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New Mass Translation Given Rome's Approval

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 6:09 AM Comments (72)

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments is to issue its formal approval of the new English translation of the complete Roman Missal later today.

The recognitio comes after nearly ten years of study and sometimes difficult consultation over the new translation of prayers for the Mass.

Today’s development will therefore mark a key step, although when the new Missal will be made available in parishes remains unclear.

Cardinal George Pell, chairman of the Vox Clara Committee, the international group of bishops advising the Vatican about the translation, told the Register yesterday that although formal approval will be given today, the new Missal certainly won’t be available before 2011.

Advent next year is considered to be the most likely time, once various technical adjustments and printing are completed.

The International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL) has been working in consultation with English-speaking episcopates worldwide to formulate a new translation in line with the 2001 Vatican document Liturgiam Authenticam, making the texts adhere more closely to their Latin original.

UPDATE I:

Pope Benedict XVI gave the following address to members of the Vox Clara Committee today at a lunch in the Casina Pio IV villa in the Vatican Gardens:

Dear Cardinals,

Dear Brother Bishops and Priests,

Members and Consultors of the Vox Clara Committee,

I thank you for the work that Vox Clara has done over the last eight years, assisting and advising the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in fulfilling its responsibilities with regard to the English translations of liturgical texts. This has been a truly collegial enterprise. Not only are all five continents represented in the membership of the Committee, but you have been assiduous in drawing together contributions from Bishops’ Conferences in English-speaking territories all over the world. I thank you for the great labour you have expended in your study of the translations and in processing the results of the many consultations that have been conducted. I thank the expert assistants for offering the fruits of their scholarship in order to render a service to the universal Church. And I thank the Superiors and Officials of the Congregation for their daily, painstaking work of overseeing the preparation and translation of texts that proclaim the truth of our redemption in Christ, the Incarnate Word of God.

Saint Augustine spoke beautifully of the relation between John the Baptist, the vox clara that resounded on the banks of the Jordan, and the Word that he spoke. A voice, he said, serves to share with the listener the message that is already in the speaker’s heart. Once the word has been spoken, it is present in the hearts of both, and so the voice, its task having been completed, can fade away (cf. Sermon 293). I welcome the news that the English translation of the Roman Missal will soon be ready for publication, so that the texts you have worked so hard to prepare may be proclaimed in the liturgy that is celebrated across the anglophone world. Through these sacred texts and the actions that accompany them, Christ will be made present and active in the midst of his people. The voice that helped bring these words to birth will have completed its task.

A new task will then present itself, one which falls outside the direct competence of Vox Clara, but which in one way or another will involve all of you – the task of preparing for the reception of the new translation by clergy and lay faithful. Many will find it hard to adjust to unfamiliar texts after nearly forty years of continuous use of the previous translation. The change will need to be introduced with due sensitivity, and the opportunity for catechesis that it presents will need to be firmly grasped. I pray that in this way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted, and the change will serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world.

Dear Brother Bishops, Reverend Fathers, Friends, I want you to know how much I appreciate the great collaborative endeavour to which you have contributed. Soon the fruits of your labours will be made available to English-speaking congregations everywhere. As the prayers of God’s people rise before him like incense (cf. Psalm 140:2), may the Lord’s blessing come down upon all who have contributed their time and expertise to crafting the texts in which those prayers are expressed. Thank you, and may you be abundantly rewarded for your generous service to God’s people.

UPDATE II

Vox Clara have now issued a press release on the news (H/T Rocco Palmo and Fr. Tim Finigan). As you will see, the Congregation for Divine Worship actually confirmed the new translation by a decree on March 25 but the ruling wasn’t made public until this week.

VOX CLARA COMMITTEE
PRESS RELEASE
April 28-29, 2010

The Vox Clara Committee met at the Pontifical North American College in Rome from April 28-29, 2010. This was the nineteenth meeting of this Committee of senior Bishops from Episcopal Conferences throughout the English-speaking world. The Vox Clara Committee was formed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on July 19, 2001 in order to provide advice to the Holy See concerning English-language liturgical books and to strengthen effective cooperation with the Conferences of Bishops in this regard.

The Vox Clara Committee is chaired by Cardinal George Pell, Sydney (Australia). The participants in the meeting were Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, Emeritus Mobile (USA), who serves as First Vice-Chairman; Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, Emeritus Westminster (England), who serves as Secretary, Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Chicago (USA), Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Bombay (India), who serves as Second Vice-Chairman; Archbishop Alfred Hughes, Emeritus New Orleans (USA); Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Ottawa (Canada); Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Emeritus Kumasi (Ghana); Archbishop Kelvin Felix, Emeritus Castries (Saint Lucia), and Bishop Philip Boyce, O.C.D., Raphoe (Ireland). Cardinal Justin Rigali, Philadelphia (USA), who serves as Treasurer, is also a member of the Committee, but was not present for the meeting.

