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Letter from Archbishop Francesco Tamburrino to Bishop Maurice Taylor

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW) advises the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) that the “doctrinally flawed” ICEL Psalter, first published in 1994, must be no longer be disseminated, and asks that ICEL “act decisively” to assure that this happens. (Archbishop Francesco Tamburrino was secretary of the CDW. Bishop Maurice Taylor was president of ICEL. )

In 1996, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered withdrawn the imprimatur for the ICEL Psalter, granted by then-president of the US bishops’ conference, Cardinal William Keeler,. This action of the CDF was announced  in 1998 by then-president of the US bishops conference, Bishop Anthony Pilla.


Prot. N. 2322/99/L

14 January 2000

His Excellency,
The Most Reverend Maurice Taylor
Bishop of Galloway

Your Excellency,

This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments wishes to thank you for your letter of 3 January 2000, written in your capacity as chairman of the Mixed Commission known as the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

The Congregation does not wish to enter into detailed comment on the presentation which you transmit of the long history of the ill-fated project of a translation of the Book of Psalms undertaken by the Mixed Commission.

In reality, the most significant fact is that the resulting text has been found after careful study by the Holy See to be doctrinally flawed. Such a text is clearly no more suited for private prayer than it is for public proclamation, and it is therefore a matter of the greatest importance to impede its further diffusion. The Congregation is grateful to Your Excellency for your declared readiness to act decisively in this regard and would appreciate your setting the necessary machinery in motion and informing this Congregation of its details without delay.

It may or may not be the case that the issues of civil copyright licenses impose the restrictions on the Mixed Commission which are claimed in the briefing on which Your Excellency bases your exposition. There remains, however, the question of a duty in conscience to ensure proper information not only on the juridical status of the text, but also on the fact that the text does not accurately represent the word of God and therefore risks being a danger to the faith.

The Congregation has at hand no information on the Commission’s intentions in this regard. Perhaps once again Your Excellency could be of assistance here.

With prayerful good wishes I remain,

Sincerely yours,

+ Francesco Pio Tamburrino


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