FOLLOWUP: Pages removed from Vatican’s online 1960 “Acta Apostolicae Sedis”

You may recall my post entitled “Pages removed from Vatican’s online 1960 “Acta Apostolicae Sedis”: Rubrics of Breviary and Missal.”

Page were missing from the Vatican’s online archive of Acta Apostolicae Sedis precisely where the rubrics for Mass in the Extraordinary Form should be.

Various reasons were advanced for this.

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”.



When you’ve had a tough day scanning thousands of pages from the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, fingers cracking from the paper, mind numbed by the scanner going back and forth… back and forth… back and forth…. breathing in dust with very little hope that anyone will thank you, why not take a break coffee mugand enjoy a WDTPRS mug filled to the brim with Mystic Monk Coffee?

Frankly, introduction of Mystic Monk Coffee at the Vatican’s Secretariate of State would have a salubrious effect on the whole Church. Think of the advantages to not having so many zombie-like officials half asleep at the switch?

They need it by the 5 lbs. bag!

Too much to ask?  Sure.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed all the time.

Refresh your supply of coffee now!  You know you want to.

They still have some Christmas Blend and even their Jingle Bell Java which several readers have said they like.

Mystic Monk!

It’s swell!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Thank you for this follow up. Interesting that the Vatican has placed great emphasis on the use of modern communication in her preaching, but has some unpaid volunteer doing all the work? 100 grand worth of scanned document is a BIG undertaking. I would challenge them to put their money where their mouth is.

  2. Tom in NY says:

    Fratrem X ad scriptorium vocandum est.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  3. Legisperitus says:

    So some rotters removed them from the libraries, eh? The plot thickens.

  4. Oneros says:

    I was about to say. The fact that these pages were missing from library copies is troubling. Especially in Rome itself! I found these pages easily in copies of the AAS in both Chicago and Champaign, Illinois. Why was a complete copy not available in Rome itself of all places!?

  5. kelleyb says:

    is it possible that you could supply the volunteer with the missing information? Just a thought

  6. Rich says:

    I agree, Fr. Z., that drinking Mystic Monk Coffee will indeed have a salubrious effect on the whole Church.

  7. wmeyer says:

    So the bottom line is that the good people in Rome have yet no clue how important the Internet is. As someone whose first source for basic research is through my keyboard, that drives me crazy. But I have to say, drinking coffee is more likely to increase my negative response, than to soothe me. Even from the Mystic Monks.

  8. Since it’s only Italian library copies being affected, it’s obviously not a directive from above. I suspect it’s more of a loner with a grudge against the rubrics (and that might be a crazy of any ideological stripe, though the good bet would be someone who thought Vatican II didn’t go far enough).

    This sounds a lot like the crazy person who decided that the Dayton main library downtown had too many lewd and blasphemous books. So he started taking a pen or marker to black out all the words in books that he didn’t like, like “breast” (even when referring to a male’s bosom). Occasionally he would also leave crazy comments. Then he started slicing out words, and finally whole pages. After a while, the librarians figured out who was doing it and took his library privileges away….

  9. Animadversor says:

    I am impressed by the generosity—and even more by the perseverence and diligence—of the person who did this. He certainly has my thanks.

  10. AnnAsher says:

    Um, OK…but still seems a tad spurious that two copies from two libraries both had the same pages missing…maybe I watch too much Scooby Doo….

  11. Supertradmum says:

    I shall go work there. Come on, volunteers should be chosen more carefully and be scholars.

  12. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    “wmeyer says: 4 January 2011 at 6:17 pm
    So the bottom line is that the good people in Rome have yet no clue how important the Internet is”
    – You do remember that there was recently a wikileak saying the Pope and his inner circle had only a few e-mails and 1 blackberry between them all? Perhaps we should be telling the Vatican to get into the digital information age!

    Now what I really came on to say: Fr. I also say thank you to this person who revealed this information. It just goes to show you that the things that are important to us are often those left on the backburner burecratically and it’s the good hard work of everyday people who care truly about their jobs or their faith that makes things work in society. It’s too bad the upload job was rushed and not checked throughly.

    Say I don’t suppose Pope Benedict has a personal library and his own personal copy in his Vatican residence library of the AAS he could examine to rectify this issue?

    Finally, how does one contact the Vatican? What’s the e-mail or the route to get up there?

  13. danielinnola says:

    @ suburbanbanshee, lol yes people have all kinds of crazy ideas… Like the person some years ago who touted the idea of cooking chickens in the dishwasher. The supposed time saving benefit was dinner and clean dishes all at once. An added plus Was that the chicken was said to be “really juicy”… back to the topic at hand…sounds like an “inside” job… ;p

  14. Daniel Latinus says:

    Makes me wonder if the missing pages were removed back in 1960 by a cleric who wanted them for his own personal use. Still vandalism, but hardly sinister.

    I used to work with high speed printing systems, and I can tell you scanning, especially from bound volumes, is a tedious business, and can be physically demanding. (We’ll just note in passing how much more trying this can be when the equipment inevitably requires repair.) To scan 100,000 pages is quite a bit of work, and to do it for free? That’s downright heroic. He should get a very good indulgence for that.

  15. mrsmontoya says:

    Only God is perfect. We mere mortals can only continue to do our best. Thank you to the volunteer who did the scanning, and to your reader who followed up with you, and to you yourself Father Z for your fairness in posting the followup.

  16. Brad says:

    The devil is in the details.

  17. The Cobbler says:

    So, let me see if I understand this…

    …in Rome, sometime between 1960 and now, the official copy of the old missal went missing?

    I may have to credit the SSPX for keeping the old form alive after all, if there was that much done to prevent its being used again and this isn’t a fluke coincidence. I’d figured if some old priests remember _how_ it was done and we still have the missal to tell _what_ to do, young priests could come back and revive the old form as long as they don’t have to wait too many generations; but if copies of the missal were actually going missing…

    I’m not going to assume so, conspiracy theories being what they are, but even I can’t help noticing what it would mean if this was deliberate and not recent.

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