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To “avoid any misunderstanding”!

Francis rushes to clarify Shift in Authority for Liturgical Translations

What do you know! It’s amazing how quickly Francis can move to clarify something he has written when he really wants to.

On Sep. 9, 2017, the Vatican’s Chief Apostate released a motu proprio entitled Magnum Principium, in which he decreed a modification to the 1983 Code of Canon Law. The change concerns the final authority in matters of translation of liturgical texts, which Francis has now shifted away from the “Holy See” to national or regional episcopal conferences. Whereas formerly it was necessary for the Vatican to approve liturgical translations, the role of the “Holy See” is now one merely of confirming what episcopal conferences approve. Although this was pretty evident for those who have eyes to see, the wording in Magnum Principium was sufficiently vague to allow for the usual disagreement between Novus Ordo conservatives and liberals.

On Oct. 13, the French Novus Ordo journal L’Homme Nouveau published an article (in English here) by “Cardinal” Robert Sarah, the Prefect of the so-called Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, who tried to calm the fears of the conservatives. Vaticanist Edward Pentin reported as follows:

Cardinal Robert Sarah has weighed in on Magnum Principium, Pope Francis’ motu proprio on liturgical translations, reassuring the faithful that the Vatican will continue to safeguard any changes or new liturgical translations to ensure they remain faithful to the original Latin.

In an article in the French Catholic journal L’Homme Nouveau, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) confirmed that the motu proprio’s change to Canon 838 — which shifts some responsibility for translating liturgical texts away from the Vatican to local bishops — will still require the Vatican to give approval to any such changes or translations.

The article, officially dated Oct. 1 — the day on which Magnum Principium (The Great Principle) came into effect — bolsters the guidance issued with the motu proprio by Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the CDW. Archbishop Roche stressed that the Vatican’s role in confirming texts remains an “authoritative act” presupposing “fidelity” to the original Latin.

Cardinal Sarah’s statements on the matter contradict those who see the motu proprio as a gateway to more liberal vernacular interpretations of liturgical texts, inconsistent with their Latin original.

(Edward Pentin, “Cardinal Sarah Confirms Vatican Retains Last Word on Translations”, National Catholic Register, Oct. 13, 2017)

Upon hearing this, Mr. John Zuhlsdorf (“Fr. Z”) couldn’t contain his excitement:

People ran around with their hair on fire a while back when Pope Francis changed the process by which translations of the liturgical texts are prepared.  He gave a greater role to bishops conferences.

I read today at the National Catholic Register that Robert Card. Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, confirms that the Holy See retains the last word on the translations.

Of course.  It can’t be any other way.

(“Card. Sarah: Holy See has last word on liturgical translations”, Fr. Z’s Blog, Oct. 13, 2017)

Unfortunately, “Cardinal” Sarah had failed to check with his boss beforehand, and of course we know that when Mr. Z declares that something “can’t be any other way”, this means exactly nothing (although he wants you to keep buying his coffee mugs anyway).

On Sep. 30, Mr. Sarah had sent a copy of his article to “Pope” Francis, who rushed to clarify that Sarah had misunderstood the true intentions behind Magnum Principium. Dated Oct. 15, 2017, the Jesuit apostate sent the following missive to the head of the Congregation for Divine Worship:

Your Eminence,

I have received your letter of September 30, with which you graciously wished to express to me your gratitude for the publication of the Motu Proprio Magnum Principium [MP], and to send me an explanatory note, or “Commentaire,” aimed at providing a better understanding of this text.

In offering my sincere gratitude for your efforts and contribution, I would like to express simply, and I hope clearly, several observations regarding the abovementioned note which I believe are important especially for the application and proper understanding of the Motu Proprio, and to avoid any misunderstanding.

First, it is necessary to highlight the importance of the clear difference the new MP establishes between recognitio and confirmation, laid down in §§ 2 and 3 of can. 838, to abrogate the practices adopted by the Dicastery following  Liturgiam authenticam (LA) and which the new Motu Proprio wished to modify. One cannot say therefore that recognitio and confirmatio are “strictly synonymous (or) are interchangeable” or “are interchangeable with respect to the responsibility of the Holy See.”

In fact, the new can. 838, through the distinction between recognitio and confirmatio, asserts the various responsibilities of the Holy See in the exercise of these two actions, as well as that of the Episcopal Conferences. Magnum Principium no longer holds that translations must conform on all points to the norms of Liturgiam authenticam, as was done in the past. That is why the individual numbers of LA must be carefully re-understood, including nn. 79-84, so as to distinguish what is being asked by the code for the translation and what is required for legitimate adaptations. It is therefore clear that several numbers of LA have been abrogated or are no longer in force, being replaced by the terms in which they were reformulated by the new canon of the MP (e.g. n. 76 and also n. 80).

Regarding the responsibility of Episcopal Conferences to translate “fideliter,” [faithfully] it should be clarified that judgement of the fidelity to the Latin and any needed corrections was the task of the Dicastery, while now the norm grants to the Episcopal Conferences the faculty of judging the quality and consistency of each in the translations from the original, although in dialogue with the Holy See. The confirmatio no longer presupposes, therefore, a detailed word by word examination, except in obvious cases that may be presented to the Bishops for their further reflection. This applies in particular to the relevant formulae, such as the Eucharistic Prayers and especially the Sacramental formulae approved by the Holy Father. The confirmatio also takes into account the integrity of the book, i.e. it verifies that all of the parts that make up the editio typica have been translated.

