NZ Bishops call for prompt review of Roman Missal translation

Roman Missal

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference want the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) to review the 1998 draft Roman Missal translation early next year.

The conference’s president, Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn, told the NZ Catholic their request seeks to balance demand for use of the missal while ensuring “unity is preserved with the Roman Rite”.

The 1998 draft translation was the result of 15 years of collaborative work that took place between 1982 and 1997.

This draft version had received the approval of all the English-speaking conferences of the world.

But in 2002 the Congregation for Divine Worship refused to give an imprimatur.

It was replaced by a revised translation in 2010 and introduced into parishes in November 2011.

Dunn said as soon as Magnum Principium came out, a number of New Zealand priests started urging their bishops to lead the way and start using the 1998 translation.

He said it was not that simple “because, even with Magnum Principium, you still need to go to the Congregation [for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments] for ‘confirmatio’ (Latin for confirmation).”

He stressed the Congregation “does play an important role because it preserves the unity of the Roman Rite”.

Dunn said the New Zealand bishops are also not inclined to go it alone because they acknowledge the importance of working collegially with ICEL.

He said at ICEL’s February meeting that it would be interesting to see what the other episcopal conferences think about revisiting the 1998 translation.

“What I suspect is that many [ICEL] bishops’ conferences may not want to be bothered with a whole new Missal. They’ll think, ‘dear God, not again’,” he said.

Dunn said his personal opinion is that it might be worthwhile reviewing the 1998 translation for the Eucharistic Prayers but keep the people’s responses the same.


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