Friday, June 30, 2006

Carpe Diem: The new edition of the Missale Romanum

[A busy day and time here at the NLM. Between my call for the promotion of the Oxford Colloquium, my own fundraising campaign with regards that conference, and what I am about to write, there are a number of action items out there. There is a lot of opportunity out there my friends.]

A thought crossed my mind today about the minting of a new Missale Romanum what with the new English translations that are in the process of being approved and developed.

This is a rare opportunity, and a big one for the reform of the reform.

How often does a completely new version of the missal happen, complete with all the work that entails in typesetting, formatting, etc.? But it will have to happen with this new translation.

Further, how often does it happen that a new version of the Missal comes out that each and every parish will acquire? Not often at all.

To that end, it struck me: has anyone proposed, or tried to get mandated, that the new version of the Missale Romanum in English should contain:

1) Parallel Latin-English text for the Ordinary parts of the Mass

2) The notated chant texts for those portions of the Mass commonly sung, in both English and Latin.

These two additions would add next to nothing in terms of additional pages, thus there would be little work to be done and little additional cost, but the benefits are legion:

To date, if a priest wishes to exercise the use of Latin in the liturgy, either he must use two missals, he must have clumsy cards for the Latin parts of the Mass, he must memorize the Latin parts, or some other "work-around" to the Roman Missal being either in English, or in Latin, but never a mixture.

If we are serious about the restoration of Latin and chant to the sacred liturgy in normative parishes, then we need an edition of the English Roman Missal which includes the notated texts of the Ordinary in Latin and English, and the very texts of the Ordinary of the Mass in parallel Latin-English.

The presence of this as part of the very fabric of the new Roman missal produced in the various English-speaking countries will make this easy for priests, and thus also substantially more likely. We are creatures of ease, and if we are required to have laminated cards, if we are required to paste in, or turn even to the back of the Missal for "addendums", we are less likely to do it than if the Latin texts and chants are right there on the page beside the new English translation. It then is merely a matter of, which does Father choose to pray of the two in front of him?

In view of this, I have set out and written a number of letters to people in Rome and influential and sympathetic bishops in the USA.

The key in all this is that I am only speaking of the ordinary parts of the Mass -- that is, the unchanging parts that do not change from Mass to Mass. A dual Latin-English missal for the entire missal would be a substantially more time consuming and costly project, and would end up with a missal that is either too large, or text that is too small.


1) priests and laity alike: write your local bishop and auxiliary bishop requesting this in the new edition of the Roman Missal.

2) write to Francis Cardinal George who has been instrumental in this project, as well as to other sympathetic bishops like Burke, Finn and Bruskewitz. Their addresses can be found on their diocesan websites.

3) Last but certainly not least, I also recommend that you write both Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith and Francis Cardinal Arinze at the Congregation for Divine Worship, and make this request as well. Request even that this addition to the new version of the Roman Missal might be made mandatory -- or at very least strongly recommended.

They may be written or faxed here:

Palazzo delle Congregazioni, 00193 Roma, Piazza Pio XII, 10


More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: