’t His Holiness call you and ask you to do it? Surely you could handle it. Perhaps he’s afraid you’d say no, especially since you are now at Sabine Farm and couldn’t just drop in to his office. Of course he could always email it to you.

    I know this isn’t how the Vatican works, I just wish it was. Plus I’d love to hear about your reaction when you answered the phone and heard the words “Papa Parla”!

  9. Somerset '76 says:

    I, too, would have certainly thought that this Pontiff would have drafted the original text in Latin himself. I’m sure he knows the language well enough!

  10. What a shame… I was really hopefully today was the day, really I couldn’t think of a better feast to release the MP. It is a shame though that translations are always such a long and hard process in the Vatican of the last few decades. I really would have expected this Pope to write it in Latin himself, and maybe even do some of the vernacular translations himself like the German, French, English, Spanish, and maybe some others. I think the MP would have been released long ago if the Holy Father did do it himself. One thing that I do wonder, it may help explain the delay, could the Pope really be sending “experts” to the various places where this MP may not be received well? Anyone have any insights on that? Deo Gratias that it’s really coming however!

  11. Brian Crane says:

    I really would have expected this Pope to write it in Latin himself, and maybe even do some of the vernacular translations himself like the German, French, English, Spanish, and maybe some others.

    Oh please! Like he has time to produce his own translations!

    We have waited this long, we can wait a bit longer. The letter is written and signed, alleluia, alleluia.

  12. danphunter1 says:

    Did it take this long to promulgate a brand new missal in 1969?
    It seems rather odd that a missal which has been in place for over 1000 years should take this much time to re-promulgate, when the novus ordo was ready to go and pushed forward in shorter order.
    Seems odd, huh.

  13. Augustinus says:

    Maybe he’s going to announce it at the end of tonight’s Blessed Sacrament Procession on this (real) feast of Corpus Christi!

  14. afanco says:

    “I don’t think that one ought to read anything sinister into this.”

    Unless, of course, the translators are left-handed.

  15. RBrown says:

    A source in the Secretariate of State says the MP is still in the office of Latin Letters.

    If we are at this stage, then it is signed and it will be promulgated.

    I don’t understand.

    Are you saying that the Latin text is not finished? If so, then how could it have have been signed. Or are you saying that the Latin text is established (and signed), but the translations are not yet finished?

  16. GCC Catholic says:

    Dan Hunter,

    Did it take this long to promulgate a brand new missal in 1969?

    That was much of the problem in 1969. Everything was pushed through rapidly, which meant that some embraced the new Mass thinking that the old one was defunct and no longer usable, and that others were quickly scandalized with no recourse.

    This is the best news of my day. Deo Gratias!

  17. danphunter1 says:

    Father,
    Hypothetically, what would happen if His Holiness died before the motu proprio was issued?
    Would the next Holy Father have to issue and promulgate it?
    What if the next Pontiff did not aprove of the Missal of’62,could he put the kibosh on the whole thing?

  18. MJ says:

    “Did it take this long to promulgate a brand new missal in 1969 or 1965..
    NO…the bishops were already starting the translations in 1963 as per the archive documents. The writings of Archbiship Halloran from Altanta are interesting to read during the entire Vatican II process and plus how ‘progressive” he and others were before the council even gave recognitio to any changes..check out the Archdiocese of Atlanta website and then go to the Georgia Bulletin(weekly Newspaper) and scroll down to archives..quite interesting reading from 1963 to 1965.

    MJ

  19. Pray for it’s release tonight during the Eucharistic Procession. I still don’t see however why it takes so long to translate these things.

  20. RBrown: Right. I suppose the in the ultimate sense, the Latin that goes into the Acta, into the official archives, will be the signed Latin text on the very fanciest paper and the fanciest seals and gewgaws, etc. On the other hand, the text must be finished now.

  21. Norman Lee says:

    Fr, I wonder if the Pope will summon Bishops all over the world to Rome for this ie. “This is so important that I need to talk to you face to face” kinda thing.

  22. danphunter1 says:

    GCC Catholic,
    The Classical Rite had been in place for 1500 years and still is.
    There is no need to hem and haw about translations of it and the traditional sacraments.These have been in place for millenia,to bring myriad saints to heaven.
    Its already there.The Pauline missal had to be fabricated from some existing essentials but from much that was novel.
    It is a completely different situation that is found within the Church at this time as opposed to 1969.It would not be a situation of pushing something through to quikly and leaving many out in the cold.
    Meanwhile a besieged world needs immediate spiritual assistance.
    Ask any medic in the field if the shrapnel wound in the Marine’s side can wait for a few more days.
    So much more so with the Mystical Body of Christ.
    God bless you.

