Cunctando regitur mundus, again

You get the feeling that this is a game of chicken and we, the Catholic faithful, are standing in the middle of the street.

Everyone knows how the votes went.  What we don’t know is precisely what the votes were about. 

They were about the new draft translation, right?  Well… yes and no.  First there was a vote on adapations to the draft.  Then there was a vote on the draft with the adaptations.

We don’t know what the adaptations were.  Therefore, we don’t know which draft they approved.

The adapations may be extensive.  If they are, then this signals the USCCB’s countermarch in the Translation War. 

His Eminence Francis Card. Arinze, Prefect of the CDWDS, indicated by letter last May that Rome will not approve anything that does not adhere to Liturgiam authenticam.  It is now Rome’s move.  Depending on the extent of the USCCB’s adapations, the Congregation and Vox Clara will study the adaptations, consult, modify, counter-propose, approve or reject. 

Get it?  This will take time, and the clock is ticking.  Cunctando regitur mundus.

When we know what the adaptations were, the smoke will have cleared and we will have a clearer view of the terrain.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Hank Petram says:

    Scary quote from Bishop Trautman: “I’m pleased that the text has been significantly amended.”

    Is he just trying to save face, or is he genuinely pleased? I pray it’s the former.

  2. Jeff says:

    My understanding–feel free to correct me if I am wrong–is that the Vatican has a sort of “line item veto” on the individual adaptations.

    I.e., the Translation as a whole has been approved by the bishops. Proposed adaptations have been endorsed by the bishops as well. Those proposed adaptations will be forwarded to the Vatican. The Vatican will accept or reject them individually. The translation already approved, plus any amendments approved by the Vatican, will be the New Translation.

    This still therefore seems like a great victory to me.

  3. Hank Petram says:


    Adoremus seems to indicate otherwise.

    “Any accepted amendments would become an intrinsic part of the ICEL Gray Book text that the bishops will now vote on. … If the Gray Book is approved (incorporating any approved amendments), it will then be forwarded to the CDW.”

  4. Tim Ferguson says:


    Actually, Jeff is correct – if you read further in the Adoremus listing of the procedures, you’ll see that “The Holy See could make further changes before granting the required recognitio; ” – those further changes could be rejecting some or all of the adaptations. Similarly, the CDWDS could refuse to grant recognitio because of the adaptations and send the whole thing back to the Bishops. If that happens, however, I suspect that the Congregation will then utilize the power given to it by Liturgiam authenticam, paragraph 104, to prepare and authorize liturgical translations themselves.

    I’m still holding out hope for “consubstantial” and “dew of the Spirit”…

  5. Of course the Holy See has all the authority it needs to change a word or an entire translation for something of its own chosing. That was never in question. However, the timing of all these reviews and changes and approvals is very much at stake. As a matter of fact, the speed with which the Holy See now moves will indicate something about their true resolve. Remember, that Vox Clara meets in July.

  6. Hank Petram says:


    We need to distinguish between “amendments” and “adaptations”. The two votes yesterday were on 1) the AMENDED ICEL text; and 2) the American adaptations. The virgin ICEL translation was never up for a vote. So as Fr. Z says, we have no idea what was actually approved.

    At least that’s how I interpret the procedure as described by Adoremus.

  7. AED says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf,

    While I am not asking for any names, although I am glad to hear them, is there anyone working for the CDW or in consultation with the CDW who in concerned with the important matter of the mistranslation of “pro multis” as “for all”?


  8. Father Klingele says:

    Apparently the Gray Book translation continued using the “for all”. We know what the Holy Father has written on this subject. And we know who alone has the authority to approve translations of texts necessary for the validity of sacraments. Rocco at tells us that two bishops (I would like to know which, although we could probably guess) requested an amendment changing “pro multis” to “for the many” rather than the Gray Book’s “for all”.

    Two bishops sought to return the phrase “for the many” to the consecration of the precious chalice. The BCL rejected the proposal given “the overwhelming view of the USCCB membership in favor of for all.”

    However, the committee reply also showed Rome’s hand in noting the Holy See’s “expressed intention” to address the question in short order.

    What will come of that is anyone’s guess.

    I do not think that anyone is surprised at this. It is understandable, pastorally speaking, to hesitate to change the translations of the words of the people. We should be slower to change the translation of these. What is best for the faith (lex orandi lex credendi) guides us to do the right thing. We should more easily change the texts recited by the priest. The priest immediately understands and because he says Mass every day will quickly adjust. Thus, the “pro multis” translated as “for the many” or “for the multitudes” should create almost no difficulty in adjustment. All it would require is a homily or essay in the bulletin at some point explaining that although Jesus Christ died for all, it is only efficacious for the many (namely those united and configured to Him).

  9. Father Klingele: Yes, a new translation opens up many opportunities for liturgical catechisis which must not be underestimated. We should welcome these opportunities, rather than shun them.

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