Friday, July 25, 2008

...And With Your Recognitio

As you were assured the presses would roll if need be, away we go. Again. So soon.

In a clear show of support for the ongoing English re-translation of the Missale Romanum, the Holy See has granted its recognitio (confirmation) to the first and most significant section of the re-rendered Mass texts, which had been approved by each of the nine Anglophone episcopal conferences in late 2006.

Announced earlier today by the USCCB -- the only conference to seek stand-alone recognitio for the Order of Mass I (OM1), as opposed to waiting for the entire 12-part package -- the timing is no accident, coming less than three weeks after the Missale project's second major chunk, the Proper of Seasons, was rejected on a mail ballot following a contentious debate among the American bishops at their Spring plenary in Orlando.

With a Proper vote still awaiting several other conferences, some possibly eager to echo the message sent by the Stateside prelates, today's development can also be seen as a warning shot for the rest to fall in line. Now back in its consultative phase on these shores, the Proper comes up for a repeat debate and vote by the US bench at its November meeting in Baltimore.

Comprising the standard set of prayers used at each Eucharist (Gloria, Creed, Eucharistic Prayers, dialogues, etc.), the USCCB approved OM1 at its Spring 2006 meeting in Los Angeles, but only after a number of amendments were accepted to secure the assent of skeptical pockets among the bishops. As similar amendments were submitted to Rome by each conference, and considering the Holy See's firm intent that, in a change from current practice, the new translations be precisely the same across the English-speaking world, the "guts" of what's actually been approved -- i.e. the dews and consubstantials of things... not to mention the precious chalices -- remain to be seen.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is free to reject proffered amendments on its own authority, and under the provisions of Liturgiam authenticam -- the 2001 instruction that inspired the current process -- the Holy See retains the "nuclear option" of imposing by fiat whatever translation it sees fit. What is clear, though, is that CDW has green-lighted one of the coming changes' most controversial elements: the reworkings of the people's reponses at Mass.

With eleven more Missale votes facing the bishops and a large-scale catechetical campaign already well in the planning, an "optimist[ic]" Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, chair of the USCCB's Committee on Divine Worship, told CNS earlier today that he was "hoping" to see the new texts implemented within "two years."

According to the US conference's current projections, the body's final vote on the entire package is expected to reach the floor at its November meeting in 2010. Pending the pace of recognitio for the full Missal, among other variables, rollout's most-often eyed for Advent 2011.

Full USCCB statement:
WASHINGTON— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has received approval (recognitio) from the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for the new English-language translation of the Order of Mass (Ordo Missae).

This is the first section of the translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal. It includes most of the texts used in every celebration of the Mass, including the responses that will be said by the people.

In its letter, the Congregation pointed out that while the texts are binding, the approval “does not intend that these texts are to be put into use immediately.”

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation, explained the reasons for providing the text at this time. The purpose is to provide “time for the pastoral preparation of priests, deacons and for appropriate catechesis of the lay faithful. It will likewise facilitate the devising of musical settings for parts of the Mass.”

The text is covered by copyright law and the Statutes of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

The more significant changes of the people’s parts are:
  • et cum spiritu tuo is rendered as “And with your spirit”
  • In the Confiteor, the text “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” has been added
  • The Gloria has been translated differently and the structure is different from the present text
  • In the Preface dialogue the translation of “Dignum et justum est” is “It is right and just”
  • The first line of the Sanctus now reads “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts”
  • The response of the people at the Ecce Agnus Dei is “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
At this time, no date is available as to when the entire translation of the Roman Missal will be released.
We now return to the foreseen hiatus, already in progress.