  23. Dan says:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/28/wlatin28.xml

    The above U.K. Telegraph article, which appeared in January, 2007, quotes Fr. Reginald Foster, who is said to be the Vatican’s chief Latinist, as saying that the old Mass is “useless” and that the desire for it reflects a “stupid mentality.” Fr. Foster also is quoted in the article as saying that the motu proprio would not happen.

    Let’s hope Fr. Foster is not in charge of the translation. (Also, why does he still have the job that he has?)

  24. EVERYONE: I think it is good to remember that though this document will be a Motu Proprio of the Supreme Pontiff, the document is really coming from the Curia, especially the Pont. Comm. “Ecclesia Dei” which has competence in this matter. Just before I left Rome I had a nice long face to face with H.E. Card. Arinze. When our discussion turned to the Motu Proprio he said that it was really under the aforementioned, and not the Congregation, though of course the Congregation was involved, as were other dicasteries. This was out of necessity.

    If people have some image of the Pope sitting in his study scratching away with a long goose feather quill, you had best adjust your thinking. The production of papal documents is complicated. Virtually all of them are to one extent or another drafted first by ghost writers (a few of whom I know). They make the rounds of various departments and experts for input and eventually a final copy is produced for the Pope’s review.

    Finally, remember that the Pope will also provide an accompanying letter with the Motu Proprio.

  25. Dan: No matter what Fr. Foster might personally think of a text, his Latin work is always meticulous and correct. He is honorable in this regard, do not worry.

  26. Ansjo says:

    I appreciate that this document is important but some people here seem to have it waaay out of proportion. Some here have suggested that the pope would make several vernacular translations himself or that he would invite all the world’s bishops to Rome to discuss it! Let’s get some perspective! Yes this is a good and significant thing but it’s not The Most Important Thing Ever, and indeed won’t have much direct impact on 90% of Catholics.

  27. Luke Perez says:

    I am very excited and patiently waiting. Having not known that the Mass used to be said in Latin, yet alone in a completely different rite until I was about 17 (1997), I can wait a few more days (or weeks), if need be. One of the priests at the campus church once said something to the effect that Holy Mother Church measures change and renewal in centuries, not hours and days.

    But I seemed to have missed something regarding Sacramentum Caritatis. Could someone please fill me in. I purchased a copy in English to read over my summer break. Should I be concerned?

    In Christ,

  28. Norman: I wonder if the Pope will summon Bishops all over the world to Rome for this

    Let’s hope not! The last time that happened, well… you know.

  29. GCC Catholic says:

    Dan Hunter,

    I realize that this is something that should not be put on hold. However, the Holy Father made his concerns known about moving too quickly in regards to bringing back the Old Mass; those concerns surely are magnified now that he is Pope.

    Besides, any anxiety with how slowly this is happening won’t make the situation any better, and it won’t make the MP come any faster.

  30. schoolman says:

    This is another great sign and the long wait seems to only build more momentum for the positive reception of the Motu Proprio. I also find it interesting about the “letter to the bishops” — might this take the form of an encyclical that will contain perrenial truths about the liturgy and the Mass, etc.?

  31. thomas tucker says:

    Des[ite the fact that I am not a fan of the Tridentine Mass ( then why do i read thi sblog?) iI think it is ironic that Fr. Foster would find the Tridentine Mass useless and interest in it medieval, but he thinks that studying and using Latin is just hunky-dory. There seems to be a disconnect in his thinking.

  32. Fr. Patrick Persinger says:

    Wouldn’t it have been more effective for His Holiness, at one of his Wednesday audiences to simply state “Today I grant an indult to every validly ordained Roman Catholic priest to celebrate the Holy Mass of Pius V.”? The way this MP has been handled speaks poorly of our once noble Church. We have lost our way when a document must be tested for political correctness before it is promulgated.

  33. RBrown says:

    The Vatican needs to cut the politically-correct ecumenical double-talk, and say what they really mean. With latin, they have no choice. I suspect that they are struggling against that very reality as we speak.

    Your comment touches on a previous comment by someone about Latin and the Curia, etc. Although Latin is still de iure the language of the Church, it is sadly not the lingua franca anywhere in Rome (exc maybe in Foster’s classes). That sad fact, combined with the influence of the press, makes necessary extremely reliable translations.

    The current Latin deficit also has academic consequences. No decent university grants doctorates to people who cannot read the original text, but now Roman pontifical universities do–in Scripture (exc the Biblicum), Theology, and Canon Law.

    A friend who was Dean of the Canon Law faculty at the Angelicum once told me that he asked a candidate at a doctoral defense why he had chosen a particular translation. The reply: He didn’t know Latin; there were various translations–he just randomly picked one.

