23Oct Vatican decree clarifies role of Bishops’ conferences in liturgical translations

Vatican News reports:

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has published a decree implementing Pope Francis’ motu proprio “Magnum principium,” concerning the respective competencies of the Congregation and the episcopal conferences with regard to the translation of liturgical texts. The Prefect of the Congregation explains the import of the new decree, in a written interview with Vatican Media.

Link to article:

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2021-10/congregation-divine-worship-decree-liturgical-translations.html

10 Responses

  1. Eddie Finnegan

    Vatican decree clarifies role of Bishops’ conferences in liturgical translations…

    Twenty years ago +Arthur Roche was one of our all too brief auxiliary bishops to Cormac Murphy O’Connor before being moved as auxiliary in Leeds and then Bishop of Leeds. Had Cormac’s strong backing as his Westminster successor in preference to Vincent Nichols. Secretary of the CDW for nine years, seven of them with Robert Sarah as Prefect. Definitely part of Francis’s anti-trad liturgical moves, leading to his Prefectship of CDW some months ago. Give Arthur a red hat and a conclave vote – preferably Sarah’s old ones!

  2. Joe O'Leary

    Vatican decree clarifies role of Bishops’ conferences in liturgical translations…

    Bp Roche is one of the architects and promoters of the dreadful translation we are currently saddled with. Remember his frivolous response to those who questioned ‘like the dewfall’:

    ‘But surely, dew still exists. I noticed an advert on the street yesterday for a drink called Mountain Dew! Dew has a unique set of natural and scriptural associations: it speaks of freshness, new beginning, water (and hence life), beauty, descent from above (and hence divine blessing), and manna (Exodus 16:13-14) (and hence Eucharist). It still appears on the ground in the morning as it did in the time of Moses on the journey through the desert. American people know what dew is – rather better, I suspect, than Europeans, since so many of you get out of bed earlier than we do! It is true that in some pronunciations, dew can be confused with the word for a Hebrew person, but I am unaware of any representations from the Anti-defamation League objecting to the frequent use of the expression ‘dew point’ in the weather forecast’: http://www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/Missal/US AR.html

    He was an apparatchnik for the now discredited Liturgiam authenticam and did not pay any attention to the vast outpouring of well-grounded critiques of the translation he promoted, many from leading Latinists and literary scholars. Bishop Trautman’s website carried a host of them, but Trautman himself, the only American bishop to signal the pastoral damage the new translation would do, was bullied by his colleagues.

    The problem is not that the Vatican took authority over the translations out of the bishops’ hands, it’s that the bishops failed to use their authority and dropped the ball. The Irish bishops took the Vatican as demanding just ‘observations’ (to be ignored) and did not dream of standing up to the Vatican and saying the whole idea of Liturgiam authenticam was misguided, that cribs from the Latin were not what the people of Ireland needed, and that the proposed text was bad English and unprayable. The US bishops were hustled along by the bullying Cardinal George. This is a deeply shameful episode in church history.

  3. Paddy Ferry

    Vatican decree clarifies role of bishop conferences ….

    Joe, thank you for saying all of that — least we ever forget!

    An address by Bishop Trautman was where I first learned of the “pastoral catastrophe” — his words — that was about to hit us.

    Then reading Bishop Maurice Taylor’s little book “It’s the Eucharist, Thank God” where we learn from the horse’s mouth how the whole disgraceful scandal unfolded.

  4. Eddie Finnegan

    Vatican decree clarifies role of Bishops’ Conferences in liturgical translations…

    Joe, thank you for labelling +Arthur Roche as merely an apparatchik rather than libelling him a curial creep as I think you saw Pinochet’s buddies, Medina and Sodano, ten years ago (this forum, 21 Sept 2011). Surely a step up for Arthur. Anyway, now that he seems to have turned a corner, shouldn’t there be more joy in heaven and here over one liturgical sinner who repents than over the ninety-nine of us who never need repentance?

    I remember Arthur soon after the turn of the century as a youngish bishop with a dry but pleasant sense of humour. Maybe he was just letting it play a bit in that frivolous response to those who let “like the dewfall” get up their noses. But, whatever we make of that particular americanism, it is at least an improvement on the non-translation (“Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy …”) to which John Charles granted his Imprimatur in August 1970. After 300 years of chanting “Rorate caeli désuper et nubes pluant justum” you’d expect our translators could have come up with something better for “Haec ergo dona, quaesumus, Spiritus tui rore sanctifica …”. ‘Like the dewfall’ is, of course, a rather weak simile for the strong metaphor of ‘Spiritus tui rore sanctifica’ – but omitting that ‘ros/rore’ entirely ditched the rich reference to Isaiah and others of the prophets.

