Adoremus, Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
Online Edition - July-August 2006
Vol. XII, No. 5
What the Bishops Said...
USCCB Debate and Vote on the ICEL Translation of the Order of Mass
Following is a transcription of the bishops’ discussion of certain proposed amendments to the ICEL translation of the Order of Mass, before their vote on the text, and the “American Adaptations”.
June 15, 2006
Bishop William Skylstad (Spokane, President of USCCB): All right, let’s move on to the next item on our agenda. It’s the debate and vote on the ICEL translation of the Order of Mass. Bishop Don Trautman, as the Chair of the Committee on Liturgy, would you please come forward and introduce the item for us?
Bishop Donald Trautman (Erie, chairman, Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy): Thank you very much. Brother bishops, we now come to a very important action item: the approval of the ICEL translation of the Order of Mass. This translation will affect the worship life of every Catholic in the United States and beyond. Without doubt this is the most significant liturgical issue to come before this body in recent years.
This is Action Item 5 found in the green book. The International Commission on English in the Liturgy, which represents eleven English-speaking countries, has been the instrumentality, the agent that did the translation work. Pages 116 in the green book provide a summary of the ICEL response to our two previous consultations for amending the text. On pages 17 and 18 are listed excerpts of the statutes of ICEL. These statutes govern the approval process for a Conference of Bishops.
We have received the final text, now called the Gray Book, which needs for approval a two-thirds vote of active Latin Rite bishops of our conference. There are 254 Latin Rite bishops, two-thirds is 168. In accord with the ICEL statute 36.12 found on page 18, there are four possible action steps for a conference of bishops.
A conference of bishops first, can take a canonical vote to approve the ICEL translation as submitted. A two-thirds vote of active Latin Rite bishops is needed to approve. “If a Conference of Bishops still considers modifications of the text to be necessary, it is preferable that its proposals be referred back to the ICEL commission”.
Step three: “Whenever a common text proves unfeasible a Conference of Bishops maintains the right to introduce any modifications desired and to approve its own amended text, subject to the recognitio of the Holy See”. In other words, the amended text would not go to ICEL, but to the Holy See. And I am confident that the Congregation will certainly consult with Vox Clara, a group of bishops appointed by the Holy See to advise on English translations. Finally, step four: “The Conference maintains the right to produce its own independent translation if necessary”.
These are the action steps envisioned by the ICEL statutes for a Conference of Bishops. Action Item 3, namely, amending the ICEL text and sending it directly to the Holy See for recognitio is the action recommended by the Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy, approved by the Administrative Committee and is now the action before us.
The complete amended text will require a two-thirds majority of Latin Church bishops. Individual amendments need a simple majority for passage.
Are there any questions regarding the procedure just outlined?
Bishop Skylstad: Bishop Baker.
Bishop Robert Baker (Charleston): Bishop Trautman, the matter that’s in the back of this booklet, beginning on page 97. I’m just curious, how does this fit in with what you are proposing all these accepted items? [Note: Bishop Baker is referring to the listing of BCL amendments to the text, which begin on page 97, and perhaps also to the Adaptations, which follow them in the green book.]
Bishop Trautman: That comes much later. We’re dealing now only with the approval of amendments, which we’ll treat in just a few moments. I simply wanted to outline the four possible steps, and indicate the Action Item 3 recommended by the Bishops’ Committee on Liturgy and also approved by the Administrative Board. That’s the action item now before us.
Bishop Skylstad: Thank you. I think, Bishop Vigneron, you indicated you don’t.... Any other comments or questions for Bishop Trautman? Yes, Bishop Foley.
Bishop David Foley (Birmingham): Bishop Trautman, what you indicate is different than what is on the front of our green cover here as the action item: Approval of the “ICEL translation of the Order of Mass for use of the dioceses in the United States of America”.
Bishop Trautman: That’s the final step after we approve the amendments, our normal process. So we approve the amendments accepted by the Committee; we approve those declined by the Committee. Then we come to what is printed here.
Bishop Skylstad: Bishop Finn.
Bishop Robert Finn (Kansas City-St. Joseph): My question is: Are we allowed to vote on the ICEL translation as submitted, without the amendments, since that was the first of the possibilities?
Bishop Trautman: My understanding is no, because the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy has placed on the agenda Action Item 3, which was approved by the Administrative Committee. But I’ll let the President of the Conference make a ruling.
