BY ED WEST
THE VATICAN HAS approved a new English translation for the most commonly used text of the Mass, meaning that Catholics in England and Wales could be using the new version as early as 2010.
The recognitio from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments came in a letter sent to the United States Bishops' Conference and covers the central element of the Order of the Mass.
Cardinal Francis Arinze and Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith, the prefect and secretary of the Congregation, sent the letter to Bishop Arthur Serratelli, the chairman of the US bishops' liturgy committee, announcing the decision.
The new translation is more faithful to the Latin of the Roman Missal and will be seen as a victory for those unhappy with the current translation.
Although the letter was sent to the American bishops, it is understood that the recognitio applies to all members of ICEL, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, which represents the 11 English-speaking bishops' conferences. A spokesman for the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales said he believed it to apply universally, although he had not received confirmation as The Catholic Herald went to press.
And while no date has currently been set for the full translation of the Roman Missal, Mgr Bruce Harbert of ICEL told the Herald he expected they would be used in English parishes "probably at the end of 2010 or maybe 2011. It's only a pan of the Missal, the rest has to be dealt with. It's the fruit of a collaboration of the English-speaking world and the Congregation of Divine Worship." Cardinal Arinze wrote that he was
"pleased to enclose the decree by which it has granted recognitio for the territory of your Conference of Bishops for the new English-language translation of significant parts of the
Ordo Missae as found in the Missale Romanum, editio typice tertia, including most of those texts used in every celebration of Holy Mass," Since the 2001 publication of Liturgiam Authenticam, the instruction on the translation of liturgical texts, the Vatican has pushed for more accurate translations.
The Congregation for Divine Worship reported "no little satisfaction in arriving at this juncture".
The approval only covers a small part, though the most commonly used, of the Roman Missal, which contains the Eucharistic Prayers and prefaces, the Penitential Rite, the Gloria, the Creed, acclamations, the Lord's Prayer and other prayers and responses used datly.
The translation has been a point of controversy within the Church for over a decade. A 1998 version that featured more vernacular language was suspended by the Vatican.
The letter from Cardinal Arinze came 10 days after American bishops attending their plenary meeting in Florida failed to give their assent to the second section of the revised Missal. Four other English-speaking bishops' conferences, including that of England and Wales, have already approved the change.
So while the American bishops will meet in November to discuss the new Missal. the letter from the Vatican is a clear sign to American bishops that they will go ahead with the Missal either way.
The Vatican letter stated: "The Congregation does not intend that these texts should be put into liturgical use immediately." Instead the US bishops are directed to begin "pastoral preparation" for the changes, while at the same time musical settings could be prepared.
"The attached text is to be considered binding," it went • on. "For its part, this Congregation is confident that the universal use of these texts will greatly contribute to the building up of the Faith throughout the broad and diverse English-speaking world."
The full text has not been made public, though many of the changes are known. In the
penitential rite. the Confiteor, "I have sinned through my own fault". has been expanded to "I have greatly sinned... through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault".
The response at the preCommunion prayer Ecce Agnus Dei will be "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed". This replaces "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed".
The Credo will begin "1 believe" in line with the Latin rather than "We believe", while the Gloria has been retranslated and re-structured, though details have yet to be made public.
At the Consecration, the priest will refer to Christ's blood which is "poured out for you and for many", which advocates say is a more accurate translation of pro muftis than "for all".
When the priest says et cunt spiritu tiro, "The Lord be with you-, the faithful will now respond "And with your spirit", rather than "And also with you." In the Eucharistic Prayer, references to the Church will use the pronouns "she" and "her" rather than "it". In the Agnus Dei, the text cites the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world," rather than using the singular word "sin." The first line of the Sanctus now reads "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts".
Throughout the Offertory and Eucharistic Prayer, the traditional phrases of supplication are restored, with the Church identified as "holy" throughout, matching the Latin of the Roman Missal.