Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New Translation Tuesday: Ten Thousand Changes

"New Translation Tuesday" has come round again.

Several on this blog, and others, have been asking about the validity of the so-called "10,000 changes" to the text we received on Friday, August 20.

Yesterday we completed a word for word comparison between the four eucharistic prayers in the so-called "2008 Missal" and the texts received last Friday.

Not counting the changes in the doxology to these prayers, here is what we discovered:

In Eucharistic Prayer I, we found approximately sixteen changes in the text, four changes in the rubrics, four changes in punctuation, and two changes in capitalization, making a total of approximately twenty-six changes.

In Eucharistic Prayer II, we found two changes in the preface that is printed with this prayer, one change in the text, three changes in the rubrics, one change in punctuation, and two changes in capitalization, making a total of approximately nine changes.

In Eucharistic Prayer III, we found one change in the text, four changes in the rubrics, and two changes in capitalization, making a total of approximately seven changes.

In Eucharistic Prayer IV, we found one change in the prayer's official preface, four changes in the text, five changes in the rubrics, and two changes in capitalization, making a total of approximately twelve changes.

So, there are approximately fifty-four changes in the four eucharistic prayers, not taking into account the major changes in the doxology.

We must admit that some of the changes in the rubrics are consistent across the board, for instance the change of the word "bow" to "bend." Also, the capitalization changes are also consistent; the word "death" is now "Death" in two of the memorial acclamations, which we now believe are to be referred to as "Mystery of Faith A, Mystery of Faith B, and Mystery of Faith C."

Many of you have asked about the so-called 10,000 changes. The most reliable source that I know told me recently that this is a conservative estimate. Given the fact that we see approximately fifty-four changes in the four eucharistic prayers, it seems that, given the voluminous amount of text in the balance of The Roman Missal, the 10,000 number may actually be a small number!

Now we have to be clear here. If the word "death" has been capitalized in the prayers, that accounts for eight changes (but, in reality it is only one change, made several times). Perhaps this is the case in other areas of the missal.

We at WLP have been asked to resubmit our Order of Mass materials (which had already received approval from ICEL and the BCDW). This is the source file that is used to create our worship resources. This is an understandable request from these bodies, given the number of changes in the text. I just want to point out that this means more time, energy, and resources expended on a text that had already received the recognitio, and had already been deemed "binding" by Cardinal Arinze. And this expending of time, energy, and resources goes across the board to all publishers of liturgical texts, as well as the hard-working staffs at ICEL and the BCDW.

I've got to be honest and tell you that, given the hope that I have expressed time and time again on this blog regarding the great potential for liturgical catechesis that the new translation will engender, I am feeling like the tires that have carried the process along have been slashed. Perhaps I am too close to all of this all the time, but I love the liturgy too much not to be disappointed.

As always, I pledge our support to the Church in the United States and beyond; to provide the best resources as we seek to serve the needs of the singing, praying, and initiating Church.

I have found it surprising and invigorating that so many of you have left comments here, e-mailed me, and left comments on my Facebook page, letting me know that you are praying for us in the publishing world. I can't tell you how much this means to me. I know that some of you might be tempted to say, "They just need to get over it; this is their job after all." Yes, these are our jobs, but the majority of us here at WLP are so close to the liturgy, so close to liturgical and music ministry, so close to the ministry which is Catholic publishing, that we feel like this is much more than a job. So, as we continue our mission, which is your mission—just with different tools—I want you to know how much we appreciate your prayers and support.

I want you to know that I try to keep all of this in perspective. When I read this past Sunday's bulletin at my parish, Saint James, the following statistics for July were listed:

1,482 The number of families St. James Food Pantry served in July
3,763 Bags of groceries distributed by the Pantry
14,740 Canned goods given out!
$47,897 The retail value of the groceries distributed

God is at work on us through the celebration of the liturgy; it is primarily the work of God. And it is good to remind ourselves that God calls us to reach out to those in need, to "go" out to the world. This helps keep me balanced through all of this.

Thanks for listening today.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Anonymous said...

I'm trying to understand this -- I get that this is annoying from a publisher's standpoint... in that you have recordings out of the prayers, etc... and that apparently you said composers have to alter their doxologies a little (is it really that laborious a process?)...

And aside from "trade frustrations", what else is frustrating about this? How substantial are the word changes? It just sounds to me like a careful proofreading. I've seen Fr. Ruff's very careful side-by-side comparisons of certain parts, which is kind of interesting (in this he takes a cue from Fr. Z, who's been doing the same to the 1970/73 translation for years). But do any of the changes alter the translation so much that your catechetical principles for introducing it are negated?

And... if the old text was so binding that all these materials could be produced, why was last Friday's announcement news? Did the industry just expect a rubber stamp from Rome?

Again, I get that it is very frustrating from the perspective of a publisher, I'm just trying to grasp why this is such a big deal otherwise. Maybe we were all jumped the gun a little, which is too easy in our digital world. As a simple layman, I don't see this as "deception" from Rome or some kind of Vatican conspiracy. If you're right about Arinze lying (which, where I work, is a very serious charge to level, especially against "corporate"), did he lie just to make publishers mad?