Bishop Skylstad: On this?
Bishop Trautman: Yes. I said that my understanding is that the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy has placed with the consensus of the Administrative Board Action Item 3. That’s what is before us now. To depart from that is not, in my understanding, according to the rules of our conference.
Bishop John Gaydos (Jefferson City): I just want to make sure I’m using the right thing, I have these yellow things.
Bishop Trautman: Those are amendments, which we will treat in a few moments.
Bishop Gaydos: Are we supposed to have gotten.... Now, this is Action Item 3?
Bishop Trautman: There is Action Item 5, which is in the green book.
Bishop Skylstad: I don’t think you have a three.
Bishop Trautman: I am referring to #3 in the green book of the ICEL statutes, which is found, I believe, on page 18. Okay? So, I’ll be okay with that now? So it’s statute 36.12 found on page 18 of the green book, and it’s the third item.
Bishop Skylstad: All right. Any other questions? I think then, Bishop Trautman, we’re ready for addressing the amendments.
Bishop Trautman: Thank you. Before introducing discussion of the amendments and action item itself, I believe it is important to establish a proper context for our discussion and vote. The document Liturgiam authenticam is the authoritative instruction for translation of liturgical texts into the vernacular. At the same time, we must never forget that Liturgiam authenticam, and all post-Conciliar documents, must be interpreted in light of the foundational document, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. For example, Article 21 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy states, and I quote:
Christian people should be able to understand texts and rites with ease and to take part in them fully actively.1
The Council Fathers further state, and I quote:
The rites should be written within the people’s power of comprehension and normally should not require much explanation. (Article 34)
Liturgy is the peoples’ prayer. A translated text is intended for prayer, worship, lifting up the heart and mind to God. Recall the eloquent and much-quoted passage of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which stipulates:
In the restoration and promotion of the Sacred Liturgy the full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else.2
If a translation, no matter how exact, does not communicate in the living language of the worshipping community it may well fail as a translation. Therefore the challenge we face today is to find a balance between tradition and inculturation, a balance between preservation and change, a balance that calls for both transcendence and immanence, a balance between theological concerns and pastoral concerns, a balance between faithfulness to the received text and intelligibility and proclaimability.
Seeking balance in liturgical matters is often difficult. We want to be faithful to the norms and principles of the Holy See, and as pastors of the Church we must also apply them with prudence and insight given pastoral realities in our midst. Going from liturgical principle to pastoral practice calls for balance. The Committee on the Liturgy has spent much time and effort in trying to achieve that balance.
At this time, in the name of the Committee on the Liturgy, I move the approval of Group I amendments, those accepted.
Bishop Skylstad: The Committee recommends that all of the amendments in Group I be adopted. Does any member desire separate consideration of any amendment in Group I? Archbishop Hughes, just the number.
Archbishop Alfred Hughes (New Orleans, member Vox Clara): Eleven, twelve and thirteen.
Bishop Skylstad: Eleven, twelve and thirteen? Are there any others?
Without objection, then, all the amendments in Group I are adopted except for separate consideration of amendments of eleven, twelve and thirteen. But first, without objection, all of the amendments in Group I except those I have just named are adopted. Now the question is on the adoption of amendment number 11. Bishop Hughes.
Archbishop Hughes: I would propose a return to the ICEL text in the Creed, which translates consubstantialis “consubstantial”. I am addressing really the same issue in the three amendments: 11, 12 and 13. And I recognize the pastoral reasons that could be offered in support of remaining with the text we have been using: “one in being”.
But “consubstantial” is a very significant term in the history of Christological controversy. It does express a profound truth that I think is important for us to preserve in the liturgical text. And as we return this to the liturgical text, it provides an opportunity for catechesis of our people.
Bishop Trautman: Thank you very much. The Committee certainly spent much time debating this very issue, and we are aware of the several consultations we’ve had and the significant number of bishops who asked for return to the language “one in being with the Father” for the understanding of our people. We also noted in the document Liturgiam authenticam the possibility there of having certain words changed. I don’t have in front of me the exact number, but it is in the document Liturgiam authenticam that they mention this particular word. So we thought we were well within the parameters of the document in going with the return to “one in being with the Father”.
Bishop Skylstad: Okay. Yes, Cardinal George.
