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March 15, 2007


The Vox Clara Committee met for the thirteenth time from March 12-15, 2007 in the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome. This Committee of senior Bishops from Episcopal Conferences throughout the English-speaking world was formed by the Congregation on July 19, 2001 in order to provide advice to the Holy See concerning English-language liturgical books and to strengthen effective cooperation with the Conferences of Bishops in this regard.

The Vox Clara Committee is chaired by Cardinal George Pell, Sydney (Australia). The participants in the meeting were Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, Mobile (USA), who serves as First Vice-Chairman; Archbishop Oswald Gracias, Bombay (India), who serves as Second Vice-Chairman; Cardinal Justin Rigali, Philadelphia (USA), who serves as Treasurer; Archbishop Alfred Hughes, New Orleans (USA); Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Halifax (Canada); Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Kumasi (Ghana); Archbishop Kelvin Felix, Castries (Saint Lucia), and Bishop Philip Boyce, O.C.D., Raphoe (Ireland).  Bishop David McGough was present as a pro-tempore representative ofCardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Westminster (England), who serves as Secretary. Also members of the Committee, though not present at the meeting, is Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Chicago (USA).

The members were assisted in their work by the following Advisors: Monsignor Gerard McKay (Rome), Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, O.S.B. (England), Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B. (USA), Reverend Dennis McManus (USA), and Monsignor James P. Moroney (USA).  The customary support and assistance of officials of the Congregation was also appreciated by the members.

On March 14, 2007, the Holy Father received the members and advisors of the Vox Clara Committee at the General Audience, held in Saint Peter’s Square. More than a year ago, Pope Benedict XVI expressed his hope that “the translation into English of the latest edition of the Missale Romanum may soon be completed, so that the faithful throughout the English-speaking world may benefit from the use of liturgical texts accurately rendered in accordance with the norms of the Instruction Liturgiam Authenticam[1]. In the course of yesterday’s audience, the Holy Father renewed his expression of gratitude, thanking the members and advisors of the Vox Clara Committee for their important work.

The Holy Father’s words echoed the express desire of Pope John Paul II for a timely completion to the Roman Missal.  In the course of their meeting, the members of the Vox Clara Committee renewed their commitment to expend all possible energies in pursuit of an expeditious timeline for publication of the Roman Missal.

The members of the Vox Clara Committee reviewed a recent revision in the schedule for the provision of Green and Grey Book translations by the International Committee on English in the Liturgy. The members of the Vox Clara Committee urged the members of the mixed commission and all concerned to do everything possible to assure a swift completion of the translation of the Roman Missal.

At the request of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the members conducted a final review of the proposed translation of the Order of Mass, prior to the confirmation of the text by the Holy See. A report was received on musical considerations of those parts reserved to the people at Mass, and appropriate revisions were proposed to the Congregation.  In addition, the members discussed several translation questions posed to them by the Congregation and suggested appropriate strategies for their resolution. 

Various dimensions of the public reception of the confirmed Order of Mass were also explored. The members suggested that, following the confirmation of this text of the Order of Mass in the near future, it will be important to see to the publication of accurate and accessible formational materials of both a scholarly and pastoral character.

The Committee also completed its final revision of the Ratio Translationis for the English Language, including an appendix on certain stylistic issues. The Ratio Translationis was first proposed in draft form to all Conferences of Bishops in June, 2005. Following widespread consultation, it is anticipated that the Congregation will promulgate the Ratio in its final form in the near future.

On the final day of its meeting, the members and advisors met with Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation and Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, Secretary to the Congregation. His Eminence thanked the members for their work and encouraged them to continue to pursue an expeditious completion of the Roman Missal. The Vox Clara Committee welcomed the announcement by the Cardinal Prefect of the appointment of Father Anthony Ward, S.M. as Undersecretary of the Congregation.

The Committee will next meet in September, 2007.

[1] Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to Cardinal Francis Arinze, November 9, 2005.