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ITALY-TRANSLATION Nov-13-2007 (550 words) With photo. xxxi

Italians to hear more than 100,000 changes to Mass Scriptures

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Italians listening to the Scriptures at Mass will no longer hear that it is impossible to serve "God and mammon," but rather that no one can serve both "God and wealth."

On the feast of the Annunciation, the Gospel reading no longer will have the angel Gabriel greeting Mary with the words "Hail, full of grace," but rather with "Rejoice, full of grace."

After five years of work and 15 drafts, the first volumes of Scripture readings for Masses in Italian have been approved by the Vatican and may be used in parishes beginning in December.

The new lectionaries for Sundays and holy days -- one for each year of the three-year cycle of readings -- were presented Nov. 12 at a Vatican press conference.

The bishops expect to complete the collection of readings for other Masses by the end of 2008 and use of the new translations will be obligatory beginning with Advent 2010.

Bishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary-general of the Italian bishops' conference, said the new translation "eliminates archaic forms of language and syntax" and has "a rhythm of phrases adapted for liturgical proclamation and, eventually, for song."

Work on the new translation, which includes probably "more than 100,000" changes from the version currently in use, began in 2002 in order to make the Italian Lectionary conform to "Liturgiam Authenticam," the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments' 2001 document on liturgical translations, he said.

Bishop Betori told reporters the changed biblical translations do not necessarily mean related prayers will be changed. For example, he said, no one has proposed changing the words of the Hail Mary to match the new translation from the Gospel of St. Luke.

In a similar way, the words of the Lord's Prayer recited at Mass will not change automatically to meet the Lectionary's translation of the account in St. Matthew's Gospel in which Jesus teaches his disciples the prayer.

For years, Italian Catholics have debated the point of asking God not to lead them into temptation when God is not the one to tempt people to do wrong.

The new Italian translation of the Scripture passage resolved the debate by using the phrase "do not abandon us to temptation."

Bishop Betori said a corresponding change to the Our Father at Mass would be discussed by the Italian bishops in a separate process of retranslating the Mass prayers.

In redoing the Scripture translations, he said, the bishops examined critical editions of the original Scriptures in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.

"We tried to recover a greater adherence to the tone and style of the original languages, aiming for a translation that would be communicative and understandable, but also more literal," as the 2001 Vatican document requested.

But the Italian bishops have done more than prepare a new translation, he said; they have attempted to produce a volume that continues an ancient artistic tradition as well. Italian artists, including some who are not Catholic, have donated close to 200 drawings and paintings designed exclusively for use in the Lectionary, Bishop Betori said.

The lamb on the cover of the three lectionaries for Sundays and feast days was designed by Mimmo Paladino, a neo-expressionist painter and sculptor.


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