Online Edition – October 2005
Vol. XI, No. 7
News & Views
The culmination of the Year of the Eucharist is the 11th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 2-23, titled, “The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church”. There are 256 prelates from 118 nations participating in the Synod.
Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) is one of three presidents of the Synod. The others are Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez (Guadalajara, Mexico) and Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo (Ranchi, India). Ukranian Archbishop Nikola Eterovic is Secretary General of the Synod, and Relator General of the Synod is Cardinal Angelo Scola of Venice.
The US bishop delegates to the synod were elected last November at the meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. They are Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, president of the USCCB; Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, immediate past president; Cardinal Justin F. Rigali of Philadelphia; and Bishop Donald W. Wuerl of Pittsburgh. (The bishops also elected two alternates, Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie and Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City.)
The pope may select other delegates to a Synod, in addition to those elected by national conferences. On September 8, Pope Benedict XVI announced his selection of forty prelates. Among them are Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia and Bishop Arthur Roche, of Leeds, England. Both are involved in English-language liturgical translations; Cardinal Pell heads Vox Clara, and Bishop Roche is president of ICEL.
Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, was also appointed by the pope. Several papal appointees are heads of national bishops’ conferences or religious orders.
Others attending the Synod sessions are a group of 32 experts (periti) who serve as consultants to the bishops, and 27 auditors, or observers, only one of whom is an American, Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus.
The Synod of Bishops was chartered by Pope Paul VI in 1965 in the document Apostolica Sollicitudo. The purposes of the synod are “to encourage close union and valued assistance between the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops of the entire world; to insure that direct and real information is provided on questions and situations touching upon the internal action of the Church and its necessary activity in the world of today; to facilitate agreement on essential points of doctrine and on methods of procedure in the life of the Church”.
The preliminary document, or Lineamenta, for this synod appeared in AB (June 2004, June, July-August 2005).
The Instrumentum laboris, the “working document” based on responses of bishops and others to the Lineamenta, provides the basis for the bishops’ interventions and discussions. The document, slightly edited for space, appears in this issue, beginning on page 3.
A summary of the synod’s proceedings will be compiled by “relators” and given to Pope Benedict XVI at the end of the meetings. An Apostolic Exhortation by the Holy Father is expected to appear soon after the Synod, and will reflect the bishops’ discussions and proposals.
The Holy See Press Office provides daily bulletins for the press covering the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, taking place in Rome. The Vatican summaries of the proceedings of the Synod, including interventions by bishop-delegates, are translated into English and other languages, and published on the website, soon after the conclusion of the sessions. Here is the link:
The latest draft of the texts of the Order of Mass (Ordo Missae) will be reviewed and discussed at the November meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
This is the second draft of the main prayers for Mass from the new Missale Romanum, the third “typical edition”, first released in 2000. The Missal’s General Instruction (GIRM) has been in use since 2002, translated according to the principles of Liturgiam authenticam, the Holy See’s 2001 Instruction on liturgical translation.
The English translation of the Missal is the work of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), the “mixed commission” that produces translations of liturgical texts for the eleven member-countries where English is the predominant language.
The Order of Mass includes the Eucharistic Prayers and other prayers used at all Masses, such as the Gloria, Kyrie, Creed, Act of Penitence, Our Father and Agnus Dei; but does not include the “propers”, the parts that vary each week during the liturgical year.
An earlier draft of the Order of Mass was sent to the bishops in 2004, and the latest version reflects requests for changes.
The latest draft, like the 2004 version, observes the principle of re-introducing a more sacred tone to the language of worship, along with a much more accurate translation of the original Latin text than those in current use, which were produced nearly forty years ago.
As in the 2004 draft, the latest draft retains “I believe…” as the translation of “Credo” in the Creeds. It correctly translates “Et cum spiritu tuo” as “And with your spirit”. Also as in the 2004 version, in the Act of Penitence the triple “mea culpa” is restored: the people will strike their breast as they say, “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”.
The words of consecration, “qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur”, are translated, “it will poured out for you and for all”, rather than the literal “for many”.
Surprisingly, since Liturgiam authenticam made it clear that so-called “inclusive” language was not to be used in translating liturgical texts, the new draft offers an inclusivized version of Eucharistic Prayer 4, “because of a widely expressed desire for gender-inclusive language … the Commission proposes an alternative translation that Conferences may wish to consider”. This “alternative” appears in a footnote.
All ICEL texts must be approved by each of the member conferences before it is submitted to the Holy See for recognitio, or authorization to publish. The translation of the remainder of the Missal is now in progress, and will undergo the same process of approval. Estimates now suggest that the new Missal may be approved and published in late 2006.
There is evidently a strange interest in ICEL draft texts. A photocopy of the latest ICEL draft translation of the Order of Mass was recently sold on eBay, the Internet auction site, by a seller who calls himself “Sacerdote”. AB readers may recall that the rejected ICEL “Sacramentary” was similarly auctioned in September 2002. As in that auction, “Sacerdote” offered his own edgy commentary on the ICEL text and did not reveal his source. In the latest auction, the bidder paid $61 for the photocopy.