Online Edition: August 2009
Vol. XV, No. 5
USCCB June Meeting
Bishops Discuss, Vote on Missal Texts — More to Come
The new translation of the Roman Missal once again dominated the agenda at the June 17-19 meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in San Antonio.
Part of the meeting was held in “executive session” (not open to the press), where among the topics discussed was the honor given to President Barack Obama by Notre Dame University on May 17. This event had elicited an unprecedented public response from more than 80 bishops who opposed Notre Dame’s decision to honor a pro-abortion politician. During their closed-door session the bishops agreed on a brief statement in “appreciation and support” of Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, who had opposed and boycotted the event. The bishops said, in part, “We affirm his pastoral concern for Notre Dame University, his solicitude for its Catholic identity, and his loving care for all those the Lord has given him to sanctify, to teach and to shepherd”.
The first liturgy action item on the bishops’ agenda drew overwhelming support: a Mass in Thanksgiving for Human Life, in English and Spanish versions. First proposed by the late Cardinal John O’Connor and approved by the bishops in 1992, this special Mass would be celebrated on January 22, the anniversary of the US Supreme Court’s permissive abortion decision, Roe v. Wade. It now awaits Vatican approval.
The last liturgy item to be considered, a Spanish translation of the Lectionary, received almost unanimous support.
Debate and vote at this meeting centered principally on four segments of the Missal translated by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL): 1) Order of Mass II; 2) Ritual Masses; 3) Masses for Various Needs and Intentions; and 4) Votive Masses and Masses for the Dead. The final ICEL “Gray Books” of these segments had been sent to the bishops in March. Very few amendments to these segments were submitted by the bishops. (Initial drafts are “Green Books”.)
Though a strong majority of the bishops present voted in favor of the Missal texts presented at this meeting, all texts fell short of the required 2/3-majority vote of the Latin-rite bishops, some very narrowly. Thus absentee ballots were sent to more than 50 bishops who did not attend the June meeting. The results of the absentee votes were published July 17. All four segments were approved. (See page 11 for final ballot results.)
At their November meeting the bishops will vote on the final segments of the English translation of the Roman Missal “third typical edition”, first released in 2000.
Only two of the thirteen segments of the new Missal have been approved by the US bishops to date: the Order of Mass I (the main Mass texts); and the Proper of Seasons (prayers for Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and “ordinary time”). The USCCB approved the Order of Mass I in 2006 and it received recognitio (final approval) from the Holy See in June 2008. The Proper of Seasons was approved by the US bishops last November, after it failed to receive the required 2/3 vote at the June 2008 meeting.
Last December, the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) advised all ICEL-member conferences, including the United States, to approve and submit for recognitio all the remaining texts of the Missal by the end of November 2009. The projected date for the new Missal to be used in parishes is December 2010. (About a year will be needed for producing the new books and preparing for their use.)
The CDW is aided in reviewing the English-language liturgical translations by Vox Clara, an international group organized in 2002, consisting of twelve bishops from nine countries (four from the US: Cardinal Francis George, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop Alfred Hughes, and Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb) and a panel of five consultants. Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, the new CDW Secretary from the United States, will also play a major role.
The liturgy action items were presented to the body of bishops by Bishop Arthur Serratelli, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship (BCDW), and the US representative to ICEL.
Helen Hull Hitchcock and Susan Benofy attended all sessions open to the press. The liturgy discussions were transcribed by Susan Benofy. (A word about the transcription: the words of the bishops are unedited. Incomplete sentences are indicated by a dash. The speaker’s own emphasis is indicated by italics. Explanatory comments by Adoremus are also in italics.) — Editor
Wednesday Afternoon, June 17
Bishop John Wester presented a report on the work of the National Advisory Council (NAC), a group of 45 religious, deacons, laity, priests and bishops who are intended to be representative of Catholics in the US. They review the agenda items for the bishops’ meetings and report on their view on them. Following is an excerpt from his report, the NAC’s views on the liturgy items.
Bishop John Wester (Salt Lake City, chairman, National Advisory Council): …Much of our agenda in this meeting will consist of the liturgical texts referred to as the ICEL Gray Books. Although this is a large amount of material to address in one session, the principles of Liturgiam authenticam and Ratio translationis for the English language have not changed, and the material has already been under review for some time. NAC was anxious for these actions to be on the agenda so as not to further delay the process. The acceptance of the translations will lead to a speedier path to the necessary recognitio and the eventual catechesis of the faithful.
