29 July 2009


I have just been reading, courtesy of a reader, the list put out by the Congregation for Divine Worship of the Errata and Corrigenda for the Third Typical Edition of the Roman Missal. It is very long and is a telling indictment of the workmanship that went into the 2002 Missal.

I have posted on this, more than once, before, and am conscious that returning to this subject yet again may simply confirm some readers in their conviction that I am a repetitive bore. But I must say that I doubt whether the list is exhaustive - it fails to correct some errors that I had noticed and which are real errors and not just typos. And I would be very surprised if a Corrigenda of the Corrigenda did not become necessary.

But before you give up on this tetchy post, ask yourself: is it not something deeply preposterous when the people who are supposed to be custodians of the Latin Liturgy of most of the West - and are paid to be the mechanics responsible for its decent implementation and its development as a text which can both be used at the Altar and translated into vernaculars - combine a profound ignorance of the Latin language with a real incompetence in publishing Typical Editions?

Somebody decided that in the interest of promoting nobility of materials and workmanship in all the physical objects which accompany the Sacrifice of the Altar, the 2002 Missal should be a vast heavy and expensive volume bound in fancy red leather. You open it, and there are a very few words on each page surrounded by acres of good quality empty paper (I have noticed that those saying the Novus Ordo Latin Masses at Brompton almost always actually use the earlier, smaller, lighter editions: a celebrating priest is always more impressed by a Missal which is easily handled and obliges him to turn pages as rarely as possible). But - the schoolmaster in me will out - true quality and true nobility do not repose in mannered and ostentatious presentation.

More. That there are, in all the Latin Church, not enough people competent in Latin even to produce an Altar Book demonstrates the deepness of the cultural rupture of the last 40 years, and the enormous uphill struggle that faces those heroic individuals who desire to reconnect the fractured traditio of Roman Catholic Christendom. I do understand how unwisely irritating the SSPX seems when it arrogantly implies that the rest of the Church - and the Vatican - need humbly to allow themselves to be wagged by so small and eccentric a tail. But the fiasco which is called the Editio Typica Tertia Missalis Romani is a small yet dramatic symptom of just how disastrously bad things have become in the mainstream of the Roman Communion.


Anonymous said...

You show great charity, Father, in giving them the benefit that the errors are made in ignorance or by accident. But there is no getting around the fact that there are a herd of stupid, twittering donkeys assembling Roman liturgical texts be they Latin or English.

Yet another nail in the "infallibility" coffin?

You take greater care in publishing your blog than the Roman Church does in publishing liturgical texts. Why! I even take greater care in publishing my comments than they. Which makes wonder if it could it be the "celibacy" thingy? Those of us with wives know their immense value and eagerness as proof-readers.

Pastor in Monte said...

You are completely correct in your assessment of the 2002 Missal, Fr H. I have not celebrated the OF Latin Mass since I was a priest at the London Oratory, but we did indeed avoid the 2002 Missal; quite apart from its cumbersomeness, there were even mistakes/misprints in the Canons! Real traps for the unwary.
Rev'd up: if the errors are neither ignorance nor accident, then, I suppose you are suggesting, it must be malice. Grow up! And what on earth has it to do with infallibility? That's just gratuitous unpleasantness. I suggest the whole thing was a mixture of ignorance and carelessness—there are many in Rome who would like to replace (and to some extent have succeeded in replacing) Latin with Italian as the language of the Church.
And what makes you think that Italian printers and proofreaders all have to be celibate (as if that were relevant)? The issue is that whoever was involved on the clerical side didn't know his Latin well enough, and probably didn't care enough. No doubt there was only one person doing the proofreading, and he or she not accustomed to Latin.

Bishop of Ebbsfleet said...

I'm afraid (unusually) I don't quite agree about the elegance, the white space and the sheer beauty of the altar missal. These things are as important as the other furnishings and fitttings of the cultic act. I do agree, however, that mistakes in rubric and text are grave, as are such things as inept page turns.

Relevant Anglican experience includes the exercise at the time of the ASB of offering 50p prizes for typos &c. spotted by users. All the mistakes were discovered very quickly. Perhaps a denarius a mistake for the Missale Romanum... And yet both the ASB Altar Book and the Common Worship Book (where there was a determined effort to try to learn from the mistakes of 1980) are a disastrous muddle. So Anglicans have little to teach on this subject beyond the very high standards of the privileged presses historically in producing bibles and prayer books.

+ Andrew

Anonymous said...

Indeed, that's just the word, Pastor, malice. And it has everything to do with infallibility. Or are we to believe that the collapse of the Church and the slaughter of the Catholic Faith are due to the occasional typo and illiterate printers? You speak as though it is no greater an issue than one of personal preference. Ahh, the enemies of The Way multiply themselves and hide behind flim-flam. I, for one, don't buy it. The Church has squandered it's deposit of faith on trendy music, trendy vestments and trendy liturgy such that now when a longing for the "authentic" returns, no one really remembers the way. The blind leading the blind. It reminds me of a poem by Eliot - something about wimpers.

PaweĊ‚ Pojawa said...

Fr H,

More than once did you mention some errors also in the Liturgia Horarum. I am finding some too. I wonder what one is supposed to do about them. Is there an address you can send them to, and hope they get corrected in future printings/editions?