Possibly Advent 2011 for the new English translation

A reader alerted me to this:

Vatican making final review of English liturgical translations       
By Cindy Wooden – Catholic News Service  

Monday, 01 February 2010

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is pulling together the final version of the English translation of the complete Roman Missal, the book of prayers used at Mass.

The Vox Clara Committee, an international group of bishops established to advise the congregation about the translation of the Roman Missal into English, met in Rome Jan. 26-29.

A statement released [Haven’t seen that yet.] at the end of the meeting said members "reviewed various reports on the steps being taken for editing, coordination of manuscripts and reviews for internal consistency of the English-language translation" of the Roman Missal. [NB: That means that the Holy See is in some cases changing the translations which have been approved and submitted by conferences of bishops.]

Marist Father Anthony Ward, an official of the congregation for worship, said that because bishops’ conferences approved the Roman Missal in sections over a period of years, a final review and minor edits were needed to ensure consistency. For instance, he said, the same Latin prayer may be used in two different Masses and may have been translated slightly differently during the bishops’ approval process.  [One wonders about other little changes as well.]

The Vox Clara statement said committee members reviewed the last two sections of the Roman Missal translation to be approved by bishops’ conferences in English-speaking countries: The proper of saints, a collection of specific prayers related to each saint in the universal liturgical calendar; and the common of saints, general prayers for celebrating saints listed in the "Roman Martyrology," but not in the universal calendar.

Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the congregation, met with the committee and "expressed his hope that the coming confirmation of the Roman Missal would prove to be of great pastoral advantage to the church in the English-speaking world," the Vox Clara statement said.

Most English-speaking bishops’ conferences are preparing materials to introduce and explain the new translation with the hope people will begin using it in parishes at the beginning of Advent 2011[NOT Advent of 2010, but of 2011..]

Father Ward said the congregation would finish its work long before that, although he could not give a precise date for when the Vatican will approve the entire Roman Missal in English. Individual bishops’ conferences would then make arrangements for printing, binding and distributing the missal and setting a date for its introduction.

"Expressing their enthusiasm for the extraordinary pastoral opportunity provided by the publication of a translation characterized by high literary quality, theological precision and pastoral utility, [Contrary to the claims of some whiners.] the members emphasized the importance of providing pastors and people with the greatest possible support in the effective pastoral reception of this new translation," the Vox Clara statement said.

It is on the way.

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  1. Justin from Ohio says:

    I had been hoping it would be ready and implemented at the start of Advent 2010 (this year). Sounds like that’s not going to happen….but maybe now we can say to the folks at the “Let’s Wait” group…”See, they waited another year….are you satisfied?” Of course, they’d probably like us to wait a century or millenium for this better translation to take effect….it can’t get here soon enough!

  2. My money’s on Advent 2012. It would take the publishing industry at least a year to get up to speed, and then there’s the composition of new settings of the Mass. My wager doesn’t take into account any attempts to stall the implementation, as I believe such attempts will fail.

  3. chironomo says:

    Advent 2011 has been the assumed date for quite a while. Even if the texts were all approved now, it would be difficult to get the print materials out by December of this year, and regardless of how one feels about “Missalettes”, hymnals and the such, that is what is holding the implementation date up.

    For a while last year, it was even being thought that it might be Advent 2012 if the approvals at the November meeting had been held up.

  4. “Advent 2011 has been the assumed date for quite a while.”

    … which is one more reason I think it will be 2012.

  5. Frank H says:

    As my sainted mother used to say, “Anything worth having is worth waiting for.”

    Of course, another favorite of hers was, “Patience is a virtue!”

    My money is on Advent 2011!

  6. Henry Edwards says:

    “Anything worth having is worth waiting for.”

    Anyone want to vote on 2013, which would make it a biblical 40 years of waiting — i.e. wandering in a liturgical desert — for an accurate and faithful translation of the OF Roman missal? (Although the Novus Ordo was promulgated in 1969, the ICEL English translation came out in 1973.)

  7. TJerome says:

    I wish they had dragged their feet like this following the Council. Maybe we would have gotten through the looney 1960s with Latin still in the Mass. Tom

  8. Timbot2000 says:

    If the Vulgate had been translated by a committee-based method such as is used today, we would still be debating whether or not the editio typica is ready for print.