The Leccionario also received strong support from NAC because it will be a crucial part of liturgical life for Catholics, especially with the burgeoning Hispanic population in our country.…
NAC expressed strong support for including on the agenda of this meeting the Mass of Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life as a US adaptation of the Roman Missal. This would be consistent with the Conference reaffirming and supporting the adoption of Life and Dignity of the Human Person as one of its priorities.… [NAC] affirms that celebrating the proposed Mass of Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life on January 22 and the special observance of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade is an important marker for the Catholic Church’s pro-life teaching.
NAC recommended to the Administrative Committee that the new translation of the Roman Missal be embraced as a wide-ranging and profound opportunity to educate, rekindle and communicate the rich spirit of our Catholic history and tradition. The translation is a catechetical moment for the Church in the United States. NAC believes it could provide Catholics with a renewed sense of sacredness and a clearer understanding of the uniqueness expressed in the language of our Catholic tradition.
NAC recommends strategic catechesis to go along with this translation, including utilizing existing USCCB resources to foster a more comprehensive understanding of our faith and thus reducing any possible confusion the translations may provoke.
Without such catechesis there is a risk that the new translation will actually alienate and separate some Catholics from the sacraments. With such catechesis the new translation will strengthen the bonds of Catholics to the Church’s form of worship.
This catechesis can also renew an appreciation for our faith language that connects us with the belief and worship that comes to us from our history and tradition. Words and phrases such as “consubstantial”, “and with your spirit”, “for you and for many”, “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” link us with this rich tradition. NAC recommends developing resources for clergy to assure their ability to proclaim most effectively the new Mass texts, noting that such training would benefit parishioners as well.
Preliminary Presentation of Liturgy Action Items
Action Item 1, the Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life
Bishop Arthur Serratelli (Paterson, Chairman Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship): Bishops, you have before you Action Item 1, the Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life, both in English and in Spanish, and Action Item 1A, the accompanying change to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Just a little background:
In the spring of 1990, at the request of the late John Cardinal O’Connor, the Committee on the Liturgy prepared a Mass formula entitled Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life. This was for inclusion in the Roman Missal in the section Masses for Various Needs and Occasions. After consultation with the pro-life committee, the text was approved by the Committee on the Liturgy and the body of bishops in 1992, and then submitted to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for recognitio in early 1993. In June of that same year, the response from the Holy See indicated an interest in the subject matter. The subject matter was said to be “a matter of universal concern” requiring “further study and examination”.
No further response on the subject was ever received from the Congregation for Divine Worship, and no such formula appears in the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia.
Therefore, in response to the request made as well as the perceived need for such a Mass, the Committee on Divine Worship suggested introducing the text again for inclusion in the third edition of the Roman Missal as an adaptation for the dioceses of the United States.
The staff of the Secretariat retrieved the text from the earlier work of the Committee on the Liturgy and the body of bishops. The text has been adapted to match the composition and style of the language of the Missale Romanum, third edition, in the light of Liturgiam authenticam. The final text of the Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life is now presented for your consideration. The final text of the Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life along with several modifications were submitted and reviewed by the Committee on Divine Worship.
One last point on this item — on the second part of it. The members of the committee note that the US Adaptations of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal include particular mention of the special observance of January 22, Roe v. Wade. If January 22 falls on a Sunday, then it is moved to January 23. This is listed as a particular day of prayer and penance. The committee proposes a revision of paragraph 373 to allow for the use of this Mass on January 22.
If approved, the proposed text will be submitted to the Congregation for Divine Worship as a US Adaptation to the Roman Missal, to be included in the US edition in the section of Masses for Various Needs and Intentions.
This action will require approval by 2/3 of the Latin Church members of the USCCB with subsequent confirmation by the Holy See.
Are there any questions of clarification at this time?
Cardinal Francis George (Chicago, President of the USCCB): Seeing none, would you move on to the next Action Item, number 2, the Order of Mass II?
Bishop Serratelli: The next four items are related to the English translation of the Roman Missal. I would like briefly to recall to our collective memory the communication that we received earlier this year regarding the timeline for the completion of the English translation of the Missal.
Cardinal Cañizares, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, expressed a desire to complete the work on the Missal and the publication of the text by the end of 2010. To that end he asked that all votes, comments and modifications be submitted no later than November of this year. Four sections of the Missal are now being presented for your consideration this week; three additional sections will be presented in November, in order to meet the requests of the Holy See.
