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Online Edition - Vol. III No. 9 - Dec 97-Jan 98

Excerpts from the Holy See's "Observations" on ICEL Ordination Rite

Following is an outline of the contents of the 114-paragraph document that accompanied Archbishop Medina's September 20 letter to Bishop Pilla. As the letter made clear, the "Observations" does not intend to be an exhaustive critique of the Ordination Rite. The document contains specific suggestions and criticisms of the ICEL translation of the Ordination Ritual submitted for the Holy See's required approval.

OBSERVATIONS ON SOME DETAILS OF THE ICEL TRANSLATION OF THE BOOK
DE ORDINATIONE EPISCOPI, PRESBYTERORUM ET DIACONORUM
(edito typica altera)

In General

Titles and Pontifical Documents (paragraphs 1-3)

1. The translation into English of the overall title of the parts of the Pontifical is not accurate. It should read, rather, something like:

The Roman Pontifical, as renewed by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, published by Authority of Pope Paul VI, and further revised by Pope John Paul II.

2. The English translation of this book must also follow more strictly the Latin:
The Rites of Ordination of a Bishop, of Priests and of Deacons
.

In the recent revision of this part of the Pontifical a deliberate choice was made in this respect. There is no justification for its being tacitly changed by the translators.

3. The documents published by the Holy See must be translated as such.... In particular, care must be taken to convey a sense of respect for terms such as the names of the Sacraments.... The whole of the translation of each document should be without changes, without any additions or omissions, even in the footnotes....

Terminology (paragraphs 4-11)

4. Just as the Latin term "presbyter" should be translated into English throughout and always by "priest", the usual translation of "presbyteratus" should be "priesthood".

5. A large number of adjectives present in the Latin have been omitted in English translation. When the Latin speaks of the "Holy Spirit" rather than the "Spirit", "Saint Peter" or "Blessed Peter" rather than "Peter" ... and so on, these expressions should be translated exactly into English.... The effect of such omissions is a secularization of the tone of the liturgical book and it constitutes a departure from tradition.

6. A particularly serious case is the omission of terms of imploration or beseeching, such as "suppliciter" and "quæsumus", or of concession, granting, such as the parts of "dignor". This alters the expression given in the liturgical texts of the relative positions of God and his people....

7. In other respects traditional vocabulary is to be maintained as part of the heritage of the Church.... Hence terms such as "leader" should not be used, nor should "overseer", nor "role" nor "model", as being too secular in tone.

Accurate Translation of the Original (para. 12-13)

13. The Prænotanda should be translated with verbal fidelity, without any additions or omissions, even in the footnotes. ...

In Particular

Accurate Translation of the Original (para.14-68)

39. The sense of "ex hominibus esse assumptum et pro hominibus constitutum", reflecting Hebrews 5:1, is lost here by using first "people" and then "men and women". The idea is not that the Bishop is chosen from the mass of the people as a sociological group, but that in Christ he is chosen to serve mankind being a man himself....

The Ordination of Priests and Deacons (69-81)

Some further texts (para. 82-102)

The Biblical Readings (para. 103)

103. It is not clear what translation of Scripture is being used.... The thematic indications must reflect the exact Scripture translation used in the actual readings themselves....

Compositions not found in the Editio Typica Altera (para. 104-114)

104. ...The Holy See decided that the texts provided in the editio typica altera would be sufficient. It is not clear, then, on what experiential basis it might be thought necessary to modify this decision now....

105. Furthermore, the texts in themselves present a consideral number of problems, beginning with the fact that their authors seem to have made a deliberate choice not to respect the style of the Roman liturgy. No sources are indicated, and no clear rationale for the texts nor their specific content is offered.

News Analysis: Vatican Rejects Ordination Ritual

CDW Letter to the president of the NCCB

Click here for PDF VERSION of the Letter from Congregation for Divine Worship to NCCB Rejection of revision of Ordination Ritual - Jorge Medina Estévez, Archbishop Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, to His Excellency The Most Reverend Anthony M. Pilla, Bishop of Cleveland President, National Conference of Catholic Bishops (September 20, 1997) and Full version of the "Observations" on ICEL Ordination Rite - Congregation for Divine Worship (September 20, 1997)

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