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Rome refuses to bless English liturgy texts

The Vatican has rejected two major new English liturgy translations submitted by the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL), including revised translations of the Roman Missal and the Rite of Ordination.

The texts were submitted to the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship, which has the ultimate authority on such matters.

Both texts are now being reconsidered by the 11 English-speaking bishops' conferences who are members of ICEL.

The organisation submitted the translations after detailed study of both the Ordination Rite and the Roman Missal, which contains all the prayers and ceremonies used during the sacraments. The translations had previously been approved by all the bishops' conferences of the member countries.

Scottish Bishop Maurice Taylor of the Galloway explained to The Universe that the congregation had studied the documents and decided not to offer 'recognicio', which is effectively their endorsement. He said he understood the decision had come because the wording was not faithful enough to the original Latin text.

But one ICEL member, who asked not to be named, expressed his frustration at the rejections. He said they were based on 'misrepresentations, or at at least misinformation'.

He questioned the congregation's willingness to 'spare no effort' in resolving difficulties over translations. And he claimed that invitations over the past decade for Vatican representation at meetings of ICEL's Episcopal Board had gone unanswered, while requests for high level meetings had been refused.

Text of rejection letter, and observations, of Cardinal Medina of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
We Believe: A website for Roman Catholic Liturgical Reform
Adoremus: Society for the Renewal of Sacred Liturgy

The Universe

24 Jul 2002