I would like to also add that while several English-speaking episcopal conferences have already completed their reviews and votes, the Holy See is eager to receive any comments and suggestions that our Conference might offer. The Committee on Divine Worship is also developing plans for the formal catechetical process to prepare for the introduction of the new text of the Roman Missal.
Okay, can I move now to each of the action items? Bishops you have before you Action Item 2, the ICEL Gray Book translation of the Order of Mass II. Even though it has a green cover on it, it is the ICEL Gray Book.
Order of Mass II contains the Prefaces, Solemn Blessings, Prayers over the People and additional Eucharistic Prayers. It was first presented by ICEL for consultation as a Green Book draft in the year 2006.
At that time over 800 particular comments and suggestions were submitted by the members of this body, and were then forwarded to ICEL along with an analysis and the recommendation of the Committee on the Liturgy. ICEL reviewed the comments from the USCCB and its other member conferences, and then ICEL provided a copy of the Gray Book for the Order of Mass II along with a letter of transmittal, November 1, 2007. This letter is included in your texts.
The Committee on Divine Worship studied the new draft, and is very happy to report that ICEL addressed many of the concerns highlighted during the Green Book consultation. Just a few simple examples:
In many cases, the formula for the prefaces has been modified to alleviate the confusion of extended subordination and to clarify the antecedent. That was the question with the qui clauses in Latin.
Some odd sentence structures and vocabulary have been changed to aid comprehension and proclamation.
In some cases poorly translated or untranslated words have been corrected.
And lastly, in terms of the Solemn Blessings, many particular comments from the bishops focused on the awkward translation of the subjunctive in the Solemn Blessings. In most cases, more extensive use of the word “may” has improved the texts.
The present text before you has undergone thorough study and revision, and the committee has accepted more than 50 modifications to the text. Any additional serious concerns you might have can be submitted as amendments, which are due by 5 p.m. this afternoon. This action requires approval by 2/3 of the Latin members of the USCCB with subsequent confirmation by the Hoy See.
Are there any questions of clarification at this time?
Cardinal George: Mansell first, and then Trautman.
Archbishop Henry Mansell (Hartford): Just a question on the use of the relative pronouns.
You talk about subordination, but when the words “who” or “in whom” or “whose” begin a clause that’s a subordinate clause, but throughout the text it’s treated like a complete sentence. The same thing with the word “for” in the sense of “because”. That is in 95% of the prefaces presented here, and it’s presented as a full sentence where it’s a subordinate clause. “For” is capitalized, and there’s a period that follows. It seems to be the basic rules of English syntax that are problematic here.
And the situation is resolved felicitously, if I may say, later on with the formula for consecration on page 153, where (line 31) “Who, the” is struck and then “The day before He was to suffer, on the night of the Last Supper, He…” So they adjust that here, and it works. These are complete sentences.
And again the following page: “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood…” Those are full sentences. But when you take — Just go on the first page, for example: The Preface for the Baptism of the Lord, line 19. This is on page 1.
The second paragraph begins: “For in the waters of the Jordan…” That runs for eight lines, but it’s not a complete sentence. And yet it’s punctuated as a complete sentence, with the capitalization of “For” and the period following the last word, “poor”.
And similarly the next page, page 2, line 20: “Who by fasting forty days from earthly food established…” That goes on for six lines, but it’s not a complete sentence. It could easily be resolved by saying: “By fasting for forty days from earthly food, He established.…”
But this goes on — that “For” problem — it’s a problem in 95 — at least 95% — of these prefaces. So it’s the question of complete sentences and subordinate clauses. I wonder where the committee is on that.
Bishop Serratelli: I think that question certainly is a good observation, and I think the text will go through a final editorial review by ICEL, in which that can be brought up.
Archbishop Mansell: Thank you very much.
Cardinal George: Bishop Trautman, followed by Bishop Boyea.
Bishop Donald Trautman (Erie; chairman, Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy 1993-96, 2004-07, chairman Committee on Doctrine 2000-03, former member Ad Hoc Committee for Review of Scripture Translations 1990s): Thank you very much. My question deals with the timetable. Four hundred and six pages were given to us of English texts, four hundred and six pages of Latin texts: a total of eight hundred and twelve pages to review. The material was given out around Holy Week, Easter Week, Confirmation season. In reality I judge we had two and a half weeks to review eight hundred and twelve pages.
