December 2010 – January 2011
Vol. XVI, No. 9
Statement by the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship
on the Missal Translation: "There is a final text"
A statement on the status of the texts of the Missal was released by the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship during their meeting in Baltimore. Bishop Arthur Serratelli issued the statement on November 18. The Vatican recognitio (approval) of the Missal translation was announced by USCCB president Cardinal Francis George last August 20. Since then some press and blog reports have questioned the approval process and the translation itself.
No liturgy “action items” were on the agenda for this meeting. Sessions were open to the press on November 15-16; the bishops met in executive session November 17-18.
There has been some discussion recently about a report surfaced through some segments of the Catholic press regarding the present state of the text of the Roman Missal, Third Edition. A number of facts will hopefully clarify the situation and, in so doing, give us the calm needed to welcome and implement the new text.
First, it is helpful to keep in mind the genesis of the final text that is now being prepared for publication. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) prepared for the English-speaking Conferences of Bishops preliminary drafts (“green books”) of the 12 sections of the Roman Missal. After incorporating the feedback and responses of the individual Conferences of Bishops and the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, ICEL then prepared the final drafts (“gray books”). These were approved by canonical vote by each of the member conferences. In approving the gray books, each conference also had the opportunity to make further suggestions to the Congregation, as was done in particular by our conference. We submitted many amendments to the texts. The Congregation, working with the Vox Clara Committee, carefully listened to what the bishops said. The Congregation incorporated many of the suggestions of the various conferences (including our own), combined with their own review and changes, and put forth the final text. The Congregation followed the principles of Liturgiam authenticam faithfully but not slavishly.
This is the final text now being readied for publication. This process includes a final review and copy edit which, given the size of the text, uncovers some minor questions of consistency, typographical errors, and layout. Those questions are being addressed by the Congregation for Divine Worship. This review has not dealt with the translation itself. The critique that has circulated has necessarily failed to take into account the final version of the text, which incorporates some corrections issued by the Congregation since the transmittal of the full text to the English-speaking Conferences of Bishops in August 2010.
To sum up, there is a final text. It has received a recognitio. As the work of editing and assembling nears completion, there is assurance that the published text will be available in more than ample time for implementation in Advent 2011. It is good to note also that the catechetical preparation for implementation is already underway and has proceeded with much enthusiasm and wide acceptance by both clergy and laity. It is clear at this point in time that there is an attitude of openness and readiness to receive the new text. Let us pray in this time of transition and change that the Roman Missal, Third Edition, will enable all to understand more deeply the mysteries we celebrate.
Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli
November 18, 2010
This statement was posted on the USCCB web site: http://nccbuscc.org/liturgy/current/romanmissalstatement.shtml.