Anonymous said...

Again I will ask as I did last week, has anyone inquired of Cdl George or Bp Serratelli just what the breakdown was? Certainly the publishers (and all English speaking American Catholics who have been following this) rightly expected that Cdl Arinze's announcement of "recognitio" was the final word on the Order of Mass. Someone must know what went awry.

In any event, Jerry, I'll offer a weekly rosary for you and all the publishers that you be granted the strength to see this through, and receive special graces on 11/27/2011!

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Hello Anonymous. Thanks for your comment. We have always worked under a shared understanding of what the recognitio is and what the term "binding" means. This is what is frustrating. I can only comment on the changes made to the Order of Mass; since I have seen no other texts. They do not change the catechetical principles for introducing the text; they just make our processes here, yes, more laborious. For each Mass setting which sets the doxology to music, we need to have the composer re-write the setting, then it has to be changed in the following editions of each Mass: the full score, the choral score, the accompaniment version in our accompaniments for worship resources, the cantor/guitar score, in the missal versions for assembly, and in the assembly card for each Mass; these are all separate music engravings. The recording of the Eucharistic Prayers is another issue; one about which we are strategizing now. But, as I said, we are committed to serving the Church.
When I made the comment about Cardinal Arinze, it was out of total frustration. Those who make the rules by which we have all abided have now broken those same rules. Cardinal Arinze most probably had no idea that this translation process would take the strange course that it has. He simply becomes the lightning rod for what has proven "out of the normal course" during this process. His eminence is now far removed from the scene; perhaps it was an unfair characterization; but the truth is the truth: the recognitio was granted, the text was determined "binding" by the Church, and now we discover that the truth of these statements has been abrogated.

Linda Reid said...

"This helps keep me balanced through all of this."

I know what you mean, Jerry!
I just keep my eyes on the gospel....on the words and teachings of Jesus and try to forget how badly humans can mess things up.
I really feel for you publishers and I pray that we will all come through this turmoil and come out the other side stronger for the struggle!

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Thank you FJH!

andrew said...

From what I can see, many of the last minute changes were done to make the text more speakable... for example, I think it was a smart thing to add the words "I believe" to the later sections of the Creed. In the previous version, I found it very odd to say "and in the Holy Spirit..." as opposed to the more logical, "I believe in the Holy Spirit." So, while I understand your frustration as a publisher, I think this was an instance of the Church being "pastoral".... making the text more intelligible for the people of God. In the long run we will be glad for these changes.

Chironomo said...

I remember after the 9/11 incident there were loud cries from the Monday Morning Quarterbacks about "why wasn't tighter security in place at airports?" and "Why weren't there more field officers out tracking these known terrorists?"... you all remember the discussions I'm sure. At that time I posed the question to anyone who brought up such concerns: "If the FAA had suddenly, for no apparent reason, required the kind of airport screenings that we now have, would people have accepted them in the same way as they did after the attacks?"

So what's my point? Everybody calls for "more transparency" and "more collegiality" in the process of things such as the translation, but then when the Church tries to be transparent and forthcoming about things that, by their nature are going to change, they are accused of having lied. It's easy to say now that they "shouldn't have come out and said the texts were approved", but if they had simply remained silent with no explanation at the time, they would have been criticized for not being forthcoming.

I think that the scapegoats like Arinze were just relaying what they knew to be the most recent version of the truth, and probably with the assumption that everybody "out there" would understand that it was a "mutable truth" at best. This, combined with a suspicion of "the hierarchy" in some circles and you create a version of the truth that insists that they knew that they were lying at the time and did so to deceive or obfuscate when they were more likely just trying to keep up with an ever-changing process as best they could.

aliaskate said...

I work in publishing (not music related) and know that clients make frustrating, last-minute changes all the time. But in the case of the Missal, Cardinal Arinze's specific note that this text is binding suggested both by definition of the term (obligatory) and by previous experience/tradition as regards church documents that the translation that received recognitio was final.

At whatever point it was deemed that more changes were being considered or that the review process was continuing, that would have been the time for transparency.

Perhaps these final changes could have been avoided in the first place had there been a period in which they were shared for the purpose of wider feedback (such as the intelligibility of the spoken creed). Instead, Cardinal Arinze's letter said here is the new text. Consider it binding.

Frankly, I have little problem with the changes to the text themselves. I am more disturbed by the fractiousness that it is bringing into clearer light (but grateful, Jerry, for the gift of sight). I just pray that as we begin to share these prayers with our communities, the value of this text can begin to overcome the divisiveness.

Anonymous said...


Could the changes have come from Cardinal Canizares Llovera after he was appointed Prefect of CDWDS December 9, 2009? This would mean Cardinal Arinze honestly signed off, but Canizares changed the decision. And I would speculate that neither cardinal would bring forth changes on his own initiative but rather on the advice of a staff member or friend who was a native English speaker. This scenario would open a whole new layer to the need for transparency.

I think you are a model of patience for the rest of us< Jerry.