Only five bishops out of this body have submitted amendments. In truth, I believe most bishops have not had the opportunity to review these translated texts. We should give our best consideration to what will become a new Missal, and be the prayer of our Church for decades and decades. We owe our people and the Vatican our best review of these texts. To follow an imposed timetable that does not allow adequate review is counterproductive. I cite only three examples why these texts are really not ready to move forward.
Cardinal George: Bishop, could you bring this into the discussion tomorrow, early? It’s not a clarification.
Bishop Trautman: Well, it deals with the timetable for each one of these ICEL texts. When is the best time to do that?
Cardinal George: This is a reason not to vote for the texts, I believe — because it’s not mature, if I understood. This is not a clarification, and this is the time for clarification.
Bishop Trautman: Well, I guess my question was: Is there a possibility of adjusting the timetable? That’s my question.
Bishop Serratelli: My understanding is the Holy See wants all our comments in by November, and that’s the timetable they’ve given us. Also the texts did go out in March. So we had them. Right after the Admin[istrative Committee meeting], the texts were sent out electronically to the bishops.
The Administrative Committee directs the work of the USCCB between plenary sessions. It is comprised of 49 bishops, including committee chairmen and representatives of the 14 USCCB regions.
Cardinal George: Bishop Boyea.
Bishop Earl Boyea (Lansing): Just a question regarding timing again. Is there an opportunity for us to deal with the American adaptations before the new Missal comes out? Like the “Christ has died, Christ is risen…” We’ve never really dealt with that. When does that happen?
Bishop Serratelli: The first example that you have given, “Christ has died…”, has already been presented to the Holy See so it’s there. The other adaptations will be presented in November.
Cardinal George: Bishop Perry; Cardinal DiNardo.
Bishop Joseph Perry (aux. Chicago): Just curious regarding the prefaces. Are these texts here reconciled with musical notation? Or will the musicians see this afterward?
Bishop Serratelli: The musicians are working on them now.
Bishop Perry: Okay.
Cardinal George: Cardinal DiNardo, followed by Bishop Bruskewitz.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo (Galveston-Houston): That was actually my question, with a follow-up. Are the ICEL people aware of the sentence structure in putting these to music?
Bishop Serratelli: Yes. Very much so. ICEL has been working with musicians for some time already.
Cardinal George: Bishop Bruskewitz.
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (Lincoln): My question has to do — I’m not sure if it’s in order — with the publication. When all this is finished, who decides the artwork that goes into the Missal? The reason I say that is because the Sacramentaries we have now have some childish stick men and silliness in there. And the old Missals had some beautiful woodcuts and other sorts of things.
Is it the committee or the body of bishops? Who decides the artwork that’s going to go into the ultimate publication? I don’t know if that question is in order.
Bishop Serratelli: My understanding is that the publishers decide that. [Some groaning and laughter]
Cardinal George: Are there other observations to the Order of Mass II, the Action Item 2, about clarification? Well then, let’s move on, Bishop Serratelli, please, to the next —
Bishop Serratelli: Also to that same question: the [Divine Worship] Secretariat can have some input into that, Bishop Bruskewitz.
Cardinal George: Action Item 3 please.
Bishop Serratelli: Okay. Bishops you have before you Action Item 3, the ICEL Gray Book translation of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions. Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions is one of the sections of the Missale Romanum containing many new texts. It was first presented by ICEL for consultation as a Green Book in draft form in 2007.
At that time more than fifty particular comments and suggestions were submitted by the members of this body. They were forwarded to ICEL along with the analysis and recommendation of the Committee on the Liturgy.
ICEL reviewed the comments from the USCCB and its other member conferences. Then ICEL provided a copy of the Gray Book for Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions in October 2008.
The Committee on Divine Worship noticed that ICEL addressed many of the concerns highlighted during the Green Book consultation. The present text has undergone thorough study and revision and the committee has accepted a number of modifications to the text. Any additional serious concerns you may have can be submitted as amendments, which are due at 5 p.m. this afternoon. This section again requires 2/3 of the Latin Church members of the USCCB with subsequent confirmation by the Holy See. Are there any questions of clarification at this time?
Cardinal George: Yes, Bishop Finn?
