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NZ bishop signals accuracy, not speed, as priority in Mass translation

"Getting it right" is a top priority, said Bishop Denis Browne of the long-awaited new English translation of the Mass, which is now unlikely to be ready before 2006.

NZ Catholic reports the comments of Bishop Browne following his returh from the meeting of the International Commission of English in the Liturgy (ICEL), held in Washington earlier this month.

It says eleven bishops from English-speaking countries went through the whole text of the Order of the Mass and the four Eucharistic Prayers with the ICEL editorial committee, made up of Latin and Scripture scholars who had prepared the translation.

Although the bishops' work is not completed, "there is light at the end of the tunnel now", said Bishop Browne, who praised their work and the chairman, Melbourne auxiliary Bishop Mark Coleridge.

The English text now in use was considered "rushed" because of pressures to "get it done quickly", said Bishop Browne.

"Thousands of Masses are being said in English every day. It is important that we get it right."

Difficulties for translators included the differing use of English in America and England, or Scotland, or any of the 11 English-speaking countries, said Bishop Browne. He gave as examples the words "deign" and "bounty".

"Even other languages do not have an easy task," he said. The French of Tahiti is not the same as that spoken in Paris."

The use of inclusive language is an ongoing discussion with the Congregation of Divine Worship, but the "conversation" between ICEL and the congregation, once at an impasse, is now a lot better.

"We are very fortunate to have Bishop Arthur Roache, the Bishop of Leeds, as chairperson of ICEL for his helpful work with the congregation," said Bishop Browne.

ICEL meets twice a year and the next meeting will be in Melbourne early in 2005.

Accuracy, not speed, is priority in Mass translation (NZ Catholic 22/8/04)

Lack of consensus slows release of new Mass translation (CathNews 10/8/04)
Pell says "liturgy wars" nearing end (CathNews 22/3/04)
Interview with Cardinal George Pell (National Catholic Reporter 11/3/04)
Cardinal Pell and Vox Clara (National Catholic Reporter 19/3/04)
Bishops respond to draft Mass translation (CathNews 14/5/04)
Priests predict possible backlash against new Mass text (CathNews 27/5/04)
UK Bishops rap The Tablet for publishing Mass draft (CathNews 26/5/04)
L.A. cardinal says Order of the Mass draft needs major work (Catholic News Service 12/5/04)
Commission says new Missal translation "off to good start" (CathNews 9/12/03)
Vatican prevails on the English Missal translation (CathNews 3/11/03)
Progress on liturgy - at a cost (The Tablet 1/11/03)
Rome refuses to bless English liturgy texts (CathNews 24/7/02)
Comment: John Allen's Interview of Cardinal Pell (

25 Aug 2004