Next year there will be some changes in some of the responses and prayers of the Mass in English. This will apply only to the English translation of the Mass. Basically the purpose of these changes is to render a more faithful translation of the Latin language Mass which is the standard for the entire world. So, to prepare ourselves for this, the next Pastor’s Desk will be devoted to an explanation of what will occur in 2011. The information is from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In 1970, the Latin text of the reformed Mass after the Second Vatican Council was translated into various languages for use around the world. The English edition was published in the United States in 1973. The Holy See issued a revised text in 1975. Pope John Paul II promulgated the third edition of the Missale Romanum as part of the Jubilee Year in 2000. Among other things, the third edition contains prayers for the celebration of recently canonized saints, additional prefaces for the Eucharistic Prayers, additional Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Intentions, and some updated and revised rubrics (instructions) for the celebration of the Mass. To aid the process of translation of the third edition, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued a fifth instruction on the translation of the Mass in 2001, which outlines the principles and rules for translation. In 2007, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued specific rules for translation in English.
Who is doing the work of translation?
The process of translation is a highly consultative work of several groups. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) is chartered to prepare English translations of liturgical texts on behalf of the conferences of bishops of English speaking countries. Currently 11 conferences of bishops are full members of the Commission: the United States, Australia, Canada, England and Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Scotland, and South Africa.
The USCCB and the other member Conferences of Bishops receive draft translations of each text from ICEL and have the opportunity to offer comments and suggestions to ICEL. A second draft is proposed, which each Conference of Bishops approves (a Conference reserves the right to amend or modify a particular text) and submits to the Vatican for final approval.
At the level of the Vatican (the Holy See), the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments examines texts and offers authoritative approval of texts and grants permission for their use. Currently the Congregation is aided by the recommendations of Vox Clara, a special commission of bishops and consultants from English-speaking countries convened to assist with the English translation of the Missale Romanum.
Next week I will continue this explanation of the U. S. Catholic Bishops regarding the changes of certain texts of the Mass.