Yesterday we had a glimpse of the CDW’s revision of the ICEL text of the Roman Missal which had been approved by the USCCB and sent for Rome’s approval, which it obtained. The revised text was leaked and put on the internet.
Furthermore, reports have circulated concerning something like 10,ooo changes made by the CDW to the ICEL text sent in by the bishops.
Yesterday, Bp. Serratelli of Patterson, head of the USCCB’s liturgy committee, released a statement addressing the situation.
CNA has this headline: Bishop Serratelli denies report new Roman Missal underwent major changes
Here is Bp. Serratelli’s statement from the site of the USCCB. Let’s have a look with my emphases and comments:
There has been some discussion recently about a report surfaced through some segments of the Catholic Press regarding the present state of the text of the Roman Missal, Third Edition. A number of facts will hopefully clarify the situation and, in so doing, give us the calm needed to welcome and implement the new text.
[He begins with some history… ] First, it is helpful to keep in mind the genesis of the final text that is now being prepared for publication. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) prepared for the English-speaking Conferences of Bishops preliminary drafts (“green books”) of the 12 sections of the Roman Missal. After incorporating the feedback and responses of the individual Conferences of Bishops and the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, ICEL then prepared the final drafts (“gray books”). These were approved by canonical vote by each of the member Conferences. In approving the gray books, each conference also had the opportunity to make further suggestions to the Congregation, as was done in particular by our Conference. We submitted many amendments to the texts. The Congregation, working with the Vox Clara Committee, carefully listened to what the bishops said. The Congregation incorporated many of the suggestions of the various Conferences (including our own), combined with their own review and changes, and put forth the final text. The Congregation followed the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam faithfully but not slavishly. [Interesting. This is what we are to understand from this? The Congregation did not follow its own norms?]
This is the final text now being readied for publication. [“Final text”… “readied”… if it is “final”, how is it being “readied”?] This process includes a final review [at which point changes could be made?] and copy edit which, given the size of the text, uncovers some minor questions of consistency, [consistency of interpretation? In the document called “Areas of Difficulty” shows problems of consistency in the translation of certain important words.] typographical errors, and layout. Those questions are being addressed by the Congregation for Divine Worship. This review has not dealt with the translation itself. [I wonder at that. I think I would want to know why the Congregation did not adhere to the norms it issued. Also, after all this “review” and “readied”, etc., they are not dealing with the translation itself? Are we to understand that all the changes made were to typos and format?] The critique that has circulated has necessarily failed to take into account the final version of the text, which incorporates some corrections issued by the Congregation since the transmittal of the full text to the English-speaking Conferences of Bishops in August 2010. [This seems to be the escape route.]
To sum up, there is a final text. It has received a recognitio. As the work of editing and assembling nears completion, there is assurance that the published text will be available in more than ample time for implementation in Advent 2011. It is good to note also that the catechetical preparation for implementation is already underway and has proceeded with much enthusiasm and wide acceptance by both clergy and laity. It is clear at this point in time that there is an attitude of openness and readiness to receive the new text. Let us pray in this time of transition and change that the Roman Missal, Third Edition, will enable all to understand more deeply the mysteries we celebrate.
Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli
November 18, 2010
1) Julius Caesar in his writings laid down important principles for the commander of troops. One of them is that you should leave an honorable escape route for your opponent if you are not in a position to crush him under such huge forces that you cannot be hurt. Bp. Serratelli is saying that the critiques that are circulating are based on a previous revision of the revised ICEL text. There is another, subsequent, revised revision of the revised text. Since this is the case, and even thought the text is now theoretically finalized, the Congregation could quite honorably (quietly, discreetly) correct the mistakes made by the Congregation, pointed out in documents such as the “Areas of Difficulty”. I hope they do. I found myself in agreement with what I read in that “Areas of Difficulty”.
2) I repeat what I wrote elsewhere:
If the English version is goofed up – not at all certain – imagine my grief were people simply to opt for Latin because English has been shown by ecclesiastical authority yet again not to be a liturgical language.
Don’t like the changes to the new translation?
Just say NO! Just USE LATIN!
Consider the inexorable biological solution and shifting demographics among priests and seminarians in the wealthier English speaking world. It is in the best interests of those for whom Latin and the older Mass are the stuff of nightmares to do a good job of the English Novus Ordo.
If the translation is unsatisfactory, many of the young men being ordained will be happy to use more Latin. People can use whatever translations they prefer. That worked before. It will work again.
No priest needs permission to use Latin. We are (most of us reading here) members of the Latin Church. Latin is our liturgical language.
3) What we are talking about is a translation.
I, for one, want people to remember that it is a translation. I am therefore happy to sacrifice some beauty and smoothness for the sake of accuracy. If the text sounds like a translation, so be it. I don’t think it is always bad for a translation to sound like a translation.
4) It may be that some of the changes made to the ICEL text approved and sent by the USCCB – changes made by the Congregation – were made with a view to English speakers who are not in the major English speaking countries (USA, England, Australia, most of Canada, S. Africa, etc.). I wonder if the changes we haven’t been happy with are, how to say it, … a way to involve some other regions which aren’t Anglophone superpowers.
5) As I understand the situation, we are mostly concerned about the proper and not the ordinary of Mass. The ordinary seems to be pretty much fixed down. We are mostly concerned about the translation of the prayers that change from day to do. (Though there are some points of the ordinary….)
6) Even though we are now being assured that there is a final text out there, beyond that which has been munched over on the internet, I think that some pressure should still be applied. The Congregation can continue to make changes… ehem… correct the obvious mistakes of translation that have been introduced up until the minute the “enter” key is pressed to send the text to publishers or to conference heads to relay to publishers.
We should continue to scan the orations for Mass in the version of the Roman Missal that we do have, looking for anything that doesn’t work. After all, there is a version out there and the Latin texts are not a secret. If people find things that the Congregation has already properly corrected, nothing has been lost. If people expose changes made by the Congregation that are suboptimal, then a good service will have been rendered to everyone.
7) All during the history of WDTPRS I continually asked people to pray to those involved and even to write letters expressing their hopes for the new translation. I renew that plea now. Pray and even write. Write short – one side of one page – legible, courteous notes a) thanking them for their work and b) expressing your desire that the translation be accurate in its adherence to the Latin original. In past years bishops and Vox Clara members mentioned to me that they had received such letters and that they had been appreciated.
His Eminence Antonio Card. Canizares Llovera
Prefect of the Congregation for
Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments
Palazzo delle Congregazioni
P.za Pio XII
00120 Vatican City
Writing such a letter will take you very little time and will cost you very little. It may do a good deal of good if many of you do so.