    Nor is it limited to Rome. I knew a man who received his doctorate in Medieval History from St Louis U, with a dissertation on St Boniface. He knew no Latin.

  34. Iosephus says:

    My friend, a Classics Ph.D. student at Cornell, is with Reggie right now in Rome, at his summer program. Within the first day or so, Reggie debunked “Tridentinism” and said that the pope wasn’t going to restore the Mass. In other words, Reggie’s usual antics. I suppose those comments, taken in a certain way, are consistent with the mp being in Reggie’s office right now. Or, another possibility is that Reggie himself is not working on it – but I can only imagine that he would know if someone in his office were.

    I certainly hope that your source is correct. But as of Monday, at any rate, Reggie wasn’t yet a believer.

  35. RBrown says:

    Des[ite the fact that I am not a fan of the Tridentine Mass ( then why do i read thi sblog?) iI think it is ironic that Fr. Foster would find the Tridentine Mass useless and interest in it medieval, but he thinks that studying and using Latin is just hunky-dory. There seems to be a disconnect in his thinking.

    Quod factum non est disputandum.

  36. Paul,South Midlands, UK says:

    My exclusive source in the vatican (leakius biggius) tells me that the english translation is very interesting:

    The MP in Latin.

    Benedictus XVI Pontifex Maximus, promulgatius latin tridentus missa, expanionus massivo, ecclesclesius permissionus negatus, ecclesius causus problemus inquisitionus maximumus, tutti frutti.

    English Translation

    Pope Benedict would be most grateful if the bishops would condescend to allow the occasional latin mass to keep the reactionaries happy until they all die off, I know it might upset some of your lay activists but you could hold them in a small church the middle of nowhere at two o’clock in the morning if its going to cause a big fuss.

  37. John Polhamus says:

    Father, with the best will in the world, proud recipient of your paternal attentions and awards that I today seem to be, the majority of the posters, as a sampling of the orthodox Roman Carholic world, don’t buy your argument that they just have to be SOOOOOOO careful, and that scrupulous curial correctitude is the reason for this delay. Nor are we so naive as to think of the Holy Father scratching away in his office with a goose quill. Come on. But I think you and I both know that there is a good chance Benedict will be killed before the curia, the world’s protestantized diocesans or their dissident priests roll over for the return of orthodox Roman liturgy. I pray against this with all my heart, but mere beurocratic paperpushing in no longer a sufficient excuse.

    Munching discontentedly on one of my sour grapes.

  38. John says:

    Well, for practice they could translate this.

    Pontem habeo… vendibilem vobis!

  39. Brian Day says:

    Norman: I wonder if the Pope will summon Bishops all over the world to Rome for this
    Let’s hope not! The last time that happened, well… you know.

    Um, the last time was Vatican II. Would another ecumenical council be a bad thing (except for the time required to get all of the Bishops there at once)?

  40. John: But I think you and I both know that there is a good chance Benedict will be killed before the curia, the world’s protestantized diocesans or their dissident priests roll over for the return of orthodox Roman liturgy.

    Weird.

  41. CDB says:

    To John Polhamus: it is a stretch to consider the posters on this thread (myself included) to be a representative sample of the orthodox Roman Catholic world, especially when you consider that those who post make up an extremely small subset of those who read blogs, who in turn make up an extremely small subset of orthodox Roman Catholics in the U.S., let alone the world.

  42. David says:

    Killed!? I agree with Fr. Zuhlsdorf: that seems a little much.

  43. Jeff says:

    Didn’t Bill Murray make a movie about this process?

  44. thetimman says:

    Brian, you said:

    Um, the last time was Vatican II. Would another ecumenical council be a bad thing (except for the time required to get all of the Bishops there at once)?

    Are you serious? We have hardly escaped the last one.

  45. gravitas says:

    While I’m not subscribing to the Masonic plot to kill traditionalists theory (that’s more Bishop Williamson), there is a real fear in traditional circles that His Holiness, due to health reasons, may pass before this is promulgated if we wait any longer.

    Father, understand you want this right rather than fast, but let’s face it — we’ve been expecting this for over a year. I know the Church thinks in terms of years and not days, but geez, let’s get it going already! Because if he passes before this is out, who knows what the next pontiff will do. It could be now or never.

  46. RC says:

    Maybe the Pope should just publish it in Latin: a priest who can’t translate it himself isn’t ready to say the old Mass yet.

    OTOH, we want the French version to be very clear.

  47. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    The problem with the Church and Latin is more serious than just people “don’t know Latin”.

    A more serious problem is that many of those who do know Latin have been trained solely or close to solely in “ecclesiastical” Latin, or…a step better…possibly medieval Latin.

