Pope Hoping for Quick Translations of Liturgical Texts

«Vox Clara» Panel to Help Get New Missale Romanum into English

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 26, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has encouraged the work of a new committee whose object is to assist «the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in ensuring that the texts of the Roman Rite are accurately translated» into English.

The Holy Father said the «Vox Clara» Committee must carry out its work «in accordance with the norms of the instruction ´Liturgiam Authenticam,´» published by the Vatican.

In a message to the participants in the first working session of «Vox Clara» last Saturday, the Pope commended «to the pastors of the Church the important task of making available to the faithful, as quickly as possible, the vernacular translations of the editio tertia of the Missale Romanum.»

The inaugural meeting of the committee ended Wednesday. A press statement said the new panel also will «enhance and strengthen effective cooperation with the conferences of bishops.» Its members are senior bishops from around the English-speaking world.

When it established the committee, the Vatican congregation announced the appointment of Archbishop George Pell of Sydney, Australia, as chairman, and Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb of Mobile, Alabama, as first vice chairman.

On Tuesday, the committee also elected Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O´Connor, archbishop of Westminster, as secretary; Archbishop Justin Rigali of St. Louis, Missouri, as treasurer; and Archbishop Oswald Gracias of Agra, India, as second vice chairman. The congregation confirmed these elections.

The committee affirmed «the absolute need for translations of the Roman editiones typicae which are precise, theologically faithful, and effectively proclaimable,» a press statement explained.

It acknowledged the important contribution of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), which has worked on many of the English-language liturgical translations approved by the bishops´ conferences and presented for the Holy See´s «recognitio» in recent years.

«ICEL now faces a major challenge to renew its statutes and structures in the light of the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam to send an unmistakable signal that the goal of achieving good liturgical translations is in sight,» the press statement continued.

The committee noted that such a renewal would help to ensure the active participation of the bishops and their conferences in the work of liturgical translation, according to No. 36 of the Second Vatican Council´s constitution on the sacred liturgy, «Sacrosanctum Concilium.»

In keeping with its mandate from the Vatican congregation, the committee has begun to review English-language translations of selected elements of the Ordo Missae, and also to prepare a draft «ratio translationis» (see «Liturgiam Authenticam,» No. 9). The committee will meet in November to review the results of this work.

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