Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Vox Clara report on the new missal translation

The November 2007 edition of the Adoremus Bulletin is now available and one item of particular note for me is the Vox Clara Committee Report which addresses the matter of the new translation of the modern Roman missal. Some excerpts:

" is the hope of the Vox Clara Committee that the approval and confirmation of the new Roman Missal will be completed by the end of 2009."

"...various initiatives to assure the effective reception and implementation of the new Roman Missal were also discussed by the Vox Clara Committee."

"Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments... stressed the need for the accurate translation of “words that have deep doctrinal meaning”

The second point is of particular interest of course, because as we know only too well in the light of our experience -- a light recently confirmed as well in the recent comments by Archbishop Ranjith -- that there can be a significant problem as regards obedience within the Church today. Finishing the translation is only one aspect of the task at hand. Seeing it through to faithful implementation down to the parish level will be a significant hurdle to overcome -- one thinks of Redemptionis Sacramentum which, while quite clear in its directives, is certainly not always followed. "Old" habits die hard.

But it is more than just habit of course. This is also very much a part of the fruits of a false sense of mastery over the liturgy (not to mention the overly-democratized view that many a modern Catholic takes of their Church) that is so systemic at this time. After all, if we see the liturgy as "ours" (again, not to mention seeing the Church, not as a teacher, but rather as a giver of mere suggestions and opinions), or if we see it as the expression of a particular community rather than the voice and the prayer of the Church herself, then it takes little to justify ignoring her decrees - or at least only partially implementing them. Suddenly those decrees are not entirely "relevant" to a particular community, or they are contrary to that community's "custom" and therefore they are not deemed pastoral.

It is a liturgical problem that is, fundamentally, an ecclesiological problem and it is one that will not be easily overcome. It is one of our great challenges today.

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