    Give them a page of Cicero, let alone Tacitus…and the game is over.

    The problem there, of course, is that the Fathers and medieval masters knew their classics. Intimately. A thorough knowledge of the Fathers isn’t possible without a grounding in the classics of pagan antiquity.

    Alas, while any classicist can handle medieval Latin (there will be some problems, almost entirely vocabulary based, and said problems will be exceedingly minor)…it’s a vastly different issue to go the other way and tackle classical Latin with only a medieval or ecclesiastical background.

    While I’m not sanctioning Urban VIII-like humanistic gutting of medieval hymns to make them conform to classical style, the Latin of the Curia once had a very classical ring to it (read Leo XIII, or even as late as Pius XI on the Sacred Heart devotion). Sadly, that’s been largely lost.

  48. danphunter1 says:

    Father,
    I really feel,and of course only a feeling, that our Holy Father is going to die very soon.
    God bless you.

  49. John says:

    “Give them a page of Cicero, let alone Tacitus…and the game is over.”

    Lege labia mea:

    Ego sum Christianus, et non Ciceronianus.

  50. Bob K. says:

    So in other words it will still be months if not years, before the MP is officially released do to translatons. Sad!.

  51. danphunter: I really feel,and of course only a feeling, that our Holy Father is going to die very soon.

    We are all going to die very soon.

  52. Nick says:

    Hi,
    I dont want the sour grapes award, but I noticed the only one who mentioned the “solid” evidence go it. I simply would like to know what this “solid” evidence consists of. I, just like the rest, am drooling to see the MP issued and at this point in the game the more “official” the information is (ie from the mouth of a cardinal) the better…then again at this point ANY information, even an unnamed “source”, is comforting.

  53. Thomas Syseskey says:

    Why did the Pope not compose the motu proprio in Latin? He is fluent in Latin, as evidenced by an incident some years ago when he (as then Cardinal Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) visited the FSSP seminary in Germany where he spoke to the assembled seminarians from various nations. He spoke in German, which was translated into French and then into English and then Italian. After a little while of this tedious multilingual translation, he stopped and said to the effect that being at the FSSP seminary, everyone there should understand Latin, in which he continued his talk fluently and extemporaneously.

    Sed contra: In view of the above incident, I thought that Benedict wrote in Latin the 20-minute address to the Cardinals at his first Mass as Pope in the Sistine Chapel on the morning after his election, because there was little time between the announcement of his election and other ceremonies on the day before and his first Mass on the following morning for the “papal Latinist(s)” to translate into Latin whatever he wrote in German or Italian and then check the Latin text with him for final approval unless the Latinist(s) was/were “burning the midnight oil” with the translation and/or “vetted” the Latin text with the Pope during the middle of the night. I was wrong in my opinion, because I read later that Benedict originally wrote his “state of the Church” speech in German or Italian, which was given to the “designated” Latinist, the Carmelite Fr. Reginald Foster, who translated it into Latin alsmost as quickly as the Pope delivered it. I think that Fr. Foster also “polished” the Latin translation from the original vernacular to make it sound/read as if it were a papal address. When the Pope read the Latin text at the Mass in the Sistine Chapel, he used the first person plural in references to himself (the “official” we), but the various vernacular versions (including the German and Italian, either of which could have been the original language of the text and could easily have been used as the version of that vernacular with few changes in the text), they all had the first person singular where the Pope had used the first person plural in Latin.

    I do not understand why “the Latinists are constrained to work from the ITALIAN translation, no matter what the original draft was in.” While both the Pope and Fr. Foster are fluent in Italian, the Pope is also fluent in English, and I presume that as a Latin scholar Fr. Foster is fluent in German, because of much translation and commentary on Latin writings done in German. Thus, I see no problem of the Pope composing the motu proprio in English to facilitate Fr. Foster’s Latin translation or for Fr. Foster working from a text in the Pope’s native language.

  54. ThomasMore1535 says:

    “I feel the Holy Father is going to die very soon.”

    Such an emphasis on feeling…..that’s rather protestant of you, isn’t it Dan Hunter?

    I really am amazed at all the bickering and whining that continues to go on, no matter how much more good news comes in. This whining makes the murmering of the Jews in the desert look like the model of patience.

    If Our Lady could endure watching Her Divine Son go through His Most Sorrowful Passion without every once faltering, without ever once uttering a single word of dispair, if She could endure to the end, surely it is improper for people waiting for this Motu Proprio to complain, especially in light of this delightful news of Fr. Z.?

