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Online Edition Vol. III, No. 3: May 1997

Bishops to See Revised Lectionary Translation in June

The first volume of the proposed revision of the Lectionary for Mass is slated to be presented to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops at their semi-annual meeting to be held in Kansas City in June, according to a report in the March issue of the BCL Newsletter (Volume XXXIII).

Archbishop Jerome Hanus, chairman of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, reported to the Administrative Committee of the NCCB in mid-March on the outcome of the consultation in Rome which resulted in a revised manuscript of the first volume of the proposed Lectionary.

"At the conclusion of the process the Working Group unanimously approved the manuscript which uses a moderate degree of horizontal inclusive language which was acceptable to all parties", the BCL Newsletter said. "The Administrative Committee unanimously recommended consideration of such a submission by the Plenary Assembly of the NCCB", the report said.

Archbishop Hanus of Dubuque, along I with Archbishops William Levada of San Francisco, and Justin Rigali of St. Louis were the us members of a task force which included scholars and officials from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Until the revised first volume of the Lectionary appears, it is uncertain what a "moderate degree" of "horizontal inclusive language" actually means. But the Vatican's concern about the effect of language manipulation on doctrine is well-known, since a retranslation of the English version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church was required. Thus there is good reason to believe that the latest Lectionary revision is substantially changed from the version originally submitted for Vatican approval; and that the theological and doctrinal problems created by neutered English have now been overcome. Early wire service reports that an "inclusive language" Lectionary  would be approved seem now to have been greatly exaggerated.

Earlier, the BCL Newsletter had reported that the final version of the revised ICEL Sacramentary, reflecting the bishops' many amendments, would also be ready for the bishops' vote at the June meeting of the NCCB.

Other liturgy items mentioned in the March BCL Newsletter:

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