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July 7, 2005


The Vox Clara Committee met for the eighth time from July 5-7, 2005 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 established on July 19, 2001, to give advice to the Congregation regarding matters of 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  Cardinal George Pell, Sydney (Australia). Present at this meeting were Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, Mobile (USA), who serves as First Vice-Chairman; Cardinal Justin Rigali, Philadelphia (USA), who serves as Treasurer;  Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Westminster (England), who serves as Secretary; Archbishop Alfred Hughes, New Orleans (USA); Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Kumasi (Ghana); Archbishop Kelvin Felix, Castries (Saint Lucia), Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Halifax (Canada); and Bishop Philip Boyce, O.C.D., Raphoe (Ireland).  Other members of the Committee, though not present at the meeting, include Archbishop Oswald Gracias, Agra (India), who serves as Second Vice-Chairman; Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Chicago (USA); and Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona, O.C.D., Prelate of Infanta (Philippines). In attendance were the following Advisors to the Committee: Monsignor Gerard McKay (Rome), Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, O.S.B. (England), Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B. (USA), Deacon Dennis McManus (USA), and Monsignor James P. Moroney (USA). 

Various and recent draft translations of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia were reviewed by the Committee at the request of the Congregation.  The members noted, with great satisfaction, that the most recent renderings of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) constitute an immense step forward in the translation project of the Roman Rite as envisioned by the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam.  At the same time, the Committee's extended discussion of the theological, liturgical, biblical and patristic dimensions of ICEL's rendering of the prayers from the Proper of Seasons resulted in both general and specific recommendations to the Congregation in regard to these renderings.

Vox Clara recalled, on several occasions, the admonition of Pope John Paul II at the start of its work in March, 2002, that an English-language edition of the Roman Missal be completed at the earliest possible date.  While the Committee shares the general concern for the reception of these texts by the Bishops, priests and people of the English-speaking world, the members expressed their conviction that this reception would be impeded by delays in a timely completion of the project. 

The Committee also reviewed and presented to the Congregation a working draft of the Ratio Translationis.  A Ratio Translationis for each language group was first proposed by the instruction Liturgiam authenticam, no. 9.  The instrument is an illustrative document, designed to spell out the practical implications of current requirements. It is hoped that the availability of a basic guide in the English language will be of help to the International Commission on English and the Liturgy and to those experts they call to assist them in such a pastorally crucial, technically difficult and time-consuming task.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation, introduced the members and advisors of the Committee to Pope Benedict XVI in the course of the General Audience of July 6, 2005.  On the next day, the Prefect addressed the group and discussed their various proposals.  The Prefect discussed means by which the Ratio Translationis might be published as soon as possible, various details in the publication of the Ratio Translationis, and other translation issues.

The next meeting of the Vox Clara Committee is scheduled for November, 2005.