  9. Tom in NY says:

    The AV hit the street in seven years. There were 47 members of the committee which met in three places, to wit, Cambridge, Oxford and Westminster. In addition to the originals, they had the Vulgate, Tyndale and two other English translations within 100 or so years for help. Their only mail was post rider. Type was hand-set.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  10. Bthompson says:

    I hope they will let some copies out in advance (like months prior) since I am a theology student and I do not want to buy 2 missals because of the change when I am in school.

  11. johnnyboy says:

    why not publish a 1962 Roman Missal in English its already translated in the 1962 Daily Missal ?

  12. Fr. Andrew says:

    I’m very excited that it won’t be a Lent roll-out. That would make no sense and there is too much going on with Lent. The other possible pitfall will be Thanksgiving and Advent’s coinciding. What of visiting another parish where they haven’t prepared or are rebelling against it. Such are the dangers. But this is much better timing for the parishioners and pastors than Lent.

  13. Emilio III says:

    It seems odd that some of the people who think that Advent of 2010 is much to early to implement the 2002 Missal had no problem with implementing the 1970 Missal on Advent of 1969.

  14. Mitchell NY says:

    Well no one can say truthfully that they did not have enough time for instruction. If we must wait til Advent of 2011 everyone whould be well aware by then. I too believe there will be stalling tactics even then. One small change I would love to see, from what we have been privy to already, would be “And With THY Spirit”. A simple phrase, kept in its’ original hieractic English that reads poeticly. And With YOUR Spirit has little resonance. A nod to centuries old forms of speech that would not look misplaced alongside the rest of the Missal text omitting the “thys” and “thous”. In just this one place I would like to see it. A simple reminder of a time when language formality was something to be proud of and not scorned, as is so often today. Pompous, arrogant etc. sometimes thrown at people for using a few words from a distant past. This phrase could stand alone with “Thy”. My $.02 today.

  15. Magpie says:

    I haven’t heard a thing about when this new translation will reach Ireland. I’m hoping some time before 2050.

  16. John V says:

    Fr. Andrew

    If I’m reading the calendar correctly, the First Sunday of Advent will be 27 November (and Thanksgiving will be 24 November).

  17. Fr. Andrew says:

    Thanks John V. I’m not too worried about that, there are always interruptions. I am excited to have a definite date as I plan a two part catechesis. First about Catholic prayer and second on the new translation. I’m getting excited!

  18. Brian2 says:

    “If I’m reading the calendar correctly, the First Sunday of Advent will be 27 November”

    Happy 35th Birthday to me! That will be a great gift!

  19. A nod to centuries old forms of speech that would not look misplaced alongside the rest of the Missal text omitting the “thys” and “thous”. In just this one place I would like to see it. A simple reminder of a time when language formality was something to be proud of and not scorned, as is so often today.

    Actually, “thy” and “thou” are the informal mode, not the formal mode.

  20. John V says:

    Fr. Andrew

    Regarding your two part catechesis, you might want to take a look at Praying the Mass: The Prayers of the People by Jeff Pinyan.

  21. Yup! Let us shun the cold formality of calling even our mothers and our dogs “you”, and begin once more to employ the gentle homely “thou” of domesticity with our God!

  22. catholicmidwest says:

    How can this take soooo long?

  23. Breck says:

    For several years I worried that I might not live to use the new translation. Eventually I gave up and joined an EF parish. Latin is always in style.

  24. Hans says:

    What I have heard here in the Archdiocese of Chicago is that Advent 2011 is a firm date, and that Cardinal George has said that priests who insist on using the old translation after that ‘will not say Mass.’

  25. Justin from Ohio says:

    “What I have heard here in the Archdiocese of Chicago is that Advent 2011 is a firm date, and that Cardinal George has said that priests who insist on using the old translation after that ‘will not say Mass.’”
    Comment by Hans — 2 February 2010 @ 12:02 am


    Let’s hope a majority of the bishops feel that way and make it clear to their pastors that this IS the translation and it is mandatory to use it.

