Pages removed from Vatican’s online 1960 “Acta Apostolicae Sedis”: Rubrics of Breviary and Missal

The Vatican website’s OCR copy of AAS 52 has blank pages for pp. 593-740.

John XXIII’s new code of rubrics, “Rubricae breviarii et missalis Romani,” is on pp. 622-42.

Those inclined to look for conspiracies might wonder whether someone were withholding this key resource for the old Mass.

On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence of incompetence regarding the website elsewhere.  And typos abound in these pdf’s.  They abound.

Still, this is pretty strange.  I think we can assume that those pages in AAS 52 were not themselves blank.

Here is a screenshot of the index:

There would almost have to have a been an explicit choice to leave that section out.


Cui bono?

In any event, let’s assume that this was all a big mistake and hope that whoever is in charge of that online resource will, for the sake of – I don’t know – completeness?  honesty? – correct the online version.

On a side note, also in this volume is the decree placing the infamous Poem of the Man God on the Index of Prohibited Books (p.60) and a decree on whether or not Communion can be distributed after noon (p.355), as well as when the Leonine Prayers could be omitted (p. 360) and the official text of the Litany of the Most Precious Blood (p. 412).

It is interesting to page through these volumes.

UPDATE 4 January 2010 2001 GMT:

I received an e-mail about this which, in fairness, I must share with you.

Dear Fr Zuhlsdorf,
thank you for your blog. I am a daily reader of it.

From 2005 to 2010 I worked in the Vatican and I happen to know the person who scanned the whole AAS collection which is now on th website. It might be a useful backround information that:

1) This was the work of a voluntary helper (more than 100.000 pages of “manual” scanning, one page after the other, all done by one person).
We should thank him.
2) When one person of the website team heard about these files, he decided to publish them. There was no time and personell to do corrections and they acted according to the principle “better this version than nothing; if we get something better in the future, we can still replace it”.
3) About AAS 1960: The voluntary helper consulted three copies in two libraries and all of them were incomplete. For now he just did not find the missing pages. I have informed him about your article and he told me that he will search in other libraries.

So, there are no second intentionts or conspiracies in all this (…
but it could still be useful to invite your readers to send messages to the Vatican about the missing translations of Summorum Pontificum on the website and other issues). I am sorry that this was and is “above my paygrade”.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    It may be New Year’s eve by morning, but you’ll just need to get your paper copy of the AAS. I know of one each at St. Charles, Wynnewood, PA and at Seton Hall, So. Orange, NJ. Unless you have a contact who can check the copy at the Vatican Library.
    Salutations omnibus.

  2. Philangelus says:

    I’d go for generic mistake before reaching for the conspiracy theory. OCR technology is not very good at what it does, and I’ve heard individuals in the publishing industry griping about mistakes in published ebooks that were rendered from text via OCR. If the pages were being done in large batches, it wouldn’t take much to have one file get corrupted, or for a group of pages to get scanned incorrectly and the problem not get noticed.

    Yes, a hundred-plus pages should be hard to notice, so I’d bet it was a problem with aggregating the files.

  3. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    God willing it was because they are going to replace them with the 1911 Divino Afflatu Rubrics.

  4. Andrew says:

    Also John Paul II encyclical “ecclesia de eucharisita” in the introduction, second par. under #2 still reads as follows: “qui pro vobis funditur et PRO OMNIBUS in remissionem peccatorum”. The actual printed version in the Acta says “pro multis”. How did that happen? And how many years will the uncorrected text remain on the internet?

  5. I’m sure it was a nice sunny day in Italy, too nice to pay much attention to menial clerical work. :)

  6. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Well then, someone shoudl get the missing parts, put it on the internet, and link it from the paper copy. Don’t let poor technology )or possible conspiracy theories) get in the way of the truth!