Bishop Robert Finn (Kansas City-St. Joseph): I notice that there are a lot of blanks in some of the Masses for Mass prayers. So I was just wondering what that — what the conclusion is there. Well, for example, where there are Entrance Antiphons and there are no Communion Antiphons. I think it was one for Holy Angels, I believe, and it had no texts there. Perhaps it’s only my copy.
Bishop Serratelli: There’s a reason for why they’re not there. The antiphons are being prepared by Holy See. They want to help us move the process.
Cardinal George: Bishop Coakley.
Bishop Paul Coakley (Salina): I understand about the antiphons, but there are also whole Masses that don’t have any prayers: For Ministers of the Church, page 20, for example.
Bishop Serratelli: My mind is as empty as the page on that one. I’d have to find out why and get back to you.
Cardinal George: Any other requests for clarification about the text? Archbishop Hughes.
Archbishop Alfred Hughes (emeritus, New Orleans, member Vox Clara): If I’m not mistaken, Bishop Serratelli, those prayers have already been approved, already been processed. So it would be repetition.
Cardinal George: Any final requests for clarification?
Bishop Serratelli: Monsignor Sherman just confirmed that. That when the ICEL texts have already been approved they leave a blank [in the printed books].
Following a coffee break, the discussion resumed.
Cardinal George: Okay, Bishop Serratelli, would you please present Action Items 4 and 5.
Bishop Serratelli: Bishops you have before you Action Item 4, the ICEL Gray Book translation of Votive Masses and Masses for the Dead.
Votive Masses and Masses for the Dead is another section of the Missale Romanum containing a number of new texts. It was first presented by ICEL for consultation as a Green Book draft in 2007.
At that time more than 35 particular comments and suggestions were submitted by the members of this body. They were forwarded to ICEL along with the analysis and recommendation of the Committee on the Liturgy. ICEL reviewed the comments from the USCCB and its other conference members, and provided a Gray Book for Votive Masses and Masses for the Dead in October of 2008. The Committee on Divine Worship observed that ICEL addressed many of the concerns highlighted during the Green Book consultation. In fact, more than 80% of the suggested modifications were incorporated into the text.
The present text has undergone thorough study and revision and the committee has accepted a number of modifications to the text. Any additional serious concerns you may have can be submitted as amendments, which are due at 5 p.m. this afternoon.
This action requires approval by 2/3 of the Latin Church members of the USCCB with subsequent confirmation by the Holy See. Are there any questions of clarification at this time?
Cardinal George: All right, if there are no questions of clarification, Bishop Serratelli, would you please present Action Item 5.
Bishop Serratelli: Bishops you have before you Action Item 5, the ICEL Gray Book translation of the Ritual Masses. The collection of Ritual Masses was first presented by ICEL for consultation as a Green Book draft in 2007.
At that time, 55 particular comments and suggestions were submitted by the members of this body. They were forwarded to ICEL along with the analysis and recommendation of the Committee on the Liturgy. ICEL reviewed the comments from our conference and other member conferences. Then ICEL provided a copy of the Gray Book for Ritual Masses in February of 2008. The Committee on Divine Worship observed that ICEL addressed many of the concerns highlighted during the consultation.
… Again, this action requires 2/3 of the Latin Church members of the USCCB with subsequent confirmation by the Holy See. At this time are there any questions of clarification?
Cardinal George: Bishop Boyea.
Bishop Boyea: Do you know when we will ever be doing the texts for lector and acolyte?
Bishop Serratelli: No. [Laughter]
Cardinal George: Are there other questions of clarification? [More laughter] Thank you for being so clear. It seems as if there is nothing else to be clarified. The amendments are due by 5 p.m. this evening. And Bishop Serratelli do you have anything else?
Bishop Serratelli: No, that’s fine.
Cardinal George: OK, thank you very much. [Applause]
At the press conference following the Wednesday afternoon session, two questions concerned the liturgy action items.
Helen Hull Hitchcock: My question, I think, is addressed to Bishop Serratelli, but also to Archbishop Kurtz and maybe the others.
As we approach the end of a years-long process of obtaining new, accurate texts for the liturgy — the Mass and the related Sacraments — the catechetical need to get this across to people…. Do you think that the new translations will make the message more transparent, A; and B, as far as preparing people to receive the new texts and new approaches, is that something that we ought to be looking at catechetically and if so how and what can guys like us do to help?