    I’m sure we’ll all be reporting many resistant/rebellious priests, but I think that is one advantage of the digital/internet era. These priests will not be able to keep it quiet that they are resisting. It will be reported on blogs and messageboards. The bishop will be receiving calls and letters about it….any attempts to resist will almost certainly fail (except maybe in diocese with progressive bishops…of which there are still more than a few….Let’s hope Pope Benedict reigns for another 10-15 years so he can complete the episcopal house-cleaning in the United States and give us more orthodox, faithful, obedient shepherds).

  26. “why not publish a 1962 Roman Missal in English its already translated in the 1962 Daily Missal ?
    Comment by johnnyboy — 1 February 2010 @ 5:01 pm”

    Because the translation you are reading is not approved for liturgical use, and you will find differences in virtually every Missal published then and now.

    That’s the short answer.

  27. “How can this take soooo long?
    Comment by catholicmidwest — 1 February 2010 @ 10:55 pm”

    This question has been answered more than once in this venue. Sorry you missed it.

    There are literally hundreds and hundreds of individual prayer texts that must be approved. After a proposed translation is rendered of, say, the collect for the First Sunday of Advent, it must be sent to all the bishops of the English-speaking world individually, where their comments are accumulated and reported on or discussed in conference. Then it goes to Rome for approval or rejection. In the case of the latter, some parts go back to the “drawing board.” Now, in addition to that one collect, there are collects for the entire year, for the commons and propers, and the other orations in the Missal as well. And then there’s the Ordinary of the Mass itself.

    It did not help that certain iconoclasts and überfeminists hijacked the process in the 1980s and early- to mid-1990s. It has only really been on track in roughly the last decade. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger (and a few influential priests in North America) played a key role in this.

    And none of the above takes into account, the promulgation of a new Latin “editio typica” of the Roman Missal in 2002, to which any subsequent translations would have to conform.

    Like it or not, THAT is the short version of why it took so long.

  28. jaykay says:

    “I haven’t heard a thing about when this new translation will reach Ireland. I’m hoping some time before 2050.

    Comment by Magpie — 1 February 2010 @ 7:37 pm”

    Magpie… living in Ireland, full as it is of sloppy, banal liturgy and behind-the-back dissent, I fully appreciate where you’re coming from. And you will search in vain for anything on the Irish Bishops’ official website. However, don’t despair. Bishop Boyce of Raphoe is a member of the Vox Clara committee. Furthermore, the pressure of the blogosphere – if nothing else – should help to ensure that things do actually happen to the timescale envisaged by the Holy Father. I get the feeling that, strongly influenced by the “SoV2 mentality” as they are, they are really in denial about the whole thing but nevertheless they will be dragged inevitably (although not without rancour – I’m sure you can imagine who will be to the fore) into the real world of 2011, out of the warm kindergarten of their happy dreamland of c. 1971

  29. TJerome says:

    My left-wing loon parish is in a suburb of Chicago. I guess my pastor will no longer be saying Mass then. That’s good because he’s a big-time Obama and Faterh
    McBrien supporter. Tom

  30. chironomo says:

    I checked with the source that I have for things related to the translation this morning. The 2011 date (November 27th 2011, or November 26th for anticipated Masses…) is firm, barring only the possibility of some intervention from the Holy See that might delay it. I don’t think he meant that that was being rumored or anything, only that at this point, that’s all that would hold it up.

    I’m disappointed that the catechetical materials for the new translation have not been better controlled. The original intent (at least I was told) was for the USCCB CDV to develop an implementation catechesis that would then be put into place nationally. That seems to be dragging a bit, and in the meantime, a literal garden of various entities are now publishing their own “implementation programs”. Next, I suppose, will come the free-for-all of musical settings with no regulation (except for copyright) and at that point the opportunity to make some meaningful inroads towards reform are lost as they were in 1970.

  31. Mark R says:

    I would rather this take a long time than have it forced through quickly all riddled with mistakes. But I am older and cannot wait much longer.

  32. TJerome says:

    Maybe the plan for 2011 is that Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Trautman will be retired by then, along with some other complainers. Just a thought.Tom

  33. Any bishop can issue any decree he wants concerning what will or will not be done by the Advent season in 2011. But if material approved for liturgical use by the Apostolic See is not physically in the hands of anybody, because the publishers could not make the deadline, becaue the ENTIRE book was not approved, none of said decrees will matter.

