Another Vatican website quirk concerning Summorum Pontificum

Under another entry in the combox, our friend iPadre pointed out that, at the time of this writing. on the Vatican website, the Supreme Pontiff’s Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum is still provided only in

Latin and Hungarian.

Languages equally comprehensible to liberals.

Does this seem right to you?

This is an important document of a Pope’s pontificate.

Shouldn’t it be in the main languages in which the Holy See released documents including, say, English?

Do the people who run that website, or oversee those who do, not think the Holy Father’s documents are important?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    I have been aware of this. What the heck are we supposed to do about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. We could check out how well Google’s translation page does with it. (Probably not too well.)

  3. Using Google, here is the first part translated from one of the two languages the webmaster has permitted – Hungarian:

    Hungarian to English translation

    Pápáknak The trouble was this day that Christ’s Church of the Divine majesty worthy of worship is offered to “name the praise and glory” and “the benefit of the whole Church. ”

    Since ancient times and will continue to be aligned to the principle, “according to which each of Churches must be consistent with the universal Church, not only the teachings of the faith and sacramental signs, but the apostolic tradition, and has since continued by the universally accepted usage as well, which not only to avoid the mistake should be retained, but the integrity of faith in order to be transferred, because the Church’s law of prayer corresponds to the law of faith. “[1]

  4. Mark of the Vine says:

    On our Una Voce website we had to post Zenit’s unofficial Portuguese translation…

  5. Andrew says:

    Let me get this right: motu proprio Summorum Pontificum has to do with the non-vernacular all Latin liturgy and people complain that the text of the motu proprio is not available in English? Am I the only one who sees a contradiction here?

  6. kallman says:

    Yes Andrew you are the only one.
    At least the Latin has been done, unlike for many other documents. Blame incompetence before conspiracy for the lack of an English version, maybe some kind scholar can translate i tinto English unofficially

  7. catholicmidwest says:

    Better than the old ICEL. I can actually make out what the Google translation says from the context which is more than I can say for about 1/2 the old (pre-1998) ICEL translations.

  8. James Joseph says:

    Doesn’t my 2010 edition of 1962 Missal have facing English-Latin translations? Yes.

  9. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Wow good eye for Ipadre. Plain and simple, English is the most common language now in the modern world. The Vatican should realize that. ALL documents should have an english translation, no matter who releases it, that includes the daily press releases.

    I wouldn’t be suprized that the media outlets surrounding the Pope is failing Him. The people who are closest to him aren’t media savy according to the WikiLeak, and L’osservatore Romano under the new leadership have not been doing B16 service, as was shown in the recent “condom” issue with the Sewald book. I wouldn’t be suprized if there are liberals running the Vatican website and this is another part of screwing with Church tradition/the Magisterium. Seewald incident + Fr. Z’s AAS omission post + this one = me starting to think this isn’t simple goofing up.

    Fr. Z, how may we contact the Vatican to ask them for a translation in english? What department or person or e-mail (just basically any lead) should we direct this too?

  10. lacrossecath says:

    Who needs the Twilight Zone when we have the zone? I’m waiting for a unseen monster to start tearing apart the popemobile’s side.

  11. Dr. K says:

    Looks like the English-speaking bishops have an excuse for not following the document.

  12. Daniel Latinus says:

    IIRC, there some problems with the translation at the time the original MP was issued. I remember something about multiple English versions in play, and one had some accuracy issues.

    To tell you the truth, I am more intrigued by the following item about the Holy Father “reinstating the traditional norms for the majority required to elect the Supreme Pontiff”, which is only available in French and Latin. I had a lot of misgivings about John Paul II’s rules in this matter, and if our Holy Father, gloriously reigning, has returned to the previous norms, I can sleep a lot easier.

    I just hope we don’t have to use them any time soon…

  13. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    Even Lazlo Kiss of the great Divinum Officium site provides Latin, Hungarian, AND ENGLISH!

  14. Fr. A.M. says:

    Ok. But what does one do about it ? It seems ludicrous, to say the least. Not everybody who attends the usus antiquior, or even the modern rite, are expected to be fluent in Hungarian or Latin. A letter to Ecclesia Dei ? Perhaps they could then pull strings ? Or perhaps people with contacts with this commission could make some tactful approaches ?