  7. ipadre says:

    You could say the same thing about Summorum Pontificum. Why is this important document only in Latin and Hungarian. Yes, that right, Hungarian. Just how many people are going to read SP in Hungarian? I bet a whole lot more would read it in English! Just below Summorum Pontificum, you have Motu Proprio on the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. That strikes me as kind of odd! I really don’t want to be critical of the Holy See internet office, they have great volumes online, but they have a long way to go!

  8. teaguytom says:

    I am going to concur with Ipadre. Why would an important document like S.P. only be translated into two languages, one of which isn’t a vernacular and the other being spoken by basically one country? Maybe there are powers that be that really don’t want these things to succeed.

  9. teaguytom says:
    Here is the link to the motu proprio list so nobody has to search.

  10. Reginald Pole says:

    Latin & Hungarian?
    Seems like this is a common occurrence. The highly useful is offered in Latin, English and Hungarian.

  11. Geoffrey says:

    What?! I thought these were the ‘bona fide’ copies of the AAS, thereby not requiring one to purchase costly printed copies. So much for that.

  12. Titus says:

    I’m going to go ahead and admit that I can’t find it, but I have the impression that there’s a good chance the whole thing is one Google Books—they’ve digitalized some of the U.S.’s largest academic libraries in toto. Maybe someone who has more patience and skill with the interface and search functions there could find it?

  13. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Look: I’m not one for conspiracies, but I think it’s entirely possible that the last area of Vatican reform is going to be guided by the Vatican II decree on the Means of Social Communication. Osservatore Romano, and now the Internet?

    Just a thought.

  14. Hewilladd says:

    I believe the following saying is attributed to Napoleon, but it could have its uses on the on the Italian peninsula as well: “Never ascribe to evil intent what can be explained by incompetence.”

  15. wmeyer says:

    Having done a good deal of OCR work, I can tell you that errors are frequent. And not all fonts are particularly friendly to OCR. That said, I can also tell you that the errors which are most common in any given font will tend to be consistent, and moreover, these errors, at least in English, are rather easily located with any decent spell checker. When you see a document posted with abundant errors, I would be confident in asserting that no cleanup was done. Lest there be any doubt, I am certain that errors always occur in OCR, and the only question is with what frequency. The documents cited are particularly troublesome for having been left uncorrected, and minimally translated, but my own observation has been that the documents on the Vatican site appear to have been at best, a half-hearted and ill supported effort.

    I have found many, many errors in the English translations of the V-II documents, which one might suppose would have been processed quite a few years ago–a good reason for many more errors than with modern OCR software–and could therefore have been cleaned up long since, even at a snail’s pace.

    As Pope Paul VI said, the smoke of Satan has entered the Church. Diligence and agitation would seem to be the best we can do to promote improvements.

  16. catholicmidwest says:

    When you have important documents in another other sphere, you correct them BEFORE you publish them!! Don’t they care what they’re saying?? Apparently not.

    I’d be happy to take an oath of fidelity to Rome and fix them in real time. I’m sure I’m not the only one either.

  17. Argon says:

    There are one or two things about the Vatican website which I find rather troubling. The English translations of the older Encyclicals appear to have been lifted – without any acknowledgement – from Sister Claudia Carlen’s excellent 5-volume collection (“The Papal Encyclicals”, McGrath Pub. Co., 1981). The various translations in Sr Claudia Carlen’s collection were taken from a range of contemporary publications and were used with permission; many will still be in copyright. They now appear on the Vatican website without any accompanying indication as to their origin.

    Also, it really is a basic error to have the Acta Sanctae Sedis listed alongside the Acta Apostolicae Sedis as “official acts of the Holy See”. The Acta Sanctae Sedis only became an authentic publication with Volume 37 (1904-5); prior to this the collection had no official status. One of the earlier volumes currently listed as “official” on the Vatican website contains an article from the editor arguing that craniotomy can be justified when a mother’s life is in danger! It’s invaluable to have the whole collection available online, but the unofficial nature of the older ASS volumes ought to be made very clear.

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