Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

'A Question of Governance'

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

'A Question of Governance'

Article excerpt

An exchange at the Nov. 16-19 U.S. bishops' meeting between Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pa., and Chicago Cardinal Francis George, president of the bishops' conference, gave a glimpse into a key underlying issue in the decades-long process of translating texts for liturgical use by the English-speaking church.

Trautman asked how the translation of the antiphons used in the liturgy had been ceded to the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship without debate or a vote from the U.S. bishops' conference.

George, informed of the existence of a letter from the conference to the Holy See accepting its suggestion that the Vatican take over the translation of antiphons to expedite the process, said, "I must have signed it," eliciting a wave of laughter from the assembled bishops.

Trautman asked, "How can this be? This was not a collegial process." The Second Vatican Council's Constitution on Sacred Liturgy, he insisted, had made the bishops' conference responsible for translations.

George noted the objection and said that it would be taken up as "a question of governance" after the bishops had completed the voting on the translation drafts before them.

The English version of the Roman Missal is now one step closer to publication and use in all Catholic parishes. Like the Lectionary, the book of scripture readings proclaimed at Mass, the missal will reflect a heavy-handed reassertion of Vatican control over every aspect of the translation process that was to have been the work of national bishops' conferences. This reassertion included replacing the approved guidelines for translation, dismantling the commission assigned to produce English texts and dumping their work, rejecting the Lectionary approved by the U. …

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