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Bishops Discuss Mass Translations

Online Edition
December 2005-January 2006
Vol. XI, No. 9

Bishops Discuss Mass Translations

Following is a transcript of the US bishops’ discussion on the latest draft translation of the Order of Mass. This discussion took place on Monday afternoon, November 14, 2005, during the USCCB meeting held in Washington. The transcription, of Adoremus audio-tapes of the meeting, was made by Susan Benofy.

(Note: text enclosed in brackets may be descriptive or indicates inaudible sections. Explanatory notes added are indicated by asterisks.)


Bishop William Skylstad (Spokane, USCCB President): Let’s move on then to our next item on the agenda: the discussion provided by, and led by, the Committee on the Liturgy. So we ask Bishop Don Trautman to come forward. I think others might be joining you; I’m not sure. There are. Yes. Perhaps you could take our places here at the dais so that would give you a better access to microphones and all of you could be present to this body.

Bishop Donald Trautman (Erie, Chairman of Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy): Brother bishops, our panel presentation has a fourfold purpose. The Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy wants to report the results of the second consultation on the proposed translation of the Order of Mass, and the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy wants to give its analysis of the feedback received from you.

Secondly, the Liturgy Committee wants to share with you its intended recommendations to ICEL regarding the proposed translation: recommendations based on our study, research, discussion and review of the two consultations.

Thirdly, we want to afford you the opportunity to ask questions and offer comments as we seek further input from you. For example, we have designed a survey form regarding three texts. That form is found at your place and I will comment on it later.

Finally, we want to explain the role of the ICEL board of bishops, Vox Clara, and the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy.

Permit me to say a brief initial word about the role of the Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy in translation matters. Then later Bishop Cupich, a member of our Committee, will amplify these comments. The Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy is not engaged in any aspect of the actual work of translating. This is totally the competence of ICEL. Our task as the Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy is not to defend or promote a translated text, but rather our task is to facilitate the process of review, leading to the approval or emendation of the ICEL text by the body of bishops.

In this regard we have conducted two consultations, and have indicated our critique and our observations based on our study of the ICEL translation. We have cited problematic texts and favorable texts. We have offered suggestions for improvement of individual texts. Some bishops of our conference are more directly involved in the ICEL translation, serving on the ICEL board of bishops or on Vox Clara or as editorial committee for the ICEL translation. Our panel presentation today is an attempt to assemble representatives of some of these groups, bring them together with members of the Committee on Liturgy. In this way we hope to bring together constituents who can help us evaluate the proposed translation, and put in perspective your concerns, and, hopefully, answer your questions.

We have set aside a good one half-hour for questions and comments. Before I introduce the panel I want to thank you for responding to our consultation. One hundred and seven Latin Rite bishops responded with 1,147 suggestions. Let us look at the results of this second consultation. [Indicates slides with diagrams of surveys projected on a screen.]

With reference to the words of institution, 140 bishops said “I believe the best translation of ‘pro multis’ is ‘for all’”. And you see on the screen the other voting. I’ve sent a letter to Bishop Skylstad showing those results, conveying this information.

Next, two-thirds of the bishops [responding] judge the Order of Mass would be ready for a vote after further revisions. Fifty-three percent judge the text to be excellent or good; 47% judge the text to be fair or poor.

What did the respondents like the best? First, fidelity to the Latin text, improvement over prior efforts, quality of the language employed, fidelity to Liturgiam authenticam, biblical basis, miscellaneous.

What did the respondents regret the most? Style of the language, changes to the people’s parts, doesn’t read smoothly, too British, original Latin is too wordy, ICEL is inconsistent.

The next picture shows where we are at. We are a divided body on this translation issue. At this time we do not have a two-thirds necessary for canonical approval, so we want you to see exactly where we are at.

We now present actual comments from the bishops showing contrasting views. [Reading from slides.] One bishop said: “The language is graceful and relevant and has an air of solemnity and formality that is sometimes missing from current translations.”

Another bishop with a different view says: “I regret the heavy, ponderous and often turgid style in which the Latin has been rendered into English.”

Another bishop says: “The attempt to elevate the language in a way more conducive to ceremony by using words, phrases and language patterns that are not so commonplace and ordinary”. So he favors the ICEL translation.

A contrasting view: “Not American English. The desire to adhere as closely as possible to the Latin creates some infelicitous speech and exclusive horizontal language. It pays too little attention to contemporary idiomatic English. Sentences are too long and complex because they imitate a Latin preference for dependent clauses”.