    In other words, it’s as “firm” as it will be given the ability the MAKE that deadline. We’ll know better in about six or eight months.

  34. MichaelJ says:

    I have no doubt that bureaucracy plays a large part in the significant delay in promulgating the new english translation. I am a bit disappointed that the Church, as a human institution, seems to suffer more from this than, say, the local DMV, but recognize that some delay due to buraucracy is inevitable.

    That being said, some here seem to accept buraucracy as some kind of immutable law like the First law of Thermodynamics that cannot be overcome, only endured. I canot accept that notion. Where the will exists, buraucracy can be largely overcome. Consider this:

    In a period of seven years (From the start of the Council in 1962 to the promulgation of the NOM in 1969) the “hundreds and hundreds of individual prayer texts” that are currently being translated were first proposed (in Latin), approved by all of the Bishops in the world (not just the English speaking ones) published and distributed. Then they were translated to the various vernacular languages, approved again by the appropriate body of Bishops, published and distributed again throughout the world to every Parish.

    Some would say that seven years is too quick as evidenced by the disasterous consequences. I do not disagree, but point it out only to show that where the desire and will exist, an institution – even the Vatican – can move relatively quickly.

    The fact that the current translation, arguably a tenth of the effort, is taking four times as long only shows me that the desire for an accurate translation does not exist in the Church as a human institution.

  35. Henry Edwards says:

    MichaelJ: n a period of seven years (From the start of the Council in 1962 to the promulgation of the NOM in 1969) the “hundreds and hundreds of individual prayer texts” that are currently being translated were first proposed (in Latin), approved by all of the Bishops in the world (not just the English speaking ones) published and distributed. Then they were translated to the various vernacular languages, approved again by the appropriate body of Bishops, published and distributed again throughout the world to every Parish.

    Actually, this is all wrong. All the work you described was done by small groups of (or individual) “experts”, and there was essentially no “quality control”, no meaningful consultation, no resulting process of systematic correction and revision.

    As I understand it from the accounts I’ve read, almost everything was simply rubber-stamped (and thus expedited) at every level, from bishops to the Vatican. This is both why and how it was done so rapidly, and the reason we’ve since been saddled for forty years with such dreadful Mass tests. It’s difficult to believe that such ideologically motivated and embarrasing banal hack work could have been approved by any competent authorities who had actually examined it carefully.

    This is the still-enduring problem with almost everything that happened in that chaotic era that one has to have lived through to have even the vaguest understanding of it. No competent review and episcopal approval of liturgical texts, or new catechetical materials, or new seminary curricula, or alleged directives to wreckovate churches, etc. As just one example, the wreckovation of churches throughout the U.S. was carried out on the sole basis for many years of a working committee staff document that was presented as the desire of our bishops despite its never having been approved by the USSCB or even having been voted upon by any committee of bishops.

  36. MichaelJ says:


    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “all wrong”, and I suspect that you missed the point I was trying to make. I was not suggesting that the “short” cycle was a good thing or that the shortcuts taken to ensure the the NOM was quickly promulgated were wise.

    I was simply pointing out that, as an Institution, the Church was able to easily overcome bureaucratic inertia when Her human element had the desire to do so.

    I would also like to believe that those responsible have learned from their mistakes and perhaps are a bit gun shy, but the sheer difference in the amount of time taken makes that difficult. From what manwithblackhat indicates, this process began in the 80’s, so the numbers don’t seem to add up. 7 years from start to finish vs. 20-30 years (and counting) to revise a piece of what was done?

  37. Henry Edwards says:


    My “all wrong” was directed solely at any (perhaps unintended) suggestion that the 1973 English translation of the first (1970) edition of the (new) Roman missal was the result of any careful process of preparation, translation, consultation, and revision.

    On the other hand, the current translation of the third (2002) edition of the new Roman missal is, in fact, the product of just such a careful process over a period of just a (comparatively) few years, betokening a very serious intent of the Church to get this job done.