Bishop Serratelli: Thank you very much for the questions; they’re both very good. I always say they’re good if I have an answer for them.
In terms of the second point: work is already being done in terms of preparing a proper catechesis. There is a need to do both a remote catechesis as well as a proximate catechesis. So some work has already been done on that, and there is work continuing to be done.
The USCCB web site has some information on there that certainly could be helpful already to lay people, to clergy. The Leeds Group is doing some serious preparation for the reception of the new text, and also the FDLC.
[The “Leeds Group” is an unofficial international group headed by Bishop Arthur Roche, of Leeds, England, president of ICEL. The FDLC is the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions in the United States.]
So there is a lot of work because there is a very strong recognition among all that this is a very important moment in the Church’s life: not just to produce these new texts, but to have them received in the best possible way.
Secondly, getting to your first question. I think the texts are more accurate in the sense — [that] the texts are certainly very well-suited for passing on the Faith. And with the proper catechesis people can deepen their understanding of the Catholic Faith, claiming some words in liturgy that we haven’t used, but will make the passing on of the Faith much easier: words like Incarnation.
Bishop Gerald Kicanas (Tuscon; vice-president of the USCCB): If I may just add to Bishop Serratelli’s fine response, Helen. Among the priorities of the Conference are faith formation and sacramental practice, and one of the major activities under that goal and objective is the preparation and catechesis for the revised Roman Missal. So it’s very much on the minds of the bishops.
Archbishop George Niederauer (San Francisco; USCCB Committee on Communications chairman; Committee on Divine Worship member): I think, too, it’s good to reflect where the basis of all of this work lies. The challenge is in working with living languages in terms of being true to the editio typica of the Latin text. We are working under the aegis of ICEL, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. We’re working with many different English-language groups around the entire world.
And I would imagine the people who work on the Portuguese text find that the Brazilians have some misgivings about what the Portuguese — how they may express it, and vice versa. I think it’s true from our own Latino bishops saying that Spanish is not exactly the same in every land. So that it has taken a long time, but you can get back to that saying, “Do you want it right, or do you want it Thursday?” And I think we have pretty much gone for wanting it right.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz (Louisville; Committee on Budget and Finance chairman; Subcommittee on Marriage and Family chairman): Helen, I would also like to add from the perspective of your question about its being in readiness to receive the text. I can speak only for the Archdiocese of Louisville. I think we’ve looked very carefully, and I think well, at the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
And I’ve tried to use the example of my golf game and taking golf instructions. And that even though I don’t often like to take instructions, I should take them more frequently. When I do, it not only improves my game, but it makes me enjoy the game more. And I think in this sense, I believe there is the potential for people being readied by saying this is not just a burden to be received, but actually the possibility for us to please God more, first of all, which is the intent of liturgy. And so to be more engaged and inspired.
Pat Zapor (CNS): This kind of follows up on Archbishop Neiderauer’s point about “Do you want it right, or do you want it Thursday?” Bishop Trautman raised the point of 812 pages that not many people have commented on. Is there really a chance that there might be an opportunity to just delay a little longer so they can comment?
Archbishop Niederauer: Didn’t Bishop Serratelli add that it was made available electronically in March?
Bishop Serratelli: It was made available electronically in March, and there was more than enough time to review it. In fact, with these books that have recently come out, more time was given to these books than to previous Gray Books.
Thursday Morning, June 18
An electronic voting system profiled the attendance, and revealed that there were 184 Latin-rite bishops eligible to vote on the liturgical texts at the meeting.
Debate and Vote on Liturgy Action Items
Action Item I – Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life
Bishop Serratelli: Bishops, I present to you Action Item 1, The Mass in Thanksgiving for the Gift of Human Life in English and in Spanish, and Action Item 1A, the accompanying change in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Passage of these items requires a 2/3 vote of the Latin Church members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. You have at your places Group I Amendments, those accepted by the Committee on Divine Worship.…
A very brief discussion ensued, including a statement of strong support by Archbishop Michael Sheehan of Santa Fe before the vote was taken.