What happens now? The Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy is very conscious of Liturgiam authenticam paragraph 74, which notes that:

The parts that are to be committed to memory by the people, especially if they are sung, are to be changed only for a just and considerable reason. Nevertheless, if more significant changes are necessary for the purpose of bringing the text into conformity with the norms contained in this instruction, it will be preferable to make such changes at one time, rather than prolonging them over the course of several editions…*

* (LA 74 continues, “In such case, a suitable period of catechesis should accompany the publication of the new text” — Ed.)

For this reason, it is our present intention to recommend that the people’s parts be changed in only those instances where there is a clear and pressing need. We recognize this as a pastoral sensitivity.

The Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy is also conscious of the specific changes suggested by the members of this Conference, including the top ten concerns listed here:

• The phrase “by the dew of your Spirit” is found in Eucharistic Prayer II
• “Consubstantial”
• “The sacrifice which is mine and yours”
• “That we may be ready to celebrate”
• Inclusive language in Eucharistic Prayer IV
• “Great is the mystery of faith”
• “He took this precious chalice”
• “In humble prayer”
• “By the Holy Spirit was incarnate”
• “For us men”

Those were the top concerns that we received in the consultation.

Let us turn our attention now to the process. Cardinal George is a member of our panel, but he hasn’t arrived just yet, so I will refer to him later, and ask other members to speak ahead of him. I would ask Archbishop Lipscomb, who is a member of Vox Clara, which has just recently met in Rome. I would ask the Archbishop if he would explain the role of Vox Clara.

Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb (Mobile): Thank you, Bishop Trautman. The Vox Clara committee was established by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on July 19, 2001. It consists of senior bishops from episcopal conferences of the English-speaking world to advise the Congregation on the translation of Latin liturgical texts into English.

This was a response of the Holy See to a number of interventions that had come both from this conference in public, and from some in private, that we know more about those to whom the translations are committed in the Congregation before they reach us. And some understanding of who they are. Still the Congregation has a hesitancy to mention their experts sometimes in public. They’re not ashamed of them; it’s just one of their practices. But in this case we are very public.

The Chair of Vox Clara is Cardinal George Pell of Australia. I serve as the First Vice-Chair, Archbishop Oswald Gracias as the Second Vice-Chair; Cardinal Cormack Murphy-O’Connor of England as the Secretary, and Cardinal Justin Rigali of the United States as Treasurer. Cardinal Francis George, OMI, from the United States, Archbishop Kelvin Felix of St. Lucia, Bishop Philip Boyce, OCD, represents Ireland, Archbishop Alfred Hughes of the United States, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Canada; Archbishop Peter Sarpong, Ghana; Bishop Rolando Tirona, OCD of the Philippines. Our experts on this committee are Monsignor Gerard McKay from Scotland, Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, OSB, from England; [the] Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, from the United States; [the] Reverend Denis McManus from the United States; and Monsignor James Moroney from the United States.

The first meeting of the Committee took place in April 2002. Earlier this month the Committee met for the ninth time. It’s been given the instructions in assisting with Ratio Translationis to help profile specific working areas with the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam. That had been one of the great concerns as to how to do it. And Vox Clara was given the instruction to proceed with drawing up such a document, which we submitted to the Congregation, and it made it its own. It has submitted advice on texts received from ICEL to the Congregation as they have been received: some simultaneously by the conferences of bishops and by the Congregation.

For the Ordo Missae, about one-third of the presidential prayers for the Propers of the Seasons for the Roman calendar have been dealt with — as well as, of course, of the Ordo Missae.

Currently the plans are to accelerate the meeting schedule, which heretofore have taken place three times a year for three days, for 2006 and 2007, in keeping with an accelerated schedule on the part of ICEL that prospectively hopes to provide final translations for the Roman Missal at the end of 2007.

So in the future we will be meeting four times a year, and for four days each, with a day set aside for staff work for those who actually wind it all up and make it accessible. On November 8 we met with Bishop Arthur Roche, Chairman of ICEL, from England, and Monsignor Bruce Harbert, the Executive Director of the ICEL Secretariat. On November 10, as the meeting closed, Cardinal Francis Arinze of the Congregation read a letter — the letter that is at your place — from Pope Benedict XVI on this last meeting, in which he says: Stay the course; continue to work at it.

Bishop Trautman: I thank you very much for sharing that information. At this time I would ask Cardinal George, our conference representative to ICEL, to share some comments on the role of ICEL.

Cardinal Francis George (Chicago): Thank you, Bishop Trautman. I apologize for coming late; I somehow had the idea that this started at 2:30 instead of 2:00.

The first point I’d like to make is that, as you know, the Missal that we are using now to worship God in this country is the first edition of the Roman Missal revised after Vatican II under the direction of Pope Paul VI.

