Pope Orders Surprise Review of New Mass Translation

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by Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 28, 2017   

New commission will revisit changes decreed by Liturgiam Authenticam

VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis has established a commission to examine Liturgiam Authenticam, the Vatican document setting forth guidelines on the most recent translations of liturgical texts from Latin into various languages.

Issued in 2001, Liturgiam Authenticam was the Church's call to revise liturgical texts to bring them more in conformity with "sound doctrine," with language "free from all ideological influence, and otherwise endowed with those qualities by which the sacred mysteries of salvation and the indefectible faith of the Church are efficaciously transmitted by means of human language to prayer, and worthy worship is offered to God the Most High."

It brought back, among other things, "And with your spirit" as a response to the priest at Mass, replacing the less accurate "And also with you." It brought back the three-fold self-accusations in the Confiteor, the penitent striking his breast with each utterance: "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault." And it brought back more exalted and exact wording to the Gloria, e.g., replacing "and peace to His people on earth" with "on earth peace to people of good will" — a key distinction.

Perhaps one of the most contentious changes involved the priest's prayers during the consecration.

Perhaps one of the most contentious changes involved the priest's prayers during the consecration, specifically the phrase pro multis, which before Liturgiam Authenticam had been translated "for all." 

Take this, all of you, and drink from it: This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.

Catholics complained over the grievous mistranslation, with its resultant detrimental effects on the laity's theological understanding of the Holy Sacrifice. It was only in 2011 that the Church officially approved the more accurate "for many," laying to rest a bitter, decades'-long controversy.

​Now Pope Francis is wanting the Congregation for Divine Worship to revisit these changes.

 
Shortly after he overhauled the Congregation last year, leaving Cdl. Robert Sarah as prefect while replacing multiple staff below him, some with more liberal sensibilities, he established the commission in December to review Liturgiam Authenticam.
 
According to America, the reasons for the commission are two-fold: (1) to focus more on decentralization, giving greater authority to individual bishops' conferences to determine their own liturgical translations, and (2) to give voice to bishops who reject the notion of "sacral language" and are unhappy with the new translations for allegedly being "too rigid."
 
Archbishop Arthur Roche was named president of the commission. "[H]e has more experience in the liturgical field and a more open approach to liturgical questions than its prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah," read the report.
 
Abp. Arthur Roche has a more open approach to liturgical questions than his prefect, Cdl. Robert Sarah.

Commenting on the proposed review, Vaticanista Sandro Magister lamented:

Directed by the secretary of the congregation, the English archbishop Arthur Roche, a commission has been set up within the dicastery at the behest of Francis, the objective of which is not the correction of the degenerations of the postconciliar liturgical reform — meaning that "reform of the reform" which is Cardinal Sarah's dream — but the exact opposite: the demolition of one of the walls of resistance against the excesses of the postconciliar liturgists, the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam issued in 2001, which sets the criteria for the translation of liturgical texts from Latin into the modern languages.

The Vatican is yet to provide further details on the commission or name its members, although it's reportedly scheduled to meet soon.

 

 

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Christine Niles, M.St. (Oxon.), J.D.

Christine Niles is executive producer and editor-in-chief at ChurchMilitant.com.

Follow Christine on Twitter: @ChristineNiles1