Cardinal Francis George (Chicago, vice-president of USCCB, US representative to ICEL): Just to fill out the debate. For your own for the conversation. I listened to the ICEL debates and listened also, as a consultant, to the BCL debates. The phrase that we use [“one in being”] is unique to the United States in the English-speaking world. And I proposed it several times to the full ICEL group. You should at least know their objections to it.
Their objection to our usage which is unique consistently, was that “being” in our translation can be treated as a participle rather than as a substantive, which it should be. Sometimes we get around that by capitalizing “Being”. If it’s a participle then you’re saying he is one in being with the Father, and they thought that that didn’t sufficiently express the Trinitarian relationship that “consubstantial” as a technical term was meant to express. In other words we are being with one another here, but we’re not consubstantial with one another. So it was an inadequacy, they felt, in an expression of the faith. We, nonetheless remain, as Bishop Trautman said, free to put forward a translation that we have become accustomed to.
Bishop Trautman: Would Bishop Cupich by chance recall the reference to the document? Number 53 in the document Liturgiam authenticam does allow for this translation.
Bishop Skylstad: Thank you. Is there any further discussion or comment about Archbishop Hughes’s amendment? Yes, Archbishop DiNardo.
Archbishop Daniel DiNardo (Galveston-Houston): I want to support Archbishop Hughes in this. The argument given by those who proposed it had much to do with: it’s more understandable. Is it more understandable because the people just simply think they understand it?
If we add a technical term, which from the beginning of the creed is a technical term, like “consubstantial”, would this invite, as Archbishop Hughes says, further catechesis, which to my mind is obviously necessary in dealing with the Creed? I support Archbishop Hughes. Thank you.
Bishop Trautman: Again, the position of the committee would be pastoral sensitivity to our people. Also noting that the document itself allows for this translation.
Bishop Skylstad: Thank you. Archbishop Lipscomb.
Archbishop Lipscomb (Mobile, member Vox Clara): First my thanks to the committee. I don’t know of any liturgical committee of conferences that have worked so intensely for so happy a result. But I too rise to support Archbishop Hughes’s concerns about the word “consubstantial”. “Being” is subject to an easy understanding, but it seems to me it is also a possibility for there being some misunderstanding.
We talked this morning at least it was mentioned this morning all these changes should require a certain amount of catechesis, of explanation, and of giving an opportunity for the people who are going to listen to them, to use them, to grow in faith, not simply to remain where they are.
There is a terrible kind of bias against philosophy, against precision and against exactitude in speaking the truth in today’s world.
“Substance” is itself a word that cannot find an acceptable definition in annals of philosophy and sometimes in our own conversation. It was a very precise word used by the Church for a long time to define what exactly happens in the Divine Essence with respect to three Persons. It is used in a way that many people object to with regard to the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. For us to miss the chance to challenge to a greater growth and a deeper sense of understanding simply because our people cannot take this, it seems to me, is to sell those individuals short who might have a distinct understanding of this given the chance. I too feel that “consubstantial” ought to remain in the document.
Bishop Skylstad: All right, thank you. The next person to speak will be Bishop Vigneron, followed by Archbishop Myers.
Bishop Allen Vigneron (Oakland): Before I make my point, I want to echo what Archbishop Lipscomb said. To give thanks to the committee. I worked on this committee in the past and it seems to me what you present us is quite a remarkable achievement.
I do support what Archbishop Hughes says on one general point of view, and it is that I think it’s very important to have a common voice, a common confession on two counts. One, I think it’s important for all of us as English speakers on this very, very important point of doctrine to speak with one voice, with one expression. And also I feel that that’s an important ecumenical dimension.
I feel that it is very important, certainly for the Eastern bishops, with whom we are in communion, to be able easily to recognize that we are one with them in confessing the faith of Nicea. And perhaps it’s even more important for Greek bishops, who often are with us at liturgies to recognize that when we profess this Creed that, while there are many things that divide us, unfortunately, we are still one in confessing the faith of Nicea.
I know we can disagree on this. This is a prudential point as you rightly say. But to my mind I will vote with Archbishop Hughes because I think that allows me as a bishop to stand to confess the faith of Nicea, particularly with those bishops of the Eastern churches whether they’re ones with whom we have communion or ones with whom we hope to have communion in the near future.
Bishop Skylstad: Thank you, Bishop Vigneron. Archbishop Myers with a question followed by Cardinal Mahony.
