'No one wants to re-translate the Missal'

The most recent translation of the Missal was released in 2010 (NZ Catholic)

More than a year after Pope Francis issued Magnum Principium, his edict on liturgical translations, the “translation wars” seem to have lost steam as episcopal conferences face bigger challenges. Source: NZ Catholic.

“The general mood is that they are very happy to translate more freely. We are breaking up long Latin sentences and doing it with great joy, but no one wants to go back and re-translate the Missal,” said Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn, president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and representative to the International Commission on English Liturgy (ICEL).

Bishop Dunn said that dealing with sexual abuse scandals in their own dioceses is taking up much of the energies of episcopal conferences in Australia, US, Canada and the UK.

ICEL is comprised of 11 English-speaking bishops’ conferences and 15 associate-members.

The so-called “translation wars” had been going on for some years with theologians and liturgical scholars accusing – albeit privately – the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) of stealing this work from the conferences.

In the 1970’s, ICEL started translating the Roman Missal into the vernacular, sending each stage of the translation to all 11 conferences, until an approved translation was sent to Rome in 1998.

The Prefect of the CDW at the time, Cardinal Medina Estevez, rejected the 1998 Missal translation. Liturgiam Authenticam, issued by the CDW in 2001, insisted on an exact translation from the original Latin texts.

The CDW demanded changes to ICEL which resulted in new statutes handed down by the congregation to the group in 2003 as well as a new “formal sounding” translation in 2010 based on prescriptions of Liturgiam Authenticam.

At present, ICEL members are not interested in going through the entire process again.

Bishop Dunn said while Magnum Principium has put control of the liturgy back to the bishops’ conferences as intended by Vatican II, it [Magnum Principium] has left the bishops as well as CDW uncertain about their respective roles.

Bishop Dunn said “that even if the local bishops’ conferences do a translation, they still have to submit it to the congregation in Rome for confirmation or recognition of the text”.

“This to make sure the translation doesn’t have theological flaws in it and [to] preserve the unity of the Roman Rite across all languages.”


‘Translation wars’ running out of steam? (NZ Catholic

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