Vol. XX, No.7
News and Views
Bishops Approve New Liturgical Translations at November Meeting
At their November General Assembly the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) considered several items related to the liturgy. As part of the continuing effort to make liturgical texts conform to Liturgiam authenticam, translations of three liturgical books and a Psalter translation were presented for approval. These required a 2/3 vote of Latin Church members of the conference and recognitio from the Holy See.
The Rite of Dedication of a Church and Altar was the first book considered. This rite was promulgated in 1977, and a provisional (ad interim) translation of it has been in use since 1978. The new translation was approved 168 to 6, with 2 abstentions.
The bishops also considered the translation of Exorcisms and Related Supplications. This liturgical book was promulgated in 1999 and emended in 2004. There has been no previous English translation. The translation was approved 179 to 5, with 2 abstentions.
In addition to these liturgical books the bishops considered amendments to the Revised Grail Psalms. This translation of the Psalms, a revision by Conception Abbey of the original Grail translation of 1963, received recognitio for liturgical use from the Holy See in 2010. In the process several changes were imposed, which many contended weakened the translation and its rhythm. The committee considered the revisions proposed in this action item to be minor changes that would correct this problem. Changes are proposed to more than 200 verses. More amendments were offered for this item than for any of the other liturgical items at the meeting. It also provoked the most discussion and received the most negative votes. However, it was approved 167 to 34, with 2 abstentions.
A new translation of the Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours was also considered. This document contains readings, antiphons, responsories, and prayers for the optional and obligatory memorials added to the general Roman Calendar between 1984 and 2004. It was accepted by a vote of 210 to 2. This supplement will be published as a fascicle to be inserted into existing Breviaries for now, and will be incorporated into new books when the revised the translation of the Liturgy of the Hours is complete.
All four of these items will now be sent to the holy See for recognitio.
Finally, the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship proposed to revise their 1995 Guidelines for the Celebration of Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities. Updating these guidelines was considered necessary because of advances in the understanding and treatment of autism, celiac disease, and a number of other mental and physical impairments. The bishops authorized the committee to proceed with the revision by a vote of 207 to 1, with 1 absten- tion. The new guidelines are expected to be ready for a vote of the full conference in November 2015.
Cardinal Robert Sarah Appointed Prefect of CDW
On November 24 it was announced that Pope Francis had appointed Cardinal Robert Sarah as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, filling an office that had been vacant since the former prefect, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, was appointed Archbishop of Valencia, Spain, in August.
Born in Guinea in 1945, Robert Sarah was ordained a priest of the diocese of Conakry in 1969. He studied theology at the Gregorian University in Rome and Scripture at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem. He became Archbishop of Conakry in 1979, and in 1985 he was elected President of the Episcopal Conference of Guinea. He was appointed Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples by Pope John Paul II in 2001, and then President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2010. A month later he was made a cardinal.
At the recent Extraordinary Synod Cardinal Sarah was among those who were most insistent on the need for the Church to affirm and promote her teaching on marriage and the family. He particularly warned against the deleterious effects of “gender” ideology that “expresses the desire of men and women of today to free themselves from what is a given fact, from an anthropological, theological and ontological determination that [is] inscribed in their nature.”
It has been reported that as President of Cor Unum, Cardinal Sarah was influential in the formulation of regulations issued in May 2012 intended to enhance the Catholic identity of the Rome-based federation of Catholic Charities, Caritas Internationalis.
Although Cardinal Sarah has been in positions not directly connected with the liturgy he has spoken about liturgy on occasion. In an address to a general assembly of Caritas Internationalis in 2001 he linked charitable activities directly with worship:
If the world we live in really is the place of the Gospel, then serving human development not only doesn’t go against the worship of God, but also prepares it and is an authentic and necessary expression of it. All those calling themselves disciples of Christ … will be able to see within it a concrete fulfillment of their personal encounter with Jesus, and the spread of their faith and love for God.
A homily he gave at an ordination Mass makes it clear that Cardinal Sarah attaches great importance to the priest’s liturgical ministry. He told those about to be ordained that a priest must be “exclusively a man of God.” He stressed their role in the Eucharist, which he called the sacrament “of the divine generosity,” saying:
From now on, by the priestly ordination, you will, by vocation, have to perpetuate the Eucharistic sacrifice daily … regularly kneeling for contemplation and adoration, you must give this presence of love to the Christian faithful so that they may be nourished with it.
They are to “to guide men to God and open to them the spiritual treasures of which they are terribly deprived today.”