Vox Clara urges speedy completion of new Mass prayers translation

The international Vatican advisory board chaired by Cardinal George Pell has said that the sooner new English translations of Mass prayers are ready, the easier they will be for Catholics to accept.

Catholic News Service reports that members of the Vatican-appointed Vox Clara Committee, which advises the Vatican on English translations, said they share the concerns of bishops about how the new texts will be accepted by their faithful, but they also "expressed their conviction that this reception would be impeded by delays in a timely completion of the project."

The committee met from Tuesday to Thursday last week at the Vatican to review "various and recent draft translations" of the Latin edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 2002. The missal contains all the prayers and readings used for Mass in the Latin rite.

"The members noted, with great satisfaction, that the most recent renderings of ICEL constitute an immense step forward in the translation project of the Roman Rite as envisioned by the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam," said a press statement released on Friday and quoted by the National Catholic Reporter.

That statement indicated that Vox Clara hopes that ICEL can finish its work on the Sacramentary in a hurry.

"While the Committee shares the general concern for the reception of these texts by the Bishops, priests and people of the English-speaking world, the members expressed their conviction that this reception would be impeded by delays in a timely completion of the project." The release also said that Vox Clara has completed work on a draft Ratio Translationis, meaning a set of guidelines for translation of liturgical texts into English. It's intended to set out the "rules of the game" for ICEL translators and others.

Vox Clara will meet again in November 2005.

The Reporter's John Allen comments that as the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was well aware of the debates surrounding liturgical translation in English, and knows the principal figures well.

"In fact, on Wednesday, when one consultor was presented to the pope, Benedict, who obviously recognised the man, smiled and said: 'So, you're still writing about liturgy?" It was one more small sign that Benedict XVI has a consummate grasp of the players and issues in intra-ecclesiastical debates; he does not need a scorecard to follow the game.'"

Commission urges speedy completion of new translation of Mass prayers (Catholic News Service 8/7/05)
John L Allen: Vox Clara (National Catholic Reporter 8/7/05)

11 Jul 2005