  15. Benjamin says:

    That’s so simple, Father, no need to complain about. The whole world should learn Hungarian (is a lot more beautiful than any English, not to mention other languages). Here is a fine link to a useful EN-HU dictionary for beginners:

    Personally I cannot accept but few disciples, but there are plenty of bright teachers.

    Hungarian Benjamin

    Ps. Igazán nem szép dolog csúnyákat mondani a világ egyik legszebb nyelvér?l. Személyes véleményem szerint a legjobb, ami történhet, ha a latin és a magyar kerül egymás mellé. Az univerzum összes többi nyelvére semmi szükség! (If your Hungarian is poor enough to understand this postscriptum, improve it! ;)

  16. jflare says:

    Must admit, I’m a bit flummoxed by this too. I can understand Latin; it IS the Church’s universal language. (Universally unknown, as my father would dryly quip.) But what’s with the HUNGARIAN translation?!
    Why not Italian or Spanish, at least? Why would someone in Hungary have need to read up before someone in another nation?
    Makes no sense to me……

  17. Johnsum says:

    Until 1844, Latin was the official language of Hungary. Of course, the common people did not speak it; however, most official goverment documents were conducted in that language. Maurus Jokai (Jokai Mor), Hungarian author writing in the 19th century, frequently used latin words, phrases and sentences in his novels. Even today when friends meet and shake hands also greet each other with the Latin word “Servus.” (Actually, it is pronounced with a Hungarian accent and sounds more like: Ser-boos.

  18. Carolina Geo says:

    Persze mindig kel figyelembe venni aszt hogy lehetséges hogy vannak itt olyanok akik pedig tudnak beszélni magyarul.

    Johnsum: And it’s actually spelled “Szervusz.” :-)

  19. AnAmericanMother says:

    FWIW, “servus” is a common greeting in Austria. At least it was in my teacher’s generation.

  20. AnAmericanMother says:

    And the only Hungarian word I recognize is “magyar”, so this is interesting but not edifying to the ignorant bystander (who has read Kate Seredy’s books and loved them).

  21. greasemonkey says:

    My point was not that WE find out what is in SP!!!! After all, we know. The point is what the heck can we do to compell the VATICAN to have the appropriate translations on their web site!

  22. QuijoteRides says:

    Let us give the translators some room.
    BREATHE, everyone! It will be in English soon enough.
    Pax et Bonum

  23. Andrew says:


    Ezek az angolok szeretnek hogy az Anyaszentegyhaznak a nyelve legyen latin hellyet angol.

    Why aren’t catholic priests complaining when documents come out in all kinds of languages except Latin?
    Such as the Pope’s annual letter to the clergy. Did you know, dear Fathers, that you are supposed to know the Church’s language well? (Can. 249)

  24. Henry Edwards says:

    I see nothing surprising about this. Obviously, ICEL has been fully occupied for the past decade with the English translation of Missale Romanum 3e. Once it has finally been implemented in Advent of 2011, they can turn to the English translation of Summorum Pontificum. Of course, their first draft will be sent to all of the national bishops conferences for review and recommended amendments back to ICEL. Then ICEL’s second draft of SP, reconciling the various bishops conferences versions, will be sent back to the bishops conferences for review and still further amendments. Once this back-and-forth process has converged to a final version, it will be presented to the Pope for his final approval. Then a secret ad hoc commission will make final changes before the English version is released, perhaps by 2015 or so. The main question will be whether the document still deals with the 1962 missal. I understand there are competing views in play behind the scenes, some advocating the 1965 missal instead, but others advocating the pre-1955 missal before the Holy Week changes approved by Pius XII.

  25. Tom in NY says:

    If Rev. Moderator is still in Manhattan, his day is planned out. The first step is to head up to the neighborhood of 81st St. and Second Ave., find a Magyar Hentes store and get his document translated. Perhaps he can get gulyas for lunch. Then, he can head back down to PATH, near Macy’s, transfer at Hoboken for a train to South Orange, and walk the 20 min up to Seton Hall library. AAS was in the stacks. There he can find the “missing passage” of another post.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  26. irishgirl says:

    ‘Hungarian’? Why Hungarian?
    This sounds rather fishy to me.
    No offense against Hungarians, of course. But why not in English?
    Somebody in the Vatican’s ‘translation office’ has ‘got some ‘splaining to do’!

