Priests in NYC call for halt to new missal

I haven’t heard of anything like this happening elsewhere.  But it seems priests from two vicariates in the Archdiocese of New York are calling for a delay in implementing the new English translation of the Roman Missal (slated to start next Advent).

They drafted the following resolution:

many priests have not had the opportunity to study and discuss the forthcoming changes in the Roman Missal (especially the celebrant’s parts) with groups of priests; and

there have been serious questions raised about the quality and character of the language used in these changes; as well as the pastoral effectiveness of those changes for the 21st century American Church,

Be It Resolved:
that this area conference of priests requests that the Priests’ Council of the Archdiocese of New York advise the Archbishop to seek a postponement of the implementation of the new Roman Missal in the Archdiocese for at least one year (from Advent 2011), or until such time as priests of the Archdiocese have the opportunity to review all the changes in the new Roman Missal and to offer suggestions to the Archdiocese’s Liturgical Commission as part of a collegial consultative process to be determined by the Archbishop

I suspect this is a relatively small number of priests.  But clergy taking such a strong and outspoken –even defiant — position is surprising.

I’m not sure how much weight it will carry (if any) but it will be interesting to see how this is resolved, and if any other priests (in New York or elsewhere) join in.


  1. This is really good news. I hope more priest join in expressing their dissatisfacation with the new translation and refuse to use it until there is a more fitting translation for the American church.

    I would prefer keeping what we have now.

  2. Perhaps these clergy need to refresh their formation and realize that the litrugy is not provincial but universal for the Roman Rite and they (like us out West) are simply a small part of that ‘catholic’ whole. Perhaps they also need to recall that only the Pope has authority over the ritual texts of the liturgy and not the Archbishop of New York.

  3. If priests “refuse to use it” they should be suspended immediately.

  4. give me a break, they are not being defiant they are giving a pastoral opinion that is rooted in real facts. they are only asking for a year so that they can implement it. anyone who is aware of all the complications and politics involved in all this can see they are only expressing a legitimate concern. they are not saying they will not implement it, they are saying they need more time to do it right. as it is now, even the publishers are not sure when they will receive the full text so that they can even get the missal ready.
    it is very sad to see a blog by a deacon spin it as defiance. hopefully there are other deacons who will not make this a lighting rod for their blog.

  5. Bill McGeveran says:

    It seems to me they have a case. I admire their guts

  6. They want time to implement it? What have they been doing? And what’s wrong with using the upcoming year to introduce it to their congregations?

    They haven’t had an opportunity to study it? I know of several opportunties that were available to priests around the country in the past year. And what’s wrong wtih the upcoming year to introduce it to themselves.

    We could wait until we get a translation that is “better.” But we will *never* get a tranlsation that pleases everybody.

    I’m not a back-to-Latin proponent, but all of this negativity and grousing makes me want to just say let’s be done with it and everyone just use Latin.

  7. Meggan, no one has received the final text and as far as anyone knows Rome is still making changes. the liturgical publishers have not received the final copy. You seem to have the opinion that there is a final printed copy?
    Also NY, along with other parts of the country, have a large number of priests who have english as a second language. I do not think they are being unreasonable to ask for enough time to do it right.
    It is unfortunate that this blog gave it the spin that they are being defiant, when the truth is they are trying to get time to do it right.

  8. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Those interested can find much of what they need to know right now online.

    For starters, there are numerous resources — including a complete text of the Order of the Mass — at this USCCB link .

    Dcn. G.

  9. If the introduction of the new translation is delayed it will be because the publishers have not finished printing the new books. Also the musical settings have to be redone as there are changes in the Holy, Holy, and the famliar acclamation “Christ has died…” is gone.
    There has been an ongoing web page of info on the USCCB site as well as numerous articles etc.
    The priests have a year to prepare themselves and their people for next Advent. If the Deacon has presented them as defiant it is because they are. If they think it will be delayed because of their objections they are delusional.

  10. Deacon Bill says:

    I’m not sure I understand the vitriol by some here.

    At this point in time, as Anthony says, no one has yet seen the final, complete text of the new translation. No one! So, actually, the priests are not being inappropriate at all. It means that those of us in parish ministry have LESS THAN A YEAR to catechize adequately about the new translations. There are materials being made available, including “pew cards” for the assembly, but those things have to be printed, ordered and paid for. Since the printers don’t even have the COMPLETE translation yet, and since the Holy See continues to make more changes, there is a very real question about whether the new Roman Missal will even be available in time for next Advent!