And the translation from Latin of that first edition of the Roman Missal was done by a group called ICEL which we are all familiar with: International Commission for English in the Liturgy. It’s composed of eleven conference members, of which we are one — although we’re far and away the most numerous English-speaking group in the Catholic world — and also several associate members. And their job is to translate the books of the Roman Rite so that handing them to the conferences (ICEL is the creature of the conferences) the conferences will either approve them or not and send them on to the Holy See, one by one, for the canonical recognitio that makes a text a text of the Roman Rite.

The work of ICEL was done in principle out of a concern for fidelity for the original text, and secondly out of an accommodation to the receiver language. And that tension, that dialectic, between those two poles has been the term of the discussion that we’ve been having over the years. The document that more or less tried to guide that tension between fidelity to the original text and accommodation to the receiver language — in this case, English — was Comme le prévoit, and it emphasized the second point more than the first. While keeping both it kind of said: be sure that this is a vernacular that people will understand and be able to recognize as their living language.

The translation was done rather quickly, as ICEL itself has acknowledged. It was called outside of this country an “American translation” — although it wasn’t done by an American basically — because it was quite contemporary, at least in the ‘70s.

Some of the objections were, not only that it didn’t translate everything and that some of the translations were not so much translations as paraphrases, but also that the vocabulary was limited and tended to be banal.

There were some doctrinal considerations; certain things weren’t translated, perhaps for various reasons. So there were enough criticisms floating around out there — by bishops and by the ICEL Secretariat itself — so that when the second edition of the Roman Missal came out, ICEL geared itself up to do a more thorough job. And that is the edition that we reviewed in great detail, with Archbishop Pilarczyck’s help when going through it. I think we went through it more carefully than any other conference, and with a lot of panels and discussions and criticisms, and we approved that.

However, the Holy See, at that point, didn’t approve it because they decided they would change the rules for translation, putting Comme le prévoit aside and coming forth, as we know, with a document called Liturgiam authenticam, which clearly privileges the first pole in that tension: fidelity to the original text — accommodating the receiver language, but in such a way that you can tell what’s behind it — the Latin text, the Latin syntax.

So the rules changed, and they also insisted that ICEL change its constitution to some extent. They did that by simply refusing to approve any translations, even the ones that had been approved by the conferences as the second Roman Missal was approved.

That second Roman Missal edition with the ICEL provisional translation shows up now from time to time, at least in Chicago. In the Suscipiat, in the Preface dialogs there was an attempt to avoid grammatically masculine pronouns for God, which was itself a controversial decision.

And, at least in Chicago, you get back from different congregations different translations already. There isn’t a single translation out there right now, at least in practice, even though there’s only one official translation for the first edition. The provisional translation of the second edition has had an influence in our worshipping. [The cardinal is referring to the rejected ICEL revision. Ed.]

What’s clear now is that there will be no official English translation of the second edition because in the meantime the third edition has come out. And the Holy See said: Forget the second, translate the third according to Liturgiam authenticam and with the restructured ICEL. And so we hope now to be receiving texts from ICEL that the Holy See will approve.

When I was put on the ICEL board I had one instruction, a very short one, from our then-President Bishop Fiorenza. He said: “Get texts”. In other words: address the stalemate, change the structures if you have to, but whatever you do get texts; we need texts. And we all do. The books are becoming very frayed. And so my job was to try to get texts. And I think, however, that wasn’t possible without cooperating with the Holy See, and without a lot of work on our own part.

That work’s now taken up by Monsignor Bruce Harbert, whom I would ask to speak, because we’re the only English-speaking conference to which he hasn’t yet spoken. And you can get a sense of the timelines which have already been given us by Archbishop Lipscomb, and anything else that you want to ask him later, outside of this panel because this panel has a certain amount of time. But he will be around individually or in small groups. If you want to talk to him he is very available.

May I say one last thing before Monsignor Harbert comes up? The discussion is now somewhat complicated as we all know. Instead of the two poles — fidelity to the Latin or adaptation to the English — there’s a third pole, and that is the pastoral concern. The people own the present translation, even though it may be deficient — as some of us have said — as ICEL itself has recognized when adopted a different way of going at it. But nonetheless it’s ours. And they possess that text in a dialogical worship service in a way they never possessed the Latin text. They got used to the Latin text, but it wasn’t theirs, it wasn’t their language, and it wasn’t — you know — so dialogical and shaped our worship in the way that the new Missal has.

So therefore that pastoral concern means that all the parties are shifting a little bit, in my mind. There are those who have been quite critical of the present ICEL translation, who might in principle welcome a new one, but who are now saying: We don’t want to disturb the people, especially in the situation of a very weakened episcopal authority that we have now. And so you have people who will say: We know it’s deficient, but it’s ours, and so we’ll stay with it so we don’t run into trouble.

