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March 11, 2004


The Vox Clara Committee met for the fifth time from March 9-11, 2004 in the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome. This Committee of senior Bishops from around the English-speaking world was established on July 19, 2001, to give advice to the Congregation regarding matters of liturgical translations of Latin liturgical texts into the English language, and to strengthen effective cooperation with the Conferences of Bishops in this regard.

The Vox Clara Committee is chaired by His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, Sydney (Australia). Present at this meeting were Members Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, Mobile (USA), who serves as First Vice-Chairman, Archbishop Oswald Gracias, Agra (India), who serves as Second Vice-Chairman; His Eminence Cardinal Justin Rigali, Philadelphia (USA), who serves as Treasurer; His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O¬íConnor, Westminster (England), who serves as Secretary; Archbishop Alfred Hughes, New Orleans (USA); Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Kumasi (Ghana); Archbishop Kelvin Felix, Castries (Saint Lucia), and Archbishop Terence Prendergast, S.J. Halifax (Canada).  Other Members of the Committee, though not present at the meeting, are His Eminence Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Chicago (USA); Bishop Philip Boyce, O.C.D., Raphoe (Ireland), and Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona, O.C.D., Prelate of Infanta (Philippines). In attendance were the following Advisors to the Committee: Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, O.S.B. (England), Monsignor Gerard McKay (Rome), Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B. (USA), Professor Dennis McManus (USA), and Monsignor James P. Moroney (USA). 

In the course of their meeting the Committee provided advice to the Congregation to expedite the completion of an English language vernacular edition of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia. A report was received on the progress and processes of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

At the request of the Congregation, the Committee examined a translation of the Order of Mass recently completed by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. While the details of the text are presently under consideration by the Bishops of the member conferences of ICEL, the Committee was able to abstract certain observations and questions in regard to the mixed commission’s application of the instruction Liturgiam authenticam to this translation.

The general assessment of the text was positive, with many sections exhibiting a fine grasp of the precision and memorability required of vernacular editions of Roman liturgical books. To ensure the development of a strong and contemporary English style, general suggestions for improvement of the text were offered to the Congregation as an assistance and support to the mixed commission. The Committee expressed appreciation to ICEL for the significant progress it has made thus far and acknowledges the formidable task which still remains.

Finally, the Committee, at the request of the Congregation, reviewed a series of responses gathered from a consultation of the Bishops of English-speaking Conferences of Bishops on the Ratio Translationis for the English Language.  This instrument describes the principles of translation of the Roman editiones typicae into the English language and is intended to benefit Bishops, translators, and other specialists engaged in this important work.

His Eminence Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments addressed the Committee on March 10, 2004 and, expressing the gratitude of the Congregation to the members of the Committee, engaged in a discussion with the members of the Vox Clara Committee concerning their work.

The next meeting of the Vox Clara Committee is scheduled for November, 2004.