    For more important, presiding at Mass (as well as assisting as deacon) is far more complex than simply “reading the black and doing the red”; you can’t just pick up the book and do an adequate job. It takes time and prayer to prepare properly.

    All the priests are asking for is a delay, not a “rejection” of the translation, a delay in order for them to prepare. While I doubt this will have any real practical effect in the Archdiocese, it is certainly within the rights and obligation of clergy and all the faithful to “make the pastors [bishops] aware” of problems (and that’s spelled out in canon law).

    So I think it’s unfair to characterize these men as being unfaithful, disobedient, or, as I saw elsewhere, “Baby-boomer hippies.” Naive, perhaps, or idealistic. I also think, Anthony, that while I agree with much of you posted, the jab at Deacon Greg was uncalled-for, unnecessary, and un-Christian.

    Just my 2 cents worth. Back to preparing for Christmas!

    God bless,

    Deacon Bill

  11. Deacon John M. Bresnahan says:

    I would like to know if the complaints of these priests were first sent through channels and if they were ignored and did not receive any response. Priests, especially in a case like this, should be given a hearing and their input clearly valued even if their particular requests can’t be utilized or put into effect.
    On the other hand, in our culture, the press is frequently resorted to as a first resort. In too many such cases the intent of going to the press or doing things you know will wind up in the press is not necessarily because one wants to be constructive.
    It would be interesting to get more details.

  12. Deacon Bill, i stated my opinion on how the blog called this “an outspoken and even defiant position” taken by the priests. You can call it what you like, as the responses have shown some see it as defiance and others as a legitimate concern. I think it might be more helpful for a deacon to explain and put some context to the priests statement and not just label it as defiant. some might say that was uncalled for and unnecessary! but i dont have time to take others inventories!

  13. On Oct. 28, 2009 I printed out, from USCCB website, 19 pages, of fine print, which contained the changes to be made in the Priest’s part of the Mass and 16 pages of changes for the congregation’s part as well as a 3 page explanation on the changes – the last line of which stated
    “the final approval of the complete text will be granted by the Holy See in early 2010!”???? I think that we will need to have an enlightened clergy that has had time to read and digest these changes before they will be able to help us, the participants to understand them.

  14. Fr Paul Pecchie says:

    My oh my a year is not a long enough time to prepare for this event. It is sad that the clergy cannot embrace this as the gift it is to the Church. No translation is perfect, but the banality we have been praying for the past 40 years got to go. If there is such concern about the English translation they can solve the problem by using the official Latin text then there will be no translation concerns. All will be well.

  15. The process and the resulting texts are both flawed.

    I don’ think these archaic texts are suitable for inviting people to join the church or communal worship.

    If the bishops insist on the new missal, I hope there is a paperback version.

  16. Sorry Paul,
    There is No “American” Church. Only the Roman Catholic Church in in America.



  17. Richard Hayes says:

    Wild hair,

    The translations (rather than being flawed, as you say) are much more in-tune with the “bedrock,” Latin Vulgate translation into English as seen in the Roman Missal of 1962. This is the point of the whole effort – that is, to reverse the errors in the previous translations since 1962.

    If a better translation is not “suitable for inviting people to join the Church or for communal worship,” then perhaps you’re in the wrong church, not they.

  18. One NY Priest says:

    Without revealing names, there are 2 key priests behind this passive aggressive gesture: both ordained with the period of 1966 and 1969. They had their “secret” meeting with a few others of their mindset this past summer to plot their statement. Would that they had instead used the time to study the texts and found ways to catechize parishioners back then!

    I, as most other priests of my archdiocese, and most of our parishes’ daily communicants among the laity are looking forward to the new translation.

  19. Recalcitrant priests scandalize the faithful and wound the Church.

  20. D. Schultz says:

    I’m a little late entering this discussion. I see the new missal as another step in Rome taking away authority from the National Conference of Bishops. Vatican II in the Document on the Liturgy gives explicit authority to each of the National Conference of Bishops throughout the Univeral Church to implement the translation for their people from the Latin Text provided by Rome. The Revised Roman Missal has denied this to the Bishops. Thus, the many nuances in different languages has been ignored. For instance, in the introduction to the Consecration the wording say “Jesus taking the Chalice in His hands”. The original Greek, which is even more prestine than Latin, used the word “cup” and not “chalice”. The so called new revision is almost identical to the very literal translation that was used in the days when the vernacular was introduced into the Liturgy. I say give the Bishops their proper role, with the Pope as leader among equals. The Bishops are the heirs of the Apostles as well as is the Pope! This is true collegiality as defined by the Vatican II Council, which conservatives in the Church seem intent on ondoing.


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