Liturgiam authenticam says if the text is inadequate you should change it anyway, even if you might have to deal with a pastoral problem. On the other hand, those who were quite willing to say even every generation should have a new translation — because language is living, so keep it changing — are now saying: Well, because the people have the habit of saying it this way, don’t disturb them and don’t change them.

Both those are rather weighty arguments. There’s an irony inasmuch as positions seem to have shifted. But nonetheless, that is a real concern. It will come up. I know Bishop Trautman is very aware of that. And it just changes the conversation. So I don’t know where this whole thing is going to go.

It used to be you could count the players and you knew where you were. That’s no longer the case. We have a more complex discussion. In that discussion, ICEL’s job is to give you and the other ten conferences a text that is translated according to Liturgiam authenticam. After that it’s up to you and to the Holy See to make your decision. Bruce?

Monsignor Bruce Harbert (Executive director of ICEL secretariat): I should like to begin by saying that I am not ICEL. As you’ve been told, the Commission for which I work comprises eleven bishops from eleven countries. And every word that comes to you from that Commission passes through the hands of those eleven bishops, often several times. As you’ve already been assured, the work is moving forward steadily. Early next year the commission hopes to send you a draft of the entire Proper of Seasons. By Autumn 2007 the draft of the whole Missal should have come before you.

This work is meeting with a mixed response. The Commission, as you’ve heard, works according to the principles set out in Liturgiam authenticam. When I hear criticism of the Commission’s work, as I do in many parts of the world, I sometimes think that the disagreement is not so much with ICEL as with Liturgiam authenticam, which in some quarters is resented as an example of Roman interference in the life of the local church.

This reminds me of an episode in the Christian history of my own country when liturgy wars broke out over the date of celebrating Easter. As the Venerable Bede narrates, at the Synod of Whitby in 664 King Oswiu was persuaded to adopt the Roman date after being reminded that Saint Peter holds the keys of the kingdom of heaven and Peter was the Bishop of Rome.

We need not be convinced by that argument to share the king’s instinct that it is not inappropriate to look to Rome for guidance over liturgy. The choice made by them did not impede inculturation since England became known for its distinctive liturgy, its local form of the Roman Rite.

The bishops of the Commission have found one point of Liturgiam authenticam to be crucial: the importance of the language of Scripture. The Commission’s Chairman, Bishop Roche, has emphasized this in his letter to you, which accompanies the recent draft of the order of Mass. You are being invited today to vote on three matters in that draft.

Let me illustrate my point by referring to two of them. The proposed reply to the priest’s greeting, “And with your spirit”, cannot be understood without reference to Saint Paul, who would often address a person or people, for example Saint Timothy, by referring not simply to “you” but to “your spirit”. “The Lord be with your spirit”, says Paul to Timothy. When Paul addresses a person like this, he is addressing him or her as one close to God, one who is receptive to God’s Spirit. When we use that reply at Mass we’re indicating that we’re part of a spiritual community. God’s Spirit has gathered us together.

Before Communion the Commission proposes that the people say: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof”. The reference, of course, is to the Centurion in the Gospel who begs Jesus to cure his servant without visiting his house. The word “roof” in the liturgy here is the button that rings the bell, awakening in the people a recollection of that story from the Scripture.

Introducing a new translation for the Order of Mass poses a considerable challenge. It will be essential to make people aware of the echoes of Scripture that the liturgy contains. Scriptural catechesis is at the center of liturgical catechesis. It was said of Saint Bernard that he knew the Scriptures so their language became his own. Bernard was said to “speak Bible”. In teaching people to use a form of the liturgy that is more faithful to Scripture, a form whose language is molded by that of Scripture, we shall be teaching our people, too, to “speak Bible”.

So the Commission presses on with its work, grateful to you for your support and your criticism. Our hope and prayer is that the Commission will succeed in preparing for you a text that is both faithful to the tradition we have received and effective in making it accessible to English-speaking Catholics of today and of the future. Thank you.

Bishop Trautman: Thank you very much. And I thank Cardinal George as well. Bishop Emil Wcela and Bishop Blase Cupich are members of the Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy. At this time I would ask Bishop Cupich if he would comment now on the role of the Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy in this process of facilitating the received texts from ICEL.

Bishop Blase Cupich (Rapid City): Thank you, Bishop Trautman. We take our cue from the documents of the Church, beginning with Sacrosanctum concilium, which gives to the bishops the role and the task of preparing translations. That is enunciated as well in §70 of Liturgiam authenticam.

