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John Paul II to US Bishops On Liturgical Translations

Online Edition – June 2006

Vol. XII, No. 4

John Paul II to US Bishops

On Liturgical Translations

From No. 2, Ad Limina Address to bishops from

California, Nevada and Hawaii — December 4, 1993,

Origins January 13, 1994 (p 539)

You are presently involved in a revision of some liturgical texts, and this has been on the agenda of the recent plenary meeting of your conference. One of your responsibilities in this regard, as stewards of the grace of the supreme priesthood (cf. Lumen Gentium, 26), is to make available exact and appropriate translations of the official liturgical books so that, following the required review and confirmation by the Holy See (cf. Canon 838.2-3), they may be an instrument and guarantee of a genuine sharing in the mystery of Christ and the Church: Lex orandi, lex credendi.

The arduous task of translation must guard the full doctrinal integrity and, according to the genius of each language, the beauty of the original texts. When so many people are thirsting for the living God (Ps. 42:2) — whose majesty and mercy are at the heart of liturgical prayer — the Church must respond with a language of praise and worship which fosters respect and gratitude for God’s greatness, compassion and power. When the faithful gather to celebrate the work of our redemption, the language of their prayer — free from doctrinal ambiguity and ideological influence — should foster the dignity and beauty of the celebration itself, while faithfully expressing the Church’s faith and unity (cf. Vicesimus Quintus Annus, 9 and 21).

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