Archbishop John Myers (Newark): I express my admiration for the members of the committee and for the work they have accomplished. I have a rather simple question which then may lead to my taking a position. The other members of ICEL: how many of them have approved the ICEL translation, in total or essentially, including this word “consubstantial”. Do you know how many there are? That would be important to me in light of Bishop Vigneron’s comments.
Bishop Trautman: My understanding is that the bishops of England and Wales have approved the text, also the bishops of Scotland. We are not aware, however, of amendments. I don’t have the knowledge of the direct amendments that might have been in that process. Australia, too.
Cardinal George: From what I understand, they just took the first option that Bishop Trautman spoke about and approved it as such. But on the Creed we are and have been for forty years the odd man out. All the other English-speaking world doesn’t have to make a change because they’ve been saying this. We’re the ones who have the particular. There are differences in the Creed right now and have been in the last forty years.
Archbishop Myers: In light of that, then, I would like to back Archbishop Hughes and Bishop Vigneron in their position.
Bishop Skylstad: Thank you. Cardinal Mahony. I think that is the last speaker we will have before we vote on the amendment.
Cardinal Mahony: I think it’s important to read that section 53, because I oppose the change. I support the committee. But paragraph 53, Liturgiam authenticam, says:
Whenever a particular Latin term has a rich meaning that is difficult to render into a modern language (such as the words munus, famulus, consubstantialis, propitius, etc.) various solutions may be employed in the translations, whether the term be translated by a single vernacular word or by several, or by the coining of a new word, or perhaps by the adaptation or transcription of the same term into a language or alphabet that is different from the original text, or the use of an already existing word which may bear various meanings.3
It seems to me that supports the translation which we have always had and which we are proposing. So I think we’re very much in harmony with Liturgiam authenticam. And I would be against that particular motion.
Bishop Trautman: Thank you, Cardinal Mahony. If I may just have a closing comment. The cardinal has quoted for us the passage, a reminder the committee says we are permitted very much to do use a term as we have: “one in being with the Father”. I would also cite again the reference in the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: The rite and words should be written within the people’s power of comprehension and normally should not require much explanation.
Bishop Skylstad: All right thank you. I think we should be ready for the vote, then. This would be, as I understand Archbishop Hughes, basically 11, 12 and 13 basically have the same intent.
So let’s take a vote then. All in favor of Archbishop Hughes’s amendment please say “aye”. [Strong “aye”.]
Those opposed. [Also strong “no”, impossible to tell which was stronger.]
Those who are supporting Archbishop Hughes’s amendment, would you please raise your hand. [Staff counts.]
All right. We’re ready to take the negative votes. Those opposed to Archbishop Hughes’s amendment please raise your hand. [Staff counts.]
The “yes”es are 81; the “no”s are 109 so, Archbishop Hughes, your amendment fails.
All right. I take it, then that we are ready, Bishop Trautman, to go to the second group.
Bishop Trautman: In the name of the Committee on the Liturgy, I move the approval of Group II: those amendments declined.
Bishop Skylstad: The committee recommends that all of the amendments in Group I be adopted. Group II …?
Bishop Trautman: Those amendments not accepted by the committee.
Bishop Skylstad: Not ... the committee recommends that all of the amendments of Group II not be adopted. Does any member desire separate consideration of any amendments in Group II? Does anyone want to.... Yes. A question, Bishop Finn?
Bishop Robert Finn (Kansas City-St. Joseph): I’m relatively new to the conference so I was just curious, if in most cases it is the practice that we would receive these booklets of amendments accepted and rejected a few moments before we are asked to go through them; to vote in favor. It creates a difficulty to give them any serious consideration one way or the other. Just a question.
Bishop Skylstad: Okay, thank you.
Bishop Trautman: That has been the practice, I believe, in most committees. The Committee on Liturgy processed these amendments on Monday from 9 AM to 9 PM. This is the first time we could have them printed and distributed to the body.
Bishop Skylstad: Bishop Bruskewitz, followed by Cardinal McCarrick.
Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz [Lincoln]: Two and 85, please.
Bishop Skylstad: Two and 85, all right.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick: Ninety-nine.
Bishop Skylstad: Bishop Foley.
Bishop David Foley [Birmingham]: Fifty-eight.
