3 August 2021

Could get worse

There are problems in the text of Traditionis Custodes: even Vincent Nichols pointed out a place in the accompanying Letter where the English and the Italian texts do not seem to be saying the same thing.

I don't know whether other people have noticed the following: while TC forbids a bishop who already has a TLM group in his diocese from authorising any more such groups, a bishop whose diocese lacks such a group is subject to no such prohibition. I am not certain that this is intentional. 

One inference could be that the document was put together in a tearing hurry. Perhaps the surgeon was knocking at the door?

Normally, I whinge ... and how right I am to do so!! ... about Vatican documents issued without an official Latin text. This practice is, indeed, a deplorable exercise in Italophone cultural imperialism. Those of us who do not speak Italian are now (nobody bothers to conceal it) second class Catholics.

But ...

There are examples of extremely important documents being changed after their official publication. Many examples could, I suspect, be adduced: here is just a couple: 

(1) The bull Apostolicae curae of Pope Leo XIII, condemning Anglican Orders, somehow was changed between the first printing in ASS and its subsequent republication in Acta Leonis XIII, and ... get this! ... the Vatican website, when I checked in June last year, carried the original, displaced, ASS text! (The motive for the first alteration appeared to be the elimination of a "loophole" which lowered the status of the condemnation ... my suspicion is that Cardinal Vaughan ... er ...)

(2) In 2000, the Vatican Press published ("ex editione typica") the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, with an assurance that the Pope had approved it on 11 January 2000. But when the text of the entire Missal was subsequently published, the text of the Institutio had been very substantially modified.

The appearance of an official Latin version of Traditionis custodes in AAS could easily be an opportunity for the document to be 'tidied up' in a way that made it even more leak-proof and poisonous than it is in its current modern language texts.

It is important to remember that we are not at the mercy of honourable or decent people, and that PF's hatred of us is, er, visceral.

On the other hand, conceivably, if PF gets enough grief from irritated bishops, a changed text might be less nasty!

But I wouldn't put money on it. 

Not if I woz you, Squire.


Todd said...

An even bigger loophole is that TC specifies the communities celebrating the "missal antecedent to the Reform of 1970". But that is, in fact, the 1965 Missal, not the 1962 Missal. I would expect this to be corrected in a Latin text or TC simply be amended in every language to correct this and other sloppy blunders.

Prayerful said...

Perhaps the vernacular TC is a sort of kite flying. If Francis gets bored or his attention is diverted, it could indeed become milder. The loose phrasing like calling the Mass of Ages a 'liturgy anterior to 1970' could be shoddimess, but it could be a perfect political escape hatch.

Sue Sims said...

One inference could be that the document was put together in a tearing hurry. Perhaps the surgeon was knocking at the door?

This is also my interpretation: one can criticise the spitefulness and bullying, but far more interesting is the number of inconsistencies in TC - holes one could drive a fleet of popemobiles through. I'm assuming that it was drafted some time back and was going through the normal redraftings and reworkings that any official document (not just from the Vatican) must always undergo. Then PF had to go into hospital, which for an 84-year-old man is never trivial, and the whole thing was rushed out regardless. Let us be grateful for this: if it had been tightened up, it might have been more difficult to get around.

Jonathan said...

Perhaps this is how the holy spirit works to stop a pope erring.

Frugifex said...

A gaping difference (pro omnibus vs. pro multis) can be found at the Vatican Website in the text of the 2003 Encyclical of Pope John Paul II "Ecclesia de Eucharistia" par. 2:

Vatican Website - still unchanged as of now:
Deinde calicem in manus vini sustulit eisque dixit: "Accipite et bibite omnes: hic calix novum aeternumque testamentum est in sanguine meo, qui pro vobis funditur et pro OMNIBUS in remissionem peccatorum" (cfr Mc 14, 24; Lc 22, 20; 1 Cor 11, 25).

Acta Apostolicae Sedis Jul. 2003
Deinde calicem in manus vini sustulit eisque dixit: "Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes: hic
est enim calix Sanguinis mei novi et aeterni testamenti, qui pro vobis et pro
MULTIS effundetur in remissionem peccatorum."

frjustin said...

The vernaculars specify "the" Missal antecedent to the reform of 1970. But if an official Latin text is eventually provided, Latin has no definite article, and a translation from the Latin could be taken to read "a" Missal antecedent to the reform of 1970. Any Missal?

vetusta ecclesia said...

The Italians do seem to have a propriatorial view of the Church as witness Masses in St Peter’s to be concelebrations , with “ animation” - Disney Mass? - in Italian. And some commentators see Italian episcopal pressure behind TC

Dad of Six said...

As always Father, I appreciate your use of words (whinge) that I have not run across this side of the pond. I have to look them up and see that whinge and whine are not interchangeable.

May God bless you and your ministry.

