Doomsday for the 1973 Translation

Following upon a decision of the Australian Bishops’ Conference, the following short and pointy statement was posted on the Melbourne Archdiocese website today:

The Roman Missal Third Typical Edition in English

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Archbishop Denis Hart has issued the following statement about The Roman Missal Third Typical Edition in English (Published by Catholic Truth Society, London and distributed by St Pauls, Homebush NSW).

Along with decisions already made by the Bishops’ Conferences of other English-speaking countries, the Australian Bishops have decided at their May 2011 meeting, the use of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, published by the Catholic Truth Society will be of obligation in all Churches and Chapels in Australia from the First Sunday of Advent, 27 November 2011.

From that date, no other translation of the Roman Missal is permitted in Australia.

Copies of the Missal will be available and distributed by the first week of November.

Denis J. Hart
Archbishop of Melbourne

There you have it. RIP old translation; Huzzah! for the new corrected translation.

Actually, in contrast to the rather short and sudden introduction elsewhere in the world (eg. see this from the Bishops Conference of England and Wales) the new translation has been slowly introduced in Melbourne since January 1st this year, with All Saints Day set as the day from which it will be used in its entirety. Four weeks after that: its all over red rover for the 1973 translation.

[Stop Press: I am on the train at the moment on the way home after a late night meeting. We just had to stop and reverse back to the last station because the train was mistakenly diverted along the wrong line… You have to wonder… any way, on with the story…]

Although the introduction had a fairly clear time line – sung people’s bits could be introduced from the start of the year, then the spoken responses from Pentecost, and then the priest’s parts from All Saints Day – the actual process has turned out to be a bit of a free for all with every parish doing its own thing more or less according to its own time line. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The good thing is that they ARE all introducing it (I haven’t heard of any parish holding out all together – does any reader in Melbourne know of a parish which hasn’t begun to introduce the new translation in some way or other?), and with a degree of enthusiasm (or at least curiousity) and even impatience. Because the “how” of the introduction has not been micromanaged, each parish (and each priest and musician and cantor) feels that they are in control. They are determining the “when”, not someone else from “outside” or “higher up”.

So I don’t expect there to be much problem when the “when” finally comes – as it will on the first Sunday in Advent. I just hope that the Catholic Truth Society can get their copies of the new missal to us all by then!

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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4 Responses to Doomsday for the 1973 Translation

  1. Joshua says:

    My P.P. tells me the large Missal will cost $500, the smaller altar Missal, somewhat less, but still a lot.

    Now, I don’t complain of a large, well-bound book, necessarily published in a small print run, being expensive. But that is a lot of money.

  2. Joshua says:

    Oh, and when will nice new hand-missals for the faithful be available?

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