And it also highlights that there can be liturgical commissions established by the Conference of Bishops to carry out this work. We as a bishops’ conference have entered into an agreement with ICEL, as His Eminence noted, so the job and the work of our Liturgical Commission, the BCL, is not to do the actual translations. Rather we see our role, as Bishop Trautman already has said, to facilitate the process for your review. And that is where the third part of that §70 has to be taken into consideration, where it says with respect to examination and approbation of the text each and every bishop must commit himself to this as a direct, solemn and personal responsibility.*

* (LA 70 complete text: On account of the entrusting to the Bishops of the task of preparing liturgical translations, this work is committed in a particular way to the liturgical commission duly established by the Conference of Bishops. Wherever such a commission is lacking, the task of preparing the translation is to be entrusted to two or three Bishops who are expert in liturgical, biblical, philological or musical studies.

As regards the examination and approbation of the texts, each individual Bishop must regard this duty as a direct, solemn and personal fiduciary responsibility.)

We see our role as the BCL of serving you as a resource. Not to tell you which translation is better. Yes, to give our opinion as we review these texts with experts. But also our job is to make sure that you have all the information that you need in order to make a decision.

But it’s also evident that you have already taken this responsibility seriously. For as Bishop Trautman has noted, you have submitted nearly 1,200 amendments. Many of them are impressive in their scholarship; others are impressive because of the pastoral sensitivity which you want to bring to this discussion. Our role as the BCL is to give you that opportunity to have that kind of interaction: to highlight for you the best scholarship that is available to us, and to help you, each and every one of you, to take direct, solemn and personal responsibility for the final decision.

Bishop Trautman: Thank you, Bishop Cupich, very much.

Before we call for questions and comments from the body of bishops, I would like to draw your attention to the survey at your places. It is printed on the gold-colored paper. The Committee has presented three texts from the Order of Mass, citing an argument in favor of the present 1970 translation, and one argument in favor of the proposed ICEL texts. We ask that you would review the rationale for each of these texts at this time, and mark the survey with your choice. Then the surveys will be collected at the end of our discussion. So why don’t we just take a minute for you to review the document before you.

I’d like to mention that all written input received from the consultations will be forwarded to ICEL together with recommendations of the Committee on Liturgy. You will find at your places an information item [booklet] with a purple-colored cover page. In this information item you will find the specific comments of the bishops, pro and con, regarding the proposed ICEL text. At this time you may direct your questions or comments to any of our panelists.

Please, in the back. Bishop Vigneron.

Bishop Allen Vigneron (Oakland): Thank you, Bishop Trautman. I have a question about the material with the purple cover, and my question concerns the relationship between the summer 2005 consultation and what are spoken of as the “panel recommendations”.

My concern is that very often the panel recommendations seem minimally to reflect the mind of at least the 107 that wrote back. I did a quick tally, and there are 41 possible changes listed in those texts. I think those are from pages 6-22.

In 19 instances when the body had no objection, or only nine or fewer people had objections, the panel recommends staying with the old ICEL translation. In another seven cases where, again, there is no objection or nine or fewer concerns, the panel recommends surveying the body of bishops. So I infer from this that the panel is not concerned — in the way that it’s gone at this work — it hasn’t made its priority to reflect what came in, in the survey. Because with 107 of us where no one suggested that there is a problem with the new ICEL translation, the panel is recommending staying with the old ICEL translation. That indicates to me that the panel is not seeing its mission as reflecting the mind of the survey. So I’d like some clarification on that.

Bishop Trautman: I’ll try to put that in perspective for you. First of all, I would repeat that all of the written responses received as part of the consultation — all of that documentation — will be forwarded directly to the ICEL Secretariat.

The Liturgy Committee has studied in depth the people’s parts, and as a working principle felt, because of pastoral sensitivities, since the texts are in possession, that we would recommend staying with the present texts already in possession, the 1970 translation — with the exception of the three that we are surveying the body on at this moment.

The working principle of the body has been, because of pastoral sensitivity, we decided to stay with the people’s parts. We decided not to change those people’s parts, unless there was a doctrinal issue involved or something of that nature. So that’s the rationale.

Other questions or comments, please. Please.

Bishop Samuel Aquila (Fargo): In looking at the survey and surveying the bishops, I am really uncomfortable with this process. Because I really see it as the panel rejecting Liturgiam authenticam. Liturgiam authenticam is clear on what the changes need to be.

While I understand some of the pastoral reasoning, even with some of the faithful and some of the priests in my diocese, when I’ve spoken with them about the changes that will be coming and I showed them the difference between what is in the Latin translation and what we have in the 1970 Missal, they are very understanding of why it needs to change. Now granted, they’re reasonable people and they don’t have their agendas, but I think we owe it to our people to give them good liturgical translations, and faithful to the Latin, to what we have received. And I see this kind of action as saying: Well, we’ll pick and choose what we want. If we take that approach, then our priests can do it, the laity can do it and anyone else can do it.