  55. RBrown says:

    My friend, a Classics Ph.D. student at Cornell, is with Reggie right now in Rome, at his summer program. Within the first day or so, Reggie debunked “Tridentinism” and said that the pope wasn’t going to restore the Mass. In other words, Reggie’s usual antics. I suppose those comments, taken in a certain way, are consistent with the mp being in Reggie’s office right now. Or, another possibility is that Reggie himself is not working on it – but I can only imagine that he would know if someone in his office were.

    I certainly hope that your source is correct. But as of Monday, at any rate, Reggie wasn’t yet a believer.

    He is pruning the class.

    Foster is a bit of a onery contrarian, but a great guy. I regularly saw him turn to Jews and atheists for translation of Leo the Great and St Augustine. If the text was something bawdy from Ovid, it would ALWAYS go to a pious sister.

    He is sui generis–very funny, a divine pedagogue and great guy.

  56. Rose says:

    The more I think about it, the more I understand why the Holy Father has to take agonizingly great care of this matter. For all practical purposes, Catholic self-identity and the perception of Catholic identity changed dramatically with the introduction of the Novus Ordo as the standard rite. To reaffirm the traditional rite strikes at this identity issue. Whether it succeeds in recentering the faithful in their Catholic identity (which in my humble opinion is necessary) the very attempt to do so is pretty significant. If not conveyed or understood properly it will be seen merely as “turning the clock back” and throwing out Vatican II. No wonder this is taking so long. I am sure the Holy Father wishes to listen to all dissenting voices carefully so that he can address them wisely. The fact that everyone says the Pope is personally interested in getting this done means the Holy Father is committed to his course but he needs time to achieve whatever consensus he can. Some say there is no strategy in the Benedict papacy; I disagree, I think the Pope is very wise to let the issue ferment and give everyone a chance to think about the pros and cons and get comfortable with the direction. My guess is the MP text was prepared many months ago,
    circulated to the Curia for comments but finalized and signed only just after the Brazil trip (in May) and have been in translation since then.

  57. To the commentator who said “I think our dear Holy Father is going to die very soon” I have 3 responses:

    1). Morbid in the extreme.
    2). That’s what all the dissident liberals who have tried delaying the Motu Proprio would love.
    3). I think Benedict XVI is going to surprise everyone and live longer than even the most optomistic people would hope.

    I definitly hope He lives and reigns in good health for at least 5 more years….more hopefully. Especially after last Wednesday’s general Audience sermon, where He brought up with much force that pre-Vatican II notion of “outside the Church there is no salvation”, and defended this thinking very skillfully. The Protestants and ecumenists must have been spitting mad. Hooray : ) LOL

  58. Ave Maria says:

    I think the Feast of the Sacred Heart would also be a very appropriate date for
    the freeing of the traditional Latin mass…

    I only wish that the possiblity of myself at such a Mass in the near future
    would even be probable.

    I am hoping for many good things to happen with a true renewal. I just do not
    think I will see the fruits in my diocese for some years. And I know that
    the usual dissidents will be fighting against this.

  59. What practical value would a simple statement that the 62 missal is not abrogated and all priests could say it without their bishop’s ok,have? It would accomplish a storm of confusion.If this was 1984 it might do but it is now more complex.There are many decisions of the Ecclesia Dei Commision that have to be taken into account.Any MP to be effective has to be pastorally practical.These decisions of the EDC are not generally known.For instance,there can be a Prayer of the Faithful (but they did not say who can say it),the congregation can sing all of the Pater Noster,the celebrant can sing the secret aloud (seems a contradiction),he can sing the Per Ipsum and the final blessing.He can also sing the Gloria and Credo with the people if it is in chant,and he can use masses and prefaces from the NO.Also the EDC has ruled on who can be a staw sub.By the way all the changes to the rubrics would be optional.

  60. Jordan Potter says:

    “pre-Vatican II notion of ‘outside the Church there is no salvation’ ”

    It’s also a Vatican II notion and a post-Vatican II notion.

  61. Fr K Holland says:

    Fr Mcafee

    The name ‘secret’ prayer, or ‘secreta’ in Latin may not refer to the tone of voice the prayer is recited in, although it is traditonally said quietly [since about the 8th century]. It probably refers to the offerings that have been ‘set apart’ for the Sacrifice of the Mass: at one time having been brought up in procession, like the Novus Ordo Offertory procession. The Offertory Antiphon and the washing of the celebrant’s hands at the Lavabo are remnants of this practice.

    The ‘secret’ prayer, like the Collect and the Post-Communion prayer are in modern terms ‘presidential prayers’ and I expect it is for that reason the Ecclesia Dei Commission allows it to be said aloud or sung.

    In the Novus Ordo this prayer is called Oratio super oblata or ‘prayer over the gifts.

