Rome spokesman says no going back to 1998 Missal translation

The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship has ruled out going back to a 1998 English translation of the Missal.

There have been a number of calls to use the 1998 version instead of the current Missal text.

Critics have charged that the language used in the current version at Mass is clunky, awkward and too literal a translation of the Latin.

In The Tablet earlier this month, Jesuit theologian Fr Gerald O’Collins wrote an open letter to English-speaking bishops, urging them to press for adoption of the 1998 text

But Archbishop Arthur Roche said using a different English version of the Missal could not happen.

The archbishop told The Tablet that the Roman liturgy “expresses the unity of the entire Church”.

While the 1998 version translated the 1975 Roman Missal, a new Latin Missal was introduced in 2002, thus making the 1998 edition outdated, he said.

Archbishop Roche, as Chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), oversaw the introduction of the current English Mass text.

He said that “the principles governing the translation of liturgical texts of the Roman Rite had altered by 2001 which would have, in any case, required a new translation of the Roman Missal”.

He was referring to the document Liturgiam Authenticam which was approved by St John Paul II.

This document called for translations to convey the “integral manner” of the original Latin “even while being verbally or syntactically different from it”.

But Emeritus Bishop Maurice Taylor of Galway, a former chairman of ICEL, said a precedent existed for Catholics who want to have the choice to be able to use the 1998 missal.

Rome could give its recognitio to this text, which was approved by all the English speaking bishops’ conferences which are full members of ICEL, he said.

“Those who prefer to continue with the [2011] Missal, on grounds of either taste or expense, would do so; others would opt for the 1998 translation.”


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