Liturgy translations – Cardinal says Vatican’s still in charge

Although Pope Francis has handed control of translating the liturgy to bishops’ conferences, Cardinal Robert Sarah says the Vatican will still need to approve the translations.

Sarah, who is the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, says the Vatican will continue to safeguard any changes and any new liturgical translations to ensure they remain faithful to the original Latin.

He says the change does not replace a 2001 Vatican instruction called Liturgiam Authenticam, issued under St. Pope John Paul II, which calls for a more faithful translation from the original Latin of the Roman Rite.

“There is therefore no noticeable change regarding the imposed standards, and the result which must follow from them for each liturgical book,” he says.

Approving new translations “is by no means a formality, that is to say, a sort of approval which would be granted after a rapid review of the work,” Sarah says.

He points out the new law still presupposes a “detailed review” on the part of the Vatican. The Vatican decision is binding, and liturgical texts can’t be published without this approval.

Having said that, Sarah noted the Vatican would “not … ordinarily intervene” in the work of a bishops’ conference before it submits the translation for approval, although it might still be “desirable” for episcopal conferences and the Congregation for Worship to have “preliminary exchanges” and “mutual consultation.”



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