In a very surprising development the Pope Benedict XVI is going to release a new Apostolic Letter titled “Translatio Malum”. This new document coincides with the start of Advent and the new English translation that takes force for the 1st Sunday of Advent. My corespondent in Rome was able to provide for me a leaked copy.
1. With great affliction the English speaking portion of the Church has suffered through omissions or errors which affect the existing vernacular translation. As Litugiam Authenticam stated “Consequently, the Church has been prevented from laying the foundation for a fuller, healthier and more authentic renewal.”
After stating the case for the benefits of the new translation the Pope goes on to write.
2. While this new translation which has been in development for over a decade will be a boon to the Church, some are not satisfied with the more faithful language of the new translation. For these reasons, it is now seems necessary to set forth instructions for helping those who favored the previous English translation. Many people have grown up with this translation and are attached to it. They feel nostalgic towards this less than adequate translation and do not want this tradition of forty years to go away. Their conservatism in not wanting this English translation to change fights against progress and denies the authority of the Church to modify the traditional English translation. The opposition to the new translation seems to be in part predicated on the ability of the laity to add words to their vocabulary and in this age of constantly changing technology they are not able to learn words they are not use to.
3. To all those Catholic faithful who feel attached to this translation of the English tradition I wish to manifest my will to facilitate their ecclesial communion by means of the necessary measures to guarantee respect for their rightful aspirations. In this matter I ask for the support of the bishops and of all those engaged in the pastoral ministry in the Church. There has been public opposition by members of the Church criticizing the new translation by planning on retaining the previous translation.
4. Taking account of the importance and complexity of the problems referred to in this document, by virtue of my Apostolic Authority I decree the following:
a) a Commission is instituted whose task it will be to collaborate with the bishops, with the Departments of the Roman Curia and with the circles concerned, for the purpose of facilitating full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals until now linked to maintaining the previous translation. The Translatio Malum Commission will create directives allowing the use of the previous translation as an indult from the local ordinary.
b) moreover, respect must everywhere be shown for the feelings of all those who are attached to the previous English liturgical translation, by a wide and generous application of the directives already issued some time ago by the Apostolic See for the use of the Sacramentary according to the typical edition of 1969.
c) lessons learned from previous problems in implementation of liturgical and translation changes impel me to clarify what I set forth for the Translation Malum Commision. The generosity I call for in allowing the indult English Mass does not mean that the local Bishop allows it only in one parish not accessible by many and set at an hour also inconvenient. Bishops should grant this at the request of a “stable group of faithful who adhere to the previous liturgical translation.” Stable group does not mean a hundred people or more or some other artificial number used to deny the English Indult Mass.
d) In anticipation of problems I have established a new society of apostolic life named the “Society of Ain’t Pius” who will be allowed to use the previous English Translation. The Society of Ain’t Pius has its charism of the celebration of the Mass using the 1969 ICEL translation.
Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 26 November in the year 2011, the seventh of my Pontificate.
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI