It appears as if the new English translation of the Roman Missal has finally been approved; the National Catholic Register says that the formal recognitio will come very shortly ("later today"). The new translation, a product of the Vox Clara Committee, a cooperative effort between the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) and the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, represents a huge step in the right direction, giving Anglophones a vernacular missal faithful to the original Latin texts and, in its beauty and dignity, far more befitting the celebration of the sacred mysteries than the present (lame duck) ICEL version.
Anglicans of the Prayer Book Tradition will find much of the new translation quite familiar. I would encourage those of our Anglican readership who have a negative view of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite to study the new English Mass texts: the new English translation may sway your opinion of the possibilities of the Modern Roman Rite.
Dear Brother Bishops and Priests,
Members and Consultors of the Vox Clara Committee,
I thank you for the work that Vox Clara has done over the last eight years, assisting and advising the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in fulfilling its responsibilities with regard to the English translations of liturgical texts. This has been a truly collegial enterprise. Not only are all five continents represented in the membership of the Committee, but you have been assiduous in drawing together contributions from Bishops’ Conferences in English-speaking territories all over the world. I thank you for the great labour you have expended in your study of the translations and in processing the results of the many consultations that have been conducted. I thank the expert assistants for offering the fruits of their scholarship in order to render a service to the universal Church. And I thank the Superiors and Officials of the Congregation for their daily, painstaking work of overseeing the preparation and translation of texts that proclaim the truth of our redemption in Christ, the Incarnate Word of God.
Saint Augustine spoke beautifully of the relation between John the Baptist, the vox clara that resounded on the banks of the Jordan, and the Word that he spoke. A voice, he said, serves to share with the listener the message that is already in the speaker’s heart. Once the word has been spoken, it is present in the hearts of both, and so the voice, its task having been completed, can fade away (cf. Sermon 293). I welcome the news that the English translation of the Roman Missal will soon be ready for publication, so that the texts you have worked so hard to prepare may be proclaimed in the liturgy that is celebrated across the anglophone world. Through these sacred texts and the actions that accompany them, Christ will be made present and active in the midst of his people. The voice that helped bring these words to birth will have completed its task.
A new task will then present itself, one which falls outside the direct competence of Vox Clara, but which in one way or another will involve all of you – the task of preparing for the reception of the new translation by clergy and lay faithful. Many will find it hard to adjust to unfamiliar texts after nearly forty years of continuous use of the previous translation. The change will need to be introduced with due sensitivity, and the opportunity for catechesis that it presents will need to be firmly grasped. I pray that in this way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted, and the change will serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world.
Dear Brother Bishops, Reverend Fathers, Friends, I want you to know how much I appreciate the great collaborative endeavour to which you have contributed. Soon the fruits of your labours will be made available to English-speaking congregations everywhere. As the prayers of God’s people rise before him like incense (cf. Psalm 140:2), may the Lord’s blessing come down upon all who have contributed their time and expertise to crafting the texts in which those prayers are expressed. Thank you, and may you be abundantly rewarded for your generous service to God’s people.
The USCCB's Committee on Divine Worship has a web site dedicated to the new translation of the Roman Missal.
UPDATE (04/30/2010 5:40 PM ET):
The bishops of ICEL have issued a statement announcing the recognitio. The common knowledge is that the new Missal will begin to see the light of day in the various episcopal conference territories beginning Advent 2011.
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30 April 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Bishops of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy [ICEL] join me in welcoming the announcement of the approval by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the definitive English text of the Third Edition of The Roman Missal. This news ushers in the final phase of preparation for the publication and implementation of the Missal in our eleven member Bishops’ Conferences and the many other territories where the sacred liturgy is habitually celebrated in English.
It also brings to a conclusion the long and complex process by which the translation has been prepared, a process in which the Bishops of the Commission and the Bishops of the English-speaking world, together with the members of the Roman Missal Editorial Committee, the ICEL Secretariat and the translators and consultants who are our closest collaborators have worked together with national conferences and the various organs of the Holy See to ensure that we have a text of the highest quality that can truly be called a work of the Church.
Upon receipt of the definitive text and in accordance with established procedures, the ICEL Secretariat will prepare the electronic files of the Missal, which will assist Conferences in the task of communicating the text to their publishers. ICEL has also produced an interactive DVD 'Become One Body, One Spirit, in Christ' [www.becomeonebodyonespiritinchrist.org], which will be of great assistance in the catechetical process that will accompany the reception of the new text. The date for the publication of The Roman Missal and its implementation in our territories is a matter to be determined by Bishops’ Conferences in conjunction with the Holy See.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have put their gifts at the service of the Church in the great endeavour of producing the new translation, men and women whose faith is matched by the refinement of their scholarship.
Bishop of Leeds
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