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BISHOPS-LITURGY Jul-7-2008 (680 words) xxxn

Bishops to reconsider liturgy translation rejected in mail balloting

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- After mail balloting of bishops who did not vote at the spring meeting in Orlando, Fla., a 700-page translation of one section of the Roman Missal failed to get approval from the required two-thirds of the members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The USCCB announced rejection of the translation of the proper prayers for Sundays and feast days during the liturgical year July 7 and said it would come before the full body of bishops again at their November general assembly in Baltimore, along with two other sections totaling about 500 pages.

No vote totals were made public, but the translation would have needed 167 "yes" votes to achieve a two-thirds majority of the 250 active Latin-rite U.S. bishops.

The rejected translation, in the works for more than two years, was the second of 12 sections of the Roman Missal translation project that will come before the bishops through at least 2010.

The translation had come from the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, known as ICEL, but at the Orlando meeting in June many bishops expressed frustration that recommendations they had submitted to ICEL to clarify the sentence structure or revise archaic language had been rejected.

In a voice vote after the inconclusive vote was announced June 13 in Orlando, the bishops decided not to send the translation back to ICEL if the document was ultimately rejected. Instead they directed their Committee on Divine Worship to take suggestions from all the bishops once again and return the document to the full body of bishops for later consideration.

Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the Committee on Divine Worship, said in the July 7 USCCB news release that the committee would "present the Gray Book to the bishops for renewed consideration, including the usual conference process that allows bishops to submit modifications to the text for consideration."

But "in hopes that the USCCB will keep pace with the actions of other English-speaking conferences," two additional Gray Book translations will be submitted to the bishops for approval at the November meeting, the release said.

"If the texts receive an affirmative vote by the body of bishops, the original timeline will still be maintained, and the final text of the complete Roman Missal will be presented for approval in November 2010," it added.

ICEL's first draft of a translation of each section is called the Green Book, while the second draft incorporating changes suggested by the 11 episcopal conferences belonging to ICEL is called the Gray Book.

Bishop Serratelli noted at the Orlando meeting that four of the 11 bishops' conferences already had approved the Gray Book translation of the second section. Each section must also receive "recognitio," or confirmation, from the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments after the bishops approve it.

Msgr. Anthony F. Sherman, executive director of the bishops' Secretariat of Divine Worship, told Catholic News Service that the translation to be sent to the bishops for consideration in November will incorporate all of the changes approved at the Orlando meeting.

The third and fourth sections of the Roman Missal translation project total about 500 pages, he said.

During the debate in Orlando, several bishops expressed problems with the use of words such as "gibbet," "wrought" or "ineffable," saying they were no longer common English expressions.

"These orations need reworking if we are going to proclaim them without leaving people scratching their heads," said Bishop Victor B. Galeone of St. Augustine, Fla.

But Bishop Serratelli said in a column for The Beacon, Paterson's diocesan newspaper, that while the liturgical translations were "not dummied down to the most common denominator" they remain "readily accessible to anyone."

Writing in the June 19 edition of The Beacon, Bishop Serratelli said that "there is something more at stake than pleasing individual tastes and preferences in the new liturgical translations."

"Certainly, some sentences could be translated to mimic our common speech. But they are not. And with good reason," he added.


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