Bishop Skylstad: Fifty eight. Any others? All right, thank you. Separate consideration of amendments 2, 58, 85, 99 is requested. Under our rule, then, none of the amendments in Group II except those just named will come before the assembly. Now the question is on the adoption of amendment number two. Bishop Bruskewitz.
Bishop Bruskewitz: I would just recall what we just heard a short time ago from Bishop Roche. In fact, I’ll read it here. It said:
In this regard I would like to make a general point, but one I believe to be highly important for our consideration. The prayers of the Mass, including the Anaphoras, are mainly inspired and formed from Sacred Scripture, and the Commission of ICEL has accepted one very important point found in Liturgiam authenticam and accepted it as being crucial, namely the significance of the language of Sacred Scripture in our translation of the Mass. One good example of this is the translation of the Domine non sum dignus as, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof”, with its reminiscence of the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant.
So, evidently …
Bishop Trautman: If I may respond. If you look at the amendments accepted, amendment number 62, an amendment from Bishop Joseph Martino, made the same point and the committee accepted it. We rejected yours because you were accepting an amendment to the proposed amendment.
Bishop Bruskewitz: I’m terribly sorry. I agree with Bishop Finn. I didn’t have time to study the ones that you....]
Unidentified Voice: That was dropped.
Bishop Skylstad: It dropped. Thank you, archbishop, that’s helpful. All right, the next item. A question?
Bishop Trautman: Right now we are voting on the amendments not accepted....
Bishop Trautman: The one that is in the ICEL book, the green book.
Bishop Skylstad: All right. Thank you. The next item, then, that we need to discuss is number 58. Who proposed that? Bishop Foley.
Bishop Foley: It’s really a question. You mentioned in your answer “the expressed intention of the Holy See to speak definitively on the question in the near future”. What would be the background of that? Where have you heard that?
Bishop Trautman: Please recall that we did have a consultation on this. Overwhelmingly the American bishops favored the wording that we have now. And we do have some word from the Congregation that this is under active advisement right now. We expect the Holy Father and the Congregation to respond in the near future. So that’s what the response of the committee indicates. But we have declined, at this point, to change it.
Bishop Foley: Because pro multis is used quite extensively in the Scripture. And I look forward to hearing the Holy See, because I feel that it is an important point.
Bishop Trautman: At this point, though, the committee is saying we will stay with the wording that reflects the vast majority of bishops through the consultation. If the Holy See were to change then there will be a proper adjustment.
Bishop Skylstad: Okay, Cardinal George.
Cardinal George: Just to complete the conversation. This was debated at great length in the ICEL Committee itself. And the wording we have here is not only from our own conference’s consultation, but is the choice for all of the ICEL bishops throughout the world. At this point, depending on what the Holy See might raise.
Bishop Skylstad: Okay, thank you. Anyone else? I think that completes the discussion then. Yes, Bishop Cordileone.
Bishop Salvatore Cordileone (aux. San Diego): And I add my thanks to the committee for your Herculean effort here. I just want to reiterate the principle about the significance of Scriptural language. Since “the many” is used throughout Scripture and in the Lectionary why the decision was made to deviate from that principle? If I understand it correctly, it’s different from the principle mentioned by Bishop Roche. And I believe he also had mentioned that in his letter of June 2005.
Bishop Trautman: Again, the committee’s judgment must reflect the results of the consensus of the vast majority of American bishops. It is in possession; it is familiar to our people; it has been used for over thirty-five years. We think there’s a good Biblical foundation for it as well, too. So it’s a difference in prudential judgment here.
Cardinal George: Again, I would say something from the ICEL discussions. The original use of “for all” as a translation for pro multis was approved explicitly by the Holy See at a certain point. The background is somewhat speculative because of the Aramaic. Supposition of what it might have been isn’t very probative.
Other conferences, for example, in French it’s pour la multitude, “for the many”. The basic reason, I would say, for what it’s worth in the argumentation, was to not give force to the argument that some have made, particularly among the Lefebvrites, that our present consecratory words of institution are not valid, that this is in fact a valid translation of the Latin. And the Latin text, though it quotes in a sense Scripture, it is a liturgical text, not a Scriptural text.
In other words, we’re not doing a tableau or a pantomime of the Last Supper when we consecrate bread and wine in the context of the Canon of the Mass. So, it was more a prudential judgment again of where we are right now in the discussions around liturgy, not only within Catholic Communion but also with the Lefebvrite people. Again, I think the Holy See is looking at this with some caution, again, but that is sort of where the argument was, so it was an extrinsic argument, if you like, not an intrinsic from the text itself.
