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June 1, 2006


The Vox Clara Committee met for the ninth time from May 29-June 1, 2006 in the offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in Rome.

Established by the Congregation on July 19, 2001, this Committee of senior Bishops from Episcopal Conferences throughout the English-speaking world was formed to give advice to the Congregation regarding the translation 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). The participants in the meeting were Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb, Mobile (USA), who serves as First Vice-Chairman; Archbishop Oswald Gracias, Agra (India), who serves as Second 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 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). Other members of the Committee, though not present at the meeting, are; Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Chicago (USA); and Bishop Rolando Tria Tirona, O.C.D., Infanta (Philippines).  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). Administrative support was provided by Deacon Robert Keighron (USA).

The Committee continued to explore ways in which the Congregation might be of assistance to ICEL in its continuing work on the translation of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia. A draft timeline for completion of the Committee’s work on the translation of the Roman Missal was approved, which projects final consideration of the ICEL texts by the end of 2007. The express desire of Pope Benedict XVI is 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]  

The major work of the Vox Clara Committee consisted of a review of the “Green Book” translation of the Proper of Seasons recently distributed for consultation to the English-speaking Conferences of Bishops by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). While the Committee found these translations to be accurate and doctrinally complete, the members expressed concerns with some of the prayers and provided reflections which should be kept in mind in the next revision of the Proper of Seasons.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the Congregation’s Secretary, met with the members and advisors on the second day of their meeting. His Eminence expressed his gratitude to the Committee and discussed ways in which the Congregation might continue to be of effective assistance to the International Commission on English in the Liturgy in its preparation of translations of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, on behalf of the English speaking Conferences of Bishops. 

The Cardinal Prefect expressed  his satisfaction on hearing of the recent approval of the ICEL rendering of the Order of Mass by the Episcopal Conferences of Australia and England and Wales, as well as the upcoming consideration of this translation by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, reiterating the Congregation’s unwavering intention to assure the implementation of the instruction Liturgiam authenticam in this important project.

Due to the large number of translations projected for completion by ICEL and its member conferences in the course of the present year, the Vox Clara Committee is scheduled to meet in the offices of the Congregation on four occasions during this year.  The next meeting is scheduled for July, 2006.

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