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Retiring international English liturgy chief speaks out

Scottish Bishop Maurice Taylor has issued a statement defending the International Commission on English in the Liturgy following the completion of his term as chairman of its Episcopal Board.

Last year's Vatican document on liturgical translations, Liturgiam Authenticam, has been widely interpreted as a vote of no confidence in the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). Bishop Taylor described the "time of great transition" for ICEL in recent years as a time in which some of its staff have suffered injustices.

"Many good people connected with ICEL have suffered during this time of transition," he said. "The members of ICEL's Episcopal Board have in effect been judged to be irresponsible in the liturgical texts that they have approved over the years."

He pointed out that bishops of the English-speaking conferences, who have voted by large majorities to approve the vernacular liturgical texts prepared by ICEL, have been similarly judged.

"The impression is given, and indeed is seemingly fostered by some, that ICEL is a recalcitrant group of people, uncooperative, even disobedient," he said. "This is mistaken and untrue."

Opponents of ICEL have criticised its use of inclusive language in liturgical translations. Earlier this year, Sydney's Archbishop George Pell was appointed to chair the Congregation for Divine Worship's English translations committee known as Vox Clara.

Vatican Commission bans inclusive language in liturgy (9/5/01)
Cardinal calls for truce over ICEL (27/6/00)
'Vox Clara' commission to monitor English translation (National Catholic Reporter 5/4/02)
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments | Liturgiam Authenticam (Text)
Diocese of Galloway | Bishop Maurice Taylor

Diocese of Galloway (Scotland)

12 Aug 2002