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Pell in Rome for Vox Clara liturgy meeting

The Vatican's Vox Clara liturgy Commission is expected to advance the cause of the new English translation when it meets in Rome under the chairmanship of Cardinal George Pell, for three days from tomorrow.

The Commission is an advisory body to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, created to help the Vatican with the often contentious issue of English language liturgical translations. It reports to Rome, while the other, more longstanding body dealing with English in the liturgy - the International Commission on English in the Liturgy - is a joint venture of English-speaking bishops' conferences around the world. The exact roles of, and relationship between, the two bodies remains unclear.

National Catholic Reporter Rome correspondent John L. Allen reports that "rosy projections" of having a text of the new Roman Missal translation ready for use in parishes by 2005 now seem a bit premature.

Fr Bruce Harbert, head of the ICEL staff, told him that the Proper of Seasons should be finished by the end of this year.

"Then the 'back end' of the Missal should take us another year, and there is reasonable hope that it will be done by the end of 2005.

"But all I mean by that is that the secretariat will have completed the initial part of its work: commissioning a base translation, sending that out to revisors, collating their comments and producing a new version taking those comments into account. At that point, the work is ready to go to the commission [meaning the bishops who govern ICEL] or, if they choose, to a committee or committees appointed by them.

"Then what? That rather depends on the discussions that are going on now within conferences about the sort of text they want, and the processes both of translation and introduction," he said. "My instinct is that we are more or less on target stylistically, and the reaction of bishops round the world is cautiously positive."

After that, Harbert said, it is up to the bishops as to how to proceed.

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 (

8 Nov 2004