Beliefnet News

By Daniel Burke
Religion News Service

WASHINGTON (RNS) The nation’s Catholic bishops have rejected a new translation of Mass prayers, a rare instance of U.S. prelates denying a Vatican-ordered liturgical change.
While ballots are still coming in, it’s clear they won’t add up to the 166 needed to pass the new translation, said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. A two-thirds majority of the USCCB’s Latin rite bishops is required for approval.
Walsh said she could not recall another instance in which the U.S. bishops have rejected a full document of Vatican translations, though they have at times tinkered with individual phrases and words.
At the bishops’ semi-annual meeting in June, several prelates said the newly translated prayers, traditionally spoken by priests at Mass, were stilted and incomprehensible. One called them a “linguistic swamp.”
After an inconclusive vote at the bishops’ meeting in Orlando, Fla., the bishops not present at the gathering were asked to vote by mail.
Known as the “Proper of Seasons,” the prayers are said on Sundays, Holy Days and during liturgical seasons such as Lent, and change from day to day. Examples include the opening prayer, prayers said over the bread and wine, and prayer after Communion.
The late Pope John Paul II ordered the new translations to increase fidelity to the original Latin. Some Vatican liturgists say the church moved too quickly — and sloppily — in translating the Mass into local languages after the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s.
The rejected translation will come up again, with amendments, at the USCCB’s next meeting in November, Walsh said.
The bishops have already approved one section of new Mass translations, including many prayers spoken by lay Catholics for a generation, despite the objections of a vocal minority.
Ten more sections of the Mass remain to be approved and implementation is likely several years away, according to USCCB officials.
Copyright 2008 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus