UPDATE: A must-read comment from Australia: http://www.catholica.com.au/gc3/gr/009_gr_010510.php
Dear Brother Bishops and Priests,
Members and Consultors of the Vox Clara Committee,
I thank you for the work that Vox Clara has done over the last eight years, assisting and advising the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in fulfilling its responsibilities with regard to the English translations of liturgical texts. This has been a truly collegial enterprise. Not only are all five continents represented in the membership of the Committee, but you have been assiduous in drawing together contributions from Bishops’ Conferences in English-speaking territories all over the world. I thank you for the great labour you have expended in your study of the translations and in processing the results of the many consultations that have been conducted. I thank the expert assistants for offering the fruits of their scholarship in order to render a service to the universal Church. And I thank the Superiors and Officials of the Congregation for their daily, painstaking work of overseeing the preparation and translation of texts that proclaim the truth of our redemption in Christ, the Incarnate Word of God.
Saint Augustine spoke beautifully of the relation between John the Baptist, the vox clara that resounded on the banks of the Jordan, and the Word that he spoke. A voice, he said, serves to share with the listener the message that is already in the speaker’s heart. Once the word has been spoken, it is present in the hearts of both, and so the voice, its task having been completed, can fade away (cf. Sermon 293). I welcome the news that the English translation of the Roman Missal will soon be ready for publication, so that the texts you have worked so hard to prepare may be proclaimed in the liturgy that is celebrated across the anglophone world. Through these sacred texts and the actions that accompany them, Christ will be made present and active in the midst of his people. The voice that helped bring these words to birth will have completed its task.
A new task will then present itself, one which falls outside the direct competence of Vox Clara, but which in one way or another will involve all of you – the task of preparing for the reception of the new translation by clergy and lay faithful. Many will find it hard to adjust to unfamiliar texts after nearly forty years of continuous use of the previous translation. The change will need to be introduced with due sensitivity, and the opportunity for catechesis that it presents will need to be firmly grasped. I pray that in this way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted, and the change will serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world.
Dear Brother Bishops, Reverend Fathers, Friends, I want you to know how much I appreciate the great collaborative endeavour to which you have contributed. Soon the fruits of your labours will be made available to English-speaking congregations everywhere. As the prayers of God’s people rise before him like incense (cf. Psalm 140:2), may the Lord’s blessing come down upon all who have contributed their time and expertise to crafting the texts in which those prayers are expressed. Thank you, and may you be abundantly rewarded for your generous service to God’s people.
The Catholic liturgy is only half alive, and the new English translations will further decrease its vitality.
Pope Benedict, who is not a native English speaker, believes that the mediocre (or worse) new translations can bring renewal to the liturgy. Or does he?
There is a trace of unease in his remark on the "new task" of "preparing the clergy and lay faithful for the reception of the changes."
It seems that Benedict is aware of the South Africa debacle and, keeping his fingers crossed, is hoping that with sufficient tact and sensitivity in the way they are presented the new texts can be swallowed smoothly elsewhere.
He wants to believe that the objections to the new text come solely from people's attachment to what they have become used to over 40 years.
Given his disappointing experience with Cardinal Castillon Hoyos, the Pope should be asking some questions about the late Cardinal Medina Estévez, chief architect of the new translation.
Perhaps he knows the whole project is a mistake, for his anxiety is scarcely concealed. He refers to risks of "confusion or bewilderment."
This is hardly the most upbeat way to introduce a new translation, touted as a wonderful gift to the Church by its perpetrators.
What does not proceed from conviction is sin, according to St Paul. The Church deserves better than shoddy goods.
"Soon the fruits of your labors will be made available to English-speaking congregations everywhere."" Quite so; by their fruits shall they be known.
Meanwhile, Fr Ryan's petition seems stalled at 20,500. Are we sleepwalking toward a huge pastoral disaster, or slump? http://www.whatifwejustsaidwait.org/signatures.aspx