Bishop Trautman: I assure you it’s not a question of picking and choosing. If you were present for our Committee deliberations I think you would find from the Committee that we take very, very carefully the principles from Liturgiam authenticam. Applying them is another issue; we try to apply them in a pastoral way. I don’t know if any of the Committee members want to add to that, supplement….

Bishop Cupich: Just to note that these three issues were raised by bishops in the consultation. And it’s clear that in order for us to pass the text by two-thirds we had to get a sense of where the majority was simply because we did not have a majority of the bishops responding to the consultation. This is in an effort to, in fact, get a sense of where we are with the rest of the house. Simply because it was raised by a number of bishops, and we wanted to look for a way in which, in fact, we got a sense of where people were. So we’re aware of the fact that we’re going to need a two-thirds vote in order for this to pass. And we want to be reasonable about our own approach to where we go next. And that’s why we’re trying to get a sense of the house here.

Bishop Trautman: In processing the amendments all day Sunday, over and over again reference was made to Liturgiam authenticam. Often that was the guiding rule which made us keep the text or change the text. So we have in each instance of handling amendments referred to Liturgiam authenticam.

Other questions? In the back, please.

Archbishop Jerome Hanus (Dubuque): I may have missed this, but could you tell me who the panel — is it the five of you that constitute the panel?

Bishop Trautman: No, it’s the entire liturgical committee.

Archbishop Hanus: So where it says panel, “recommendations of the panel”, that’s recommendations of BCL.

Bishop Trautman: Ultimately, yes. That is correct. The group that judges all the amendments and sends the recommendations in to ICEL is the complete liturgical committee. We only have two representatives here — three representatives on the dais at this point.

Hand over here? In the back please. Oh, Cardinal George wishes to speak?

Cardinal George: Yes, thanks, Bishop Trautman. As a member of ICEL, as your representative among the eleven bishops who are the ICEL commission, I’d like to nuance a little bit — and bring into this discussion — what has been our discussion when I have been part of the BCL’s discussion.

The principle that the people’s parts should not be disturbed presupposes that you have an adequate translation. In the case of a number of people’s parts right now the translation is not adequate. It isn’t always doctrinally wrong, but that isn’t the only criterion, that isn’t the major criterion in Liturgiam authenticam, as such.

The other two points I would like to make is that when we approved the translation of the second edition, which has never been received [approved] by the Holy See and therefore is not official, we did change the people’s parts. And this concern wasn’t so evident at that time. Maybe we felt that we had more authority and the people would follow a new translation even if it was something to which they weren’t quite accustomed.

And thirdly, I think the work of the BCL is to take the ICEL translations, as has been done in the past. But the idea of itself — [to decide] which are the problematic parts of that translation and submitting them before the general consideration of the entire book — is new. It’s novel in our methodology as a Conference.

Bishop Trautman: Thank you.

Bishop Earl Bouyea (Aux. Detroit): I just have a question on page four of your purple book. You have list of texts there that you say, retain some from the 1970 ICEL text — for instance, the Confiteor, the Creed, the Suscipiat, the Sanctus, the Memorial Acclamations and the Agnus Dei — that you want to retain from the 1970 ritual.

What is the weight of what you’ve done on this page? In other words, when you say these are the “recommendations of the panel”, to whom are they recommendations? To us or to ICEL?

Bishop Trautman: To ICEL

Bishop Bouyea: So, in other words, you are speaking in our name to ICEL in making these recommendations.

Bishop Trautman: That is correct. We are also sharing at this point our level of research and our study at this point to the body of bishops. The body of bishops can accept any aspect of our work, but we felt you would want to know where your Committee on Liturgy is at this point. That is why in the consultation we have given you certain texts that we favor or that we are opposed to, others we want to amend.

Bishop Bouyea: But I guess my question is: so these recommendations of your panel will not go to ICEL until we’ve had a chance to vote on them or something?

Bishop Trautman: We are compelled, I think, to present our recommendation to ICEL without a formal vote from the body. In June we’ll probably have the white document from ICEL. At which point the body will have a vote. These are recommendations to ICEL that will affect their next draft of a translation.

Please, Fabian — Bishop Bruskewitz.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (Lincoln): I don’t have a copy of Liturgiam authenticam here, but are those three issues in the gold folder — weren’t they mentioned specifically in Liturgiam authenticam?

Bishop Trautman: The text we’re surveying? You want –?

Bishop Bruskewitz: Yes, the ones we’re doing a survey on. The reason I ask that is that I don’t want to have our body of bishops voting something opposed to Liturgiam authenticam without knowing that.