Bishop Skylstad: I think we’re ready for the vote; I don’t see any other hands. Yes, Bishop Bruskewitz.
Bishop Bruskewitz: Are we voting on 52, or whatever that one is?
Bishop Skylstad: Fifty-eight, number 58. I think we’re ready for the vote. All of those in favor of Bishop Foley’s intervention, amendment say “aye”. [Weak “aye”]. Those opposed. [Strong “no”]. Obviously the “no”s have it. Thank you.
We then move on to the next number: eighty-five.
Bishop Bruskewitz: I’ll probably withdraw this one, too. But I do want to draw attention to the fact that there is an addition here, that isn’t in the Latin text. It’s Scriptural certainly that Adam and Eve and it says “Male and female you created them”. That’s not in the Latin text. And it says here that the Holy See has indicated that this is acceptable. I assume that’s true, but I don’t know....
Did they tell everybody, or just a select few or something? [laughter]. It seems to me like ... that what we should have.... There’s the contrast between Christ as the second Adam and the first Adam. And when we put the other thing in.... It seems like it was some kind of concession to horizontal feminism or something. Once again, I don’t need to go through a vote for it, and I’ll be glad to withdraw it. But I would like to have some response to whom the Holy See has indicated this. And why, if they want it in, they didn’t put it in the Latin text.
Bishop Trautman: My understanding is that the committee has a clear indication that this is indeed reflecting the mind of the Holy See. I think that the ICEL people would probably concur as well that this is a proper and appropriate rendering of the text.
Bishop Skylstad: Bishop Bruskewitz, “probably withdraw” means?
Bishop Bruskewitz: Yes, withdraw.
Bishop Skylstad: Yes. Okay, thank you.
Cardinal George: It was the ICEL board that presented this to the Congregation for Divine Worship as an alternative to the Latin text. You’re quite right; it’s not a translation of the Latin. And they asked if in the English-language renditions of Canon 4 this device might be used. And the Congregation for Divine Worship said they thought it was acceptable. So you’re right, it is not a translation; it is not meant to be a translation. It’s a rendering which cites Genesis, because, you know, male and female He created them.
What it does is: it starts in one instance with “man” as a substantive standing for the entire human race, which is still possible within English, although not always acceptable in every part of the English-speaking world.
And then it goes immediately into a different quotation from Genesis. So it was the ICEL board that brought this forward to the Holy See, and this was deemed acceptable at this point.
Bishop Skylstad: Okay, thank you. The next, number 99.
Cardinal McCarrick: I think this is more pastoral than theological, and I present it. It’s the question of “anxiety” and “distress”. Cardinal George and I have had many conversations on this over the last two years.
First of all, the committee I think rightly says they consider “distress” a more precise rendering of perturbatione, which means that “anxiety” is also a possible, so we that we have two words that are both possible. I think what Bishop Trautman said a few minutes ago: that rule about if it is possible, if the people are used to it, if the people seem to be comfortable with that prayer, then the tendency is to continue it.
I would also say, not only are our people used to it, but in the forty-eight years I have been hearing confessions, I have never heard anybody say they have a problem with distress. I often hear people say anxiety is a real problem in their lives. I think, in the United States especially, we are used to the word “anxiety”. Turn the television on, “anxiety” is all around. People know what “anxiety” is. They’re not sure what “distress” is, but they know what “anxiety” is. And I think to “deliver us from all anxiety” means a great deal to our people. I would love us to keep it because I think it would make a lot of sense.
Bishop Trautman: If it were in my power I would certainly grant that request to the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington. The committee knows that I have championed this cause in the committee, but the chair of the committee reflects the majority view of the committee, not necessarily his own. And the committee result to vote is here. But I have great sympathy for your point of view. [laughter].
Bishop Skylstad: Somebody had their hand ... oh, it’s Bishop Grosz.
Bishop Edward Grosz (aux. Buffalo): I know that Bishop Trautman was very much in favor ... that is, we discussed that. I’m a consultant to the committee. However, when you talk about human development, when you refer to “anxiety”, that can be positive or negative.
