17 July 2006

"We are not ICEL"

Last Wednesday evening, Archbishop-designate of Canberra (Australia) Mark Benedict Coleridge and the Reverend Monsignor Bruce Harbert spoke to the students of the Liturgical Institute concerning the translation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal into English.

The Archbishop-designate began the talk by stating, "We are not ICEL."

ICEL, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, is comprised of one bishop from each of eleven Bishop's Conferences. Because not all of the bishops who serve on ICEL have scholarly backgrounds in the art and science of translation, the Roman Missal Editorial Committee - which is not a standing committee of ICEL - was established to translate the Roman Missal into the English language.

Bishop Colerige is a member of the committee and Msgr. Harbert is the executive director of ICEL.

In his remarks, Bishop Coleridge reminded the students that the 1973 Missal - which we currently use - was translated from the Latin to English using a notion of "dynamic equivalence" in accord with a decree of 1969.

A revision of the 1973 translation was done fifteen years later - "the 1998 Sacramentary" - and was sent to the Holy See for the required recognitio, a request that was denied.

With the issuance of Liturgiam Authenticam in 2001, "quite different" norms for translations were put into effect resulting from thirty years of reflection upon the previous norm of dynamic equivalency, thus necesitating a new translation of the Roman Missal, not withstanding the fact of the publication of the third typical edition of the Missal.

The Archbishop-designate said, "Christianity has always been a translating religion" and with the translations being undertaken - the "Englishing of the Roman Rite" - now are a "fresh attempt to ensure that the lex orandi [the rule of prayer] and the lex credendi [the rule of belief] are as closely in convergence as possible."

Despite the confusion of the past several years - and the recent squabbles within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - there is great hope for the future. The Roman Missal Editorial Committee anticipates completing its initial work with the translation process by August of 2007. This translation would then be sent to ICEL and to the Conferences of Bishops for their consultation and, if approved, to the Holy See for the recognitio.

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