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Vatican Commission bans inclusive language in liturgy

The Vatican has issued new norms for the translation of liturgical texts that ban rendering of the original Latin in inclusive language.

The Congregation for Divine Worship released a large document was released on Monday that repudiates the principles that have been used in recent English-language translations. The document, titled Liturgiam Authenticam, is signed by the Congregation's prefect, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez.

It describes the new rules as setting the stage "for a new era of liturgical renewal". The document replaces a 1969 instruction which gave translators latitude for rendering text using inclusive language.

Although Vatican officials say for the record that there have been no serious problems with liturgical translations, informed sources acknowledge that the new document is a response to sharp disagreements over English-language translations, and Rome's dissatisfaction with the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL).

The document requires the upholding the practice of using the masculine pronoun to refer collectively to males and females, commenting: "The abandonment of these terms under pressure of criticism on ideological or other grounds is not always wise or necessary nor is it an inevitable part of linguistic development."

It also insists on the use of the first person singular in the opening of the Nicene Creed (i.e. "I belive" rather than "we believe"). It also calls for the congregation to reply, "And with your spirit" rather than "And also with you" when the celebrant says "The Lord be with you".

The document is available on the Vatican's website.