by NZ CATHOLIC staff
WELLINGTON — The new translation of the Roman Missal will not be introduced in New Zealand on the first Sunday of Advent — November 27 — as planned, because of an error in printing the books.
In a letter to priests, lay pastoral leaders, school principals and others on November 9, the New Zealand bishops explained what had happened. The text of their letter follows:
“For some time we have all been working towards the introduction of the new translation of the Roman Missal on the first Sunday of Advent this year. The new missal is also the first ever bilingual missal approved for use in New Zealand, which adds to the significant of this event in the life of the Church in our country.
“The printing process for the new missals was completed last week. At first sight they were everything we had hoped for. Unfortunately, closer inspection of individual copies [revealed] that unbeknown to the printer, a technical flaw had occurred in the production process. The pages containing the eucharistic prayers were printed on heavier paper because they have a higher usage. We had stipulated that the pages of the missal must lie flat when it is open. The pages on the heavier paper do not lie flat, so celebrants would find themselves holding the pages down. This problem will not reduce with time and usage, so it is a serious flaw.
“All possibilities for fixing the flaw in the missals have been explored by the printer, but it cannot be corrected. The flawed missals can be used, but the flaw would be a problem for celebrants for decades to come. We set a high standard for the printing of books, and we are not prepared to accept anything less.
“There is no option but to reprint the missals. As a result, they will not be available for introduction on the first Sunday of Advent. Priests and people should continue to use the format of the Mass they have been using since last Advent until further notice.
“We are awaiting advice from the printer regarding the timing of the reprint, and will advise you of the date the missal will be ready as soon as we have the information. We anticipate being able to let you know within 7-10 days.
“The printer has been very helpful throughout the process of producing the Missal. The staff have considered it a privilege to print the missal and have seen it as an interesting project with its various technical requirements. They are devastated by what has happened, as are our people who have worked so hard over several years to bring this project to fruition.
“We ask for your understanding as we work to ensure that you have the best possible missal for use in the celebration of the Mass. The nature of the Mass and its centrality in our Faith mean that we should settle for nothing less than the highest standard in our liturgical books.”