Friday, October 27, 2006

Vox Clara more pastoral than most people expected

Toward the end of my seminary experience, a small but significant revolution took place in the english speaking catholic world. I imagine most people were totally unaware of it. Had I not been in seminary, the hotbed of catholic rumor mills, I'm quite certain I wouldn't have known a thing.

The vatican enacted a second group, called Vox Clara, to oversee the translation of latin liturgical texts (texts for mass and other sacraments and prayers) into english. It was thought that this group would make it almost impossible for english to be translated into anything but the most literal of translations. I find it intersting, therefore, to find this article on catholic news service this morning....


Commission looks for balance in English liturgical translations

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Work on a new English translation of the Mass continues to seek a balance between a highly formal prayer language and preserving liturgical phrases that have become part of an English speaker's prayer tradition, said Australian Cardinal George Pell of Sydney.

Cardinal Pell chairs the Vox Clara Commission, an international group of bishops who advise the Vatican on English liturgical translations.

Vox Clara met Oct. 23-26 at the Vatican to study translations developed by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

Describing many of the texts as "outstanding," Vox Clara members also said they gave the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments an "extensive commentary on certain problems" found in the translations.

Cardinal Pell told Catholic News Service Oct. 27: "It is important to be clear that they are small problems. They are not major problems at all."

In general, he said, the bishops were concerned about "some interesting terminology that was different from the traditional -- unusual."

While declining to give specific examples, Cardinal Pell said the phrases in question replace phrases -- judged to be faithful to the Latin -- used in English since the Second Vatican Council.

"Provided the Latin is rendered faithfully, we are keen to keep terminology the people are familiar with," Cardinal Pell said.

He also described some of the phrases as "too grammatical" in the sense that they sound like they are the result of an advanced grammar lesson rather than a faithful translation into a living language.

Vox Clara's Oct. 27 press release praised the energy with which everyone is working to get a high-quality, faithful translation of the Mass into parishes as soon as possible.

It also said commission members conducted a final review of a congregation document meant to serve as a guide for English-language liturgical translations.

The congregation is expected to publish the guide, formally called "'Ratio Translationis' for the English Language," before Christmas.

When will we learn that it's just not that easy to move bishops into categories of "liberal" and "conservative"? These are pastors, shepherds who care a great deal for their flock. They don't want to impose any agenda other than Christ Jesus and the salvation of souls.

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