  62. danphunter1 says:

    Thomas More,
    How is saying,that I have a strong feeling, being protestant like?My feeling,not sola scriptura.
    Father Zuhlsdorf,I am not speaking in relative terms.I mean within the next few months.

  63. Dan says:

    The more I consider everything that we know about the status of the motu proprio, the more dispirited I become. At best it is stuck under a pile of papers in the office of an overwhelmed Church bureacrat who is openly hostile to it and obviously not in any hurry to get to it. And it might not even be that far along. Judging from Cardinal Bertone’s last interview, the letter to China, which is itself mired in the translation process, will come out first. Then maybe, just maybe, about July or so, someone will turn to the motu proprio, for a few minutes every evening after his post-lunch nap is over, then put it aside for the month of August, and then start up again in September. Of course by then more pressing matters will have intervened, and he will put aside again, until the holidays get in the way, and then, finally, he will get to it in earnest in January, 2008.

    So, my prediction as to the actual issue date of the motu proprio, is: April, 2008.

  64. Brian Crane says:

    At best it is stuck under a pile of papers in the office of an overwhelmed Church bureacrat who is openly hostile to it and obviously not in any hurry to get to it.

    Wow, first someone says that he “feels” the pope is going to die soon, now this guy tells us the physical location of the MP.

    How much do you guys charge? I could use a clairvoyant around once in a while. The fact that he is Catholic would be a bonus.

  65. ThomasMore1535 says:

    DanHunter,

    The glories of being Catholic: relying on objective truth, based on a harmony of faith and reason.

    The heresy of Protestantism: not relying on any objective truth, but rather on what one “feels” to be true. You surprise me, pitting faith and reason against one another, and distrusting reason altogether.

    More and more evidence comes out that the MP will be released soon, and yet you’re relying on your “feelings” that the Pope will die soon, based on no objective information, just your “feelings.” Not exactly in the tradition of the Angelic Doctor, is it?

  66. Jennifer says:

    I was going to add to the conversation, but I think I’ll simply say what the Anti-Spam word told me to.

    Viva il Papa!

  67. Dear Father,The word “secret” does refer to the tone of voice the celebrant uses because asFortescue says the offertory antiphon wasbeing sung.I was talking about the 62 missal not the NO.In the 62 missal it is still called the “secret”,the EDC refers to it as “secret.In the 62 missal it was not a presidential prayer because the priest says it in a low voice and contrary to the Collect and the Postcommunion it is not preceeded by “Oremus”.And also the term “oratio super oblata”does not mean “prayer over the gifts” but the “prayer over the offerings”.This mistranslation was one of the specific changes ordered by the Congregation for Divine Worship to the English translation of the missal.

  68. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    “Secret” does indeed refer to “set apart”, Latin secerno, secernere, secrevi, secretus…

  69. Mike says:

    Fr McAfee,

    Kinda off the subject, but I couldn’t make the Corpus Christi mass in DC tonight (St Mary) and the first alternative venue I checked via the web was your stomping grounds – Didn’t look like anything was going on. Future Reference: Do you all cover mid-week feast days outside of the regular daily mass schedule?

    Thanks,

    m

  70. Carl H. Horst says:

    How can the document from Brazil be released but the motu proprio can’t? If the motu proprio was written in Italian, release it in Italian. I know a bishop and several priests who can properly translate it in a heartbeat.

  71. Jeff says:

    Let me be a contrarian and come to DanP Hunter’s defence, since everyone else is mocking him.

    I DON’T have a strong feeling that the Holy Father will be killed soon; though I have sometimes felt that people forget his age simply because he’s a new Pope and we are all looking forward to the “unfolding of the new Pontificate.” If he had been reigning for ten years, everyone would be speculating about who is papabile because it was time to start thinking of a successor.

    If someone during the years before the attempt on John Paul’s life had said that they had a strong feeling that he would be killed, they would not have been being paranoid. Many people would have SAID that they were being paranoid, but the kooky people who thought the “Reds” would try to whack ‘im in the course of their quest for world domination would have been: right. And the smart set would have laughed up their sleeve at him.

    A feeling of unease and a suspcion that some individuals or even groups of aggrieved radical Muslims would like to see our Holy Father dead and might even try to do something about it might well be wrong. But it is hardly crazy. And the feeling that some fringe, unbalanced loony among the political and ecclesiastical leftists might conceivably try to throw HIS hat into the assassin’s ring only adds to the odds.

    As I say, I rather incline to think God has favored us with this Holy Pope for a good reason and means him to comfort and guide us for some time. But I cannot bring myself to sneer at those who have a feeling of pessimism about his fate.

    I might urge Dan Hunter to put more faith in the bountiful designs of Divine Providence–whatever they might be. But I won’t call him names.

