Online Edition – May 2006
Vol. XII, No. 3
Procedures for Liturgy Actions at June USCCB Meeting
The bishops will be asked to vote A) on the English translation of the Order of Mass (OOM), the ICEL Gray Book; and B) on a set of adaptations proposed by the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy (BCL) and other bishops.
The voting and approval process is somewhat complex, involving the ICEL Statutes and the modified procedures for consideration of these texts that was approved the USCCB Administrative Committee in March. This process, as clarified for us by the BCL secretariat, follows:
A. ICEL translation of the Order of Mass:
1. All proposals for amendment of the ICEL Gray Book text or the “American Adaptations” must be received at least two weeks in advance of the meeting. The BCL will either accept or reject these proposed amendments before the meeting.
2. First, before the vote on the ICEL Gray Book text itself, the amendments (including the 16 proposed by the BCL) will be introduced for the bishops’ consideration and vote. At the meeting, there will be two separate groups of amendments: those “accepted” by the BCL, and those “rejected”. Bishops will vote on these separately.
A simple majority is required to pass amendments.
• A bishop may ask for separate consideration of any amendment in either group. Only these “separate consideration” amendments will be discussed and voted on by the body of bishops.
• A vote on each of the groups of amendments (accepted and rejected) will then take place. It is possible that a bishop could propose that all amendments to the ICEL text be rejected (to assure uniformity of the Missal translation in all the English-speaking countries).
3. Any accepted amendments would become an intrinsic part of the ICEL Gray Book text that the bishops will now vote on. A 2/3 majority of eligible (Latin-rite) bishops is required for canonical approval.
4. If the Gray Book is approved (incorporating any approved amendments), it will then be forwarded
a) to the Congregation for Divine Worship for consideration and recognitio. (Vox Clara would be consulted.) The Holy See could make further changes before granting the required recognitio;
b) to ICEL (for its information and presumably for transmittal to the other ICEL member conferences).
5. If the Gray Book text is not approved by the required 2/3 majority, the ICEL text fails. If this happens, members of the BCL will decide on what action to propose to the bishops.
According to the ICEL Statutes (36.12):
“Whenever such a common text proves unfeasible, a given Conference maintains the right to introduce any modifications desired, and to approve its own amended text, subject to the recognitio of the Holy See. The Conference also maintains the right to produce its own independent translation if necessary.” (emphasis added)
B. American Adaptations
6. The second “action” of the bishops is a vote on “American Adaptations” to the OOM (also proposed by the BCL, and distinct from the “amendments” to the main ICEL text). The proposed “Adaptations” include items discussed last year (such as adding “Christ has died…” to the Memorial Acclamation options given in the Missale Romanum).
Each “adaptation” will be voted on separately, and a 2/3 majority is required. Adaptations that are approved by the vote of the body of bishops would be incorporated into the final text that the US Conference would submit to the Holy See for recognitio.
If the OOM texts receive the recognitio of the Holy See, they could be authorized for use (and published) immediately, as has been done on past occasions (the GIRM, for example). Or the project could be delayed until the entire Missal is translated, approved by the other English-speaking conferences and granted recognitio.