May 15, 1997

Bishops to See Revised Lectionary Translation in June

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:

  • Presentation of the “initial draft” of a revision of the controversial statement of the BCL on church architecture, “Environment and Art in Catholic Worship” (EACW) is scheduled for the June meeting. This 1978 statement has been constantly invoked by church renovators, and has provided the blueprint for remodeling and “updating” many churches. The committee drafting a new version of EACW is headed by Bishop Frank Rodimer, Patterson, New Jersey.
  • ICEL recently published an interim translation of “the second typical edition of the Ordo Celebrandi Matrimonium“. This project has been in progress for several years.
  •  Archbishop Geraldo Agnelo, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, gave permission to extend for three more years the “experimental” status of the controversial “Children’s Lectionary” (Lectionary for Masses with Children)., Archbishop Agnelo granted an extension of three years so the NCCB may “complete a thorough study of the pastoral effectiveness and adequacy of the texts in this liturgical book”.
  • The Vatican has granted permission which would give bishops, “the ability to pennit the funeral liturgy, including the Eucharist, to be celebrated in the presence of the cremated remains of a body”. Adaptations approved by the NCCB at the November 1996 meeting will be submitted to the Vatican for confirmation “within the next several weeks”, according to the BCL Newsletter.






The Editors