Nov 15, 2013

News and Views

Online Edition:
November 2013
Vol. XIX, No. 8

News and Views

US Bishops Vote on New Liturgical Texts | USCCB Symposium: 50 Years of Sacrosanctum Concilium | Consistory for the Creation of Cardinals Announced | Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas | On Evangelizing

US Bishops Vote on New Liturgical Texts

New liturgical translations were among the agenda items at the annual fall General Assembly of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), held in Baltimore November 11-14.

Liturgy items include:

•  The use of the Spanish-language Misal Romano from Mexico to serve as the base text for the US Spanish-language Missal. Mexico’s conference of bishops received a recognitio — or permission from Rome — to use the text at the beginning of 2013. Plans call for a US version of the Misal Romano to be available by the end of 2014 or spring 2015.

•  US adaptations and proper text for the Misal Romano. These include translation of the prayer texts, a Spanish-language translation of the US Norms for Holy Communion under both bread and wine, and Spanish-language translation of the prayer texts for saints, including Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos and others.

•  The Order of Celebrating Marriage. This is the final translation from the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) of the 1991 Latin second typical edition, which was never translated into English. It has new prayers and rites not previously included in the first typical edition. (The text will require recognitio from the Holy See.)

•  US Adaptions to the Order of Celebrating Marriage. The four adaptations include the option of alternative forms of vows, the option to move the nuptial blessing from after the Our Father into the rite itself, the option of using a litany of the saints, and the option of using the Spanish adaptations of giving coins and the blessing and placing of the lazo/veil over the couple during the nuptial blessing.

•  Order of Confirmation. This is a retranslation by ICEL of the order of Confirmation in accord with Liturgiam authenticam, the norms of the instruction on translation. 

All liturgy items are expected to receive positive votes of the bishops. (Helen Hull Hitchcock and Susan Benofy will be members of the press corps.)


USCCB Symposium: 50 Years of Sacrosanctum Concilium

“Participation in the Work of God” was the title of a two-day scholarly symposium sponsored by the US Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship in observance of the 50th anniversary of the appearance of Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the first document released by the Second Vatican Council, December 4, 1963.

The symposium, held November 8-9 in Baltimore just before the bishops’ fall plenary meeting, focused on the historic significance and the enduring impact of Sacrosanctum Concilium.   

Two keynote addresses were presented: on Friday by Father Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, of Mt. Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Oregon, who teaches at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Sant’ Anselmo in Rome; and on Saturday by Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta.

Several panelists responded, followed by discussion by the gathering of bishops, pastors, musicians, liturgists, and others who attended the symposium.


Consistory for the Creation of Cardinals Announced

In a departure from the usual practice, Pope Francis decided to announce the next consistory for the creation of cardinals several months early “in order to facilitate the planning of other meetings,” said  Father Federico Lombardi SJ, director of the Holy See Press Office, on October 31.

Ordinarily, all new cardinals have been named before the scheduling of the consistory for their elevation to the cardinalate, this year on the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, February 22, 2014, and the date of the consistory is announced about a month before the event is scheduled. However, no new cardinals have as yet been named.

That this year is different reflects the changes Pope Francis has made in Vatican governance: the creation of the Council of Cardinals (“Group of 8”) as his advisors; and the increased responsibility he has given the Council of the Synod of Bishops. (The extraordinary synod on the family will take place next October.)

Following is Father Lombardi’s announcement published by the Vatican Information Service (VIS) on October 31:

On the occasion of the meeting of the “Council of Cardinals” scheduled for early next October (1-3 October) and the subsequent meeting of the Synod Council (7-8 October), the Pope has informed the participants of his intention to convoke a Consistory for the creation of new cardinals on the occasion of the Feast of the Cathedral of St. Peter, 22 February. Pope Francis has decided to communicate his decision to convoke February’s Consistory in advance in order to facilitate the planning of other meetings involving the participation of cardinals from different parts of the world.

     Indeed, it is foreseen that the Pope, like his predecessors on other occasions, intends for the Consistory to be preceded by a meeting of the College of Cardinals.

     Before this meeting — scheduled for the 17 and 18 February — there will take place the third meeting of the “Council of Cardinals” (the so-called “Eight Cardinals”), while after the Consistory, on 24 and 25 February, there will be the meeting of the Synod Council.

     The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals for economic and organizational matters of the Holy See (the so-called “’Council of Fifteen”) is expected to be scheduled as in previous years for the month of February, probably during the preceding week.


As of October 31, there are 109 cardinals of voting age (under age 80). The ordinary limit of cardinals of voting age is 120. Several cardinals are serving past the technical retirement age of 75. Pope Francis is expected to create new cardinals in the coming weeks.


Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas

The first US conference of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas took place in Houston, Texas, October 17-19. The conference, titled “Thomas Aquinas: Teacher of Humanity” — co-sponsored by the Center for Thomistic Studies and The John Paul II Forum.

Addressing the conference were Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago; Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston; Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences; Lawrence Dewan, OP, Dominican University College (Ottawa); Sister Prudence Allen, RSM, of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary; Rocco Buttiglione, professor of political science at St. Pius V University in Rome and member of the Italian parliament; Dr. Steven Jensen, of the Center for Thomistic Studies (Houston); and Dr. Russell Hittinger, of the University of Tulsa.

More about the Center for Thomistic Studies: asp?Page_ID=6093 and about the John Paul II Forum:


On Evangelizing

Pope Francis has warned of the “temptation” to give in to an “adolescent progressivism” — the inclination to follow the most captivating values presented by the prevailing culture (Homily June 19). James Hitchcock addressed this problem in his 1979 book Catholicism and Modernity: Confrontation or Capitulation:

It cannot be emphasized too often that the greatest objection to the therapeutic approach to religion is that it does people a grave disservice for failing to communicate to them the fullness of Christian teaching. “Meeting people where they are” is a valid pastoral strategy provided they are not simply left where they are, which increasingly seems to be the case…. The refusal to “impose” things on people is hardly a service if the thing imposed happens to be true, and related to eternal life. To the desire of so many contemporary people to “be myself,” the appropriate Christian response, now as always, is that no one is truly himself except in accord with the divine will, submission to which has never in the past been thought of as demeaning or oppressive. The “needs” of people are relevant to the mission of the Church but do not begin to exhaust that mission, and to the degree that Church leaders allow these expressed “needs” to limit their vision they are both derelict in their duty to God and irresponsible with respect to their own people. Compassion for sinners necessarily includes the responsibility of enlightening them about their sins.

— James Hitchcock

Catholicism and Modernity, pp. 43-44. (1979. Ann Arbor: Servant Press; New York: Seabury Press)




The Editors