  72. Mike,We will be observing Corpus Christi on Sunday with procession and Benediction.The mass is Noon.It is (at present without a MP)a Latin NO mass.The music for the mass is Vaughan Williams’Mass. There is a word “secretum”which means secret or mystery.That is a noun.There is an adjective “secretus-a-um,”which is the perfect participle passive which means separate or remote.Fortescue says the secret was so called because it was said in a low voice.

  73. danphunter1 says:

    Thomas More,
    I did not realize that my mere feelings had any bearing on the revealed and defined truth of Holy Church.I am surprised that you confuse my feelings with the heresy of Luther.
    I am hardly a worthy an adversary for so repugnant a reformer.But thank you nonetheless.

  74. John says:

    The secret of the Pian [“Tridentine”] missal corresponds to the oratio super oblata of the sacramentaries. I think it was the only known oration in the primitive Roman offertory.

  75. RBrown says:

    I DON’T have a strong feeling that the Holy Father will be killed soon; though I have sometimes felt that people forget his age simply because he’s a new Pope and we are all looking forward to the “unfolding of the new Pontificate.” If he had been reigning for ten years, everyone would be speculating about who is papabile because it was time to start thinking of a successor.

    There was serious speculation about JPII’s successor in the mid 90’s. He lived another 10 years to one month short of 85. Even so, his life span was probably shortened by the shooting.

    With anti-hypertensive and cholestrol drugs someone 80 is no longer old.

    Besides, my guess is that Papa Ratzinger might not be working as hard now as he did before he was elected pope. As Prefect of the SCDF, he produced a mountain of work–documents on various topics. As pope, he is now in more of a decision making role.

  76. RBrown says:

    In addition to documents on various topics, I should of course add the catechism.

  77. DLM says:

    I am very grateful and thankful to God for the MP coming soon from the Holy Father. With that said however it is only realistic to expect translation problems from the English translator. When was the last Church document translated into English without any agenda driven problems? Isn’t Fr. Foster responsible for the bad English translations in the past? If so, how can it be said that he may not like certain documents but does a great job translating them into English. Being realistic is not being pessimistic – being realistic is necessary in order to rectify problems. Let us be joyous always praising God while always being aware that Satan is lurking about.

  78. Paul Mac says:

    Talking of translations, what happened with the translation of the Pope’s book “Jesus of Nazareth? On P. 29 of the English edition, it tells us Abraham spent forty days and forty night on the way to Mount Horeb. Horeb? Mount Moriah, surely.

  79. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    The concept of a secret in the sense of something mystertious is a derivation from the idea of something set apart.

    English speakers tend to make a big distinction between adjectives from verbs, i.e., participles, and nouns…the Romans did not.

    The Secret was indeed said sotto voce, but the origin of the name isn’t that it was said quietly, but that it was the prayer over the offerings the people had just made to the priest (once including far more than just bread and wine, including gifts for the poor, etc.)…the offerings that would be set apart for the consecration of bread and wine.

  80. RBrown says:

    Isn’t Fr. Foster responsible for the bad English translations in the past?

    In a word, no.

    In the 90’s there were huge problems with the American catechism, which delayed its printing for some time, but Foster had nothing to with them. Cardinal Law was il capo, and the wag was that he turned it over to one of his buddies whose competence was such that it excluded both theological study and French.

    To put it another way, Cardinal Law hired a jockey who not only couldn’t ride but also didn’t like horses.

    If so, how can it be said that he may not like certain documents but does a great job translating them into English. Being realistic is not being pessimistic – being realistic is necessary in order to rectify problems. Let us be joyous always praising God while always being aware that Satan is lurking about.

    Fr Z has pointed out that the production of any document, from beginning to promulgation, is a complex process. No Latinist has the last word. After translation into Latin the document will be re-examined by certain Cardinals and theologians, and certain phrases might be changed.

  81. DLM: Isn’t Fr. Foster responsible for the bad English translations in the past?

    No. How would Fr. Foster, who writes LATIN, be responsible for bad English translations?

  82. Jordan Potter says:

    _On P. 29 of the English edition, it tells us Abraham spent forty days and forty nights on the way to Mount Horeb. Horeb? Mount Moriah, surely._

    No, Horeb is right, but Abraham is wrong — should be Elijah.

  83. Henry Edwards says:

    Jeff: Let me be a contrarian and come to DanP Hunter’s defence, since everyone else is mocking him.

    Certainly not everyone. I may not share all of Dan’s fears. (For instance, I’m said before that I think the good work of the Moto Proprio is being done even now, in advance of its promulgation, and indeed that the longer it takes to appear, the more effective and lasting its effect on the Church may be. A year ago, it might have hit the bottom of the well without a splash. As a result of all the discussion and speculation since then, that definitely will not happen now.)

