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August 27, 2009


The Vox Clara Committee met for the seventeenth time from August 25 - 27, 2008 at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. This Committee of senior Bishops from Episcopale Conferences throughout the English-speaking world was formed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments 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, Emeritus Mobile (USA), who serves as First Vice-Chairman; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Emeritus Westminster (England), who serves as Secretary; Cardinal Justin Rigali, Philadelphia (USA), who serves as Treasurer;  Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I., Chicago (USA); Archbishop Alfred Hughes, Emeritus New Orleans (USA); Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Ottawa (Canada); Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Emeritus Kumasi (Ghana); Archbishop Kelvin Felix Emeritus Castries (Saint Lucia), and Bishop Philip Boyce, O.C.D., Raphoe (Ireland).  Also a member of the Committee, though not present at this meeting, is Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Bombay (India), who serves as Second Vice-Chairman.

The members were assisted in their work by the following advisors: Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B. (USA), Reverend Dennis McManus (USA), and Monsignor James P. Moroney (USA), Executive Secretary. Monsignor Robert K. Johnson (USA), provided technical support. Two other advisors, Monsignor Gerard McKay, and Abbot Cuthbert Johnson, O.S.B. (England), were unable to attend. The customary assistance of officials of the Congregation, led by Reverend Anthony Ward, S.M., Undersecretary, was also appreciated.

The Committee began by exploring means by which in might provide effective support to the Congregation as it seeks to achieve an expeditious confirmation of the Roman Missal. Certain technical and editorial processes were developed by which amendments submitted by the Conferences of Bishops, the counsel of the Vox Clara Committee and the internal deliberations of the Congregation might be effectively utilized by the Congregation in its final editing of the final text of the Roman Missal.

The greater part of the time was spent in a final review of four White Book translations of Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, as produced by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy and recently approved by several Conferences of Bishops. Following their discussion of the ICEL renderings of Masses for Various Needs and Intentions, Ritual Masses, Votive Masses, Masses for the Dead, and the Order of Mass II, the Committee submitted its recommendations to the Congregation concerning the definitive confirmation of these texts.

Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia O.P., recently appointed Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, was welcomed and briefed by the Committee on the last day of its work. Archbishop Di Noia thanked the Committee for its work in applying "the critical distinction between translating a text and traslating a sacred text in the vernacular." He also expressed his thanks for the proposal for additional assistance to the Congregations, noting, in particular, the need for assuring the technical quality and internal consistency of the new Missal.

The Committee will meet again in January, 2010 in Rome.