New Ecumenical English Missal? Committee members named?

I am sure that you have all seen this piece by now from this liturgy site HERE.  My emphases and comments:

New Ecumenical English Missal

A rumour has been growing about a possible review of the Roman Catholic missal translation, but no one anticipated the announcement of a New Ecumenical English Missal Project, which will mean that the words for the whole Eucharist will be the same across a number of significant English-speaking denominations. [Wound’t haters of the new translation be thrilled?]

Pope Francis, ever taking people by surprise, in only the second year of his papacy, pointedly, on the feast day of a woman saint, St Theodora (April 1), is formally signing [So… did he sign it “informally” earlier … or not sign it at all?] the declaration that he has the agreement of significant English-speaking churches and ecclesial communities to work [discrimination against the insignificant!] towards a new Ecumenical English Missal.

Real dissatisfaction with the recent English-language missal translation has been present from the start. [And still now.]

January this year the Irish Association of Catholic Priests [aka Ass. of Catholic Priests] and an article in the Tablet [aka The Bitter Pill] said that a review of the Missal translation has been promised. Fr. Paddy Jones has just finished 21 years directing the national liturgy office in Ireland, and in the office’s bulletin New Liturgy he has an editorial on the topic. “A review is promised, though the mechanism of such a review is not known”, wrote Fr Jones.

Like other surprise announcements of Pope Francis, this one goes totally beyond expectations. In the document entitled (still surprisingly in Latin!) Aprilis Stulte ‘Dies (translation of the Latin here), the pope reveals that a board will oversee a commission of English-language liturgical, linguistic, and musical experts.

Four people will form this board. The four are (left to right in the photo above) Bishop Susan Johnson (National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada), Pope Francis, the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori (Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church), and the Most Reverend Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury). The gender and church-background mix is seen to be no accident.  [How could it be?]

One of the strongest criticisms of the current English Language Missal Translation is its gender-exclusive language. Prior to this current translation many texts were shared ecumenically. This new work, however, will move beyond a few shared texts. The whole text will be usable by English-language liturgical churches.  Insiders predict that the commission will start by trying to bring together the best of the rejected 1998 translation and The Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer.


Read the rest there.  That is if you haven’t figured out that this is a joke.

I’ll have to ponder this, and reactions to it, during the day.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    April Fool

  2. Rich says:

    The post from Liturgy is dated April 1.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    “The post from Liturgy is dated April 1.”

    I hate this time of year!

  4. JacobWall says:

    I was looking for the link to The Eye of the Tiber – but, of course, it’s April first. It would’ve got me if I hadn’t read the comments above.

  5. DanW says:

    Aprilis Stulte Dies


  6. Urs says:

    does not compute
    cognitive dissonance
    cognitive dissonance is the excessive mental stress and discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs,
    April Fool, you say?
    That is not funny! It is much too scary to be funny. It just about gave me a heart attack

  7. Jack Hughes says:

    this is a joke right ?

  8. Mariana2 says:

    Seriously worried until Aprilis Stulte Dies…., really, Father : ) !

  9. Lori Pieper says:

    You had me going for a moment there, Father. And that was AFTER I had read and pondered this.

    Happy April Fools Day everyone!

  10. markomalley says:


  11. Huxtaby says:

    You have all just got to read the comments over at the Pray Tell blog. Spittle flecked nutties or what? I think they have just proved that ‘liberals’ do not have a sense of humour!

  12. Tony McGough says:

    April Fool … and “Protect the Pope” has an even wilder one … pity it is wild, though.

  13. Tony McGough says:

    My mistake – not PtP at all, but Bones. Sorry.

  14. A.D. says:

    You got me! I was gasping a little and then downright hyperventilating when I saw the two women “collars”. I cried, “He (Pope Francis) couldn’t! He wouldn’t! Then, thanks be to God, breathed a sign of relief, “He didn’t!” I am so gullible!

  15. Mike says:

    It is not a coincidence, I feel, that this stunning news comes from the land of the McGillicuddy Serious Party. Well played, Fr. Z!

  16. Volanges says:

    I, too, was starting to hyperventilate until I read the comments. I totally forget the date and I didn’t go to the link to read the translation. As they would say here in Newfoundland, “Ya got me, Fawder!”

  17. sprachmeister says:

    Look at the first letters of each paragraph in the original article – very clever.

  18. OrthodoxChick says:

    You got me, Father. I fell for it until I read the first 2 comments.

  19. oldCatholigirl says:

    What Orthodox Chick said.

  20. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Frighteningly plausible! :-)

    An English Catholic website had this post for the day –

    The announcement that the Archbishop of Westminster had ‘issued a blistering attack on same-sex marriages’, warning politicians who supported the law: ‘Do not even think of approaching Holy Communion’ – I’m afraid this was easy for all the readers to spot as an April Fool’s Joke.
    (Which is a sign of the times – and rather sad, really.)

  21. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Bravo. Now off to harvest the Spaghetti Tree.

  22. LeslieL says:

    And again forgot my self-promise to not drink tea and read Fr. Z’s blog. But then again, my computer screen is sparkling….
    Thank God it’s April 1st. And I? the fool for a couple of minutes :-) Good one, Father!

  23. William Tighe says:

    Skeptical (or gullible) readers might wish to put together the initial letters of each paragraph of the foregoing “announcement.”

  24. donato2 says:

    Hook, line and sinker. I feel like I’ve woken up from a bad dream.

  25. Magpie says:

    So sad to reflect on the state of the modern Catholic Church that I have to consider that this might not be a joke even though it is April 1st.

  26. SimonDodd says:

    Vecchio di Londra says: “Frighteningly plausible! :-)” Bingo. Be honest: That breathless initial response (articulated by A.D. above, doubtless speaking for many) that “He couldn’t! He wouldn’t!” bespeaks that deep down, we know that he jolly well could, and we fear that he would. Two Aprils ago, no one would have fallen for this—and therein lies the problem.