    But I do sympathize with him, and somewhat envy his ability to stimulate, … well, somewhat more colorful if not grandiloquent comments by others than you and I ourselves seem capable of contributing.

    On the subject of our Holy Father’s longevity, I not only hope but suspect some of us will survive to see him reign as Supreme Pontiff into his 90’s. Though lacking any particular competence for such a prognosis, I come from a long-lived family of amateur genealogists, and Benedict’s general appearance somehow reminds me of that of some people I’ve seen live the longest. (Though a physician once told me he seen patients in the apparent prime of health drop before reaching the parking lot. So what do I know?)

  84. I have a somewhat related question…

    I recall reading somewhere, I believe it was an encyclical letter of Pius XII (?), the papal teaching that indicated that the liturgy was the most pervasive exercise of the Church’s magisterium.

    My three questions are:
    1.Does anyone know where this quote might come from?

    2.What are the implications (and limitations) of this from the perspective of the teaching on the Church’s charism of infallibility – IOW, is the liturgy an infallible proclamation of the Gospel? Does it also extend to the church’s celebrations of the feasts and the saints?

    3.If it is infallible, is it only so in the language of its promulgation (as opposed to its translation)?

    Forgive my questions here, but I though there might be some here who could help.

    In ICXC,

    Gordo

  85. Jordan Potter says:

    Could it be in his encyclical Mediator Dei?

  86. Jordan,

    Yes it is. Thank you! – I just found it.

    It appears that 44-52 makes a few key connections…

    There is still a quote I am looking for that makes this connection between the Church’s liturgy and the magisterium even more explicit.

    Thanks again!

    God bless,

    Gordo

  87. Maureen says:

    The Church has the gift of tongues as well as the power to bind and loose.

    The Bible doesn’t stop being the Bible by being translated, even if the translation isn’t perfect. (And no translation is perfect.) God’s Word is effective anyway.* The same is true of the Mass.

    *Muslims believe that a translated Koran is not the Koran. I believe I’m glad I’m not a Muslim.

  88. William Tighe says:

    On the “Secret” see the essay on “The Variable Prayers of the Roman Liturgy” in *Further Essays in Early Roman Liturgy* by G. G. Willis (London, 1968: Alcuin Club): Willis gives good probable reasons why the title “Secret” (itself of Gallican, not Roman, origin; in Rome it was the “Oratio super Oblata”) probably has nothing to do with secerno, secernere, secrevi, secretum, but does indeed betoken “sotto voce” since it was in Gaul that this practice took root earliest in the West. I don’t have my copy with me, but if I am not mistaken I gave a copy of this book and its earlier counterpart *Essays in Early Roman Liturgy* (1964) to the Autokrator toutou tou Blogou and perhaps he might have it easily to hand.

  89. Niels says:

    Let us pray that the “Motu Proprio” is promulgated!

  90. Bruce says:

    Pray for the Holy Father’s health!!!
    Apparently President Bush has a bad flu. He is scheduled to meet the Holy Father within the next few days.

  91. Le Renard says:

    danphunter: I really feel,and of course only a feeling, that our Holy Father is going to die very soon.

    We are all going to die very soon.

    Comment by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf — 7 June 2007 @ 1:33 pm

    Fr. Z,

    Thanks for the laugh!

    I really feel,and of course only a feeling, that it is actually we who are going to die soon!!!

  92. swmichigancatholic says:

    That’s specialization. One translates from Latin to English but not the other way round. The other way round would be someone in the next office. Nice. NO wonder it takes them so blasted long to translate anything.

  93. Dr. Lee Fratantuono says:

    The Secret prayer’s Latin title, “Secreta”, points to a plural, not a singular, and points to a synonym for the offerings…that is, the things having been set apart from the presented general offerings of the faithful.

    We’re quibbling. This prayer has a venerable heritage of having been said sotto voce, and it clearly stands forth as a prayer over the things that were set apart after the general reception of gifts at the Offertory.

    But in terms of Latin words, “secreta” more naturally means things set apart, not things said quietly.

  94. Athanasius says:

    But in terms of Latin words, “secreta” more naturally means things set apart, not things said quietly.

    Classically speaking, secreta refers to imperial writings of Roman Caesars which were private and not for public promulgation, and hence were “set aside”, or “set apart” from public documents. Hence a “secretary” (keeper of the things set apart, or secrets). Thus the same concept is at work at the offertory, when the writers of the Latin Liturgy in North Africa adopted this word in a Christian sense, for it was that liturgy which was utilized in Rome to transform the Greek Liturgy in use at that time into the early Roman Liturgy.