    Briefly, the pertinent history is this: During the 1980’s and 1990’s the original ICEL worked on its translation of the second (1975) edition of the new Roman missal. However, it was working at cross purposes with the Vatican, which was now insisting on an accurate translation. None of this ICEL translation work was considered acceptable, and this effort was finally rejected definitively by the Vatican in 2002, just when the new third edition of the missal was ready and needed to be translated, and just after the 2001 instruction Liturgiam authenticam had been issued to define the conditions for an accurate and “authentic” translation.

    Then on 15 September 2003, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments formally reconstituted ICEL with new membership and administrative direction to work under the supervision of the Holy See on the new English translation in accordance with the Liturgiam authenticam. This new ICEL started from scratch, not utilizing the previously unacceptable efforts.

    So the clock on the current new translation actually started ticking in late 2003 (or even early 2004), and in a little over 5 years completed the mammoth project that now lies before us. It essentially went through 3 successive drafts that were subjected to minute examination, consultation, and revision at several levels. This process was completed in November 2009 when the U.S. bishops, the last of the 11 national conferences to act, completed approval of the final parts by 90+% affirmative votes.

    Whereas I myself—in several posts in recent years—have complained about “foot dragging” by various parties, I now believe it fair to say that the wonderful new English translation that is now on the verge of implementation (given that the hard copy publication process will take most of a year) is result of what could well be described by some as a “warp speed” effort by a massive bureaucratic organization representing a billion people. (As a textbook author, I have been involved in much more modest projects that took longer.)

  38. catholicmidwest says:

    They should have done this years ago. The longer they wait, the worse it will be. That’s been the every-present truth for years and years now. When will they learn that fidelity is not what drives people away, but rather ignorance, passivity, confusion, neglect and loneliness?

    Most people aren’t very ideological in a theological sort of way, regardless of what hearsay excuses they might utter. (This seems incredible to the Catholic mindset but it’s true. Most protestants can transition from calvinist to lutheran without a hiccup, regardless of the theology. They simply don’t know and don’t care, if the church is “nice.”) Catholics who leave the Catholic church leave out of misunderstanding, or inability to belong, lack of identity, or desire to be with friends and family who see something more approachable elsewhere. By and large, they don’t leave because of doctrines or fine points of philosophy and such–many of them are scarcely aware such things exist anymore. RAther, they leave because they languish; they leave because no one approaches them and no one acts like they give a damn about them. They leave because they cease to take it seriously because it looks as if no one else does either. Protestants and New Agers are very, very good at approachable; Catholics stink at approachable.

    Sooo, in this context….For years, the TLM was dreaded like smallpox. IT was believed that bringing it back would cause huge defections. Did you see millions of them? I didn’t. This is because the understanding of what it is to be Catholic didn’t change for individual people who didn’t move to another parish, as a result. Very simple. Either they understood because they were interested OR they ignored it pretty much.

    For years, church leaders have dreaded sound behavior and discipline for fear it would cause huge defections. They dreaded it so long (and because of it allowed a lack of education), that now the great majority of Catholics are as ignorant about religion as so many hamsters. *But it’s not the discipline church leaders should be worrying about–it’s the ignorance.* The fact that many Catholics don’t really understand that the actual text of the mass is in latin and what they hear is, and always has been, a translation, is huge. This will guarantee that the new translations will feel novel to some people, perhaps many people, and they won’t know why.

    18 more months for dissidents to prey on the ignorance of the un-catechised middle is very bad. If there is a defection, it won’t be the translation itself (we’ve always used a translation and the last one came from central authority no less than this one!). It’ll be the ignorance, and its consequences.

  39. catholicmidwest says:


    You neglect the basic fact that the bureaucracy of the church was (and in many places still is) infested with dissidents and bureaucracy is what drove the inexorable damage that the church has seen over the last 40 years. Many, if not most, laypeople DIDN’T originally want the changes, if you remember. They were FORCED upon people from sources inside the bureaucracy.

    Some diocesan offices are literally dens of dissidents.

  40. catholicmidwest says:

    And to all indications, I might add, the infestation extended to very, very high levels of the international bureaucracy of the church.

  41. catholicmidwest says:

    If bureaucracy (sheer numbers & processes) were insurance, we’d all be Arians. We have a pope for that reason.

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