For example, the anxiety of having to prepare for an exam. That’s positive, because it allows you and motivates you to prepare for the test. Anxiety can also be negative. So I think the choice of “distress” to translate perturbatione is to show it is distress, because there’s another word called “eustress”. So “distress” means definitely a negative kind of thing. And that’s what we’re praying for: to be free from something negative.
Bishop Skylstad: Archbishop Pilarczyk.
Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk (Cincinnati): I don’t want to distress the body. [laughter]. I think that the ICEL footnote #141 on page 77 is relevant here. Namely: “‘Distress’ can be internal or external, and for that reason was chosen to replace ‘anxiety’, which is only internal. We pray at this point to be free of distress of every kind”.
Bishop Skylstad: Thank you. All right, are we ready for the vote on Cardinal McCarrick’s amendment? All in favor of Cardinal McCarrick’s amendment say “aye”. [fairly strong “aye”]. Those opposed. [stronger “no”]. The “no”s have it. Thank you.
Bishop Trautman: We have heard in this discussion, and at other times as well, cogent points of view on the ICEL translation of the Order of Mass. I personally am sympathetic to some of those issues raised, and I’m sure other members of the committee are sympathetic as well. And just as there are disparate points of view voiced in our debates so there are the same different points of view in the committee.
But the committee as a whole is convinced that the text before us, as now amended, is significantly improved. And I’ve tried to represent that majority view.
Other conferences of bishops have also struggled over similar translation issues. I cite the recent remarks of Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the Archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. He noted that the bishops of Scotland felt that if they were to follow the guidelines of Liturgiam authenticam there was little that could be changed. These guidelines nullified a translating principle known as “dynamic equivalency”, referenced earlier by Bishop Roche. The Cardinal noted, and I’m quoting:
If we had free rein we would wish to preserve some of the phrases we got used to over the years, but we have to keep in mind that we are now going for word-for-word translation. It’ll take some adapting, but it is not earth-shattering when you think of the changes we went through forty years ago.
I believe we need to keep in mind these words of Cardinal O’Brien. It offers us an important perspective.
After much discussion and discernment, the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy recommends the amended text of the Order of Mass as a significantly improved liturgical text for the worship life of our people.
And so in the name of the committee I ask: Do the Latin Church members of the USCCB approve the ICEL translation of the Order of Mass for use in the dioceses of the United States?
Bishop Skylstad: Thank you very much, Bishop Trautman. We have had much discussion and possibility for amendments. I think now we are ready for the vote. This, by the way, is Ballot #3, signed on your envelope with your name. Two-thirds Latin Church members with subsequent recognitio by the Holy See.
[voting begins ballots are being collected]
Oh, yes, Cardinal George you wish to speak?
Cardinal George: Perhaps it’s too late.... [He couldn’t be heard at first, then he moved the microphone closer]. Not only good translation, but good amplification is also necessary for the liturgy to be appreciated. [laughter].
I meant to ask for permission to speak before Don did. And I’m very grateful to him and to the Committee for the Liturgy, to which I’m a consultant, but not a member. I would like to speak now, however, as a member of ICEL from our conference.
Some years ago when I was asked by our president, then Bishop Fiorenza, to take this, he gave me the instruction, as I said before, to “get texts”. Well we have a text. It’s only the Ordo Missae, but it’s the central part of the Missal.
I would ask, precisely as the American representative to ICEL, and urge that we accept this text, and do so of course, it would be a great relief for me if you did. And do so, because I believe it to be a very good text, and not just something we have to put up with.
There is in our debates always on liturgy, a shadow from the past. And that necessarily affects all of us. But the texts that we have now everyone admits including old ICEL as well as new ICEL and the Holy See are not adequate expressions of the Faith.
Quite deliberately and it’s documented there was an attempt to delete sacrificial language; the theology of grace and merit was excised when it could have been included. So we have inadequate texts right now. And beyond that they’re also the translation of the first edition of the Pauline Missal after the Council.
We have to use the third edition of the Pauline Missal, and that’s the translation that we’re doing now. In between we had the translation of the second edition. And that was a very fine piece of work. Particularly, we were involved in this through the guidance of Archbishop Pilarczyk, who had my job on ICEL although he was also chair. He also had Bishop Roche’s job. He did a very fine job and all of us have reason to be grateful to him and to the ICEL of those days.