Here we can add that, in light of the MP, the “fideliter” of § 3 of the canon implies a triple fidelity: to the original text in primis; to the particular language into which it is translated and, lastly, to the comprehension of the text by the recipients (cf. Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani nn. 391- 392).

In this sense the recognitio indicates only the verification and protection of conformity to the law and the communion of the Church. The process of translating major liturgical texts (e.g. Sacramental formulae, the Creed, the Pater noster) into a language — from which they are considered authentic translations — should not lead to a spirit of “imposition” on the Episcopal Conferences of a given translation done by the Dicastery, since this would violate the right of the Bishops laid down in the canon and formerly by SC 36 § 4. Moreover, one should keep in mind the analogy with can. 825 § 1 regarding the version of Sacred Scripture, which does not require the confirmatio by the Holy See.

It is incorrect to attribute to the confirmatio the aim of the recognitio (i.e., “to protect and ensure conformity to the law”). Of course, the confirmatio is not a merely formal act but is necessary for the edition of the “translated” liturgical book: it is granted after the version has been submitted to the Holy See for the ratification of the Bishops’ approval, in a spirit of dialogue and assistance in reflecting if and when necessary, respecting rights and duties, keeping in mind the legality of the process followed, and its procedures.

Lastly, your Eminence, I reiterate my fraternal gratitude for your efforts and noticing that the “Commentaire” note was published on several websites, and wrongly attributed to your person, I ask you kindly to see to disseminating this, my response, on the same sites, and to sending it to all Episcopal Conferences, and to the Members and Consultors of this Dicastery.

(Antipope Francis, Letter to “Cardinal” Sarah; published in “Pope Francis publicly corrects Cardinal Sarah over new liturgy rules”, Life Site, Oct. 23, 2017; italics given.)

That Francis has indeed shifted power from the Unholy See to the Novus Ordo bishops’ conferences is not surprising. Our own assessment of how Magnum Principium would be applied in practice was this:

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict that what will happen in actual practice is that we will see a virtual Babel of local and regional translations proposed by the Novus Ordo bishops, and the Vatican will just give the nod of approval more or less automatically to virtually all of them. We will probably also see “priests” and “bishops” using their own words for all sorts of liturgical things and daring the Vatican to intervene, which will happen only after a long time and only in the rarest of cases.

This isn’t mere speculation. This is simply how the Novus Ordo Sect operates, as we’ve witnessed for decades.

(“Francis allows local Bishops’ Conferences to Approve Liturgical Translations”, Novus Ordo Wire, Sep. 9, 2017)

What is surprising in all this is that Francis has gone out of his way to clarify the matter so explicitly and so quickly. He even explained that his unusual move was meant “to avoid any misunderstanding” — amazing!

Here we see that Francis is quite capable of clarifying things that are unclear, if he so desires. The fact that he has refused to clarify the confusion about his infernal exhortation Amoris Laetitia, specifically the famous Dubia, speaks volumes. On the issue of giving the Novus Ordo sacraments to unrepentant adulterers and fornicators, he is simply not interested in “avoiding any misunderstanding”!

While there are some who like to think that a refusal on his part to clarify things means he is not pertinacious in his promotion of heresy, precisely the opposite is the case: His unwillingness to clarify, when he is entirely able, that ambiguous or vague statements must be understood in an orthodox sense only, is another piece of evidence that the man is a true and proper heretic, one who precisely intends heresy (or other error) to be taken from his words. That is entirely consistent with the carefree attitude towards heresy he has manifested in other occasions, such as:

Francis isn’t some poor, misguided, innocent lamb who just cannot help himself. His attacks on the Faith, on the Church, on morals, and on disciple (such as these) are well calculated and entirely deliberate.

If truth be told, we are not in need of any clarifications. There is nothing left to clarify — the matter is as clear as day for all who are willing to look. Francis loves to generate chaos and confusion and is even happy to create a full-blown schism if need be. He could express himself clearly and without ambiguity if he wanted to. In fact, just the other did he did precisely that with regard to the death penalty:

It must be clearly stated that the death penalty is an inhumane measure that, regardless of how it is carried out, abases human dignity.  It is per se contrary to the Gospel, because it entails the willful suppression of a human life that never ceases to be sacred in the eyes of its Creator and of which – ultimately – only God is the true judge and guarantor.  No man, “not even a murderer, loses his personal dignity” (Letter to the President of the International Commission against the Death Penalty, 20 March 2015), because God is a Father who always awaits the return of his children who, knowing that they have made mistakes, ask for forgiveness and begin a new life.  No one ought to be deprived not only of life, but also of the chance for a moral and existential redemption that in turn can benefit the community.

(Antipope Francis, “Address to Participants in the Meeting Promoted by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization”,, Oct. 12, 2017)

This is nothing but poppycock but that’s not even the point now. The point is that Francis can be clear when he wishes to be. And when is clear and does clarify something, it is typically in favor of heterodoxy, not orthodoxy; it is to the detriment of the Faith and the Church, not to their defense.

So, to all those who are constantly petition Francis for a clarification on this or that, we have one piece of advice: Be careful what you ask for.