Bishop Trautman: Liturgiam authenticam gives us principles; they don’t give us particular —

Bishop Cupich: Yes there are two issues named in Liturgiam authenticam: the et cum spiritu tuo and also the one on ut intra sub tectum meam which is in #74. Both of them, I think are in #74. I don’t have — yes both of them are in #74. They’re both mentioned specifically.*

* (NB – LA 56, which says: “Certain expressions that belong to the heritage of the whole or of a great part of the ancient Church, as well as others that have become part of the general human patrimony, are to be respected by a translation that is as literal as possible, as for example the words of the people’s response Et cum spiritu tuo, or the expression mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa in the Act of Penance of the Order of Mass”.)

Bishop Bruskewitz: I suspect that also the mea culpa, mea culpa might also be in Liturgiam authenticam someplace. But at any rate, I just think that we should know that if we’re voting for the old text we’re in some sense contradicting Liturgiam authenticam.

Bishop Trautman: In the back please, and then Bishop Weigand.

Bishop Vigneron: I realize that this is my second time to stand, but I think this is a follow-up to my concern. There are thirteen occasions when our Committee is recommending to ICEL keeping the 1970 texts when no one wrote to the Committee to say there was a problem with that text. And I find that very problematic.

Bishop Trautman: No, that’s not true. We have documentation from the body of bishops in which they have expressed keeping the people’s parts.

Bishop Vigneron: Bishop, excuse me. There are, for example, #23 in your footnotes on page 14. At that proposed change to a new translation for ICEL you say there was no episcopal concern expressed in the summer consultation, as I understand this document. But the panel recommends something different, and I find that problematic — unless I misunderstand how this process has evolved.

Bishop Cupich: Yes, I think the information is misleading in this sense. There was no particular issue with that phrase, but when it came to changing the whole Creed or the whole Gloria there were a number of bishops who said: keep the people’s part. So I think that’s, Bishop Vigneron, where the difficulty is here.

Bishop Trautman: And I think that was also shown in the slides where we are almost evenly divided on this proposed translation.

Please, Bishop Mengeling, and then Bishop Weigand.

Bishop Carl Mengeling (Lansing): When we think of the sensitive pastoral concerns, I’m concerned about, and I think many others are: is this a temporary compromise we’re making? Is this going to surface again five years from now?

Bishop Trautman: I would judge that when the new Missal translation comes out it will be permanent for a long duration. So I think what we do now is most important. What I feel also is important is the fact that the US has such an input to other English translations, especially for English-speaking people in other parts of the world. So we want to do it correctly.

Bishop Mengeling: I think there is a deeper question in my mind, and that is: Does the sensitivity of the pastoral situation — and we’re all very aware of it with the low percentage of people coming to Mass, and how this is going to impact the ones who are still coming, and the rest of it. Does that justify this compromise, you know, when you try to make an equation of the two?

I don’t know the answer to that. But this is a compromise, isn’t it?

Bishop Trautman: We’re trying to recognize the very point that you raise. Would our people —

Bishop Mengeling: I understand. I’m not accusing you of anything, it’s coming from us.

Bishop Trautman: There’s a pastoral sensitivity at this point. What can we take to our people in terms of a radical change in the way they have been praying for some thirty years?

Bishop Mengeling: I understand that. It’s a tough one to deal with.

Bishop Trautman: I’d call it an accommodation, more than perhaps a compromise.

Bishop Mengeling: Accommodation?

Bishop Trautman: Accommodation.

Bishop Mengeling: OK. Thank you.

Bishop Trautman: Bishop Weigand, please.

Bishop William Weigand (Sacramento): Bishop Trautman, I would suggest we focus on the gold survey. This is very wise, and this is going to give some real data. I think what we’ve just been witnessing is not helpful. I suggest would that you simply — with the other elements where the panel, the BCL, has recommended to retain the 1970 translation — do this. Simply expand this to get the data. I think we can all go with the body of bishops, whatever it is. But the perception of not honoring the will of the body is going to divide us again.

Bishop Trautman: We’ve always tried to abide by the will of the body, the great wisdom in the body. But we’ve had two consultations, and we’ve received the input from those consultations. And we’ve received the input from those consultations, which we have reflected. Now, in some instances the Committee — like in the example given on the Creed — said not just change the one phrase or two phrases, but leave it intact. That was the judgment of the Committee. But, again, after the consultation was conducted.

Cardinal McCarrick, please. I didn’t see your hand. I’m sorry.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (Washington, DC): No problem. My concern is that we don’t have the entire text here in this document.

Bishop Trautman: No — that has been sent out to you, though.

