US Bishops Fail to Approve Liturgy Translation


Will Revisit "Proper of Seasons" Text in November

WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 8, 2008 ( The translation of the Proper of Seasons for use in the United States is stalled, after it failed to garner the approval of two-thirds of the nation's Latin rite bishops.

The bishops voted on the translation of that section of the Missale Romanum in their June general assembly. There were not enough bishops there to fulfill the voting requirements for approval or rejection of the translation. Successive voting by mail did not bring enough votes for the approval.

At the debate in June, some bishops took issue with the translation for using words such as "gibbet," which they consider no longer of common usage by English speakers. Other bishops noted the desire to not only stay faithful to the original Latin, but also represent the poetic sounds proper to liturgical prayer.

The Proper of Seasons is the second of 12 sections of the full text of the Roman Missal.

This text, a "Gray Book," is the second stage in the draft translation of the Proper or Seasons prepared by the International Commission for English in the Liturgy. The commission submitted it to the bishops of English-speaking countries for approval. Some of the 11 conferences that belong to the Iiturgical commission have already approved it.

The U.S. prelates will not send this Gray Book back to the International Commission for English in the Liturgy, intending instead to handle the process with the episcopal conference's Committee on Divine Worship.

According to the chairman of that committee, Bishop Arthur Serratelli, the Gray Book will be presented again to the bishops in their November meeting, incorporating changes approved in June. It will also allow for the typical conference process of allowing bishops to submit modifications for proposal.

In an attempt to stay on schedule -- approving the complete Roman Missal by 2010 -- the U.S. bishops will consider in November two more sections of the translation, as well as the latest revision of the Proper of Seasons.

The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments gives final approval of the translations.