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'Urgent' Catholic translation given priority over ecumenical texts

Under the chairmanship of Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's Vox Clara committee has determined that a desire for common (ecumenical) prayers is not as important as ensuring Catholics have Mass prayers faithfully translated from Latin as soon as possible, to fill a "pressing pastoral need".

The "Vox Clara" Committee comprises a group of 12 bishops who advise the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

The UK's Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, a member of the commitee who is also involved in ecumenical dialogue, said that in giving priority to the development of Catholic texts, the committee was not saying ecumenical texts were not important.

"I think all English-speaking bishops are concerned about the issue of common texts, and there will be further discussion," the cardinal said.

Cardinal Pell said that ecumenical texts in English exist for some of the prayers used at Mass, including the Nicene Creed and the Gloria, but there is no common text for the Mass as a whole, which is what English-speaking Catholics need.

At the end of its Vatican meeting last week, the committee issued a statement that it had "discussed the implications for its work of pursuing the development of common liturgical and devotional texts with Christians of other churches and ecclesial communities."

As a universal church "steeped in tradition", the Catholic Church must be faithful to the prayers it has used for centuries and to the Latin texts that ensure every Catholic in every place is praying the same prayer, Cardinal Pell said.

"Some might regard this as a constraint, but I find it enriching," Cardinal Pell added. As well, he said, "we do not celebrate the Mass with other Christians" and "we cannot move in every direction at once".

Church leaders discuss importance of common prayer texts (Catholic News Service 17/11/04)
English translation of Mass is 'top priority' (Catholic Weekly/Catholic News Service 21/11/04)

Pell in Rome for Vox Clara liturgy meeting (CathNews 8/11/04)
John L Allen: Vox Clara Commission to meet in Rome
Lack of consensus slows release of new Mass translation (CathNews 10/8/04)
John L. Allen: The English translation of the Mass (National Catholic Reporter 6/8/04)
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 (

Anglican, Catholic representatives discuss next steps in dialogue (Catholic News Service 17/11/04)
Great hope for Communion (Catholic Leader 21/11/04)
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor: Unity on a knife edge (The Tablet 20/11/04)

19 Nov 2004