Monday, May 22, 2006

Re-translating the Roman Missal - Liturgiam Authenticam: "Both this Congregation and the Bishops’ Conferences are bound to follow its directives."

Catholic World News recently posted this editorial and the letter below from Francis Cardinal Arinze to the president of the USCCB on the issue of the re-translation of the Roman Missal.

It seems that Arinze is putting his foot down with regards the binding nature of Liturgiam Authenticam and thus also the necessity that the new translations be in accord with the Latin text, and not take the sort of liberalities that we suffer with today.

As CWNews put it:

"A letter from Cardinal Arinze shows that, while the liturgy wars continue, the old tactics just aren't doing it. In the latest round of the Roman Missal translation battle, the U.S. bishops dug into their playbook and tried to run Pastoral Hardship Left in order to out-flank Liturgiam authenticam (they explained to Rome, you see, that we faithful are so besottedly in love with the 1974 ICEL Sacramentary that it would be cruel for the Holy See to make us change it for a translation closer to the Latin). Arinze wasn't having any:

2 May 2006

The Most Reverend William Skylstad
Bishop of Spokane
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Prot. n. 499/06/L

Your Excellency,

With reference to the conversation between yourself, the Vice President and General Secretary of the Conference of Bishops of which you are President, together with me and other Superiors and Officials when you kindly visited our Congregation on 27 April 2006, I wish to recall the following:

The Instruction Liturgiam authenticam is the latest document of the Holy See which guides translations from the original-language liturgical texts into the various modern languages in the Latin Church. Both this Congregation and the Bishops’ Conferences are bound to follow its directives. This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is therefore not competent to grant the recognitio for translations that do not conform to the directives of Liturgiam authenticam. If, however, there are difficulties regarding the translation of a particular part of a text, then this Congregation is always open to dialogue in view of some mutually agreeable solution, still keeping in mind, however, that Liturgiam authenticam remains the guiding norm.

The attention of your Bishops’ Conference was also recalled to the fact that Liturgiam authenticam was issued at the directive of the Holy Father at the time, Pope John Paul II, to guide new translations as well as the revision of all translations done in the last forty years, to bring them into greater fidelity to the original-language official liturgical texts. For this reason it is not acceptable to maintain that people have become accustomed to a certain translation for the past thirty or forty years, and therefore that it is pastorally advisable to make no changes. Where there are good and strong reasons for a change, as has been determined by this Dicastery in regard to the entire translation of the Missale Romanum as well as other important texts, then the revised text should make the needed changes. The attitudes of Bishops and Priests will certainly influence the acceptance of the texts by the lay faithful as well.

Requesting Your Excellency to share these reflections with the Bishops of your Conference I assure you of the continued collaboration of this Congregation and express my religious esteem,

Devotedly yours in Christ,

+Francis Card. Arinze

Prefect, Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

[NLM: Emphasis Mine]

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