What sunk the second edition, I think, and certainly what elicited a lot of criticism, was the changes in the people’s part in the second edition, which deleted personal pronouns for God, and therefore used vertical inclusive language, not just horizontal language. That, among a few other things and I know that’s a controversial statement nonetheless, there was enough controversy around it, that the Holy See just refused to accept any ICEL text.
In the context of what Bishop Fiorenza said you have to break the impasse, do what you have to do.
Well, the Holy See broke the impasse, and many people suffered in that. They reorganized the mixed commission, ICEL, and they gave us new rules of translation, Liturgiam authenticam. The reorganization is, of course, always debatable. That’s a constitutional issue. But I do believe, and I say that as a bishop, that Liturgiam authenticam is a really superior understanding of how to translate.
And while any particular translation can be disputed, nonetheless, what it has given us, I believe, is a language that is a good vehicle for the expression of our Catholic Faith in prayer. And in the end, its not only comprehensibility and its not only fidelity, it is the Faith itself and the language of faith that we’re talking about here. I think these changes are not just something that we have to put up with, but rather they’re a definite change for the better. I think they are balanced. I think you can dispute one or the other item, and we’ll continue to have these debates as we go through especially into the Collects, which aren’t as well translated at this point.
Nonetheless, the unity of the liturgy is a sign of the unity of the Faith in the Catholic Church. I urge you very, very strongly to support this translation because it’s good. And I thank you for the privilege of serving you on ICEL. I’ve learned very, very much. And I nonetheless look forward to the time when another one of our members will be on that board. Thank you very much. [laughter and applause].
Bishop Skylstad: I’m sorry I didn’t introduce Cardinal George to speak before the vote itself. Yes, Bishop Bruskewitz.
Bishop Bruskewitz: I’m not sure if I don’t know how this recognitio goes. But I don’t know if a motion might be in order. For example, if there are some slight things that the whole body doesn’t have to take up if the Holy See were to say something about this item or that item. Would it be proper to empower the committee to make whatever changes if there are minores momenti or something, rather than to have to go through all these things again? I just ask that as a question.
Bishop Trautman: I wouldn’t want to respond without consultation on that particular point.
Cardinal George: My understanding, as I think we discussed, is that if two-thirds of the Latin Rite bishops approve this, we send it to the Holy See. It is always conferences that send the text to the Holy See, not ICEL.
ICEL is the creature of the conferences, though its constitution as a mixed commission is given by the Holy See now. But it remains the creature of the conferences. Each conference is voluntarily taking the ICEL text which we couldn’t amend before; now we can amend. So now we have an amended ICEL text.
We, like every other conference, send it directly to the Congregation for Divine Worship, and they will respond back and tell us whether they give the recognitio to the text we just passed I hope or whether they don’t or whether they change it. So ICEL has nothing more to do with this text that we have just, I hope, approved. If we haven’t approved it, ICEL is going to have to get something else.
Bishop Skylstad: Yes, Bishop Lynch.
Bishop Robert Lynch (St. Petersburg): Bishop Skylstad, I think accidentally we foreclosed a general debate. Cardinal George’s intervention was very appropriate in the general debate. But usually we approve amendments, and then we have the general debate before we move the action item. And I’m not proposing that we go back to that.
I do think there are larger questions than just the amendments that could have been perhaps should have been addressed. One is the timing of this action at this particular moment in the history of our Church in the United States. Another is, I think, the degree of acceptance that our priests will have. I had some thoughts. But I just want to make the note that I think we moved too quickly.
Bishop Skylstad: I’m sorry about that. We should have, perhaps, had more discussion. I didn’t see any hands raised, so I presumed we were ready for the vote. In any case, we have voted now and we shall count them and hear the results.
Without discussion, the bishops then approved the BCL’s “accepted” and “rejected” amendments on the “American Adaptations”, which were voted on collectively.
The results of both votes were announced later. ICEL text: 173-29; Adaptations: 184 to 8 both exceeding the 2/3 majority required.
1 Translation in Flannery edition: “The Christian people, as far as is possible, should be able to understand them with ease and take part in them fully, actively, and as a community”. “Them” here refers to “texts and rites” mentioned in the previous sentence.
2 This is a sentence from §14. It is preceded by this: “Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, and to which the Christian people, ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people’ (I Pet. 2:9, 45) have a right and obligation by reason of their baptism”.
3 Cf. Congr. for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instr. Varietates legitimae, n. 53: AAS 87 (1995) 308.
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