Cardinal McCarrick: My concern then is concerning some other prayers in here, in the liturgy of the Mass. What about those? You know, I think, I have a problem with — I’m not going to say it this way, it sounds silly — I have a problem with “anxiety”, “anxiety” not being repeated and [unintelligible]. Where would one have a chance to talk about that? Or would one not have a chance?

Bishop Trautman: See, we will have a chance. We have processed all the amendments. All of that input will go to ICEL. They will give us back a final document. Then it’ll come to the body of bishops in the regular fashion. Then there will be a vote: up or down. That’s my understanding.

Cardinal McCarrick: And it would be at that time that if we have trouble with a word or two, we could still do that? Thank you.

Bishop Trautman: Is there another hand that’s being recognized? Over here.

Bishop [unidentified]: I think the fact that we’re going to have these texts for a long period of time, as you indicated, makes me less receptive to the argument that it would be upsetting for people who have gotten used to these texts over the last 30 or 35 years.

Thirty-five years ago we changed texts that had been in use for four hundred years. Now, that upset many people, but we did that for strong reasons. And I think we shouldn’t say: “Well, we’re not going to do it now because that will upset people”. If we have defective translations, or translations that could be improved, I think we should do that now. Sort of bite the bullet. Get it done, and get it done right. And so we can live with that for a long period of time.

Bishop Trautman: Thank you. Let me just assure the body once more. The final product will enjoy your vote, will enjoy your discussion. You will vote it up, or you will vote it down. It will always be entrusted to the body for the final verdict.


Cardinal George: I think part of the problem here is that, if you recall, when we did the second edition we all looked at the Green Book, and we did it together. This time we’ve all looked at it, but one by one. And you’ve collated the responses. And that step — now we’re substituting this process almost as part of that step. Because Cardinal McCarrick’s concern won’t be met when we get the White Book. We have to vote it up or down as you said. So I don’t know whether we should do what was done before. And that is, not just receive the Green Book and report back, but rather discuss it all together. How would that [work]?

Bishop Trautman: It would delay the timetable.

Cardinal George: What I feel myself is that we are short-circuiting a bit of the process that was very effective with the second edition. And we’ve done it by sending it out individually and then looking at a few parts here. But there is that lack of looking at it all together, that was very, very helpful with the second edition. However, if we do that then we’re going to really be behind in moving it along.

Bishop Trautman: There are those time constraints, unfortunately. Archbishop?

Archbishop Charles Chaput (Denver): Thank you, Bishop. Thank you for your work, too, on all of this. A couple of things: First of all, I think we should have a discussion as a body of bishops on how concerned we are about changing texts. I don’t think we should presume that the majority of us are terribly, terribly concerned about that unless we have a discussion together about it, and have a chance to articulate different positions.

Secondly, I’d like to propose that changing the texts is a great moment for re-education of all of us in liturgy. To actually read the texts, rather than to recite them out of rote memory can be a very good re-educational process for all of us in the Church. So I certainly favor having correct texts, even if it means changing them. So that would be my position. But I think it can help us come to a deeper understanding of what we say when we pray together at the liturgy. And it isn’t always a bad thing. And I think that we should do it once and for all, rather than piece by piece. So I don’t think the suggestions that have been made by ICEL for significant change would hurt the Church, but would help the Church.

Bishop Trautman: Thank you very much. Other hands? Here please.

Bishop Daniel DiNardo (Co-adjutor, Galveston-Houston): The recommendations by the panel — though you have to do your work, and doing it in this manner that you’ve decided to do it this time with ICEL and whatnot — the recommendations for so much retention of the 1970 text is for reasons for the memorizability of texts that have been learned. Has the panel considered what’s going to happen, though, if indeed the bishops vote, or ICEL sends us a text, in which the Gloria and Creed are 1970, but the whole rest of the Ordo Missae has the distinctive translational flair of what happened in the current, or the new, translation?

Will there be an oddity and incoherence just between the people’s parts and the rest of the Eucharistic Prayer, for instance? It brings up the question of having the entire set of texts in front of us as we’re trying to vote, rather than to deal with some piecemeal kinds of consultation. Part of it is a comment on my part; part of it is a question to Bishop Trautman on what would happen were ICEL to take up what the panel has recommended here and give us an odd hybrid, for lack of a better word.

Bishop Trautman: I understand the point you make as to a different style in the language itself. We’ll have to wait and see what the response of ICEL is to that. It is a concern. Again, we’re trying to do a balancing act in many ways. Trying to be pastorally sensitive to the people who are in possession of a prayer text they’ve been using for thirty-plus years. But I’m hearing all the voices here, so — Archbishop, please.

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