Mass translation could be ready by March

By  Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
  • December 19, 2006
VATICAN CITY - The Vatican could approve the new English translation of the main Mass prayers as early as mid-2007 if the work of its advisory committee proceeds as planned, the committee said.

The Vox Clara committee, which includes a dozen bishops from eight English-speaking countries, met Dec. 4-5 at the Vatican.

Over the past year, most of the world's English-speaking bishops' conferences have approved a new translation of the Order of the Mass, which includes all the prayers — such as the Gloria, creed and eucharistic prayers — used regularly in daily and Sunday Masses.

The Vox Clara committee has been reviewing the translations approved by the bishops' conferences at the request of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, which must give its permission — or recognitio — for the translations to be used.

A Dec. 5 press statement from Vox Clara said that since the congregation wanted to be able to give the recognitio in a timely fashion Vox Clara planned to conclude its review of the submitted translations at its March 2007 meeting. Although the congregation may approve the Order of the Mass in 2007, some bishops have suggested it might be better not to use the new translation until work is completed on translating the entire Roman Missal, promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 2002. The missal includes all of the prayers that change each Sunday; the translation work is expected to take several more years.

The Vox Clara press release also said that the Vatican has not decided definitively on how part of the eucharistic prayer is to be translated into English, leaving the impression that bishops' conferences will be consulted in the coming months.

In October, Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, informed bishops that during the consecration of the wine at Mass the text must say Christ's blood is poured out for "many" instead of for "all." The cardinal said the change, approved by Pope Benedict XVI, reflects more accurately the phrase used in Latin, pro multis.

Vox Clara said that during the December meeting Arinze "emphasized the importance of a common English-language rendering of this text, noting that it remains to be seen whether the translation will eventually be formulated as 'for many' or 'for the many.' "

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