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Pell to chair Vatican translation committee

The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship has appointed Sydney's Archbishop George Pell as chairman of its new 12-member committee for "reviewing translations of liturgical books into English".

The congregation said the committee, which held its inaugural meeting last week in the Vatican, included bishops from nine different countries in order to reflect "the breadth and the diversity of the cultures in which the English language is spoken". The committee has been given a Latin name - Vox Clara.

As Vox Clara began its initial meeting, Pope John Paul II said the committee would help the Vatican's liturgy office "in assuring that the texts of the Roman rite are accurately translated in accordance with the norms of the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam". That document, issued last year, set new, more literal, criteria for translating liturgical books from Latin into national languages. Many liturgists claim the instruction was spearheaded by traditionalists who opposed the translations prepared since the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). Opponents of ICEL have protested against the group's use of inclusive language.

Archbishop Pell challenged the use of inclusive language in the first English translation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He and other influential prelates urged the Vatican to reject the original English text that was prepared under the supervision of Cardinal Bernard Law, Archbishop of Boston, who had endorsed the use of inclusive language. As a result of the protests the English version of the catechism was delayed by nearly two years and was finally published in 1994.


28 Apr 2002