The members were assisted in their work by the following advisors: Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B. (USA), Reverend Dennis McManus (USA), Monsignor Gerard McKay, Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, O.S.B. (England), and Monsignor James P. Moroney (USA), Executive Secretary. The customary assistance of officials of the Congregation, led by Reverend Anthony Ward, S.M., Undersecretary, was also appreciated.

The meeting opened with the happy announcement that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments had completed its work of reviewing the English language edition of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia. Following careful consideration of the advice provided over the past eight years by the members of the Vox Clara Committee, a final text was arrived at by the Congregation, confirmed by a decree dated 25 March, 2010 (Prot. 269/10/L) and signed by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Prefect, and Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., Secretary to the Congregation.

The Committee celebrated the occasion by hosting a luncheon with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, on the first day of the meeting. On this happy occasion, the Holy Father addressed the group:

[... the text of the Holy Father’s address (see update I above)]

The second day of the meeting was spent in a study of issues which had emerged in the course of the development of the confirmed text of the Roman Missal, including a review of efforts to assure internal consistency in the translation of deprecatory language and other specialized terms, the poetic and musical dimensions of the text, and its suitability for proclamation. An extended review of various programs developed throughout the English speaking world for the effective implementation of the new translation was also undertaken.

At its closing session, commemorative medals were presented by the Cardinal Prefect on behalf of the Holy See to each of the members and advisors of the Committee. He expressed the thanks of the Congregation for the work of the members and advisors over the past nine years.

Cardinal Cañizares also announced the intention of the Congregation to continue the work of the Vox Clara Committee in advising the Holy See on matters pertaining to the English language translation of liturgical books. The Prefect also expressed his gratitude to Cardinal George Pell, chairman of the Committee, for his willingness to continue as Chairman of the Committee.

On behalf of the members and advisors, Cardinal Pell expressed his appreciation for the Prefect’s words and reiterated the gratitude of the Committee to the Cardinal Prefect and his predecessors for their continuing encouragement of the project. He also thanked the Executive Secretary, Monsignor James Moroney, for his outstanding contribution over the many years since the Committee began its work. The Chairman also expressed his gratitude for the participation of other officials and Superiors of the Congregation throughout the years, most especially Father Anthony Ward, S.M., Undersecretary to the Congregation, who has played an indispensable role in facilitating the work of the Vox Clara Committee.

The meeting closed with the Collect “For the Church” from the new Roman Missal:

O God, who in your wonderful providence
decreed that Christ’s Kingdom
should be extended throughout the earth
and that all should become partakers
of his saving redemption;
grant, we pray, that your Church
may be the universal sacrament of salvation,
and that Christ may be revealed to all
as the hope of the nations and their Savior.
Who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

*****

The following is a press release from the International Commission on English in the Liturgy on the news. Note that ICEL has already produced a DVD to assist catechetics.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Bishops of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy [ICEL] join me in welcoming the announcement of the approval by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the definitive English text of the Third Edition of The Roman Missal. This news ushers in the final phase of preparation for the publication and implementation of the Missal in our eleven member Bishops’ Conferences and the many other territories where the sacred liturgy is habitually celebrated in English.

It also brings to a conclusion the long and complex process by which the translation has been prepared, a process in which the Bishops of the Commission and the Bishops of the English-speaking world, together with the members of the Roman Missal Editorial Committee, the ICEL Secretariat and the translators and consultants who are our closest collaborators have worked together with national conferences and the various organs of the Holy See to ensure that we have a text of the highest quality that can truly be called a work of the Church.

Upon receipt of the definitive text and in accordance with established procedures, the ICEL Secretariat will prepare the electronic files of the Missal, which will assist Conferences in the task of communicating the text to their publishers. ICEL has also produced an interactive DVD ‘Become One Body, One Spirit, in Christ’ [www.becomeonebodyonespiritinchrist.org], which will be of great assistance in the catechetical process that will accompany the reception of the new text. The date for the publication of The Roman Missal and its implementation in our territories is a matter to be determined by Bishops’ Conferences in conjunction with the Holy See.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have put their gifts at the service of the Church in the great endeavour of producing the new translation, men and women whose faith is matched by the refinement of their scholarship.

+Arthur Roche
Bishop of Leeds
Chairman

For further information, please contact the ICEL Secretariat

Filed under icel, liturgiam authenticam, mass translations, vox clara

About Edward Pentin

Edward Pentin
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Edward Pentin began reporting on the Pope and the Vatican with Vatican Radio before moving on to become the Rome correspondent for the National Catholic Register. He has also reported on the Holy See and the Catholic Church for a number of other publications including Newsweek, Newsmax, Zenit, The Catholic Herald, and The Holy Land Review, a Franciscan publication specializing in the Church and the Middle East. Follow on Twitter @edwardpentin