  27. eulogos says:

    Obviously, English translations exist. The year it came out we read it at the Toronto Oratory Summer School. So why doesn’t someone up there just do a quick check of an existing translation, and post it? I am willing to bet that French and German translations also exist, which the translators would be willing to have them use. I think there must be some sort of issue where they think their official translators have to do the translation for them to put it up. Maybe they have one for each language, and the English one is backed up and just getting started on documents issued in 1992!

  28. Jason Keener says:

    Strange indeed. A major document like “Summorum Pontificum” that applies to the entire Church should be translated into several modern lanaguages, including English. I took a look around the Holy See’s site, and even most of Pope Benedict’s homilies, messages, and letters are offered in five or six languages. This year’s Christmas “Urbi et Orbi” Message from last week is already posted in eight languages! If these somewhat less important documents and speeches can be posted almost immediately in many different languages, there is no reason why the Holy See cannot get several translations of “Summorum Pontificum” posted years after the document is promulgated.

  29. Henry Edwards says:

    Obviously, English translations exist.

    For instance, at the EWTN web site:

    A very nice side-by-side Latin-English version:

    At the USCCB web site:
    Apostolic Letter on the Use of Preconciliar Forms

    But perhaps these are unofficial English translations not certified in accord with Liturgiam authenticam.

  30. Jim Dorchak says:

    Hey what is the problem here?
    They are busy!
    Washing their hair, doing their toe nails, and other such important stuff.
    Besides it is not that big of a deal, it is just some obscure document that the current Pope wrote…. If they wait long enough he will be gone and none of this will matter anyhow.
    To quote the band Perry “its a funny when your dead how people start listening “.
    Jim Dorchak

  31. Bona says:

    Here is an unofficial Engligh translation reportedly provided by the Vatican Information Service. It is posted on the website of ESPN.

    I know this does not address why there is no posted official translation, but I hope it will be useful for those who wish to read it in English.

  32. IrishCatholic says:

    Why Hungarian…? Its so random…German, French, Italian maybe…but Hungarian…REALLY?

  33. Andrew says:

    I understand the desire to have the document in English so that some liberal minded folks might bump into it (as if they wanted to read it even if they could).
    But something else comes out of this. Latin protects the little guy, as explained by Pope John XXIII in Veterum Sapientia. It protects us from the mindset exhibited on this thread which goes like this: I am more numerous, I am more influential, therefore let others learn my language. I don’t have to learn anything, not even Latin. Let the Hungarian learn English. Let the Slovak, the Serbian, the Czech, the Dutch, the Greek, the Whatever manage somehow: they don’t count so much as we do.
    I hope for the day when all documents coming out of the Vatican will be in Latin only and let everyone translate their own as much as their little hearts desire. English? How random!

  34. totustuusmaria says:

    The Hungarian appears at to be gone now. It is only available in Latin as of 1:22 AM EST 1/1/11.

  35. Hungarian seems to be there. At least when I looked.

  36. AnAmericanMother says:

    French used to hold the place that English holds now (which may be the source of the old but similar allegation that the French are full of themselves). Scholars have always had Latin (C.S. Lewis used to correspond with an Italian professor in Latin because he had no Italian and the professor had no English) – but the ‘lingua franca’ of the world at large changes from time to time. Before French it was Latin, and before that it was Greek.
    It’s not really a matter of pride (certain pesky American tourists to the contrary) but primarily a matter of convenience, especially in Europe (where French is holding on but has given a good deal of ground to English). I had a terrible time trying to speak German the last time I was over there . . . because everybody wanted to practice their English!

  37. BobP says:

    I’m being to wonder if they’ll ever get the Mass right in English. I’d say never mind this translation, just give us the TLM.

  38. Hidden One says:

    So which of the Vatican’s seven-ish Latinists speaks Hungarian?

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