Cardinal George: Thank you, Archbishop. Are there any other comments that someone wants to make? If you’re ready to vote, then, would you please press 1 if you’re voting “yes” for this Mass. The requirement is that 2/3 of the Latin Church members pass this, and then we’ll go to the Holy See for the subsequent recognitio as Archbishop Sheehan urged us to do. If you don’t want to pass this then it is “no”, but only the Latin-rite bishops vote for this. So 2/3 of the Latin-rite bishops, ordinaries and auxiliaries, which means 163 are needed to pass. So please vote 1, “yes”; 2, “no”. [Pause for voting]
We’re going to close the vote. I hope everyone has voted. The vote is now closed. 183 have voted “yes” and 2 “no” and there are 3 who have abstained, which means that it’s passed. [Applause]
Bishop Serratelli: The next item to vote on is the modification of §373 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, putting this Mass in the General Instruction for either January 22 or January 23 if it falls on a Sunday.…
I now move that the Latin Church members of the USCCB approve the modification of §373 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
Cardinal George: Will you please vote now: 1, yes; 2, no; 3, abstain. Thank you. [Pause for voting] The voting is closed. Required for approval is 2/3 of the Latin Church members and then we go to the Holy See for the recognitio. So 179 have voted “yes”, one has voted “no” and one has abstained. So obviously it’s passed. Thank you very much.
Cardinal George clarified that, assuming Vatican approval, the intention is to include this Mass in the Missal for the United States.
Action Item III – Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions
Bishop Serratelli: Bishops, I present to you Action Item 3, the ICEL Gray Book translation of Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions. Passage of these items requires a 2/3 vote of the Latin Church members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. You have at your places Group I amendments, those accepted by the Committee on Divine Worship.
Cardinal George: The committee recommends that all the amendments in Group I be adopted. If any member desires a separate consideration of any of the amendments in Group I will he please raise his hand and call out just the identifying numbers of those amendments? [No response]
Without objection, then, all of the amendments in Group I are adopted. Will you please proceed?
Bishop Serratelli: There are no amendments that have been rejected.
Cardinal George: Since no amendments have been rejected then we are ready to discuss this text as a whole. The floor is open for those who want to speak to this issue. Bishop Trautman.
Bishop Trautman: Thank you very much. Our liturgy committee has done yeoman work, truly exemplary work, in processing the new translation. My argument is not with the committee, but with ICEL.
I say “yes” to a more accurate Latin translation, “yes” to a more transcendent tone, “yes” to a more elevated tone.
But a resounding “no” to incomplete sentences, to two and three clauses in one sentence. “No” to thirteen lines in one sentence as found in this Action Item. “No” to archaic phrases. “No” to texts that are not proclaimable, intelligible or pastorally sensitive to our people.
I believe the text before us is not ready for approval, not ready for the liturgical prayer life of our Church in the United States.
Cardinal George: Thank you, Bishop. Are there other comments to be made at this time? Then if you’re ready we will —
Bishop Serratelli: There being no further discussion or amendments —
Cardinal George: Do you want to say something to that at all?
Bishop Serratelli: No, that’s his personal opinion, I think.
Cardinal George: No, no. I mean it’s clear; it’s well thought out. So, then —
Bishop Serratelli: There being no further discussion or amendments, I now move that the Latin Church members of the USCCB approve the ICEL Gray Book translation of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions for use in the dioceses of the United States of America.
Cardinal George: Again 2/3 of the Latin- rite members of the hierarchy are required in order to pass this, after which it goes to the Holy See for recognitio. All those in favor, please press 1; those opposed, press 2; those abstaining, press 3. [Pause for voting]
With your permission we’ll close the vote. If it is not conclusive, then we will go to mail in order to do it. [Pause for tabulating electronic votes]
It is not conclusive, and so therefore we will have to have a vote by mail as we have done in the past.
Yes, Bishop Bruskewitz?
A discussion of the conference procedures when a vote is inconclusive followed.
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz (Lincoln): Once again — I’ve done this for 18 years. When these things happen, I don’t understand why the body of bishops cannot know the result of this vote. Staff members are allowed to know this, but we’re excluded from this knowledge because we’re not trustworthy or something. I really think that it should be known to us what the vote was, even if it’s inconclusive. I know it’s a custom to do something else. But I’ve brought this up every time, and I’m sure it will be futile this time as well. But I just thought — [Laughter]
Monsignor David Malloy (USCCB General Secretary): This is the long-standing practice. And my understanding is that it is an effort to protect the integrity of the elective process. If the numbers were to become known, the lobbying on one side or the other, knowing how close or how far, you change — at least this is the theory — the dynamic of the elective process. So the effort here is simply an effort to keep the fairest ground as adopted by the bishops. The only other consolation I can give is that to my knowledge there has never been a breach by our staff on the question.