    Patrick Kavanagh, if he had been still alive, could have made a much better hand of that prophetic metaphor:

    “From every second hill a neighbour watches
    With all the sharpened interest of rivalry.
    Yet sometimes when the sun comes through a gap
    These men know God the Father in a tree:
    The Holy Spirit is the rising sap,
    And Christ will be the green leaves that will come
    At Easter from the sealed and guarded tomb.”

    Even in his ‘The Great Hunger’ Kavanagh knew a thing or two about Dynamic Equivalence. That’s the sort of Eucharistic Prayer II that’d switch us on up our part of the world. Inculturation – now you’re talking!

  5. Joe O'Leary

    Vatican decree clarifies role of Bishops’ Conferences in liturgical translations…

    Eddie, please refrain from trawling if you cannot vouch for its accuracy. I have no memory of referring to the two churchmen in question, about whom I know next to nothing.

    Abp Roche swore by Liturgiam Authenticam and was part of the steamrolling of the dreadful new trans.

    The Roman Canon used to be usable and prayable in English (the translators explained their every choice in a booklet), but now it is impossible, not only because of its fatuous literalism but because of a lack of any sense for the rhythms of good English.

    Does Abp Roche see this, and countless other vandalisms of the new trans? Does he say so? Does he apologize to the people of God? Does he try to stop the spiritual hurt inflicted on them Sunday after Sunday?

  6. Eddie Finnegan

    Vatican decree clarifies role of Bishops’ Conferences in liturgical translations…

    Neither trawling nor crawling, Joe. Just referring back to a very memorable tribute to Cardinal Winning on this site just over ten years ago. That article, “Winning: The Shepherd who refused to become a Sheep”, did not indicate an author’s name but I think it was reproduced from the PRAY TELL Blog, the original being based partly on Stephen McGinty’s bio of Winning, “This Turbulent Priest”, and partly on that ICEL- and Liturgiam Authenticam-related chapter of Bishop Maurice Taylor’s memoir-miscellany, mentioned by Paddy@3.
    Winning put up a sustained fight, on behalf of his friend Maurice Taylor, on behalf of the real ICEL, and on behalf of most of the English-speaking Bishops’ Conferences – if they only had had the spine to follow his lead after his death a month later.

    If I owe anyone an apology of sorts it would be (incredibly) to Sodano for pairing him with Medina Estévez as a buddy of Pinochet. No, Sodano’s well-known sins and crimes of corruption, cover-up and misdirection of very fallible bishops of Rome lay elsewhere. He was obviously in my mind as equally a curial creep with Pinochet’s chief clerical supporter.

    Your one-line response in 2011 to Cardinal Winning’s put-down of Medina Estévez a decade earlier was what stuck in my mind: “This is the answer these curial creeps will be hearing more and more often.” If you’re still inclined to see Arthur Roche as a long-time curial creep, what more can I say? …

  7. Joe O'Leary

    Vatican decree clarifies role of Bishops’ conferences in liturgical translations…

    This is the debate you are referring to: https://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2011/09/winning-the-shepherd-who-refused-to-become-a-sheep/

  8. Joe O'Leary

    Vatican decree clarifies role of Bishops’ conferences in liturgical translations…

    Unfortunately, I was wrong to imagine that Cardinal Winning’s short way with curial types like Medina was the wave of the future. On the contrary, their destruction of the liturgy has gone unpunished and the ‘sheep’ of the type Winning refused to be proved to be the majority, as seems always to be the case.

    I wrote an open letter to Archbishop Roche, but unfortunately did not mail it to him personally. It may be in this batch: https://josephsoleary.typepad.com/my_weblog/crisis-in-the-liturgy-2-translations/

    Monsignor Dermot Lane does not hesitate to put the translation scandal on the same level as the child sex abuse scandal, and I agree.

  9. Joe O'Leary

    Vatican decree clarifies role of Bishops’ conferences in liturgical translations…

    Here is my open letter to Archbishop Roche, then Bishop of Leeds: https://josephsoleary.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/06/letter_to_bisho.html

    For the fuller context: https://josephsoleary.typepad.com/my_weblog/crisis-in-the-liturgy-2-translations/

    This was a huge self-inflicted defeat for the Church, and the damage is still continuing.

    Btw, it was not Bp Trautman (as I mis-said) who organized the comments from a vast host of critics of the new trans, but Fr Michael G. Ryan.

  10. Eddie Finnegan

    Vatican decree clarifies role of Bishops’ conferences in liturgical translations…

    Joe, like Cassius, “I am glad that my weak words have struck but thus much show of fire from Brutus.”
    It may be time to redirect that ‘open letter’ more directly to Ab Roche, now that he’s one of the Prefects with Francis as Headmaster.
    There’s a load of riches there from your Notepad around 2006 which I do not think were so easily available to the discussion here from 2011 to the present. Or maybe I overlooked some of your links in the past decade.
    Thanks Joe.