John Vasc said...

In ordering the bishops to countermand permissions already given and not to authorise new ones, the Pope is implying that he has the right to prohibit not just a bishop but every bishop from making pastoral arrangements within his own see at his own mature discretion. Encouragingly, the bishops do not seem to have greeted this papal assumption with great joy.

Btw I agree about the need not to seek a clarification or 'rectification' of anything in TC. The more silence there is on that subject, the better.

Grant Milburn said...

I think the Motu Proprio as we have it is almost perfect: one need only change a few words and phrases here and there to perfect it:

On the Use of the Roman Liturgy
Subsequent to the Reform of 1970
Art. 1. The liturgical books promulgated by Saint Pius V, in conformity with the decrees of the Council of Trent, are the unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite.

Art. 2. It belongs to the diocesan bishop, as moderator, promoter, and guardian of the whole liturgical life of the particular Church entrusted to him, to regulate the liturgical celebrations of his diocese. Therefore, it is his exclusive competence to authorize the use of the 1970 Roman Missal in his diocese, according to the guidelines of the Apostolic See.

Art. 3. The bishop of the diocese in which until now there exist one or more groups that celebrate according to the Missal subsequent to the reform of 1970:

§ 1. is to determine that these groups do not deny the validity and the legitimacy of the liturgical forms, dictated by the Council of Trent and the Magisterium of the Supreme Pontiffs;

§ 2. is to designate one or more locations where the faithful adherents of these groups may gather for the eucharistic celebration (not however in the parochial churches and without the erection of new personal parishes);

§ 3. to establish at the designated locations the days on which eucharistic celebrations are permitted using the Roman Missal promulgated by Saint Paul VI in 1970….

§ 5. to proceed suitably to verify that the parishes canonically erected for the benefit of these faithful are effective for their spiritual growth, and to determine whether or not to retain them;

§ 6. to take care not to authorize the establishment of new groups.

Art. 4. Priests ordained after the publication of the present Motu Proprio, who wish to celebrate using the Missale Romanum of 1970, should submit a formal request to the diocesan Bishop who shall consult the Apostolic See before granting this authorization.

Art. 5. Priests who already celebrate according to the Missale Romanum of 1970 should request from the diocesan Bishop the authorization to continue to enjoy this faculty….

I think this is quite merciful and condescending, I mean understanding towards those with a nostalgic attraction for the Missal of 1970: they only need time, poor things, to return to the unique expression of the Roman Rite.

PM said...

Take comfort, Frugifex. The AAS version is always the official one.

Vetusta ecclesia draws attention to a delicious contradiction. By forcing pilgrims to St Peter's to attend concelebrations in Italian rather than Masses at side altars with their own accompanying chaplains, the powers that be have undermined the logic of having the liturgy in the vernacular. For the 98 per cent of the human race who don't speak Italian, but who form the overwhelming majority of pilgrims to St Peter's, a Mass in Italian may as well be in Latin.

PM said...

I must say that I often take comfort in the comment attributed to Hilaire Belloc:

"THE Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine — but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight."

John Vasc said...

Mr Milburn has nailed it. The only problem is that his version reads like the orthodox Motu Proprio of a Catholic Pope, and had me nodding my head approvingly all the way through until the words 'poor things' (with which I profoundly disagree as a description of NO devotees) alerted me to the possibility that it might be intended as a scathing satire.

sacerdos said...

I hate to bray about asinine typographical errors, but the acronym for Acta Apostolica Sedis should be AAS.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Sacerdos

You must mean Acta ApostolicaE Sedis. Genitive feminine singular.

I do refer to it as AAS!

That series was preceded by Acta Sanctae Sedis, commonly abbreviated to ASS.

Is this the source of your confusion? If not, perhaps you could explain further.

sacerdos said...

So sorry. My bum grammar stands corrected, as does my lapse regarding Vatican history.
I did not realize the long standing AAS was preceded by its venerable elder brother, ASS.

Grant Milburn said...

@John Vasc:

I was just applying ironically to NO devotees the condescension which TC seems to show to TLM devotees.

Grant Milburn said...

So a law such as TC really is (or would have been) an ASS! Charles Dickens would be delighted.

John Vasc said...

@Grant Milburn - Of course, and I understood your ironical intent: my own comment ironically pretended to take your ironic phrase literally as a pretext for further irony as the expense of the 'poor things'. (But what kind of Rhetorical usage *that* might be termed, heaven and Fr H alone know!)

Perhaps the Great Return to the Bosom of 1970s Liturgical Truth demanded of us from, er, Rome, also entails the return from irony, fun, humour and satire, to deadly, po-faced, banal, literal seriousness. I do hope so - it will make resistance all the more pleasurable, and perhaps finally force GK Chesterton to perform a couple of playful miracles out of sheer cussedness. It would be just like him, after all.