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Online Edition - Vol. IX, No. 2: April 2003

Vox Clara committee considers draft document for English-language liturgical translation, previews translated Missal texts

The Vox Clara Committee met for the third time from March 12-14, 2003 in the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome, according to a March 14 press release.

This committee of senior bishops from around the English-speaking world was established in July 2001 to give advice to the Congregation regarding matters of liturgical translations of Latin liturgical texts into the English language, and to strengthen effective cooperation with the conferences of bishops in this regard. Its inaugural meeting took place in April of last year.  

The Vox Clara Committee is chaired by Archbishop George Pell, Sydney (Australia). Present at this meeting were members Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, Mobile (USA), who serves as First Vice-Chairman, Archbishop Oswald Gracias, Agra (India), who serves as Second Vice-Chairman; His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Westminster (England), who serves as Secretary; Archbishop Justin Rigali, Saint Louis (USA), who serves as Treasurer; Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Kumasi (Ghana); Archbishop Alfred Hughes, New Orleans (USA); Archbishop Kelvin Felix, Castries (Saint Lucia). Other members of the committee, though not present at the meeting, are His Eminence Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Chicago (USA); Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona, O.C.D., Malolos (Philippines); and Bishop Philip Boyce, O.C.D., Raphoe (Ireland). In attendance were the following Advisors to the committee: the Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B. (USA), Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, O.S.B. (England), Monsignor Gerard McKay (Rome), Dr. Dennis McManus (USA), and Monsignor James P. Moroney (USA). 

In the course of their meeting, the committee considered a draft of a document, termed a ratio translationis, describing the specific application to the English language of the principles contained in Liturgiam authenticam. The Instruction, in no. 9, envisions such a document, to be issued by the authority of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as a tool that would then assist translators by providing principles for translation that are specific to a given language.

The Committee also examined translations of select parts of the Missale Romanum with a view toward providing the Congregation with texts that might be considered exemplars of liturgical translations that conform to the criteria established by the Liturgiam authenticam

The Committee discussed and offered its comments and advice to the Congregation regarding developments in arrangements made at various levels for the drafting of English-language translations of liturgical texts. In particular, the Committee was pleased to hear of recent initiatives by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy to assure the effective application of the principles of Liturgiam authenticam to the processes and principles underlying the timely translation of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia into the English language. The Committee looks forward to assisting the Congregation in support of these initiatives in the future. 

The Bishops present also had occasion for an exchange with the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Francis Arinze, who joined them for a discussion on Thursday morning.

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