Bishop Bruskewitz: The staff is trustworthy, but why aren’t we trustworthy? If this is so secret, why can’t we do it in executive session then? Once again, I don’t want to argue it any further, I just thought I’d bring the matter up again.
Cardinal George: Okay to this issue, Bishop Wester and then Archbishop Vlazny. You have not made a motion, Bishop Bruskewitz.
Bishop John Wester (Salt Lake City): Just a question: the bishops that receive the vote by mail, do they get a summary of what came right before this vote, or do they just get the mere proposal? What do they get in the mail?
Monsignor Malloy: They get the documentation that you have to this point. So they get the most up-to-date version and the Group I, Group II information that you have.
Bishop Wester: I realize it was very brief, but Bishop Trautman made an intervention. Will that be included in the mail?
Monsignor Malloy: The practice has not been to provide the verbatim of the minutes. You get the documentation when it goes out. It has not, to this point, included the minutes of what accompanied the discussion or the vote.
Bishop Wester: Again, it would seem to me that some kind of a summary, especially if it was a longer, protracted discussion, would be helpful for those bishops who were not privy to this conversation.
Cardinal George: Yes, Archbishop Vlazny, please, and then Bishop Galeone.
Archbishop John Vlazny (Portland, Oregon, consultant BCDW): I would speak to the same point that Bishop Wester brought up, but I would just like to point this out. One of the problems is that last year, for example, people did receive in the mail an explanation of why you should vote “no”, and there was no explanation of why you should vote “yes”. So when you’re not at the meeting, you’re not present for the dynamic.
Unless the committee does send something out and explain why the committee supports it, it leaves someone at home thinking: “Well, there is no argument in favor of it” and it does weight it, then, negatively. So I think the committee should say something about why it supports it.
Cardinal George: Bishop Galeone, please. Bishop Rosazza is after this.
Bishop Victor Galeone (St. Augustine): My question is for Bishop Art Serratelli. Some six months or so ago, maybe seven, an article appeared in the London Tablet that pointed out that through a misunderstanding of a letter that was sent by then still-functioning Cardinal Arinze as head of the Congregation of Worship, that the archbishop there in South Africa actually thought that they were supposed to inaugurate, initiate the texts that had been approved up to that point. Which they did.
And the first Sunday that those texts were proclaimed in the churches of that archdiocese the priests, the people went up in arms, and said: “This is unintelligible. This is unacceptable.”
They called Rome; Rome said: “Oh, no, no, you misunderstood it. This is not to be initiated until the whole series of translations has been approved.”
My question, Bishop, were you aware of that article in the London Tablet?
Bishop Serratelli: I was aware of the fact. I didn’t read the article.
Bishop Galeone: I see. I have a copy. I left it home unfortunately. But it’s very interesting, very enlightening. Because I fear that what occurred there in South Africa could well happen in 2010, ’11 or ’12, whenever we initiate these new texts here in the United States. Our people are going to say: “What happened? This doesn’t sound like proper English.” Just my own comment. Thank you.
Cardinal George: Bishop Rosazza, and then Archbishop Lipscomb after Rosazza.
Bishop Peter Rosazza (aux. Hartford): Just for the record, there was one amendment not accepted by the committee. It was mine. Just for the record. [Laughter]
Cardinal George: Sorry about that. Got too many papers up here. Archbishop Lipscomb.
Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb (emeritus Mobile, Vox Clara member): Thank you. I’m a little bit mystified at the process right now. We’re not debating a motion, we’re debating a part of the process, evidently, that presents this to the body of bishops. Generally the practice has been, for a long time, that once a presentation was made, before the vote took place, the committee chair, or someone from the committee, made a final presentation in favor of the motion presented by the committee. This did not happen last November, and it seems not to be happening now. And I think this is a mistake, because there’s ample — We’ve been at this for eight years, and there have been revisions after revisions, and Rome has deferred.
I think we’re to a point now where Rome has tired of our hunting for reasons to delay this. And it is doing its best to insist on catechesis. We cannot do the proper catechesis until the texts are in place. Once the catechesis happens, there should probably not be the kind of exercise that took place in South Africa. Wherever those erupt — that’s our problem.
But we really, it seems to me, are kind of skewing the process when we vote electronically without the kinds of pros and cons that influence votes at the la