  27. CrimsonCatholic says:

    And here I thought it was the final approval for the clown missal!

  28. In the immortal words of Jeremy Clarkson “What could possibly go wrong????”

    Nice one Father.

  29. stuart reiss says:

    You wicked priest.

    Fr. Z. SJ

  30. Ferde Rombola says:

    Very apt comments. At first glance I cringed. “This cannot be!!!!!!” said I. Then the date was emphasized and I laughed. Then I wondered what’s funny if I took the message seriously to begin with. Most sacred heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

  31. Vecchio di Londra says:

    I see King’s College Cambridge announced today that they will replace their legendary boy choristers…

  32. wanda says:

    When will I ever learn? Arrggh.

  33. yatzer says:

    I checked with trembling heart to see if this was because of April 1 and to my great relief it was! These days ya never know.

  34. McCall1981 says:

    Completely fell for it.

  35. Sonshine135 says:

    Oh Father Z. I swallowed that hook line and sinker! My monitor is spittle-flecked now.

  36. The Masked Chicken says:

    There is a Revised Standard Version Catholic (or Common) Edition, so there was the teeny-tiniest possibility that this could have been on the level. Given Pope Francis’s proclivities for doings old things in new ways, one could not exclude the possibility. The Bayesian processing of the probabilities tilted to the single-sided domain (oh, alright, enough math – I got snookered).

    Ed Feser had a long post about the joking lie a while back and he and I disagree about its moral dimensions. This one was a great gag, but it comes very very close to going over to the Dark Side.

    The Chicken

  37. majuscule says:

    I hope and pray that the post about Most Reverend Matteo Maria Zuppi and the EF Mass (also dated April 1) is not in jest!

  38. ordinary means says:


  39. NBW says:

    You got me Fr. Z.! I was just about to have a spittle- fleckled nutty.

  40. Pingback: 15 Hilarious Catholic Memes for Your April Fools' Day -

  41. pannw says:

    Scariest. April. Fool’s. Prank. EVUH!!!!!

    I’m almost as upset now, by the fact that I thought it could be true, as I was when I thought it could be true. May the Holy Father forgive me!

  42. anilwang says:

    SimonDodd says: Vecchio di Londra says: “Frighteningly plausible! :-)” Bingo. Be honest

    Not really. Pope Francis just isn’t interested in the liturgy, so I’d be surprised if he did anything WRT the liturgy.

    Even if he were interested, this line is a clear giveaway that it’s fake “which will mean that the words for the whole Eucharist will be the same across a number of significant English-speaking denominations. ”

    Quite simply, the theology of the Eucharist is a big dividing line, even among Protestants. Within 50 years of the “Reformation” there were at least 200 interpretations. Disagreements and church splitting is at the heart of Protestantism. So if a significant number of Protestants could agree on what the Eucharist is, it would be a clear sign that Protestantism would be near an end (either it would collapse into secularism or be on it’s way back to reunion with Rome).

  43. Priam1184 says:

    Lol you know Father that little joke of yours may have put a few of your loyal readers into the intensive care ward…

  44. PaterAugustinus says:

    C’mon… I knew it as soon as I saw the headline and the picture of the four “hierarchs!” (okay, one hierarch and three figureheads from the Ministry of Silly Walks). I was enjoying it until the very subtle Latin hint about “Aprilis Stulte Dies,” which of course was way too on-the-nose and spoiled all the fun. It would have been better to conceal the gag a bit more, so that we could all really get a good laugh as the more trusting souls proceeded to melt down. We would have explained it to them quickly, of course, but now we’ve missed out on the best part of the fun.

    Discover Magazine used to do that with science stories every year in their April edition. There was always one totally bogus story, usually not obviously betrayed, that readers got to try to figure out until it was revealed in the May edition. Loads more fun! Though sometimes even there the stories were obvious (like the one about the mysterious “bigon” particle, a particle comprised of a single, basket-ball sized atom, that was known to pop in and out of our space-time continuum, sometimes with significant damage to property at the Discover Magazine offices).

  45. Sword40 says:

    Better Bloody well hope this is an April Fools joke cause “it ain’t funny McGee”.

  46. liliana51886 says:

    Not funny. I was just about in tears until I read the comments… shame shame. You def got me. Happy April Fools.

  47. Pingback: New Ecumenical English Missal | Liturgy

  48. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    In addition to the RSV Common Bible noted by The Masked Chicken there is the Revised Common Lectionary: this seems quite plausible as a ‘standard’ option involving, say, (many) Anglican Provinces, Old Catholics, (some) Lutherans (cf. Porvoo), perhaps even some of the Reformed as well (I recall some synod members of a Dutch church hankering after the optional use of the Common of the Mass not so long ago) – if the Consultation on Common Texts (of which the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the U.S. and the Canadian Conference are members) and the International English Language Liturgical Consultation are not quite working on this yet, it does not sound like ‘distant future music’…

  49. Archicantor says:

    It was amusing that the Latin incipit of the putative document was obviously generated in Google Translate (notice that the apostrophe from Fools’ was retained, only attached to the beginning of Dies). I don’t know how it came to translate Fools’ as a vocative. I would have favoured something like Aprilium Dies Stultorum. (Though it’s hard to imagine an encyclical or motu proprio beginning with a sentence in which Dies occurred as a nominative singular…)

  50. roseannesullivan says:

    It’s a definite clue that the link on the same page as the article says “The Pope renounces infallibility.”

  51. Laura R. says:

    I knew it had to be April Fool’s as soon as I saw the picture of Katharine Jefferts Schori next to Pope Francis.

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