Pope issues new directives on revision, translation of liturgical texts

More power to episcopal conferences, less of a role for Congregation for Divine Worship

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in memory of Fr. Jacques Hamel Sept. 14, 2016. (Credit: L’Osservatore Romano.)

The Holy See has released a new “motu proprio” from Pope Francis outlining a shift in the responsibility of local bishops and the Apostolic See for the revision and approval of liturgical texts.

Dated Sept. 3, the document is titled “Magnum Principium,” meaning “The great principle,” and deals explicitly with two specific changes to Canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law, which addresses the authority of the Apostolic See and national episcopal conferences in preparing liturgical texts in vernacular languages.

The document was published Sept. 9, in the middle of Pope Francis’ six-day trip to Colombia.

Specifically, changes were introduced were to paragraphs 2 and 3 of Canon 838.

Canon 838, 2 has until now stated that: “It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books and review their translations in vernacular languages, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.”

However, with Francis’ motu proprio, the text has been changed to read: “It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books, recognize adaptations approved by the Episcopal Conference according to the norm of law, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed faithfully everywhere.”

Similarly, 838, 3 previously read: “It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare and publish, after the prior review of the Holy See, translations of liturgical books in vernacular languages, adapted appropriately within the limits defined in the liturgical books themselves.”

The text will now read: “It pertains to the episcopal conferences to faithfully prepare versions of the liturgical books in vernacular languages, suitably accommodated within defined limits, and to approveand publish the liturgical books for the regions for which they are responsible after the confirmation of the Apostolic See.

The changes apportion a greater portion of responsibility for the preparation and approval of liturgical translations to episcopal conferences, rather than the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

Francis stressed that while fidelity “cannot always be judged by individual words but must be sought in the context of the whole communicative act and according to its literary genre,” there are particular terms which “must also be considered in the context of the entire Catholic faith because each translation of texts must be congruent with sound doctrine.”

Given the weight of the task, the Pope said it’s no surprise that certain problems have arisen between episcopal conferences and the Apostolic See along the way.

In order for decisions about the use of the vernacular language to be of use and value in the future, then, “a vigilant and creative collaboration full of reciprocal trust” between the Apostolic See and bishops conferences is “absolutely necessary.”

Because of this, “in order that the renewal of the whole liturgical life might continue,” Francis said ‘it seemed opportune that some principles handed on since the time of the Council should be more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice.”

Apt attention ought to be paid to the “benefit and good of the faithful,” while at the same time ensuring that the “right and duty” of episcopal conferences is not forgotten, since it is their task to “ensure and establish that, while the character of each language is safeguarded, the sense of the original text is fully and faithfully rendered and that even after adaptations the translated liturgical books always illuminate the unity of the Roman Rite.”

In order to make collaboration between the Apostolic See and bishops conferences “easier and more fruitful,” and after having listened to advice from a commission of bishops and experts he established to study the issue, the Pope said he wished to make the “canonical discipline” already in force in canon 838 more clear.

Namely, Francis said he wanted the changes to be more directly in line with paragraphs 36, 40 and 63 of the Second Vatican Council Constitution on Sacred Liturgy “Sacrosanctum Concilium” and the provisions of point nine of Paul VI’s 1964 Motu Proprio “Sacram Liturgiam.” so that “the competency of the Apostolic See surrounding the translation of liturgical books and the more radical adaptations established and approved by Episcopal Conferences be made clearer, among which can also be numbered eventual new texts to be inserted into these books.”

All changes will go into effect on Oct. 1 of this year.

Full story at Catholic News Agency.

Comments

comments

To add a comment, click on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ icons OR go further down to the bottom of comments to the Post your comment box.

Comments

  1. One upshot I guess is that some of the more conservative Bishops might order that the NO Mass is offered Ad Orientum. Now wouldn’t that be something…

  2. The Remnant Newspaper – Catholics Rising: A Major Event Coming Soon

    http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/3402-catholics-rising-a-major-event-coming-soon

  3. I read somewhere that the word “bergolio” is old spanish for “disaster.”

  4. St. Christopher says:

    Come now, Catholic People, you have been warned that Francis will do as all totalitarian leaders will do, seek to disarm its citizens. How to do this? By creating a nutty system of NewSpeak that distorts, if not contradicts, the True Faith. One guesses that we will have a waive of changes to “pro multis” for example, as well as an increasing emphasis on gender neutral insanity, or pro-homosexual gifts type language. The prize will be to recast Summorum Pontificum to a toothless state. How? Several simple ways, including revising it to make it subject to approval by the local ordinary.

    These people have no shame. Stop giving them any — any — money, ever. Give to Traditional orders only. And, raise Hell with the USCCB among…

  5. St. Christopher says:

    (Part Deux) ” . . . other groups. Demand Traditional options. Fight always.

  6. John Patrick says:

    This is the end of the novus ordo so-called Catholic liturgy which will now descend into further chaos.

  7. Another move by Pope Francis to destroy the unity and beauty of Catholicism. Pope Francis does not even genuflect after he says the words of the Consecration.

    • Joel Fago, I do not agree with everything Pope Francis does and says, but he is old and does have knee problems, so I would “give him a break” on that one. If it is intentional that would be wrong, but I do not think that is the case.

    • Joel, you wouldn’t genuflect either if you had the terrible sciatic nerve issues he does. Believe me, I have it, but not as bad. Can’t kneel, or I do can’t get up without a lot of strain.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      He is infirmed, Joel.

  8. One of many excellent decisions by Pope Francis. Perhaps we can return to the old language of the Nicene creed and replace “consubstantial” with “one in being” and “incarnate of the Virgin Mary” with “born of the Virgin Mary.” Many who post on this site would benefit from some reading on the history of the Mass. There have been many versions of the Mass since the beginning of Christianity. For example, the beloved traditional Latin Mass came into existence in 1570. Think about it!

  9. anonymous 2 says:

    The Great Deconstruction of the Catholic Faith.

  10. Well he said to make a mess and he has certainly done his part! Another disaster waiting to unfold, Lord give us strength.

  11. I have known several elderly priests who do not genuflect because of bad knees, unsteady balance, or other age-related matters.
    I read ‘somewhere’ that. . . Somewhere has a name. Please include it so others can go there if interested.

  12. Yo Joel: have you considered that perhaps Pope Francis does not genuflect during the Mass because he is an 83 year old man who suffers with siactica? Cut him some slack on the genuflecting and pray for his papacy!

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.

Speak Your Mind

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.